Links 12/15/11

Girls are no worse than boys at maths Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S). The headline overstates the findings, but this is a blow to the Larry Summers thesis.

Don’t make Amazon a monopoly John Gapper, Financial Times

Germany’s Hidden Risk BusinessWeek

Europe Still Heading For Collapse Tim Duy

France is next MacroBusiness

China’s epic hangover begins Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

China set to tax US-made car imports Financial Times

HERE ARE A FEW VIDEO SAMPLES THAT HELP ANSWER “WHY ARE YOUNG MUSCOVITES PROTESTING KREMLIN POWER?” Mark Ames, eXiled

Phoenicians Return to Europe With Temple of Baal Global Economic Intersection

Herbert Hoover: White House Statement on Federal Expenditures, June 1931 Edward Harrison

Demo-dummies informingthe99percent. OMG, the doctored photos says it all.

Exploiting the anti-Semitism smear now backfiring Glenn Greenwald. Wow, what a catfight.

US Drones Keep Falling Out of the Sky David Dayen, Firedoglake

Child homelessness up 33% in 3 years USA Today (hat tip reader May S)

Economists Push for a Broader Range of Viewpoints in Their Field The Chronicle. Good luck.

What If Lehman Happened Today? Michael Hirsh and Stacy Kaper, National Journal

Live Blog for #Occupy Movement: 2011, the Year of the Protester Firedoglake

Too Big to Stop: Why Big Banks Keep Getting Away With Breaking the Law James Kwak, Atlantic

MF Global a concern of NY Fed since 2009 Financial Times

MF Global’s Risk Officer Said to Lack Authority New York Times. So get this: the former risk manager was mucho worried about repo to maturity and insisted on talking to the board about it. The board approved it based on a forceful pitch by Corzine and the CRO leaves not long later. The new CRO has much more limited authority than his predecessor. This fact pattern is not looking good for Corzine.

Antidote du jour. By popular request, the baby seal that went visiting in New Zealand:

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88 comments

    1. KnotRP

      The contrast between how law enforcement treats Jon Corzine vs UC Davis students couldn’t be more stark….camp in a quad your fees help fund, get pepper sprayed…make levered bets, lose the bets, and drain customer’s funds you aren’t supposed to touch to pay out (who?…I bet that will be an interesting story on its own)…but nary a law enforcement official is to be found anywhere. Of the two, who deserves to be pepper sprayed?

  1. Paul Walker

    The only inflationary numbers Larry Summers really appreciates are in his hat and belt sizes. This forms the crux of Larry’s correlations thesis. What he fails to appreciate is that these same observations form the basis for others observations of his thesis, premised upon the abnormally large fatty head and tail risk apparent in his thesis. This renders Larry and his numbers crunching and correlations deducing capacity a laughing stock, again.

  2. toxymoron

    Totally OT, but I can’t get a subscription on comments anymore. Both atom and gmail have mid-november for their most recent comments.

    1. EconCCX

      >>Totally OT, but I can’t get a subscription on comments anymore. Both atom and gmail have mid-november for their most recent comments

      For now, it appears the only way is to subscribe to comments post by post, via the link beneath the “Submit Comment” button. Cumbersome and probably a bandwidth hog. Those mid-November comments are being constantly refreshed, but they’re not moving forward. I’ll bet the glitch relates to testing on the mobile edition, or some date filter using a hardcoded value.

  3. Rex

    Stumbled on this tonight in the middle of another Youtube clip.

    Flashback. Way more class than Eric Cantor.

    Jack Benny 1965-67

  4. Title

    Of course girls aren’t any worse than men at math. Knitting & weaving are numerical for example. I just think it’s not glamorous enough in the current (US) culture.

    1. tyaresun

      Obviously yes but but this stereo type is so ingrained into their heads that they go through life with the belief that they are not good.

      I used to give an A+ to the top student in my class every semester. Far more than 50% of the time, the top student would be a girl. However, many of these girls would come to my office all worried about how they were doing in my class. Compared to that, I had plenty of boys heading for a solid C thinking they were acing the class. In group assignments, these clowns would convince female students who had a better grade in my class to go with the answers they came up with.

      I have been dealing with this stereotype with both my daughters and finding it hard to convince them that they are good and can pursue a career in science.

      1. Susan the other

        There are those of us who can work out math problems in our head with pretty good estimates but can never tell you how we got there. I think that’s how a lot of us pass the SATs. I always thought it was a question of vocabulary because the logic is pretty innate. I wish some teacher would start a long term project, something like simply teaching the vocabulary of math at an earlier age, before it is applied to numbers. Just to see if it has an effect on later understanding.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I wonder if it will help if we remove all the gender names from math – like Euclidean geometry, Pythogoras, Gaussian, Euler’s number, Fermat’s last theorem, Goedel’s Incompleteness Theorem, etc.

          1. ambrit

            Dear MLTPB;
            Sorry Charlie, the very association of given names with certain genders is culturally determined. A Martian viewing your list wouldn’t know what the genders of the people ‘behind the names’ were. A close at hand example would be the name Yves.

          2. MacCruiskeen

            I don’t know, somehow A Nongendered 17th-Century French Person’s Last Problem doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

          3. Susan the other

            Beef, I take your point. Where are all the theorems discovered by women? They might have gotten lost over the eons by cooking, cleaning and taking care of children. But who knows. Time will tell now that math is becoming the most important subject in the curriculum.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks guys and especially Susan for taking my point.

            Actually, I would like to see all names removed from all theorems. It should be just a2 + b2 = c2. It’s a peculiarly human thing that we need

            1) filing cabinets (both mental and physical)

            and 2) lables for those.

            I find it weird that we have to call a rose a flower, a flower a plant, a plant a thing and a thing…er, xxx (here I point, gesticulate and wave wildly, thus illustrating the futility of another strangely human thing – writing. It’s completely inadequate.)

            It’s just xxx. OK? It’s not a thing. Just try to perceive without words. All the plants and animals, sorry, all the xxx’s in nature do.

            When I struggle to express myself like this, it almost makes me want to sigh.

          5. Valissa

            You remind me of one of my favorite quotes…

            It is a defect in language that words suggest permanent realities and people do not see through this deception. But mere words cannot create reality. Thus people speak of a final goal and believe it is real, but it is a form of words and the goal as such is without substance. The one who realizes the emptiness of objects and concepts does not depend on words. Perfect wisdom is beyond definition, and pathlessness is the way to it.

            The wise one treads this path for the direct realization of impermanence and for the direct realization of understanding. This, then, is perfect wisdom. Such a one should tread this path knowing that attachment and attractions are neither good nor harmful, even enlightenment is neither good nor harmful, because perfect wisdom is not meant to promote good or harm for that person. However, even though there is no intention of good or harm, it does confer endless blessing.

            -Prajnaparamita

          6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Very nice.

            I wish I could say it calmly like that.

            I guess it’s more meditation for this Neo-Neanderthalist. Either that or more cave-wall painting to quiet the mind, though color pigment chewing is not particularly fun.

        2. James

          Susan the other,

          Funny you mention that. How you got there turns out to be pretty damn significant. How you got there tells you ALL about a person’s abilities; visual/spatial, cognitive, or intuitive/genius. Turns out, how you do math in your head tells a GREAT DEAL about YOU, whether you know it or not.

          1. Bill C

            @Valissa
            “Perfect wisdom is beyond definition, and pathlessness is the way to it.

            The wise one treads this path for the direct realization of impermanence and for the direct realization of understanding”

            I love that term “pathlessness” but then you voided the term….or maybe it’s the old “one hand clapping” paradox ?

      2. scraping_by

        Often this is generational pass-down. Most of my kids’ elementary teachers, some time in parent-teacher conferences, would whine, “I just don’t like math!”

        It wasn’t surprising the little girls picked up the same whine. It wasn’t, really, surprising the boys struggled in math classes ever after. A childhood of infotainment might be good for cutting out doilies, not too good for SAT scores.

  5. Richard Kline

    Regarding US drones that fall out of the sky and fighter development programs that ‘won’t fly,’ one has to keep in mind that the primary function of military procurement at all levels, but especially at the high-tech, operational platform end is to transfer public wealth into the hands of private military contractors. Only very secondarily is the goal for the equipment to actually work and to kill people other than those operating it. This has been true since before the independence of the American colonies; the term ‘pork barrel’ specifically refers to defective provisions so often supplied to Union troops in the American Civil War. Once those priorities are brought into focus, It is obvious why a) the equipment is so expensive and b) why it is so frangible. We manage to kill far too many people with it even so, but it’s generally lower tech stuff like cluster bombs and artillery bombardment and, yes, individual firearms which deal out most of the death. The high-tech stuff is produced on a cost-profiteering basis though . . . .

    1. lambert strether

      Hence Iraqi IEDs, stories of Serbians deking cruise missiles out of the sky with microwave ovens, and so on.

    2. K Ackermann

      Hence us spending $1,000,000 for every $1 the Taliban spends.

      Bin Laden: terrorist/puppet master

      His death was a real blow to moral in the US defense industry.

      1. Richard Kline

        So K, not so. A new ‘master terrorist’ can be invented/designated at any time like a pop-up doll. Remember the ‘master terrorist’ of ‘al-Qaida in Iraq?’ What was his name again. We now have ‘the Haqqani Network’ whose putatively dastardly actions in Afghanista, vouched for only by those who are being paid ‘to hunt them down’ are presented as the current set of worry beads. The process whereby some-any-group is designated as ‘the enemy’ is completely corrupted and entirely in the hands of the corrupters, so we will continue to have these ‘hands of Satan’ thrust before the cameras by Very Serious People in America as long as the latter profit from the process. Which is very much the case right now.

    3. skippy

      When your battlefield philosophy goes out the window because you don’t have enough battery’s.

      Skippy…Logistical priority’s.

      1. Richard Kline

        Or because your tech stream has a ridiculously hackable keyhole, like say GPS, which ‘the other side’ can use to fly all of your assets as straight into the ground as they will aeordynamically permit.

        Seriously, in the Next Big War against a serious opponent, all our software dependent, battery sucking, assets—which is to say all of our assets that don’t physically wear boots—are going to get hacked-and-fried in the first hours and days of the action. It’s insane to put all our eggs in the tech basket. But given what we actually DO with all our weapon systems, I can’t say I’m sorry that they’re so vulnerable. Less death is good for the Earth, sez I . . . .

  6. Finance Addict

    Further to Ed Harrison’s earlier post on dog whistle economics, I’ve been finding fascinating info in David Graeber’s book Debt: The First 5,000 Years. There’s a reason why the European debt crisis is often compared to a “morality play”– it’s because it is.

    http://financeaddict.com/2011/12/the-hidden-meanings-of-debt/

  7. Dave of Maryland

    There was a rumor, don’t know if it was true, that the raid on MF Global accounts was to bail out the futures market, or some such.

    Which then made me think: Was MFG and Corzine picked for the honor because Corzine, former head of GS, former governor of NJ, former senator, was untouchable?

    1. Valissa

      Indubitably, but methinks the facade may be crumbling a bit…

      Emperor Corzine and his Goldman clothes http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/eada9cee-1f52-11e1-90aa-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1gGEqLBo9

      It reads like a Fractured Fairy Tale, LOL! We need an updated version of the Rocky & Bullwinkle show to parody current political and financial trends.

      1. Typing Monkey

        I’ve had two thoughts about this for a while, but nobody seems to have considered them (not that this bothers me…)

        1. Corzine will likely get charged with something, if for no other reason than to shut the masses up for a bit before elections. He has the wrong pedigree (Goldman) at the wrong time (Election season at a time when everyone is screaming for financial blood). Moreover, the gov’t may be anxious to protect Goldman Sachs, but they likely don’t feel all that obligated to protect somebody who got kicked out of Goldman.

        2. (am I off on this? I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere). If I understood correctly, Corzine got hurt because Greece’s default was originally rumoured to be considered a non-event (which, of course, was both stupid and illogical at the time, and has since been indicated to be otherwise–Greek CDSs are now trading at above 10,000. I have no idea what that means, other than people are paying more for credit protection than they will receive in case of default. Ther must be some arbitrage game somewhere, though…)

        In any case, if ISDA decided to declare this a non-event, it was basically they who screwed MFG. Did they know that this would result? I don’t know if they were aware that MFG would be the one affected, but I imagine that they must have known that at least some big players were going to get killed once their longs went bust due to default, and their hedge went bust after the default was declared to not be one.

        Which, of course, leads to the rather obvious next question: who else got killed because of those margin calls? It’s severely unlikely that MFG was the only one. Why no stories on any of the other parties?

        Just my two cents…

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Unfortunately, from Corzine’s perspective, it may be one of those situations where he thought he was protected if he went along as instructed but now find himself playing the patsy.

      Who knows. I never used to be so suspicious but I keep having to learn the same lesson over and over the last 12 years or so that I’m not nearly suspicious enough!

      This is a lot of money to go missing (over a Billion) and it is astounding the way the government is barely moving into action. Corzine seems cocky not taking the 5th and this seems like a case where most prosecutors charge then ask questions (at least when it’s done on a smaller scale).

      I can’t help but speculate that MF Global may be related to the $17.3 Billion that Venezuela demanded be withdrawn in gold and cash from Western banks back in August: http://www.goldismoney2.com/showthread.php?21448-Venezuela-demands-its-gold-back-stored-at-the-Bank-of-England

  8. Stephen Nightingale

    An ongoing consequence of the expropriation of tribal lands: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/14/kenya-samburu-people-evicted-land.
    Of course the Samburu were already evicted from their original lands and are ‘squatting’ on land that had been seized by Daniel Arap Moi. Don’t think he calls himself a libertarian though.

    Kind of like Oklahoma being sold out from under the Cherokee – because they weren’t making fully effective use of it, in the Western-style farming idiom – after they had been evicted from their original lands in the Smoky Mountains.

  9. Sock Puppet

    Some links:

    Philadelphia police officer filmed firing taser at teenage girl – video http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/dec/15/philadephia-police-taser-girl-video

    Rape affects almost 20% of US women, study says http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16192494

    1. Glenn Condell

      What is the average mental age of US police officers? Are they chosen on the principle the lower the better? What percentage of them suffer from violence-related mental issues?

      If I were king that officer, the guy that pepper-sprayed at UC Davis, the one that sconned the Iraq vet at Oakland – they would all be fronting the nation on TV at primetime, to be interviewed by their victims, members of their victims’ families and other interested parties. The relevant mayor would also be compelled to attend and answer questions. No ad breaks. No embedded interlocutor to send the conversation into safer territory in modulated tones, no ‘framing’ for once, just the raw stuff; insults, accusations, tears, silences. Real reality TV.

      It is quite obviously cool, or at least not uncool, in their circles, to behave like an aggressive but panicky moron, behaviour rendered even more darkly amusing by the Robocop getup they lumber around in nowadays, as if there’s an IED or sniper round every corner. So my next move would be to call Hollywood to a round table aimed at producing some good old-fashioned propaganda, a slew of comedies centering on the disconnect between the barrel-chested but brainless braggadocio, the space-suited swagger of these militaristic fashion victims, and their essential cowardice and stupidity.

      There’s no shortage of material.

  10. Susan the other

    re Europe: Is it possible the new 26 member pact has more to it that meets the international eye? The last thing any nation needs now is for the EU to spiral into the depths of an intractable and brutal recession. I keep thinking that the pact to stand by the EU runs deep. It will never be put in print to the rest of the world, but a pact to save Europe is probably a pact to buy EU products and promote EU economies within the EU. That dirty word “nationalism” – we could all use a little of it. Just to stabilize our own economies.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Heh heh — she said ‘recession’! Another guy using the R-word is Michael Platt, who heads a $30 billion hedge fund. In a Bloomberg TV interview, he minces no words:

      In my opinion, what’s going on now is significantly worse than 2008 … the European debt situation is fundamentally completely unstable. The process of refinancing your debt with a real rate of five [percent] when you have negative GDP growth — and we are heading into a recession in Europe — arithmetically can turn all of the countries in Europe, given enough time, into Greece.”

      http://bloom.bg/uuj56Q#ooid=hmOHY0Mzr1tbaGuaZca6MBA6pMEzTyf3

      And that’s not all he says. This interview really is just bloody appalling. After watching it, you’ll feel like drawing a nice warm bath, swallowing a whole bottle of sleeping pills, and slitting your wrists … or else getting so leveraged short that your eyeballs are bulging out!

    2. Jim

      Nationalism? In Europe? Since when does a Greek or a German express loyalty to an ephemeral flawed construct known as the Eurozone?

      Did US “nationalism” compel the US government to rescue another state in the Americas, Argentina, a decade ago, so that it could preserve the dollar-peso peg? After all, both the US and Argentina are part of the Americas.

      Furthermore, anyone desiring increased loans for Greece, Italy and Spain are simultaneously promoting more austerity in the peripheral countries.

      Finally, let’s allow the northern European voters to decide if they want a “nationalist-inspired” peripheral-country loan package.

      Or do we not trust the judgement of the German voter?

  11. Hugh

    AEP’s article on China is important. We tend to overlook events in Asia. But the truth is that all the great economic centers are tottering. We chronicle on a daily basis our own political and economic decay even as we watch Europe like some stately mansion consumed in flames, its supports falling one by one, and the whole edifice beginning to bend and keel over. We tend to forget China with its serial bubbles and its dependency on precisely those export markets in the US and Europe which are slowing along with their economies. And let us not forget Japan with its 30,000 square miles of contaminated and irradiated land, a truly generational disaster, and its great contribution to modern economics: Japanification.

    As we come to the end of the year, there is a whiff of depression in all the major economic centers across the globe.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have to fight to suppress the little rumor-monger in me that screams out loud about the conspiracy that, because TPTB want to show those loafing occupiers there are plenty of jobs, the jobless claims will be reportedly tumbling down.

      Completely baseless.

      1. lambert strether

        TPTB have also placed their bets on The Droner (at least for now). Which is why the R freak show is permitted to continue.

    2. tiebie66

      I also have a whiff of depression: China in difficulty despite grand stimulation and avoiding austerity? Despite the ability to print its own currency? Despite the lack of an internal trade imbalance? I keep hoping to encounter an explanation of the economic force of gravity.

  12. Valissa

    The Accident That Started the Breakfast-Cereal Business: Echoes http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-15/the-accident-that-started-the-breakfast-cereal-business-echoes.html

    I gave up on breakfast cereals at age 8 or 9, when I told my mom they tasted like cardboard and I didn’t want to eat them any more… still don’t, even the organic stuff. Fortunately there are many better choices for breakfast.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Bloomberg’s sanitized version omits the saucy bits:

      In the early part of this century, John Harvey Kellogg gained a reputation both as a nutritionist and a sexual adviser. The foods that Kellogg created (including the now-famous corn flakes) were designed to promote health and decrease interest in sex.

      Mr. Kellogg thought sex was the ultimate abomination and remained celibate even in marriage. Masturbation was the worst sin imaginable to him. He believed it led to leprosy, tuberculosis, heart disease, epilepsy, dimness of vision, insanity, idiocy, and death. He also preached that masturbation led to bashfulness in some people, unnatural boldness in others, a fondness for spicy foods, round shoulders, and acne. That’s quite a list!

      http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/do-kelloggs-corn-flakes-help-control-masturbation/

      Who knows, the old eccentric may have been to onto something. The unappetizing sight of dried food flakes in a cardboard box definitely would suppress any lascivious thoughts on my part … while youthful self-abuse doubtless led on to the abominable temptations of onions, garlic and peppers.

      1. Valissa

        That was a frustratingly short article ;)

        Onions, garlic and peppers are, on the other hand, quite satisfying in eggs, pizza, and just about any sauteed vegetable dish.

      2. Typing Monkey

        Mr. Kellogg thought sex was the ultimate abomination and remained celibate even in marriage.

        I bet his wife didn’t…

  13. Valissa

    Antarctica scientists try to unlock secrets of a frozen world http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45655282/ns/technology_and_science-science/

    I want to vacation there some day. Here’s some info on that too… http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/antarctica-vacation.htm

    1. Typing Monkey

      I was actually thinking about going when I visit NZ this January. Apparently (depending on the rumors I hear), though, you have to book a year in advance if you want to do things like climb. We’ll see.

      At ~$500/day for a trip, btw, it’s sort of expensive. If the whole point is just to see ice, opening up a freezer is a lot cheaper. If the point is to go somewhere remote, then there are lots of places to go (anyway, being on a boat for a few weeks with 50 other people is hardly “isolation”).

      But it would be nice to have visited all the contents…

    2. Jim

      Fascinating. Let’s hope that well-intentioned scientists do not thaw an organism that unleashes something which the humans can’t fight.

        1. Valissa

          Agreed! Also loved the 1951 version of The Thing (Howard Hawks/Christian Nyby). One of the best of the 1950’s sci-fi era!

          1. Valissa

            Ah yes… the classic and hilarious “The Trouble with Tribbles”… which eventually got a possible more hilarious update when snippets of that show were used in the Deep Space Nine episode, “Trials and Tribble-ations” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trials_and_Tribble-ations

            One of my favorite stony faced lines from Worf, “We do not discuss it with outsiders” (when asked why the Klingons of a previous era looked so different).

  14. Walter Wit Man

    The City of London puts Occupy protesters on a terrorist watch list. When asked to justify this description the police cite trespassing (occupying buildings–like protesters are doing in foreclosed homes in the U.S.) as justification.

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/police-include-occupy-movement-on-%E2%80%98terror%E2%80%99-list.html

    It’s probably already happened in the U.S. but the police state has successfully hid this from us. Well, it has happened in the PATRIOT Act but people keep assuming Obama and the Democrats aren’t going to go there because they are the nice fascists.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the test run for this classification is in the City of London just to make it seem a bit more natural when it’s revealed here . . . .

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I see reader David Lentini shared a link to this story on the 12/5 links post but I missed it at the time. Haven’t seen it anywhere else–which isn’t surprising because Americans don’t seem very concerned about whether or not their government is treating peaceful protesters as terrorists as the PATRIOT Act allows them to.

      Even many of those who support the Occupy movement themselves seem strangely unconcerned. It’s time to get concerned folks. Time to stop assuming Obama and the Dems won’t go there.

    2. Valissa

      “people keep assuming Obama and the Democrats aren’t going to go there because they are the nice fascists”

      Yup, which reminds me of an enlightening experience in that regard earlier this year. Back in May I was out shopping and ran into someone I hadn’t seen for over 20 years. We went out for some tea/coffee to catch up and started discussing politics. btw, when I met him (at a meditation class) he was a librarian, but is now a lawyer. He is very well educated and has an undergraduate degree in politics, his masters in library science and a law degree [I mention these degrees for a reason]. Despite all of this he is a totally clueless Democrat as far as I could tell… anecdotal evidence to follow.

      When I explained my current a/anti-political stance and he seemed confused, I started talking about all the reading and research I had done in many areas that led me to a very different perspective… at which point he interrupted to tell me there was a book he had read 25-30 years ago that explains everything, called “Friendly Fascism” (Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America, by Bertram Myron Gross).

      At first I thought that meant he understood my position, so said “that’s a great meme, very clever” at which point he looked at me with puzzlement and said I couldn’t possibly know what the book was about from that title (!!!!)… and continued to say that basically the book explains that we just live in this huge bureaucracy and of course that has evolved in a certain way with certain side effects, no big deal. My jaw drops, and then I try and find something reasonably polite to say… so I tell him that my understanding is that fascism is about collusion between gov’t and big business so the book title was basically snarky. Then he says “no, that’s not the definition of fascism” and goes on to repeat his definition that fascism is a really just bureaucracy and not at all what I thought it was (in a disdainful voice as if he thinks me an idiot). [note: this is why I listed all of his degrees in the front end of the story.] At that point, sensing trouble if I continued talking to the guy, I quickly made excuses and hurried out the door. When I got home I looked up the book on Amazon and found that my definition of fascism was indeed correct and the one used in the book (book description at Amazon: “Illuminates the increasing collusion between Big Government and Big Business to “manage” our society in the interests of the elite.”)

      The irony is that he was correct that the book explains a lot, but that he took a quite different message from it and still didn’t know what fascism meant (and was not at all concerned about it) was astonishing to me. His attitude and behavior explained a lot about the beliefs/mindsets of the acolytes of the Democratic elite.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Hey, I know your friend!

        Smart enough to be able to intellectually grapple with the arguments and to get it, but will allow his vested interest and training to convince him to run away from the logical conclusions.

        Just going through law school and becoming a lawyer is enough to condition one to stay away from conclusions about American fascism.

        The good thing about rational lawyer/professorial types is they are open to logic and generally argue in good faith. They may not take the next step and take action . . . but they often can be reached via persistence or good arguments (even when they start out cocky and dismiss arguments like your friend did).

        Maybe you need to send him the book as a present and have him reread it.

        Of course I still think it’s rather hopeless but hey, this guy was the one that recommended the book! He’s just been trained to ignore it for a while (our whole culture has gone through a similar process).

      2. Doug Terpstra

        From the author and creator of fascism, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini

        Case closed. We are so there!

        1. Valissa

          Dr. Seuss was NOT one of Benito’s fans – here’s one of his political cartoons http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_1H-ny1S9pRs/SpwiEKA2ORI/AAAAAAAAAXg/oy7gtbIjY-I/s400/21202cs.jpg

          Here’s another one from Dr. Seuss http://www.teachamericanhistory.org/image/Mussolini.jpg

          Godwin’s law demonstrated http://www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/hkh0180l.jpg

          1. F. Beard

            Concerning bankers and other fascists

            I loath them, loath them, loath them.
            I loath them hi and low.
            I loath them with a loath I loath.
            I loath those so and so’s.

            I loath them in the morning.
            I loath them in the night.
            I’ll loath them till I loath to loath,
            yet loath them more I might.

            I loath them while I sleep not.
            I loath them while I dream.
            I’d loath them with the LOATH of loathes,
            but it’s beyond my means.

  15. Jim Haygood

    More on US drones from CS Monitor:

    Iran guided the CIA’s “lost” stealth drone to an intact landing inside hostile territory by exploiting a navigational weakness long-known to the US military, according to an Iranian engineer now working on the captured drone’s systems inside Iran.

    Iranian electronic warfare specialists were able to cut off communications links of the American bat-wing RQ-170 Sentinel, says the engineer. The Iranian specialists then reconfigured the drone’s GPS coordinates to make it land in Iran at what the drone thought was its actual home base in Afghanistan.

    The “spoofing” technique that the Iranians used – which took into account precise landing altitudes, as well as latitudinal and longitudinal data – made the drone “land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications” from the US control center, says the engineer.

    Western military experts and a number of published papers on GPS spoofing indicate that the scenario described by the Iranian engineer is plausible.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1215/Exclusive-Iran-hijacked-US-drone-says-Iranian-engineer

    OOPS! Compare one U.S. counterclaim:

    One American analyst ridiculed Iran’s capability, telling Defense News that the loss was “like dropping a Ferrari into an ox-cart technology culture.”

    The ‘American analyst’ conveniently forgets that a generation of Iranians attended U.S. engineering schools in the Seventies, back when the Shah was our friend. Note also that he invokes an Italian-made Ferrari, not a Ford, as an example of high technology.

    That’s why NATO loses war after war now — because of clueless neocons, believing their own ethnocentric bullshit.

    As described, Iran’s hijack is a classic case of David defeating Goliath by finding his Achilles heel. Asymmetric warfare deftly exploits the crippling illusions of American exceptionalism, triumphalism and moral superiority.

  16. PQS

    Yves, Marcy Wheeler has a great thought experiment up:

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2011/12/15/how-to-indefinitely-detain-jamie-dimon/

    Fantastic!

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Good link. But I’m a little dubious of arguments against this law that basically accuse other people of also being “terrorists.” I know that she is mainly trying to show the absurdity of the law as applied.*

      But demonstrating the hypocrisy of these laws only gets us so far. We need to stop the laws rather than trying to apply them to the people we don’t like.

      Glenn Greenwald often argues like this. I’m sympathetic to the arguments but we need much more. We need the run of the mill Democrats to see the banality of evil they are partaking in. Asking Obama to apply the terror laws to his connected friends won’t get the job done–even if a fair application of the law compels such treatment.

      *Obama could have indicted Dimon under existing law for helping Iran, right? Obama chose not to because he only prosecutes whistle blowers like Bradley Manning or people that provide support to Palestinians. Obama has given connected war profiteers and war criminals a pass (he even let the C.I.A. destroy the videotape evidence of its alleged crimes). These new powers will never be used against Dimon of course.

  17. Recomended Visual Aid

    Get a load of the evolution of American Police riot Gear.:
    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/12/02/opinion/opart-riot.html

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know if I am a visionary, but in 2021, I see just more or less indestructable police robots, requiring neither pension nor overtime pay.

      1. Valissa

        Will we end up with Judge Dredd or Robocop?

        The Judge Dredd attitude http://reason.com/assets/mc/psuderman/2010_12/judgedredd_i-am-the-law.jpg

        Overview of the Judge Dredd uniform http://l.yimg.com/eb/ymv/us/img/hv/photo/movie_pix/hollywood_pictures/judge_dredd/sylvester_stallone/dredd.jpg

        Robocop, the Future of Law Enforcement http://www.listal.com/viewimage/149716h

      2. Valissa

        Great photo essay on all kinds of riot gear, which notes the infleunce of both Robocop and Judge Dredd.

        Riot gear: RoboCop for real http://blog.linder.com/cop-gear-its-a-riot/

        1. Skippy

          The Finger of God is not time constrained…judgement swift… that others are not unconvinced.

          Skippy… .001%’s markets is a survival issue… do not… take the kill from a mothers mouth…

  18. Schofield

    The Chinese Communists are used to creating money in MMT fashion and the Chinese people will suffer less in this Second Great Depression unlike the people in Western economies which will take a long while to throw off their crackpot Libertarianism and start using MMT.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is there a theoretical limit to how much money a sovereign country can print, sort of like the limit on the speed of light?

      Another question.

      I know it is not always the case that printing leads to inflation. But when it does, can we fight it by printing more money? Here, I want to be bold and suggest that, if we can print faster than the prices can rise, and if we distribute the printed money electronically at almost, but not quite, the luminal velocity and equally, so no one group is unfairly disadvantaged, that inflation is something we should not irrationally fear.

      Basically, the key is quicker printers, I think.

      1. F. Beard

        Is there a theoretical limit to how much money a sovereign country can print, sort of like the limit on the speed of light? MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If the counterfeiting cartel (the banking system) was forbidden from creating new credit then printing at a rate just equal to the repayment of existing credit would not increase the total money supply. Once all credit was paid off then price inflation would track the fiat creation rate – the real economic growth rate, is my guess. Inflationary expectations might arise but without the ability to borrow new horizontal money into existence, “animal spirits” would be impotent.

          1. F. Beard

            fasting is a religious observation… skippy

            Starving other people isn’t.

            He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

            Micah is in the Old Testament, btw.

      2. I'llHaveADouble

        Is there a theoretical limit to how much money a sovereign country can print, sort of like the limit on the speed of light?

        Nope.

        Cullen Roche’s paper is a good discussion of WTF is going on when currencies hyperinflate.

  19. Typing Monkey

    Incidentally, I haven’t seen any stories lately about how Euro swaps now reverting to their pre-cenral bank coordinated bailout levels…

  20. barrisj

    George Galloway, writing in The Guardian, when commenting on the Yanks withdrawing from Iraq, helpfully includes Shelley’s Ozymandias as a fitting epitaph to the murderous folly that was Bush’s invasion:

    Ozymandias

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said – ‘Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half-sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive (stamped on these lifeless things)
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

  21. Typing Monkey

    Already posted?

    http://www.businessweek.com/printer/magazine/germanys-hidden-risk-12142011.html

    That makes it sound like a central-bank policy decision, which it wasn’t. On the micro scale it was nothing but routine transaction-processing. The most powerful forces are the unguided ones, like the wind and the tides.

    Here’s how it happened. When a Greek businessperson buys a truck from Germany with money from a checking account, the transaction is carried out between the two nations’ central banks via Target2. The truck seller isn’t interested in financing the purchase—it wants euros now. So the Bundesbank has to come up with money in order to deposit it in the seller’s checking account. In accounting terms, the Bundesbank acquires a liability (what it owes to the truck seller’s checking account) and an asset (a claim on the ECB).

    The transformation of the Bundesbank’s balance sheet through this slow-but-steady process has been stunning—and to hard-money Germans, sickening. At the end of 2006, Target claims represented just 7 percent of the Bundesbank’s assets. By this October they represented 64 percent, according to data compiled by economists Aaron Tornell of the University of California-Los Angeles and Frank Westermann of Germany’s University of Osnabrück. The collateral the ECB holds to back those loans is primarily the sovereign debt of the euro zone’s weakest nations. It’s a far cry from the gold that’s the Bundesbank’s second-biggest asset (17 percent).

  22. lambert strether

    Two words: Millenium Challenge.

    In other words, remember that all these weapons, without exception, have one primary mission: Rental extraction. Any military purpose is secondary.

    They may indeed be lethal, but complexity, which is central to mission, militates against maximum effectiveness. Most of the weaponry is overbuilt, slow, and not very plentiful. Even today, most deaths are caused the old fashioned way: Bullets. Not saying these weapons are not dangerous, but fear is the mindkiller here….

    1. Typing Monkey

      Ever since reading about the Millenium Challenge years ago, I have really wished that Paul Van Riper would write a book (or at least conduct more speaking events/interviews). That guy is insanely bright…

      In other words, remember that all these weapons, without exception, have one primary mission: Rental extraction. Any military purpose is secondary.

      I don’t think that is a fair interpretation of the results. What Riper showed was that these weapons, while useful, can’t be used stupidly–any more than powerful computers can’t be used well if they are given bad programming. Perhaps I misinterpreted, though.

  23. Patrice

    Apologies if this article by Matt Taibbi has already been posted here.

    Indefinite Detention of American Citizens: Coming Soon to Battlefield, U.S.A:

    “At what point do those luminaries start equating al-Qaeda supporters with, say, radical anti-capitalists in the Occupy movement?………

    ……Here’s another way to ask the question: On which side of the societal fence do you think the McCains and Grahams would put, say, an unemployed American plumber who refused an eviction order from Bank of America and holed up with his family in his Florida house, refusing to move? Would Graham/McCain consider that person to have the same rights as Lloyd Blankfein, or is that plumber closer, in their eyes, to being like the young Muslim who throws a rock at a U.S. embassy in Yemen?

    A few years ago, that would have sounded like a hysterical question. But it just doesn’t seem that crazy anymore….”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/indefinite-detention-of-american-citizens-coming-soon-to-battlefield-u-s-a-20111209#ixzz1gfqOtkPi

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