Links 1/4/16

Woman Reading The Guardian Can’t Take Much More Empowering Waterford Whispers. PlutoniumKun: “Waterford Whispers is an Irish ‘Onion’.”

Nagpur union launches world-wide campaign against water privatization Times of India (Sid S)

The Great Malaise Continues Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate

UK set for worst wage growth since the 1920s, Labour research finds Here Is The City

How the Spitzenkandidaten process and Juncker’s reforms might shape the future of the European Commission EUROPP

The new Europe: Poland wants more US and less EU Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (guurst, see German original here)

Fintan O’Toole: A toast to the luck of the Irish, second time around Irish Times (PlutoniumKun)

Mr. Market Has a Sad. Grr. I had a whole section here that disappeared.

Stocks Halted in China Following Weak Manufacturing Report Wall Street Journal

Chinese markets halt trading for day after shares plunge CNBC (furzy)

2016: China’s stock markets, January 4 Business Insider

Yuan Movements Highlight China’s Attempt to Halt 10th Month of Export Contraction; Major Currency War Coming Up? Michael Shedlock

China turmoil hits European stocks Financial Times


Saudis Cut Diplomatic Ties With Iran Over Cleric’s Death Bloomberg (resilc)

Syrian rebel group says exits Islamist alliance to refocus fight Reuters

Saudi Arabia severs ties with Iran (by CP) Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

China worried about Iran, Saudi Arabia Business Insider

Bahrain cuts diplomatic ties with Iran in row over Saudi execution of Shia cleric Guardian (resilc)

Stuck in the Middle East American Conservative

Oil drives our Israel policy: New government documents reveal a very different history of America and the Middle East Salon (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

One State Has Started Putting Drivers’ Licenses on Smartphones Car and Driver Blog


Fiorina And Carson Defend Saudi Government, Which Cites Sharia Law To Execute 47 People Huffington Post (resilc)

Donald Trump and the Politics of Disgust New Republic

Many See I.R.S. Fines as More Affordable Than Insurance New York Times. Money quote: “I do not believe it serves the public good to entrench private insurance programs that put actual care out of reach for those they purport to serve.”

Health care costs rising faster in 2016 Boston Globe (furzy)

America: land of the furious, home of the rage Sydney Morning Herald (agreenie)

Emails: US Government Facilitated LNG Business Deals Before Terminals Got Required Federal Permits DeSmogBlog

In Chicago, distrust toward mayor has turned ‘personal’ Washington Post. Donna M: “Couldn’t be more deserved.”

Armed domestic terrorists take over federal building, but it’s OK, they’re white Boing Boing

Militia takes over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters Oregonian

Oregon Standoff – Bundy Family and Extremist Militias Take Over Federal Property in Oregon Charles Pierce, Esquire. Resilc: “If black, all dead by now.”


MAULDIN: The Fed will be back at the zero bound Business Insider (David L)

Class Warfare

Even in expensive cities, the sharing economy may just have its limits Guardian (resilc)

How to Cover the One Percent New York Review of Books. Resilc: “With 6 feet of soil?”

Antidote du jour (Isabel):

stray-Xmas-Kalamata links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Sam Adams

    Re: ‘Even in expensive cities, the sharing economy may just have its limits’
    Am I the only reader who sees micro-apartments as a return of the SRO- single residence occupancy hotels?

    1. jsn

      No, now we just need to re-brand “poverty” as the religious virtue it once was so the “47%” can agin deserve the tithes they get from the likes of Mitt.

    2. Free Market Apologist

      Absolutely. Once they gain a foothold and acceptance amongst the current target audience (i.e., younger people starting out in NYC) they’ll be rolled out as ‘affordable housing’ to the elderly, indigent, and others who have even fewer options, and ultimately become little individual holding pens / jails for the more disadvantaged. The rallying cry to warehouse the population will be: “I lived in a unit like that, why can’t they?”

    3. sd

      Micro lofts, bistro lofts and whatever other fancy name you can come up with displaced the SRO that served low income residents.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With Income Guarantee, maybe they won’t need to rent out rooms.

      Long term renters can get something better, and one night travelers can afford a room at a hotel or a youth hostel.

      As for sharing economy taxi drivers, many can say “I don’t want this job. I quit. I will take my BIG.”

      1. McKillop

        Some young people I know have built their own wee house in order to escape dependency on landlords, to make a miniscule ‘footprint’ with portability, to escape shoddy tenements.
        Roundabout where I live ordinary people with a bit of land allow sharing -true sharing with minimal expectation of ‘rent’ of that land. Gardens figure in their lives, as do other efforts to escape the industrial and possibly poisonous foods and amenities.
        I compare these to the gypsy caravans so romantically depicted in films. their owners somewhat similar to ‘hippies’. Most ‘singlewides’ are poorly built with plastic walls, 2″x2″ framing and presswood furnishings – at least, the ones I met. Cold in our winters, in summers, hot.

  2. Steve H.

    – In Chicago, distrust toward mayor has turned ‘personal’

    Rahm actually uses ‘No one could have predicted’ in the letter he wrote.

    He’s digging deep if he’s pulling out tropes from his banking days to spin curveballs at the South Side. His response, coming so late, seems… retarded.

    1. Christopher Fay

      Every sentence makes me want to barf. I guess he’s out of consideration for any role in the Hillary administration. He’ll have to play it from the private sector side

      1. john

        I had a moment of zen and realized that at this late stage of empire, Kid Rock could be vice president.

        Bernie would be great, if he wasn’t spending his (our) debate time rolling over for Hillary and the ’email scandal’ I believe our media won’t admit was about selling military/industrial secrets to the Chinese over her otherwise inexpicable e-mail server.

        She/ Bill have done it before. Also, my limited picture of the Chinese has them as puppets of the ‘christian’ missionaries.

        I saw Spike Lee wearing his “Chi-raq” hat and re-hashing Malcom X on a sunday talk show recently. Also gross. No mention of the torture, but just incendiary blah-blah.

        People can handle strong black women, but not strong black men.

        Also, how stupid do the president’s dogs look?

        What a fraud.

    2. different clue

      Are any Chicagoans reading this thread? If they are, are they pondering the following question:

      If (IF) that police officer ends up getting convicted for murder, would that make Emmanuel plausibly accusable as an accessory-to-murder after-the-fact for his role in trying to suppress the videotape? If it could, and if the legal enforcement establishment refuses to act on that plausibility, are there any citizen lawfare groups who could force a “citizens prosecution” into the court system?

    3. RabidGandhi

      Emanuel has said he “owns” responsibility for the Laquan Macdonald shooting, which clearly means that any consequences to him have been divinely purged away by Rahm’s glorious verbal flourish. If you wanted to prosecute him, you should’ve acted before he decided to “own” it.

  3. abynormal

    re: Domestic Terrorist takeover Govt Bldg…first Tweet:

    Kevin M. Kruse

    Whoever coined #YallQaeda for the Oregon militia can just take the rest of the week off.

    (with time & half)

    1. Brindle

      From an article on the front page of WaPo:

      Translation: It was cold and Bundy wore a hat.

      —-“We’re out here because the people have been abused long enough, their lands and their resources have been taken from them to the point that it is putting them literally into poverty,” Ammon Bundy, clad in a brown rancher hat and thick flannel coat, told reporters Sunday morning, his breath forming small puffs of cloud in front of him as it hit the cold Oregon air.—-

      1. PQS

        What’s a “rancher hat”? A cowboy hat? Oh, for the love of God, WaPo. Don’t any of you ever leave the Beltway?

      2. perpetualWAR

        I’m not sure if in good conscious I can make fun of the Oregon militia.

        Our lands have been stolen from us leaving many Americans and Irish and Spanish and Greeks in poverty.

      1. Benedict@Large

        Forget Bundy, his crew of inbreds, and grazing rights. Where’s the really big money in weakening the BLM? Perhaps it’s because the BLM holds the mineral rights to more extractable resources than God? Now who might want those?

        1. Gio Bruno

          …more resources than God. Well, only if God has purview of only the US. South America and Russian gods have access to infinitely greater resource. The US god is actually a poor businessman: BLM lands in Nevada go on sale at $2.50 per acre.

          1. Steve Gunderson

            However, they are careful not to sell too much in the Phoenix or Las Vegas markets otherwise real estate would plummet even further.

        2. Lord Koos

          You can bet there are some interested parties with deep pockets who are helping these guys out with funding.

          1. Synapsid


            Have you ever been to central or northern Nevada?

            It would be a good idea to take your own water, if you go.

            1. PQS

              Yes. I lived in Southern Nevada for 13 years and traveled around the state extensively. There is water underground and in the remaining aquifers, but like everything else these days, it is expensive to get.

              And yes, Nevada is one of those states where there are billboards that say “Last Gas/Food/Water for 250 miles”.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Don’t worry, the CIA has had a program to arm them for years. Don’t mind the fact that half of the smuggled guns have disappeared without a trace.

      Besides, don’t you understand how awful the current regime in Oregon is? The people on the ground there are suffering and need regime change!

  4. Christopher Fay

    “Stocks Halted in China.” I find that perfectly acceptable. I’d like to take the rest of the day off too getting a tough start on Monday morning. Chalk another one up for Chinese Communist economic management.

    1. john

      Can the Communists save the Stock Market?

      Epitaph of Reason

      Of course, 1912’s anarchists were as fraudulent as today’s terrorists.

      For the same reason, serving the same powers.

      1. Synoia

        The world’s manufacturer succumbs to lack of demand, demand drive down by austerity policies in Europe and elsewhere, and the 1% winge and cry.

        Please remember, the whipping will stop when morale improves

        Question: Who’s morale?

    1. john

      Ok, last one, seriously.

      Word in my network is the Dubai New Years fire was a planned way to get rid of distressed real estate…. *and the evidence of Dubai’s gold flowing east, to iran/china with cash going to Turkey*

      Thus explaining today’s Saudi/Iran tension.

      Alternatives welcome, but I’ll stick to ‘paranoid’ for my truth bits.

        1. bob

          great link(s).

          A lot of the fires seem to be caused by fireworks, which, surprise, surprise, use powdered Al. Not normally easy to start burning, but once it does start it burns very hot, and like a lot of other metals-

          water will feed the fire.

          Terrible idea all around.

          1. bob

            That also shouldn’t age well, at all. Al will form a powder coat over time, even easier to get the thin sheets under it burning.

            Wow, Huge problem, not going to get better. And honestly, a 5 cent “jumping jack” can take down a sky scraper? That’s dangerous, before taking malice into account..

    2. diptherio

      Interesting stuff. Don’t have time to get through all of it, but this tidbit caught my eye:

      New year brings changes in North Dakota oilfield waste rules — The new year comes with a new rule in North Dakota that allows elevated levels of oilfield radioactive waste to be disposed of at some landfills, a move regulators and industry officials believe will help curb illegal dumping. Environmental groups aren’t convinced and have threatened lawsuits over the new rule that takes effect Friday, saying the public was not given enough input in its crafting. “We don’t think the state is up to the task of doing this job,” said Don Morrison, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council. “They haven’t had the capability of doing this yet.” The rule raises the allowable concentrations of technologically enhanced radioactive material — or TENORM — to be disposed of at approved landfills from 5 picocuries per gram to 50 picocuries per gram.[!] Picocuries are a measure of radioactivity. North Dakota generates up to 75 tons of radioactive waste daily, largely from oil filter socks, tubular nets that strain liquids during the oil production process. The filter socks can become contaminated with naturally occurring radiation and have been banned for disposal if they surpass the 5 picocurie threshold.

      So companies were illegally dumping their radioactive waste and the regulatory response is…to increase the legal cut off by 10X!!! Regulators and industry are sure this will cut down on illegal dumping, which it will since what is now flagrant lawlessness will simply be defined out of existence. How convenient.

      And when the regulators are fine with increasing allowable levels by an order of magnitude, it doesn’t give me much faith in their ability to judge safe limits of anything, period. Which is it, 5 or 50? What’s safe and what isn’t? Do they have any clue at all or are they just pulling numbers out of their little tushies?

  5. John Zelnicker

    –Many See I.R.S. Fines as More Affordable Than Insurance New York Times.–

    I have already been asked by some of my tax clients to figure out their penalties now so they can make just that kind of decision.

    This is only going to hasten the death spiral of the private insurance companies. Especially with the elimination of the pre-existing condition limitation. One could pay the penalty, go without coverage and, if and when, one gets sick or injured, buy an insurance policy and head for the doctor. That is truly a negative selection bias. Maybe it will get bad enough for them that they will want to pass off the business to the government for a Medicare-for-All plan (in my dreams).

      1. different clue

        Yes, it really was. Probably the penalty for not buying insurance will be legislated up to many years of hard prison time.

        But maybe enough non-buyers can death-spiral the Big Insura conspiracy before Congress is able to pass Hard Time Prison laws for the willfully uninsured.

  6. JTMcPhee

    Poland wants more US, less EU? Hobson’s Choice… Or negative sum? Double approach-avoidance? “Poland” being not its mopes but its ruling elite, of course.

  7. allan

    `They may be SOBs, but they’re our SOBs’, in an Oxbridge accent:

    Some of Saudi Arabia’s recent executions of al-Qaida supporters were understandable, Britain’s former ambassador to the country has said, as the UK government faces fresh questions about the intimacy of its links with the Saudi regime.

    Speaking to the BBC, Sir John Jenkins said: “Do I think the sentences are justified? Certainly the people accused of membership of AQ [al-Qaida], particularly given what has happened over the past 18 months with these attacks by Islamic State inside the kingdom, I can understand why the Saudis reacted in the way they did.”

    1. Dino Reno

      Never one mention that I can find in the media reporting that these Saudi executions were all public beheadings, just like their fan boys ISIS. When is a beheading not a beheading? When our friends wheel the sword.

      1. PQS

        Why is one more horrible than the other? Do the Saudis use sharper blades? Do they just not put them on YouTube?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thou shalt not kill.

          Many people find beheading more gruesome than killing with a handgun.

          I wonder if other animals or vegetables share the same feeling…


      2. RabidGandhi

        The discreet charm of the liberal interventionists:

        In the NYT article on the beheadings, many commenters pointed out this same contradiction, ISIS and KSA both behead. “So why are we attacking ISIS and not Saudi?” they wonder.

        So cute. They think US foreign policy is motivated by human rights.

  8. tongorad

    Are Charter Schools the New Subprime Mortgages?

    Promoters of charter school expansion are calling for an increase in independent authorizers, such as nonprofits and universities. Supporters of charter school expansion believe that multiple authorizers will issue more charters, in part, because they are less hostile to charter schools than school districts. However, our research suggests another reason that multiple authorizers result in more charter schools: multiple authorizers are like mortgage originators with no skin in the game. In other words, these authorizers don’t assume the risk of charter school failure.

  9. Synoia

    attacks by Islamic State inside the kingdom

    The solution for being hit by the radical Sunni group the Saudi’s fostered (and who noticed the Saudi Royals did not exactly lead an austere Wahhabi life) is to execute a leading Shia cleric who actually pointed out this dichotomy.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Just because they are royals, they aren’t divine or necessarily even competent. The Kingdom has plenty of problems, and they are throwing whatever they can find at the wall in hopes something will stick. The Saudi clan even if It was united only has power on the street through the Sunni Imans especially the Wahaabiists. The goal probably isn’t to placate the religious leaders as much as their followers who will now be fighting the good fight.

      I don’t have an ear to the ground, but the Saudi military might wake up one day and question why they are the Saudi military especially with looming pay cuts or the equivalent.

      Syria and Yemen aren’t going according to plan, and I think U.S. politicians are starting to notice that Saudi royals aren’t popular with people not on their payroll.

      1. Strangely Enough

        I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family.

        Popular, or not, they will not be disabused of that notion easily.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The decision to publicly execute the cleric versus tossing him down a hole is mysterious. The rumblings about trouble in the Kingdom are likely widespread. The crane collapse and Haijj stampede are possibly bigger troubles for the Kingdom than their misadventures in Syria and Yemen.

        1. Carolinian

          ‘B’ says they did it to appease their own Wahabi crazies because many of those executed were Sunni terrorists–a kind of evening of the score.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            This makes the most sense. I believe the internal sunni rumblings must be cranky because they have chosen to do this after the Kingdom’s recent issues. I wonder if the Yemen expedition has reduced the reliable security personal.

            I always thought they picked up Al-Nimr before he caught on and could just be turned into a memory. I just don’t understand the timing unless inflaming local Shiites is preferable to Sunni public opinion.

            1. Synoia

              The nice thing about fostering ISIS is one now knows who and where are all the Sunni extremists.

              All of whom will perish when forces from the North (Turkey) and South of Syria (Saudi) are “forced” to “intervene” to “keep the peace,” aided by good US intelligence and Logistics (but no boots on the ground).

  10. Carolinian

    Re Michael Massing, the New York Review and intellectual capture–Doesn’t the fact that our “intellectuals” can be captured say volumes about the bogosity of the so called meritocracy? It would be far more honest if our think tank elites would just admit that everything is about money. In California some are sponsoring a ballot initiative that will force state politicians to wear the corporate logos of their contributors in the same way NASCAR drivers do. Here’s suggesting we do the same for those think tankers who are ubiquitous on the Newshour and other news chat shows. Their concealed agendas make all such policy discussions suspect. If some wonder why anti-elitism is gathering political steam this could be one reason.

    1. James Levy

      One of the hopes coming out of the Enlightenment was that ability would over time come to trump birth and connections. This was a very laudable goal, but with the exception of the Confucian examination system (which did depend in part on having the money and time to study for the test) all societies throughout history have run on birth and connections. Adrian Goldsworthy points out in his works on the Roman Army that all jobs from centurion to general were based on patronage, period. The Romans neither knew how to measure ability nor would they have cared to do so. They lived and died giving and receiving favors and building up webs of loyal (they hoped) supporters. Admiral Nelson got his spot as a midshipman because his mother was distantly related to the Walpole/Suckling clan. Robert E. Lee’s family had fallen on hard times but through a family connection to John C. Calhoun he secured his slot at West Point. Today, the point is to hide and deny just how much this is still the modus operandi of the top 10%

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The ironic part about Confucian examination system was that the male descendants of Confucius and some of his more notable all-male disciples had been given sinecure jobs throughout the various dynasties.

        “To honor those sages.”

      2. Carolinian

        True enough. But the problem now is that we do believe we know how to “measure ability” and it can be just as arbitrary as contending you have been “favored by the gods.”

        One dilemma when living in a scientific age is that science becomes a camouflage for so many bad ideas that have nothing to do with science. Older systems based on apprenticeship rather than “measuring” at least forced you to demonstrate some ability in order to advance. This sort of empiricism is in fact highly scientific.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Science and how it is applied or used by humans:

          Chimps are hugging each other and enjoying the benefits.

          Many strictly scientific humans are still waiting for experimental confirmation. They don’t do anything foolish (perhaps they have been fooled once before, shaming themselves).

          “Why can’t you stop being a scientist for just one day and use your intuition?”

          1. Carolinian

            Guess I don’t buy into the idea that trying to understand how something works makes it any the less beautiful. In fact just the opposite can be true IMO.

      3. S M Tenneshaw

        “the Walpole/Suckling clan”? Not sure any amount of patronage is worth that kind of embarrassment.

    2. craazyboy

      “wear the corporate logos of their contributors in the same way NASCAR drivers do.”

      Ha! “Valvoline – An engine lube, a body lotion, and a desert topping too!”

      I guess it might get a little redundant in the case of Steve Israel?

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      As someone who has been around, occasionally in but mostly out of, the foundation-funded “progressive” think tank community for the better part of 3 decades, I found Massing’s reporting and plea to be mostly valid but ultimately weak tea. A few reasons:

      1. As he notes, the “progressives” (even counting the likes of Ford, CAP and Brookings, which are only progressive in DC terms but are linchpins of modern “progressive” public policy) are way, way, way outspent by the hard right. One or more websites to track rightwing money would be helpful but a) who is going to fund such? and b) there is already a lot that is known about how the rightwing operates and it isn’t obvious that, at this point, the biggest problems in countering them are related to lack of information, important as that is. [Massing does give a quick shout out to a few web trackers, including the excellent]

      2. The progressive policy community is even more invested in the notion of meritocracy than the right is.

      3. This is what happens when the side opposing the far right is meritocratic, fragmented, and funded by dead capital instead of collective and funded by the dues of working people. It is entirely unrealistic to expect serious opposition to the hard right to emerge when it is a) funded by dead capital, and thus by definition not anti-capitalist, b) fragmented and in competition with like-minded entities for funding, and thus is by definition non-solidaristic, and c) controlled entirely by people who view themselves as part of the cultural elite, knowing and caring nothing about actual working people.

  11. Jim Haygood

    Manufacturing, comrades: it’s Dullsville.

    Manufacturing contracted in December as the PMI® registered 48.2 percent, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point from the November reading of 48.6 percent, indicating contraction in manufacturing for the second consecutive month, and is the lowest reading since June 2009 when the PMI® registered 45.8 percent.

    What happened in June 2009? Right — that’s when the economic expansion began, according to the NBER. Now we’ve almost round tripped back to it.

    But the fanatical Yellenite sect which has taken over the central bank still plans more rate hikes.

    Aren’t there some moderate rebels in the Federal Reserve we could support? (h/t RabidGandhi)

  12. none

    Lol, I got 419 spam from “Christine Lagarde”.

    To Your Attention;

    On behalf of the board and management of International Monetary Committees (IMC). London UK, I Christine Lagarde, the Operations Manager wishes to inform you that your boxes tagged diplomatic luggage 122 with Ref: No 1226/X42/206 which was deposited in our vault for safe keeping is due for Immediate collection. Be informed that we have concluded all arrangements to deliver your consignment at your door-step through diplomatic means. In line with the binding diplomatic consignment delivery policies, kindly furnish us with the following as set forth.

    We pledge our best service at all times.

    Yours Faithfully
    Christine Lagarde
    Foreign Operations Manager

    That’s more convincing than “Sani Abacha”?

    1. ewmayer

      When dealing with 419s from (alleged) ladies, I make it a rule to always hold out for an accompanying offer of marriage and light housework. Am I being too demanding, do you think?

  13. Dino Reno

    The article “Donald Trump and the Politics of Disgust” is disgusting and laughable at the same time. Diving deep, this time to the microbial level, to explain Trump’s popularity in terms of germaphobes and fears of cross contamination among America’s great unwashed could be a new low. After all , isn’t Trump a new low? This is fighting fire with fire in a race to the bottom.

    Once again it asks the question “Just how stupid and fearful are these Trumpeters?” Pretty stupid and ignorant the article assumes, making their fears invalid. After all, surveys shows that a low tolerance for “disgust” means a low tolerance for those different than you. Ipso facto, they’re racists and should be despised.

    Pseudo-social science theories like this one attempt to discredit the real concerns of the giant underclass, who see things quite differently. They don’t like being poor, underemployed, addicted to drugs and alcohol and having their life spans curtailed.

    For elites, with clever hypotheses like this one, feeling smug and superior before getting overrun by the rabble must have its own rewards. One can then go about one’s normal day shopping and running errands hoping that this too shall pass.

    None of these magic word articles ever mention two things Trump also says repeatedly to his followers and you don’t ever hear another candidate say: “I love you and it will be an honor to serve you.” Those are magic words too and they that don’t need a lot of exegesis.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Much like the Obama “success” article, addressing the actual motivations of Trump supporters points fingers at the pundit class, the village, and the bourgeois establishment.

  14. reslez

    re Many See I.R.S. Fines as More Affordable Than Insurance

    That’s a good money quote, but how about this one:

    Ms. Reardon, whose husband is old enough to be covered by Medicare, said she would rather pay out of pocket for the drugs she takes for fibromyalgia and the handful of doctor appointments she tends to need each year.

    If something catastrophic happens, she said, “I feel like it’s better just to die.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you are rich, you can lead a high maintenance life, hopefully, involving a healthy diet and some form of exercise, like weight lifting or yoga and you can live a long life.

      If you are poor, you can try to overcome a miserable life and a shorter lifespan.

      The propaganda is this: why try to prolong a miserable life?

      For the rich, a longer life and all days are happy. Total happiness = happiness per day x total number of days.

      For the poor, a shorter life, and all days are miserable.

      A rich person enjoys that multiplication effect and the total happiness is exponentially, or geometrically higher, not arithmetically.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Fischer Break 2.0:

    On Sunday, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said the U.S. central bank should be open in the future to raising interest rates to ward off potential asset bubbles.

    How much financial stability concerns should play in monetary policy remains an unsettled policy at the U.S. central bank. Prior to the crisis, the Fed’s leadership did not support hiking rates to ward off asset bubbles.

    In his speech, Fischer said the U.S. central bank would still face significant hurdles if it had to cut rates back to zero.

    America’s first Zambian-American Fed vice chair seems not to realize that it’s way too late for that.

    Stanley and the Yellenites are busy fighting the last war, hiking rates as the ISM manufacturing index falls to its lowest since June 2009, when the economic expansion began.

    Abolish the freaking Fed.

    1. cnchal

      First, fire all the useless eaters that call themselves economists.

      . . .Another idea, for the Fed to use negative rates, faces “transitional” problems similar to Y2K bug in 2000, Fischer said.. . .

      All of them.

      1. craazyboy

        Of course, the problem with the concept of “negative rates fixing the economy” is purely a computer technical issue. Luckily, a clever IBM programmer snuck in Asimov’s 4th Law of Robotics: Robots shall not steal from savers and give the money to Wall Street!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Lowering rates didn’t do much for Main Street.

          But raising rates will hurt Main Street.

          Very interesting.

          “Only the down side, when it comes to rates.”

      1. Jim Haygood

        You know how the acerbic Stanley is gonna phrase it:

        ‘Here’s a quarter; call someone who cares.’

        Jamie Dimon’s gonna slap his own knee till it bruises.

    2. Skippy

      Abolish the freaking monetarists, quasi or other wise…. fixed….

      Skippy…. Jim its not like it happened in – one – “Business Cycle”.

  16. Synoia

    The new Europe: Poland wants more US and less EU

    Not quite. I read the original (slowly) and had to revert to the original German in places.

    First the Poles wish to recreate the Austro Hungarian Empire, and include Turkey, to protect themselves form both the Germans and the Russians. Good luck with that Byzantine alliance.

    Shades of the Triple Alliance, it seems.

    Here’s the most brutal statement, Google Translate misses its impact (among many blunt statements):

    In Warschau weiß man, dass der Ober aus Washington immer den Unter aus Brüssel sticht

    In Warsaw, we know that Washington dominates Brussels.

    To which one can only say – States have Interests not Friends. Be careful for what you wish.

  17. susan the other

    Good Stiglitz on malaise. Wish he were on board with spending directly into the economy. Otherwise how do we ever get off this dingy? It’s so crowded now with debt refugees that if anybody shifts their weight we all tip over. And tinkering with the interest rate or fudging employment stats actually enables continued instability. So when Stanley says we need to raise rates and blablablah, he is literally perpetuating the sicko-sick system. Can’t we purge the Fed; turn banks into tightly controlled utilities; do a federal jobs program ala MMT-Green; start providing services, education, healthcare, etc. like an advanced economy? Or… maybe we are not advanced at all. Maybe we don’t even have the beginnings of good social programs, no bones to flesh out at all. Third world. Demand? What’s that?

    1. Skippy

      Yeah but… that would be totalitarianism… and Lippmann and Posse LLC would have a sad…

      Skippy…. don’t you know what freedom and liberty mean – ?????

    2. JTMcPhee

      “Can’t WE…” Really, who the heck is this “we” that is going to do all the stuff that “we” is exhorted from all sides to do?

  18. TedWa

    Request for Public Comments on Review of Employment Impact of the Trans-Pacific
    AGENCY: Office of the United States Trade Representative.
    ACTION: Notice of intent to conduct an employment impact review of the Trans-Pacific
    Partnership and request for comments.
    SUMMARY: The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department
    of Labor (DOL), through the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), are initiating an
    employment impact review of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. USTR is seeking
    public comments on the impact of the TPP Agreement on U.S. employment, including labor
    DATES: Written comments are due by Wednesday, January 13, 2016.
    ADDRESSES: Written comments should be submitted electronically via the Internet at If you are unable to provide submissions at, please
    contact Yvonne Jamison, TPSC, at (202) 395-3475, to arrange for an alternative method of

  19. Irrational

    Re. Spitzenkandidaten at the European Commission
    The “genius” of vice presidents (trend#3) is leading to gridlock with so many former primadonna ministers as Commissioners all needing to put their stamp on EU policy.

    1. cnchal

      . . .with so many former primadonna ministers as Commissioners all needing to put their stamp on EU policy.

      So many narcissists concentrated in one place. It’s going to take a psychopath to put them in their place.

  20. Bev

    Love the Antidote du jour (Isabel): the dog in the cradle with baby Jesus. It is appropriate as after all dog is god spelled backwards.

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