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Sat Jan 9, 2016, 01:25 AM


Weekend Economists Ask: R WEE Donne? January 8-10, 2016

It's been an interesting week in the markets. When China's ricky-ticky stock markets started to go crazy, all the other markets (and the hot money and the shadow banksters) went into full panic attack mode. The hordes and their hoards were violently upheaved.

US stock market drops, ending its worst week since 2011


A wave of late selling pummeled U.S. stocks Friday and pushed the market to its worst week in four years. The dismal start to the new year comes as investors worry that China's huge economy is slowing down. That has helped send the price of oil plunging to its lowest level since 2004, the latest blow to U.S. energy companies. Industrial and technology companies such as Boeing and Apple that do a lot of business in China have also fallen sharply this week. Mining companies such as Freeport-McMoRan plunged as copper prices have fallen. China is a major importer of copper.

Stocks started the day higher, driven in part by news of an encouraging burst in hiring last month by U.S. employers. China's stock market also rose 2 percent overnight, recovering somewhat after steep drops earlier in the week triggered trading halts. Indexes wavered between small gains and losses for most of the day, but took a decisive turn lower in the last hour of trading. That made this the worst week since September 2011, when the market was roiled by the fight over the U.S. debt ceiling and Standard & Poor's move to cut the credit rating of the U.S. government.

    The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 167.65 points, or 1 percent, to 16,346.45.

    The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 21.06 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,922.03.

    The Nasdaq composite index shed 45.80 points, or 1 percent, to 4,643.63.

The Dow and S&P 500 are each down about 6 percent for the week. The Nasdaq composite fell even more, 7.3 percent.
That index is heavily weighted with technology and biotech companies, both of which were high-fliers last year. The largest losses on Friday went to financial stocks. JPMorgan Chase lost $1.35, or 2.2 percent, to $58.92 and Citigroup fell $1.43, or 3 percent, to $46.13. Health care stocks slumped, led by drug companies. Energy stocks also skidded as the price of oil, already at decade lows, continued to fall.

European stocks also rose early in the day, but couldn't hang on. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares declined 0.7 percent while Germany's DAX lost 1.3 percent. The CAC-40 in France slid 1.6 percent.

The same pattern held in the U.S. In its monthly jobs report, released before the stock market opened, the Labor Department said U.S. employers added 292,000 jobs in December, far more than economists had forecast. That's the latest sign the U.S. economy is still growing. On average employers added 284,000 jobs per month in the fourth quarter, the best rate in a year...Throughout the week, worries about China's economy and shocks to its markets have canceled out positive news from the U.S. and Europe. While China's economy is still growing, that growth isn't as fast as it has been. That could hurt sales of everything from iPhones to oil and heavy machinery.

Oil prices also lost ground.
U.S. crude fell 11 cents to close at $33.16 a barrel in New York and Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, declined 20 cents to $33.55 a barrel in London. Exxon Mobil lost $1.54, or 2 percent, to $74.69 and Tesoro fell $5.41, or 5 percent, to $101.62.

This week retailers started disclosing their holiday-season results.
Gap and American Eagle both reported disappointing sales. Gap stock dropped $3.83, or 14.3 percent, to $22.91, its lowest in almost four years. American Eagle tumbled $2.64, or 16.6 percent, to $13.24. Department stores were among the biggest losers on the S&P 500. Their holiday sales have been hurt by the unusually warm winter weather. Kohl's fell $2.98, or 5.9 percent, to $47.88 and Macy's lost $1, or 2.7 percent, to $35.89. The Container Store reported a surprise third-quarter loss and disappointing sales, and its stock plunged $2.96, or 41.2 percent, to $4.22. The company went public in November 2013 with an IPO that priced at $18 per share and it finished its first trading day at $36.20.

The price of gold fell $9.90, or 0.9 percent, to $1,097.90 an ounce. Silver declined 42.6 cents, or 3 percent, to $13.918 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $2.022 a pound.

The euro fell to $1.0903 from $1.0927 and the dollar edged up to 117.67 yen from 117.50 yen late Thursday. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 2.12 percent from 2.15 percent.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 1.8 cents to $1.128 a gallon, heating oil fell 1.4 cents to $1.052 a gallon and natural gas rose 9 cents to $2.472 per 1,000 feet.

So, is this the beginning of the end of the Capitalist Complacency? Will the 1% sink back into the middle of the pack, as their paper assets go up in smoke? Will the Great Hegemon of the West dissipate like smoke on the water? Will the 3rd World be allowed to proceed without the Crazy Uncle sticking his nose into their every affair?

Let's find out what John Donne would say. This English poet and cleric would be able to deal with the metaphysical aspects of it all:

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

or as others have remarked: sic transit gloria mundi

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Reply Weekend Economists Ask: R WEE Donne? January 8-10, 2016 (Original post)
Proserpina Jan 2016 OP
Proserpina Jan 2016 #1
kickysnana Jan 2016 #2
Proserpina Jan 2016 #6
kickysnana Jan 2016 #35
MattSh Jan 2016 #3
MattSh Jan 2016 #4
MattSh Jan 2016 #5
Proserpina Jan 2016 #7
Proserpina Jan 2016 #8
Proserpina Jan 2016 #9
Proserpina Jan 2016 #10
Proserpina Jan 2016 #11
MattSh Jan 2016 #12
Proserpina Jan 2016 #13
glinda Jan 2016 #43
Hotler Jan 2016 #16
snot Jan 2016 #14
Proserpina Jan 2016 #15
snot Jan 2016 #18
Hotler Jan 2016 #17
snot Jan 2016 #19
Proserpina Jan 2016 #21
Punx Jan 2016 #33
magical thyme Jan 2016 #30
Proserpina Jan 2016 #31
Proserpina Jan 2016 #20
Proserpina Jan 2016 #22
antigop Jan 2016 #41
Proserpina Jan 2016 #23
Proserpina Jan 2016 #24
Proserpina Jan 2016 #25
Proserpina Jan 2016 #26
Proserpina Jan 2016 #27
Proserpina Jan 2016 #28
Proserpina Jan 2016 #29
Proserpina Jan 2016 #32
Proserpina Jan 2016 #34
Proserpina Jan 2016 #36
Proserpina Jan 2016 #37
Fuddnik Jan 2016 #38
Hotler Jan 2016 #40
Hotler Jan 2016 #39
Hotler Jan 2016 #42

Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 01:31 AM

1. More after a little nap


Driving home was no fun tonight: if the rain wasn't falling, the fog was drifting across the roads. At least it wasn't freezing....

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 02:07 AM

2. First Rec. Sliding into the deep freeze in the Twin Cities after some snow.

Aunties case manager laid out what is happening now that they cut money to PCA and Homemaking Companies and employees. She thinks at least 1/3 of all MN agencies went out of business last year. A majority no longer take Medicaid Elderly Waiver. Most that do are taking Elderly Waiver are not taking any new clients. Waiting list for Assisted Living is now over a year, nursing homes just under a year.

It will be a rude awakening for a lot of families that thought Grandma and Grandpa were doing OK.

Oh, I am upgrading from 3G android preview phone to 4G android phone this weekend. HSN/Tracfone deal. What I would pay for my current phone is more than this deal with the new phone thrown in and my minutes and phone number will transfer. Ride fell through thought I would try Uber but found out you had to have an android phone to book a ride. Taxi's and some Taxi drivers here are just plain scary and horribly expensive.

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Response to kickysnana (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 10:01 AM

6. It's adapt, or die. That's what everyone is facing for the next few years


A lot of people are going to find the rug pulled out from under their living arrangements, money arrangements, health arrangements.

And that's all over the world, not just the US. There are no safe havens that I've been able to find...One needs enough community, self-sufficiency and cash to get through these trying times of massive global change.

And there's comfort in that thought...because the Corporations and the Banks have been hollowing themselves out. They are going to go under (barring another giveaway sweepstakes like Paulson did in 2008, and continued until recently).

The removal of such monstrosities as the multinational corporations and banks should do a lot to make live livable and worth living. Killing off the dinosaurs will give us mammals a chance to thrive again.

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Response to Proserpina (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 10, 2016, 04:51 AM

35. From your mouth to....

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:21 AM

3. 58 Facts About The U.S. Economy From 2015 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

The world didn’t completely fall apart in 2015, but it is undeniable that an immense amount of damage was done to the U.S. economy. This year the middle class continued to deteriorate, more Americans than ever found themselves living in poverty, and the debt bubble that we are living in expanded to absolutely ridiculous proportions. Toward the end of the year, a new global financial crisis erupted, and it threatens to completely spiral out of control as we enter 2016. Over the past six months, I have been repeatedly stressing to my readers that so many of the exact same patterns that immediately preceded the financial crisis of 2008 are happening once again, and trillions of dollars of stock market wealth has already been wiped out globally. Some of the largest economies on the entire planet such as Brazil and Canada have already plunged into deep recessions, and just about every leading indicator that you can think of is screaming that the U.S. is heading into one. So don’t be fooled by all the happy talk coming from Barack Obama and the mainstream media. When you look at the cold, hard numbers, they tell a completely different story. The following are 58 facts about the U.S. economy from 2015 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 These days, most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. At this point 62 percent of all Americans have less than 1,000 dollars in their savings accounts, and 21 percent of all Americans do not have a savings account at all.

#2 The lack of saving is especially dramatic when you look at Americans under the age of 55. Incredibly, fewer than 10 percent of all Millennials and only about 16 percent of those that belong to Generation X have 10,000 dollars or more saved up.

#3 It has been estimated that 43 percent of all American households spend more money than they make each month.

#4 For the first time ever, middle class Americans now make up a minority of the population. But back in 1971, 61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households.

#5 According to the Pew Research Center, the median income of middle class households declined by 4 percent from 2000 to 2014.

#6 The Pew Research Center has also found that median wealth for middle class households dropped by an astounding 28 percent between 2001 and 2013.

#7 In 1970, the middle class took home approximately 62 percent of all income. Today, that number has plummeted to just 43 percent.

#8 There are still 900,000 fewer middle class jobs in America than there were when the last recession began, but our population has gotten significantly larger since that time.

#9 According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

#10 For the poorest 20 percent of all Americans, median household wealth declined from negative 905 dollars in 2000 to negative 6,029 dollars in 2011.

#11 A recent nationwide survey discovered that 48 percent of all U.S. adults under the age of 30 believe that “the American Dream is dead”.

#12 Since hitting a peak of 69.2 percent in 2004, the rate of homeownership in the United States has been steadily declining every single year.

#13 At this point, the U.S. only ranks 19th in the world when it comes to median wealth per adult.

#14 Traditionally, entrepreneurship has been one of the primary engines that has fueled the growth of the middle class in the United States, but today the level of entrepreneurship in this country is sitting at an all-time low.

#15 For each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened. Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.

More, more, more, at...

-----> http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/58-facts-about-the-u-s-economy-from-2015-that-are-almost-too-crazy-to-believe

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:35 AM

4. Sundown in the Somalia of Europe

Love the way this guy writes...

The startling reversals in Syria and Iraq now afford us our daily whiff of gunpowder and desperation, and Ukraine has been largely swept from the front pages. This is a matter of no small concern to the incompetent train wreck that is its government, because the flow of financial life support on which it relies is, to a large extent, dependent upon the sense of urgent emergency it is able to convey. So long as Kiev is able to fog the media’s glasses with “Russian aggression!!!” and a dire sense of a building menace, western leaders do not press it too hard for reforms, and are more likely to spit fat wads of cash because…well, because it’s an emergency.

And, of course, it is. I don’t want to create the impression I think the Ukrainian government is faking its sense of crisis, because Ukraine as a state is in a power-dive that is making the the wings shudder and shed rivets. Much of the government itself actually does not realize just how bad it is, because its clown-car membership is too busy throwing haymakers at one another in the legislature and squabbling over who is (a) the most Ukrainian, and (b) the biggest crook. Mistrust among the factions also contributes to a degree of compartmentalization which prevents more than the broad outlines of the catastrophe from being seen.

We could feel a lot of things, dependent on our position and our sympathies. We could feel vindicated, if we were among those who foretold disaster from the hurried rounding-up of thieves, rabid nationalists, opportunist criminals and sycophants and labeling the result “the government”. We could feel stunned and disillusioned, if we were among the formerly-giddy dissident morons jumping up and down on the Maidan, who expected to be opening their Christmas presents in the European Union this year. And if we were among the poor sods who live there, who trudge to work every day from Monday to Friday, pick up a paycheck that buys less every month, and try to support a family on it… we could feel bewilderment, gnawing fear and a gathering apprehension that the world is spiraling down and down to a sunless pit of misery where no light reaches.

For how much longer can the happy talk of visa-free travel and someday-prosperity hold the stink of failure at bay?

“Everyone thought Ukraine would suddenly turn into Poland,” said mechanic Taras Yakubovsky, sitting by a cast-iron woodburner in his small garage, where work has dried up because customers can no longer afford car repairs. “But we’ve become more like Europe’s Somalia.”

What’s really going on in Ukraine? A good deal of what we get is from nationalist expats who don’t live there, and for whom it is easy to exhort their hereditary countrymen to redouble their efforts, to hold out bravely against the slavering Russian invader, to let faith carry them onward when hope is gone – expats like bad-tempered fathead Taras Kuzio in Alberta, and bitter, thwarted Political-Science professor Alexander Motyl at Rutgers in New Jersey. This smokescreen is complicated by deliberate duplicity and sleight-of-hand by the Ukrainian government, enabled by an English-speaking media which uncritically repeats whatever it is told by Kiev, without investigating, thereby giving it the weight of fact. Data on the economy is frequently sourced from the State Statistics Service of Ukraine. I don’t want to say they’re simply pulling figures from their ass, because it always infuriates me when people suggest Russia simply makes up its statistics. But a lot of the Ukrainian numbers just do not add up.

-----> https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/sundown-in-the-somalia-of-europe/

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:02 AM

5. Turkey faces big losses as Russia sanctions bite - BBC News

Russian sanctions are now affecting Turkish tourism, construction firms and food exports, amid a bitter dispute over the Syria conflict.

The Kremlin reacted with fury when a Turkish F-16 fighter shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber on the Syria-Turkey border in November.

Russia has banned:

The import of Turkish fruit and vegetables, poultry and salt
The sale of charter holidays for Russians to Turkey
Construction projects with Turkish firms in Russia unless a special exemption is granted

There are restrictions now on Turkish citizens working for companies registered in Russia.

And Russia has suspended work on TurkStream - a new Black Sea pipeline that was to boost Russian gas exports to Turkey.

Economist Erhan Aslanoglu says the sanctions are bound to have an impact on the Turkish economy in the short term, but in the medium term Turkey will recover.

He predicts that the cost for Turkey in lost business could be at least $10bn (£7bn).

-----> http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35209987

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Response to MattSh (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 10:07 AM

7. Couldn't happen to a more deserving bastard than Erdogan, IMO


He is a disgrace no matter which yardstick one measures him by:

Dictator, Crook, President, human being....I hope the Turks get a clue and wipe him out fast. The US isn't going to be able to save him if they do.

America Must See the Truth About Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan
The Obama administration must see Turkey under the reign of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for what it is.

By David L. Phillips / Huffington Post

nice thought, but Obama has never had much insight or even useful vision of reality...


The Obama administration must see Turkey under the reign of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for what it is, not how it used to be, or how Washington wishes it were. It is time for steely-eyed realism about Erdogan. Following are the facts:

Erdogan is authoritarian.
He recently praised "Hitler's Germany," mentioning Hitler in the context of his own tenure.

Erdogan blocks independent media.
Presently, 34 journalists are in jail for various charges including "insulting the President." According to Journalists without Borders, Turkey ranks 149 out of 180 countries on press freedom.

Erdogan attacks freedom of expression.

Peaceful demonstrators protesting the destruction of Gezi Park were attacked with truncheons, tear gas, and water cannon in 2013. Police brutality sparked protests in 60 cities, which were violently suppressed.

Erdogan targets Turkish citizens.
In October, Erdogan re-started a civil war with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) in a cynical ploy to gain support from nationalist voters. Erdogan promised to "cleanse" Turkey of militants. Since October, 260 civilians have been killed. A curfew has been declared in municipalities across Turkey's Southeast. Cizre has been destroyed.

Erdogan undermines the rule of law.

Erdogan dismisses calls for decentralization and enhancing local government, in accordance with Council of Europe standards, as a Trojan horse for Kurdish separatism. He flouts the rule of law and makes a mockery of the balance of powers. To Erdogan, constitutional reform is really about establishing a de-jure executive presidency.

Erdogan supported ISIS.
The National Intelligence Agency provided weapons, money and logistical support to jihadis, transiting to Syria. Wounded ISIS fighters receive free medical care in Turkish hospitals. Though Turkey now proclaims its opposition to ISIS, the infrastructure for supporting Islamic terrorism is still in place.

Erdogan exports Islamism.
Turkey's foreign policy in the Balkans promotes a neo-Ottoman agenda, aimed at expanding its influence in former territories of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey exports Islamism under the guise of cultural cooperation, building mosques and financing Islamic unions and institutions in the Western Balkans.

Erdogan undermines NATO.
He refused access to Incirlik Air Force Base, a NATO facility, to attack ISIS in Syria and Iraq for almost a year. When he cut a deal to allow use of Incirlik, Erdogan intensified attacks against Kurds, even those living in Turkey, under the guise of counter-terrorism.

Erdogan targets US allies fighting ISIS.

He ordered air strikes against Syrian Kurds who have established a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border. Syrian Kurds are America's best and most effective ally fighting ISIS in Syria.

Corruption is widespread.
Three ministers faced allegations of fraud and were forced to resign in 2013. Erdogan's family members are allegedly involved in corrupt dealings, including profiting from ISIS oil smuggled out of Syria, and contravening sanctions against Iran.

The Obama administration turns a blind eye to Erdogan's travesties. It has been a long time since Turkey was the indispensable eastern flank of NATO bordering the Soviet Union. The world has changed, and so has Turkey. Under Erdogan's hegemonic rule, Turkey no longer holds Western values nor does it serve US interests.

The Obama administration must review and modify its approach to Turkey. Washington's deplorable silence makes it complicit in Erdogan's crimes.

Mr. Phillips is Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights. He is a former Senior Adviser to the Obama administration. He also served as a Senior Adviser and Foreign Affairs Experts to the State Department during the Clinton and Bush administrations.

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 10:17 AM

8. The local weather report


the rain has stopped and the sky is lighter, but still overcast. Temps in the 40's all day, dropping to the teens tomorrow with snow up to 3 inches and windchill forecast of 2F!

There are a couple of cyclones tooling about the Pacific, and California continues to deluge, as does the lower half of the Missisippi River.

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 10:19 AM

9. Max Keiser thinks we are toast


This is the factor that Campaign Hillary is ignoring...the economic conditions will make her campaign fruitless. We can only hope she is toast before the Convention, so as to not go into the election with a fatally doomed candidate.

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 10:25 AM

10. 45 Million Americans Live in Poverty,but You Wouldn’t Know It From Watching (election) 2016 Coverage



Of the five Republican debates and of the three Democratic debates, not one moderator has asked a question involving the words “poverty” or “poor.” While the subject has been touched upon by some of the Democratic candidates, namely Bernie Sanders and briefly Jim Webb, the topic has been entirely unmentioned by the moderators during the three Democratic debates. In the GOP debates, the candidates only bring up the topic as a way to swipe President Obama, which is fair enough but is not a discussion of poverty much less a good-faith attempt to mitigate it. By comparison, the Democratic debate moderators brought up “ISIS” or “Terrorism” 21 times total in all three debates.

A recent study in The Intercept found poverty's non-status on television isn’t just limited to the debates. Cable news was over 20 times more likely to mention ISIS or terrorism than poverty during the heart of primary season in late 2014.


Bernie Sanders has brought up poverty in the debates about half a dozen times, calling childhood poverty “a national disgrace." Hillary Clinton has not brought up the issue in the debates, though she frequently tweets about it. This is partly not the candidates' fault: if they’re not asked the question they can’t really discuss the topic. To the extent discussions of poverty are jammed into a response it’s part of a much broader answer about the economic problems America is facing.

According to the 2014 census, 14.5% of Americans, or over 45 million people, live in poverty, up from 11.3% in 2000; a rate not seen since the early '90s.


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Response to Proserpina (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 10:27 AM

11. Those people sinking back into poverty haven't had any time to recoup from their previous stay


and as Congress slashes the safety net, they will fall farther and faster this time.

Despite some economic progress since the recession of 2008-'09, the poverty rate remains stubbornly immovable. To exacerbate the problem, an increasingly cruel GOP Congress has slashed billions from the government food stamp program and ended unemployment benefits. Poverty is particularly bad for single mothers. One-third of families led by single mothers lived below the poverty line in 2013—or 15.6 million Americans.

One recent study linked poverty to diminished IQ in children. It impacts childhood education, crime and even future economic gains. A 2011 study attributed 133,000 deaths a year to poverty-related illnesses...

It took over a year of sustained protest and direction action by Black Lives Matter to get major candidates to discuss racism and criminal justice reform. Without a similar effort to draw attention to poverty, it's unlikely poverty will ever register a blip on the corporate media's radar, much less be of primary concern. While candidates like Sanders do their best to bring the topic up, without a clear question to all the candidates, there's very little poor Americans can take away from the exchange beyond platitudes.

When it comes to the economy, candidates often talk in abstractions like "job creators," "growth" and the nebulous "middle class," but poverty is a clear and quantifiable metric for a civilized society. Poverty is objective, measurable and its rates among Americans, specifically American children, is a manifest clear-as-day national scourge. One would think if debate moderators have time to ask about fantasy football and who a candidate's favorite "enemy" is, they could squeeze in just one question specifically addressing the needs of those living below the poverty line and how the candidates plan on ameliorating the suffering of 45 million people.

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 10:28 AM

12. Have you seen this train wreck yet?

I posted it already in GDP, but thought I'd post it here.

Because who wants to travel out to GDP? And because some have blocked GDP...

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Response to MattSh (Reply #12)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 10:36 AM

13. I am appalled


Think drinking has damaged her critical faculties? Does she make a habit of knocking it back like a Russian drunkard?

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Response to Proserpina (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 11, 2016, 01:39 AM

43. Didn't she fall and hit her head? Maybe they did some brain surgery???

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Response to MattSh (Reply #12)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 02:11 PM

16. Sad, just sad and that cackle of a laugh is unnerving.

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 01:49 PM

14. Have Demeter & other SMW'er's already seen and discussed this?!?

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/a_crisis_worse_than_isis_bail-ins_begin_20151229 - "A Crisis Worse Than Islamic State? Bank ‘Bail-Ins’ Begin."

It's hard to excerpt and give the whole picture, but the gist is that in Greece, depositors' savings are being drained BEFORE derivatives counterparties or bank shareholders have to take any haircut – AND that that same "Orderly Liquidation" process is now the law in the U.S. under Dodd-Frank, thanks to a sneaky little amendment.

This combined with concerns about the adequacy of the FDIC insurance funds makes for a very scary picture.

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Response to snot (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 02:04 PM

15. Demeter has been banned from DU since November 28th by the Hillay Swarm


as her lowly apprentice/daughter, I am filling in, in the hope that the "3-day review" happens sometime soon. I would like to get back to my life as a penniless college student (but I need the cash).

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Response to Proserpina (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 03:21 PM

18. Oh gawd, I knew that and forgot. It just seems incredible.

Thank you for filling the breach!!!

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Response to snot (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 02:23 PM

17. I've seen it and the thought is scary. I suggest everyone keep some of their money...

if they have some stashed in the house. Credit Unions seem a little more safe, but that may change as the PTB want to get more control of them. I have money in a bank and in credit unions. I keep some in the bank because there is a branch about two minutes from the house and it is easy to go and cash a check as the credit union is a bit of a drive from me. As soon as I run out of this batch of checks I will move everything to the credit union.

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Response to Hotler (Reply #17)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 03:29 PM

19. Thx, but it's not a practical solution for our lives' savings.

The thing is, I'm pretty cynical, but even I am shocked at this article; and it's somewhat harder to take in when it's coming from so few sources. I looked at one or two of the sources quoted in the article, and one of them wasn't really about the same point(s); i.e., the quote was excerpted and used in a way that was, at least to me, slightly misleading. That may have been unintentional . . . . and I've found very little else online that's directly on point.

Here are links to what I did find:

http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/693913-andrew-sachais/3068725-fdic-coverage-and-dodd-frank-what-it-could-mean-for-your-deposits - FDIC Coverage And Dodd Frank – What It Could Mean For Your Deposits
{by Andrew Sachais}
Jul 15, 2014 5:30 PM

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/03/when-you-werent-looking-democrat-bank-stooges-launch-bills-to-permit-bailouts-deregulate-derivatives.html : When You Weren’t Looking, Democrat Bank Stooges Launch Bills to Permit Bailouts, Deregulate Derivatives
Posted on March 19, 2013 by Yves Smith

I was just hoping others with more expertise could confirm or refine what the article seems to say.

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Response to snot (Reply #19)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 03:49 PM

21. There are no "practical solutions"


practical solutions have been banned, made illegal, taken apart, exported, chopped to bits by outsourcing, etc.

The truly practical solutions, the ones that will work, consist of forming community: an intentional binding of a group of people to commit their efforts and resources to the survival of all in the group. You know, the kind of thing a nation used to be, or a tribe. Or a hippie commune, even. It doesn't happen today because:

1) too few resources in the hands of the people
2) too many psychopaths among us

Until we have a way to deal with the second issue, we will be reduced to fighting tooth and claw for survival in ever-smaller groups. The anomie (lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group), the atomization of the community, is already well-advanced in this nation and most of the Western nations. There are many forces that caused such division--what we need are forces that cause a cohesion. Solidarity! Our best bet at the moment is Bernie Sanders, by some serendipity, or blessing of an ill-natured fairy...
(Gilbert and Sullivan, Pirates of Penzance)

Early communities had strong requirements for membership, and used exile freely to enforce them. It didn't work in the long term nor even in the short-term, unless there was only one serial killer, or some such obvious criminal. Religions employed the same tactics: excommunication, Inquisition, etc. America's "rugged individualism" did a number on that idea, as did the religious wars in any form.

We need another method of making group participation appealing and effective, so that even the incipiently psycho amongst us feel compelled to restrain their evil side. A shared self-interest...rather like this thread!

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Response to Proserpina (Reply #21)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 11:54 PM

33. Prosperpina

Is absolutely spot on in her comments here. There are no good solutions.

All I can recommend is try to develop a skill that would be valuable in a less modern world, say wood working with hand tools, or being able to spin yarn or sew.

Sadly, way, way to many psychopaths among us.

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Response to snot (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 08:10 PM

30. I read about the bail-ins probably a year ago. What I find most stunning this time around


is that they seem to take everything.

I realize they don't give a flying eff about the individuals that they leave penniless. But what about the big businesses these individuals support?

For example, I know nobody gives a fuck if I live or die in the street. But if they confiscate my money, and a zillion other people's money, then the electric company doesn't get paid, the student loan doesn't get paid, the property taxes don't get paid, and so on.

Did these bozos not realize that in screwing over the little guy they don't give a fuck about, they are also screwing themselves out of tax receipts, screwing over the big businesses that they also depend on, etc?

Do they really believe that putting "derivatives" first will keep their homes heated, food on the supermarket shelves, etc?

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #30)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 08:31 PM

31. They are shell corporations


They have no people as employees, customers, or owners. They make no products, provide no services. they don't need heat, electricity, food, or anything. They get to print the money and count it and keep it.

They just gamble. Like some theoretical slot machine of a lesser god.

It's metaphysical....ask John Donne!

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 03:33 PM

20. John Donne: WEE's feature for Jan. 9th


John Donne (22 January 1572 – 31 March 1631) was an English poet and a cleric in the Church of England.

He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His works are noted for their strong, sensual style and include sonnets, love poems, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially compared to that of his contemporaries. Donne's style is characterised by abrupt openings and various paradoxes, ironies and dislocations. These features, along with his frequent dramatic or everyday speech rhythms, his tense syntax and his tough eloquence, were both a reaction against the smoothness of conventional Elizabethan poetry and an adaptation into English of European baroque and mannerist techniques.

His early career was marked by poetry that bore immense knowledge of English society and he met that knowledge with sharp criticism. Another important theme in Donne's poetry is the idea of true religion, something that he spent much time considering and about which he often theorized. He wrote secular poems as well as erotic and love poems. He is particularly famous for his mastery of metaphysical conceits.

Despite his great education and poetic talents, Donne lived in poverty for several years, relying heavily on wealthy friends. He spent much of the money he inherited during and after his education on womanising, literature, pastimes, and travel.

In 1601, Donne secretly married Anne More, with whom he had twelve children.

In 1615, he became an Anglican priest, although he did not want to take Anglican orders. He did so because King James I persistently ordered it. In 1621, he was appointed the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London. He also served as a member of Parliament in 1601 and in 1614.

Early life

A portrait of Donne as a young man, c. 1595, artist unknown, in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London

Donne was born in London, into a recusant (a person who refuses to submit to an authority or to comply with a regulation) Roman Catholic family when practice of that religion was illegal in England.

Donne was the third of six children. His father, also named John Donne, was of Welsh descent and a warden of the Ironmongers Company in the City of London. Donne's father was a respected Roman Catholic who avoided unwelcome government attention out of fear of persecution.

His father died in 1576, when Donne was four years old, leaving his son fatherless and his widow, Elizabeth Heywood, with the responsibility of raising their children alone. Heywood was also from a recusant Roman Catholic family, the daughter of John Heywood, the playwright, and sister of the Reverend Jasper Heywood, a Jesuit priest and translator. She was a great-niece of the Roman Catholic martyr Thomas More.

This tradition of martyrdom would continue among Donne's closer relatives, many of whom were executed or exiled for religious reasons. Donne was educated privately; however, there is no evidence to support the popular claim that he was taught by Jesuits. Donne's mother married Dr. John Syminges, a wealthy widower with three children, a few months after Donne's father died. Donne thus acquired a stepfather. Two more of his sisters, Mary and Katherine, died in 1581. Donne's mother lived her last years in the Deanery after Donne became Dean of St Paul's, and died just two months before Donne, in January 1631.

In 1583, the 11-year-old Donne began studies at Hart Hall, now Hertford College, Oxford. After three years of studies there, Donne was admitted to the University of Cambridge, where he studied for another three years. However, Donne could not obtain a degree from either institution because of his Catholicism, since he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy required to graduate.

In 1591 Donne was accepted as a student at the Thavies Inn legal school, one of the Inns of Chancery in London. On 6 May 1592 he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn, one of the Inns of Court.

In 1593, five years after the defeat of the Spanish Armada and during the intermittent Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604), Queen Elizabeth issued the first English statute against sectarian dissent from the Church of England, titled "An Act for restraining Popish recusants". It defined "Popish recusants" as those "convicted for not repairing to some Church, Chapel, or usual place of Common Prayer to hear Divine Service there, but forbearing the same contrary to the tenor of the laws and statutes heretofore made and provided in that behalf".

Donne's brother Henry was also a university student prior to his arrest in 1593 for harbouring a Catholic priest, William Harrington, whom he betrayed under torture. Harrington was tortured on the rack, hanged until not quite dead, and then subjected to disembowelment. Henry Donne died in Newgate prison of bubonic plague, leading Donne to begin questioning his Catholic faith.

During and after his education, Donne spent much of his considerable inheritance on women, literature, pastimes and travel. Although no record details precisely where Donne travelled, he did cross Europe and later fought with the Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Raleigh against the Spanish at Cadiz (1596) and the Azores (1597), and witnessed the loss of the Spanish flagship, the San Felipe. According to Izaak Walton, who wrote a biography of Donne in 1658:

... he returned not back into England till he had stayed some years, first in Italy, and then in Spain, where he made many useful observations of those countries, their laws and manner of government, and returned perfect in their languages.

— Izaak Walton

By the age of 25 he was well prepared for the diplomatic career he appeared to be seeking. He was appointed chief secretary to the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, Sir Thomas Egerton, and was established at Egerton's London home, York House, Strand close to the Palace of Whitehall, then the most influential social centre in England.

Marriage to Anne More

During the next four years Donne fell in love with Egerton's niece Anne More, and they were secretly married just before Christmas in 1601, against the wishes of both Egerton and George More, who was Lieutenant of the Tower and Anne's father.

Upon discovery, this wedding ruined Donne's career, getting him fired and put in Fleet Prison, along with minister Samuel Brooke, who married them, and the man who acted as a witness to the wedding. Donne was released shortly thereafter when the marriage was proven valid, and he soon secured the release of the other two. Walton tells us that when Donne wrote to his wife to tell her about losing his post, he wrote after his name: John Donne, Anne Donne, Un-done. It was not until 1609 that Donne was reconciled with his father-in-law and received his wife's dowry.

After his release, Donne had to accept a retired country life in a small house in Pyrford, Surrey, owned by Anne's cousin, Sir Francis Wooley, where they resided until the end of 1604. In spring 1605 they moved to another small house in Mitcham, London, where he scraped a meager living as a lawyer, while Anne Donne bore a new baby almost every year. Though he also worked as an assistant pamphleteer to Thomas Morton writing anti-Catholic pamphlets, Donne was in a constant state of financial insecurity.

Anne bore John 12 children in 16 years of marriage, a record at that time, (including two stillbirths — their eighth and then, in 1617, their last child); indeed, she spent most of her married life either pregnant or nursing. The 10 surviving children were Constance, John, George, Francis, Lucy (named after Donne's patroness Lucy, Countess of Bedford, her godmother), Bridget, Mary, Nicholas, Margaret, and Elizabeth.

Three (Francis, Nicholas, and Mary) died before they were ten. In a state of despair that almost drove him to kill himself, Donne noted that the death of a child would mean one mouth fewer to feed, but he could not afford the burial expenses.

During this time, Donne wrote but did not publish Biathanatos, his defense of suicide. His wife died on 15 August 1617, five days after giving birth to their twelfth child, a still-born baby. Donne mourned her deeply, and wrote of his love and loss in his 17th Holy Sonnet.

Career and later life

A few months before his death, Donne commissioned this portrait of himself as he expected to appear when he rose from the grave at the Apocalypse. He hung the portrait on his wall as a reminder of the transience of life.

In 1602 John Donne was elected as Member of Parliament for the constituency of Brackley, but this was not a paid position. Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, being succeeded by King James I of Scotland. The fashion for coterie poetry of the period gave Donne a means to seek patronage, and many of his poems were written for wealthy friends or patrons, especially MP Sir Robert Drury of Hawsted (1575–1615), whom he met in 1610 and became Donne's chief patron, furnishing him and his family an apartment in his large house in Drury Lane.

In 1610 and 1611 Donne wrote two anti-Catholic polemics: Pseudo-Martyr and Ignatius his Conclave for Morton. He then wrote two Anniversaries, An Anatomy of the World (1611) and Of the Progress of the Soul (1612) for Drury. Although James was pleased with Donne's work, he refused to reinstate him at court and instead urged him to take holy orders. At length, Donne acceded to the king's wishes, and in 1615 was ordained into the Church of England.

In 1615 Donne was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity from Cambridge University, and became a Royal Chaplain in the same year, and a Reader of Divinity at Lincoln's Inn in 1616, where he served in the chapel as minister until 1622.

In 1618 he became chaplain to Viscount Doncaster, who was on an embassy to the princes of Germany. Donne did not return to England until 1620.

In 1621 Donne was made Dean of St Paul's, a leading and well-paid position in the Church of England, which he held until his death in 1631.

During his period as dean his daughter Lucy died, aged eighteen. In late November and early December 1623 he suffered a nearly fatal illness, thought to be either typhus or a combination of a cold followed by a period of fever. During his convalescence he wrote a series of meditations and prayers on health, pain, and sickness that were published as a book in 1624 under the title of Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. One of these meditations, Meditation XVII, later became well known for its phrases "No man is an Iland" (often modernised as "No man is an island" and "...for whom the bell tolls". In 1624 he became vicar of St Dunstan-in-the-West, and 1625 a prolocutor to Charles I.

He earned a reputation as an eloquent preacher and 160 of his sermons have survived, including the famous Death’s Duel sermon delivered at the Palace of Whitehall before King Charles I in February 1631.


It is thought that Donne's final illness was stomach cancer, although this has not been proven. He died on 31 March 1631 having written many poems, most of which were circulated in manuscript during his lifetime. Donne was buried in old St Paul's Cathedral, where a memorial statue of him was erected (carved from a drawing of him in his shroud), with a Latin epigraph probably composed by himself. Donne's monument survived the 1666 fire, and is on display in the present building.


Early poetry

Donne's earliest poems showed a developed knowledge of English society coupled with sharp criticism of its problems. His satires dealt with common Elizabethan topics, such as corruption in the legal system, mediocre poets, and pompous courtiers. His images of sickness, vomit, manure, and plague reflected his strongly satiric view of a world populated by all the fools and knaves of England. His third satire, however, deals with the problem of true religion, a matter of great importance to Donne. He argued that it was better to examine carefully one's religious convictions than blindly to follow any established tradition, for none would be saved at the Final Judgment, by claiming "A Harry, or a Martin taught them this."

Donne's early career was also notable for his erotic poetry, especially his elegies, in which he employed unconventional metaphors, such as a flea biting two lovers being compared to sex. In "Elegy XIX: To His Mistris Going to Bed" he poetically undressed his mistress and compared the act of fondling to the exploration of America. In "Elegy XVIII" he compared the gap between his lover's breasts to the Hellespont. Donne did not publish these poems, although he did allow them to circulate widely in manuscript form.

Some have speculated that Donne's numerous illnesses, financial strain, and the deaths of his friends all contributed to the development of a more somber and pious tone in his later poems. The change can be clearly seen in "An Anatomy of the World" (1611), a poem that Donne wrote in memory of Elizabeth Drury, daughter of his patron, Sir Robert Drury of Hawstead, Suffolk. This poem treats Elizabeth's demise with extreme gloominess, using it as a symbol for the Fall of Man and the destruction of the universe.

The poem "A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy's Day, Being the Shortest Day", concerns the poet's despair at the death of a loved one. In it Donne expresses a feeling of utter negation and hopelessness, saying that "I am every dead thing ... re-begot / Of absence, darkness, death." This famous work was probably written in 1627 when both Donne's friend Lucy, Countess of Bedford, and his daughter Lucy Donne died. Three years later, in 1630, Donne wrote his will on Saint Lucy's day (13 December), the date the poem describes as "Both the year's, and the day's deep midnight".

The increasing gloominess of Donne's tone may also be observed in the religious works that he began writing during the same period. His early belief in the value of scepticism now gave way to a firm faith in the traditional teachings of the Bible.

Having converted to the Anglican Church, Donne focused his literary career on religious literature. He quickly became noted for his sermons and religious poems. The lines of these sermons and devotional works would come to influence future works of English literature, such as Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, which took its title from a passage in Meditation XVII of Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, and Thomas Merton's No Man is an Island, which took its title from the same source.

Towards the end of his life Donne wrote works that challenged death, and the fear that it inspired in many men, on the grounds of his belief that those who die are sent to Heaven to live eternally. One example of this challenge is his Holy Sonnet X, "Death Be Not Proud", from which come the famous lines "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so." Even as he lay dying during Lent in 1631, he rose from his sickbed and delivered the Death's Duel sermon, which was later described as his own funeral sermon. Death's Duel portrays life as a steady descent to suffering and death, yet sees hope in salvation and immortality through an embrace of God, Christ and the Resurrection.


His work has received much criticism over the years, especially concerning his metaphysical form. Donne is generally considered the most prominent member of the metaphysical poets, a phrase coined in 1781 by Samuel Johnson, following a comment on Donne by John Dryden. Dryden had written of Donne in 1693: "He affects the metaphysics, not only in his satires, but in his amorous verses, where nature only should reign; and perplexes the minds of the fair sex with nice speculations of philosophy, when he should engage their hearts, and entertain them with the softnesses of love."

In Life of Cowley (from Samuel Johnson's 1781 work of biography and criticism Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets), Johnson refers to the beginning of the seventeenth century in which there "appeared a race of writers that may be termed the metaphysical poets". Donne's immediate successors in poetry therefore tended to regard his works with ambivalence, with the Neoclassical poets regarding his conceits as abuse of the metaphor. However he was revived by Romantic poets such as Coleridge and Browning, though his more recent revival in the early twentieth century by poets such as T. S. Eliot and critics like F R Leavis tended to portray him, with approval, as an anti-Romantic.

Donne is considered a master of the metaphysical conceit, an extended metaphor that combines two vastly different ideas into a single idea, often using imagery. An example of this is his equation of lovers with saints in "The Canonization". Unlike the conceits found in other Elizabethan poetry, most notably Petrarchan conceits, which formed clichéd comparisons between more closely related objects (such as a rose and love), metaphysical conceits go to a greater depth in comparing two completely unlike objects. One of the most famous of Donne's conceits is found in "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" where he compares two lovers who are separated to the two legs of a compass.

Donne's works are also witty, employing paradoxes, puns, and subtle yet remarkable analogies. His pieces are often ironic and cynical, especially regarding love and human motives. Common subjects of Donne's poems are love (especially in his early life), death (especially after his wife's death), and religion.

John Donne's poetry represented a shift from classical forms to more personal poetry. Donne is noted for his poetic metre, which was structured with changing and jagged rhythms that closely resemble casual speech (it was for this that the more classical-minded Ben Jonson commented that "Donne, for not keeping of accent, deserved hanging".

Some scholars believe that Donne's literary works reflect the changing trends of his life, with love poetry and satires from his youth and religious sermons during his later years. Other scholars, such as Helen Gardner, question the validity of this dating—most of his poems were published posthumously (1633). The exception to these is his Anniversaries, which were published in 1612 and Devotions upon Emergent Occasions published in 1624. His sermons are also dated, sometimes specifically by date and year.

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:14 PM

22. It might be safe to say that John Donne's Influence on English Literature


is exceeded only by Shakespeare's. So many of his phrases are echoed in the centuries that followed his death, yet we do not know today where they came from...

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

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Response to Proserpina (Reply #22)

Sun Jan 10, 2016, 05:22 PM

41. Mormon Tabernacle Choir: No Man is an Island

composed and lyrics by Joan Whitney and Alex Kramer

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:45 PM

23. Paper trail


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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 04:58 PM

24. When China Stumbles Paul Krugman


Dr, and Nobel Prize winner Krugman is worried about people getting worried about China...he says things aren't THAT bad....so wait a week, Paul!


So, will China’s problems cause a global crisis? The good news is that the numbers, as I read them, don’t seem big enough. The bad news is that I could be wrong, because global contagion often seems to end up being worse than hard numbers say it should. And the worse news is that if China does deliver a bad shock to the rest of the world, we are remarkably unready to deal with the consequences. For those just starting to pay attention: It has been obvious for a while that China’s economy is in big trouble. How big is hard to say, because nobody believes official Chinese statistics.

The basic problem is that China’s economic model, which involves very high saving and very low consumption, was only sustainable as long as the country could grow extremely fast, justifying high investment. This in turn was possible when China had vast reserves of underemployed rural labor. But that’s no longer true, and China now faces the tricky task of transitioning to much lower growth without stumbling into recession. A reasonable strategy would have been to buy time with credit expansion and infrastructure spending while reforming the economy in ways that put more purchasing power into families’ hands. Unfortunately, China pursued only the first half of that strategy, buying time and then squandering it. The result has been rapidly rising debt, much of it owed to poorly regulated “shadow banks,” and a threat of financial meltdown. So the Chinese situation looks fairly grim — and new numbers have reinforced fears of a hard landing, leading not just to a plunge in Chinese stocks but to sharp declines in stock prices worldwide.

O.K., so far so bad. And some smart people think that the global implications are really scary; George Soros is comparing it to 2008. As I suggested above, however, I have a hard time making the numbers for that kind of catastrophe work. Yes, China is a big economy, accounting in particular for about a quarter of world manufacturing, so what happens there has implications for all of us. And China buys more than $2 trillion worth of goods and services from the rest of the world each year. But it’s a big world, with a total gross domestic product excluding China of more than $60 trillion. Even a drastic fall in Chinese imports would be only a modest hit to world spending.

What about financial linkages? One reason America’s subprime crisis turned global in 2008 was that foreigners in general, and European banks in particular, turned out to be badly exposed to losses on U.S. securities. But China has capital controls — that is, it isn’t very open to foreign investors — so there’s very little direct spillover from plunging stocks or even domestic debt defaults. All of this says that while China itself is in big trouble, the consequences for the rest of us should be manageable. But I have to admit that I’m not as relaxed about this as the above analysis says I should be. If you like, I lack the courage of my complacency. Why? Part of the answer is that business cycles across nations often seem to be more synchronized than they “should” be. For example, Europe and the United States export to each other only a small fraction of what they produce, yet they often have recessions and recoveries at the same time. Financial linkages may be part of the story, but one also suspects that there is psychological contagion: Good or bad news in one major economy affects animal spirits in others.

So I worry that China may export its woes in ways back-of-the-envelope calculations miss, that the Middle Kingdom’s troubles will one way or another have the effect of depressing investment spending in America and Europe as well as in other emerging markets. And if my worries come true, we are woefully unready to deal with the shock. After all, who would respond to a China shock, and how? Monetary policy would probably be of little help. With interest rates still close to zero and inflation still below target, the Fed would have limited ability to fight an economic downdraft in any case, and it has probably reduced its effectiveness further by signaling its eagerness to raise rates at the first excuse. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is already pushing to the limits of its political mandate in its own so far unsuccessful effort to raise inflation.

And while fiscal policy — essentially, spending more to offset the effects of China spending less — would surely work, how many people believe that Republicans would be receptive to a new Obama stimulus plan, or that German politicians would look kindly on a proposal for bigger deficits in Europe? Now, my best guess is still that things won’t be that bad — nasty in China, but just a bit of turbulence elsewhere. And I really, really hope that guess is right, because we don’t seem to have a plan B anywhere in sight.

NO Plan B...what is Bernie? Chopped liver? Our best alternative to torches and pitchforks, and he doesn't even rate a mention?

Also, Krugman's "simple man" narrative is extremely annoying in a man who should know better.

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:12 PM

25. 2016: Oil Limits and the End of the Debt Supercycle



By Gail Tverberg, an actuary interested in finite world issues – oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change.

What is ahead for 2016? Most people don’t realize how tightly the following are linked:

    Growth in debt
    Growth in the economy
    Growth in cheap-to-extract energy supplies
    Inflation in the cost of producing commodities
    Growth in asset prices, such as the price of shares of stock and of farmland
    Growth in wages of non-elite workers
    Population growth

It looks to me as though this linkage is about to cause a very substantial disruption to the economy, as oil limits, as well as other energy limits, cause a rapid shift from the benevolent version of the economic supercycle to the portion of the economic supercycle reflecting contraction...

How the Economic Growth Supercycle Works, in an Ideal Situation

In an ideal situation, growth in debt tends to stimulate the economy. The availability of debt makes the purchase of high-priced goods such as factories, homes, cars, and trucks more affordable. All of these high-priced goods require the use of commodities, including energy products and metals. Thus, growing debt tends to add to the demand for commodities, and helps keep their prices higher than the cost of production, making it profitable to produce these commodities. The availability of profits encourages the extraction of an ever-greater quantity of energy supplies and other commodities.

The growing quantity of energy supplies made possible by this profitability can be used to leverage human labor to an ever-greater extent, so that workers become increasingly productive. For example, energy supplies help build roads, trucks, and machines used in factories, making workers more productive. As a result, wages tend to rise, reflecting the greater productivity of workers in the context of these new investments. Businesses find that demand for their goods and services grows because of the growing wages of workers, and governments find that they can collect increasing tax revenue. The arrangement of repaying debt with interest tends to work well in this situation. GDP grows sufficiently rapidly that the ratio of debt to GDP stays relatively flat...

China has acted as a major growth pump for the world for the last 15 years, since it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. China’s growth is now slowing, and can be expected to slow further. Its growth was financed by a huge increase in debt. Paying back this debt is likely to be a problem...Thus, we seem to be coming to the contraction portion of the debt supercycle. This is frightening, because if debt is contracting, asset prices (such as stock prices and the price of land) are likely to fall. Banks are likely to fail, unless they can transfer their problems to others–owners of the bank or even those with bank deposits. Governments will be affected as well, because it will become more expensive to borrow money, and because it becomes more difficult to obtain revenue through taxation. Many governments may fail as well for that reason...

What is Ahead for 2016?


We are certainly entering a worrying period. We have not really understood how the economy works, so we have tended to assume we could fix one or another part of the problem. The underlying problem seems to be a problem of physics. The economy is a dissipative structure, a type of self-organizing system that forms in thermodynamically open systems. As such, it requires energy to grow. Ultimately, diminishing returns with respect to human labor–what some of us would call falling inflation-adjusted wages of non-elite workers–tends to bring economies down. Thus all economies have finite lifetimes, just as humans, animals, plants, and hurricanes do. We are in the unfortunate position of observing the end of our economy’s lifetime.

more at link--a lot of it apparent mumble-jumble

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 05:20 PM

26. The Death of the Professional: Are Doctors, Lawyers and Accountants Becoming Obsolete?


Adapted from the new book The Future of the Professions by Richard Susskind & Daniel Susskind (Oxford University Press, 2015).


The end of the professional era is characterized by four trends: the move from bespoke service; the bypassing of traditional gatekeepers; a shift from a reactive to a proactive approach to professional work; and the more-for-less challenge.

The Move From Bespoke (Custom) Service

For centuries, much professional work has been handled in the manner of a craft. Individual experts and specialists—people who know more than others—have offered an essentially bespoke service (“bespoke” is British for “custom”). In the language of the tailor, their product has been “made-to-measure” rather than “off-the-peg.” For each recipient the service has been disposable (used once only), handcrafted ordinarily by a solitary scribe or sole trusted adviser, often in the spirit of an artist who starts each project afresh with a blank canvas...Our research strongly suggests that bespoke professional work in this vein looks set to fade from prominence, as other crafts (like tailoring and tallow chandlering) have done over the centuries. Significant elements of professional work are being routinized: in checklists, standard form materials, and in various sorts of systems, many of which are available online. Meanwhile, the work that remains for human beings to handle conventionally is often not conducted by individual craftspeople, but collaboratively in teams, sometimes collocated, but more often virtually. And, with the advance of increasingly capable machines, some work may not be conducted by human beings at all.

Just as we witnessed the “death of gentlemanly capitalism” in the banks in the 1980s, we seem to be observing a similar decline in bespoke professionalism.

The Bypassed Gatekeepers

In the past, when in need of expert guidance we turned to the professions. Their members knew things that others did not, and we drew on their knowledge and experience to solve our problems. Each profession acted as a “gatekeeper” of its own, distinct body of practical expertise. Today this set-up is under threat...We are already seeing some work being wrested from the hands of traditional professions. Some of the competition is coming from within. We observe professionals from different professions doing each other’s work. They even speak of “eating one another’s lunch.” Accountants and consultants, for example, are particularly effective at encroaching on the business of lawyers and actuaries. We also see intra-professional friction, when, for example, nurses take on work that used to be exclusive to doctors, or paralegals are engaged to perform tasks that formerly were the province of lawyers. But the competition is also advancing from outside the traditional boundaries of the professions—from new people and different institutions. We see a recurring need to draw on people with very different skills, talents, and ways of working... “communities of experience,” as we call them, are springing up across many professions (for example, PatientsLikeMe and the WebMD communities in medicine). We say more about them in a moment. More radical still are systems and machines that themselves generate practical expertise. These are underpinned by a variety of advanced techniques, such as Big Data and artificial intelligence. These platforms and systems tend not to be owned and run by the traditional professions. Whether those who do so will in turn become “new gatekeepers” is a subject of some concern.


it still won't save us

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 07:20 PM

27. Richard Burton reads John Donne's poem 'The Good Morrow'


The Good-Morrow

By John Donne

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

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Response to Proserpina (Reply #27)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 07:29 PM

28. Another biographical bit


John Donne's standing as a great English poet, and one of the greatest writers of English prose, is now assured. However, it has been confirmed only in the early 20th century. The history of Donne's reputation is the most remarkable of any major writer in English; no other body of great poetry has fallen so far from favor for so long and been generally condemned as inept and crude. In Donne's own day his poetry was highly prized among the small circle of his admirers, who read it as it was circulated in manuscript, and in his later years he gained wide fame as a preacher. For some 30 years after his death successive editions of his verse stamped his powerful influence upon English poets. During the Restoration his writing went out of fashion and remained so for several centuries. Throughout the 18th century, and for much of the 19th century, he was little read and scarcely appreciated. Commentators followed Samuel Johnson in dismissing his work as no more than frigidly ingenious and metrically uncouth. Some scribbled notes by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Charles Lamb's copy of Donne's poems make a testimony of admiration rare in the early 19th century. Robert Browning became a known (and wondered-at) enthusiast of Donne, but it was not until the end of the 1800s that Donne's poetry was eagerly taken up by a growing band of avant-garde readers and writers. His prose remained largely unnoticed until 1919.

In the first two decades of the 20th century Donne's poetry was decisively rehabilitated. Its extraordinary appeal to modern readers throws light on the Modernist movement, as well as on our intuitive response to our own times. Donne may no longer be the cult figure he became in the 1920s and 1930s, when T. S. Eliot and William Butler Yeats, among others, discovered in his poetry the peculiar fusion of intellect and passion and the alert contemporariness which they aspired to in their own art. He is not a poet for all tastes and times; yet for many readers Donne remains what Ben Jonson judged him: "the first poet in the world in some things." His poems continue to engage the attention and challenge the experience of readers who come to him afresh. His high place in the pantheon of the English poets now seems secure.

Donne's love poetry was written nearly four hundred years ago; yet one reason for its appeal is that it speaks to us as directly and urgently as if we overhear a present confidence. For instance, a lover who is about to board ship for a long voyage turns back to share a last intimacy with his mistress: "Here take my picture" (Elegy 5). Two lovers who have turned their backs upon a threatening world in "The Good Morrow" celebrate their discovery of a new world in each other...


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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 07:30 PM

29. A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy's Day By John Donne


'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world's whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar'd with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
Of all that's nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light and body must be here.

But I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all;
Since she enjoys her long night's festival,
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's, and the day's deep midnight is.

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 08:40 PM

32. World's Richest Lose $194 Billion In First Trading Week of 2016


The world’s 400 richest people lost almost $194 billion this week as world stock markets began the year with a shudder on poor economic data in China and falling oil prices.

Forty-seven billionaires lost $1 billion or more during the worst week for U.S. stocks since 2011, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The combined drop was almost seven times the $29 billion lost in the first five trading days of 2015. The 400 people on the index had a combined $3.7 trillion at the end of the week, compared with more than $4 trillion a year ago.

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, the best-performing billionaire in 2015, lost the most, his fortune dropping $5.9 billion this week as shares of the world’s largest online retailer fell more than 10 percent. Bezos is the world’s fourth-richest person with $53.7 billion and more than doubled his net worth in 2015 as investors cheered profits at Amazon...


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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sun Jan 10, 2016, 03:43 AM

34. ‘Career change’ a myth to keep workers docile



THE idea that workers can switch jobs is a myth put about to stop them become depressed and unproductive, it has emerged.

Employers are told to respond positively to workers’ stupid plans to go off and work in a monkey sanctuary or become a crime writer, safe in the knowledge that it will never work out.

Company director Donna Sheridan said: “Our telesales staff are tied to this place by rent, mortgages and being mentally good-for-nothing thanks to years of brain-numbing toil.

“But if they realised they’ll be putting numbers into a computer until they retire and get a plastic clock, they’d probably lie down under their desks waiting to die.

“Sometimes I casually mention a woman from marketing who retrained and became an Apache attack helicopter pilot. Obviously it’s bollocks, but they love it.”

Sales manager Tom Logan, 40, said: “People are always successfully following their dreams, so I’m sure I can redo my GCSEs, A-levels and degree and take out a huge loan in order to become a brilliant doctor like Huge Laurie in House.

“My boss was incredibly supportive and bought me a stethoscope before telling me to get on the fucking phone and sell more bathroom fittings.”

Yes, it's supposed to be satire...

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sun Jan 10, 2016, 04:54 AM

36. I have to do some homework


See you later!

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sun Jan 10, 2016, 05:39 AM

37. Another Fabricated Jobs Report By Paul Craig Roberts



According to Friday’s (January 8) payroll jobs numbers, almost 300,000 new jobs were created in December. Additionally, the previous two months were revised upward by 50,000 jobs. Apparently, the equity market did not believe the report, with the averages moving down today. As I have pointed out almost monthly for what I think could be approaching two decades, the alleged job growth always takes place in nontradable domestic services, that is, in areas that do not produce exports and have no competition from imports. This is the job profile of a Third World country.

Twelve years ago I predicted at a major Washington, D.C., conference that was nationally televised that in 20 years the United States would have a Third World economy if jobs offshoring, which benefits only corporate executives and shareholders, continued. Jobs offshoring has continued, and judging by the payroll jobs reports from the US government, the US is already a Third World economy. The presstitute financial media—and what they are is a bunch of whores—always reports the alleged jobs increase as if it is a great thing, testimony to the continuing strength of the American economy, and so forth. Only a handful of us look at the data and reveal its meaning. Once again I will strip away the Matrix and show you the reality.

Allegedly, the US economy has been in recovery since, if memory serves, June 2009. If so, it is an unusual recovery. Normally, the rising job opportunities associated with economic recoveries bring entrants into the labor force, but the US labor force participation rate has been declining. In December, 2015, there are 1,185,000 fewer Americans in the labor force than in December 2014; yet, the working age population is higher today than a year ago. The reported unemployment rate does not include “discouraged workers,” that is, workers who unable to find jobs have ceased looking for work. The reported unemployment rate of 5% only counts non-discouraged workers who are still expecting to find a job. The actual unemployment rate, that is, the rate that includes Americans who have given up hope of finding employment, is 23%. Currently, there are 94,691,000 Americans of working age who are not in the labor force. In other words, the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is deprived of a large percentage of its labor input.

Now, we will pay attention, unlike the financial presstitute media, to the age groups who benefited, according to the BLS, from the 292,000 December new jobs.

  • About half of the alleged new jobs—142,000—went to the 55 years old and over age group. This age group consists primarily of retirees who have found it necessary to supplement their retirement income and of those near retirement who are working in order to compensate for the lack of interest on their savings due to the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policy. These are part-time, lowly paid jobs without benefits.

  • Americans of prime working age, 25 years old to 54 year old, only received 16,000 or 5% of the new jobs.

  • Those aged 46 to 54 lost 165,000 jobs. In other words, middle aged people are losing their jobs before they can provide for their retirement.

  • There are 527,000 more Americans working multiple jobs in December 2015 than in December 2014.

Now, as we have done so often for many years, let’s look at the make believe jobs that the BLS claims. Almost all of them are in lowly paid domestic services, such as waitresses, bartenders, couriers and messengers, employment services, social services and health care (primarily ambulatory health care services). The conclusion is that if we believe the payroll jobs report, the United States is now an economy that only creates Third World jobs in lowly paid domestic services. And yet this non-economy on the verge of collapse is said by the idiots in Washington to be a super-power.

What a total joke!

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sun Jan 10, 2016, 11:58 AM

38. Well, my investment in Powerball didn't go as planned.

Overnight, the value of my investment tanked 60%.

Oh, woe is me. Send donations. Bail me out.

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #38)

Sun Jan 10, 2016, 02:28 PM

40. Bail you out, like send beer? ...... n/t

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Response to Proserpina (Original post)

Sun Jan 10, 2016, 05:34 PM

42. I've been blocked by the Hillary group. I feel honored.

I tmust of been my comment about needing thicker skin. Again

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