Links 2/7/16

Readers: Too many links today, but there seems to be rather a lot going on… –lambert

Fining Bankers, Not Shareholders, for Banks’ Misconduct Gretchen Morgenson, NYT. Can’t we jail them?

Core Employment (Age 25-54) Still Below January 2000 Level, 3 Million Below 2007 MishTalk (EM). Best economy ever! What’s wrong with this guy?

These 9 charts tell the definitive story of the US labor market Business Insider

Job Market Leaves Fed in Limbo Wall Street Journal

The long-awaited tech correction is here Business Insider

Why U.S. Recession May Arrive Without Warning Wall Street Journal. The inverted yield curve doesn’t work any more.

Amazon Rips Page From Rivals’ Offline Playbook WSJ. So, with bricks and mortar bookstores, and its own shipping arm, why is Amazon’s valuation what it is? Expectation of future monopoly rents?

CLSA Expects the Year of the Monkey to Be Unpredictable Bloomberg

A Shifting Picture of U.S. Debt—and an Opening for Updated Policy WSJ

Whatever Happened to Peak Oil? The Archdruid Report

Argentina offers $6.5bn to debt holdouts FT

Provisional government to rule Haiti after Martelly departs Miami Herald

North Korean rocket puts object into space, angers neighbors, U.S. Reuters

The Zika Virus Is Harmless – Who Then Benefits From This Media Panic? Moon of Alabama. My answer: Its gaslighting. Fear skews the electorate right (besides being profitable. Remember when the weather report reported the weather?).

The Necessary Imperfection of Early Primary Polling The Atlantic

Why polling is hard:

2016 (Democrats)

7News/UMass Lowell New Hampshire tracking poll day 6 WHDH. Local polling. Sanders 55, Clinton 41. Trump 35, Rubio 14, Cruz 13.

Possible Democratic presidential candidates in 2016 Reuters. Handy national poll with interactive filtering, this one filtered for the youth vote.

* * *

Why can’t Hillary Clinton find a good answer on Goldman Sachs? Maybe there isn’t one. WaPo

Lament of the Plutocrats Politico (2013). This one of Clinton’s Golden Sacks Goldman Sachs speeches. If the reporting is accurate, a transcript would show that “Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring.” Then again, typically high-dollar speakers to corporate shindigs are paid to deliver services other than unwelcome truths. That’s… That’s… Well, whose job is it, anyhow?

$153 million in Bill and Hillary Clinton speaking fees, documented CNN. Ka-ching.

I worked on Wall Street. I am skeptical Hillary Clinton will rein it in Guardian

Eric Holder Makes Ads for Hillary Clinton While Making Deals for Corporate Clients The Intercept

With New Hampshire primary nigh, Hillary Clinton shifts focus to Nevada caucuses and beyond Los Angeles Times. Campaign Manager Mook: “You know, there’s a lot of states.” And Clinton will be flying out of the state two days before the election, “a rare move for such a prominent candidate behind in the polls.”

Albright: ‘special place in hell’ for women who don’t support Clinton Guardian. Albright: “Young women have to support Hillary Clinton. … Hillary Clinton will always be there for you. And just remember, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” Which would explain why Clinton supported the (much younger) Zephyr Teachout, and not Cuomo. Oh, wait…

Gloria Steinem: Young women back Bernie Sanders because ‘the boys are with Bernie’ Mashable. And The Time Gloria Steinem Made Bernie Sanders an “Honorary Woman” Mother Jones. The Clinton campaign does seem prone to surrogate eruptions. First Chelsea, now Steinem and Albright.

Can New Hampshire’s political class save Clinton? Politico. Betteridge’s Law….

* * *

Bernie Sanders, Public Menace Bloomberg. I’m sold!

Why Bernie Sanders Can’t Govern The Atlantic. “Hillary Clinton’s realistic attitude is the only thing that can effect change in today’s political climate.” The climate the Democratic establishment did so much to create.

Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Know Diddly-Squat About Wall Street Vanity Fair

Bernie Sanders Clearly In Pocket Of High-Rolling Teacher Who Donated $300 To His Campaign The Onion

Red Hot Chili Peppers Cover David Bowie at Bernie Sanders Fundraiser Rolling Stone. Sanders campaign refused $30K contribution to cover the costs of the venue. “No, I don’t accept money like that.”

Bernie and Larry do SNL Reuters

Bernie Sanders: Prolific Democratic Party fundraiser CNN. For the DSCC.

Why Trayvon Martin’s family attorney is endorsing Bernie Sanders Fusion

Bernie shows that he knows very well what’s going on in Greece the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens

2016 (Republicans)

Rubio Implodes in New Hampshire Debate By Acting Like a Broken Robot (videos) New York Magazine. Repeats same talking point five (5) times.

Transcript of the New Hampshire GOP debate, annotated WaPo

Republican debate live blog: Donald Trump returns to the stage in New Hampshire WaPo

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain at 1:03:

The utter nastiness of Ted Cruz Dana Milbank, WaPo. Now that Rubio, on the other hand, is such a nice young man.

Ted Cruz is wrong about CNN’s reporting CNN. “Knowingly misstated.”

Republican debate wrapped, a good night for governors Los Angeles Times

“The People Who Cast The Votes Don’t Decide An Election, The People Who COUNT The Votes Do.” Washington’s Blog. Compilation. The standard is hand-marked paper ballots hand-counted in public. I can’t imagine why any party claiming to support voting rights wouldn’t support that standard.


Risking World War III in Syria Consortium News (EM).

Turkey descends into civil war as conflict in southeast escalates Informed Comment

The one thing in Saudi Arabia that works well is under threat Reuters

China Can Have the Chicago Exchange Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

1965-1975 Another Vietnam: Unseen images of the war from the winning side Mashable

US military releases small batch of abuse case photos Al Jazeera

Guantánamo prosecutor defends retroactive censorship of public hearing in 9/11 case Miami Herald

US government jet lay in wait for Snowden in Copenhagen Guardian

Class Warfare

The costs of inequality: When a fair shake isn’t Harvard Gazette

90% of what goes on at The New Yorker can be explained by Vulgar Marxism Corey Robin

The Inside Story of Shell’s Arctic Assault Audobon Society. RK: “Textbook regulatory capture.”

Ethical Data Scientists: Will You Support A False Narrative – “Community of Hope?” Another Word For It

If You Go Near the Super Bowl, You Will Be Surveilled Hard Wired

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. abynormal

    re: NK Launch…”Jeb Jihadist Are US Bush, the former Florida governor hoping to be the next US president, said America should be willing to take military action against North Korea.

    “If a pre-emptive strike is necessary to keep us safe, then we should do it,” he said at Saturday night’s Republican debate in New Hampshire.” (FT)

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Counting on the Blood Thursty ‘Merican Voters to Vote For War, Any War.

      And what is with Jebbie? He’s running a commercial featuring his Dumbazz Brother “W”. Desparate times, Desparate measures, I guess. Hahahha.

    2. human

      Poor Jebbie. Foreign policy is not his strong suit either. From wikipedia: “The fighting ended on 27 July 1953, when an armistice was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea, and allowed the return of prisoners. However, no peace treaty has been signed, and the two Koreas are technically still at war. Periodic clashes, many of which were deadly, have continued to the present.” All we need are more Boots on the Ground(tm).

      Of course he better clear it first with TPTB because it would likely affect Korean Free Economic Zones and disrupt stealth, hard currency subsidies to North Korea in the form of wage taxes on North Koreans working in the Zones.

      1. susan the other

        You might think that Jeb, coming from family so tight with the right wing of the military and so tight with banking in all its ”forms” – that little Jeb would be so steeped in the ideology of the elite that he would never stutter. So either he is dense or unsure. Or both, because his compatriots have lost their footing and none of them can rationalize what they are doing. Or why. Compare Jeb and Hillarity to Bernie. Bernie knows what he thinks and the meaning rolls off his tongue without any stuttering internal self-editor in half-panic mode making everything slightly equivocal nonsense just to be safe.

        1. flora

          Jeb has his own problems with a real estate development history, his own family problems with corrupt banking scandals in the S&L crises. If Jeb takes on Trump on real estate, banking and bankruptcy then he opens the door to a line of attack he’d rather avoid. Jeb has a lot of baggage he’d rather not show.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          43 and 41 had radically different views, and 41 was stomped on by Reagan. I don’t know about Jeb, he makes me think they should have put Neil forward, but it’s possible he is just trying to capture 43’s magic with the gop electorate versus 41’s toleration.

  2. YankeeFrank

    “Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Know Diddly-Squat About Wall Street – Vanity Fair”.

    Because Vanity Fair knows so much.

    1. Tips

      I hope someone points out to that writer that secondary market transactions have almost nothing to do with allocating capital from savers to borrowers!

      1. Uahsenaa

        Also, as Prins so eloquently puts it in It Takes a Pillage, the purpose of Wall Street is not to re-allocate capital but to create as many imaginary assets as possible upon a base of real assets.

    2. griffen

      The author is a former banker who has written multiple columns about the more egregious of the practices.

      (Much like this blog’s founder / author, he tends to call out his own kind for their misdeeds).

      1. YankeeFrank

        Honestly, I didn’t read the article. Its the title I reacted to, and she probably didn’t write that of course.

      2. Carolinian

        Here’s your distinguished banker’s mom and apple pie defense of Wall St

        Without people willing to take those risks, and having the chance to reap their reward, there wouldn’t be an Apple, a Google, a Facebook, or countless other large corporations. The billions of people around the world who are employed by thriving companies would lose their jobs.

        Yes billions, not millions, will go hungry if that ignorant Bernie Sanders has his way. Vanity Fair needs to stick to stories about starlets and Oscar parties.

        1. cwaltz

          I’m pretty sure all those companies got large long before they were offered as an IPO. Now mind you they got larger after, but considering things like economies of scale and what large companies can do to small town competition (or the economy when these businesses engage in bad behavior) , I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Bigger doesn’t always mean better.

          1. Gio Bruno

            Like Microsoft, large companies get large by stifling competition, or seeking government largess (Haliburton), or hidden funding (Google), or legislative capture (Wall Street).

        2. Yves Smith

          That is complete horseshit. Apple didn’t get a dime of venture capital, and Google didn’t until very late, and neither depended on IPO to become successful companies. The writer knows squat about how companies grow and fund themselves.

    3. flora

      from the VF article:
      ” [Sanders] dwells on bizarre and nebulous notions such as imposing “a tax on Wall Street speculation,” as he did during his speech on Monday night. This tax, Sanders noted, will generate “hundreds of billions” of dollars in annual revenue and help pay for his proposed program to make tuition free at public colleges and universities.

      “But what exactly is Sanders proposing and does it make any sense?”

      Allow me to answer. In my opinion Sanders is proposing a US equivalent of the UK’s Robin Hood Tax.
      This youtube video ad for that tax explains it very well. ‘The Banker Robin Hood Tax’.

      1. Jeff W

        Not only that but the US had such a financial transactions tax in place from 1914 to 1966. According to this CEPR fact sheet, “Over 30 countries–including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, and the U.K.–currently have some form of the FTT. Of the G20 nations, 16 have an FTT.” For the writer to refer to the idea of a tax such as the one Sanders is suggesting as “bizarre and nebulous” is itself bizarre.

  3. Juneau

    The Wired article on surveillance methods takes a while to digest. Is the conclusion correct that they can be avoided simply by avoiding the Superbowl?

    If people would fight back by getting rid of their cell phones maybe Verizon would take note and intervene LOL. I am SUCH a dreamer. We have been enticed into buying our own tracking devices to the tune of several hundred dollars each. Public pay phones are a thing of the past so there is no choice really. Yves keep your dumb phone!

    1. Mark Alexander

      I lived in Silicon Valley for many years, and left in 2009. Judging from the linked article, it sounds like surveillance has increased tremendously since then, what with license plate readers everywhere now, along with cameras and cell phone tracking devices. I was going to suggest that one way to avoid some of this now in Silicon Valley is to ditch the car and ride a bike or take public transit (which I did to a large degree when I was there), and use a dumbphone. But even that might not be enough, given the ubiquity of cameras; I also don’t see how using a dumbphone is going to sidestep the fake cell towers.

      1. Jagger

        Watching HBO’s The Wire, the trick to neutralizing cameras is to wear a hoodie and then throw rocks at the camera until you knock it out. Rocks are cheap and replacing large numbers of cameras is not. A pellet gun and a hoodie would achieve the same thing much quicker.

        1. human

          White paintballs are less violent, much quicker, still send the repairperson out and can be attributed to pigeons! It’s almost as if Wired wants you to be caught and sentenced.

          1. Jagger

            HBO’s The Wire depicts the dysfunctional inner city of Baltimore. Drug organizations would use underage kids for much of the obvious illegal activity as they wouldn’t go to jail. And even if they were lost for whatever reason, they were considered expendables and easily replaced.

            So if you are of age to go to jail, knocking out cameras is probably not a good idea. However if you can round up some underage, bored truants/vandals, you could probably get the job done fairly quickly and with little risk.

            IIRC, during the Irish troubles, underage kids played quite a role as well.

            1. ambrit

              Ask any Irishman and you’ll soon learn that the ‘Irish Troubles’ started around 1200 AD when Bad King John made his move. Add in Cromwell and you have the perfect ‘Troubles.’ Underage kids are the perfect ‘shock troops’ for urban counter ‘State Terrorism.’ “Old men send young men to fight their wars for them.”

              1. diptherio

                Recently read a tome called “A History of the Irish Race.” I now understand why the Irish hate the English so much. It’s been nothing but slaughter from when the Romans left until rather recently (exaggerating, but not much).

  4. Steve H.

    re Zika:

    There is considerable obfuscation by all sides on this issue, which is actually several issues.

    One of them is whether the piggyBac transposon could cause interspecies gene transfer. Horizontal transfer between species is a fact. From an NCBI paper concerning (and I stress) a different transposon set:

    “Here, we provided the first documented example of HT of CACTA transposons, which have been so far extensively studied in plants. Our results demonstrated that bats had continuously acquired new DNA elements via HT. This implies that predation on a large quantity of insects might increase bat exposure to HT. In addition, parasite-host interaction might facilitate exchanging of their genetic materials.”

    This actually undercuts my thinking that we’ve entered a fourth great evolutionary stage (the others being life, genetic heredity, cross-individual gene transfer, and now cross-species gene transfer). It looks like cross-species transfer is at least plausible without genetic engineering. What the engineering does is to vastly increase the rate and geographic scope of this evolutionary proces..

    1. john

      Full disclosure, I didn’t understand half of that.

      However, I do trust my sources. They say Zika comes from the same region they released “GM” mosquitos, hoping the modification would stop ‘mosquitos’ from breeding.

      Thanks, Bill Gates foundation to depopulate the planet.

      Not to be too alarmist, but the same-ish thing happened in India, allegedly.

      In fact, a bunch of WHO workers set to testify were on the way to the EU when their plane disappeared.

      Extraordinary claims require said proof, people say. We all nod along and say politicians are liars, right until the second a war breaks out. As evidence I offer that Osama bin Laden’s ears kept changing after his death was reported in late 2001. The rest were fakes.

      1. GlobalMisanthrope

        As a reader who likes to follow all of the conversations in comments, I would ask that you please read the original post before commenting so that your comments are at least somewhat topical. Thanks.

        Having said that, sources, shmources! You’re right. We should definitely add as many completely-unsupported-by-science-or-logic layers of speculation as possible. Because, you know, the truth is out there.

        1. ambrit

          Science used to be my God too. Now I despondently slouch along after being enlightened to the fact that there is no “man behind the curtain.” Sad that the generality cannot divorce morality from religion.

    2. tegnost

      Th MSM and PBS stories i’ve seen on zika all mention GMO mosquitos and act like anyyone is crazy both not to want them and to blame the crisis on gmo skeeters, so just based on volume i’d say this is the main agenda

  5. Sam Adams

    Re: Core Employment (Age 25-54) Still Below January 2000 Level, 3 Million Below 2007

    I constantly hear from people who are in thier late 60s and even older and who have the means; they will never retire, love thier jobs and then proceed to describe the millennials as lazy. They don’t train thier replacements. How is youth employment going to get better if nobody moves out to make room? That’s ossification.

    1. JTMcPhee

      I retired and “moved out to to make room.” What a surprise, the owners did not “move a youngster in.” Just shifted workload to the remaining staff.

      What’s the real message, Sam? That us oldsters and our Social Security and 401k futures ought to DIE, and stop “spending our children’s inheritance” so you get yours? Do you plan to “move out and make room” when you reach advanced late benign-senescent middle age, or will you, when it’s your turn, “ossify” with your paycheck still coming in just as long as you possibly can?

      I wonder how many other folks carry this notion around, forgetting that it ‘it’s the economy, stupid’ and the people who are raking in all the wealth from looting and churning-and-burning and fraud, and the structures they have built and control, are the ones who are holding you back and keeping you down? You want an intergenerational war, you ought to bear in mind that old age and guile beat youth and energy every fokking time… Don’t believe it? Look at who has all the money and power.

      And are you smart and slick enough to fund your pleasurable retirement by your business acumen, current skill sets, and wise investments, or are you going to have to rely on Socialistic stuff like Social Security and Medicare, if those are options and assets after “the young movers and shakers” have done what they plan to?

      Hey, as more and more old people get more and more desperate, there’s a great business opportunity for you! A franchise chain of suicide parlors! “Passing Fancy.” “Going Home.” “Rise Above It.” You get the idea. The Elites are already, with the help of “progressives” in love with the idea of “assisted suicide,” putting the legal framework in place. And if you are really wise about vertical and horizontal integration, there are ways of killing the client that leave the organs “harvestable,” and of course you can offer all kinds of “green” options for disposal of the unrecyclable remains, up to and including Soylent feedstocks! Wealth, Sam, is just around the corner for ya! Go for it! I hear Shkreli might be available to consult…

      1. neo-realist

        I retired and “moved out to to make room.” What a surprise, the owners did not “move a youngster in.” Just shifted workload to the remaining staff.

        I’ve noticed this trend in my workplace as well, however, the workers that moved out were kicked to the curb by the firm (One for a questionable performance evaluation). Two were older and one was in her 40’s and had worked for the firm for about 15-20 years. The few older ones that I know of that continue to work into their 70’s are doing so because they don’t have the savings, so they need to keep working as long as they can.

        The hiring they have been doing for young people has been for much less than the older workers from what I’ve gathered.

        1. fresno dan

          They tell me that when I retired productivity increased 4,000%….
          However, this was not enough to give anybody below the level of executive management a raise in pay or benefits. Nor did it get me a gold watch – only a drawing of a gold painted watch on a sticky note.
          Indeed, employees are now expected to provide for their own heating and cooling – it has led to some ugly behavior toward the adipose enhanced in the summer time – “hey, your straining my portable air conditioner!”

      2. cnchal

        That was a great rant.

        . . . A franchise chain of suicide parlors! “Passing Fancy.” “Going Home.” “Rise Above It.”

        I’m sure the medical system will get that job by bribing politicians to pass laws allowing only them to do it.

        Madison Avenue is already sweating the details on advertising phrases such as “get launched into oblivion with us! The caring staff at Obituaries R US a franchisee of HealthNot Medical Services”.

        It’s the second last great squeeze of your wallet.

        1. ambrit

          Robert w Chambers envisioned public suicide parlours back in the 1890s in his book “The King in Yellow.” Really a collection of short stories, the first story, “The Reparer of Reputations” is set in a Decadent Inspired America of 1920 where a semi fascist government decides sanctioned ‘suicide’ would be in the countries best interests.
          As for the medical “profession,” well, just try avoid it.
          That ultimate ‘squeeze on your wallet’ would be the burial racket I surmise.

          1. Vatch

            They will have them in the year 3000, according to Futurama. Oh, wait, Futurama is fiction; never mind.

      3. fresno dan

        February 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

        I intend for my my rotting, stinking corpse to be left so that it is found on a Monday after a hot humid weekend in the place most inconvenient to Wall street. Hopefully, after a couple of days of 90 plus temperatures, I will be obnoxiously sticky and smelly…..(come to think of it, pretty much like I am now, only even more recalcitrant at moving along…)

        1. Puncheonrun

          That would be an attractive option, but that we are now required to provide our own office space (work from home, oh how wonderful it is) furnished, and provided with self-supplied heating, cooling, internet and phone service, all out of pocket. Such a brave new world we enjoy.

        2. ambrit

          I tell Phyllis I want to be buried without a coffin, my head facing East to greet the rising sun. Surprisingly, there are some parks that now permit “Green Burials.” Instead of a paltry headstone, it would be nice to be remembered by a forest. A big stone slab at the entrance to the Park could list those ‘residing’ there.

          1. polecat

            I want my remains to be deposited next to the bamboo that I most cherish,,,,,,would probably make for some really humongous culms the following couple of seasons!!

      4. Sam Adams

        A little hyperbolic, no? I was not talking about employees who cannot afford to retire, of which there are many today. The younger generation need to begin work to move to their next stage of life. Many simply cannot, stuck in the file room and stuck in a basement. I asked if those who can retire, but do not and cannot be forced because of Age Discrimination laws should move along the path. Hyperventilating about dying and suicide parlors is not going to avoid the inevitable. Death is merely the next step, denial is not going to stop it arriving.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “next stage in life” for young people to move on to. What a wonderfully inapt and pernicious notion, redolent of the bad kind of “entitlement-think.” “The younger generation[s]” are going to have to figure out ways to make “work” for themselves, in an environment where prior generations of young people, “moving up” in the corporate neoliberal college-educated crapified environment they have been creating as THEY “moved up,” have paved (or un-paved) the “traditional middle class manner” in favor of looting and “creative destruction” and shouting FIRE! in an increasingly crowded planetary theater.

          Seems to me that learning how to grow one’s own food, see to one’s own security, find one’s own comity-based community, learning to live on less and with less, is what’s coming for all “generations.” The ones that are going to sort of “survive,” at least…

          Nice of you to apparently exclude from your prescription the vast majority of US “seniors,” WHO CANNOT AFFORD TO RETIRE because of policies and predations of younger-once, now older or gone-beyond-retribution people, so generous of you that the old ice-floe bait will be “allowed” to keep working. “Move along the path” when there is NO EFFING PATH except cleaning toilets, greeting at Walmart if you’re lucky, attending career switch classes at McDonald’s Hamburger University? Living in one’s car or a rattletrap “motor home” or the new Hoovervilles, or just DYING? Wonder what your notion and options will be when it is your turn to “move along the path…” Yaaasss, let us kill to final death, making the Kochs and Blanfeins and their pals smile, kill any notions of intergenerational cooperation in the nature of fighting the kleptocracy and caring for each other — must get out of the way, so a younger person has the same opportunity to “move along the path, out of the mailroom, up from the basement” …. How to do it? OD on morphine? .223 bullet up through the throat aimed to shatter the base of the brain? A straight razor to the big arteries and veins of the neck? Carbon monoxide? So many choices… Hyperbolic, yeah, that’s it.

        2. griffen

          I got the point of your original comment, and generally agree.

          Not all here would go to such length to report they disagree to your key point.

      5. Generalfeldmarschall Von Hindenburg

        What the real issue is here is the deification of Work in the West. Generations are just being set against one another in the same way unions in North America were set against those in Central America. Divide and conquer

    2. diptherio

      Given the state of the country, there is plenty of work to be had by all who desire it. That our gov’t can’t figure out how to connect the available workers to the needs is a commentary on our gov’t, not on older workers.

      The problem is not people staying in the workforce because they want to; the problem is an utterly broken economic system and the inability/unwillingness to do anything about it by those in positions to do something. Have you not read the many comments here from people who have had to train their H1-B replacement before being laid off by their corporate employer? Your framing places blame on workers, when that is most definitely not where the problem lies.

      1. ambrit

        There’s a nascent underground movement for you. People who ‘mis-train’ their replacements. Years ago, Phyllis was faced with exactly this situation. She asked her employers if she would be getting a severance package. When the answer turned out to be ‘No’, she walked out. The next day an irate office manager called her at the apartment and started yelling. Before I could get to the phone, she laughed out loud and told the manager, “Since you know everything about how to run things, you train my replacement,” and hung up.

    3. optimader

      they will never retire.

      Can you offer a link on that? The medical community will want a blood sample.

      1. Sam Adams

        I think you will need to wait until they slump over at thier desks and the mirror no longer fogs.

  6. griffen

    Dear Gretchen, FINRA is not a “top cop”; it is a self funded regulator which at best will police eventually the worse of the (retail) stockbrokers. They aren’t going to do much on the institutional examples she cites.

    Maybe FINRA is starting to catch some subtle hints, albeit slowly.

    1. Free Market Apologist

      The Barclays and CS cases were brought by the SEC, not FINRA. The SEC might better be considered the ‘top cop’, and over my 20+ years of dealing with both of them, the SEC certainly has upped its game, and FINRA appears to be getting better.

      FINRA’s stated focus on ‘culture’ in 2016 is probably influenced heavily by the UK regulators’ attention to the topic, and their new ‘Senior Managers and Certification Regime’, which intends ‘to make individual responsibility in banking a reality’.

      I really wish Gretchen had a better grip on the topics about which she writes…

      1. griffen

        As recently as the S & L crisis, being held individually responsible as a leading exec was not just a goal but an actual conclusion of exhaustive efforts by regulators. How much we’ve grown since !

        Silverado, Keating, etc…

      2. Vatch

        the SEC certainly has upped its game

        What? Really? That’s great news, if true! Can you provide some evidence, because I’m very skeptical about this claim. I suspect most other regular NC readers are, too.

  7. timbers

    Zero Hedge has this interesting to say: “China will sell her dollars not to protect the yuan, but to dispose of an overvalued currency.”

    Says China seeks yuan peg to a basket of currencies instead of just USD, which will reduce dollar demand and protect China from holding too much USD should it be “overvalued.”

    Also Iran is selling oil in Euro not USD and India is doing business with Russia and Iran in Rupee. Lots of small steps away from trade in USD happening. Zero Hedge says these moves away from the dollar in some ways = reverse QE.

    1. cwaltz

      It’s been going on for awhile. Iran went completely away from the dollar in 2008. Hidden fact: Right before the Iraq war, Iraq was saying it was moving from trade in dollars to trade in euros.

      China didn’t particularly like being called a currency manipulator by us either(and they aren’t morons and understand that the Fed can and does manipulate dollar value). I’m sure it’s one of the reasons that it wants a basket instead of having our currency as global reserve. For the record, China also has an agreement with Russia to trade in their currencies and cut out the dollar and has since 2010. So if Zero Hedge is just realizing this now it’s a little behind the times.

      1. Massinissa

        Gaddhafi was thinking of introducing a gold Dinar as a national currency…

        But they may have just killed him because they didnt like him. Who can say? Same with Saddam. Its not like they ever liked Saddam. Well, after Kuwait anyway…

        1. human

          Gaddafi’s Libya arguably had Africa’s most advanced and educated citizenry and economy. His African Infrastructure Bank was in the works as he agreed to eliminate his nuclear power ambitions and opened his oil markets to the west.

          It’s likely not coincidental that his son and 3 of his grandchildren were murdered, ala Allende, the night before the announcement of bin Laden’s capture ™.

    2. craazyboy

      Translation: All currencies are presently dropping against the dollar, so China doesn’t want to peg to the relatively strong one. They can effectively lower their peg against a weaker basket and boost exports, as usual.

    3. maude

      As long as China wants to sell its goods to the U.S. and we run a trade imbalance with them, they will accumulate dollars. It is a fact of life that will never change. Zeroyhedge is selling their book again – GOLD

  8. Carolinian

    Re the Super Bowl: I trust y’all will be pulling for our Cam Newton as he further annoys the honkies.

    And Maureen Dowd has a rather confused column today where she first says Hillary could be inspiring on the hustings, then goes on to detail how HRC is a crook.

    Hillary is like a veteran actor who doesn’t audition well. Bill could tell her not to shout her way through rallies, that it doesn’t convey passion but just seems forced, adding to her authenticity problem. Her allies think mentioning her shouting is sexist, and sexism does swirl around Hillary, but her campaign cries sexism too often. In 2008, Barack Obama used race sparingly.

    What Dowd doesn’t seem to get is that Hill’s deep resume pitch is fake too.

    1. Steve H.

      Your reasoning for who to root for is the same I used in 2008. Didn’t work out so well.

      Homer. pYAYton!

    2. bob

      Can’t someone from CO send Maureen a big box of pot food with a note not to eat any of it, ensuring she would.

      Her campaign coverage might be a little more interesting-

      “I thought I was dead. The worst part of it was that not one of the candidates had noticed; no one sent me any sympathy cards, or mac and cheese, or more wine.”

      1. bob

        Byline- Maureen Dowd, under her bed-

        Well, the election hasn’t happened yet. No one has come looking for me. Am I still in the newspapers? I can’t risk leaving the safety of by bed bunker. I had no idea that I had thrown so many empty wine bottles under this bed. They sort of look like Bernie when you put two next to each other. You know, his glasses.

        Where did my glass go? Did Bernie redistribute MY wine to someone else? If I call 911, would anyone listen? If I’m dead, probably not. Sexism.

    3. griffen

      I’ll bet the queen city has some well placed routes for the pending ticker tape celebrating.

      Go Panthers, return triumphantly to the BofA stadium. And free biscuits by Bojangles.

    4. wbgonne

      Well, I’m a Patriots fan so the football season is officially over for me but my nephew has a pal who plays on the Panthers so you have my support. But what I’m really rooting for are my numbers in the pool.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner


        Manning was among the last named players to join the concussion law suit, Brady v NFL. Brees was the second named player to join after Brady. Seeing Goodell’s golden boy lose will be a blast.

  9. MikeNY

    I watched about an hour of the debate, which is all I could bear.

    Rubio was a disaster. Not only robotic, he came off as an unhinged tin-hat on BHO. Christie was a nasty, megalomaniac piece of work, but correct on his criticisms of Rubio. Why Rubio didn’t go after him on bridge-gate is a mystery to me. Trump was his usual blustering, gaseous carnival-barker self. Cruz was slick, reptilian and thoroughly repulsive. Carson appeared to be developing dementia before my eyes. Jeb! was mildly less mediocre. The only one who looked and sounded like a non-sociopathic functioning adult was Kasich, and he’s not exactly bubbling over with charisma. But in the land of the blind …

    1. fresno dan

      I watched most of it, but I could not bear it either to the very end – I decided my liver was more important than listening to all of the drivel.

      I agree completely on Rubio – he seemed childlike – the eager to please student who has come up once with a good answer and now unleashes it at every opportunity. At one of his last reiterations of his point that “Obama knows exactly what he is doing and he is trying to change America” the camera inadvertently seemed to catch a glimpse of the other candidates, and they were mostly looking at their shoes, seemingly embarrassed for Rubio. The audience did not boo, but moaned. Its hard to convey in writing in how bad Rubio came across – you really had to see it. IMHO, Rubio eliminated himself – time will tell.

      There were actually some good questions – but unfortunately, mostly non-sequiturs as answers. The naive view that our Sunni “friends” are our allies and will help us fight ISIS….basically, war without cost or sacrifice is now part of a religious belief in red land.

      We call these things debates, but of course they are not. But the mini debates between Rubio and Christie provided useful information and in my view validated Chrisite’s point about Rubio.

      There was an interesting mini debate between Trump and Bush about eminent domain. Trump actually took the non popular position and supported it. Bush supported it as well, but tried to attack Trump on using eminent domain to build a parking lot. I don’t think Jeb’s jab landed, and it is probably beside the point, but having a tape where Bush implies Keystone is not a private job won’t be helpful.

      The interesting issue was that Bush stated that he thought the use of eminent domain was legal and proper to use for the Keystone pipeline. I do not know the right answer, but it was a rare (maybe the only time) I have seen some true feelings expressed on a difficult issue by the repub candidates. Maybe pipelines could never be built without eminent domain, but it certainly shows that “public use” and who benefits are two separate things. With apologies to Orwell, the public benefits, but some in the public benefit a H*ll of a lot more…

      Trump brought up a point in his mini debate with Bush, that I thought was very interesting if true. That the audience was “selected” – it is not a random assortment of NH repubs, but the special repubs….

      So — it’s what it is. That’s what — and by the way, let me just tell you, we needed tickets. You can’t get them. You know who has the tickets for the — I’m talking about, to the television audience? Donors, special interests, the people that are putting up the money.


      That’s who it is. The RNC told us. We have all donors in the audience. And the reason they’re not loving me…


      … the reason they’re not — excuse me. The reason they’re not loving me is, I don’t want their money. I’m going to do the right thing for the American public. I don’t want their money. I don’t need their money. And I’m the only one up here that can say that.

      Eminent domain, the Keystone pipeline — do you consider that a private job? Do you — do you consider that…

      BUSH: I consider it a public use.

      1. MikeNY

        You’re right on the Bush-Trump exchange. It was certainly the most interesting intellectual exchange. Trump had a valid point on eminent domain. And Bush’s criticism could have drawn blood, but as usual his delivery was flaccid. And he was blunderous on Keystone.

      2. Steve H.

        Trump has a gift for turning his opponents strengths against them. Everyone watching that debate now had a story for why the audience booed him. He did the same thing with Hillary, turning ‘women’ into ‘that your husband sexually assaulted.’

        The only public figure I have seen at that same level of skill is Putin. Putin just turned four years in Syria by the most powerful military in the history of the universe into a show of incompetence, based on his results after, what, one quarter in the region?

        I’m not saying, we need Trump ’cause he can take Putin. I’m saying that for fucks sake stop underestimating this guy.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Which guy, Putin or Trump? Too bad our Imperial rulers don’t have as much affection for the Motherland as Putin, or as much savvy on how to protect and foster the “real national interests” of what us mopes have been taught to think of as “the nation…” And yes, they are both corrupt, but in their very different ways, display a sort of heartening competence that gives one a tiny glimmer of faith that maybe humanity will not vastly shorten its tenure in the service of the pleasure centers of a very few of us.

        2. Massinissa


          Sure, I dont underestimate Trump. Hes better than Cruz or Rubio.

          But hes no Putin. Putin is smart AND lucky, if only for being the right man for the right job at the right time for Russia. Not so sure Trump is the second one. Hes smart in his own way, but its not in a geopolitical way like Putin either.

      3. optimader

        Mike and Fresno,
        You guys are the best for watching/summarizing that intellectual wasteland porn for me.

        Is the woman half of that intro tag team team Sandra Bernhardt’s even less talented sister?

        Carson, OMG….this looked like an outtake from Being There.
        I wonder if Carson sits looking forward in his Oldmobile w/ his Homburg hat on and the engine in grocery store parking lots when the fat lady w/ the cigg on the lip honks her horn to let him know again she’s waiting for the spot?

        Trump wasn’t going to let Carson up-stage him, and told him so.

        Bush, in a fleeting wisp of normalcy (take it where you can get it when contemplating who should be the next POTUS) walked by and gave him the “WTF?, are you insane?, give me the ball OUR hoop is on THAT end of the court, look.

        Cruz added the “ok, I’m not the one who’s going to tell you where you are…. you’re toast dude”, look. Not very Christian if you ask me.

        1. optimader

          BTW.. note to all guys. In a public venue/on a stage DO NOT stand around w/ your hands folded over you crotch (unless yore really expecting the worst)?.

          Arms to the side!, If your nervous, index finger lightly into tip of thumb so you don’t forget. your welcome in advance….

        2. fresno dan

          All in all, I thought the thing with Carson was minor. I take it that Caron could not hear over the applause, but he has been to enough debates (and I would imagine public speaking events with multiple speakers) that I thought he would know that their spot on stage is pre-arragned and that the order of their entrance is pre-arranged as well – so you just follow the person in front of you out.
          The thing of it is, the media always magnifies the “narrative” and if the narrative is that your hmmmmm….”eccentric” than ANYTHING that confirms that is going to be made a big deal of.

          Still, to look at that debate, and the lack of seriousness, the ignoring of reality, is disheartening.
          Ponder this: with Rubio out of it, it is conceivable that Bush could come back.
          The US election is Bush versus Clinton. I can see the CNN crawl now: THE TIE BREAKER

          Out of 300 million people, the best we can do is Clinton versus Bush???

          1. optimader

            no matter what goes down, Bush’s profligate campaign spending, lack of popularity in primaries, I can see the scenario of the GOP convention fix w him coming out as the party compromise candidate.

            1. optimader

              On Carson, even the man behind the curtain told him to move it along.. I think , vapor lock. Maybe the guy had a ministroke? Did he say anything during the debate?

              1. MikeNY

                To me, it wasn’t just his entrance. In his answers to questions he was maundering and sometimes incoherent.

    2. mad as hell.

      Sorry I have to disagree. Those clowns and caricatures are a lot more entertaining than her majesty and a Democratic socialist or Socialist democrat or whatever the hell that label is.

    3. craazyman

      wow you guys are gluttons for punishment.

      I’m trying to read the Peters/Gell-Man PDF on a new mathematical formalism for evaluating economic decisions. I don’t know about this one. My early excitement may have been misplaced. I think all they’ve done is crawl into the rabbit hole with the utility theorists and eat the lettuce a different way. And nobody but a rabbit hole resident would come even close to caring. This is what sent Ed Bucks, the mathematical economist from MIT, up a tree in the New Hampshire woods. He realized his whole life’s work as a lie. he realized it had nothing to do with anything real and he freaked out. he wanted to finally see reality and he decided to go to nature and look directly at nature — in his case it was deer through binoculars in an attempt to see what he called ‘the face of God’ — and not at nature through a contrived mathematical framework that somebody just made up because it was evidently self-consistent in its logic and imitated the formalism of the physics.

      AT any rate, he was up the tree for 4 months and the he cracked and staggered out of the woods in somewhat poor mental and physical health. he frankly achieved nothing at all. He said he wanted nothing more to do with the face of God or deer. He wanted to go back to his office and back to his MatLab projects and his blackboard and stare out the window with the heater on and a cup of coffee. I think he was kind of angry, frankly, that the Face of God let him down. I think he actually expected to find a breakthrough where his equations could explain decision making by deer. And then he was gonna extend that to humans. He thought he could find the equation for the FAce of God, but maybe God is not a mathematician. That’s just a theory, but i”m not sure Ed is quite read to accept it. he may live his whole life in a state of delusion, never knowing. But at least he’ll be comfortable with his heater on and his MatLab projects to occupy his time

      The one thing these dudes should do, if they wanna write papers like this, is learn how to write English prose in a clear expository way. That would make it easier to explain the Face of God if they really ever to figure it out. It’s hard to read something if it’s incoherent, even when the math is easy

      1. James Levy

        What they will never admit is that how humans divvy up the stuff is a question of ethics and power, not divinable via mathematical musings. We choose. We make the call. We hold to whatever value structure we as humans come up with (or have imposed on us by other humans) and then do things from there. We let the owner keep the profits while the worker gets what the owner chooses to disburse. We say that hitting a baseball garners more cash than patching up people in an emergency room. We do it. Nature has nothing to do with it. So looking to natural systems or mathematical models is ipso facto looking in the wrong place.

      2. MikeNY

        One of my favorite quotes from the great Russian:

        ‘2 x 2 = 4 is, after all, something insufferable; 2 x 2 = 4 seems to me simply a piece of insolence; 2 x 2 = 4 is a fop standing with arms akimbo, barring your path and spitting. I agree that 2 x 2 = 4 is an excellent thing; but if we are going to praise everything, 2 x 2 = 5 is sometimes also a very charming little thing.’

      3. optimader

        I’m trying to read the Peters/Gell-Man PDF
        Why would you do that?.

        Isn’t he the guy that bends spoons with his mind? That seems crazy enough for me, I mean, why read something by a guy that insists on doing things the hard way?

        1. craazyman

          You’re thinking of Uri Geller. I’m not sure what to make of him. I’ve never looked into it seriously, but I’ve heard some weird stories about him that seem plausible.

        1. craazyman

          you want weird?

          they took a picture of a white-furred Bigfoot at a Spanish ski resort! It’s on a British newspaper’s web site right now

          This one looks real. i;m not kidding. Google “SPANISH ski resort bosses have combed part of the Pyrenees after this picture appearing to show a mysterious Yeti-style creature” by the reporter Gerard Couzens of the British Sunday Express newspaper.

          This should be a Link on Monday but the site editors here only post links about imaginary things like “flows of money”, as if money flies around llke baseballs or birds and piles up in heaps (what a Newtonian delusion that is, and they don’t even understand the metaphorical misdirection their imagery produces —- and science stuff that nobody will ever see, like ‘higgs bosons”. What the hell is that supposed to be? You can only see it if you look through a massive machine built to see it. you could build a butt telescope and look right at somebody’s butt, you oould make it as big as the higgs boson viewing machine and do an experiment where they bend over while you look through the butt telescope, but (no pun intended) what you see isn’t really their butt. all you see is a little teeny part of their butt and only if it’s lit correctly. That’s not a butt, but if it’s a higgs boson forsome reason that’s, drum roll please . . . . Science! Whoa!

          They might as well link to fairy tales. But they won”t link these actual photos of a Spanish bigfoot that everybody can see is quite real. What it is really? That is quite interesting and i have more respect for Carl Jung the more pictures i see of bigfoot on the internet

          1. craazyboy

            I was impressed that someone found a ski hill in Spain. But a Yeti too? That is some investigative reporting! The ones they discover here or in Canada I suspect are WWE wrestlers that did too many steroids and flipped of like Ed the MMT economist.

            I am disappointed our media isn’t covering Elvis sightings in Vegas anymore. I’ve seem more than one first hand. I know they’re real.

            Good point about butt telescopes. If physicists had one, they could discover the Gluteus Minimus Particle. bwahahahaha. Just kidding. I really don’t want the government to build a butt telescope. But Switzerland may do it anyway.

            1. craazyman

              the pyrenees are 10,000 feet high with lots of snow. there’s lots of skiing there.. a few resorts have verticals more than Vail Colorado. I’ve never skied there but it looks pretty neat.

              1. craazyboy

                I skied Innsbruck, Austria and someplace in Switzerland I forgot the name of. But Spain never occurred to me.

                    1. optimader

                      HA. Mt Lemmon marvelous place. I surely have never skied there tho.
                      My grandparents pulled up stakes and moved out to Tucson in the early ’50’s, my aunt and uncle have a home on Mt Lemmon.

                      I hope to ski in Tehran before my time is up, on the bucket short list. An older friend of mine, now a citizen of Oz lived there in the mountains slope side. He was the last NGO westerner to leave Iran after the Revolution.

                    2. craazyboy

                      Well, I graduated as a ME, but got hijacked by a electric motor and electronic control company. Then things kept getting weirder from there. Initially I worked in the power plant biz equipment biz during Volkers 20% interest rates. Did spend some time as a rare earth servo motor designer for the defense and aerospace industry when I escaped certain layoff and got in Reagans defense industry. But then we had world peace and I went back into the industrial world. The reason I could do this was I became a bizman.

                      Then the Information Age came along, and it became attractive to become a computer geek. For a while.

                    3. optimader

                      Ah ME, .. as am I ME and Thermodynamics.

                      . We’ll leave the nuance of EE to craazyboy.
                      .Thevinan and norton equivalencies were the end of my inclinations toward EE That was at the time of the waning analog and waxing digital disciplines. I did systems engineering electives. I didnt like to type.
                      Static and dynamic programming, the assurance sciences. Now those were absorbing electives at the time. I wouldn’t even recognize most of the deep immersion statistics and probability maths any more. That stuff is what brought me to the realization that most of Economics as “science was BS. beyond the most basic concepts.

                      Humans are irrational , so future behavior is all stochastic. No predicting it beyond a distribution of scenario propabilites. Bottom line, no predicting anything based on historical data. I think the closest thing to a mathematical tool box for economics are the noodling’s of Fibonacci, as it is more a surrogate for herd behavior than any attempt to “model” the nuance of what motivates behavior.

                      So you were doing VF drives when they were introduced.

                      I’ve spent a career wave skipping in aspects of engineered materials production, so a lot of exposure to pretty esoteric stuff/people.
                      Magnequench (RE magnetic materials for motors) was one of the interesting ones. One of GE (Delco-Remeys) Technology edges squandered.

              2. craazyman

                OK, I’ll say for sure these dudes in the paper make some interesting poiints about Bernoulli and Laplace and the use of a log transform as a mechanism that changes quanitities of money to quantities of “utility” — which evidently was Bernoulli’s differential equation structure dU(W) = 1/W, where utility = . W. you solve for this to get Utility = ln (W). Very nice! While elemenary, it is in fact rather elegant. Since it mathematically encodes in a very formal way the idea that utility per dollar declines as the quantiity of dollars you own increases. This also gives what the mathematicias would call an ‘ergodic observable”. Then the authors start talking about “bounded” and “undbounded” utility functions. This to me is rabbit hole territory. They conclude by agreeing that it’s not rational to attempt to maximize the value of a non-ergodic observable, which you get when you use an additive approach to modelling sucessive “gambles”. This gets really formal, really mathematical. i sort of see their point (I gaurantee I’m no mathematician and don’t pretend to be any more than cursorily familiar with this stuff) but it’s so far away from how humans think and act that it”s a fairy tale.

                I’m not sure why Bernoullie or Laplace would waste their time with this nonsense though. It would be like Ingres or Delacroix wasting their time drawing butts on napkins at absinthe bars. it wouldn’t make them any less great as artists, but you’d kind of wonder. didn’t they have something better to do?

                I guess they didn’t have Youtube. Maybe that explainsi it.

                I’m going to keep poking at this sucker and maybe it will bloom like a flower in my mind, but right now I’m like “Rabbit Hole!”

                They do this stuff in Santa Fe Institute? Wow. With all the channeling in Santa Fe you’d wonder if they should consult the Pleideians for some insights. I bet they could find some channelers that would blow the doors open on this and give them some equations that would blow their minds like pinatas.

                1. craazyman

                  sorry, all my typos make reading the math hard. My keyboard is horrible. It’s a Lenovo Yoga computer and the keyboard never worked from day 1. Otherwise, I like it.

                  Bernoulli’s equation was dU(W) = 1/W; where U = utility and W = wealth

                  the solution is obviously U = ln (W), which is admittedly sort of elegant.

                2. craazyboy

                  Lazy me would have just started with a log curve for utility per dollar, then tell gubmint to go tax rich people. Not me. But the suckers got half my paycheck some good years anyway.

                  Actually, Bernoulli and Laplace did have better things to do. My Fluid Mechanics course had lots of Bernoulli equations. The EE and analog control theory stuff they made us MEs take was full of Laplace and Fourier transforms – because there it’s useful to look at thing in frequency domain. Also in ME stuff like vibration.

                  I actually got As in all those courses, but can’t remember hardly a damn thing.

                  1. craazyman

                    they were both giants, which is why i’m confused why they noodled around with this nonsense.

                    yeah math is like tennis. if you dont practice all the time you lose it

                    1. Steve H.

                      Craazyboths, I suspect it was trying to understand what we would call uncertainty. If you ngrams Bayes’s Theorem you’ll see one blip before about 1920. (Weird, I just redid it and lost the blip.) Is it possible they hadn’t heard about his work?

                      Anyway, if you want an empirical approach to utility search on ‘matching law’ AND ‘Bayes’ and you’ll find there is a path. But that’s a secret so don’t tell anyone.

                      (Sorry, they don’t necessarily call it ‘utility’ so you have to figure things out yself.)

                    2. craazyman

                      OK but what about the Spanish Bigfoot.

                      At first I thought it was just a snowflake on somebody’s camera, but then I saw all the pictures.

                      Whoa! That sucker looks real. Maybe it was somebody’s friend in a bigfoot suit, but it looks real to me.

                      It looks to me more real than Utility Theory! People do things and then change their mind right away after they did them. That’s non-stationarity in the utility maximization experience function. Alll these math dudes they implicitly assume a stationary utility experience function OR they are forced to assume irrationality. They can’t have both a stationary utility experience function and rationality. They don’t get this in the rabbit hole.

                      CB I’ll raise you one Mt. Lemmon. As a kid I had relativves in N. Carolina and skied there! It was either 3 below zero or 62 degrees and brown rocky snow from mud. The variance was quite remarkably high. But as a kid, I was just happy to be skiing,

                3. ambrit

                  We can tell that Delacroix and Ingres weren’t too hip to economics. Picasso always drew symbols reminiscent of Butts on napkins at the bar, and traded those napkins for the drinks they had been served with. He understood the ‘imaginary’ nature of finance. The waiters also understood the economics, since they usually paid for the drinks for Picasso, and took the doodled on napkins as a sort of ‘futures’ trade. the same supposedly holds true for Hughes. He is supposed to have only paid for things with cheques, knowing many people would value his autograph higher than the face value of the cheque. Ah, the Worlds of Finance!

              3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Usually foggy, with very wet snow, kind of like Sierra cement, maybe the same thing happens, the superwet clouds are dried out (Pyrenees, Sierras) before they get over the places where dry powder falls (Utah, Alps).
                Nice apres-ski stuff though in Espana as you would imagine

      4. Dugh

        Do you do much skiing, crazyman?

        These guys are just getting warmed up. They’re going to do this meticulously and formally. Their “red box” plain language summaries seem pretty straight forward. My takeaways: Multiplicative vs additive repetition in dynamic analysis. Time evolution of a state vs the expectation value over a space of states. Concept of operators that don’t commute leading to asymmetries, irreversibility and path dependence.

        1. craazyman

          I haven’t skied since the days of Franz Klammer but I always enjoyed it!

          I noticed recently that skiis are short again That’s weird because they were short decades ago and then they got long under the idea that long is better. When I graduated to long skiils I kind of thought “Whoa. Now i’m Franz Klammer himself!'”. Now they’re short. They’re like like girly man skiis. Like the short coats guys are sold now, overcoats that only come down to your thigs. They look like petticoats. It’ll be interesting to see if the industry can pull another “long” cycle.

          This financial physics stuff — I sort of get it but I’m not entirely clear what relevance it has outside the rabbit hole where angels dance on the heads of pins.

          But I’m not coming to any harsh conclusions. I appreciate the PDF. I just wish it was a little more clearly written. I think it could be presented with more expositional finesse. But I bet the authors would not feel its their job to stoop to amateurs like me, they expect me to meet them up on the mountain where they are. It’s either a mountain where they are or a rabbit hole and maybe both! Maybe it’s a rabbit hole way up on the mountain.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      “Carson appeared to be developing dementia before my eyes.”

      Ain’t it the truth.

      When Carson had a “moment” and “forgot” to go on stage when his name was called causing a candidate pile-up, the only one who appeared to be able to handle it was Trump.

      Trump wins most “presidential.”

      Only half kidding.

    5. flora

      I got a kick out of watching Christie school Rubio on debating. Rubio, a Koch backed candidate, kept repeating the Koch funded ‘Americans for Prosperity’ shtick like a stuck record.

    1. Amateur socialist

      Reading those pitiful Sanders scare stories reminded me of this moment from the wayback machine. Former president Bill Clinton was stumping for John Kerry in 2004 and managed to explain one of his laws of politics

      “One of Clinton’s laws of politics is, if one candidate is trying to scare you, and the other one is trying to make you think, if one candidate’s appealing to your fears, and the other one’s appealing to your hopes. You better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.” -William Jefferson Clinton, 2004.

      Has Madame Secretary been educated regarding this law of her husband’s? Has it managed to influence the campaign’s messaging any?

      The Sanders campaign could probably run this clip as an ad unedited in response to most of the Clinton scary GOP/terrorists schtick…

  10. Jim Haygood

    ‘The inverted yield curve don’t work any more.’

    That’s what they want to us to believe. But as the WSJ stenographer admits, “A flattening curve indicates expectations that rates will tumble” (or more accurately, that “GDP growth will tumble”).

    With ZIRP, the FOMC has distorted the 3 mo / 10 yr yield curve by holding the short rate near zero. But that’s not the only version of the yield curve. For instance, the 2 yr / 10 yr yield curve allows more market input into the short end, including investors’ anticipation of Fed policy in the near future.

    In Dec 2013, the 2-year yield was less than 12% of the 10-year yield (0.38% divided by 3.04%). At the end of Nov 2015, before the Great Rate Hike of Dec 2015, the 2/10 curve had launched to nearly 39%. By end-Jan 2016, with both 2 and 10-year yields plummeting, the 2/10 curve pushed past 43%.

    While Fed manipulation of short rates could make an outright inversion (i.e., 2/10 curve > 100%) less likely, the flattening curve sends the same message it always has: “slowdown ahead.” Which is why the central planners send out ink-stained fijos [financial journalists] to tell us it don’t work no more.

    My spreadsheet don’t lie.

    1. griffen

      Nicely done… Great Rate Hike of Dec 2015. Best quotable comment this weekend as yet.

      For several years, people I worked with went to some length on the slope of the UST yield curve and it’s importance for what current / future expectations were implying. I’d also like to suggest it does not look good in 2016.

    2. craazyboy

      The Fed will go negative 2 percent on the short end. The yield curve will have upward slope then and indicate all is well in the world and we can continue to ignore economic and financial news and look at the yield curve and divine it’s wisdom. If that doesn’t work, there are an infinite amount of negative numbers. For long rates, we’ll need Treasury monthly haircut bonds.

      I have no doubt the Fed will come out with an app for it.

  11. Ignim Brites

    “90% of what goes on at The New Yorker can be explained by Vulgar Marxism”. All Marxism is vulgar and it doesn’t explain anything. Dialectical and historical materialism? Really? Or maybe it is just the phrase “scientific socialism”. Can’t deny that – it’s an awesomely authoritative phrase. But the article, which isn’t Marxist at all, is pretty good. No Marxism in Bernie Sanders either although plenty of proto fascism, fascism being the most intelligent and durable of the three great progressive delusions of the 20th C. But so long as Bernie sticks to FDR and Truman he’ll be ok.

    1. James Levy

      Hold on–have you actually read Wages, Prices, and Profits? Have you checked out The Working Day? The Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy?

      Marx explained quite correctly that capitalism was a system of private production for the market where the only consideration was profit. This says it better than anyone has before or since. Marx also argued correctly that wages were NOT seen as demand-producing by capitalists, but as an annoying cost of business that they would always tend to drive down as low as possible so that they could pocket the surplus value produced when the capitalist sold the goods produced by the workers in the marketplace.

      Was Marx always right? Of course not. No one ever has been. But he was at least as correct and insightful as Adam Smith (who was no dummy), and more often correct and insightful than anyone in the so-called neoclassical tradition.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Marx’s uber criticism of capitalism was that it concentrates money upwards in fewer and fewer hands. Anyone who does not see that today has not been paying attention, the consolidation into fewer bigger TBTF banks, etc. Five years ago 50% of the planet’s wealth was held by 400 people, today it’s 60…maybe when that aggregates down to one guy we can strangle him in the bathtub.

    2. Massinissa

      I feel like youve never actually read Das Kapital, so you dont actually know whats in it… Theres some good stuff in there

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    Madeline albright cackling about females going to “hell” if they don’t support clinton as a campaign strategy. Compelling.

    What’s next? The wicked witch of the west threatening the “pretties” with flying monkeys if they vote for the old man?

    I really could smell the sulfur.

    1. Jim Haygood

      And the cameras discreetly avoided showing that she was standing on a mountain of skulls from dead Iraqi kids when she said that.

      Albright’s hell is a living one.

      1. diptherio

        That’s what I thought too: is there a special place in hell for people who justify the horrific deaths of hundreds of thousands of children?

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      I had to laugh when the “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits” stood behind Hillary for their photo op. Then Hillary saying “Look at all these Progerssives supporting me. How can Bernie say I’m not progressive” Are you kidding me – Sen. Stablenow has been one of the most predictable roadblocks to all progressive bills for the past 10 years.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It might stem bleeding at the moment, but likely female, Bernie supporters and even fence sitters might be lost for good. Every female Hillary-aligned candidate, the incumbents, will be asked their views on Albright going forward.

  13. marco

    So CNN scheduled a debate in Flint? Perhaps we can finally have a needed discussion regarding the evisceration of manufacturing cities via off-shoring / globalization. And Bill Clinton’s role in NAFTA? Not a fan of Hillary but I detest her husband way more.

  14. Jim Haygood

    China blows through another $99 billion of its forex reserves — the second largest monthly rundown ever, as this chart shows:

    A big chunk of them forex reserves are held in the Fed’s custody account, which is approaching $3.3 trillion (see the Fed’s H.4.1 release, “memo items” = “off balance sheet”).

    Will China’s selling pressure reach a point where the Fed refuses to instruct the NY Fed desk to execute China’s sell orders? Honor among thieves only goes so far.

    1. craazyboy

      The MMT view is the Fed will just take the PBOC treasuries from the Fed PBOC custody account and put them in the Fed Chinese Oligarch Currency Flight account. No selling is necessary.

  15. flora

    re: Why Bernie Sanders Can’t Govern – The Atlantic.

    I like Norm Ornstein, but “sleeper cell” ? really ??

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I think Ornstein is trying to win his way back into the pundit class from which he was ostracized after his book that demonstrated all the polarization was on the R side. Here, it’s all about “tribalism” on both sides. Ought to at least get him back on MSNBC.

      He reminds of the economist in 1932 (AEA Pres. George Barnett) who said, “unionism is likely to be a declining influence in determining conditions of labor.” Things continue on as they were until they don’t.

      Still, the notion that an R Congress will work with HRC on anything is laughable.

    2. Vatch

      You made me curious about the context of “sleeper cell”. Here’s what Ornstein said:

      But is there any real evidence that there is a hidden “sleeper cell” of potential voters who are waiting for the signal to emerge and transform the electorate? No. Small-donor contributions are meaningful and a sign of underlying enthusiasm among a slice of the electorate, but they represent a tiny sliver even of that slice; Ron Paul’s success at fundraising (and his big crowds at rallies) misled many analysts into believing that he would make a strong showing in Republican primaries when he ran for president. He flopped.

      So I checked on Ron Paul’s fundraising during the 2011-2012 campaign season at the FEC dot gov website. His total during the two years was $39 million, which is a respectable chunk of money, but not enough to have won the nomination. In contrast, Sanders has raised $73 million in just 9 months during 2015. He’ll raise tens of millions more from small donors in the months to come. Sanders in 2016 is clearly a lot more popular than Ron Paul was in 2012.

      1. flora

        “sleeper cell” was an old cold-war term used to refer to imagined secret local groups (hidden cells) of communist sympathizers quietly awaiting (i.e. sleeping) activation when given ‘the call’. It’s a perjorative.
        The term use here is more red-baited than simple analysis of voter strength. Sanders is a democratic socialist. Ornstein could have used any number of ways to describe his unpolled voter strength. He chose the term “hidden ‘sleeper cells’ “.

        1. Vatch

          Yes, I’ve seen spy thrillers with sleeper cells. I was wondering about how it could possibly fit into the current campaign context. You have a good point about the red-baiting.

  16. Cry Shop

    Further to The Inside Story of Shell’s Arctic Assault Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewell was a oil field engineer for Exxon Mobil, and when they spotted her tallent for corrupting systems, they got her a jobs at several West Coast Banks, specializing in arranging loans to open up green field sites for oil exploration. Priming her for the big time, they then got her the chairman ship of REI, a members co-op which is not really under the control of it’s members, kind of like our government isn’t under the control of it’s citizens.

    The REI stint was to clean up her image for the run at Sec. of the Interior; she was still arranging oil field loas the whole time she was at REI. This just which shows just how far ahead the industry starts grooming it’s people for the revolving door. It works too, McKibben had high praise and high expectations for Jewell, even though at the same time Sally was getting a high approval from Republican in Congress at her hearing, a clear signal the buy was in.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Ugh, didn’t know Jewell’s backstory. I do know she has been a nightmare for wildlife. Deplorable.

  17. GlobalMisanthrope

    Can’t get Steinem unstuck from my craw. Where to start?

    First of all, Steinem is the most limp, tepid Greenwich hippie feminist of them all. She was never considered a radical by any but the readership of Newsweek. She’s a has-been that never should have been.

    Second, seriously? That dank odor? That’s the smell of her “ideas,” which have been locked away in a trunk in her attic for the last 45 years. We really need Granny Steinem in 2016 to school us on, well, anything? Yeah, because no woman ever said or wrote anything since her venal, insipid Ms. magazine days. Help me.

    Third, she’s so full of megalomaniacal glee at being the focus of renewed media attention (what always drove her confessional form of feminism) that she doesn’t even notice just how sexist it is that she’s being trotted out to comment of Clinton’s candidacy. It pigeon-holes Clinton while suggesting that feminism itself is behind the times.

    Ugh. Does the Clinton campaign really think that a Steinem-Albright-Dowd tag-team can win over any woman not already in her camp? Or are the young people running it grimacing with mortification as they hold their noses and cash their checks? Either way. I know it’s way too early to break out the schadenfreude, er, bubbly, but they look pretty desperate to me.

    1. flora

      “It pigeon-holes Clinton while suggesting that feminism itself is behind the times.”

      That’s an important point. One of the drivers of the second wave of feminism (as it’s called) was a push back against the then Powers That Be dictating that women, as an entire undifferentiated group, should do thus-and-so because TBPB (patriarchal) knew ‘what was best’ for women.
      If Steinem and Albright want to support Clinton because they believe and argue she is the best candidate, that’s great. Suggesting that the women who think Clinton isn’t the best candidate are foolish and need to be told what to do for ‘their own good’ is both anti-feminist and insulting.

      1. flora

        adding: Sanders’ campaign talks about pay equity for all women – equal pay for equal work.
        Steinem and Albright talk about breaking one last glass ceilings for a prominent woman who they admire. This seems like another instance of social activists making their peace with neoliberalism and lowering their sights to ‘the practical’, instead of fundamentally challenging the rightward movement of the Dem party. Steinem and Albright are going along with the DNC and the DLC. They’re members of the veal pen now, I guess.

  18. diptherio

    That “Lament of the Plutocrats” article in Politico is an astounding piece of historical revisionism. Tim Geithner was tough on the banks, don’t you know; and Obama didn’t help the bankers out like they were expecting….yeah right. That’s why Timmy “foamed the runway” for the banks while throwing citizens under the landing-gear and why no bank exec. was prosecuted for widespread and obvious fraud. Who do they think they’re fooling (well, probably the plutocrats, for whom this article was obviously written).

  19. Jef

    The druid and peak oil – Other than the self congratulation back patting claiming he called it right,(from the guy who bought a house near the top of the bubble claiming hyperinflation will allow him to pay it off in no time) the piece does explain the situation better than most.

    However all of the apocalyptic scenarios we discussed back then, that he so consistently derides, are still highly possible. Our discussions were not so much time sensitive as they were expressed as likely if no actions were taken to mitigate it.

    Here we are and nothing has been done about peak oil or AGW so his victory lap is a bit premature. I would in fact argue that things have only gotten worse making the worst that can happen even more likely.

    1. vidimi

      the self-congratulating tone is his hallmark and why i can no longer bear to read him even when the content is otherwise worthwhile.

  20. Cry Shop

    Peter Cohan (he of the Vanity Fair GREED IS GOOD by-lined article Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Know Diddly-Squat About Wall Street) has long had both a hard-on for Hillary (as his article history at Vanity Fair shows) and a strong belief that Wall Street should own people running the government.

    But in any case it matters not that Bernie understand Wall Street, it matters that Sen Sanders can suss out if the people he appoints to supervise it for us are both competent and uncorrupted. That is something Bernie Sanders can and has done.

  21. optimader

    Hillary Fighting for Us

    Porkypine: “it’s hard walking on this stuff”
    Pogo: “Yep Son, we have met the Enemy and (s)he is us

    Rebranding Walter Kelly’s warning back in 1971 seems appropriate w/ that image

  22. alex morfesis

    dear vanity fair…I know Fact checking is so 20th century…and that good olde mr cohan is a proud graduate of the Bernaze Institute of Reroyality and Globalonization, but the sun shall rise again in the east if Col. Sanders takes the oath of office and moves in his book collection into the lincoln bedroom…
    now about that wall street tax you were saying would be such a danger…memo to VF legal department…you might want to check on something called the Stock Transfer Tax…it has been around for over 100 years and wall skreech survived with no problems paying it…until Felix the cat Row-a-tan did his little smoke and mirrors with the MAC slip and slide…and the tax was rebated…and since the 70’s, the rebate continues…100% rebate…because that “temporary” suspension to help wall street from going dark…oh the rebate is now about 15 Billion (yes not a typo…with a B) per year…form TD-624 in the state of new york tax forms…not hard to find…and then form MT-656 to get the money back…BONY provides the forms according to the state…george novitsky at dtcc/NSCC (seedy) was kind enough to put the phone number of the dept of finance to inquire about it in one his little memos to wall street…(518) 474-5472. and to my good friends at Morgan and Lewis…like I have said…tell your clients to surrender or be deposited into the dustbins of history…I have mor…much mor…what you thought I was down for the count…goodness…did you not ever watch a movie on the drunken monkey technique…enjoy the superbowl…dont choke on the popcorn…

    1. JTMcPhee

      I’m thinking more like Glenn Close in the bathtub— or all those Friday the 13th Franchises…

  23. fresno dan

    Why can’t Hillary Clinton find a good answer on Goldman Sachs? Maybe there isn’t one. WaPo

    Clinton: You can’t handle the truth!

    Son, we live in a world that has banks, and those banks have to be protected by shills with bribes. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Sanders? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for the 99%, and you curse the venal. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know — that the 99%’s death, while tragic, probably saved Rolexs, Hermes, Polo pony farms, Hamptons mansions, and thousands of trophy mistresses ; and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves the rich.

    You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that faux government institution — you need me on that faux government institution.

    We use words like “law,” “justice,” “fraud.” We manipulate these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something – the rich getting RICHER. You use them as a punch line.

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very corruption that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.
    I would rather that you just said “thank you” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you accept a Goldman Sachs campaign contribution, and embrace the status quo. Either way, I don’t give a DAMN what you think you’re entitled to!

  24. EmilianoZ

    From the Corey Robin link:

    Alexandra Schwartz: But Obama as a candidate may be as close as many of us will ever come to a twenty-something’s ideal politician—the sheer force of that fluid, academically honed intelligence! The nuance and honesty of the race speech! The dancing!

    Yeah, you gotta wonder what kinda dance Sanders can do. A polka?

    Alas, there also seems to be a crappification in pied pipers. The previous one was so much pieder.

    1. Steve H.

      Yeahyeahyeah, that pdf is Hi-Larious. Search ‘probability of death being 23 percent’ and that’s the pilot not the target.

      I don’t understand why I can’t find anything when I search for ‘blind fat duck’ but I’ll keep looking.

  25. ewmayer

    Re. “Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Know Diddly-Squat About Wall Street | Vanity Fair” — I dunno, “The business model of Wall Street is Fraud” strikes me as a rather cogent synopsis.

  26. dk

    Well done, sir.

    Just want to mention that a post-election advocate organization (SFA? BFA?) is one of the novel and key initiatives of Sanders’ campaign, and one that has gotten nearly zero attention from the MSM. To their defense, Sanders himself hasn’t articulated it that clearly outside of a few earlier speeches, he refers to “working together” a lot, and “revolution” sometimes, but it’s almost a dog-whistle; lefty activists know exactly what he’s talking about, and how important it is, but it’s in the non-political establishment’s (willful) blind spot. And righty activists would also recognize this duck in a heartbeat, but they’re mostly too busy trying to figure out what to make of Trumpmania to parse a “minor Democratic candidates”‘s nuances. Of if they have noticed, they have no reason to call attention to it (not that reason is a huge motivator over there). Or maybe it’s me and they’re all over it, and I’m just not listening to enough Rush or Savage or Levin.

    But the Democratic Party establishment has heard this proposal, this initiative, loud and clear. And it’s a direct challenge, and threat, to their livelihoods (think of our children! they might not get into Harvard!), not to mention their world-concept (voters=sheep.. unusually stupid sheep). Of course they’re not going to tell anybody, but they’ll sweet-talk (and/or strong-arm) anybody they can to “stand up to” Sanders (Steinem, wow).

    But it appears that voters are not all sheep, and that $27 contributions can add up to isn’t such a joke. It’s still early days.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Of course the Kochs and Devoses and Waltons and the rest of those who attend Bilderburg and Davos and the ALEC klatches know all about the long game and the importance of building and maintaining and growing the Red version of thing that Bernie has engendered, the thing that Obama murdered when he and his claque shuttered OFA, the thing that the Blue Dogs and DNC have so assiduously strangled…

  27. Plenue

    Oh, well, if they say it’s the “definitive story”…

    More like “These 9 charts tell the story of how the US labor market is perfectly fine, honest!”.

    Little of what those charts claim lines up with the dessicated husk of a real economy I actually see on the streets. I’m sure all the people in the tent cities would be happy to know jobs are easy to get.

  28. gordon

    Glad to read about the Hill and Painter argument for personal liability for bankers in the G. Morgenson link. I have long thought that the process of fining banks is no more than a process of demanding bribes to let the perpetrators of illegal acts go free.

  29. ballard

    Off topic…

    Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788, represented Rome’s demise as a slow and gradual process. Gibbon covered more than 1400 years of history.

    I think if you read Gibbon carefully you will see that the Roman Empire was destroyed from within by people it originally took in as refugees. Gibbon stresses that were taken in for humanitarian reasons.

    Gibbon describes thousands of Goths, whose own country had been invaded, arriving at the Danube (the border of the Empire). At one stage they lined the river for miles, imploring the Romans to take them in. The Romans according to Gibbon graciously gave them refuge. But it was not long before they turned on their benefactors…..

    1. Plenue

      Gibbon was a crappy historian whose claim to fame is that he came first with a massive, all encompassing tome. Many of his arguments and explanations have been discarded by historians in the 200+ years since his works were first published.

      And don’t think we don’t see what you’re hinting out. Keep all the A-rabs and other riffraff out, or America will regret it.

      1. James Levy

        You are giving him too much credit for having read and absorbed Gibbon, who was actually a pretty good historian given the sources then available (he did read Latin and Greek). People talk about Gibbon the way they do Adam Smith–they find odd quotes and present them as fact while never reading the damned books, which are smarter and much more nuanced than the acolytes would have us believe.

        1. gordon

          And the prose is great. But if you want a one-volume, more up-to-date version, try Michael Grant’s “The Fall of the Roman Empire” (rev. ed. 1990).

          1. craazyman

            Parodies of Gibbon’s prose are even more Gibbonesque than Gibbon himself.

            He was a man who could easily fill a full paragraph with only one sentence.

            I read that sucker years ago. I did.

    2. James Levy

      That’s not what he said and not what happened. Please go to any modern source. The Goths did not turn on their benefactors. The ancient sources are quite clear that the local Roman officials, without Imperial authorization, fleeced the Goths when they crossed the border and stole the food they were supposed to get. In fact, the military historian Goldsworthy shows that the Goths, after they were finally settled six years after Adrianople, supplied the key forces that allowed the Western Empire to turn back the Huns.

      BTW, Gibbon was actually quite skeptical (or sceptical as the British would write) about the impact of Christianity on the Empire, which he portrays as largely negative. Perhaps you think we should get rid of it the way you seem to want to get rid of those ingrate foreigners so as to prolong our own imperium?

  30. ballard

    “Liberal individualism triumphed as long as it undermined intermediate structures such as nations, corporations, castes, but when it attacked that ultimate structure, the family, and thus the birth rate, it signed its own death warrant; Muslim dominance was a foregone conclusion….. If India and China had preserved their traditional civilisations they might have remained strangers to monotheism and eluded the grasp of Islam. But from the moment they allowed themselves be contaminated by Western values, they, too, were doomed.”


    “The founder of Christianity enjoyed the company of women, he wrote, and it SHOWED. He quoted Nietzsche’s Anti-Christ: “If Islam despises Christianity, it has a thousand fold right to do so; Islam at least assumes that it is dealing with men”.

    from Michel Houellebecq’s “Soumission”

    But for Europeans, it’s still not too late….


    Learning the Koran is not that bothersome.

    And for the psychedelic hedonists among us, the ecstatic poetry, music and dancing of Sufism has an obvious appeal

    Also lamb is is pretty good. And goat meat is actually awesome.

  31. ballard

    “Knock, And He’ll open the door
    Vanish, And He’ll make you shine like the sun
    Fall, And He’ll raise you to the heavens
    Become nothing, And He’ll turn you into everything.”

    ― Rumi

    tags: islam, religion, spirituality

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