Stephen E. Arnold: Economic Analysis? Makes Me Cry…

Commerce, Government, Idiocy, Ineptitude, IO Impotency
Stephen E. Arnold
Stephen E. Arnold

A Lament for the State of Analysis Tech in Economics

It seems like state-of-the-art analysis tools would be a priority in the data-rich field of finance. That’s why it is startling to learn that the technology being used by economic analysts and consultants seems to be stuck in the era of Windows 95. About Data shares a data-loving former economist’s lament in, “Bridging Economics and Data Science.”

Blogger Sam Bhagwat majored in economics because he was intrigued by innovative uses of data in that field; for example, a professor of his had gleaned conclusions about European patent law from a set of 19th century industrial-fair records. As he progressed, though, Bhagwat came to the disappointing realization that his field still relies on technology for which “outdated” is putting it mildly. He writes:

“When I graduated, the questions had changed, but the fundamental tools of analysis remained constant. Half of my classmates, including me, were headed to consulting or investment banking. These are ‘spreadsheet monkey’ positions analyzing client financial and operational data.

“In terms of relationship-building, this is great. Joining high strategy or high finance, you walk through the halls of power and learn to feel comfortable there. But in terms of technical skill-set, not so great. You begin to specialize in spreadsheets, a tool which hasn’t significantly improved since 1995.

“For someone like me, who wants to solve the most interesting problems out there, dealing with gigabytes and terabytes of data, realizing this was bitter medicine. Computational data analysis has changed a lot in the last twenty years, but my career track — economics, consulting, finance — hadn’t.”

So that is how one inquiring mind decided to make the leap from economics to data science. Bhagwat says he taught himself programming so he could pursue work he actually found challenging. I wonder, though—will he use his dual expertise to help bridge the gap between the two disciplines, or has he moved on, never to look back?

Cynthia Murrell, September 18, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Berto Jongman Et Al: Navy Yard, Drugs, Story Unravels

07 Other Atrocities, Commerce, Corruption, Government, IO Deeds of War
Berto Jongman
Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman: Was Navy Yard Killer on Anti-Depressant Meds?

Jon Rappoport:  Navy Yard shooting: Aaron Alexis narrative crumbling

Phi Beta Iota: The CIA has a long history of using drugs to make people do terrible things.  We now know that anti-depressants are unstable medications, and life insurance companies have begun to deny life insurance to people known to be taking anti-depressants.  A broad literature has emerged that shows the pharmaceutical industry — and ignorant doctors that do not do their homework — to be terribly irresponsible, ignorant, and ultimately liable for malpractice.

Greg Palast: Senate Puts Summers Back Into Shit Can

Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government
Greg Palast
Greg Palast

Larry Summers:  Goldman Sacked

By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine
Monday, 16 September 2013

Joseph Stiglitz couldn’t believe his ears.  Here they were in the White House, with President Bill Clinton asking the chiefs of the US Treasury for guidance on the life and death of America’s economy, when the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers turns to his boss, Secretary Robert Rubin, and says, “What would Goldman think of that?”


Then, at another meeting, Summers said it again:  What would Goldman think?

A shocked Stiglitz, then Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, told me he’d turned to Summers, and asked if Summers thought it appropriate to decide US economic policy based on “what Goldman thought.”  As opposed to say, the facts, or say, the needs of the American public, you know, all that stuff that we heard in Cabinet meetings on The West Wing.

Summers looked at Stiglitz like Stiglitz was some kind of naive fool who’d read too many civics books.

R.I.P. Larry Summers
On Sunday afternoon, facing a revolt by his own party’s senators, Obama dumped Larry as likely replacement for Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
Until news came that Summers’ torch had been snuffed, I was going to write another column about Larry, the Typhoid Mary of Economics.  (My first, in The Guardian, 15 years ago, warned that “Summers is, in fact, a colony of aliens sent to Earth to turn humans into a cheap source of protein.”)

But the fact that Obama even tried to shove Summers down the planet’s throat tells us more about Obama than Summers—and whom Obama works for.  Hint:  You aren’t one of them. [Emphasis added.]

Full email story below the line.

Continue reading “Greg Palast: Senate Puts Summers Back Into Shit Can”

Berto Jongman: NSA Has Access to SWIFT – Ergo US Government Complicit in all Financial Crimes by All Financial Actors Subject to US Law

03 Economy, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, Government, Military
Berto Jongman
Berto Jongman

‘Follow the Money’: NSA Monitors Financial World

By Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark

The NSA monitors banks and credit card transactions — sometimes in apparent violation of national laws and global regulations. The European SWIFT financial transaction network is being tapped on different levels, internal documents from the US spy agency show.


Monitoring SWIFT

The classified documents show that the intelligence agency has several means of accessing the internal data traffic of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a cooperative used by more than 8,000 banks worldwide for their international transactions. The NSA specifically targets other institutes on an individual basis. Furthermore, the agency apparently has in-depth knowledge of the internal processes of credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard. What’s more, even new, alternative currencies, as well as presumably anonymous means of payment like the Internet currency Bitcoin, rank among the targets of the American spies.

Read full article.

Continue reading “Berto Jongman: NSA Has Access to SWIFT – Ergo US Government Complicit in all Financial Crimes by All Financial Actors Subject to US Law”

Winslow Wheeler: Adam Ciralsky Seven Part Vanity Fair Article on F-35 Mis-Management

Commerce, Corruption, Government, Idiocy, Ineptitude, Military
Winslow Wheeler
Winslow Wheeler

Long in the making, Vanity Fair is today releasing, on-line, it’s article on the F-35 — to appear in a future issue.  The article focuses on the atrocious management of the F-35–from the very start from all parties, including the absence of oversight by DOD of either Lockheed-Martin or the military services, especially the Marine Corps.

Note the Marines’ refusal to respond to the question of the appropriateness of their declaration of a pre-mature IOC, and note as well the glib and fact free assurance of a viable program future by JPO head Lt. Gen. Bogdan, who seems to assume, for example, a smooth path for the program’s budget — in an era when sequestration levels of spending are the new fact of life.

Note also some important insights about the Helmet Mounted Display, which may never be completely fixed and may never be viable even if it is.

Find author Adam Ciralsky’s revealing tour through F-35 mis-management in a seven part Vanity Fair article at