Links 11/8/13

s HyperVocal (Dr. Kevin)

CBC

PhysOrg. Chuck L: “Physicists make a splash as they open a new frontier in urinalysis. Perhaps an igNobel prize is in their future?”

Yahoo. Don’t most people know the evolution of horses???

Singularity Hub (furzy mouse)

Testosterone Pit. Gee, I’d assumed if you had a smartphone, they were of course tracking this.

ZDNet (furzy mouse)

Christian Science Monitor. The US is hardly in a position to sit in judgment.

p Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate

Wunderground (Lambert)

BBC

Reuters

Lambert

Wall Street Journal

Bloomberg (Richard Smith)

BBC

McClatchy

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Atlantic (furzy mouse). Charitable in its assumptions about the status quo.

Edward Snowden used passwords provided unwittingly by NSA colleagues Reuters. Too funny

Obamacare Launch

US News. By Japanese standards, this isn’t much of an apology. And see John Jansen: . On top of that, Jerome Anderson notes that estimates of cancellations are up from the officially-touted 5% to 6% to 9%.

American Prospect. This shows how relatively few people have had direct the enthusiasts have yet to grasp how little many will get for their premium dollars. A lot of people haven’t looked the gift horse in the mouth. My bet is the Dems lose in 2016 due to Obamacare.

ZDNet (furzy mouse)

Reuters

New York Times

Associated Press (Lambert)

Alternet

Brown Daily Herald. Sent by a disgusted Brown alum.

Barry Ritholtz (furzy mouse)

Michael Shedlock

MacroBusiness

New York Times

Truthout

Ian Welsh

Antidote du jour (from Scott H, in the Peruvian highlands):

DSC00967

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84 comments

  1. AbyNormal

    o look…its a wee lill mini me bahahahahahaaa

    The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.
    Stendhal

  2. AbyNormal

    “My bet is the Dems lose in 2016 due to Obamacare.”

    Yep! bring on another Bush…
    Genes, family history and shifting demographics explain why another Bush may run in 2016

    The race of man, while sheep in credulity, are wolves for conformity.
    Carl Van Doren

    1. Chromex

      Can’t say this loud enough. The law requires age-based premiums, even in group policies. This, and other technicalrequirements ( and the fact that insureres have been charging level premiums and will not make the change before they have to for IT reporgramming reasons) means that NO policies offered to anyone , anywhere, for any reason in 2013 will be compliant with the ACA in 2014. Remember large employers have an extra year to comply. In my state, all individual policies and small group policies of which I am aware have been cancelled. My agent says its 100% ( and he is batting 1000). Why have no one in the media picked up on this?

      In some cases it is possible the change won’t amount to much, but, technically, every time a group or individual policy is cancelled, any number of things can happen to premiums, networks and coverage.
      So, yeah, the dems lose in 2016 but given the law’s requirements why would the administration take the position thay have and what has happened to investigative journalism? Call a lawyer or an insurance agent who specializes in group policies.
      Everyone I know in the trade knows the cancellations are closer to 100%, why doesn’t the press?

      1. Steve H.

        “The law requires age-based premiums, even in group policies.”

        Wow. And there I was thinking that, if they required sickle-cell anemia coverage, they could’ve cancelled 86% of policies at will. (Hip-shot estimate.)

        What amazes me is that, when they cancel the policy, they keep the investment but subtract out the liability. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that looks to me like an accounting gain for this fiscal year, measured in billions.

      2. katiebird

        Wait! What?

        GROUP policies MUST charge based on age?

        I have never read this anywhere, ever. In fact, I’ve never read that plans MUST charge based on age. Just that they COULD charge based on age.

        Do you have a link or citation or something verifying this?

        Because that totally scares me to death.

        Thank you.

      3. Alexa

        Chromex:

        The specifications below apply to “individual and SMALL group policies.”

        Is this what you’re referring to? (IOW, for your small business?)

        1-An enrollee’s age (limited to a ratio of 3 to 1 for adults),

        2-Whether the plan covers an individual or family,

        3-Tobacco use (limited to a ratio of 1.5 to 1),

        4-Where the enrollee lives.

    2. sleepy

      I think by that point, 2016, the repubs will have to propose an alternative to obamacare rather than just point out that it’s lousy.

      Since the dems already stole their plan, not sure what the repubs will actually come up with–perhaps some minor modifications, but whatever it is I think it will be something that continues the trend of herding folks into mediocre policies.

      Perhaps the tradeoff for basically keeping obamacare will be the spinoff of medicare and medicaid into private insurance via the exchanges.

      Something both parties in the spirit of bipartisanship can both agree on, lol.

      1. AbyNormal

        here’s our republican gov yakin…heads up

        Deal said in a statement that “Obamacare” is a one-size-fits-all approach with too many regulations that prevent Georgia from tailoring an exchange to meet the unique needs of its residents and small businesses. It also places a costly burden on states, he said.

        “We have no interest in spending our tax dollars on an exchange that is state-based in name only,” he said. “I would support a free market-based approach that could serve as a useful tool for Georgia’s small businesses, but the federal guidelines forbid that.”

        (of course deal is under state ethics investigation [again] and no tellin what we’ll end up with)

      2. fresno dan

        I would bet the republicans would be willing to pass the ACA (or Obamacare) VERBATIM if they could be assured that they will get ALL the campaign contributions from pharmaceuticals, medical device, pharmacists, doctors, and insurance companies, and ANY other special interest.
        I imagine their rationale will be the special “competitive” free market font (damn, I wish I could use a flowery font to type “font” for irony….)

  3. XO

    “Obamacare” (also known as “Romneycare”), is bad law, plain and simple. Bad law designed to maximize corporate profits.

    As usual, the real situation seems to get lost in the sauce of punditocracy, short memories, and irrational/non-pragmatic/damaging fixes to fairly straightforward problems.

    If I understand correctly (and I’m not claiming I do):

    1. Obamacare is the Republican counter to Hilary Clinton’s first whack at reforming the healthcare system in the US. it’s origins alone destine it to be a bankrupting fiasco that the Republicans have now pinned on the Democrats.

    2. As such, it is concentrated on providing a governmentally-backed, profit-guaranteed, “free-market” revenue stream to the insurance industry.

    3. This piece of legislative dreck was passed by a neo-liberal cabal within the Democratic Party. Neo-liberals are no more liberals than Neo-conservatives are conservatives. Both are corporatist whores.

    4. Never before has a law been passed that levies a tax on the citizen, payable DIRECTLY to a corporate cabal. This, and this alone, is the reason the Roberts Court branded it a “tax,” in the first place.

    5. “Romneycare,” rebranded, still cannot live up to the systems found in any other Capitalist/Industrialized nation, nor that which has been practiced in our own State of Hawaii for the past 40 years.

    6. Any “law” that is thousands of pages long is not worth the paper it’s written on, and only serves to muddle the intent of the statute and/or provide plenty of loopholes for exploitation by those who drafted it.

    As or political backlash, there is only a difference in branding between the (D) and (R) factions of our gamed 2 party system. So, the electorate run back into the arms of the Republicans. WTF is the difference?

    1. eeyores enigma

      I wish folks would stop calling it Obamacare and call it the the Affordable Care Act .

      In fact all the Obama this and that is totally misleading and take the focus off the disfunctional system. Placing blame on these individuals makes it look like we could change things by changing the guy. It’s BS!

      Here is a guy who finally states the truth;

      “The 5-Minute Speech that Got Judge Napolitano Fired from Fox News”

      1. fresno dan

        It is bizarre, and disheartening, that Obamacare is Rommneycare…or Rommneycare is Obamacare. And just like sports team are supported because of the color of the uniform (never mind your team player was on the opposing team last year, what matters is uniform color!!) we have reached the point in American where if the Republicrat is for it, the Demopublican is against it…and vice versa.
        Apparently, like most US policy, the only distinction is the special kickbacks to your campaign contributors (and I presume the penalties to anyone who doesn’t bribe…I mean, contribute to you)for you getting a piece of legislation through the system…

    2. different clue

      Obama wanted it, every last Democrat supported it. It is his and theirs. I am not sure who or what would try to repeal it.

  4. Aussie F, on today’s Fukushima comment thread, had the genius idea of sending our Wall Street banksters to Fukushima to help clean-up the mess (ideally, being given the most-likely-to-induce-fatality jobs). I took that wonderful idea and turned it into a WH petition.

    ~WH Petition

    We only need 100,000 signatures to make this dream a reality! Sign and share! BWAHAAHAAAHAAA!

    1. anon y'mouse

      don’t wish that on anyone, to be honest.

      is there any way we could make them pay for the cleanup? something along the lines of the banks(ters) bailing out the rest of humanity for allowing them to exist and continually pick our pockets?

      it just needs a snappy name. FARP or something.

    2. down2long

      Diptherio you are brilliant. I went to sign your petition, and lo anb behold I have to create a White House account to sign petitions.

      All due respect, I know they already have a dossier on me (I got stopped at the border in 1976 with a duffel full of overthrow the U.S. propaganda that I got at the anti-bicentennial in Philly.) I entered Canada – no problem, but still had the lit upon my return. Big Mistake.

      That instigated a grueling 6 hour standoff while I sat reminding all the suits interrogating me about my plans to overthrow the gov that I had a first amendment right to carry those publications. I even had a right to think about a revolution.

      Meanwhile, they held my packed NYC bound Greyhound bus for the full six hours. The worst part may have been the furious New Yorkers, one of whom yelled at me at that I didn’t have my shit together. I told him I just scored one for his first amendment rights, and to fuck himself.

      That was not a fun six hours back to NYC. Amerikkka has had my number for years, but I hate to rile them up over their bankster buds. That I fear, really would be the action that finally brings down the sword on my throat.

  5. rich

    Why Chinese People Buy So Many Homes in Palo Alto It’s not just because it’s nice: Foreign home purchases by China’s wealthy tell us a lot about the country’s economy.

    The rise of the Chinese consumer on the global stage has had a tremendous effect on world markets, shaking up everything from the price of milk powder to impressionist paintings. Now, the impact is being felt all the way in Palo Alto, the Silicon Valley town next to Stanford University.

    Over the past two years, Chinese buyers have been snapping up property in the city, driving up prices and possibly contributing to an emerging bubble. Chinese nationals have tripled their share of home purchases in Palo Alto since 2011, now accounting for around 15 percent of transactions in the city according to Ken Deleon, founder of Deleon Realty, a local firm that has invested heavily in catering to Chinese buyers.

    “If we have seven offers for a home here, three of them will be Mainland Chinese buyers with all cash,” Kim Heng, the Chinese-born head of Asian outreach at Deleon Realty, guessed. “We’ve never seen so much money in all the years we’ve been in the real estate business.”

    Many Chinese buyers looking for homes in Palo Alto come from the elite of Chinese society, often serving in the leadership of the country’s largest corporations. Capital controls normally restrict the movement of large sums of RMB, China’s currency, out of the country, so prospective buyers use Hong Kong branches of their companies to transfer funds from the mainland to the territory and then into American accounts. Among those with access to these channels of wealth and power, the cost of the home is often the least of their concerns when buying into Palo Alto, where average prices approach $2 million.

    “I am so shocked at the amount of money these people have,” Bowling remarked. “To me $3 million is a lot of money, but to them it’s almost like pocket change. It just doesn’t put any kind of financial burden on them.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have been told that there is another channel – Macau.

      Go gamble in Macau with government money. Then just get a police report that you have been robbed (win or lose). With that, you are good; the government is good (it can print as much as possible); and you make sure local cops are good.

      Win-win-win situation…only in China/Macau.

      In American, we only do win-win situations.

      1. craazyboy

        Finance flows are in the “capital account”, not current account.

        So it’s “Meet the New Boss, Shorter Than the Old Boss” like The Who used to say.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The quickest way to reduce that trade deficit is to sell them Alaska or Louisiana (though DC would probably get us a better price).

        The business of the American people is buying and selling.

        1. Propertius

          I’d sell them Manhattan, instead. There are actual resources in Alaska and Louisiana. Manhattan isn’t good for anything.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You’re right.

            We are not flipping Louisiana. Totally a sub-prime thing to do.

            Let no one say we are flippers.

            1. ambrit

              Woah there MLTPB! Where’s Lenova Ballet Russe when we need her? We can’t “flip” Louisiana for at least two reasons that I can think of. (They might apply to Alaska too, now that I think about it.)
              First: We haven’t even bought LA back up to the standards, (admittedly low) that were in force before Katrina. (Have you had a look at parts of the Lower Ninth or St. Bernard even today?) Any flip would be a “loss leader” in our attempts to sell what’s left of American Democracy. (American Republicracy?)
              Second: Do you know what the capital gains taxes on the difference between what we paid for the place originally and the present worth, even after Katrina, would be?
              Third: (I just thought of this.) The original Louisiana Purchase was for a lot more land than presently comprises the State of Louisiana. Would the purchasers have any claim on the rest? (It was originally a Royal Land Grant. The legalities are quite convoluted.)
              Now, putting D.C. up for sale would be illegal. There are a lot of liens already encumbering that, and if my memory serves me right, they have prior claim.
              My my. What’s a “free” citizenry to do?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                We have to get a capital tax gains exemption…for Manhattan.

                Let’s just say we paid less, even adjust for inflation (I think) for that island than for Louisiana.

          2. craazyman

            it’s pretty good if you like riding the bus!

            you can ride the bus anywhere you want to go and see things nobody has ever seen except people who look out the window carefully. It’s New Yawk already. You can do that here.

            you can ride and talk to the driver too. that way you’re at least tethered to reality if things start getting too weird.

            1. ambrit

              Dear craazyman;
              My dear old Dad had a job in New York during the early sixties that lasted for six months once. (He was an engineering ‘job shopper’ at the time.) He said that the weirdest thing was the times he would hang out up front with the motorman on the subway and ride the entire loop. He said that there were things down there that no one would believe.
              So, yes, sitting up front and grooving with the driver is cool, but underground is where it’s at.

    2. Ed S.

      Rich,

      As a SV resident, I’m regularly seeing homes where I live (not in Palo Alto but reasonably close by) sold for well over asking price and then sitting empty. In my (by SV standards) modest neighborhood, prices are up 60% in the last 18 months and the last two houses went for (roughly) 20% over asking.

      And are empty.

      Great if you want to sell…………….

  6. Jim Haygood

    ‘In analyzing their results, the researchers found that sitting on a toilet, as most men well know, results in the least amount of splash-back.’

    Fortunately, in 2017 president Hillary will remedy this long-standing sanitary nuisance with a federal law requiring everyone to pee sitting down.

    A pressure sensor under the seat, similar to the seat belt interlock on automobiles, will cause the toilet to flash and ding at offenders.

    Verbal announcements in English and Spanish will warn scofflaws of the escalating penalties for noncompliance, including mandatory orchidectomy on a third offense.

    Men: PWNed.

    1. Massinissa

      I dislike the Clintons as much as the next person, but was this supposed to be humorous?

      Its kinda not.

      1. Linden

        It’s really not. And rather stupidly sexist, too. Oh look, a female President will regulate all the men’s weenies! (Unlike male politicans, who have no interest at all in regulating what women do with their ladybits.)

    2. anon y'mouse

      men will be ‘pwned’ when state laws tell them whether or not they have the right to have their vas deferens severed, and more laws restricting the rights of doctors within specific states to do such surgeries, and running out of town clinics that offer such services, and bombing health care professionals affiliated with such individually chosen activities.

      until then, shaddap~! oh, and put the seat down when you’re done, will you. because the dog likes to drink from it and the kids like to play in it. what, you thought it was for a woman’s benefit? my arm ain’t broken.

  7. JTFaraday

    re: MI Police ‘Pursue Charges’ Against Homeowner Who Shot 19-Year-Old Black Woman Dead After She Knocked on His Door, Alternet

    Looks like we get a “Stand Yer Ground” do-over. I hope he gets Murder-1 with hate crime charges.

      1. Jess

        Murder One? Hate crime? Not a chance. Most this guy is likely to get charged with is Voluntary Manslaughter. This isn’t anything like the Trayvon Martin case. The shooter didn’t follow the person, they simply panicked when a strange black person arrived at their door at night.

        Awful tragedy and another example of how some gun owners don’t have a clue how to respond to an unexpected situation. But malicious murder with premeditation and the requisite elements for an enhanced hate crime charge? Not a chance.

        1. XO

          I don’t know about MI, but many places have “depraved indifference” statutes. If this legal concept isn’t hammered at during the trials of those who murder under “stand-your-ground” statutes, the prosecution is phoning it in.

          1. Jess

            By definition, depraved indifference cannot be Murder One (the charge that JT Farrady wants) because indifference is the diametric opposite of planned premeditation. And I would think that getting a Murder Two depraved indifference charge to stick in a stand-your-ground case would be pretty hard to do when the shooter is in their own home. Again, most likely charge is voluntary manslaughter, and proving (or failing to prove) that will be where the quality of the lawyering on both sides comes in. (Also the makeup of the jury.)

            1. Jess

              According to the story, police haven’t released any significant details about the shooter. If he’s elderly, questions of mental acuity/impairment and the attendant SYG requirement for “feeling in fear” might well mitigate against being able to get a conviction. If the prosecutor has to go to the Grand Jury for an indictment, he might get rebuffed at that level, esp. if MI is a state where the subject of the inquiry has the legal right to testify before the GJ.

          2. JTFaraday

            “many places have “depraved indifference” statutes”

            You can drop it down to that, but I wouldn’t go any further.

            It also seems clear to me, however, that there is a certain amount of what we might call cultural or “collective premeditation” evidenced in these “stand yer ground” laws, which seem to be functioning as a prefatory clearing ground for the near militarized population in certain states to start killing anybody it decides to pick off, with legal impunity.

            If someone shoots a kid in the head in one of those states, I’m going to assume they’re wholly part of this culture of collective premeditation.

            Maybe this “stand yer ground” law needs a challenge at the federal level, like the old anti-lynching efforts, because this is nothing if not a post-modern revival of just that kind of extra-legal culture.

            The police also do it, but you have to start somewhere.

            I’m skeeerred! Ain’t gonna cut it here. This is planned.

            1. JTFaraday

              “By definition, depraved indifference cannot be Murder One (the charge that JT Farrady wants)”

              So yup. You got me pegged right. Murder-one (with hate crime conviction) is exactly what I want.

            2. anon y'mouse

              “If someone shoots a kid in the head in one of those states, I’m going to assume they’re wholly part of this culture of collective premeditation.”

              your comments bring to mind some very ugly rumours I heard mention (and that is all i’m saying they are–stories on the interwebs) about white people using the mayhem of Katrina to go ‘hunting’ in the areas surrounding N.Orleans.

              we’d better hope that this egg does not crack. because if it does, all kinds of ugly is going to run out.

  8. Doug

    I saw the program where you were discussing the TPP with Bill Moyers. During the conversation it was said(I think) that American businesses were not borrowing with the intent of using the money to further their business by investing in themselves and hiring more people in our country. At least that is what I think was said.
    I think you are right that our businesses have accumulated money without using it, but I would like to add a word to that statement. They have not used their money YET.
    Our businesses, particularly the large corporations wait until their is the greatrest opportunities to exploit to invest their money in growing and/or diversifying their business. One should note that this includes the exploitation of “labor”.
    The financial practices of the wealthy who make the business decisions of corporations always seek to make money for the corporation, but also, motivationally speaking, make more money to add to their fortunes.
    The money held back will not necessarily be used to increase the economic, political and social status of the middle and lower classes of our country. Spending money to create “jobs” by business is now advocated by politicians.
    But notice here that the word “jobs” remains undefined. If one goes by the definition of our government employment agencies, a “job” can be one where a person earns little money and certainly not enough to pay the bils of his or her household.
    I think that wanting business to simply use their money to create jobs and grow their businesses in the United States is another mistake. A lot of tax money has been used by our government to provide what is caled “incentives”for businesses to increase the employment. AND, the assumption is given that this will also increase the economic, political and social status of the middle and lower classes of our country.
    In short, all our efforts havce come down to “pleas” to the rich to help those in the lower classes. And, of course, those pleas have not been heeded. The rich only seek whatever opportunities available to them, wherever those opportunities may be, to add to their own economic, political and social status.
    What do we do then to help ourselves?
    For over four years I have been trying to meet personally with my elected Representatives to explain a plan that I have created that I call “The National Employee Owned Co Op Plan”. I realize that it brings images of socialism to the minds of most. But what it does is create a business that is owned by its members. That business, will let its members set the wage levels of the employees who work at various jobs.
    Many have said that “It is not the role of “government” to create private businesses.”
    At first I was taken back with that statement. But then I realized that government has, in fact, created many private businesses when you look back into our history. The biggest one that might come to your mind today is “Fannie Mae and Freddy Mack”. So the statement saying that government CANNOT do this is false.
    Secondly, how many businesses can you all name that would not exist, or continue to demand(Exxon), government subsidies? Many many exist in our country today.
    A state assembly member told me that these subsidies are governments way to try and stimulate more “employment”. At least in part they try to do this.
    I also considered that this is a better way to think of our government trying to help us. But if it is, it has failed. The “gap”(dare I bring this us?) continues to grow between the rich verses the middle and lower classes. Thus, the lower classes are continuing to lose economic, political and social status in the United States.
    Unless something is done to stop what amounts to “class warfare by the rich upon the two lower classes(and the figures show the rich are winning by a large margin)”, those of the middle and lower classes will have no economic, political and social power.
    Left unchecked, as any economic system wil do that is unregulated, our country will be ruled by tyranny. So, without something created by the political system we now have to reverse this process, the United States of America will lose its democracy.
    I’m sure I am not the first one to conclude this. But I have NOT heard of any similar way of fixing the destructive process we are now in similar to mine. All the “fixes” proposed have depended on the “chairty” from the rich. And that is merely laughed at.
    I know I have spent a good amount of time here already, and may not have this post accepted because of its length. But if any of you (Particularly Ms. Smith) wish to know more particulars of HOW this would work, please let me know.
    Let me say again that for over four years I have implored all of the federal Representatives I have voted for to meet with me and discuss my idea and have received only one response-NO!
    If you want me to continue, tell me so.

    1. anon y'mouse

      do you have an informational website?

      do you have affiliations with local, regional or other national groups?

  9. A couple links on the int’l new economy movement:

    First the bad news:
    ~GEO

    And now the good:
    ~Global Justice Center
    I move that we all go visit fromMexico next June and rock the Con. Do I have a second?

  10. No regime left behind

    Vilification of Human Rights Council members. Traditional US statist propaganda. It attacks domestic popular support for human rights by associating them with US enemies.

    Of course the Human Rights Council includes countries with human-rights deficiencies. As in everything that goes on at the UN, acculturation helps the laggards by putting them together with achievers. The private sector does the same thing – it was called “best practices” (there’s probably some different jargon now.)

    Lots of people don’t understand this, including UN contingents on the ground. You always hear Joe-Bloe UN aid staff bitching about their Asian and African counterparts. But Joe Blow’s counterparts are watching him like a hawk, internalizing best practices, and taking the example back home. One classic example of a brutal animal who got acculturated is an assassin and aggressor who got acculturated as UN representative, and eventually came around to bringing his country into the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, submitting the state to comprehensive independent scrutiny. Maybe you heard of him: George H.W. Bush. That’s right, the scrutiny Obama is running from now is thanks to Poppy Bush.

    It’s applied monkey-see-monkey-do, and it even works on the shaved apes of the US government. Still, sometimes, when a regime’s conduct is persistently inexcusable, that pariah state .

  11. someofparts

    Don’t read the comments on that NYT story about the homeless unless you want to get physically sick.

      1. susan the other

        Also in today’s Links: Stiglitz in the Bankok Post about the diminishing chances of achieving trade agreements because all countries realize their sovereignty is at stake, and Richard Wolff’s radio tutorial “Economic Update” was good on the extortion we have suffered from private banking and the need for public banking. Also a blurb about Johnson and Johnson and other drug companies having to pay criminal fines for marketing harmful drugs… It’s all connected at this point. It’s not just the vampire squid, it’s the hundred-headed hydra. Our society has become as callous about poverty as India.

    1. Jagger

      Repubs want to cut 40 billion from the food program while Dems only want to cut 4 billion. Of course, they will meet in the middle and everyone, but the people, will be happy.

  12. Yonatan

    That site supposedly holding the Finish kayaker photos has to be the most toxic link spreader I have ever come across. I gave up trying to enable NoScript to allow the sites it links to when the status bar reached 4 lines and still no pictures.

    Yuck.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Actually, that sort of science is more practical for litte people and probably less provocative on Nature.

  13. kevinearick

    The price of Twitter reflects the hope/demand for an empire exit. That graphic isn’t all bad. Look at the momentum. Amazon meet Wal Mart.

  14. ep3

    Yves, here’s another “blame the greedy pensioners” article on detroit:

    here are some of my favorite quotes:
    “Unlike the auto companies, the city of Detroit isn’t going to get a government bailout. It has to come to the realization that there isn’t any money and then figure out what to do next.”
    “With the city literally crumbling around them, large chunks of the population are still behaving like victims, interested in milking a golden cow that dried up years ago.”
    that quote is followed by this “So they take actions that are self-defeating, like ignoring state aid to rejuvenate the city’s largest park, because it makes them look dependent and needy”. Don’t behave like a victim and then reject a new park!
    “Detroiters should all take a deep breath and recall the bailout and bankruptcies of General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) and Chrysler that began to unfold five years ago. Pride took no part in the decision-making. The automakers went hat in hand to Congress for loans to keep them going. Their only goal was survival. When the bailout couldn’t hold back the tsunami of losses, they declared bankruptcy.” But my first quote, which was farther down the article, says that detroiters shouldn’t expect a gov’t bailout? What are they supposed to do then? Isn’t the point of gov’t to take care of these situations?
    “GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner lost his job and Cerberus Capital lost its investment in Chrysler, and today both automakers are viable and competitive. The medicine was harsh, but the patients recovered.” Yeah those golden parachutes are tough.
    And it isn’t talked about but recall the actions taken to make them ‘competitive and viable’. Their health care pension obligations were moved into a trust fund to pay retirees health care. The size of the trust fund – $50 billion. Amount of money received in the bailout – $50 billion. Amount GM has contributed to the trust fund out of the $50 billion owed – $17 billion. So the gov’t bailed out the pensions.
    And of course “Opponents of Governor-appointed emergency manager Orr haven’t been shy about exploiting class differences to advance their cause. They irrelevantly contrast his lawyer’s salary of $275,000 a year with the average pension of a city worker, which is $20,000.”
    I will stop there, as I will end up quoting the whole article as well as raising my blood pressure.

    How about this? Let’s put all the unemployed Detroiters to work cleaning up their city. Let’s pay them a living wage, so they can pay their taxes, buy goods and services, and even save a little for the future. It just sickens me. Nothing will be done that will benefit the servant class. Any plan for “saving the city” will only save the wealthy.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Berlin is the new London.

    I think Beijing wants to be the new DC.

    And Mars-bound India is the new Fort Canaveral.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Saudi nuclear weapons ‘on order’ from Pakistan.

    China loses face for not getting that deal, one supposes.

    Probably too insistent on bartering oil for bombs, refusing Saudi’s over-abundant US dollars…just guessing here.

  17. fresno dan

    What is an economy? Ian Welsh
    great column (I couldn’t get the link to work and googled it in)

    “If some group, in an economy, has a consistently higher rate of return than other groups over a long period of time, they WILL become dominant in that society absent a reaction by violent men. Period. Because they can use that money to decide what other people do. This is true not just of finance, it is true of any group of people controlling a bottleneck resource (see: oil, among others).

    You can solve this one of two ways: you can make sure no one gets these consistent outsize returns in the first place (remember, basic economics, if an industry is making more than average profits, they are not in a competitive market, there is an inefficiency). Or you can just take their excess profits away from them.

    IF you choose not to do so, because they have bought the system and created an ideology that says it is unfair to take money away from people who are given a systemic advantage by being allowed to create money from thin air and/or borrow it at prime when no one else can; or that the people allowed to control oil production should be allowed to keep all its benefits because they created the oil, or some such, then those people WILL come to control your society and they will create it in their image.”

    Think about primary dealers….and think about why there are so few when technologically you could have a million…
    Think about NOT why the banks were saved, but why the PEOPLE (I used the term “people” advisedly…) who ran them were (even though they didn’t know how to make loans that got paid back – or worse, was it because they did make loans that couldn’t be paid back???)
    And again:
    “remember, basic economics, if an industry is making more than average profits, they are not in a competitive market, there is an inefficiency” Funny how the capitalists forget that the market should be grinding down the compensation of CEO’s, if it really works as advertised…

    1. Doug

      fresno dan
      I think you might have come the closest to seeing what I am talking about.
      It is not that I am not aware of these other things that people have responded to my orignal post. I guess I was waiting for some kind of invitation to continue.
      fresno dan, you are absolutely right about one segment of society establishing an inequality over another. And normally what has occurred by that happening has been violence-in other words civil wars or revolutions in one form or another.
      In some ways, our democracy was forged by trying to find away to avoid settling differences by violence in finding some kind of a way to do that. Our democracy was made in the hopes of settling conflict through a process of debate and coming to a solution through the means of political process.
      Has this worked?
      Every society that has its members mostly satisfied by the government that rules seems to think that theirs has been, or is, the true way to be ruled, or to make rules to live by. But what it really comes down to is and has been a society satisfied in its stasis-ie. the economic, political and social status that most hold.
      This is almost straight out of Machiavelli and “The Prince”.
      Our country for the most part remains stable within itself because most of us still have a very high standard of living over most of the rest of the world. MOST of the people, and by that I would guess that over 75% of our population, have beyond basic needs being met.
      That is not to say that there are tens of millions who are not meeting their basic needs.
      Because of this, discontent is present in those tens of millions and those that see the trend in the STATUS of many widening BECAUSE of the imbalance between the rich verses the middle and lower classes.
      Do we want a stable society? Or do we want one where many in the Lower class cannot meet their needs? Can a society, in fact, BE stable when millions exist below the poverty line? Will the fact that a dramatic and huge difference between the very rich in a society and the very poor mean a society matter in terms of the continuing health of that society-the continued existence of it without it resorting to actions that cause it to disintegrate or fractionalize into parts or nothing.
      Should we try and stop this polarization, or merely recognize that competition for whatever one has in the individuals life be determined by that factor alone?
      Should we even care about those that fail to secure the income or resources for themselves to meet their basic needs as long as there is sa significant number of people that continue to manage this and even more than just meeting their needs?
      Why care if whoever rules us as long as WE remain unaffected?
      Perhaps this is the reason a frog gets boiled in water if it sits in it and every hour it is raised one degree until the frog dies. But perhaps we will never be boiled.
      How do we revers this to increase the power-the economic, political and social STATUS of the middle and lower classes?
      Our government has made futile attempts to do this by ASKING the rich to give the lower classes higher status. Yet the rich keep increasing their status while the lower classes continues to decrease.
      So instead of using the devices to entice or beg the rich to HELP US, we can help ourselves. We still have an enormous amnount of tax money generated by our society from the middle and lower classes. Instead of merely handing money our in entitlements, perhaps we should put it and the people needing it to better, more productive use than we have.
      I sincerely doubt those political entities who deride so called free entitlements will applaude those that make greatly reduce that need by making money.
      And that is what I have been trying to propose. Instead of saying-“You have no income or savings-here is some “until” you are “able” to get a “job”:why not say-“You need money? Okay, here’s a job.”
      Why doesn’t our government create a business for those who need money that produces a product and sells it?”
      Why doesn’t government pay those people enough money to meet their bills in doing so? And whatever money is not made by selling the product and is needed to keep the business going-we use our tax money to do this too. People don’t then have to be out of work, “subsidy” becomes the way to keep people working and paying their bills!
      Hey, isn’t large corporations-private business- finbding ways to pay people wages that WON’T meet their needs? So why don’t we use our tax money to do WHAT PRIVATE BUSINESS REFUSES TO DO?
      More later…….

  18. The Black Swan

    Has anyone else taken notice of the giant sh*tstorm going on around the change in YouTube that was enacted yesterday? I’ve never seen such a hostile reaction. I wonder if this is going to be one of the first big steps in push back against corporate overreach. 99% of the comments I’ve seen hate the new system and there are a lot of people talking about leaving YouTube or setting up a separate site.

    It also opens up a frightening thought where all of our access to the internet gets mediated through a couple companies that have complete control over what we see and how we see it.

    1. AbyNormal

      eek! so the great google troll is going to troll the trolls
      i don’t use the tube for socializing but its obvious where they’re going to take it

    2. Benjamin

      I’m quite enjoying it. People figured out within about two seconds that the character limit had been completely removed. So far I’ve seen War and Peace, Dante’s Inferno, and On Liberty posted.

  19. No kleptocracy left behind

    Vilification of Human Rights Council member states is traditional US statist propaganda. It attacks domestic popular support for human rights by associating them with US enemies.

    Of course the Human Rights Council includes countries with human-rights deficiencies. As in everything that goes on at the UN, acculturation helps the laggards by putting them together with achievers. The private sector does the same thing – it was called “best practices” (there’s probably some different jargon now.)

    Lots of people don’t understand this, including UN contingents on the ground. You always hear Joe-Bloe UN aid staff bitching about their Asian and African counterparts. But Joe Blow’s counterparts are watching him like a hawk, internalizing best practices, and taking his example back home. One classic example of a brutal animal who got acculturated is an assassin and aggressor who got to sit at the grownups’ table as UN representative and eventually came around to bringing his country into the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, submitting the state to comprehensive independent scrutiny. Maybe people heard of him: George H.W. Bush. That’s right, the scrutiny Obama is running from now is thanks to Poppy Bush.

    It’s monkey-see-monkey-do, and it even works on the shaved apes of the US government. But sometimes, when a regime’s conduct is persistently inexcusable, that pariah state .

  20. fresno dan

    Far, FAR, Far less than he deserves, but finally some accountability in the legal good ole boys system for rogue prosecutors (what am I saying – if they all act that way its not rogue…)

  21. ScottS

    Ars Technica

    Interesting that the MOTUs in B-school are way too confident/hard-pressed/stupid to pick a decent password. Puts me in mind of the video during the financial crisis of normal people j’accusing some Wall Streeters at a bar regarding their bonuses and the Wall Streeters defending their intelligence and deserving nature.

    Would be interesting to explore the psychology of this. I imagine it’s hubris (“Who would dare break into my account? I’m the boss!”).

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