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Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
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Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 02:04 PM
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Journal Archives

Weekend Economists Celebrate Turkeys We Have Known Thanksgiving, 2014

This economics stuff is for the birds.

First we have the chickens, who would like nothing better than to stick their savings in safe, secure, interest-bearing accounts: http://thumb9.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/641824/641824,1283510005,2/stock-photo-chicken-with-golden-eggs-60270979.jpg

Then we have the turkeys, who concoct all sorts of crazy policies and plots ostensibly for the "public welfare":

And then, there are the vultures, and their cousins, the crows: carrion eaters...

So, while you are enjoying a quiet, lavish Thanksgiving, try not to be a total turkey about it. Get stuffed, but keep your head!

I'll run this thread through Sunday, and if it gets too long, add a sequel...

Email Hacked? 7 Things You Need to do NOW


Email account theft is rampant. If it happens to you, there are several steps that you need to take not only to recover your account, but to prevent it from being easily hacked again.

It seems like not a day goes by where I don’t get a question from someone that boils down to their email account having been hacked. Someone, somewhere has gained access to their account and has started using it to send spam. Sometimes passwords are changed, sometimes not. Sometimes traces are left, sometimes not. Sometimes everything in the account is erased, both contacts and saved email, and sometimes not. But the one thing that all of these events share is that suddenly several people, usually those on your contact list, start getting email from “you” that you didn’t send at all.

Your email account has been hacked.

Here’s what you need to do next…

1. Recover Your Account

2. Change Your Password

3. Change Your Recovery Information

4. Check Related Accounts

5. Let Your Contacts Know

6. Start Backing Up

7. Learn From the Experience

8. If You’re Not Sure, Get Help

9. Share This Article

As I said, email account theft is rampant.

Share this article with friends and family – statistically, you or they will encounter someone who’s account has been hacked and who will need this information.

Use the Share buttons included with this article.
Share this short-URL: http://askleo.com/hacked to go directly to this article online.
A stand-alone PDF of this article is available for offline viewing: right click here and “Save Target As…” (or equivalent) to save a copy on your PC. Feel free to share this document with others. (Adobe Reader, FoxIt Reader, or equivalent PDF reading application required to view the document.)



Is it on my PC or not?

When faced with this situation, most people immediately believe that some form of malware has entered their computer and is responsible for email being sent out from their account.

That is rarely the case.

In the vast majority of these situations, your computer was never involved.

The problem is not on your PC. The problem is simply that someone else knows your account password and is logging into your account online.

They could very well be on the other side of the planet from you and your PC (and often, they are).

Yes, it’s possible that a key-logger on your PC was used to sniff your password. Yes, it’s possible that your PC was used in a non-secure way at an open WiFi hotspots. So, yes, absolutely, scan it for malware and use it safely, but don’t think for a moment that once you’re malware free, you’ve resolved the problem. You have not.

You need to follow the steps outlined to the left to regain access to your online account and protect your online account from further compromise.

You’ll use your PC, but your PC is not the problem.

The Modus Operandi for our time

I'm not sure that's English, but

The Fed Reserve is trying to maintain the status quo: all for the 1%, nothing for the trash under their feet (us, the 99%).

The fact that this is the path to the guillotine doesn't seem to disturb them in the slightest, BECAUSE IT'S DIFFERENT THIS TIME, OF COURSE!

After all, we have the NSA, CIA, all those alphabet agencies, working for us, and the military is bogged down in foreign wars for our benefit, including the National Guard, so we can bring in mercenaries if the plebes get restless, and mow them down. We've got FEMA camps for the dissidents, we've stolen everything that isn't nailed down, including the jobs and shipped it all overseas out of harm's way. Yep. we've got this.

And thus we see the stupidity, corruption, greed, and all the other Sins played out for us, once again, in a nation that tried from the beginning to overcome these temptations, but failed rather spectacularly because it needed the resources of the Obscenely Wealthy, and was too timid (and incestuous) to kill them off and just take them.

How Farming Almost Destroyed Ancient Human Civilization MUST READ



Roughly 9,000 years ago, humans had mastered farming to the point where food was plentiful. Populations boomed, and people began moving into large settlements full of thousands of people. And then, abruptly, these proto-cities were abandoned for millennia. It's one of the greatest mysteries of early human civilization....As people accumulated more food stores, women began giving birth to more children. Nomadic groups of 20 or 30 people became villages of 200. And some of those villages, like Çatalhöyük in the region today known as central Turkey, grew to a few thousand people....There were no palaces, no massive ziggurats or pyramids dedicated to the gods, and no signs of class distinction. Every family had a small, slightly rectangular one-room home with a hearth. Each home was roughly the same size. Streets didn't exist in Çatalhöyük — homes were erected next to each other, honeycomb-style, and people just walked over each other's roofs to get home through doors in their ceilings. Though there was art, there was no writing. And there was little in the way of specialized labor. Unlike in ancient Uruk or Mohenjo-Daro, there were no cottage industries in bead-making or weapons production. Families lived by hunting, but mostly by keeping farms and small herds of animals like goats in the nearby hills.

...Maybe Çatalhöyük didn't look much like cities as we know them, but it and other mega-sites were the most developed forms of settlement anywhere in the world at that time. They were the urban developments of their age, sheltering huge populations and fostering technological progress like cooking with dairy and making fired pottery (both were major high tech inventions in the Neolithic).

Here's where things get weird. In the mid-5000s BCE, Çatalhöyük was suddenly abandoned. The same thing happened to several other outsized village-cities in the Levant. Their populations drained away, and people returned to small village life for thousands of years. Below, you can see a graph showing how the size of settlements dropped dramatically about 7,000 years ago (5000 BCE)....Even more mysterious is the fact that we see a similar pattern — intensification of farming, booming population, growing settlements, and abandonment — elsewhere in the world. Farming came later to Western Europe and England, so we see this cycle starting roughly 5,000 years ago (around 3,000 BCE) in many European regions and in England.



In a sense, agriculture was a technology that came before human civilization was ready. It gave humans the means to grow into large settlements and proto-cities. But we'd spent tens of thousands of years as nomads before that, and weren't yet ready to abandon our ancient beliefs that no family should ever accumulate more than its neighbors. As a result, our earliest experiment with urbanism ended in failure. When the going got rough, with bad harvests and disease, humans preferred to abandon their nascent urban creations because we had not yet developed a social structure that would allow us to cope with the difficulties of city life.

It was a near miss. We almost didn't have the world of cities that we have today. If we hadn't come to terms with the agricultural revolution, it's possible that humans would never have been able to sustain communities larger than a village.

Weekend Economists' Variety Show! November 21-23, 2014

Variety is the spice of life, it is said. As one who has experienced more variety than I can even remember, I have to think there is a limit to how much any one person can take.

But spices! Now there's something that makes all that variety bearable! A pinch of this, a shake of that, and the dullest, most mismatched meal becomes a harmonious feast for all the senses.

Among other things, I cook for a living. I'm rather conservative with spices, since burning out my taste buds with horseradish, chilis, curry and wasabi does not improve my dining experience. But take away my spices, and I'll starve!

One of the greatest failings of our shredded safety net of food stamps, food pantries, and free meals for the hungry is that no one offers spices. Or cooking lessons.

I learned to cook from Fanny Farmer. Her famous Boston Cooking School series of cook books, updated regularly to go with the trends and times in food fashion, is a primary source for all the basics. She includes a list of spices and which foods they enhance.

Spice up your life (and ours). Tell us how you make raw food into a meal!

And we can discuss economics as we go, since economics determines if there is any food at all...


Lobbying Used to Be a Crime: A Review of Zephyr Teachout’s New Book on the Secret History of Corrupt


By Matt Stoller, who writes for Salon and has contributed to Politico, Alternet, The Nation and Reuters. You can reach him at stoller (at) gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller. Originally published at Medium and Firedoglake

If there’s one way to summarize Zephyr Teachout’s extraordinary book Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United, it is that today we are living in Benjamin Franklin’s dystopia. Her basic contention, which is not unfamiliar to most of us in sentiment if not in detail, is that the modern Supreme Court has engaged in a revolutionary reinterpretation of corruption and therefore in American political life. This outlook, written by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the famous Citizens United case, understands and celebrates America as a brutal and Hobbesian competitive struggle among self-interested actors attempting to use money to gain personal benefits in the public sphere.

What makes the book so remarkable is its scope and ability to link current debates to our rich and forgotten history. Perhaps this has been done before, but if it has, I have never seen it. Liberals tend to think that questions about electoral and political corruption started in the 1970s, in the Watergate era. What Teachout shows is that these questions were foundational in the American Revolution itself, and every epoch since. They are in fact questions fundamental to the design of democracy.

Teachout starts her book by telling the story of a set of debates that took place even before the Constitution was ratified — whether American officials could take gifts from foreign kings. The French King, as a matter of diplomatic process, routinely gave diamond-encrusted snuff boxes to foreign ambassadors. Americans, adopting a radical Dutch provision banning such gifts, wrestled with the question of temptation to individual public servants versus international diplomatic norms. The gifts ban, she argues, was evidence of a particular demanding notion of corruption at the heart of American legal history. These rules, ‘bright-line’ rules versus ‘corrupt-intent’ rules, govern temptation and structure. They cover innocent and illicit activity, as opposed to bribery rules which are organized solely around quid pro quo corruption.

The Constitution is full of such bright-line rules. For instance, the residency requirement was intended to protect against ‘adventurers’ and the takings clause protects private property and has an anti-monopoly interpretive framework. The census, rules on representation of House members, the regular electoral cycle of two year terms, age requirements (to prevent dynasties), requirements for legislative journals, salary payments for legislators, and prohibitions on holding legislative and other offices are all anti-corruption provisions. The founders, Teachout argues, were obsessed with corruption. They had seen their beloved British system fall into the trap of corruption, with ‘place men’ (members of parliament dependent on the king) and rotten boroughs, and sought to prevent a recurrence in America.

Teachout points out something fairly obvious, but not recognized today — the theoretical underpinning of the American revolution was that a corrupt government had no legitimacy to govern....MORE

The Secret Lists that Swiped the Senate By Greg Palast

Tuesday, 18. November, 2014 FROM AN EMAIL...

Statistics guru Nate Silver simply can’t understand why every single legitimate poll indicated that Democrats should have gotten 4% more votes in the midterm elections than appeared in the final count. The answer, Nate, is “Crosscheck.”

No question, Republicans trounced Democrats in the Midterm elections. But, if not for the boost of this voter-roll purge system used in 23 Republican-controlled states, the GOP could not have taken the US Senate. It took the Palast investigations team six months to get our hands on the raw files, fighting against every official trick to keep them hidden. Here’s what we found.

Interstate Crosscheck is computer system that officials claim can identify anyone who commits the crime of voting twice in the same election in two different states. While the current list of seven million “suspects” did not yield a single conviction for double voting, Crosscheck did provide the grounds for removing the registrations of tens of thousands of voters in battleground states.
The purge proved decisive in North Carolina, Colorado, Kansas and elsewhere. Without Crosscheck, the GOP could not have taken control of the US Senate.

Nate Silver might want to punch these numbers into his laptop:

In North Carolina, Republican Thom Tillis upset incumbent Senator Kay Hagan by just 48,511 votes. North Carolina’s Crosscheck purge list targeted a stunning 589,393 voters.

In Colorado, Cory Gardner, the Republican, defeated Mark Udall by just 49,729 votes. Colorado’s Crosscheck “potential double voter” list totals 300,842.

The Crosscheck purge list also swamped GOP Senate margins in Alaska and Georgia and likely provided the victory margins for GOP gubernatorial victories in Kansas and Massachusetts.

No, states do not purge every name on the lists. Typical is Virginia which proudly purged 64,581 “duplicates” from its voter rolls in 2013, equal to about 19% of its Crosscheck list. Other states refuse to provide numbers, but their scrub methods are the same, or even more aggressive, than Virginia’s. We can conservatively calculate that the purge of 19% of the Crosscheck lists accounted for at least three GOP Senate victories – and thereby, control of the Senate. If the Crosscheck lists truly identified fraudulent double voters, then we’d have to concede that the election results are legit. But the ugly truth is, the lists are nothing more than racially-loaded lists of common names.

And that’s why GOP Secretaries of State, a gaggle of Katherine Harrises, hid the lists until we cracked through the official wall of denial and concealment. These election chieftains refused our demands for the lists on the grounds that these millions of voters are all suspects in a criminal investigation and so must remain confidential. Eventually (and legally), we were able to get our hands on 2.1 million of the 6.9 million names—and had them analyzed by the same list experts who advise eBay and American Express. What we found is simply a giant list of common names—a lot of voters named Michael Jackson, David Lee and Juan Rodriguez. The racial smell of it was apparent and awful. As the US Census tells us, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are 67% more likely to share a common name as a white American. In other words, the lists heavily targeted “blue” Americans, Democratic leaning voters.

While state officials claimed that the criminal double voters were matched by social security number and other key identifiers, we discovered that, in fact, they only matched first and last name. Nearly two million of the pairs of names lacked middle name matches. Example: James Elmer Barnes Jr. who voted in Georgia is supposed to be the same person as James Cross Barnes III of Virginia.

Republican officials have gone to great lengths to cover Crosscheck’s operations. Voters purged are not told they are accused of voting twice. The procedure, created by Kansas’ Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is to send a postcard to each “duplicate” voter requiring them to re-verify their registration. A large percentage are never delivered—Americans, especially renters and lower-income Americans, move often—or cards are tossed away confused for junk mail. Brad Friedman, the investigative reporter with encyclopedic knowledge of elections shenanigans, was also bemused by Nate Silver’s confusion over the missing Democratic four percent. He cites the Crosscheck purges we discovered and adds in all the other tried and true methods of bending the vote, from Photo ID restrictions to missing voter registrations and a deliberate shortage of paper ballots in minority precincts. In Georgia alone, 56,000 registration forms collected by a coalition of minority voting rights groups were simply not added to the voter rolls.

The Tool to Take 2016

The purge of those snared in the Crosscheck dragnet has only just begun. The process of actually removing names from the voter rolls is subtle and slow, involving several steps over many months. Some states mark their voters on the Crosscheck list as “inactive”— which means that, if they failed to vote in this midterm election, they will be blocked from voting in 2016. As a result, Crosscheck will take an even bigger bite out of the 2016 voter rolls. This bodes ill for the upcoming Presidential contest when, once again, Ohio is expected to be decisive. Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, John Husted, has embraced Crosscheck.

We enlisted Columbus State University professor Robert Fitrakis, an expert in voting law to canvas county voting officials. He found these local elections officials concerned that the Republican Secretary of State is pushing counties to scrub voter rolls of “duplicates” within 30 days of receiving the names from the Secretary’s office. This gives counties little time and no resources to verify if an accused voter has, in fact, voted in a second state. Secretary of State Husted has refused to give us the list of the 469,201 names on Ohio’s Crosscheck list—but we’ve obtained thousands anyway. We found that Ohio’s lists have the same glaring mismatches as we saw in the Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia lists.

We have now launched an investigation to uncover the names of all the voters Ohio plans to scrub from the registration rolls by 2016. The answer may well determine who will choose our next president: the voters or Crosscheck.


Robert Reich: The Real Reason Democrats Lost Big on Election Day


...If you want a single reason for why Democrats lost big on Election Day 2014 it’s this: Median household income continues to drop. This is the first “recovery” in memory when this has happened. Jobs are coming back but wages aren’t. Every month the job numbers grow but the wage numbers go nowhere. Most new jobs are in part-time or low-paying positions. They pay less than the jobs lost in the Great Recession. This wageless recovery has been made all the worse because pay is less predictable than ever. Most Americans don’t know what they’ll be earning next year or even next month. Two-thirds are now living paycheck to paycheck.

So why is this called a “recovery” at all? Because, technically, the economy is growing. But almost all the gains from that growth are going to a small minority at the top. In fact, 100 percent of the gains have gone to the best-off 10 percent. Ninety-five percent have gone to the top 1 percent. The stock market has boomed. Corporate profits are through the roof. CEO pay, in the stratosphere. Yet most Americans feel like they’re still in a recession. And they’re convinced the game is rigged against them.

  • Fifty years ago, just 29 percent of voters believed government is “run by a few big interests looking out for themselves.” Now, 79 percent think so.

  • According to Pew, the percentage of Americans who believe most people who want to get ahead can do so through hard work has plummeted 14 points since 2000.

    What the President and other Democrats failed to communicate wasn’t their accomplishments. It was their understanding that the economy is failing most Americans and big money is overrunning our democracy. And they failed to convey their commitment to an economy and a democracy that serve the vast majority rather than a minority at the top...

  • The Author of the Obamacare Clusterfuck Speaks about "Stupid American Voters"




    think for a minute about what Gruber’s magic box is really doing; far from being a “statistically sophisticated” “micro-simulation model,” it’s really got exactly one output, and it emits that output every single run when der Blinkenlights stop flashing: “Not single payer.” That’s by design; and Gruber’s software is quite performant. That’s why the the “long advocated” point that Krugman makes defending Gruber against Greenwald is irrelevant:

    "And one more thing: what Gruber has had to say about health reform in the current debate is entirely consistent with his previous academic work. There’s not a hint that he has changed views, or altered his model, to accommodate the Obama administration."

    That’s at best silly and at worse disingenous; the single output of Gruber’s model (“not single payer”) never changes by design, and the basic parameters of the model were set by the Heritage Foundation in 1989, and all Gruber’s clients accept them; indeed, they hire them to validate their assumptions, not for simulation. Krugman is treating Gruber as if he were a scholar, when in fact Gruber is a consultant doing work-for-hire; his clients’ requirements have not changed, so naturally his deliverables have not changed.
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