Links, 1/27/12

Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.  You can follow him on twitter at

World’s First Atomic Laser Created, TG Daily

Candidates unloved in FL town hit by foreclosures, AP.  Voters don’t really like or trust anyone to help them.  They don’t blame Obama for the foreclosure crisis, but they don’t think he’ll solve it.  And they don’t think Romney will either.

Twitter can now block tweets in specific countries IT World.  When in Rome, censor as the Romans do…

Does Technology Affect Happiness? New York Times.  Probably?  Yes?  But maybe not in the way you think?  This study looks marginally interesting, basically girls who spend all their time using multi-media tend to be less happy than those that don’t.  This study will be bandied about with confident cocktail party chatterers proclaiming wisely that Twitter makes you less social or something.  Just be aware.

Bill Gates on Using His Money to Save Lives and Fix U.S. Schools, and Steve Jobs, Yahoo News (h/t John Lovie)

Dole Slams Gingrich as ’One-Man-Band’ Hurting Party, Bloomberg.  This is the one obligatory post on the GOP race and the debate last night, don’t worry, there aren’t any more in the links post.  Your welcome.  I included this one because it shows the essential dynamic in the race, which is the Republican establishment ganging up on Gingrich to knock him out of the race.  Florida is a TV-driven state, with lots and lots of low information voters.  The Mitt media blast may be working.  Gingrich has regained his national lead in the polls.

Obama’s Financial Crimes Unit: Task Force’s Details Emerge, Huffington Post

Paying cash in hand is ‘diddling the country’, says HMRC’s Dave Hartnett, The Telegraph.  Geez, who ever could have predicted that horrible austerity policies would cause people to create a black market economy so as to avoid costs they can’t afford imposed by a government they no longer trust?

2012 Aurora Borealis, Flickr.  Quite beautiful, h/t Francois T.

Smurfs Caught Short as Jakks Toy Bid Gets Cheaper, Bloomberg

UN Gets 35 Pounds of Cocaine Sent From Mexico, Bloomberg

New York Times Co. Faces Leadership Vacuum, Bloomberg.  A better headline would have been New York Times in Very Serious Financial Trouble.  It doesn’t look good for the gray lady, long-term.

JP Morgan Admits It Weighed Euro Exit, FT.  Jamie Dimon says his bank remained invested in Europe partially for economic but mostly for “social reasons”.  Um, ok Jamie.  He also says the bank has just $15B of exposure to Europe.  Hang on a second.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Ok, wait, um, one more second.  HAHAHAHAHA.  There.  Done.  HAHAHAHAHAHA.  You get the point.

Care for Aging Inmates Puts Strain on Prisons, WSJ.  The fastest growing segment of the prison population is 55 years and older.

Mars Pictures: NASA Releases New Images From Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (PHOTOS) These are cool.

Corruption Scandal Rocks Vatican, Whistle Blower Archbishop Vigano Was Transferred Against His Will, Huffington Post.  This is just standard corruption in awarding contracts, not covering up for child rape.

Matthew Broderick Plays Ferris Bueller In Super Bowl Ad , Moviefone

It’s payback time as banks boost Dick Lugar rival, Politico.  This is actually very interesting.  A whole bunch of financial services lobbyists and groups – including the American Bankers Association and the Financial Services Roundtable – are launching a primary challenge in the Republican Party to a senior Republican Senator.

Rep. Brad Miller is Retiring, Being Encouraged to Run for Governor of North Carolina, Politico.  This is sad, Miller is one of the best and smartest members of the Financial Services Committee, and he was basically forced out in a Democratic primary.  He’s also a blogger.  I doubt he runs for Governor, but he’ll definitely do something interesting going forward.

At Yale, the Collapse of a Rhodes Scholar Candidacy, New York Times.  The whole “whoa is me for having to choose between the NFL and the Rhoades Scholarship” was the ultimate humblebrag.

Israel Senses Bluffing in Iran’s Threats of Retaliation, New York Times.  Is this still going on?  Get a room you two and just hump it out.  Or start a new world war.  Either way can you just shut up?

And your reward is a video of a Boxer puppy greeted by a herd of loving cows.

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About Matt Stoller

From 2011-2012, Matt was a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He contributed to Politico, Alternet, Salon, The Nation and Reuters, focusing on the intersection of foreclosures, the financial system, and political corruption. In 2012, he starred in “Brand X with Russell Brand” on the FX network, and was a writer and consultant for the show. He has also produced for MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show. From 2009-2010, he worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Congressman Alan Grayson. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.


  1. Foppe

    The largest Dutch union seems to have released a press release today, stating that the European Commission is secretly working a directive that would abridge the right to strike, for strikes that have “border-crossing consequences”. They suggest that when this is the case, a judge will have to decide whether strike would not — and I am translating FNV’s phrasing literally here, as I am guessing they purposely used this vague phrase — “unreasonably interfere with the free movement of goods and services”.

    In other words, they want to give a blank check to judges to do whatever the hell they like, as all of these notions are economically vague by design.

    1. Valissa

      This is part of the unfortunate current historical trend away from democracy in western countries and toward increased power for the elites. It used to be that the elites hid their disdain of the masses most of the time… it’s hard to hide information when you have the internet as a platform. No wonder various elite factions are competing to try and control it.

      “Power is the ability to define phenomena.” – Huey Newton, the cofounder of the Black Panther Party

  2. jimmyj

    5th article should be titled “Bill Gates Avoids Giving Away His Money by Establishing a Charitable Trust That Invests In the Destruction of Sustainable Agriculture and the Envirinment in the Third World and the Dismantling of Public Education at Home”.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The link mentions standardized testing.

        I believe China’s standardized testing, they called it imperial examanition, went back as far as the Han dynasty, almost 2,000 years ago. At the end, when they overthrew the Manchu rulers, it was blamed for their falling behind the West.

        One by-product of that standardized testing on everything legacy, and this is popular in Japan, Korea and other nearby countries as well, is, I suspect, that their students are very good at taking standarized tests…(for all the good that did to their civilization), through cultural factors or maybe even behavior-induced genetical factors.

        So, not only is standarized testing not a good, accurate gauge of achievement, it might bias towards certain groups.

        1. craazyman

          Standardized testing helps them stay competitive.

          It weeds out anyone with creativity, ingenuity, self-determination, inspiration, passion or imagination — so they pose no threat to commerce and profit.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The mentality that failed in Asia, and the Chinese promptly abolished them after the 1911 revolution (I think that was the year), is now being imported to America.

            Soon, and if that’s what you value, then American universities will be filled with ‘smart’ students who are ‘superior’ at standardized testing.

        2. jimmyj

          Another interesting, though definately not benevolent historical byproduct of standardized testing in China are the triads/secret societies which have a long and antagonistic history with the state. Since a person could prepare his whole life for the big exam and still fail, you had a lot of bitter, frustrated, capable and well educated men who needed to make a living. Never very patriotic (and even less so while the Manchus ran the place) these malcontents wreaked havoc till the day Mao took over. The former Soviet Union has produced a lot of VERY well educated gangsters as well. And while even Gorbachev would have laughed at the idea of a bunch of unemployed physisists causing him problems, once the Communist party lost its teeth, a lot of overeducated black marketeers wound up becoming godfathers of wealth and power that only a Mexican or Colombian “duro de los duros” could identify with. In America though, organized crime has always taken a back seat to organized greed. We don’t have Pablo Escobars because we have Bill Gates and John D. Rockefellers.

        3. G3

          I went to schools in India. And middle class students are well trained in taking tests – standardised or not. It is possible for one to ace the tests without knowing the subject. And there was criticism of the education system (though not from mainstream scholars) that the system was devised by the British to train people to serve as clerks and in other jobs to follow orders (which means no original thinking).

    1. Jim

      jimmyj, it would help if the teachers union embraced some typoe of merit system. Why not dismiss 20% of the teachers every year, and reward the top 20% with an incentive bonus? Why not allow a 30 year old teacher who really connects with students and has made a difference to earn 2x as much as a 50-year old one who is mediocre at best?

      When state and local coffers were increasing 12% year after year, very few minded. But now that tax receipts have stagnated and tax hikes have followed, it’s hard for many to accept the status quo in public education.

      1. G3

        You mean merit pay based on test scores?
        Seems you haven’t heard of all the testing scandals lately where teachers/principals cheat to inflate test scores. Test csores are the new quartearly earnings. Live like corporate America, stink and die like corporate America.

        Campbell’s Law:” the more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.
        The above can be expanded to business, education and other areas.

        1. JTFaraday

          Yeah. No.

          A business manager’s unsubstantiated perception of a “30 year old teacher who really connects with students,” people who have “made a difference,” “50-year olds,” and people who are “mediocre at best” isn’t going to work either.

          If standardized tests foisted on schools by the federal government are being gamed, then the education profession should go back to the drawing board to come up with reasonable accountability measures that make sense and which they can live with before they are eviscerated outright.

          Unlike the rest of us, public school teachers have the advantage of large professional associations and unions, so they can do this. Manage yourself or be managed by the lowest common denominator.

          (I won’t bore you with my litany of teachers who sat in class and literally didn’t teach, including the Mayor’s wife. I’ll just let you access your own).

  3. Glenn Condell

    ‘Paying cash in hand is ‘diddling the country’, says HMRC’s Dave Hartnett’

    Hah hah, good one Dave.

    This is from an email I sent an English mate before Xmas:

    ‘Here are a pair of related stories which are to me illustrative of the way our economic governance now works (or fails to). You will have seen these I suppose. The nub is that the UK government’s tax body (HM Revenue and Customs) under its head Dave Hartnett has been letting big corporate players off scot free for misdeeds – most notably Vodaphone’s billion dollar avoidance a few years ago and recently a 10 million pound tax write-off for Goldman Sachs. A young Nigerian solicitor Otisi Mba working at HMRC believed the write-off was probably illegal and certainly not in the public interest. He blew the whistle and the issue became public.

    How life has unfolded since for Mba:

    And for Hartnett:

    The good guy will be lucky to find a decent job for the rest of his life; the corrupt guy will end up on the payroll of Goldman or one of its ‘competitors’.

    Hartnett’s still at his desk. I wonder how Mba is going.

  4. craazyman

    nice playcalling Matt. ;)

    I don’t even have to read the articles, which is the way I like it.

  5. Stick

    Matt, I come to this site everyday to learn about and stay abreast of the many and varied ways in which plutocrats are pillaging our national treasures. I would like to kindly ask you to not contribute to the cult of personality built up around Bill Gates. He and his wrecking crew are to public education what bankers are to the American economy. They are creating yet another conduit to funnel tax dollars into plutocratic hands in the name of ‘fixing education.’

    1. JTFaraday

      Yeah, I think that link is in the spirit of “‘fixing education’ is a ‘Top Priority!’ for Bill Gates.”

      See what happens when you omit the snark?

      1. Stick

        Perhaps my snark-o-meter is broken… but I certainly didn’t pick up on any in either the article or the commentary on it.

        1. JTFaraday

          My point was that I suspect Stoller knows about the rentier mentality and MBA managerialism problem in every area of human endeavor and that he didn’t include the link to laud Gates.

          If you don’t want to read it, don’t read it.

          1. Stick

            Digital communication is a funny thing. We’re talking past one another…

            Considering there are folks across the spectrum who support our destructive path of education reform, I’ve learned not to make assumptions about what folks may or may not think on the matter. I like the work that Matt does here, and I wanted to raise the point. That is all.

    2. Sock Puppet

      I think the article speaks for itself. The purchase of shares in Monsanto is so awful that it doesn’t really need comment and handily provides a frame of reference with which to judge some of the other initiatives.

      Trouble is Gates is a technogeek. If tech fixed malaria, why not schools and agriculture? If all you have is a hammer…

      The man means well, but has narrow vision. Compare and contrast with Steve Jobs.

      1. Valissa

        Oh right… Steve Jobs the king of cheap and demeaning factory labor so that people can buy overpriced tech toys and feel socially cool. They are both complex and talented individuals with plusses and minusses… but they play public roles as heroes or villians for many who enjoy that game.

        1. Sock Puppet

          That Jobs, yes. Gates foundation has and will continue to have an impact. Some of it is good.

          1. Valissa

            Very true. Elites are a mixed bag, like the rest of us. I respect alot of what Gates does, but not a fan of his alliance with Monsanto to “Help” people.

            I remember reading that Steve Job’s wife was the philanthropist in the family and is active in numerous charity foundations (on the board of).

  6. F. Beard

    Love the antidote especially the way the dog realized he was intimidating the cattle and lay down to reassure them. Good move!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not only is life fascinating, but it’s fascinating that a Russian scientiest claims to have detected life on Venus.

    1. AccruedDisinterest

      Good thing the cows were without calves….otherwise doggy would have not been so welcome. Also interesting that the different breeds of cattle behaved differently…the black Angus on the right (with her head bobbing warning) was way less trusting than the other gals, Swiss Browns or Hereford?

  7. mk

    RE: NYT –
    “The departure of New York Times Co. (NYT) Chief Executive Officer Janet Robinson last month leaves the company with a leadership vacuum amid falling revenue, profit squeezed by pension costs and pressure from family members to restore a dividend once worth more than $20 million a year.”


    “Robinson will receive an exit package totaling more than $21 million, higher than previously reported, said the people, who wouldn’t be named because the information isn’t public.”
    Seems to me the dividend was obviously paid to the outgoing CEO. Must be some kind of new math or something, I’m too simple to understand the complexities. Too complex to understand why a company would pay an outgoing CEO millions for doing a bad job instead of reducing debt, or paying dividends, etc.

    The world is absolutely absurd.

    1. timotheus

      Right, $20m for a useless boss and meanwhile we should feel guilty about not paying for NYT content online since Great Newspapers are suffering financially from electronic competition. Poor sausages!

      1. Jim

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wall Street Journal incurred an operating deficit this year, as the NYPost has done for the past decade. When Murdoch bought the WSJ it was posting EBIT margins of 3%, and Murdoch promised to ramp up hiring in certain areas, even if it meant operating at a loss.

        Point? The days of 25% EBIT margins are long gone. It may even be impossible to run a paper like the NYT (or the WSJ) at an operating profit, unless you’re willing to produce a mediocre product.

    2. Richard Kline

      Yes, those pensions are certainly threatening to crimp CEO compensation, those dastardly greedy union blues! If they’d just realize how worthless they are, and how much they are interfering with the proper reward of the genius-level productivity of senior management, the corner office crowd and their heirling union-buster consultants wouldn’t have to put in a few hours figuring out how to screw 30-year employees out of the necessary cash for the bonus-qualified pool. It’s those pensions, yessir.

      Remind me again what Robinson did to fix anything that was worth $.21—pardon _me_ $21M—before her timely, career-saving exit? Anyone?? No, there’s nothing to be said: she must simply have deserved the money. “We’re all deserving, but some of us are more deserving than others . . . .”

      1. Skippy

        Some peoples *expectations* in life are more – valid – than others… eh.

        Skippy… as commented in another thread, this is someone else vineyard… metaphorically, we just tend it. Born into or chosen are the only two paths, every thing else is just a resource to mine*.

  8. SubjectivObject

    Wonderful impresion the way the boxer interpreted that he/she should [take the risk and] stand down to let the cows sniff to know her/him.

    1. Valissa

      Too bad William F Buckly Jr is dead. He’d have some choice snarky column on that!

      Some great WFB quotes…

      I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.
      -William F. Buckley, Jr.

      Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.
      -William F. Buckley, Jr.

      I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.
      William F. Buckley, Jr.

      The Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’
      -William F. Buckley, Jr.

      Although I have to say… I’m seeing lots of liberals that want to stop history or go back to “better days”.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Valissa;
        The trouble is, there were really “better days” a few decades ago. The repeal of Glass Steagal can be viewed as one turning point for the worse. I’m sure readers here can come up with lots more examples.
        Anecdotally, when I was a kid, people of all types generally had a faith in ‘progress’ as an active and benevolent force. Today, I feel like we’re all living in some psychiatrists waiting room. Kafka on Prozac.

  9. Lambert Strether

    On Rhodes: So, how pervasive are fake credentials in our so-called meritocracy? Note that the coach faked his own resume to get a little reflected glory from Witt, then resigned. One also might think to look at Witt’s transcript as he hopped from high school to high school to high school to college to college. Not that I’m foily.

    1. Susan the other

      Cow behavior. I read recently that cows typically surround a predator, say a black bear, just like this sweet pup. That cows are both brave and organized in their defense tactics. Cool. Makes me hate to eat them.

      1. AccruedDisinterest

        Absolutely. We got a small herd a couple years ago. I’d never had cows before, just driven past them in farm country. But they are really amazing creatures, actually when you get to know them. All with different personalities and all curious. And when a coyote was in the pasture after our little girl calf, they did indeed surround it and start to close in. And btw, it can be a little disconcerting being surrounded by a group of four-leggeds weighing a thousand pounds plus! That’s a brave pup.

          1. ambrit

            Dear skippy;
            Had one kick me once, whilst I was trying to ‘help’ my father in law milk it. Hurt like H—!

          2. Skippy

            @Dear ambrit,

            It is one of those moments in life that condenses time and shows oneself, how weak we really are. A domesticated beast tread’s on ones foot and there is not much one can do… till… it decides to move.

            Skippy… yell… scream… punch… curse the dumb animal… every thing is out of reach… yet when you acknowledge your stuck, it seemingly releases you.

          3. F. Beard

            … yet when you acknowledge your stuck, it seemingly releases you. Skippy

            Thanks for those wise words.

          4. Skippy

            @ambrit… yep lots of that on a farm, laughter. Mine was watching the pigs get sloped with some corn and the kitchen bucket ( organic waste / up to a week old ) whilst perched on the fence. ONE DROP… slung from the trough… into my gob… was like getting hit with a 12 gauge shotgun to my thalamus – cerebral cortex. Blew me – clean off – the fence. After that, every thing else edible was a better option (see military survival training).

            @beard, always trying to co-op others words and twist them… ewwww.

            All you have to do is crank the tail or ear a bit, not too much, but, a bit and they will move. This action requires information, that is all. First you must be self aware of your surroundings at all times, prevention thingy. Yet when things do happen beyond ones control, you can still effect change for the better. You just have to disassociate from the pain and think clearly. Metaphorical butterfly’s are not here…. beard.

  10. Valissa

    The Smew is the Canadian version of The Onion, enjoy!

    U.S. Faces Most Important Presidential Election In Four Years

    “Anonymous” Attack Leaves Facebook Privacy Controls “Simple”, “Private”

    Flush With Oil From Alberta, Canada Prepares For Inevitable U.S. Invasion

  11. MDBill

    From the aging prisoners WSJ article,

    Some legal experts and academics think it doesn’t make sense to keep the old and infirm incarcerated until they die.

    Right. Release them into a high unemployment economy where they will be unable to get reasonable health care. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

    1. PQS

      “Apple Reports on Huge Efforts to Raise Chinese Workers’ Pay to .33 an Hour”

      (Future Onion Headline. And Valissa, thank you so much for The Smew. Excellent link.)

      1. Valissa

        I discovered The Smew a few months ago. Like The Onion they have some great stuff while other attempts at humor fall flat, but both are a much needed antidote to regular news.

        What I want to know is… are there any good faux news humor sites from European sources (in English)?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I don’t know if Chinese workers have really shaken off their standardized-testiing-induced standardized thinking tradition.

        1. Valissa

          Yeah, through off that communist standardization and go back to the Way of Confucius.

          Confucian humor is the best ;)

          Confucius say…

          Man who run in front of car get tired.

          Man who run behind car get exhausted.

          Baseball is wrong: man with four balls cannot walk.

          War not determine who is right, war determine who is left.

          Man who drive like hell, bound to get there.

          When called an idiot sometimes is better to be quiet than to open mouth and remove all doubt.

          Man who pushes piano down mineshaft get tone of A flat miner.

          Wise man never play leapfrog with unicorn.

          1. Valissa

            Sorry Susan I couldn’t find any Confucius Say kokes about banks. There were a couple about money, but they didn’t really make me laugh.

            Searching for jokes about bankers, OTOH, was very easy.

            Courtesy of The Guardian…

            Heard the one about the dead banker? Financial institutions weren’t amused by Vince Cable’s bankers joke. So here’s some more for them courtesy of G2

            A man is stuck in traffic. He asks a police officer about the hold-up and he replies: “The head of the Bank Of England is so depressed about the economy he’s stopped his car and is threatening to douse himself with petrol and set himself on fire. So we’re taking up a collection for him.” The man asks: “How much have you got so far?” The policeman replies: “About 40 gallons, but a lot of people are still siphoning.”

  12. Susan the other

    Jamie Dimon’s social conscience. I can’t graze on FT. But that never stops me: re Jamie Dimon sticking it out with the ECB because JPMC doesn’t hold much liability. Does this tie in with the announcement yesterday about the ECB keeping itself above Greek water by stripping Greek debt from its books via some “arcane debt swap stripping” vehicle. Gee. Was it a JPM or GS currency swap? What exactly was it? Was the ECB temporarily holding debt incurred by GS and JPM? Where are all the details. Oh. I forgot. This is a private banking matter.

  13. Susan the other

    Also re Jamie Dimon from Reuters: Jamie Dimon said that the new Fed Investigation announced Obama would probably derail the settlement talks. Oh. So now we might assume that Obama was just giving the banks a way to save face? Since the AGs weren’t really buying much of the “settlement’ anyway. And banks clearly have no way to resolve their quandry, possibly save mass bankrupcy filings. Things seem to be moving fast. Well, for the banks, not for the investors or the borrowers.

  14. Hugh

    I agree with jimmyj. The Gates Foundation is the perfect example of the vanity charity set up by the rich principally so that they can keep control of their money at the same time they make it tax exempt. Essentially, they “give away” the money to a foundation which they control. The goal is to make sure that the public to whom these resources should return in the form of taxes has no say in how they are disbursed.

    Then too there is the fundamental contradiction between the piratical way Gates has run Microsoft using its market share to engage in monopolistic practices and destroy innovation and then his supposed turn around into a philanthropist. Except of course there is no contradiction. Gates’ mission at Microsoft as it is at his Foundation is to make the world safe for corporations.

    1. PQS

      Oh, I don’t know about that. Gates is no favorite of mine, but he is one of the few billionaires publicly saying that the rich should pay more in taxes. Just this week he said as much in an interview with the BBC.

      And in my state, Gates’ father sponsored legislation to raise taxes on the many millionaires we have here to close our budget deficit. (Which went down to defeat despite being a miniscule surtax.)

      And the Gates’ foundation’s support of work on malaria has truly been groundbreaking.

      1. Hugh

        Massah is so good to us field hands in the 99%. All hail Massah!

        Somehow I don’t think you grasp the concept. When you start rating which corporate pirates are “better” you have already lost your way. You have already bought into the class warfare argument they have fed you.

  15. Susan the other

    One more. I just went out to Housing Wire and its headline was: New Federal Mortgate Fraud Task Force Supponeas 11 Banks. The Task Force has 10 new FBI agents and 20 new lawyers. AND Harris, Masto, Coakley, and Biden have joined. This could be good.

  16. Susan the other

    One last. Is Rohringer the PhD from MIT? Laser Research. This first article on atomic lasers is huge. Now we are able to study molecular reactions down to a few quadrillionths of a second? Is this a microscope?? The Linac Coherent Lightsource Microscope? Xray Lasers’ atomic pulses are one eighth as long (and so quicker) and their color is pure. So rainbows occur only at a distance? And this new laser reduces the distortions caused by separating out the colors of light? Very interesting. But what do I know. She is really on to something. And that PBS special didn’t do it justice. Atomic lasers can now illuminate ultra-fast reactions.
    Please, more on this stuff.

  17. George

    The NYTimes article on Israel’s analysis of the ‘Iranian threat’ shows that Judith Miller was no anomaly. The article has no analysis of the assumption that Iran has a nuclear program, for which there is no evidence.

    Thus, Judith Miller and her role in the Iraqi war propaganda was no anomaly. The NYTimes is clearly controlled by the US Government at the level of senior editors.

    I love their progress towards bankruptcy. Couldn’t happen to a nicer propaganda machine.

    Meanwhile, Al Jazeera and Russia Today are providing some of the best solid and unbiased news and opinion. How times change.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Al Jazeera is not unbiased. It is pro Western and is sympathetic to U.S. interests(if not run by or infiltrated by these interests). It simply gets to tell the truth more than the New York Times–I think of AJ as the “progressive” wing of the Democratic party, which is run by Obama (the New York Times).

      But the propaganda is unavoidable, as the fascists sometimes release the truth through propaganda sources so we have no choice but to pay attention.

    2. 3CPO

      As soon as Qatar made up with Saudi Arabia a few months after the egyptian revolution started and exactly when bahrain started to rebel, Al Jazeera flipped and Hillary Clinton went on to praise them. They now represent the interests of the US and the GCC. It was all propaganda against Libya then, and Syria now.
      As’ad Abukhalil( comments on them all the time, as well as other media outlets reporting events in the west.
      I used to be a fan, and read them since about 2003, (you know they were good when we were killing or putting their reporters in GTMO) Now I don’t even bother.

  18. Hugh

    You can find the New York Times 10-K here:

    It should have another one out sometime next month I would think.

    There were several tidbits. I had forgotten that the $250 million loan from Carlos Slim was at 14% and that the effective interest rate on it was 17%.

    Most of the payments to the pension plans in 2010 were discretionary. They were due to underfunding resulting from low interest rates.

    Executive compensation is left out, only referred to as being in the shareholder proxy statement.

    I also didn’t realize, if I am reading this correctly, that goodwill accounted for more than 40% of the Times group overall assets.

    The Times has 3 major problems:

    1) It is a propaganda organ of the kleptocrats producing an increasingly discredited product

    2) Changing technologies

    3) Pinch Sulzburger

  19. Tom McGovern

    Re: “Dole Slams Gingrich as ’One-Man-Band’ Hurting Party.”
    “Your welcome” should be “You’re welcome.”

    Re: “At Yale, the Collapse of a Rhodes Scholar Candidacy.”
    “whoa is me for having to choose between the NFL and the Rhoades Scholarship” should be
    “woe is me for having to choose between the NFL and the Rhoades Scholarship.”

    1. ambrit

      Mr. McGovern;
      I beg to differ. “Whoa is me” is a perfectly good semantic pun, if not merely a malapropism.

  20. Hugh

    In other news, the BEA reported that GDP increased by a sizzling 2.8% in Q4 2011 /s. And 1.7% for the year.

    The BLS released its annual report on union membership. It was little changed from 2010. Union membership decreased from 11.9% to 11.8% of the labor force. 37% were in the public sector, think police and fireman, and 6.9% in the private sector. Public sector unions had 7.6 million members compared with 7.2 million in the private sector. Corporatist interests are taking on public sector unions because that’s one of the last sectors where there is significant numbers of union members.

  21. Valissa

    TRhe next level of submission to be required by the Greeks is pretty harsh. For those of you who don’t have a subscription to the Financial Times, here are the key points.

    Call for EU to control Greek budget

    The German government wants Greece to cede sovereignty over tax and spending decisions to a eurozone “budget commissioner” to secure a second €130bn bail-out, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by the Financial Times.

    In what would amount to an extraordinary extension of European Union control over a member state, the new commissioner would have the power to veto budget decisions taken by the Greek government if they were not in line with targets set by international lenders. The new administrator, appointed by other eurozone finance ministers, would take responsibility for overseeing “all major blocks of expenditure” by the Greek government.

    “Budget consolidation has to be put under a strict steering and control system,” the proposal reads. “Given the disappointing compliance so far, Greece has to accept shifting budgetary sovereignty to the European level for a certain period of time.”

    Athens would also be forced to adopt a law permanently committing state revenues to debt service “first and foremost”.

    1. Hugh

      I have an idea: how about a trade commissioner that can veto the mercantilist aspects of German trade? If Germany doesn’t agree to one, then affected countries can just write off their debt to German banks. I wonder how well the German political and financial class would react to that.

    1. ambrit

      Dear dcblogger;
      This is pretty standard for Gates. Just look at how the Microsoft Empire is run internally. Somewhat like a cult. Also, continuing rumours circulating about Microsofts part in the Great Firewall of China. (The precursor to SOPA? A trial run for PIPA?) “Elite” thinking isn’t restricted to just the inherited wealty. Plenty of techies fall into that trap too.

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