Fatal Sensitivity

By James Kwak

One more post on Reinhart-Rogoff, following one on Excel and one on interpretation of results.

While the spreadsheet problems in Reinhart and Rogoff’s analysis are the most most obvious mistake, they are not as economically significant as the two other issues identified by Herndon, Ash, and Pollin: country weighting (weighting average GDP for each country equally, rather than weighting country-year observations equally) and data exclusion (the exclusion of certain years of data for Australia, Canada, and New Zealand). According to Table 3 in Herndon et al., those two factors alone reduced average GDP in the high-debt category from 2.2% (as Herndon et al. measure it) to 0.3%.*

In their response, Reinhart and Rogoff say that some data was “excluded” because it wasn’t in their data set at the time they wrote the 2010 paper, and I see no reason not to believe them. But this just points out the fragility of their methodology. If digging four or five years further back in time for just three countries can have a major impact on their results, then how robust were their results to begin with? If the point is to find the true, underlying relationship between national debt and GDP growth, and a little more data can cause the numbers to jump around (mainly by switching New Zealand from a huge outlier to an ordinary country), then the point I take away is that we’re not even close to that true relationship.

In their response, Reinhart and Rogoff also argue that it is correct to weight by country rather than by country-year. Their argument is basically that weighting by country-year would overweight Greece and Japan, which had many years with debt above 90% of GDP. Herndon et al. recognize this point:

“RR does not indicate or discuss the decision to weight equally by country rather than by country-year. In fact, possible within-country serially correlated relationships could support an argument that not every additional country-year contributes proportionally additional information. . . . But equal weighting by country gives a one-year episode as much weight as nearly two decades in the above 90 percent public debt/GDP range.”

Both weighting methods are flawed. (Country-year weighting is only flawed if there is serial correlation, which there probably is; if the U.K.’s nineteen years with debt greater than 90% of GDP were independent draws, then it should be weighted 19 times as much as a country with only one such year.) But this brings me to the same point as above: if your results depend heavily on the choice of one defensible variable definition rather than another, at least equally defensible definition, then they aren’t worth very much to begin with.

Here’s another way to put it. Let’s concede the weighting point for the sake of argument. If Reinhart and Rogoff had not made any spreadsheet errors in their original paper—that is, if the only factors at issue were country weighting and data exclusion—they would have calculated average GDP growth in the high-debt category of 0.3%. If they then added the additional country-years as they expanded their data set, while sticking with their preferred weighting methodology, that figure would have jumped to 1.9%—and the 90% “cliff” would have completely vanished. (See Herndon et al., Table 3.) What happened is that Reinhart and Rogoff’s choice to weight by country rather than country-year makes their method extremely sensitive to the addition of new data.

The question to ask is this: If a method produces results that can drastically change by the addition of a few more data points, are those results worth anything? The answer is no.

Update: Or, as Mark Thoma said (not necessarily about Reinhart and Rogoff directly):

“It’s even more disappointing to see researchers overlooking these well-known, obvious problems – for example the lack of precision and sensitivity to data errors that come with the reliance on just a few observations – to oversell their results.”

76 thoughts on “Fatal Sensitivity

  1. Obama did not fully explain the sequester did he? He did not mention why we would have to cut off college tuition programs for our soldiers returning from Iran with missing arms and legs did he? Did he say that we would STILL be spending millions each year to legalize gay marriage in other states and expand gay rights however? The money to spend on Lawmaker paychecks comes from the same department of treasury that will no longer fund college tuition for troops. Oh you think that lawmakers work for free writing new legislature for gay rights expansion programs? That money has to come from somewhere and it is called the department of treasury. We cant support the troops and gay marriage at the same time. Its now being called a sequester.

  2. James: in place of ‘Fatal Insensitivity’ make the title of your essay be ‘Fatal Accountability’. There are two insane concepts in computer-driven data-management today that are fatally flawed when it comes to a recording a balanced accounting of economic facts. One fatally flawed process is the spreadsheet, the other is the relational database system. Neither will produce a balanced accounting of the historical facts.
    Keeping a proper book-of-accounts is a recording of history. History can recorded before, during, of after its execution. But no matter which historical mode in reasoning one uses, the journal-ledger pattern for recording history is seven centuries old. It largely travels under the name “double-entry bookkeeping.” A person versed in a proper double-entry balancing of the book-of-accounts does not use a spreadsheet nor a relational database.

  3. The REAL NEWS NETWORK on Youtube (no transcript)

    28-year old PhD student debunks the most influential austerity study

  4. Re: Reinhart and Rogoff “This Time Is Different” Slamfest
    [Their book was published in July 2011, criticisms arrive in 2013]
    “In 2013, Reinhart and Rogoff were in the spotlight after researchers discovered that their co-authored book This Time is Different had significant basic computation errors that, when corrected, undermined the central claim of the book that too much debt causes recession. Rogoff and Reinhardt defended their numbers and claimed that their fundamental conclusions were accurate, despite the errors.” Notwithstanding statistical modeling tools (Matlab, Mathematica, Minitab, Extend, R, Octave and SAS), analyzing a spreadsheet when the facts have changed seems obvious; e.g., when was the last time you checked your email ’cause your boss had already fired you, weeks ago; you were shorter then but taller today, though not by much; the tree planted yesterday, grows fruit today; that, Ms. is now a Mrs.; and so on….)

  5. While the lamestream media was/is preoccupied with current events, “On Friday, Anonymous called for an Internet blackout in protest of CISPA, which passed the House on Thursday. If signed into law, CISPA would make it legal for websites to give your personal information to the U.S. government without your permission. Naturally, the hacker collective anonymous is not happy, calling for an Internet protest on Monday, April 22.”

  6. Concurrently, “President Barack Obama signed a partial repeal of the STOCK Act on Monday [April 15], with the White House citing national security concerns in canceling a planned online database of investment information of top congressional staffers and administration employees. “Both houses of Congress passed this bill unanimously and it was not done in a vacuum,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “Congress changed the online posting provision only after a panel of experts from the National Academy of Public Administration studied this issue and issued a report recommending indefinite suspension,” raising national security, law enforcement and personal security concerns. However, advocates of the legislation — notably Public Citizen and the Sunlight Foundation — had ripped both the repeal of the online database as a blow to accountability and the way it was passed without debate in either the House or the Senate. While some of the information will still be available to the public, people will have a much more difficult time accessing it without a searchable online database. Public Citizen had urged a veto, but on April 12 [the prior Friday] the Justice Department said in a related court filing that the president would sign the bill.”

  7. This is a terrific post. 3rd post or not I think it’s hard to belabor this too much. What makes me feel disappointed is commenter Anime’s point above. That is, how could this austerity propaganda been swallowed by so many without more thorough analysis of the numbers and, as it were, the “methodology”??? It kind of reminds me of the famous Colonel Kurtz scene (one of my personal favs):

    Only I should say I almost have more sympathy for Colonel Kurtz than authors R&R.

    The bothersome point is the time lag it took to find the methodology errors (purposeful/intentional errors?? Because I think it’s a very legit question to ask if the errors were intentional based on the authors clear prior political stances). If Anime’s time frame is correct, almost 2 years time to call them out. I’m just as much to blame as anyone, as I purchased the book in paperback and have yet to do more than barely flip through the graphs.

  8. In regard to Miranda and “The Public Safety Exception” there is almost the equivalent to a metaphorical mixed Marshall art as to how this relates to delays in truth findings and discovery disclosures; but the pattern (apparently deriving from terroristic legitimation) is one of insidious but pervasive dissolution of the legalized practice parameters:
    ” Mind you, as Charlie Savage reported two years ago, the government has been institutionalizing longer delays before they give Miranda warnings, most notably with people they (or foreign proxies) interrogate overseas first, followed by a clean team Mirandized interrogation. And as the reference to “gain[ing] critical intelligence” above suggests, the Obama Administration is stretching the intent of pre-Miranda interrogations to include more substantive interrogation (update: Emily Bazelon also made this point).”
    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: The Big Issue Is Not Miranda, It’s Presentment
    Posted on April 20, 2013 by emptywheel

    In what we might (tongue in cheek) call “FUTILE INSENSITIVITY”

  9. It’s not as if the criminal and “black market” economists scattered around the sovereign-less global economy aren’t monitoring and learning from the political success stories in the USA of disjointed mono-issue minorities in taking down and then taking over the existing order of commerce that STILL needs to conduct itself with “double-entry bookkeeping”!! Good lord, two people etching tablets on the mountaintop certainly are not in totalitarian control and command of the USA. Reams of hand-written mathematical “theories” scribed by institutionalized patients during the golden age of well-funded mental institutions are about as relevant as the R&R “theory” in the hand of apologists.

    As we say in NJ, “….then everybody and their uncle wants to get in on that act…..”.

    But what did become clear after this latest, uniquely American, legendary manhunt for wilding desperadoes in Boston is just how factually INCORRECT is the AG Holder statement that banksters are “….too big to jail…”.

  10. For “You” Annie: (I was born in Jersey City & spent most of my early youth at the Jersey Shore: …unlike Obama who spent his with Suharto Indonesia…)
    “As a result of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of the Fed, Senate sponsor Bernie Sanders of Vermont said, “We now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world.” Among the investigation’s key findings was that the Fed unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland. These decisions were all made without the public, media or elected officials’ knowledge, and they would have remained secret without an audit.” Bernie Sanders Read more of this post

  11. “Fatal Attraction”
    Felons in Charge of Our Largest Financial Institutions-Professor William Black
    17 April 2013 62 Comments
    “This started with the first lie of the virgin crisis–that the banks are pure and had stopped violating the law. The second lie is that we can’t prosecute . . . because if we did, we would cause the financial system to collapse. “

  12. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/04/robert-johnson-on-the-oligarchs-theyre-all-standing-on-the-deck-of-the-titanic-looking-in-each-others-eyes.html

    Robert Johnson: I think the, call it the oligarchy now is audacious. They don’t really care if they’re legitimate. There was a time – you know, I always hear Jurgen Habermas was paraphrased by saying, “Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must.” And I think we’ve gone past –…”

    “…But there is a sort of, “Okay guys, you’re mad, how are you going to stop me?” mentality at the top.”

  13. Anime | April 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm (above)
    Correction: Re: Reinhart and Rogoff “This Time Is Different” Slamfest
    [Their book was published in September, 2009, criticisms arrive in 2013]:
    I am not certain that this book is open to the same precise scrutiny as the 2010 paper they published subsequently.
    Frankly, i own this book and I have been skimming through it all afternoon and it is a pretty good book overall, and I can not find any critical fault with its general contentions. I may not be sophisticated enough to pick up the subtle statistical inferences on the whole of economic theory, but the work essentially demonstrates that excessive debt recurs in bubbles of euphoria amidst (among other things) self deluding denial, greed, and finally corruption that over-stresses the extreme boundaries of the system. The major contention is that this occurs time and time again.
    I understand the distinctions made concerning the correlations and disproportionate “bundling” that is pointed out in the Youtube video (above); but I am very interested in a clarification concerning how that paper’s methodology negates the major work they produced in THIS TIME ITS DIFFERENT…which covers (subtitled) Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.
    Any help from the mainstream on this distinction?

  14. Thanks Annie! But if you notice, they mention the book and then proceed to use the criticism of the 2010 paper that apparently had such an influence on the legitimation of preferable austerity policies.
    Still confused. In fact, isn’t “austerity” just a vulgar propaganda term for the effects of calculated contraction on a segment / strata selectively imposed on a demographic segment of a domestic economy? If so, the book sites “contraction” as a major portion of default and failure. No where does the book (unless i am mistaken) push for austerity…but it does suggest sound judgement in being frugal in the first place. What about this Annie? Am I on track here?

  15. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/18/uncovered-error-george-osborne-austerity
    The error that could subvert George Osborne’s austerity programme:
    The theories on which the chancellor based his cuts policies have been shown to be based on an embarrassing mistake.
    Charles Arthur and Phillip Inman
    The Guardian, Thursday 18 April 2013 16.10 EDT
    “It was a mistake in a spreadsheet that could have been easily overlooked: a few rows left out of an equation to average the values in a column.
    The spreadsheet was used to draw the conclusion of an influential 2010 economics paper: that public debt of more than 90% of GDP slows down growth. This conclusion was later cited by the International Monetary Fund and the UK Treasury to justify programmes of austerity that have arguably led to riots, poverty and lost jobs.
    Now the mistake in the spreadsheet has been uncovered – and the researchers who wrote the paper, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, have admitted it was wrong.”

    as an aside: one of Kwak’s recurring interests on spreadsheets the article goes on to say:

    “The Massachusetts economists who led the attack on the 2010 paper questioned why their Harvard rivals used a generic Excel spreadsheet to carry out ground-breaking research. According to the European Spreadsheet Risk Group, spreadsheets were behind the collapse of the Jamaican banking system in the late 1990s, and their use was key in the development of collateralised debt obligations – the financial instruments that promised sub-prime mortgages could somehow become AAA-rated investments.”

    But perhaps too little too late, Rogoff appears to state that he was never for austerity as a primary policy, but for a complete “restructuring” a ” major restructuring as a centrepiece of the solution for eurozone periphery public debt and senior bank debt.”

    So let heads fall where they may, but it also appears they are being made something of a scapegoat for policies that are politically desirable and the reputation fiasco is just what happens when you start believing that you are …LET’S HEAR IT GANG:
    …………………………TOO BIG TO FALL !!!!…………………………

  16. http://www.thedailybell.com/floatWindow.cfm?id=2952
    [selected excerpts]
    “Austerity programs consist of a set of policies established by governments experiencing financial debt problems within their operational budgets and choose to embark on a commitment to reduce spending for public goods and services. Austerity programs can be highly controversial and disruptive to an orderly society if the populace mobilizes against the government for taking such action after unreasonable spending sprees based on whatever logic the government may stipulate.”
    “The process can be political suicide for representatives in certain areas. The measures typically demand reduction in services to the lower socioeconomic level of society, often in response to previous over-spending that has amounted to transfer of public funds into the hands of individuals who need no handout.
    But in actuality, government is made up of people. And these people have usually been prevailed upon by money power – Western power elites – to borrow more money than the country’s citizens can easily repay. When the business cycle turns sour, as it inevitably does, the debts taken on by the country prove unpayable. By this time, the person(s) who have obliged the debts have left power and perhaps even left the country while those remaining now bear the responsibility.”
    Robert Johnson: I think the, call it the oligarchy now is audacious. They don’t really care if they’re legitimate. There was a time – you know, I always hear Jurgen Habermas was paraphrased by saying, “Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must.” And I think we’ve gone past –…”

    “…But there is a sort of, “Okay guys, you’re mad, how are you going to stop me?” mentality at the top.”


  17. Call it what you will…structurally you have contraction for the mass consumer market and wage distribution, and liquidity for the top nested hierarchy that differentiates in gradient proportions between the 1% elite and the top 30% or so of selective financial class interests. It is not just robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is an aggressive and desperate inversion of profits and prosperity over poverty and austerity. The lower substrata suffer progressively as contraction devalues their incremental efforts at self sufficiency. While the liquidity at the top provides a command level of economic advantage, it also must sustain a progressive maximization demand to sustain the
    exponential demands of this special purpose “economy” of wealth and stealth. This is all leveled off nicely with flow charts and spreadsheets that methodically wipe out misery and average out growth.

    , …do not pass go; go directly to Yale…and oh yeah…don’t forget your get out of jail free card!

  18. http://www.globalresearch.ca/its-the-interest-stupid-why-bankers-rule-the-world/5311030
    By Ellen Brown
    Global Research, February 15, 2013
    Web of Debt and Global Research
    “Bank assets, financial profits, interest, and debt have all been growing exponentially.
    Exponential growth in financial sector profits has occurred at the expense of the non-financial sectors, where incomes have at best grown linearly.
    By 2010, 1% of the population owned 42% of financial wealth, while 80% of the population owned only 5% percent of financial wealth. Dr. Kennedy observes that the bottom 80% pay the hidden interest charges that the top 10% collect, making interest a strongly regressive tax that the poor pay to the rich.

    Exponential growth is unsustainable. In nature, sustainable growth progresses in a logarithmic curve that grows increasingly more slowly until it levels off (the red line in the first chart above). Exponential growth does the reverse: it begins slowly and increases over time, until the curve shoots up vertically (the chart below). Exponential growth is seen in parasites, cancers . . . and compound interest. When the parasite runs out of its food source, the growth curve suddenly collapses.”

  19. Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.

  20. @Woych – I think that every human being has the right to make their lives less miserable through HONEST WORK. “Austerity” is a direct assault on that right – worse than fascism and communism and socailism and capitalism stalinism and zionism and feminism and gayism, etc etc etc.

    Has it escaped everyone’s notice that this economic genocide is targeting the first world cultures and countries that have already PROVEN – through experience – how life gets good if you stay within a decent man to land ratio, breed with intelligence, and marshall brains and braun in service to the well being of the web of life on this planet?

    It’s economic genocide, not “austerity”. Look at what they DO. There are no majik juju words – this is vicious and congolese savage THEFT of the fruits of centuries of labor. And if you got a sense of “politics” from your time in NJ, then you KNOW over and over and over again when Da Boss thinks he’s got enough money to protect him/HER from the hatred their money bought and wrought, things happen.

    That Manhunt in Boston was not done at the behest or by the political/economic *permission* of the vicious 1% elite. No one is “too big to jail” and the classic Manhunt to take out the wilding desperadoes which will include a whole country stopping to “shelter on site” against the banksters – is in the cards. Bet on it.

    The 1% are so much more depraved than GOOD people can even imagine in their wildest descents into attempting to understand “evil”…..every time you think they can’t go any lower, get crueler, take more joy in their sadism, they prove you wrong and go lower. 25 million made it on to Stalin’s list for extermination….it’s 40 million in USA….checked LinkedIn – the dozen or so people with my surname in USA (yup only a couple handfulls, easy targets) – all at one time middle class through the science route – are undergoing economic genocide via “unemployment”….and here we go again – set up for extermination by a “rhinehartf” and a “rogoff” – “…clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right….”

    Now riddle me this, Woych. With 7 billion and counting, what makes the 1% SAFER without the Middle Class buffer in USA?

  21. The fact that they live behind guarded walls makes their buffer safer to them. What makes you less safe, is the lost war on drugs on the street, complements of those same hypocritical 1%er’s. And the worst part is there is nothing you can do about either, cause they go into phase “y”, and lose their ability to speak when confronted about it. No riddle me, just the facts mammy.

  22. A city of a million people participated in the Manhunt – good luck with the walls keeping you safe, buddy.

    The word is out on the street, my friend, when it comes to your “immigrant” class throwing people’s belongings out on the curb in FRAUDCLOSURES which is how the drug $$ is being “laundered” for the banksters.

    We’ll follow your bank temps doing your war on women owning property for you and mow them down. If you think my ilk is never going to take a pre-emptive shot at the low life hooligan class the 1% set upon the Middle Class, then you are DELUSIONAL. You don’t have enough $$$$ to protect yourself from my hatred anymore – you stalking sneering sadistic anonymousy internet PREDATOR….


    Bet on that “philosophy” becoming the “ism” you can’t beat with majik woowoo words like “austerity”.

  23. You have once again have misdiagnosed the patient, doc. And that could be fatal at anytime for you, as you TRY to exact revenge for your hatred of other non-like minded cohorts, regardless of the rhyme or reason of it all, since we have a complete chart of your illness.
    Plus every human being has the right to be taken by their maker, once they are no longer needed for study, or their courage breaks down, which ever comes first.
    You talk a good tangle when low on your maintenance powder, but I have yet to see any action on the streets with all that hatred you have bottled up inside of you. Surely you can do more than talk.

  24. You don’t have enough money to counteract the hatred you have sown.

    And the economic genocide is coming for you.

  25. Want to bet there freddy flintstone. I get so amused at watching you suffer I almost hope you make to the end, so I can scare the pants off your skinny little legs before your schedule ending. You miss class so often I wonder if your taking this on sabbatical or if you actually dropped out. The message never changes tho, I got that much down.

  26. I’m already immortal, oh vicious anonymous cretin. You’re already dead – just another cockroach roaming around until the lights go on.

    “Schedule ending” after you’re “done studying me” – WOW, really into recreating the good ol’ days of concentration camps in your DELUSIONAL monkey brain high on imagination. Yeah, get out that file on “my illness”, Zionist, and post it on this MIT econ discussion board. One may be able to see the need to blow people’s legs off at marathons in order to keep the numbers steady for the artificial limb biz – what with perpetual war in the Middle East winding down…isn’t that how your mind works….?

    ROTFL at a cockroach “studying” the human…great cartoon material…

  27. You misdiagnosed the patient again fool, your probably low on fuel stock again, and money.
    Like I said about you, it’s just the lost war on drugs that has you so on edge checking into the bloody disaster that your life has become. Since we, and you, can’t administrate your way out anymore, the only cards you have left are jokers who believe, “since you were not there, you can not possibly know what has occurred behind closed doors”. Another one of your fatal flaws comes shining through. So sorry to burst your bubble of dry powder. Ignoramus.

  28. “In their response, Reinhart and Rogoff say that some data was “excluded” because it wasn’t in their data set at the time they wrote the 2010 paper, and I see no reason not to believe them.”

    I don’t have the link handy, but much of the data they excluded was from the 1940’s. It was available, just contrary to their hypothesis.

  29. http://www.prwatch.org/node/12065
    Pete Peterson Linked Economists Caught in Austerity Error
    by Mary Bottari — April 18, 2013 – 11:59am
    Projects: Real Economy Project
    “As the Center for Media and Democracy detailed in the online report, “The Peterson Pyramid,” the Blackstone billionaire turned philanthropist has spent half a billion dollars to promote this chorus of calamity. Through the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Peterson has funded practically every think tank and non-profit that works on deficit- and debt-related issues, including his latest astroturf supergroup, “Fix the Debt,” which has set a July 4, 2013 deadline for securing an austerity budget.

    Reinhart, described glowingly by the New York Times as “the most influential female economist in the world,” was a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics founded, chaired, and funded by Peterson. Reinhart is listed as participating in many Peterson Institute events, such as their 2012 fiscal summit along with Paul Ryan, Alan Simpson, and Tim Geithner, and numerous other Peterson lectures and events available on YouTube. She is married to economist and author Vincent Reinhart, who does similar work for the American Enterprise Institute, also funded by the Peterson Foundation.

    Kenneth Rogoff is listed on the Advisory Board of the Peterson Institute. The Peterson Institute bankrolled and published a 2011 Rogoff-Reinhart book-length collaboration, “A Decade of Debt,” where the authors apparently used the same flawed data to reach many of the same conclusions and warn ominously of a “debt burden” stretching into 2017 that “will weigh heavily on the public policy agenda of numerous advanced economies and global financial markets for some time to come.” (Note that not everyone associated with the Institute touts the Peterson party line.)”


  30. There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That’s the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond.
    Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim
    Filmed Feb 2013 • Posted Apr 2013 • TED2013

  31. Woych, you are the champion that brings me stories that I truly need to see and hear. I thank you for this poetry from Larry Lessig; I’m reminded or Lau Tsu. Lessig’s story will change my life, thank you for what I might have missed.

  32. @ Annie…devastating ! And we thought “No taxation without representation” was enough to instigate a Revolution in the colonies?
    This is the definitive picture of what “REPRESENTATION” in government has become towards our own people!

    @Dan Palanza: Your words made my day!

  33. @Anonymousy, “…Plus every human being has the right to be taken by their maker, once they are no longer needed for study, or their courage breaks down, which ever comes first…”

    And so who can’t believe what else may be done to make YOUR numbers…?

    There is nothing stopping the Drug Lords from investing in something other than continuing the current circle jerk of their cash flow, is there?

    As Kramer said on CNBC, “….if they do this, they can OWN the living room….”. Digitalizing the world didn’t capture their monkey brain imaginations of what to do with the cash?

    My life is fantastic and I intend for it to stay that way. The good Lord gave me everything I need to make it all work out. Cockroaches occasionally invade – this year it’s going to be the every 17 years hatching of locusts. Reality. Go figure.

  34. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/russia-anti-drug-gangs_n_3154274.html?utm_hp_ref=world

    Meanwhile, no work visas or green cards required for the Russian Zionists finding political refuge in USA….they can buy sports teams, use the banks to throw women out of houses through fraudclosure and come out smelling like saints thanks to Bloomberg who goes after the sale of Big Gulps…

    Like I said, who is stopping the Drug Lords (which, btw, includes Big Pharma) from “inwesting” in something outside of their tight circle jerk cash flow?

    Hate the sin, not the sinner. But when the sinner tips over to iniquity for da $$$$, justice must take the necessary turn and meet the force with force.

    More misery for others = More $$$$ for ME ME ME

    @Woych – no one from Congress at the Unemployment Meeting, everyone too busy whipping the Middle Class with “sequestration” and “austerity” from their Twitter accounts…

  35. That’s dubious, Annie. You are actually one big rock hard piece of indecision. Here’s the test, poke the side of your neck with your fingers, notice how hard it is behind the skin. The same hardness continues straight to your brain, showing just how hard and indecisive it is in there. Secondly, turn your head 90 degrees and look in the mirror, if you can go that far. As soon as you can see lines developing on your neck, STOP, and do something to relieve the discomfort, so the next time you look in the mirror, YOU can see the improvement, or not. Try this everyday until the lines are gone, and then you won’t have to worry about covering up your sins with your hair. Easy ain’t it? Don’t let me catch you in public with ring around the collar syndrome, for then I will see you for what you are.

    Annie, how come you squirt a load, is your neck in a knot, or your mind in a tizzy??

  36. Thanks Annie; it is certainly an article worth spreading around and sharing with others. My humble opinion however:
    Securing the infrastructure in America is not on the agenda of crisis driven reactionary shock doctrine tactics to dominate the globe; including the domestic economy of our country. It would be more powerful if the article named names, and Kaplan does a good job articulating the counter-narrative of conservatives who have created populous propaganda by arrogantly and boldly blaming offshoring and outsourcing on labor, regulations and taxes rather than upon corporate greed and third world Free Raiding Capital. Some of the worst offenses occur with bilateral trade agreements that bind crony governments into contractual obligations they can’t afford and that supercede their own laws…with no authentic recourse or relief. Now we are set upon secret new arrangements based on these lopsided mafia style control fascist-corporate tactical agreements in the Pacific and the Atlantic to complete a neo-contract globaliztion that will wet the pace of the global tensions and contentions of the next decade…and possibly lead to unfair trade restrictions and barriers to entry for non-members and prevent open trade across multinational boundaries. In short, the argument by Kaplan is politically correct, but it is far short of the current emergence of politicized capitalism establishing cartel-like domination over entire economies. Kaplan’s explanations answer the wrong set of questions, and it is still too little too late. (But I still wished he had NAMED NAMES!)
    Compare Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership: to
    TransPacific Partnership Will Undermine Democracy, Empower Transnational Corporations

  37. @Bruce – “….there is always some guy….”

    Propaganda news decrees, “…The new “normal” for the wild-ing desperado global economy is the occasional bombing…”

    whew, layoffs in the artificial limbs biz won’t be so big after “peace” breaks out after all….

  38. Keiser Report: Stalinism of NYSE (E436) False markets: Manipulation is replacing competition as the ‘sine qua non’ operational foundation of capitalism:

  39. Bruce: The traditional role played by bookkeeping is to prove the truth of stated values and the composed rights to the ownership of those stated values. A monetary system that loses its proof of legitimate value — in other words, is no longer subject to a proper book-of-accounts proof — is any persons guess as to who legitimately owns what. I have studied bookkeeping for all of my adult life. There is no example of a proper book-of-accounts in use today.

    The sad part of the story is that computer technology exists to create the essential proof better that anything in history, including gold. Unfortunately, nobody is interested in the technological art of double-entry bookkeeping.

  40. Dan: Thanks for that honest note. I must add that the saddest part of the whole truth is that (I believe, as I think you do…) the system will work if had half a chance. Capitalism will work if it is geared towards competitive advantage as opposed to competitive exclusion. And worst of all…America would work if it only maintains the ethical standards we truly believed in…just some mythic decades ago. But even then it was undermined by a treacherous drive to dominate and capture; to control and conquer…and to put place individualism into a homegenized individuated market system of drones to serve as an industrial system…, to serve as robots (Czechoslovakian for “worker”), in still another chapter of the human use and abuse of human beings. And now we are into the mix of a new generation…and this one had bush & obama…not Kennedy to inspire them.

  41. If only human beings were as simple as horses who slip out a colt that either stands up right away or dies, we could “risk” churning away as human beings in an economy that set a course to only need drones, slaves, and mechanized repetitive labor for a 1% minority pushing for that “vision”.

    But the only thing the individual really owns is their own life. They don’t get to owning their own life until after they are raised to own it. So the other side of the ledger is always just a record of how the individual interacts with the environment in order to sustain their life – their “property”. As a species, we will end up evaluating the man to land ratio that provides quality, not quantity. The trick is to not let our quantity of number cheapen our quality.

    The competition is for quality, if it is fair. And where would that competition take place when the struggle for the individual life is to make sense of, to balance, and to integrate into life maintenance all interactions with the environment (Planet Earth), but that struggle for integration is taking place in a top down command economy that fragmentalizes both the individual experience and the environment and manipulates the value of both. Who will be allowed to look at the stars at night or grow a tomato or have a pet dog? Who will be allowed to experience a full range of life? Was the human species a mistake? The cockroach is the real survivor :-)

    A global wild-ing desperado generation culling the herd by removing the culture and civilization we have now that is independent of a risk-controlled economy of drones, slaves and mechanization…?…gee, what could go wrong there for the species in the way of “unintended consequences”? Guess we’ll be finding out. Think of all the known unintended consequences that have, so far, *failed* to stop their Frankenstein experiment for “artificial intelligence”….all those crossed “red lines” of “ownership”…

  42. Here we go, right on cue from the army of rationalizers introducing new “accounting” tricks equalizing stuff like R&D costs for AIDS cocktails, video games, and high capacity automatic weapon cartridges:


    The “cost” of labor (no ownership rights) is such a done deal, it’s not even part of the equation.

    Meanwhile, back at the real action:


    @Woych, you have to ask whether there is anyone who gets the game being played – bi-polarize the USA – Russia taking out a chunk in Syria and China getting a piece in North Korea….who wants to live in the country that exists to support the only role it carved out for itself – the mercs for hire service industry…?

  43. @Woych – Since no one else has a plan, might as well just keeping throwing serious reality issues out there 24/7. Beats making stuff up (fun with algorithms) that only increases the amount of serious problems being created….we already have a planetary-wide, 1ft. deep archaeological layer of plastics laid down for future generations to speculate about, why would the next one not be a 1ft. layer of gizmos…?

  44. Wall Street – where the Mafia, CIA and IRS take care of da money….set the rules of the game FOR YOU, not them….”Privatize the profits, socialize the losses”….amazing how that bottom line slogan never caught on…go figure.

    Econ 101 du jour – example of classic IGNORANT pharisaism pretending it’s “economics” swamping “freedom”:


    Once a day average means there had to be dragnet days triggered by a dump of *big data* – time to strip savings and assets from some secretly-selected IMMIGRANT “middle class” to pay the HOMELAND INSECURITY PREDATORS. History you people need to start re-writing now – “economic genocide” of GOOD PEOPLE – healthy, normal brains, every single one having multiple talents that included both physical and intellectual – what SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST used to mean.

    No mercy for the Global Drug Lords from here on forward…..that would be what Letterman once called, “….pointless behavior and plenty of it….”

  45. http://www.icij.org/offshore
    Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze

    Key Findings

    ” Government officials and their families and associates in Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and other countries have embraced the use of covert companies and bank accounts.
    The mega-rich use complex offshore structures to own mansions, yachts, art masterpieces and other assets, gaining tax advantages and anonymity not available to average people.
    Many of the world’s top’s banks – including UBS, Clariden and Deutsche Bank – have aggressively worked to provide their customers with secrecy-cloaked companies in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore hideaways.
    A well-paid industry of accountants, middlemen and other operatives has helped offshore patrons shroud their identities and business interests, providing shelter in many cases to money laundering or other misconduct.
    Ponzi schemers and other large-scale fraudsters routinely use offshore havens to pull off their shell games and move their ill-gotten gains.”
    About This Project
    This multi-year project aims to strip away the biggest mystery associated with tax havens: the owners of anonymous companies. This has never before been possible.

    Read more
    Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze

  46. http://www.icij.org/
    Offshore’s Global Impact Exposed
    Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze
    Dozens of journalists sifted through millions of leaked records and thousands of names in offshore secrecy investigation.
    View ▸
    The Global Muckraker
    News from The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

  47. http://www.icij.org/about
    “The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is an active global network of 160 reporters in more than 60 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories.

    Founded in 1997, ICIJ was launched as a project of the Center for Public Integrity to extend the Center’s style of watchdog journalism, focusing on issues that do not stop at national frontiers: cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power. Backed by the Center and its computer-assisted reporting specialists, public records experts, fact-checkers and lawyers, ICIJ reporters and editors provide real-time resources and state-of-the-art tools and techniques to journalists around the world.
    Our advisory committee consists of…” (read more)
    “ICIJ is open to new story ideas, as well as outstanding investigative journalists interested in collaborating with us. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your ideas.”

  48. Leak to Us: http://www.icij.org/leak
    By The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

    “The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists encourages whistleblowers everywhere to securely submit all forms of content that might be of public concern – documents, photos, video clips as well as story tips.

    We accept all information that relates to potential wrongdoing by corporate, government or public service entities in any country, anywhere in the world. We do our utmost to guarantee the confidentiality of our sources.

    Our motives are squarely aimed at uncovering important government and corporate activities that might otherwise go unreported, from corruption involving public officials to systemic failure to protect the rights of individuals. Journalists from the relevant countries will evaluate and pursue all leads and content submitted and, if merited, report on these issues.”
    much more: http://www.icij.org/leak

  49. @Woych – does anyone know what the point of this kind of behavior is…? Seems to be just another way to STEAL real estate from “feminists” whatever THAT means to anyone – made up words to rationalize hatred, jealousy and savage brute force – “religion” DARK AGE style:


    In all seriousness, until there is an *app* on cell phones that can wash and sanitize a diaper if you just wave the diaper in front of the phone, I think “feminism” will keep making noise.

    Back to food – the “hollywood” model for labor decimated food security in USA – no 2 year storage around – just a 40 year plan to pollute our way to “energy independence”….

    Ah, the “culture” imported via “apps”….

  50. Frankly Annie I am not sure…but the article is absolutely fascinating in that it has no coherent leading consensus. A schizoid institution having an identity crisis in confused translation…being culturally transliterated by an “immigrant” Pope in Italy who has lineage roots, but no credentials as the genuine Italiano… Jesuit composite but subject to some historic compromises with real politik tyrants…and now looking to play political correct internationalism for popular appeals and getting hit from insiders for not knowing the rules…or even the right playing card…while elements of factional radical reactionary opportunism is stirring the political regime pot in South American political cross word puzzels of emergent “realism” (or surrealism Washinton DC style)….but then again, Annie, identity is not exactly the current concerns of the papacy and the Roman legions…they are actually just trying to figure out what century they are actually going to operationalize with the new CEO of Rome INC.>
    Pater Nostrum or Alma Mater or “mama mia”!!!

  51. FaceBook can be taken out in a matter of nanoseconds and that was proven just a few weeks ago – remember?

    That’s my point in a nutshell – how much more time and effort should be dedicated to a “virtual” that has no “there” there….

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