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Fri Dec 4, 2015, 10:21 PM

WEE December 4, 2015 I'll start......I'll start with some......


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Reply WEE December 4, 2015 I'll start......I'll start with some...... (Original post)
Hotler Dec 2015 OP
Hotler Dec 2015 #1
Hotler Dec 2015 #2
Hotler Dec 2015 #3
MattSh Dec 2015 #47
hamerfan Dec 2015 #4
MattSh Dec 2015 #6
magical thyme Dec 2015 #13
mother earth Dec 2015 #19
bread_and_roses Dec 2015 #43
MattSh Dec 2015 #45
bread_and_roses Dec 2015 #46
MattSh Dec 2015 #48
Hotler Dec 2015 #60
Proserpina Dec 2015 #63
Hotler Dec 2015 #15
MattSh Dec 2015 #5
MattSh Dec 2015 #7
hamerfan Dec 2015 #10
MattSh Dec 2015 #12
Proserpina Dec 2015 #32
MattSh Dec 2015 #8
Proserpina Dec 2015 #51
Proserpina Dec 2015 #52
MattSh Dec 2015 #9
Hotler Dec 2015 #17
mother earth Dec 2015 #25
haikugal Dec 2015 #58
MattSh Dec 2015 #11
MattSh Dec 2015 #14
Proserpina Dec 2015 #33
Hotler Dec 2015 #16
hamerfan Dec 2015 #18
Hotler Dec 2015 #20
hamerfan Dec 2015 #23
Hotler Dec 2015 #22
Fuddnik Dec 2015 #24
MattSh Dec 2015 #21
MattSh Dec 2015 #26
hamerfan Dec 2015 #27
antigop Dec 2015 #28
Hotler Dec 2015 #61
antigop Dec 2015 #62
Hotler Dec 2015 #29
Hotler Dec 2015 #30
Hotler Dec 2015 #31
Proserpina Dec 2015 #34
Proserpina Dec 2015 #35
Proserpina Dec 2015 #36
Proserpina Dec 2015 #37
Proserpina Dec 2015 #38
Proserpina Dec 2015 #39
Proserpina Dec 2015 #40
Proserpina Dec 2015 #41
Proserpina Dec 2015 #42
hamerfan Dec 2015 #44
MattSh Dec 2015 #49
MattSh Dec 2015 #50
Proserpina Dec 2015 #53
Proserpina Dec 2015 #54
MattSh Dec 2015 #55
MattSh Dec 2015 #56
MattSh Dec 2015 #57
antigop Dec 2015 #59

Response to Hotler (Original post)

Fri Dec 4, 2015, 10:37 PM

1. Madoff victims get holiday treat with $1.1 million checks

I think it would great to see the list of people and institutions that lost money with Bernard and was "made whole ". He goes to jail and the likes of Jamie Dimon, Loyd Blankfein and friends still run free.
I'll be back, going for a beer.


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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Fri Dec 4, 2015, 10:58 PM

2. More music......Some blues featuring Steve Earle

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Fri Dec 4, 2015, 11:08 PM

3. Ask me what I am drinking. What are you drinking Hotler?

Why thanks for asking, I'm Drinking a Prost pilisner. Cold, crisp, not too hoppy, finishes clean.

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Response to Hotler (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 10:27 AM

47. Well, I first saw this post after some vodka...

But right now I'm drinking what's currently known as Obolon Kievsky, though before it got this name, it was always known as "Obolon 3 day beer". That's because it's unfiltered, and there are no additives or preservatives, so it starts going bad after a couple of days. So you can only buy it at the brewery. Sadly at this time of year, we don't go by the brewery too often.

A doctor recommended it to us, and he's currently 84 years old. So that's good enough for me!

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 02:27 AM

4. Good combination!

Music and liquor:

PS... Anyone know if Demeter can come out to play?

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 03:49 AM

6. Demeter's status is sadly unchanged...

Gender: Female
Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home country: USA
About Demeter

Statistics and Information

Account status: Flagged for review
Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 09:04 PM
Number of posts: 85,373
Number of posts, last 90 days: 2839
Favorite forum: Latest Breaking News, 258 posts in the last 90 days (9% of total posts)
Favorite group: Economy, 1458 posts in the last 90 days (51% of total posts)
Last post: Sat Nov 28, 2015, 03:41 PM

Willing to serve on Juries: Yes
Eligible to serve on Juries: Yes
Chance of serving on Juries: 0% (explain)

Demeter is not currently hosting any forums or groups.


Looks to me like it's a full-fledged time out, not a 1-2 day status review, whatever that is.

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Response to MattSh (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 08:49 AM

13. or PPRd without being PPRd...check this out


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Response to MattSh (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 01:23 PM

19. I can't believe she got a time out for posting a legitimate article from a legitimate source.

I purposely spend less time at DU these days. I thought Demeter was sick, and now I realize in the past, she posted even when she was many times sick, now I know how more and more this place is becoming a tightrope walk. Smacks of freepers, truth be told, rather than democratic support, but then politics surely has moved to the right, without a doubt, and all it entails.

Wherever Demeter is, I hope she is reading, and knows we support her & miss her immensely. She is the Economy board imho, and I would have it no other way.

May the doors swing open soon for you, Ms. Demeter. You are sorely missed.

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Response to MattSh (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 09:11 AM

43. What? What? Someone clue me in?

I have not been over here even to read just because I've been so tired ... I love SMW & WE but it takes a certain level of intellectual energy to engage (and that's a good thing, of course!) and I just have not had it ....

So I have no idea what is going on - I saw a few posts from Demeter not that long ago - within the week? - elsewhere on site. Can someone point me to a thread, or something?

I totally loathe the incessant alerting and monitoring on this site - & it's reached Orwellian levels lately - SMW & WE was always a refuge from all that.

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Response to bread_and_roses (Reply #43)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 10:16 AM

45. Happened last weekend...

Apparently she got two posts blocked in one thread, one that should have obviously (or maybe not) been taken as sarcasm but wasn't.

If I can locate that thread, I'll post it here so that it can be added to the Hall of Infamy.

Just made that up. There isn't such a hall that I know of, but maybe there should be?

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Response to MattSh (Reply #45)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 10:22 AM

46. Thanks, MattSh (n/t)

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Response to bread_and_roses (Reply #46)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 10:33 AM

48. Here's a link to the Hall of Infamy post...


About that guy that shot up Planned Parenthood.

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Response to MattSh (Reply #48)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 05:21 PM

60. "Combo ski trip/mass murder" Thats funny, cracks me up ....

everytime I read it. We miss you Demeter.

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Response to Hotler (Reply #60)

Mon Dec 7, 2015, 07:27 AM

63. Shows you have a sense of the ridiculous


Mom is fine, had a big concert Sunday, is seriously considering giving it up because of the working conditions. She's really grumpy lately, large areas of dissatisfaction that need to be addressed. In her spare time, of course.

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 10:30 AM

15. Great song, real heart breaker n/t

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 03:43 AM

5. Well...

I was expecting to get this started today, but I guess this saves me the trouble! But since my theme was going to be peering into the crystal ball for 2016, and I've got some stuff about that already, it will be coming soon.

From yesterday...

9. WEE Theme: Time to get out your crystal balls everybody!

New predictions for next year, 2016. Will there be a choice worth voting for? Will the economy go belly up? Or the empire? Will new technology save the day or are we all basically screwed? Is it time for another big one (war, that is)?

Old predictions, from last year, last decade, or last century. What's come true, what has not? Might some of this still come true?

There's so many so-called professionals that do this every year, and do it poorly. Show that wee have a better handle on this prognostication stuff than the so-called pros do.

See you this WEEkend!

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 04:21 AM

7. Unlike mainstream prognosticators, who seem to always find a silver lining. Or 100...

We here at WEE pride ourselves on going beyond the usual "Don't Worry, Be Happy" BS the mainstream media usually peddle. And I believe our major failing is believing that TPTB don't have a couple more rabbits to pull out of their hat to keep the illusions going, what, a few more weeks, a few more months, maybe a year or two more? Could it possibly last another decade? But at some point, that magic hat has to run out of rabbits, doesn't it? But if that magic hat doesn't run out of rabbits, climate change will kill them off. `

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Response to MattSh (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 06:47 AM

10. As long as the printing presses keep going,

I'm guessing the illusion will too.

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 08:33 AM

12. Yeah... but...

There has to be some faith that those little green pieces of paper have something of value behind them. I mean, how many times can we use the White House and the US Congress as collateral?

Or, of course, the threat of the use of force. That's been a favorite go to response lately.

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Response to MattSh (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 09:52 PM

32. A currency fails when the banks stop using it


and as far as anyone can see, the $ is still the drug of choice amongst banksters, despite the recent addition of the Yuan to Special Drawing rights, and the multiple commodity trades that do not use the dollar as intermediary between foreign countries...

China’s Renminbi Is Approved by I.M.F. as a Main World Currency


The Chinese renminbi was anointed as one of the world’s elite currencies on Monday, a milestone decision by the International Monetary Fund that underscores the country’s rising financial and economic heft.

The move will help pave the way for broader use of the renminbi in trade and finance, securing China’s standing as a global economic power. Just four other currencies — the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen — have the I.M.F. designation.

But the path to the I.M.F. decision, a bumpy process that stretches back years, also introduced new uncertainty into China’s economy and financial system.

To meet the I.M.F. requirements, China was forced to give up some of its tight control over the currency, culminating in the abrupt devaluation of the renminbi that shook global markets in August. The changes could inject fresh volatility into the country, at a time when its economy is already slowing....

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 04:24 AM

8. What Forbes is predicting...

Fortune's predictions for 2016 in business, politics, markets and more - Fortune

Fortune’s predictions about the events, people and ideas that will matter in 2016, in business, politics, technology and more.

Presidential election years bring out the Nostradamus in all of us. But beyond the White House horse race, there will be plenty of other big changes to anticipate in 2016 in business, culture, and the economy. To predict just what they’ll be, the staff of Fortune has parsed the data and polled the experts; here, with humility, we’ve assembled our own educated guesses about the year ahead.

Our forecast: Look for Apple AAPL 3.32% and Serena Williams to keep soaring while Pfizer PFE 1.02% and GE GE 1.53% get smaller. As tech euphoria collides with reality, expect some unicorns to lose their horns while others disappear. Cyberespionage will rise sharply; interest rates will not. There will be big breakthroughs in how you get around, including an affordable “hoverboard.” And most important, there will be modest but real GDP growth —between 2.6% and 2.8% in the U.S., higher in emerging economies—as a resilient world defies fears of a China-driven crash.

And predictions in these areas:

• Corporate America: Boards, mergers and breakups

Here’s How Many Fortune 500 Board Seats Women Will Hold

Activist Investors Will Get Less Active

Hudson’s Bay Will Buy Macy’s

A New-Media Juggernaut Will Buy An Old Media Brand

Hostile Takeover Battles Will Surge

Healthcare’s M&A Flood Will Ebb

Pfizer Will Break Up

• Silicon Valley and Tech Companies

Apple Will Buy Tesla…

…While Becoming the First $800 Billion Company

Unicorn Investing Will Get Ugly

Why Jack Dorsey Will Leave Square (But Stay at Twitter)

The Cybersecurity Startup Boom Will End

An Entrenched Computer Security Company Will Get Hacked

The Food-Delivery Bubble Will Pop

• Politics

Campaign Ad Spending Will Have Another Boom Year

This GOP Ticket…

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, an unrivaled communicator within his party who deftly straddles its warring wings, will emerge from the GOP presidential scrum as the nominee. Doubling down on the “youthful D.C. outsider” contrast he intends to press against Clinton, Rubio will tap South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 43, as his running mate. The fellow second-generation American from the Sun Belt, now in her second term, maintains solid approval numbers at home. More importantly, her handling of the state’s Confederate flag controversy expanded her support among constituencies — including African-Americans and self-identified Democrats — who’ll be key to any Republican victory. —Tory Newmyer

…Will Take On These Democrats

Hillary Clinton will enjoy a near-unimpeded march to her party’s nomination. But the primaries will reveal her troubling weakness among white working-class men. She’ll try to address it by rounding out her ticket with Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a Harvard-educated former civil rights lawyer who’s nonetheless got lunchbucket cred as the successful former governor of a Southern state. Bonus: He speaks fluent Spanish. —Newmyer

My note: Anybody see a problem with both of these tickets? The GOP, from Florida and South Carolina, and the Dems, from New York (or Arkansas) and Virginia. So... Whatever happened to regional balance? Is that still a thing? Or is that so 20th century?

The Democrats Will (Narrowly) Retake the Senate

Another 6 States Will Go Green (With Legal Pot)

Obama Will Take a Parting Shot at Big Donors

• Science Breakthroughs

Warm-Weather Athletes Will Get Self-Cooling Clothes

The Private Sector Will Engineer a Fusion Breakthrough

A New Drug Will Show Promise in the Alzheimer’s Fight

• Consumer Trends

‘Hoverboards’ Will Wobble Into the Mainstream

Robots Will Do More of Your Driving

Cyberspies Will Attack Your Inbox

Full-Fat Will Be the New Fat-Free

These Popular Foods Will Get More Expensive

• Markets and the Global Economy

Consumers (and Rate Cuts) Keep China Growing

Here’s How Much Interest Rates Will Rise in 2016

Here’s Where the S&P 500 Will Be at the End of 2016

What Oil Will Cost at the End of 2016

• Sports

Serena Williams Will Cash In With Endorsement Deals

Pro Football Gets Bigger — in the U.S. and China

The NHL Will Expand—to Another Snow-Free City

Under Armour Will Sign a Big Deal With Ronda Rousey

What Fortune Got Right and Wrong in 2015

On the money: We correctly forecast that China’s growth would slow to 7%. We also called the ongoing boom in China’s domestic smartphone industry. We predicted that U.S. wage growth would improve. And we foresaw that the extra income would fuel faster spending on home improvements.

Partial credit: We said Congress would break its gridlock to advance Pacific trade talks; they did, though a final deal still isn’t assured.

Where we whiffed: We said Amazon would follow the disappointing Fire Phone with a new, better phone; that hasn’t happened yet. We predicted falling prices would make solar energy cheaper than fossil fuel in most states; that was overly exuberant. And we forecast a “booming” rebound for oil. (We’re still waiting.)

-----> http://fortune.com/predictions-2016-future-business/

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Response to MattSh (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 10:59 AM

51. Don't bet on it: These 2015 predictions were way off base



It's that time of year again, when everyone starts pushing out their predictions for next year. (And yes, that includes this organization.) Some 2016 predictions are already out, such as those at Fortune and Macworld.

But let's face it: Most of those predictions end up being wrong. We can be safe in taking them with a (giant) grain of salt — or perhaps discounting them altogether.

For reference, here's a sampling of predictions put out last December, trying to forecast what would happen this year.

Fortune said the S&P 500 would close the year at 2312, but we can safely say that's not going to happen (The index closed Friday just below 2100). It also predicted "mom jeans get hot" (needless to say they didn't) and "football helmets get a lot more futuristic."

Then there are vague predictions, that you can't exactly measure or give a precise result for. The Atlantic offered "4 expert predictions for the global economy in 2015", yet each prediction was a story at least five paragraphs long. One of the predictions said the US faces a debt "reckoning" —but that didn't really happen, did it?

well, not yet... more

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Response to MattSh (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 11:00 AM

52. US economy recession odds '65 percent': Investor



The U.S. dollar had its biggest one-day decline this week in nearly six years after the European Central Bank surprised the world with a smaller-than-expected stimulus package.

Despite the move, one prominent market observer said the dollar will continue to get stronger — and the U.S. economy will only get worse.

Although the November jobs report that showed the U.S. economy generated a net 211,000 new positions, Raoul Pal, the publisher of The Global Macro Investor, reiterated his bearishness ahead of a widely expected interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in mid-December.

"The economic situation is deteriorating fast. And meanwhile the Fed seems to want to raise interest rates into that, which I think is a bit of a policy mistake and I think the market is getting more and more concerned from not understanding why they're doing it," Pal told CNBC's "Fast Money" last week.


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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 05:06 AM

9. Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US

I like to roll out this oldie but goodie every once in awhile. While this will soon be 10 years old, for those who believe the USA is on an unsustainable path, it's quite instructive of what the future might bring should the USA continues to stumble.

Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am not an expert or a scholar or an activist. I am more of an eye-witness. I watched the Soviet Union collapse, and I have tried to put my observations into a concise message. I will leave it up to you to decide just how urgent a message it is.

My talk tonight is about the lack of collapse-preparedness here in the United States. I will compare it with the situation in the Soviet Union, prior to its collapse. The rhetorical device I am going to use is the "Collapse Gap" – to go along with the Nuclear Gap, and the Space Gap, and various other superpower gaps that were fashionable during the Cold War.

Slide 2 - The subject of economic collapse is generally a sad one. But I am an optimistic, cheerful sort of person, and I believe that, with a bit of preparation, such events can be taken in stride. As you can probably surmise, I am actually rather keen on observing economic collapses. Perhaps when I am really old, all collapses will start looking the same to me, but I am not at that point yet.

And this next one certainly has me intrigued. From what I've seen and read, it seems that there is a fair chance that the U.S. economy will collapse sometime within the foreseeable future. It also would seem that we won't be particularly well-prepared for it. As things stand, the U.S. economy is poised to perform something like a disappearing act. And so I am eager to put my observations of the Soviet collapse to good use.

Slide 3 - I anticipate that some people will react rather badly to having their country compared to the USSR. I would like to assure you that the Soviet people would have reacted similarly, had the United States collapsed first. Feelings aside, here are two 20th century superpowers, who wanted more or less the same things – things like technological progress, economic growth, full employment, and world domination – but they disagreed about the methods. And they obtained similar results – each had a good run, intimidated the whole planet, and kept the other scared. Each eventually went bankrupt.

Slide 4 - The USA and the USSR were evenly matched in many categories, but let me just mention four.

The Soviet manned space program is alive and well under Russian management, and now offers first-ever space charters. The Americans have been hitching rides on the Soyuz while their remaining spaceships sit in the shop.

The arms race has not produced a clear winner, and that is excellent news, because Mutual Assured Destruction remains in effect. Russia still has more nuclear warheads than the US, and has supersonic cruise missile technology that can penetrate any missile shield, especially a nonexistent one.

The Jails Race once showed the Soviets with a decisive lead, thanks to their innovative GULAG program. But they gradually fell behind, and in the end the Jails Race has been won by the Americans, with the highest percentage of people in jail ever.

The Hated Evil Empire Race is also finally being won by the Americans. It's easy now that they don't have anyone to compete against.

Slide 5 - Continuing with our list of superpower similarities, many of the problems that sunk the Soviet Union are now endangering the United States as well. Such as a huge, well-equipped, very expensive military, with no clear mission, bogged down in fighting Muslim insurgents. Such as energy shortfalls linked to peaking oil production. Such as a persistently unfavorable trade balance, resulting in runaway foreign debt. Add to that a delusional self-image, an inflexible ideology, and an unresponsive political system.

Slide 6 - An economic collapse is amazing to observe, and very interesting if described accurately and in detail. A general description tends to fall short of the mark, but let me try. An economic arrangement can continue for quite some time after it becomes untenable, through sheer inertia. But at some point a tide of broken promises and invalidated assumptions sweeps it all out to sea. One such untenable arrangement rests on the notion that it is possible to perpetually borrow more and more money from abroad, to pay for more and more energy imports, while the price of these imports continues to double every few years. Free money with which to buy energy equals free energy, and free energy does not occur in nature. This must therefore be a transient condition. When the flow of energy snaps back toward equilibrium, much of the US economy will be forced to shut down.

Slide 7 - I've described what happened to Russia in some detail in one of my articles, which is available on SurvivingPeakOil.com. I don't see why what happens to the United States should be entirely dissimilar, at least in general terms. The specifics will be different, and we will get to them in a moment. We should certainly expect shortages of fuel, food, medicine, and countless consumer items, outages of electricity, gas, and water, breakdowns in transportation systems and other infrastructure, hyperinflation, widespread shutdowns and mass layoffs, along with a lot of despair, confusion, violence, and lawlessness. We definitely should not expect any grand rescue plans, innovative technology programs, or miracles of social cohesion.

Slide 8 - When faced with such developments, some people are quick to realize what it is they have to do to survive, and start doing these things, generally without anyone's permission. A sort of economy emerges, completely informal, and often semi-criminal. It revolves around liquidating, and recycling, the remains of the old economy. It is based on direct access to resources, and the threat of force, rather than ownership or legal authority. People who have a problem with this way of doing things, quickly find themselves out of the game.

These are the generalities. Now let's look at some specifics.

Slide 9 - One important element of collapse-preparedness is making sure that you don't need a functioning economy to keep a roof over your head. In the Soviet Union, all housing belonged to the government, which made it available directly to the people. Since all housing was also built by the government, it was only built in places that the government could service using public transportation. After the collapse, almost everyone managed to keep their place.

In the United States, very few people own their place of residence free and clear, and even they need an income to pay real estate taxes. People without an income face homelessness. When the economy collapses, very few people will continue to have an income, so homelessness will become rampant. Add to that the car-dependent nature of most suburbs, and what you will get is mass migrations of homeless people toward city centers.

Slide 10 - Soviet public transportation was more or less all there was, but there was plenty of it. There were also a few private cars, but so few that gasoline rationing and shortages were mostly inconsequential. All of this public infrastructure was designed to be almost infinitely maintainable, and continued to run even as the rest of the economy collapsed.

The population of the United States is almost entirely car-dependent, and relies on markets that control oil import, refining, and distribution. They also rely on continuous public investment in road construction and repair. The cars themselves require a steady stream of imported parts, and are not designed to last very long. When these intricately interconnected systems stop functioning, much of the population will find itself stranded.

Slide 11 - Economic collapse affects public sector employment almost as much as private sector employment, eventually. Because government bureaucracies tend to be slow to act, they collapse more slowly. Also, because state-owned enterprises tend to be inefficient, and stockpile inventory, there is plenty of it left over, for the employees to take home, and use in barter. Most Soviet employment was in the public sector, and this gave people some time to think of what to do next.

Private enterprises tend to be much more efficient at many things. Such laying off their people, shutting their doors, and liquidating their assets. Since most employment in the United States is in the private sector, we should expect the transition to permanent unemployment to be quite abrupt for most people.

Yep, there's a lot more at the link...

-----> http://www.resilience.org/stories/2006-12-04/closing-collapse-gap-ussr-was-better-prepared-collapse-us

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Response to MattSh (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 11:18 AM

17. A must read. I agree that when....

the fall comes it will fall vey hard.

Slide [28] I hope that I didn't make it sound as if the Soviet collapse was a walk in the park, because it was really quite awful in many ways. The point that I do want to stress is that when this economy collapses, it is bound to be much worse. Another point I would like to stress is that collapse here is likely to be permanent. The factors that allowed Russia and the other former Soviet republics to recover are not present here.

In spite of all this, I believe that in every age and circumstance, people can sometimes find not just a means and a reason to survive, but enlightenment, fulfillment, and freedom. If we can find them even after the economy collapses, then why not start looking for them now?

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Response to Hotler (Reply #17)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 01:45 PM

25. TY, hotler, for being another really good reason to love this group. :)

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Response to mother earth (Reply #25)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 11:46 AM

58. I agree..

Orlov is a sobering must read. Believe the happy horse shit at your peril.

This is a great group...

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 07:25 AM

11. The Countries With The Highest Levels Of Poverty For Retirees [Infographic] - Forbes

Last edited Sat Dec 5, 2015, 09:02 AM - Edit history (1)

Once again, the USA is near the head (of the wrong end) of the pack.

A recent report showed that 12.6 percent of people aged 65 and over in OECD countries are living in relative income poverty. That is defined as an income below half the national median equivalised household income. Older women are at greater risk of poverty than men with “the older old” (75 and older) falling on hard times more frequently than “the younger old” (aged 66-75).

Where is global retiree poverty most and least prevalent? According to the figures in the report, the poverty rate among over-65s is alarmingly high in South Korea, 50 percent. In Australia and the United States, income poverty among pensioners is also high, standing at 35.5 percent and 21.5 percent, respectively. By contrast, the Netherlands and France both have much lower rates of pensioner poverty. The report cites a pension system that has not fully matured as one of the reasons for the high rate of poverty among elderly South Koreans.

-----> http://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2015/12/02/which-countries-have-the-highest-levels-of-poverty-for-pensioners-infographic/

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 09:09 AM

14. Musical Interlude - In the Year 2525

Some of this is happening already, and we're still 500+ years away from the first date mentioned.

In the year 2525, if man is still alive
If woman can survive, they may find

In the year 3535
Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lie
Everything you think, do and say
Is in the pill you took today

In the year 4545
You ain't gonna need your teeth, won't need your eyes
You won't find a thing to chew
Nobody's gonna look at you

In the year 5555
Your arms hangin' limp at your sides
Your legs got nothin' to do
Some machine's doin' that for you

In the year 6565
You won't need no husband, won't need no wife
You'll pick your son, pick your daughter too
From the bottom of a long glass tube

In the year 7510
If God's a coming, He oughta make it by then
Maybe He'll look around Himself and say
Guess it's time for the judgment day

In the year 8510
God is gonna shake His mighty head
He'll either say I'm pleased where man has been
Or tear it down, and start again

In the year 9595
I'm kinda wonderin' if man is gonna be alive
He's taken everything this old earth can give
And he ain't put back nothing

Now it's been ten thousand years
Man has cried a billion tears
For what, he never knew, now man's reign is through
But through eternal night, the twinkling of starlight
So very far away, maybe it's only yesterday

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Response to MattSh (Reply #14)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 09:55 PM

33. God, that's a depressing song


Explains the 60's, though.

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 10:39 AM

16. Here's why Wall Street is worried about 2016

The latest downer comes from Morgan Stanley. In a research note sent to clients over the weekend, Morgan’s top equity strategists predicted that the S&P 500 will rise by just 4% next year to 2,175. The widely watched index is currently at 2,084. And that’s after being up by just 1.5% in 2015.

Last week, Goldman put out its own warning, saying stocks will basically not rise next year. Analysts from Bank of America Merrill Lynch expect things to be a little better. But even they say that the market will only be up by 5% next year. Not a stunner, again given how poorly stocks have done this year.

On top of that, a falling unemployment rate is likely to force companies to hand out raises. Higher labor costs will also hurt corporate profits in 2016.


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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 12:20 PM

18. Hotler! We need your quote!

I used to have it memorized and I've forgotten it.
Please post it if you can.

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #18)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 01:24 PM

20. This one?

I have no hope. I see no future.

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Response to Hotler (Reply #20)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 01:36 PM

23. Bingo!

Thank you for this.

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #18)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 01:33 PM

22. A quote I did not write. Posted just for fun.

My mind is a raging torrent....

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #18)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 01:38 PM

24. I have no hope. I see no future.

Heil Hotler!

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 01:32 PM

21. Sometimes societies just go crazy.

The Story Line Dissolves | KUNSTLER

Sometimes societies just go crazy. Japan, 1931, Germany, 1933. China, 1966. Spain 1483, France, 1793, Russia, 1917, Cambodia, 1975, Iran, 1979, Rwanda, 1994, Congo, 1996, to name some. By “crazy” I mean a time when anything goes, especially mass killing. The wheels came off the USA in 1861, and though the organized slaughter developed an overlay of romantic historical mythos — especially after Ken Burns converted it into a TV show — the civilized world to that time had hardly ever seen such an epic orgy of death-dealing.

I doubt that I’m I alone in worrying that America today is losing its collective mind. Our official relations with other countries seem perfectly designed to provoke chaos. The universities have melted into toxic sumps beyond even anti-intellectualism to a realm of hallucination. Demented gunmen mow down total strangers weekly in what looks like a growing competition to end their miserable lives with the highest victim score. The financial engineers have done everything possible to pervert and undermine the operations of markets. The political parties are committing suicide by cluelessness and corruption.

There is no narrative for our behavior toward Russia that makes sense anymore. Our campaign to destabilize Ukraine worked out nicely, didn’t it? And then we acted surprised when Russia reclaimed the traditionally Russian territory of Crimea, with its crucial warm-water naval ports. Who woulda thought? Then we attempted to antagonize them further with economic sanctions. The net effect is that Vladimir Putin ended up looking more rational and sane than any leader in the NATO coalition.

Lately, Russia has filled the vacuum of competence in Syria, cleaning up a mess that America left with its two-decade-long crusade to leave a train of broken governments everywhere in the region. A few weeks back, Mr. Putin made the point before the UN General Assembly that wrecking every national institution in sight among weak and unstable nations was probably not a recipe for world peace. President Obama never did formulate a coherent comeback to that. It’s a little terrifying to realize that the leader of our former arch-adversary is the only figure onstage who can come up with a credible story about what needs to happen there. And his restraint this week following what may have been a US-assisted shoot-down of a Russian bomber by idiots in Turkey is really estimable. It all looks like a feckless slide provoked by our side into World War III, and for what? To make the world safe for the Kardashians?

-----> http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-story-line-dissolves/

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 01:51 PM

26. I gained a lot more respect for the Soviet Union when...

Well, my wife often talks fondly of Soviet Union times... but there's more to it than that.

Chernobyl. 1986. The communist reaction. While it did take a couple of days to understand the problem, once they knew the scale of it, they did everything they could to stop the problem in it's tracks. And at a great risk to those assigned to stop the problem. And to hell with the economics of it.

Fukushima, 2011. The capitalist reaction. From the earliest days, I had this feeling that their top priority was to make sure their investment in nuclear power, at this location, and throughout Japan, would not be compromised. This meant downplaying the immediate and long-term threats and pretending that all is under control.

In the end, the Soviet Union, by acting promptly, saved Europe from long-term ecological effects of Chernobyl; Japan has basically polluted the Pacific, all the way to the west coast of the USA, still pretending that there is no problem.

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 03:06 PM

27. Musical Interlude

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer performed byGeorge Thorogood with Elvin Bishop:

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 06:56 PM

28. Queen: "Is This the World We Created?"

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Response to antigop (Reply #28)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 06:03 PM

61. That song makes me sad. The question it asks is valid today...

as it was back in 1984. This country and its people can be so much more than what it is showing the rest of the world. Is peace, love, kindness, understanding too much to ask for from a society. I have no hope. I see no future.

P.S. This song is well done. Freddie sure a voice.

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Response to Hotler (Reply #61)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 06:47 PM

62. "Is peace, love, kindness, understanding too much to ask for from a society."

No. I think that's the definition of a civilized "society".

Sadly, I don't think I'll see one in my lifetime.

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 07:21 PM

29. Pot breathalyzer may be coming soon to police near you


"Scientists may finally have devised how to measure with a breathalyzer if a driver is high on marijuana, a potential breakthrough that would allow law enforcement to transition away from time-consuming tests that don’t necessarily prove intoxication or recent use of the drug."

Drug-detecting breathalyzers currently on the market purport to be able to detect the presence of THC, but cannot measure its concentration. Without this, drivers suspected of being intoxicated on marijuana generally must supply a blood sample -- the results of which don't necessarily prove intoxication because THC remains in the body for a long period of time.

“Current methods for testing THC are not practical for the roadside,” Ahern said. “On top of that, results can take weeks and will only tell us if marijuana is in a person’s system. By measuring THC in breath, Hound Labs, Inc. will help us get impaired drivers off the road and also make sure that unimpaired individuals who happen to have some THC in their system aren’t wrongfully arrested.”

Maybe this will progress to work place testing. Instead of testing for residue they start testing for impairment. I'd like to smoke a pinch of weed Saturday afternoom along with a sip of tequila and a crisp cold beer and some good music.

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 07:55 PM

30. Are you in love? Remember being in love?

Alison krauss singing a Keith Whitley song.

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 08:21 PM

31. I know you loved him. A long time ago.....

Even now in my arms you still want him I know....

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 10:03 PM

34. STOCKS GO NUTS AFTER THE JOBS REPORT: Here's what you need to know



Stocks had a magnificent day after the November jobs report showed that the US economy added more jobs than expected while the unemployment rate held steady at the lowest level in seven years. The major indexes eked out modest gains for the week.

Meanwhile, crude oil slumped and fell below $40 per barrel as the outcome of OPEC's meeting emerged.

First, the scoreboard:

Dow: 17,847.63, +369.96, (2.12%)
S&P 500: 2,091.69, +42.07, (2.05%)
Nasdaq: 5,142.27, +104.74, (2.08%)

And now, Friday's top stories:

  1. The US economy added 211,000 jobs in November, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, beating economists' expectations for 200,000. Employment growth in October was revised up to 298,000 from 271,000, affirming the month as this year's best. Gains in construction, healthcare, and professional and technical services boosted growth in November, as the crude-oil plunge continued to affect drilling and mining jobs. Average hourly earnings growth held steady at 0.2% month-on-month and 2.3% year-on-year. The labor-force participation rate was little changed at 62.5%.

  2. The jobs report all but assured economists that the Federal Reserve will raise borrowing costs for the first time in nine years at its December meeting. A good-enough report was all that economists had anticipated would move the Fed. "The message from November's jobs is clear, the US labor market is unambiguously strengthening," wrote Neil Dutta at Renaissance Macro to clients. Stifel's Lindsey Piegza wrote in a note, "From the Fed's perspective, despite underlying concerns evident in the details, the timing of the November report could not have been better, resulting in two back-to-back 'solid' headline increases in employment just before the key December FOMC meeting."

  3. OPEC will maintain its production levels, even as member states disagree about the ceiling. The 12-member oil cartel held its policy meeting in Vienna today. The group, led by Saudi Arabia, has aimed to keep up with budding competitors, including US shale-oil producers. Some OPEC states heavily depend on oil-export revenues to fund their economies. The resulting supply glut has driven oil prices to six-year lows.

  4. Crude oil slumped again today, with West Texas Intermediate crude futures in New York falling below $40 per barrel to as low as $39.61. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell by about 2% to as low as $42.69.

  5. Goldman Sachs' Damien Courvalin says the oil market's supply and demand balance won't be restored until at least the fourth quarter of 2016. In a note after OPEC's announcement, they said that OPEC "further stressed the need for the oil market to rebalance on its own ('wait and watch') and the organization made no comment on adhering to country level quotas."

  6. The US oil-rig count fell by 10 to 545 last week for a third period in a row, according to oil driller Baker Hughes. That's the lowest tally since the week of June 4, 2010. The gas-rig count rose by three to 292.

  7. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked a new E. coli case to Chipotle. In a release Friday, the CDC said that seven more people have come down with E. coli, and there are cases in three new states, including Pennsylvania, Maryland and Illinois. One of the newest patients, whose illness started November 10, reported eating at Chipotle in the week before they fell sick, the CDC said. Chipotle shares fell by as much as 4% in trading. On November 20, the CDC said 43 of 45 people who contracted E. coli had eaten at Chipotle a week prior to their illness. In a regulatory filing after the close, the company forecast a decline in comparable sales by between 8% and 11% in Q4.

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 10:07 PM

35. US fund manager accused of faking own death is convicted of fraud



A New York City hedge fund manager who allegedly faked his own death to conceal his fraud was convicted on Friday for stealing more than $800,000 from investors he solicited, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Friday.

Moazzam Ifzal "Mark" Malik, 33, from Lahore, Pakistan, was convicted on all 28 counts he faced, including grand larceny and securities fraud, after a 2-1/2-week trial in the state supreme court in Manhattan.

Malik faces up to 20 years in prison at his scheduled Dec. 18 sentencing. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed related civil charges against him in February.

Authorities said Malik from 2011 to 2015 lured investors to hedge funds under the names Wall Street Creative Partners, Seven Sages Capital, American Bridge Investments and most recently Wolf Hedge, claiming that he invested more than $100 million and routinely generated market-beating returns. But according to Schneiderman, Malik never had more than $90,000 in his brokerage accounts, and spent much of what he raised on hotels, plane tickets, meals, a karaoke bar and other personal items.

The SEC alleged that Malik went so far in September 2013 as to create an employee named "Courtney" who emailed an investor seeking to redeem his money to say there would be a delay because Malik had died of a heart attack...

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 10:25 PM

36. Inequality isn't just unfair — it's making people sick



What's usually overlooked in the conversation is how rising inequality can erode our health. This is a subject that Michael Marmot, a British physician and epidemiologist, knows a lot about. He's spent the past 40 years amassing a body of research that shows how inequality can be intrinsically bad for health outcomes — work he's collected in his new book, The Health Gap. His findings are stunning. Marmot discovered that health and social status are often inextricably linked — even when you control for income, education, and other risk factors. This is true if you look at countries or at cities, or even drill down to the level smaller communities. And the implication of this research is that high levels of inequality can, on their own, make people sick.

Most famously, his Whitehall studies established a link between the relative rank of officers in the British civil service and their risk of disease and death. The higher an officer was ranked, the better his or her health. This was despite the fact that all civil servants were relatively well-off, with similar levels of education. Again, the stratification itself seemed to be the important factor. Marmot calls the link between health and status "the social gradient in health." One possibility is that it's all related to a sense of control in one's life. People lower down in the social order feel like they have less control, which can lead to stress that then negatively impacts health.

Marmot has documented this social gradient in many other settings around the world. In London, life expectancy drops by one year for every stop heading east on the Jubilee metro line. In Baltimore's inner-city Upton neighborhood, men can expect to live until 63. In nearby Roland Park, an affluent social enclave with safer streets and better job prospects, that life expectancy rises to 83 — an incredible 20-year difference in a tiny geographic area.

Again and again, Marmot finds, health isn't just determined by how much you exercise or what your genes dictate; it's influenced by your social environment...


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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 10:40 PM

37. Commodity prices and exchange rates



The dramatic decline in the prices of a number of commodities over the last 16 months must have a common factor. One variable that seems to be quite important is the exchange rate. Here’s a graph over a longer period of the dollar price of oil, the dollar price of copper, and the dollar price of a weighted average of other countries’ currencies with weights based on the volume of trade between the U.S. and each country. The graph is plotted on a logarithmic basis, so for small changes the height of each series corresponds to the percent difference between the price at the indicated date and the price at the end of June 2014 (see my primer on the use of logarithms in economics if you’re curious about those statements or why it might be helpful to plot series this way). The plunge down in all three measures since June 2014 that was highlighted in the first set of graphs is seen to be a broader pattern of striking positive co-movements among these variables.

One would expect that when the dollar price of other countries’ currencies falls, so would the dollar price of internationally traded commodities. But it is a mistake to say that the exchange rate is the cause of the change in commodity prices. The reason is that exchange rates and commodity prices are jointly determined as the outcome of other forces. Depending on what those other forces are, one might see stronger or weaker co-movement between commodity prices and exchange rates.

For example, the most striking episode in the graph above is the Great Recession in 2008-2009. Falling GDP around the world meant falling demand for commodities. It was also associated with a flight to safety in capital markets, which showed up as a surge in the value of the dollar. It’s not the case that the strong dollar then was the cause of falling dollar prices of oil and copper. Instead, the Great Recession was itself the common cause behind movements in all three variables...


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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 10:44 PM

38. The Federal Reserve Board's 8 Percent Hike in the Social Security Tax / Dean Baker



In the last couple of weeks the prospect of a 0.2 percentage point increase in the payroll tax has become a major issue separating the two leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed an increase of this size to pay for system of paid family leave that is part of his platform. While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also supports paid family leave, she opposes any tax increase on middle-class workers, and insists she can get the money elsewhere.

The intensity of this debate over a tax increase of 0.2 percentage points (at $70 a year for a typical worker), should have people wondering why the candidates aren't talking about the prospect of a much larger tax increase imposed by the Federal Reserve Board. The Fed's tax increase could easily exceed 8 percent of the wages for ordinary workers, yet it is not drawing any attention from the presidential candidates. The idea of the Fed imposing a tax on workers may sound a bit strange. The Fed doesn't literally make deductions from workers' paychecks, like Social Security and Medicare. Rather, the Fed's actions affect what goes into workers' paychecks. By making the labor market tighter or looser, the Fed affects workers' ability to get wage gains or to even keep their pay rising in step with prices.

On average, workers' pay had kept pace with productivity growth in the economy until the recession in 2008. Not all workers saw these gains, since the benefits of productivity were highly skewed towards those at the top, like doctors, CEOs and Wall Street bankers. But the share of workers as a whole changed little from the late 1970s to 2007. When the collapse of the housing bubble sank the economy and sent the unemployment rate soaring, workers' share of national income plummeted. Prior to the collapse, workers' share of the income generated in the corporate sector had averaged close to 82 percent. This fell as low as 73 percent in the downturn. It has since edged up slightly, but it is still be below 75 percent.

This means that wages are more than 8.0 percent lower on average than would be the case if the collapse of the housing bubble had not devastated the labor market. From the standpoint of workers' ability to pay for their food, rent and other bills it makes no difference whether the government taxes away another 8 percent of their pay or whether the Fed's policies push down their pay by 8 percent. Either way, they have 8 percent less money. Of course the Fed did not deliberately bring on the collapse of the housing bubble and the resulting recession. However, we faced this crisis because of the Fed's failure to recognize the growth of the housing bubble and to take steps to counter it. The Fed had substantial regulatory power which could have been used to check the explosion of bad mortgages that fueled the bubble. It also has an enormous platform which could have been used to warn investors and homebuyers of the risks of the bubble....


Dean Baker is a macroeconomist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. He previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. He is a regular Truthout columnist and a member of Truthout's Board of Advisers.

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 10:47 PM

39. Most of What You Learned in Econ 101 Is Wrong


Not the sort of thing to tell a college business major during finals week...


Harvard's Greg Mankiw, author of the most popular college introductory economics textbook, is often regarded as America's econ teacher. He famously refers to his "Principles of Economics" as "my favorite textbook," and I must admit that it's also my favorite. It's written in a clear, explanatory style and covers the basics of most important theories in modern economics. But Mankiw's book, like every introductory econ textbook I know of, has a big problem. Most of what's in it is probably wrong.

In the last three decades, the economics profession has undergone a profound shift. The rise of information technology and new statistical methods has dramatically increased the importance of data and empirics. This means that many professional economists are no longer, as empirical pioneer David Card put it, "mathematical philosophers." Instead, they are more like scientists, digging through mountains of evidence to find precious grains of truth. And what they have found has often been revolutionary. The simple theories we teach in Econ 101 classes work once in a while, but in many important cases they fail.

For example, Econ 101 theory tells us that minimum wage policies should have a harmful impact on employment. Basic supply and demand analysis says that in a free market, wages adjust so that everyone who wants a job has a job -- supply matches demand. Less productive workers earn less, but they are still employed. If you set a price floor -- a lower limit on what employers are allowed to pay -- then it will suddenly become un-economical for companies to retain all the workers whose productivity is lower than that price floor. In other words, minimum wage hikes should quickly put a bunch of low-wage workers out of a job.

That's theory. Reality, it turns out, is very different. In the last two decades, empirical economists have looked at a large number of minimum wage hikes, and concluded that in most cases, the immediate effect on employment is very small. It's only in the long run that minimum wages might start to make a big difference. That doesn't mean the theory is wrong, of course. It probably only describes a small piece of what is really going on in the labor market. In reality, employment probably depends on a lot more than just today's wage level -- it depends on predictions of future wages, on long-standing employment relationships and on a host of other things too complicated to fit into the tidy little world of Econ 101.

For academic economists, that's no problem. If existing theories explain only a sliver of reality, they simply roll up their sleeves and get to work. Many labor economists are now working on complex theories that model the process of employees looking for work and employers looking for people to hire. For professional theorists, empirical failures simply mean more work to do. But for Econ 101 classes, explaining only a small slice of reality isn't good enough. If economics majors leave their classes thinking that the theories they learned are mostly correct, they will make bad decisions in both business and politics. We shouldn't train tomorrow's business elite to have faith in theories that have only a small amount of empirical success...


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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 10:54 PM

40. Not so smart: Why two big banks failed



IN 2008, as the financial system was collapsing, Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve and champion of free markets, admitted he had been wrong. “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organisations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms,” he said. In other words: why would bankers destroy their own livelihoods?

Some clues to Mr Greenspan’s conundrum can be found in a new book* on Lehman Brothers, the American investment bank whose failure precipitated the worst of the crisis, and a recent report** on the collapse of HBOS, a British retail bank, that imploded soon after. Although the two banks had different histories, they made similar mistakes. For a start, both strayed from their core expertise. HBOS was created through the combination of Halifax, a retail mortgage lender, and Bank of Scotland, one of Scotland’s two biggest banks. The merged entity wanted to gain market share in England and compete with the likes of HSBC and Barclays. The easiest way to increase business was to focus on smaller, riskier borrowers. The new lending book grew by 50% in 2007, just as the market was beginning to turn. Lehman was best known for bond-trading, but moved heavily into property lending. Through a subsidiary called BNC Mortgage it was the 11th-biggest subprime lender in America; it underwrote more mortgage-backed securities than any other Wall Street firm and it made direct investments in property companies.

Managers of both firms thought they were taking advantage of profitable opportunities. By taking even more risk, even as others were retreating, they were gaining market share. They believed this would bring success in the long term. HBOS thought that retreating from lending in 2007 would damage its franchise. In essence, the pair thought they could survive only by moving forward, like sharks.

Risk-control systems should have saved managers from their mistakes, but didn’t. Lehman had a risk department that employed nearly 400 people, including former regulators; its approach to risk management had been praised by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), an American regulator, in 2005. But the chief risk officer was overruled and risk limits were ignored; some investments in commercial property and private equity were excluded from internal stress tests...

otherwise known as control fraud....more at link

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 10:56 PM

41. I don't know about predictions, but here's some analysis


“Failed: What the ‘Experts’ Got Wrong about the Global Economy”


Yves here. This is an extract from the new book, Failed, by Mark Weisbrot, the co-director, with Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. I’ve been reading his book (all of my non-post related reading comes in snippets on the treadmill or airplanes, and the latter only when I have no WiFi) and like it so far. It has an excellent discussion of the role of the IMF, particularly its leverage via informal support from other major institutions, that by itself makes for important reading.

My only quibble is that Weisbrot accepts and promotes the widely accepted, but inaccurate idea that Greece would have been better off to have defied the Troika and tried going on the drachma. He like many other economists, analogizes Greece’s situation to Argentina circa 2002, when as Yanis Varoufakis pointed out strenuously in 2012 (and his comments then were directed at Weisbrot as well as Krugman, and Weisbrot has bizarrely chosen to brush them off) that the two were not comparable by virtue of Greece not having its own currency (as in Argentina was depreciating an existing currency, not facing the staggering complexities and collateral damage to imports and most important, its nearly 20% of GDP tourism sector) and the destabilizing effect a Grexit would have on the Eurozone, which in turn would blow back to Greece. Regular readers know we discussed this topic at exhaustive length, and financial service industry professionals with relevant expertise agree that our estimates of the time and costs involved in making the computer system changes (which must occur across numerous participants) would be likely to exceed our estimates of three years. The considerable cost and damage of a mere two-week of severe restrictions on Greek bank and business access to international payment systems were enough to bring Greece to its knees. The notion that Greece, which was and is in desperate shape, could take the hit of prolonged economic disruption of this level, ignores the high odds that Greece would slide in short order into being a failed state.

We’ve been surprised, as well as frustrated, by the resistance of people who profess to be analytical, to to hear that Greece only has very bad options. While bowing to the Troikas’ misguided plan was akin to having one hand amputated, with the high odds of having the fingers on the other hand cut off over time one by one, the alternative of a Grexit was akin to an immediate amputation of both legs. And a s clearly unpalatable as it was to again agree to wear the austerity hairshirt, Greek citizens were also unwilling to leave the Eurozone.

While a dramatic break has the emotional appeal of shocking and potentially hurting Greece’s counterparties, particularly Germany, the reality is that Greece would suffer far and away the most damage. By contrast, hanging on longer, as unattractive as that seems, keeps alive Greece’s best hope for rescue: that other countries rebel against austerity, as Portugal is to a degree and Marine Le Pen is doing in a far more concerted manner in France. The shifts in the game board that have the potential for the least bad outcomes for Greece lie almost entirely outside Greece’s control and depend on how quickly the inevitable failure of austerity policies leads to broad scale changes.

By Mark Weisbrot, an American economist, columnist and co-director, with Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. Excerpted from his book Failed: What the “Experts” Got Wrong about the Global Economy. Cross posted from Alternet

Of all the examples of neoliberal policy failure since the Great Recession, the eurozone crisis stands out as a work of art. The European authorities who made this mess—the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—known as “the troika”—provide one of the clearest, large-scale demonstrations in modern times of the damage that can be done when people in high places get their basic macroeconomic policies wrong. That it has happened in a set of high-income economies with previously well-developed democratic institutions makes it even more compelling.

It is necessary to say “previously well-developed” democratic institutions because the eurozone countries surrendered their sovereign rights to control their most important macroeconomic policies: first monetary and exchange rate policy, and then increasingly fiscal policy for the so-called PIIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain). As we will see, this was a profound loss of democratic governance, and one for which tens of millions of eurozone residents would pay dearly in the years following the world financial crisis and recession of 2008–2009, and for as yet untold years to come.

Most citizens of the euro area did not understand what they were losing when the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992, and the euro was introduced in 1999. You couldn’t see it until there was a serious recession—when the government really needed to use expansionary macroeconomic policies to restore growth and employment. Then we discovered that not only was the fate of most Europeans in the hands of people who were almost completely unaccountable to the electorate; it was worse than that. Power was now in the hands of people who had their own political and economic agenda, and who, as we shall demonstrate, saw the crisis as an opportunity to implement changes that could never be won at the ballot box...


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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sat Dec 5, 2015, 11:44 PM

42. And that's what Mom had selected for today...


She says supplemental lighting is really helping the roses, and there are maybe 3 buds total now and several new growths.

I'm getting my furnace and hot water and AC replaced Tuesday. Arrg!

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 09:34 AM

44. Musical Interlude II

Sunday Morning Coming Down performed by Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson:

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 10:38 AM

49. Maybe if by Tuesday morning...

If Demeter has not been unblocked by then, I'll declare Demeter to be a political prisoner and a prisoner of conscience, and I'll declare it right here. What BS.

ON EDIT: Maybe I need to add one of these for the sarcastically challenged..

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 10:52 AM

50. Tumblr the new tool for teenage thieves — RT News

First let me assure you that this is not happening. Because RT!

Teenage shoplifters are taking to Tumblr to show off their score and share tips with their sticky-fingered friends.

While social media has become a great way for retailers to advertise their deals, those looking for a five-finger discount now use the popular microblogging website to learn about specific stores and different items.

Call Me Sticky Fingers shared a guide of what not to do when entering a store: “While shoplifting, it’s essential that you exhibit a powerful, confident stride in order to deflect any suspicion.”

Highlighting the UK-owned chain Marks & Spencer, which makes more than £10 billion per year in revenue, Lift Life said: “Another thing to point out is if you’re lucky enough…they usually use the changing rooms as delivery storage so you can imagine my f***ing DELIGHT being in an a) unattended dressing room b) NEW F***ING DELIVERY just hanging there waiting for me to take!! You can imagine how heavy my handbag was! lol”

The digital Robin Hoods have even developed their own glossary of common shoplifting terms:

LP: Loss Prevention (aka Asset Protection or Security)

Towers: Large plastic mechanisms situated in front of exit doors that sound an alarm when an anti-shoplifting device/tag passes through them

Tag: Any paper or plastic tags that may or may not trigger security alarms, but usually refers to the kind that do set off alarms

RFID: Radio Frequency Identification tag; a type of security tag that works by emitting radio waves on a particular frequency. Looks like a swirl of flat wires, usually in sticker form.

Soft tag: Acousto-Magnetic tag; looks like a puffy sticker and contains 2 small sheets of metal that vibrate when passed between towers.

Hook: A device that can remove certain plastic tags.

Sharing the details of a Sephora shoplifting spree worth $743.99, Smokey and the Bandit said, “I’m so in love with this haul 😍.”

Some of the hauls contain items that seem challenging to conceal while walking out of the store - like a crepe pan or hairdryer.

-----> https://www.rt.com/news/324647-tumblr-tool-teenage-shoplifting/

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 11:09 AM

53. Baby Boomers' Social Security Woes Summed Up in 1 Chart



Just how much trouble could baby boomers be in come retirement? This chart says it all.

Baby boomers' Social Security woes summed up in one chart
In general, the Social Security Administration suggests that retired worker benefits are only designed to replace 40% of a workers' wages. Thus, boomers expecting to replace more than 40% of their income with Social Security benefits may not be able to meet their day-to-day or month-to-month living expenses.

A study released in September from AARP, Perspectives of Future Social Security Beneficiaries Ages 45-64: Detailed Findings, primarily questioned boomer-age adults regarding their priorities and expectations during retirement as it relates to Social Security, their knowledge of the program, and their expectation of solvency for the program. One question in particular probed pre-retirees ages 45 to 64 on what share of income Social Security was expected to make up in terms of household income in retirement. Of the 1,170 people surveyed, here were the responses:

well, since government destroyed the saving route, and business and government destroyed the private pension route, I guess business and government will have to make it up by funding Social Security to be 90% replacement....

feeble recommendations that won't help at link

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Response to Proserpina (Reply #53)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 11:13 AM

54. Americans over 30 are more miserable than they’ve ever been


gee, I wonder why


It all goes downhill after 30 — at least when it comes to happiness.

“Adults over 30 are less happy than their predecessors,” concludes a study published online Thursday in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, which examined happiness data from more than 50,000 adults, gleaned from the General Social Survey, carried out by NORC at the University of Chicago, a nonpartisan, independent research organization, which has collected information about American adults since 1972.

From 2010 to 2014, adults over 30 had an average happiness score of just 2.18, compared with 2.24 a decade ago. That’s significant considering happiness scores were measured on a tiny scale from just 1 to 3, with 1 being “not too happy” and 3 being “very happy.” (The data used five-year cohort periods so that single year fluctuations were smoothed out.)

What’s perhaps even more interesting is that, for the first time ever, adults ages 18 to 29 were happier than adults over 30. “The happiness advantage of mature adults over adolescents has dwindled,” write the authors of the study, entitled “More Happiness for Young People and Less for Mature Adults: Time Period Differences in Subjective Well-Being in the United States, 1972 - 2014.”

While the authors don’t know for sure why younger adults are happier than older ones for the first time in at least 40 years, they do have some theories. First, rising inequality may have more of an impact on the well-being of older adults than on younger ones, who are more apt to think they can overcome such things given that they have more time. And older adults may be more disappointed by the “increasingly unrealistic expectations for educational attainment, jobs, material goods and relationships,” the authors write, while younger adults still have hope for these things.

That said, there are plenty of studies that show we get happier as we get older (including a study published in 2011 in the journal Psychology and Aging, which revealed that “emotional experience improves with age”).

In general, women are slightly happier than men, the authors found — a finding that’s backed up by other research, including a worldwide survey by Gallup, which found that 40% of women were very happy, compared with only 34% of men. Researchers aren’t quite sure why this is, but the differences between the genders in terms of happiness tend to be fairly small.

lower expectations...we are grateful to be alive, and able to take care of basic needs

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Response to Proserpina (Reply #53)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 11:14 AM

55. Also, see post 11.

Bernie, please fix this. No one else will...

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Response to Proserpina (Reply #53)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 11:21 AM

56. And more...

Thriving in the Age of Collapse

by Dmitry Orlov

A while ago Matt Savinar proposed that I write an article that specifically addresses the situations and concerns of some of the visitors to his Web site. He was also kind enough to provide me with three profiles, each of which is a composite of many people. One profile is of a young professional, another is of a middle-aged couple, and a third is of a high school student. My task was to adapt my knowledge of the circumstances in which people in Russia found themselves after the Soviet economy collapsed to the needs of diverse people in the United States. This I have tried to do. Keep in mind, however, that these are not real people, and that although I sometimes offer them detailed advice on subjects such as education, law, finance, and medicine, I do not practice any of these professions, and what I express here is mere opinion.

My premise is that the U.S. economy is going to collapse, that this process has already begun, and will run its course over a decade or more, with ups and downs here and there, but a consistent overall downward direction. I neither prognosticate nor wish for such an outcome; I just happen to see it as very likely. Furthermore, I do not see it as altogether bad. There are some terrible aspects to the current state of affairs, and some wonderful aspects to the post-collapse environment. For example, the air will be much cleaner, there will be no traffic jams, and people will have plenty of time to devote to their children and to people within their immediate community. Wildlife will rebound. Local culture will make a comeback. People will get plenty of exercise walking around, carrying things, and performing manual labor. They will eat smaller and healthier diets. I could go on and on, but that is not the point.

Since such a scenario might seem outlandish to some people, I would like to sketch out why I find it entirely plausible. There is an ever-increasing amount of mainstream media attention being paid to the looming energy crisis. At this point, very few people still argue that there is not a problem with the energy supply, immediately for natural gas, eventually for oil. There is also a viewpoint, which is ever more closely and persuasively argued, that what we have to look forward to is a permanent energy shortfall, which will cause economic and societal dislocations that will be monumental in scope, and will transform the patterns of everyday life. The current, consumer-friendly economy would be no more, replaced with a subsistence economy characterized by a good deal of privation and austerity.

This viewpoint is usually served up under the rubric of “Peak Oil” - the all-time global peak in the rate of extraction of conventional crude oil. The connection between the inability to goose up oil production beyond some already icecap-melting number, and the immediate trotting out of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, is not immediately obvious. But apparently the U.S. economy is a sort of pyramid scheme, based on nothing more than faith in its growth potential, and can only continue to exist while it continues to expand, by sucking in ever more resources, particularly energy. Even a small energy shortage is enough to undermine it. So Peak Oil is hardly the problem – it is the foolish notion that infinite economic growth on a finite planet is possible. Collapse can be triggered when any one of many other physical limits is exceeded - drinkable water, breathable air, arable land, and so on – and so the limit to sustained oil production is only one of many physical limits to growth.

I do not feel the need to argue for the inevitability of a permanent energy crisis, not only because others have already done so quite persuasively, but also because it involves arguing with people who do little more than shout slogans. The slogans that are heard most often range from the simplistic “There is plenty of oil!” to the ideologically hidebound “The free market will provide!” to the somewhat more nuanced but technologically implausible “Technology will provide!” to the perennially hopeful but unrealistic “Other sources of energy will be found!” There is even the refreshingly irrational “People have said that oil would run out before, and they were wrong!” repeated endlessly by Daniel Yergin, an oil historian who believes that history repeats itself endlessly, even the history of nonrenewable resource extraction. Facile notions of this sort will remain popular for some time yet, but I feel that it is already quite safe to start ignoring them.

It bears pointing out that most of us would prefer to remain blissfully unaware of any and all such arguments and notions, perhaps choosing to concern ourselves with topics less likely to depress our libido. Awareness of topics of global import is certainly not compulsory, and may not even be beneficial. Why worry about disasters we can do nothing to avert? Why not just enjoy our day in the sun, come what may? Also, large groups of people can be dangerous when panicked, and so I do not wish to panic them.


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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 11:34 AM

57. Musical Interlude - 21st Century Digital Boy

Bad Religion – 21St Century Digital Boy Lyrics
I can't believe it,
The way you look sometimes,
Like a trampled flag on a city street.
Oh yeah.

And I don't want it,
The things you're offering me, symbolized bar code, quick i.d.
Oh yeah.

Cause I'm a 21st century digital boy,
I don't know how to live but I've got a lot of toys.
My daddy's a lazy middle class intellectual,
My mommy's on Valium, so ineffectual.
Ain't life a mystery?

I can't explain it,
The things they're saying to me,
It's going
Oh yeah.

Cause I'm a 21st century digital boy,
I don't know how to read but I've got a lot of toys.
My daddy's a lazy middle class intellectual,
My mommy's on Valium, so ineffectual.
Ain't life a mystery?

I tried to tell you about no control,
But now I really don't
And then you told me how bad you had to suffer,
Is that really all you have to offer?

See I'm a 21st century digital boy,
I don't know how to live but I've got a lot of toys.
My daddy's a lazy middle class intellectual,
My mommy's on Valium, so ineffectual.

That's what I am for,
Neurosurgeons fit for war.
Innocence raped when they caught fire.
Everything I want, I really need

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Response to Hotler (Original post)

Sun Dec 6, 2015, 03:55 PM

59. Koch-funded center approved at Western Carolina University


Despite faculty opposition, Western Carolina University’s Board of Trustees approved the creation of a center on free enterprise likely to be funded by the conservative Charles Koch Foundation.

The board voted unanimously Friday to approve the WCU Center for the Study of Free Enterprise. The center, to be led by an economics professor, was previously endorsed by the university’s provost and Chancellor David Belcher.

Now that the center is created, the university will seek $2 million over five years from the Charles Koch Foundation, which was established by billionaire businessman Charles Koch. He and his brother, David Koch, are known for funding conservative, libertarian, pro-business and anti-regulation causes. The foundation has been in talks with the university about the gift, but no written pledge has been received, Belcher said.

The board’s decision comes 10 months after the UNC system’s Board of Governors dissolved three academic centers that were aligned with progressive issues or professors.

One of those eliminated was UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, a foundation-funded entity led by law professor Gene Nichol, a frequent critic of Republican elected officials in North Carolina. Members of the Republican-dominated board said the decision, which followed a systemwide review of centers and institutes, was not about politics.

Your cue, Hotler.

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