Links 4/15/16

Dear patient readers, as you can see, I am VERY much behind as of 7:00 AM. Please come back at 8:00 for a bigger ration of Links.

Great monarch butterfly migration mystery solved BBC (David L)

More moose on the loose in a warmer Alaska BBC (David L)

Raunchy KFC ad campaign removed in an hour Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

Man accidentally ‘deletes his entire company’ with one line of bad code Independent (Chuck L). Richard Smith warns that this “feels hoaxy”.

Florida high schooler develops electrical generator that costs just $12 McClatchy (resilc)

Facebook, Google and Amazon to be forced to open up tax books by EU Independent

The dark side of Guardian comments Guardian

Is Netflix’s plot for world domination just a House of Cards? Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems George Monbiot, Guardian (Philip D)

Mossack Fonseca

Top European powers join forces to clamp down on tax evasion Reuters

Canada plans additional push against tax evasion, in wake of Panama Papers Macleans

Putin Sees U.S., Goldman Sachs Behind Leak of Panama Papers Bloomberg

The Panama Papers and the Monster Stories of the Future New Yorker


Economists React: China Q1 Growth Slows, But March Data Offer Hope WSJ China Real Time Report

World Bank to take lead on projects with China’s AIIB -Kim Reuters

Japan warned not to devalue the yen Financial Times

Turkey insult case can go ahead – Merkel BBC


White House lays out case against Brexit Financial Times. Since when does Obama have a say on UK politics? I suspect this will have little impact, and to the extent it does, it will be a backfire.

Can we really not predict who will vote for Brexit, and where? British Politics and Policy at LSE

Brexit could lead to loss of 100,000 financial services jobs, report warns Guardian


Kerry: Shooting down Russia jets ‘would have been justified’ BBC

Brazil court upholds impeachment vote BBC


New report: Palestinian children in Israeli military detention experience violence, coerced confessions Middle East Monitor (guurst)

What does “nuclear terrorism” really mean? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

How terrorists groups like ISIS make money Business Insider

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Obama: The Word ‘Classified’ Means Whatever We Need It To Mean Slashdot

Microsoft sues U.S. Justice Dept., asks court to declare secrecy orders unconstitutional GeekWire (Chuck L)

2016. Apologies for the lack of links on the debate, but there seemed to be a high noise to signal ratio, in that many went on about the tone and were thin on the contents. So please see our open thread with reader takes, which I believe will prove more informative.

The Global Consequences Of Clinton’s Predatory Pragmatism ShadowProof (resilc)

Hillary Clinton is all over the place on a $15 federal minimum wage. New Republic

‘I have a conscience’: the Wall Streeters fighting for Sanders in New York Guardian

Trump’s refreshing foreign policy heresy Boston Globe

Is Trump sabotaging himself? Washington Post

The Political Center Is Shifting to the Left Bloomberg (Sid S)

America’s Changing Racial Makeup Won’t Magically Save the Democratic Party Nation (resilc)

Here’s Why Capitol Cops Arrested a Bunch of Senior Citizens Today Mother Jones


Sandy Hook Lawsuit Moves Forward Atlantic (furzy)

Mississippi child emergency room purse shooting Slate

Not even low interest rates are enticing consumers to borrow Christian Science Monitor (furzy). Why should they? The idea that consumers should borrow to buy things, except very long-lived assets with generally high resale value like houses (and cars are not in that category) is a bad practice that has become mainstream due to marketing, unstable job tenures, and weak wage growth.

Time Magazine’s New Cover Story Is Every Bad Conservative Argument About the National Debt Wrapped Into One Slate

Taming TBTF

Why Banks Should Take Living Wills Seriously Bloomberg Views

‘Living Will’ Rejections Fuel Critics of Wall Street’s Biggest Banks Wall Street Journal

Regulators probe alleged ‘wills’ leak Financial Times


OPEC Report Suggests Massive Oil Price Rebound OilPrice

US banks spell out toll of low oil prices Financial Times

Why companies like Google and Walmart are buying so much wind power Washington Post

Class Warfare

The Market Fairy will not solve the problems of Uber and Lyft Ian Welsh

How Plutocrats Cripple the IRS American Prospect (resilc)

Why Obama is forgiving the student loans of nearly 400,000 people MarketWatch

Antidote du jour (by Kittie Wilson via Lawrence R):

eating squirrel links

And a bonus video. Yes this is a commercial, but really good commercials should be applauded.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. James Levy

    On Obama and “it means what we need it to mean”, nature imposes feedback loops on species so that they can’t just behave or grow the way they feel like behaving and growing, because it will cost them energy they can’t afford, or their lives, if they ignore the feedback. But civilization cushions us from some of this, and if you are rich and powerful enough, modern society provides enormous firewalls to protect the elite from feedback from their dumb or nefarious decisions. We are all waiting for the feedback, for the “comeuppance” as Orson Welles intoned in The Magnificent Ambersons, but that only comes when the cushion wears out, and for American elites, sadly, that cushion is not worn out. They can keep doing as they are doing, burning up lives and resources around the planet, for some time before the feedback reaches them.

    1. fresno dan

      Obama: The Word ‘Classified’ Means Whatever We Need It To Mean Slashdot

      “A nation of laws, not men” now exposed as the total BS it probably always was.

      1. Andrew Watts

        It also means that the classification system is bull—-. Obama invoked two magical words during the interview; open source. I can’t remember who exactly it was but the head of French military intelligence openly admitted that over 90% of the intel they gather is from open source material. Which should give everybody an idea of the scale of dysfunction.

        This doesn’t mean Hillary is innocent of abuse of office or peddling influence but nobody should pretend that’s not an uncommon occurrence either. In a different interview Obama admitted that the foreign policy establishment was less than impartial and taking money from various foreign sources. Which confirms that even if Washington policymakers could act in the country’s best interest they wouldn’t for fear of harming their individual self-interest.

        This probably doesn’t have a happy ending. Well, we’re boned.

        1. cwaltz

          It means that the pitchforks and torches that our plutocracy get when this whole system implodes are going to be rightly deserved.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When you have captured a perpetual money printing machine, your cushion will never wear out.

      It’s understandable the elites feel as if they are omnipotent.

      “We are doing God’s work. Who knows, maybe one day, we are indeed gods?”

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Bloomberg: “Banks should take living wills seriously”. No. A functioning regulator whose mission is to ensure system solvency in all scenarios should MAKE banks take this seriously.
        Today the Fed told JP Morgan that their inattention to this “threatened the financial stability of the US”.
        So basically we have a Super-ISIS, right in our midst, ready and most able to destroy the security of the nation.
        And the peak regulatory body must plead with the criminals to please do something, or else nothing? It’s a pathetic joke.
        (I’ll leave aside the bit about the criminals being the owners of the regulatory body for the moment)

    3. cwaltz

      For the record, who here believes the GOP cares even a little bit on whether or not Obama believes she did something wrong?

      They are going to care whether or not they can prosecute her for something…….and based on how she treated classified material there’s a really good shot they can at least prove she was negligent(Obama is calling it careless) in performance of her job.

    4. Left in Wisconsin

      “Before the feedback reaches them” – I’m not sure the feedback ever reaches them. The cushion wears out for us, even if not by our own actions, much sooner than it does for them.

      Even if our civilization utterly collapses, my sense is that those with assets squirreled away or with property claims on what little we have left, will be the last to suffer and the last to conclude it was their own actions that led to collapse.

      1. Bas

        I guess they think we are boned

        A lot of ultra-rich people are quietly preparing to “bug out” when the time comes. They are buying survival properties, they are buying farms in far away countries and they are buying deep underground bunkers. In fact, a prominent insider at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland says that “very powerful people are telling us they’re scared” and he shocked his audience when he revealed that he knows “hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand”. So what do they know? Why are so many of the super wealthy suddenly preparing bug out locations? When the elite of the world start preparing for doomsday, that is a very troubling sign. And right now the elite appear to be quietly preparing for disaster like never before.

        1. aumua

          Ok, is there an actual legitimate or corroborating source for this? Cause otherwise.. sure. They’ve probably been keeping bug out contingencies for decades, if not centuries.

          1. Bas

            It was also in Forbes, if that makes a difference. They are remarking on the scale of bugout buys, I think. Spiked interest in energy independent shelter in remote places–and NZ has been remarked upon as one of the last to be affected by climate change.

        2. different clue

          Suppose India and China become partway uninhabitable . . . . and the two governments decide to help tens of millions of Indians and Chinese move to New Zealand. What do the rich shelter-seekers in New Zealand think they can do about that?

  2. inode_buddha

    Re: the previous article about Silver Lake. Isn’t that the private investment arm of Microsoft alumni? (Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Paul Allen…) I seem to recall they were heavily involved with each other. I Could be way off base now tho, its 2016 not 1999. Does anyone know how to find out? (I’m not a financial guru)

    It would be interesting to draw a co-relation between their investments, and the politicians/policies they supported at various times.

    1. abynormal

      interesting…Ballmer & Gates had a ‘slight’ falling-out and since have kissed & made-up.
      i did a wild search and found the trio arm n arm here: Initiative 594, which requires background checks for Washington residents who buy firearms at gun shows and online, garnered 60 percent of the votes.

      The measure had significant backing from notable Seattle-area technology industry veterans. Bill and Melinda Gates gave more than $1 million; Steve and Connie Ballmer contributed $1 million; Paul Allen donated $500,000; and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer poured in $1,300,000.

      ou ou that smell

  3. Pavel

    Re: Obama and Brexit. I couldn’t read the FT article (firewall) but as someone who spends far more time than I’d like in England here are my 2 pence:

    –As it stands, the Remainers and Leavers are about balanced (40% each?)
    –The others are undecided (and a very few don’t care)
    –Of those who are undecided, “intervention” by Obama won’t sway them towards Remaining and may well irritate them enough to vote for Brexit

    All in all, this is certainly a case of MYOB. God knows Obama’s existing interventions haven’t worked out so well (Afghanistan, Iraq 2.0 [or is it 3.0 by now?], Libya, Syria…). Why he wants to meddle further in others’ affairs is beyond me. “Foreign entanglements” and whatnot.

    Disclosure: I was agnostic on Brexit until I read it would harm Goldman Sachs the most :)

    1. vidimi

      that obama’s intervention won’t matter i agree, but the fact that remaining is the default position is a de facto guarantee that the brexit campaign will lose. in complicated matters, the default, as opposed to the opt-out position, always wins where voters are undecided.

    2. Ignim Brites

      Due to its history, the US tends to be reflexively against anything scenting of secession. But the new name for revolution is secession, although Bernie hasn’t gotten the message yet.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Except when there is a chance for resource extraction, then the U.S. becomes supporters of the “will of the people.”

  4. Kokuanani

    Re Obama forgiving student loans of those who are disabled: will this lead to a wave of borrowers maiming themselves to become classified as “disabled”?

    Given the predatory and relentless nature of the student loan business, I don’t think this is too far-fetched.

    PS – those Antidote puppies are REALLY cute!!

      1. Bas

        it’s not as easy as it looks–there is the judge to be gotten past. I had to have two debilitating problems to get disability, be over 56 and weather some not so complimentary to say the least evaluations of my “deficiencies” which pretty much turn any future employers off. Then live off of SS as my sole income. Your life pretty much has to have fallen apart to get disability, and you would not be able to pay back the loans anyway.

        1. cwaltz

          The system is ridiculous. I know someone who decimated all their savings waiting to be classified. It took them 2 years. Luckily she had savings because if she had worked in those 2 years, she’d have fallen into catch 22 land, where you aren’t disabled because you can work.

          1. inode_buddha

            I’ve spent my entire life in catch-22 land even while watching seemingly able-bodied ppl get on the rolls… average time is 2 yrs and there will be a minimum of 1 appeals even in “liberaL” NY. I gave up on it and basically resigned myself to whatever economic fate. No retirement, nearly deaf, nearly 50 yrs old, student debt. Spent my working life making others much richer than I will ever be (productivity multiples)

            1. cwaltz

              The part I consider even worse is that in order to collect that disability they don’t let those disabled work at all.

              Personally, there is something to be said for allowing a person who is able to work part time an opportunity to do just that. As it stands I suspect that staying at home all the time and having time to dwell on what she can no longer do has impacted her health in a less than positive way.

      2. Antifa

        I’ve helped several people through the SSDI approval process, each one for one of those ‘Blue Book’ disabilities (paraplegia), and can assure you that no such dartboard exists. It’s a two to three year process every time, even for a ‘Blue Book’ disability that allegedly automatically qualifies you.

        Why? Because the SSA manual assumes that every applicant is fully and totally able-bodied until signed paperwork from a doctor, preferably several doctors, proves otherwise in each particular detail. Your claim must be endlessly documented by multiple doctors, neurologists, CAT scans, medical records (if you don’t have them you must go get them from new examinations), since that medical paperwork is the only acceptable proof of your ruined or missing legs.

        Seriously — I’ve twice sat in a room with people for a face to face interview with the Administrative Judge who will rule on their application, and heard the Judge say something like, ‘I can see that your legs are missing, or are useless due to spinal injury, but I have no proof of that. I need medical documentation of this or that type or I cannot rule in your favor.’ And this is the Judge being helpful, coaching you on what paperwork to go get so they can approve you!

        The Judge didn’t invent these rules. To the SSA, your missing legs are not missing until you hand in a piece of paper signed by a doctor stating that your legs are missing. Then suddenly, they go missing. It’s a miracle!

        And having medical doctors state the obvious — that you have no legs — only gets you to the RFC decision, which means determining your Residual Functional Capacity. Can you carry things at all? Are your hands ever free, or do you need them constantly to move your wheelchair, grip your crutches, or hold on to the furniture? Can you type, string beads, assemble children’s toys, or do anything manual while seated? If so, you’re only partially disabled, and partially funded. Go get a minimum wage job that requires you to sit all day so you get open, bleeding bedsores on your buttocks. If that’s a problem, get a doctor to say it’s a problem or it’s no problem. It’s your problem.

        There is no dartboard. There’s not really even a ‘Blue Book’, not really. There’s only a paperwork nightmare of obtaining medical proof of the obvious, and it goes on for years, utterly ignoring the real person, and ignoring real suffering. In the end, your disability status is decided by a bureaucrat, a Judge, an attorney. Not a doctor.

        It’s Catch 22 every step of the way.

          1. abynormal

            my sister and i have helped enroll SEVEN people so far…never seen a judge and an attorney is throwing good money after BAD. only 2 people we worked with had their First applications denied and those were turned around within 6mos…with retro beginning from the First app.

            there are 2 secrets we learned the hard way….Dump All Assets & Bank Accounts (hopefully you got someone you trust…we had to step in for a single mother). Use Local County Health Department Doctors…all bureaucrats trust their own language First.

            it’s UGLY but what is worse…losing your home? not eating or watching your kids not thrive??

            when the Financial Industry pulls out their OTHER books…we’ll be able to pull ours out too. until then…show me what you want to see and i’ll show it to you.

            1. abynormal

              ps, Mental Health is actually a breeze (just stay away from Groups like Wellstar & Doc in a box)

    1. cyclist

      From the Brüder Grimm, Aschenputtel (Cinderella):

      …. der Schuh war ihr zu klein, da reichte ihr die Mutter ein Messer und sprach: “Hau die Zehe ab: wann du Königin bist, so brauchst du nicht mehr zu Fuß zu gehen.” Das Mädchen hieb die Zehe ab, zwängte den Fuß in den Schuh, verbiss den Schmerz und ging heraus zum Königssohn…

      …. the shoe was too small for her, then the mother hands her a knife and says: “Cut your toe off if you want to be queen, because you will no longer need to go around on foot.” The girl cut he toe off, and ignoring the pain, forced her foot into the shoe, and went off with the prince….

      1. hunkerdown

        “Coo-coo, coo-coo, there’s blood in your shoe!”

        I feel blessed to have had an elementary school teacher that let such subversive non-Disneyfied content as “Ash Pet” into her classroom.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In the movie, Baaria, there was one guy who did just that to collect pension.

  5. abynormal

    re: mommies gun grazes child’s face after she drops her purse in the ER…
    “According to the Gun Violence Archive, 141 children 11 or younger have been killed or injured by guns in the United States in 2016.”

    I used to think it was possible for an artist to alter the inner life of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory. Don DeLillo, Mao II

    1. cwaltz

      In each of those instances where the child got hold of a gun there should have been charges brought. Perhaps if we started making it a felony to leave a gun unsecure for anyone to get a hold of some of the people leaving there guns where children can get them would either a) no longer be able to do so or be b) learn to put their “toys” away before somebody gets hurt.

    1. pretzelattack

      thank god he wont have to pay fica tax on his earnings above 118k, think of all the jobs that would have been lost.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Anyone making over $30M a year does not need social security, when no longer a rugged individual.

        Pay tax up to $118K, if that’s all he/she is paying, but that’s one person who shouldn’t drain the SS fund…he/she doesn’t need it.

        Let’s call it the Taklamakan retirement plan, you put in (for salaries up to $118K), but you don’t get out (when you make more than $30M).

      1. vidimi

        the apology was to suddeutsche zeitung for having defamed them in such a horrible manner, not to goldman

        1. diptherio

          Ok…that makes a little more sense. The image of the Kremlin apologizing to GS was just too much.

  6. Harry

    Kerry shooting down of russian jet justified is a poker tell. These intercepts are very common and the comments from ex serviceman in the us press coverage make that clear. The US is making the case for its new fiscal policy – it’s cold war 2.0 of bust!

    1. cwaltz

      Kerry is an idiot. Our side regularly pushes boundaries in places like Korea. He’s going to get someone shot and it’s going to “justified” using the Kerry Doctrine.

  7. RabidGandhi

    Über Banned from Buenos Aires:

    A couple of interesting notes:

    1. At first the city government (President Macri’s PRO party) was ambiguous, but a court order banning “services that do not meet current regulations” was handed down following persistent actions by the Taxi Employees Union, including strikes and blocking main thoroughfares.

    2. The city government quickly got behind the court order. One of the main reasons for this is that the protest situation is starting to heat up recently as both unemployment and inflation are spiking. Yesterday alone saw major strikes from the teachers and bank employees unions, along with other smaller ongoing strikes.

    3. This will be an ongoing issue, since the government said it couldn’t serve Über with a desist order because it “couldn’t find their central offices” (!)

    An important takeaway from this is that yes you may have a horribly rightwing government in place implementing harsh neoliberalism, but that does not mean you have to sit back and let them steamroll their agenda for the next 4 years. In an environment of constant strikes and civil disobedience TPTB will be constrained in their actions. Every little bit helps, and they are small, usually temporary victories, but having the organisational structures of unions, civil associations and churches, etc., acting in solidarity is yuge.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Temporary victories.

      One of the admirable qualities of TPTB is their persistence.

      If NAFTA didn’t succeed, they tried and tried again, until they did (only one more try was needed).

      If bailing out big banks didn’t succeed at first, they tried and tried again and they did succeed (again only one more effort was needed to beat back the peons).

      That’s why we see only ‘temporary victories’ for the Little People.

      Rest assured, the Argentinian government is now on the radar, for someone.


      1. Be persistent.
      2. Be the shoulders for someone to climb on so they can see far (For example, confront the last 8 weak years). You will be a giant.
      3 Have no central offices…even for governments.

    2. Jim Haygood

      From a May 2014 article on BsAs transit fares:

      The initial fee or la bajada de bandera (lowering the flag) for a BA taxi was $1.44 pesos in 2004. That fee rose to $1.60 the following year, $3.10 in 2007, $3.80 in 2008 and $5.80 in 2010. Not one but two fare hikes in 2012 and 2013 rose the initial fee to $9.10 in 2012 and $11.00 in 2013. The current rate of $12.70 (US$1.60) represents a 781% increase over the past decade.

      The meter rate or ficha for a BA taxi, which clocks every 180 meters traveled and/or 60-second interval the taxi is stationary, was $0.18 in 2004. In May 2014 that fee was raised from $1.10 to $1.27 which represents a 605% increase over the past ten years.

      Now it’s 20 pesos for the bajada and 2.00 for the ficha.

      Averaging the two increases to a multiple of 12.5 times in 12 years, it equates to a 23.4% annually compounded rate — giving the lie to the falsified 10% inflation rate published by Indec during Cristina’s second term.

      Evidently, the BA taxi association has succeeded in keeping its fares nearly stable in real terms. As one would expect: it’s a government-licensed cartel. Why spoil a cozy arrangement with the horror of competition?

      1. reslez

        “Competition” isn’t a power word you can utter like a magic spell. The government has to license taxi companies for a reason. Without it you run into problems like the US did during the Great Depression. The street are mobbed with desperate people trying to catch a fare, no one earns a living, passenger safety is not a thing (with all the horrors that produces, try being a woman alone), and drivers are free to discriminate against blacks or routes they just don’t like. These are lessons we all learned and then forgot.

        I might support competition if it wasn’t a coverup for techbros billionaire-ing themselves at the expense of desperate workers who put up all the risk and get a tiny portion of the reward.

      2. B1whois

        I am now living in Uruguay for two months and the taxis are very reasonable. There is also uber here, but it doesn’t represent much of a cost savings.
        For me, a big drawback with Uber is not having accident insurance coverage for hospital bills. This is more of an issue in the United States of course where you don’t have Universal Health Care.

      3. Skippy

        What Jim…. reduction in workers rights by technoglibertarian cowboys via a black box market app is some how increasing everyone freedoms – ?????

        Skippy…. price fixing is considered a form of liberty…. oh wait… its about government doing it verses some private robber barons…. they earned it thingy…. aka Gwads chosen… no force was involved…

  8. abynormal

    apologies if this has been covered: Donald (diplomacy, what is it good for) Trump announced some of his foreign policy and national security advisers on Monday, revealing a Blackwater connection.

    of course Hilary can get vicious if she feels left out: Clinton Promised Blackwater Crackdown, Gave Them Over $500 Million Instead

    1. optimader

      Well Aby,
      Last I heard, Blackwater is now dba Xe, so isn’t that like, the basis for a do over? A fresh start, like um, we apologize for all that other stuff, it’s behind us, we’re better “people” and God loves the repentant Sinner blahblahblah??

      BTW, did Prince or surrogates contribute to HRC campaign? I’d love to know that..

      1. Skippy

        Buying off the PTSD squad….

        Skippy…. its scary having home brew ISIS in your own back yard….

        1. Optimader

          ISIS is right, USG endowed religious zealot mercinery losers out for bloodlust pleasures from the darkside while wrapping themsleves in the flag.

  9. vidimi

    file this under another win for neoliberalism. unless you’re one of the 36 families involved, that is.

    He was touted as the best of the best: Donor 9623 had an IQ of 160 and was an internationally acclaimed drummer who was working towards a PhD in neuroscience engineering.
    The claims filed in court alleged the donor has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, narcissistic personality disorder and grandiose delusions. They also allege the 39-year-old from Georgia spent eight months in jail after a residential burglary in 2005 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree just last year, 20 years after enrolling.

    He applied to be a donor in 2000, according to the lawsuit, and was not required to prove his identity. He reportedly continued to sell sperm until 2014, raising questions about the ethics of paying for sperm donations.

    you don’t say.

    1. fresno dan

      Mediocre sperm if you ask me…what with my 5 Oscars, 6 Emmy’s, 4 Tonys, 5 super bowl rings, and an IQ that can’t be measured,** it makes me wonder why anyone would settle for such a poor specimen.

      ** all true. I have (reproductions) of all these things – I didn’t say I WON any of those things. And the people who run the IQ meter tell me it doesn’t go that low…

      1. vidimi

        none of those claims were true, it was just how he presented himself to the spunk bank and they didn’t verify anything. having to do any due diligence would have increased costs and, hence, eaten into the profits, and no number of ruined lives is worth that.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In a better society, donors who can’t jump will be valued more highly than high IQ donors.

    2. cnchal

      Fraud everywhere one cares to look.

      She and her partner spent about four months researching sperm donors before settling on Xytex in 2006, reassured by reports of its high-quality donors and rigorous screening. “You can rest easy knowing right up front – Every Xytex donor ranks in the top 1% of the population in health and wellness,” reads Xytex’s website.

      Or, a sucker is born every second.

      1. Optimader

        How i wonder does one rank in the top 1% in health and wellnesss?? Who does that ranking?
        What does “wellness” actually mean and how is it analytically ranked??
        Some serious BS alarms going off.
        So if i rank in the top 1% ,provide a “donation” and have a nassive heart attack that evening, what happens to my little shorties”? Down the drain?

    3. cwaltz

      Personally the whole story kind of gives me the willies though since having intelligence doesn’t preclude mental illness. What did they think an IQ of 160 and neuroscience degree meant that the person couldn’t potentially be mentally ill? Furthermore, if you are looking to bring a child into the world it isn’t the same thing as ordering a Prada bag, you should accept that there are going to be things that might not be wanted in ANY sperm contribution.

      I think it’s downright narcissistic(not to mention delusional) to think that if you get your sperm from a donation center that it be free of any defects that might make child rearing a challenge.

    1. MikeNY

      Good for him. He’s right.

      If the people of Tennessee feel so strongly about this, they should ask to should secede from the union and become a Christian theocracy.

  10. MikeNY

    Re: Clinton all over the place on the $15 min wage.

    I know it’s easy to hate on her, but this is why I do: typical political weathervane, trying to mean all things to all people — you can almost hear the vote calculator rattling on in her head.

    So politics as usual. So uninspired and uninspiring.

    1. Bas

      I just read the Michael Hudson interview Panama – Laundering Haven for War Budgets and it really explains to me Hillary’s arrogance and complete dismissal of the 99%, and her disdain of Bernie’s campaign. The world, as she participates in it, was taken over long ago by the interests that support her. So why does she have to waste her time with jumping through the old hoops, I mean really now. /s

  11. diptherio

    Not even low interest rates are enticing consumers to borrow Christian Science Monitor

    Aaaarrrggghhh! The logical double-binds are astounding. If you fund your lifestyle through borrowing, you’re irresponsible. You should live within your means. Wasn’t that what caused the GFC, too many people wanting to live beyond their means on borrowed money? (No, it wasn’t, but that’s one narrative). But if you don’t borrow, you’re hurting the economy! Save, borrow, save, borrow! Which one is it already?!?

    You know what would end this perverse refusal of the American consumer (aka worker) to borrow money from criminals banks? Negative interest rates for everybody! If the banks are getting NIRP, we should be too. Guaranteed you’d see A LOT more borrowing. Probably be good for the economy too (since you’d essentially be injecting financial resources directly into people’s pockets).

    1. fresno dan

      Your suppose to borrow to use up all that saving glut money….which despite all this money causing problems, will somehow not prevent a liquidity crisis….

      “Negative interest rates for everybody!”
      I really can’t live off the negative interest rates they’re offering. Until negative interest rates reach 5% or higher, I really can’t afford to consume irresponsibly.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If you can’t live off the (low) negative rates they’re offering, there are 2 choices.

        One, as you say, hope for -5%.

        Two, just borrow more.

      2. diptherio

        It’s all about quantity, dan! Get a loan for a couple of Billion, why not? Even at fractions of a percent negative interest, you’ll be able to pay off the principal with the principal and pocket a couple of Mills. Think big man! With negative interest rates, everyone’s credit worthy (since you can repay the loan with the loan). Sky’s the limit!

  12. the blame/e

    There are over 270-million legally owned guns in the United States. The largest increase of gun ownership has occurred under the Obama Administration, mainly due to the “good” people Newtown, Connecticut, who quite frankly scare the crap out of the rest of us.

    The “good” people of Newtown are not “good” at all. Neighbors typically lookout for neighbors, especially when they are in crisis, as the Lanzas so obviously were. Instead, the “good” people of Newtown insisted upon their rights to watch their favorite reality TV shows in front of their 62-inch flat screen televisions, undisturbed by the nightmare the people living right next door.

    Due to a collective disconnect by a towns-people of Newtown, Connecticut, to see good old fashioned hypocrisy at work among themselves, a greater horror is now taking place. A failure to look up from their picture postcard perfect, white picket fenced in Connecticut Yankee lives, long enough to even so much as acknowledge how they were missing in action as their neighbor’s children were being gunned down. And what is the response of the “good” people of Newtown, Connecticut? They lied.

    A horror took place. What did the “good” people of Newtown do? They went running to the biggest Adam Lanza of them all, the biggest child killer, the biggest destroyer of American public schools in the universe — the United States government.

    The “good” people of Newtown, Connecticut cannot even tell you the difference between the representation of a real semi-automatic “assault” bogeyman weapon and the real one our Adam Lanza government routinely uses in its endless wars.

    This is the same Adam Lanza government, whose latest order for 1.6-billion rounds of hollow point ammunition for another department of our Adam Lanza government — the Department of Homeland Security — was purchased for one purpose and one purpose only. So that the horror of what happened in one Connecticut village can be carried out in every village, town and city in the United States of America when our Adam Lanza government goes Adam Lanza and decides its own people are terrorists in need of being terrorized.

    1. John Wright


      The DHS has 159 million rounds in inventory and the Oregon Republican candidate James Buchal acknowledged that “in all likelihood” those rounds are being used for training purposes.

      With 270 million guns legally owned (and how many illegal guns?) in the USA and the number of Police killed when attempting to serve warrants/speeding tickets, does anyone believe there will be a mass targeting of American civilians by the DHS when all these armed civilian guns are pulled out and loaded?

      One can go to and buy 500 rounds of 40 caliber ammunition for $109.00, this puts 100 rounds at about $20.00.

      If each of the 270 million guns legally owned in the USA were to have 100 rounds of ammunition stored with it, then the USA population has 27 billion rounds ready to take on the DHS.

      So DHS (159 million rounds) vs USA population (27 billion rounds).

      Our “bought and paid for” government going Adam Lanza in the USA to fight terrorism?

      Seems very unlikely.

      It is also very distracting from the core issue of income inequality enforced by government policies..

  13. C

    It looks like Paul Krugman has switched from merely carrying water for Clinton to outright spitting:

    No, claims that Clinton wins in the South should be discounted are really aimed at misleading Sanders supporters, giving them an unrealistic view of the chances that their favorite can still win — and thereby keeping the flow of money and volunteers coming.

    Just to be clear, I’m not saying that Mr. Sanders should drop out. He has the right to keep campaigning, in the hope either of pulling off huge upsets in the remaining primaries or of having influence at the convention. But trying to keep his campaign going by misleading his supporters is not O.K. And sneering at millions of voters is truly beyond the pale, especially for a progressive.

    Elsewhere in the article he dismisses him as “not a details guy.” This from an economist who has noted that he does not focus much on inequality because it does not fit the models.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      If I say I don’t give a crap what Krugman says anymore, does that make me a bad person. :-)

      He talked like a ‘progressive’ back when W Bush was the common enemy. But once Obama took over, he became an apologist for Neo-liberal looting and plundering, calling it 11 dimensional chess that us commoners could not understand. Now with Hellery to protect, he’s totally lost whatever was left of his soul.

      1. sleepy

        So true of much of the “progressive” punditry and media. Bush became president during the rise of websites, blogs, and message boards and was low hanging fruit ripe for the pickings. Then the dems elect a similar character and the “progressives” are all in with Obama’s neutering of their opposition to war and neoliberalism.

        They earned their lefty credentials too easily with Bush since it required little in the way of critical thinking, which they still lack.

      2. Gaianne

        So, Llewelyn!

        You are no longer hanging on his every word?

        Naughty naughty! ; )


    2. MikeNY

      This from the VSP who called the Sanders candidacy “cute”, and regards Sanders’s supporters as fantasists and children.

      1. diptherio

        I know right? The balls on that man…

        sneering at millions of voters is truly beyond the pale, especially for a progressive.

        Did he laugh maniacally as he wrote that? Or does he lack all self-awareness?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think Kasich is the one who needs to drop out.

      He’s been ‘mathematically eliminated.’

      Basically, he’s just obstructing….Many Republicans are very good at that. Maybe that’s why some are voting for him, for that particular outstanding quality.

      Something I like about 2 dimensional or 11 dimensional chess players (and you chess players out there will be happy to hear this) is that when they can foresee losing the game 20 moves ahead, they gracefully resign.

      When players don’t do that, voluntarily or based on rules, you get lopsided football games like 60-3. After a while, it’s just sadistic.

  14. Joseph Hill

    Nice piece by Monbiot on neoliberalism.

    What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it’s not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Democratic Party itself is broken.

      A coherent alternative is a new party…a conscious attempt to design a new party, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.

      “This dinosaur can not be saved, redeemed.”

    2. Cynthia

      It’s totally and absolutely false to assume that one of the defining goals of neoliberalism is to reduce the administrative/regulatory burden on business or industry. If anything, neoliberalism has increased this bureaucratic burden on business and industry. For example, ObamaCare is a neoliberal piece of legislation and yet it has most definitely increased the bureaucratic burden on healthcare, both on the insurer and the provider side of things. ObamaCare has done this by caused more and more healthcare dollars and resources to be shifted away from providing direct patient care to doing mounds of mindless back-office work.

      ObamaCare has caused healthcare spending to go up, way up, not because a lot more patient care is being delivered, but because a lot more bean-counting and paper-pushing is being required in the back offices of insurers as well as providers. So if anyone tries to tell you that neoliberalism reduces the bureacratic burden on business and industry, they are either grossly ignorant or flat-out lying to you!

      1. Gaianne


        Creating barriers to entry.

        Any entrepreneur quickly discovers the many rules that are designed to prevent entry into a fat market dominated by big players. The big players want to keep the money for themselves, and government will help them do that. Although they say they hate big government, the only part they actually hate is the part preventing their fraud and scams.

        But most of that is gone now.


    3. Left in Wisconsin

      For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.

      While I agree with the overall premise, I hate it when such ideas are tossed out as if all we need to get some smart people together and figure this out – which AFAI can tell is also what the “Next System” group is up to. (Their first “teach-in” was here in Madison and it’s just the next iteration of Ph.D. students telling us what we already know or tenured faculty telling is why we need more pilot projects to support this or that idea so that we can “scale it up.” And it’s hardly a new cast of characters, though most of the ones I know involved are very decent people.)

      Climate change, US imperialism, poverty, inequality: I am skeptical that either the Democrats or the university egg-heads will really be the ones solving our 21st century political problems.

      1. meeps

        Left in Wisconsin @ 2:50 pm

        I’m glad you know something about the group. There haven’t been any teach-ins in my area to get a sense of what they’re like. There are some bright and decent people on the project. As well intended as it seems, though, it appears to be stuck at endless discussion and theory more than viable solutions. Is it even possible to design a new system, or will one eventually rise from the ashes in piecemeal fashion?

    4. juliania

      Something very vague was going on in that article when it came to the ’70s and the demise of the Keynesian system. Readers were not told the factors which caused such a demise, which would seem necessary if that were indeed an outdated way of thinking. I’m not competent to analyze this, but does it really boil down to not being able to ‘consume’ our way out of the problem?

      Maybe it is better to think of Keynsian economics as an approach rather than a system.

      1. VietnamVet

        Monbiot’s “Neoliberalism” is the best article I’ve read on this unnamed threat.

        Having lived through the 70’s there were three big issues that affected all Americans; the Vietnam War, Gasoline Lines and Wage Inflation. This article details the bill of goods that was sold in the Thatcher/Reagan revolution that was a result of people’s loss of their belief that government served them. Today there is no draft, gas lines or inflation. The whole edifice is crumbling but it is mostly blacked out. If you have a bi-coastal job or a livable pension and your home, you would hardly notice that middle America is dying at an younger age.

  15. fresno dan

    America’s Changing Racial Makeup Won’t Magically Save the Democratic Party Nation (resilc)

    Well, I would say it will certainly help at electing dems. But there seems to be some confusion with equating “progressive” with “democratic” – does the author think Rahm Emanuel is a progressive???

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The health insurer’s tax will drop the great hope of neoliberals. What volunteers Hillary winds up getting will do nothing but wave signs or face questions about the economy they can’t answer. Turnout will be a disaster especially as Hillary pushes for suburban republican women, one of the most conservative blocs out there. Republicans for Hillary aren’t going to vote down ticket,. The Democrats are incompetent enough to actually lose seats.

      The once very popular Mark Warner received less votes in 2014 despite the Senate being at risk than noted racist George Allen in 2006, the losing candidate, despite a growing population. Massive government spending has buoyed the Virginia economy, seriously the rest of the country should be ballistic. If Warner isn’t safe especially against a weenie like Ed Gillespie, Democrats are in danger everywhere.

    2. RabidGandhi

      It’s also assuming that the Democratic Party’s business model relies on getting more voters. It doesn’t; it relies on getting more money and ensuring lower turnouts, thus guaranteeing that just the Important People decide policy.

      It’s a club and you’re not in it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not just the candidates rely on getting more money.

        The party itself has to fund-raise…from corporations, and not small donors.

        So far, we have seen the success story of one national candidate getting lots of money from small donors, and a few local candidates as well.

        It has not, however, been shown that small donors have enough firepower to fund all candidates, and a national political party committed to raising money from small guys.

        I hope it’s possible.

        But we can always reform and get money out of politics with mandatory public campaign financing.

  16. rich

    The new Gilded Age: Close to half of all super PAC money comes from 50 donors

    A small core of super-rich individuals are responsible for the record sums cascading into the coffers of super PACs for the 2016 elections, a dynamic that harks back to the financing of presidential campaigns in the Gilded Age.

    Close to half of the money — 41 percent — raised by the groups by the end of February came from just 50 mega-donors and their relatives, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign finance reports.

    In all, donors this cycle have given more than $607 million to 2,300 super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations. That means super PAC money is on track to surpass the $828 million that the Center for Responsive Politics found was raised by such groups for the 2012 elections.

    The staggering amounts reflect how super PACs are fundraising powerhouses just six years after they came on the scene. The concentration of fundraising power carries echoes of the end of the 19th century, when wealthy interests spent millions helping put former Ohio governor William McKinley in the White House.

    But the ability to play at such a high level has also captivated a new class of political givers. Among the top donors are those who had not given substantial donations to super PACs in past years, including fracking industry billionaires Farris and Dan Wilks, energy investor Toby Neugebauer, car-dealing magnate Norman Braman and hedge fund manager Steven Cohen and his wife, Alexandra.

    hmmm…something about a trading desk is crossing my mind?

  17. fresno dan

    My nomination for the MOST CHUTZPAH moment of the dem 4/14/16 debate
    I am looking forward to alternate nominees…..

    Full transcript: CNN Democratic debate
    Updated 12:11 AM ET, Fri April 15, 2016

    BASH: Secretary Clinton, if I may, Senator Sanders keeping bringing up the speeches that you gave to Goldman Sachs. So I’d like to ask you, so you’ve said that you don’t want to release the transcripts, until everybody does it, but if there’s nothing in those speeches that you think would change voters’ minds, why not just release the transcripts and put this whole issue to bed?
    CLINTON: You know, first of all — first of all, there isn’t an issue. When I was in public service serving as the senator from New York, I did stand up to the banks. I did make it clear that their behavior would not be excused.
    I’m the ONLY ONE on this STAGE who DID NOT vote to deregulate swaps and derivatives, as Senator Sanders did, which led to a lot of the problems that we had with Lehman Brothers.**
    Now, if you’re going to look at the problems that actually caused the Great Recession, you’ve got to look at the whole picture. It was a giant insurance company, AIG. It was an investment bank, Lehman Brothers. It was mortgage companies like Countrywide.
    I’m not saying that Senator Sanders did something untoward when he voted to deregulate swaps and derivatives…
    BASH: Madam Secretary…
    CLINTON: … but the fact is he did.
    ** I am presuming the vote about deregulating swaps and derivatives is the infamous Commodity Futures Modernization Act, (if not, what law is she talking about???) a law passed before Hillary was in the Senate and that her husband signed.
    Is it too much to expect a media moderator to have enough familiarity with policies and issues to point out how silly Clinton’s statement was? And maybe be asked if she would have voted against a bill her husband signed, while she was representing NY, and undoubtedly the interests of Wall Street? And could she have been asked in that bill was a good idea? Or has her opinion of the people who advocated it (e.g., Summers, Rubin) changed???
    Really, the lack of substance is appalling.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I missed that part of the debate.

      She made a charge the Sanders voted for that infamous bill.

      Reading at the CNN transcript, now, I see Hillary was throwing all kinds of stuff at him, at that particular juncture – tax returns, his vote for that bill, releasing transcripts of speeches (he had none before bankers), but he didn’t hit her back on that charge.

  18. Christopher Fay

    “It was,” I’m pointing my finger over there and over here, “watch my finger, everyone except the co’s that gave me the big speech payments, caused they survived, dammit, AIG never gave me one red cent, Lehman Lame Bros, losers, never gave me one red cent. If you’re so smart why don’t you investigate the connection between Lehman Bros and Bernie Bros. There must be a connection.”

    The moderators don’t get to clutch their heads, if they’re willing, and hector with questions. We have to assume that the audience is also educating themselves and can make informed opinions.

  19. McWatt

    Regards Health Care: My daughter informs me that Blue Cross Blue Shield will no longer accept
    credit cards for payment of Health Care premiums due.

  20. Jim Haygood

    “The federal government is not insolvent. Not now. Not any time soon. Saying otherwise is, again, inane.”
    — Jordan Weissman, “Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent”

    A fact-free assertion, backed up by some mild trash talk: impressive.

    Meanwhile, in the reality-based community, it takes less than a minute to download the 2015 Financial Report of the U.S. Government. It shows, on page 4 of the Citizen’s Guide section, federal assets of $3.23 trillion and liabilities of $21.45 trillion, producing a negative net worth of $18.22 trillion.

    Mind you, the federal government’s insolvency, to the tune of over a year’s worth of GDP, does not spell immediate doom. Just as the merry fiat musketeers of central banking can operate with negative equity, so can central governments — as long as they’ve got the cash flow.

    “Very few people with money on the line seem to agree with Jim Grant,” asserts Weissman in reference to Grant’s Time cover article pointing out the government’s insolvency. Fact: annual subscriptions to Grant’s Interest Rate Observer are priced at $1,175.00 — a price point aimed at institutional rather than retail subscribers. And Grant’s been publishing his periodical since 1983.

    Whereas the guy who calls Grant’s views “inane” scribbles for free on the internet. You get what you pay for!

    1. Jim Haygood

      Speaking of “people with money on the line,” let’s check in with the old bond lions Hoisington and Hunt, who put real money on the line for real people:

      The striking aspect of the U.S. economy’s 2015 performance was weaker economic growth coinciding with a massive advance in nonfinancial debt. Nominal GDP, the broadest and most reliable indicator of economic performance, rose $549 billion in 2015 while U.S. nonfinancial debt surged $1.912 trillion.

      Accordingly, nonfinancial debt rose 3.5 times faster than GDP last year. This means that we can expect continued subpar growth for the U.S. economy.

      During the four and a half decades prior to 2000, it took about $1.70 of debt to generate $1.00 of GDP. Since 2000, however, when the nonfinancial debt-to-GDP ratio reached deleterious levels, it has taken on average $3.30 of debt to generate $1.00 of GDP. This suggests that the type and efficiency of the new debt is increasingly non-productive.

      Doubtless the “debt don’t matter” crowd will stock to their story till global Groaf hits zero — at which point, a clown head pops out of the jack-in-the-box and cackles, “Ahhhh hahahahahaha … JUBILEE!”

      1. diptherio

        Do you seriously not understand the difference between public and private debt? Have you failed to grok that public debt = private asset? Have you not seen the graph that shows the mirror-image relation between public debt and private debt? Why do you want there to be more private debt, Jim? What’s your angle?

        And where do you think US Federal Reserve Notes and Reserves come from, huh? Do you think we mine them or something? How can the creators of the currency face a financial budget constraint? Every time you bring this up it seems like you’re going out of your way to set up straw men to knock over. Better trolling, please.

        1. Plenue

          No, he doesn’t understand the difference. He also doesn’t understand what money actually is. Haygood appears to be a perfect illustration of…something, though I’m not quite sure what. A kind of true believer who simply doesn’t register facts. Since he reads naked capitalism every day he’s obviously aware of all the work of the UMKC crowd (he loves to sneer at them, but is pretty thin on the ground when it comes to actually challenging anything they say). He also can’t possibly not be aware of people like David Graeber and what anthropology and other non-economic fields have to say about the nature and history of money. And yet he just ignores anything he doesn’t like.

          In fact he might be an elaborate troll, Poe’s Law in action.

          1. cwaltz

            You have to appreciate that the government that gives the financial sector the authority to extend credit, counts it’s debt the same as the debt that you, I or Joe Business have.

            How thoughtful of Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo!

        1. Jim Haygood

          To answer both you and diptherio, nonfinancial debt includes the debt held by governments, households, and companies that aren’t in the financial sector.

          The financial sector is excluded, because its function is to extend credit to the rest of the economy (households, business and government).

          Hoisington and Hunt observe that when total debt (public and private) gets excessive, it slows growth. Their conclusion is quite appalling:

          Nominal GDP growth should slow to a 2.3% – 2.8% range for the year. The slower pace in nominal GDP would continue the 2014-15 pattern, when the rate of rise in nominal GDP decelerated from 3.9% to 3.1%.

          Nominal GDP growth hasn’t been that low (outside of recession) since the 1930s. Welcome to Japan, my friends. :-(

    2. jsn

      Its pretty clear Jim Grant shares your views on hard money, in any case he certainly knows how to write for those who do. You have to give it to him these many years for targeting the most lucrative market!

      On the other hand he, like you, always leaves out of the “budget” equation the dollar denominated portion of the global economy where, amongst a thicket of money speculation, real wealth is made to be traded for in dollars. This economic system should show up on the asset side or the national ledger. It is the legacy of centuries of investment and has innumerable constellations of productive relationships between people, capital stocks and money that has resulted from sustained public investment through deficit spending. It is what gives the dollar what value it has.

      A state is not like a household and so long as it governs those private businesses that dance to its currency, they and their product remain its primary financial asset. This is why states can fight wars while corporations (or households for that matter) have difficulty with it. Before 1970 a gold cartel was in the position to pressure state policy, though the heap of that arcane substance the US ended up with through its wars insulated us till then. When the cartel regained its teeth, seeking gold for petrodollars while we guarded their racketeering monarchies, Tricky Dick cut them off. Good riddance.

      Unfortunately, hot on his heels Hayek and the Friedmanites hijacked the Progressive American project. As the state has abdicated governing private business, the fiat regime has been captured by multiple private interests from Cheney’s business of permanent war, to the Fed’s shameless support of criminal finance. Hayek’s demon, “state planning”, accountable God forbid to the electorate, has been usurped by corporate “planning” which takes all the power of central planning, and when you look at the concentrations of private wealth you can’t really argue its not centralized, and repurposes it for private gain. The genius of the Neoliberal ideology is to create a mindset in which this obvious reality is invisible. And all it took was clipping the dollar denominated chunk of the global economy off of the Fed’s balance sheet.

      By refusing to acknowledging the obvious fact that hoarded dollars are not inflationary, except for what the hoarders want, Neoliberalism insists public investment must cease and those without savings for the hoarders to expropriate should promptly die. To the extent that monetarists liquidate the productive output of that real economy, say in a deflation, they will in fact destroy the dollar.

      Having “money on the line” is rather different from engaging with reality: its already mediated by all those prior investments and the “animal spirits” of other likewise possessed persons.

      Jim also happens to be a great writer, making it enjoyable to disagree with him as well!

      1. Jim Haygood

        You’re not a bad writer yourself! But I’m not clear on what “clipping the dollar denominated chunk of the global economy off of the Fed’s balance sheet” means.

        The Fed’s balance sheet didn’t change materially after Nixon’s Sunday night fatwa of August 1971. Arguably the Fed’s gold stock, valued at an antiquated $42.22/oz, should be marked to market. But market-valued gold would still be a single-digit percentage of the Fed’s assets.

        On the other hand, the biggest dollar-denominated chunk of the global economy pertaining to the Fed would seem to be its enormous off-balance sheet custody account. Negligible in Nixon’s time, that account has swollen to an immense $3.25 trillion — it’s where foreign central banks stash much of their USD reserves.

        After decades of runaway growth, the Fed’s custody account actually shrank 1.4% in the past year, presumably as China drew down its balance. When global dollar reserves shrink, a chill is felt in the global economy. Even setting aside the “excessive debt” rationale of Hoisington and Hunt, global dollar reserves sliding backward point toward pitifully feeble nominal GDP growth.

        1. jsn

          What I mean is that from The US Govt perspective, the dollar denominated economy is an asset: it is where the wealth of the nation comes from. All of the businesses that do business in dollars are part of the economic system the US Govt has invested to promulgate and fought wars to extend and protect. In the same way the Fed/Tres has a different relation to fiat, it has a different relation to business that denominate in its fiat. It gets to tax them: they are its asset.

          I don’t disagree with the balance of what you’re saying, I just think you are missing that the population, resources, capital stock and business of a nation are that nations assets, financial and other and because this was just assumed as manifestly true, the Govt has never accounted for it leaving open the Peterson vibe: we’re so in debt!!! Were running out of money!

          Gross dollar denominated GDP could be put in as the cash flow to start to put an equity price on the US system, then pick your valuation model and figure out what its worth as equity and add another line to that Fed balance sheet.

          1. cwaltz

            If only we could go back to the days of yore(and by that I mean when we used gold not feathers or beads)

            You know back in the good ole days when you could own people instead of pay them.

            1. jsn

              Yeah, the appeal of hard money remains a mystery to me: it is so obviously unsustainable from a systems prespective. Maybe Grant and Haygood are really Linenists hellbent on bringing on the revolution. If so, more power to em.

        2. jsn

          Oh yes, and about the $3.25T, if we put the IMF, World Bank and BIS back into post war mode where they supported development, rather than their post Friedman role as Neoliberal enforcers, our trading partners wouldn’t need to store up reserves to prevent getting kneecapped when recessions roll in.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The referees would look nice with ad jerseys as well.

      “Sponsored by the newest gambling casino in Vegas.”

      Luckily in a democracy, voters will not be forced to do so – “I work for a big bank” or “I work for a big educational institution.”

    2. JustAnObserver

      Why stop at candidates. Imagine the joy of watching CSPAN and seeing all those Reps & Sens with their Armanis covered with the logos of their campaign donors. Like a bunch of F1 or NASCAR drivers. We could have competitions to spot the most obscure ones e.g. that Camping Association that paid that YUGE number of $$$ for a 5-swipes speech.

      Better yet we could use some video tech to arrange that whenever anyone was speaking a cartoon-style bubble would appear over their head with their contributor/sponsor list.

  21. barrisj

    Re: Brexit and “loss of 100K jawbs in financial services”…praise Jesus, the wealth extraction industry knee-capped by “market forces”…looks as the The City maybe looking at a boom in Uber and Lyfte drivers soon – extra bonus: ride-sharing in Range Rovers, Jags, Mercs!

  22. JustAnObserver

    Re: man deletes entire company.

    This may well not be a hoax. I have – indirect – experience of this happening. Many years ago I was waiting at home for my – then – partner to come home from work when I got a call from her saying she would be very, very late. Since she wasn’t the type to pull geekland allnighters I sensed something was wrong & asked why. Wouldn’t tell me then but just said not to wait up …

    Cut to next morning ~5am. Heard the front door open, went downstairs & saw her clearly in a state of combined distress & relief. After several hug-cure minutes I got her to tell me what had happened. She’d done very nearly what the article said.

    rm -rf * (For non-geeks * is a “wildcard” that matches any file or directory name)

    Unfortunately she’d forgotten that she was at the / (= root) level so, as above, everything got deleted incl. some, but not all, of the remote mounted file systems.

    Fortunately the company was running hourly incremental backups but it was still 10+ hours to restore everything.

    Fortunately-2, apart from a lot of geek-level snark (we can be truly vicious about other geeks if we want to be), it was treated as one of those “there but for the grace of Cruz go I”.

    1. hunkerdown

      Turned out it was a hoax, but I personally have been acquainted with someone who once “almost deleted” an entire top 20 website’s live production database with the help of a single ampersand and the company’s preference for a non-standard choice of root shell. Long story short: with /usr/local as the current directory, operator set out to recursively stream config files in /usr/local/etc to another machine. Operator typed something like:

      tar c etc | ssh root@production_db ‘cd /usr/local && tar x’

      For those who don’t read shell script, the pipe hooks the standard output of the command on the left to the standard input of the command on the right. The tar command before the pipe tells the local machine to create a stream of all the files in the etc directory under the current directory and stream it out the standard output port. ssh is a system that, among other things, allows one to run commands and script fragments on other computers, with streams plumbed from one to the other much as a local command’s would be.

      Given the script fragment in the single quotes, Bourne shells (the standard) will attempt to change directory, and if and only if the directory change succeeds, start extracting the stream into files relative to the current working directory. So-called “C shells” interpret that fragment to change the working directory in the background in its own context derived from the initial, do what’s in the space between the two ampersands (nothing) in the background in its own context derived from the initial, and start unpacking the stream to the current working directory in the initial context. Whose current directory is, by default, the user’s home directory.

      Which, for root, was customarily /.

      Which meant the local app config files and whatever cruft came along with them replaced the production database’s system config files, including such classics as the password file, disk maps, database configs,…

      It “only” resulted in a couple of days’ downtime, thousands of upset customers, and a CNet article that doesn’t seem to be showing up on Google for some reason.

      1. JustAnObserver

        Now that truly impressive is (channeling my inner Yoda).

        What stopped it at the “almost” level ?

        1. hunkerdown

          JustAnObserver, the front-end and all the code survived. Just, not the hardware configuration of the production database machine, or the backups. (Moral: keep that stuff under management! Git, etcd, whatever. Just do it.) It took a few days to put the database back together and get back up and running, one of which ISTR was a particularly bad day for that site to be out of commission.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Obama, student loan discharge. From the linked article:

    In addition, some borrowers who qualify for discharge because of a psychological reason — such as an Alzheimer’s patient — may not be capable of understanding the materials they receive, she said.

    What about student-consumers with faulty education-products? Can they sue for refund?

    Can a school be sued for product liability – their graduates (their products) doing harm to the world?

    Why are gun-makers and (The Machine) parts-makers, that is, schools, unlike the rest of the society, exempt?

    Are they so exceptional?

  24. optimader

    Man accidentally ‘deletes his entire company’ with one line of bad code Independent (Chuck L). Richard Smith warns that this “feels hoaxy”.

    w/o succumbing to the click bait, could not have been much of a company, eh?

    1. Jim Haygood

      “Honey, I deleted the Fed.”

      Then the lights went out, and the earth began began to rumble under my feet.

  25. B1whois

    I have not heard the details of a “territorial” tax proposal before. I feel that my, and other American’s education, would be much improved by a Berniese presidency.
    From the prospect article on pluticrats crippling the IRS:
    “A classic example of the plutocrats’ power is the so-called “reform” being pushed by multinational corporations and the Republican leadership to adopt a “territorial” tax system. Under a territorial tax system, all the profit the multinationals claim they earn offshore would be 100 percent exempt from U.S. taxation. Talk about a job-killing tax proposal! It would accelerate the multinationals’ shifting of profits and jobs offshore, and increase their competitive advantage over domestic companies that would have to pay taxes the multinationals don’t pay.”

  26. Plenue

    >Time Magazine’s New Cover Story Is Every Bad Conservative Argument About the National Debt Wrapped Into One

    “And while this may frustrate men like Rand Paul, more rational people should take it as a sign that government borrowing, in and of itself, is not that scary.”


    The deeper problem isn’t dumb conservatives with dumb arguments, it’s dumb liberals who have no damn idea what they’re talking about. Any ‘debunking’ that rests entirely on false foundations is doomed from the outset. When you don’t understand what the debt actually is, your explanations are worthless.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not many people (in the country in general) know what people here know.

      Thus, the one consideration about bringing up MMT in this election cycle so far.

      The question is, do we hope the voters will understand one day, or will we have to resort to the dictatorship of financially literate to rescue the illiterate proletarians?

      1. Plenue

        I don’t have a very high opinion of vanguardist approaches. Better to inject the concept into the public consciousness, and then keep hammering the point home. It’ll take years, maybe several election cycles. but it has to be doable. There’s certainly no shortage of ammunition. The public and ‘experts’ might scoff at all the no-names from some flyover state public college, but it’ll be much harder to ignore actual Treasury and Federal Reserve employees and operators like Frank Newman or, hell, Alan Greenspan: Ask questions like where the 5-6 trillion to pay for our recent wars came from. Explain why the FICA tax isn’t needed (letting people keep more of their paychecks? That’ll be a hit for sure).

        Though whether I like it or not, I think it’s likely that at some point DC elites are going to engage in some form of public sector Keynesian spending without consulting the public, because if they don’t the end result will be the fracture and collapse of the United States (or at least the US as we know it). Of course that decline is Just As Planned for other elites, so I’m probably being too hopeful.

  27. Plenue

    >How terrorists groups like ISIS make money

    “‘ISIS’s oil operation is ‘a sprawling operation almost akin to a state oil company that has grown in size and expertise despite international attempts to destroy it.'”

    And by ‘international’, they really mean ‘mostly Russian’. And no mention of how and where they ship and sell that oil. The Turkish elephant looms large in the middle of the room, conspicuously unmentioned.

    The total numbers are also stupidly low. They portray ISIS and AQ running on, what, a few billion dollars annually? They obliquely touch on the actual source of most of their funding at the end when they briefly mention ‘private donations’. How much is really private and how much is government sanctioned funding from Gulf States? The notion that ISIS is continuing to operate despite what is here claimed to be their single largest revenue stream, oil trade, being in large part pounded into dust by Russian airpower, is laughable.

  28. ewmayer

    Re. Turkey insult case can go ahead – Merkel | BBC

    But, but – whatever happened to the “Wir alle sind Charlie Hebdo” free-speech-gasm? That “commitment” was clearly as fake as the staged “rally participation” photo-op at the time by Hollande, Merkel et al, where the pols “rallied in solidarity” in a heavily-guarded-and-media-stocked side street and the media compliantly spliced things together to make it look as though the Dear Elites were actually marching with hoi polloi. (Not sure if they also used Hillary-style white-noise-blasters to guard against potential hecklers, though.)

  29. gordon

    “Turkey insult case can go ahead – Merkel”

    I must be getting old. I even remember when we were all Charlie Hebdo.

    1. Plenue

      Even the French themselves were massive hypocrites during the whole stupid Hebdo affair. Plenty of people at the time pointed out how the comedian Dieudonné was sent to jail for ‘anti-semitism’ at the same time millions were demonstrating in defense of free-speech. All the Enlightenment-era sages are not just rolling in their graves, but can clearly be heard clawing at the coffins in an attempt to get out.

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