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Links 7/31/12

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Ex-sceptic – Humans cause warming BBC

China Pool Prodigy Churns Wave of Speculation New York Times

Study finds female athletes rarely and ineffectively used as ad spokespeople PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Bots Raise Their Heads Again on Facebook New York Times. Score one for NC! We posted on this at 4:29 PM. The NYT piece was out after 7 PM. Admittedly, they did a reported piece, while we did a “huh?”. But the flip side is they have tech writers who already have a Rolodex on this beat.

More Chinese regions propose mega-stimulus MacroBusiness

Europe Is ‘Stuck In A No-Growth Trap’ Clusterstock

Temptations of a Peseta default in Spain Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Games turn London into ‘ghost town’ Financial Times. That was easy to predict. Happened to LA and Sydney. If you can visit friends (meaning avoid the hotelier efforts at price gouging), and arrive after the games have started (meaning miss the influx and security nuttiness), during the Olympics is a great time to visit major cities.

Liborfest!

The Three Rings of the Libor Circus (and a Sideshow) David Warsh (Richard Smith)

Bankers found to have rigged Libor rates face jail Telegraph

The Drone: Joseph de Maistre’s Executioner Corey Robin (Aquifer). I’ll take Gene Wolf’s Torturers any day. At least they are clear about the nature of their jobs.

ALEC seeks lower taxes for smokeless tobacco products marketed to teens, ‘tweens Minn Post (Chuck L)

Former President Clinton to give prime-time Democratic convention speech Christian Science Monitor. I’m sure Lambert will take note of this, but ugh.

Unemployment Stories, Vol. Three: ‘Absolute Hell’ Gawker. Yes, Gawker.

Mortgages dominate complaints sent to CFPB

HSBC sets aside $2bn to cover fines Financial Times

My Big Fat Belizean, Singaporean Bank Account Adam Davidson, New York Times. Reader Francois T points out that Davidson wrote a “well balanced, no shilling for the 1%” piece. We will see whether this is an anomaly or a trend.

The Main Driver of GDP Growth: A Strong Rule of Law George Washington

The Entitled Generation New York Times. Mrs. G is NOT happy:

It’s official. Bill Keller is the advance man for Obama’s 2nd Term plan to gut SS and Medicare. If you are a boomer, as I am, Bill Keller write to tell us that we’re entitled brats who have to get over thinking that we’re due any Social Security or Medicare. We have to learn to take one for the team and march happily into homelessness, food stamps (until they’re gone) and hopefully just fading into the sunset.

The piece appears to be a delivery vehicle for a “Third Way” paper with scary graphs “proving” it all. Therefore, we should all just behave and forget that we’ve been paying into the f***** system our entire working lives. Next up: Boomers are going to have to get used to eating bowls of rice once a day and forget about maintaining their entitled food habits.

Dean Baker takes Keller down: Bill Keller Wants to Take Away Your Social Security and Is Either Too Ignorant or Dishonest to Acknowledge that He Is Not a Typical Baby Boomer. Dave Johnson also has a go: Another New York Times Columnist Attack On Social Security And Medicare. But of course, NPR amplifies him.

The CEO Plan to Steal Your Social Security and Medicare Truthout (Aquifer). Dean Baker again, loaded for bear.

Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg Sues to Keep New Yorkers’ Wages Low Alternet (Aquifer). Is there a way to keep people with a net worth of over $1 billion out of public office? They have no comprehension of the way the other 99.9% lives.

Private equity assets hit record $3tn Financial Times

Renewable Backed Securities: Funding for Solar Projects AGRION (Deontos) Securitization is dead! Long live securitization!

Did $600 Million Man U Soccer Jerseys Get A GM Executive Fired? Jalopnik (YY)

The Achilles heel of America’s financial system Gillian Tett, Financial Times. Not news, but a useful reminder.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HATE CRIME Das Krapital. A useful frame.

The douche burger, and putting a ruler to the dick mathbabe

The Ballot or the Bullet William Rivers Pitt, Trutout (Aquifer). Money quote:

A nation that cannot summon the will, or even the enlightened self-interest, to turn out more than 40% of its populace to vote in a midterm election is a nation that does not deserve to complain about anything. Elections in the House and Senate are among the most important events in America, and yet the vast majority of voters in this country can’t seem to be bothered. A nation that cannot summon the will or self-interest to turn out more than 60% of its populace during a presidential election is a nation that happily puts its own neck in the noose, and then pules like a spoiled child when the rope chafes and constricts.

Someone once said that decisions are made by those who show up, and when the people do not show up, that void is filled with low men who poison the process with money and greed, who make a living out of convincing Americans that voting is a waste of time, and who summon the infinite gall to blame the process when it fails due to their deliberate and overt disruption.

* * *

D – 37 and counting*

I’m going to try covering the horse race in short form so I don’t claw out my eyeballs or have a stroke. –lambert

Readers:

As my stay here in Thailand winds down, I find that I haven’t done everything I came here to do; the time is all too short! So, because putting Campaign Countdown together takes a big chunk of my day, I’m going to adopt a short form for this week, where I focus on one or more of the major themes that have emerged since I started aggregating countdown snippets at 130 (that long ago?) As reader AB commented in mail: “[I]t’s as if by scavenging drops of dew from ground-floor news around the country, you put together a critical-mass glass of water to get me through the day.” Well, maybe it’s time to drink the water. While we still have it, that is. Kidding!

As readers helped evolve the countdown format, thematic labels emerged as buckets in which to toss the snippets: fracking, corruption, privatization, media critique, legacy parties, public goods, voting, various “flaps,” and many others.* So today I’d like to pick one: Corruption.

In the immortal words of Michael Dukakis, “A fish rots from the head first.” I’m terrified that the morals and ethics exhibited by the “savvy businessmen” who commit any crime with impunity will seep down to the local level, and at some point in the not-too-distant future, in my white bread small town in the great state of Maine, I’ll end up paying the code enforcement guy or the assessment officer; not in the usual, arms-length way through campaign contributions or the local power structure, but straight up, in an envelope or even right in the open palm. (That’s certainly how it worked in the last D administration on the landfills.) And if I have to live in a third-world country, well, there are plenty to choose from, some with pleasanter climates.

I’ve posted a lot of snippets labelled corruption: Not just for officials on the take to steer business to this or that function hall, or run-of-the-mill charter school looting (that, we expect), but for the democratic deficits in transparency and accountability that enable corruption. However, each one of these snippets is actually a sign of hope: For the corruption to be exposed to the light, a lot of people have to do the right thing! Reporters, editors, publishers; law enforcement personnel; concerned citizens; and especially the perp’s official colleagues, who have to overcome tribal and institutional loyalties and withdraw any protection they’ve offered to the practice. So, despite the best efforts of our kleptocratic criminal elites to turn the country into a “market state,” where literally everything is for sale, they haven’t succeeded yet. Civics 101! Optimism!

Finally, I’d like to connect two themes: Corruption and fracking. Wherever fracking gets in, transparency and accountability, the immune system that prevents corruption, weaken and fail. Doctors, for example, can be forbidden by law from telling their patients that their ills are caused by fracking fluids. Localities can have their home rule sovereignty taken away. Land owners may be forced to “sell” drilling rights whether they want to or not. “[O]nce a gas and oil company gets into your valley, they own you. They own the hospital. They own the commissioners. They own your mountains, and they will do what they want.” It’s unclear to me how many Americans will enjoy being owned, or for how long. I guess we’ll find out! From the standpoint of corruption, however, fracking looks an awful lot like the “resource curse” (I understand that the causality of the resource curse is disputed; the original idea seemed to be that the presence of resources skewed the political economy toward dysfunction, but the critique is that the dysfunction skews the political economy toward extraction; certainly in this country, the latter theory is tenable.)

I wonder if this seems familiar to the inhabitants of the shale regions in OH, CO, PA, NY, and TX, or the inhabitants of fracking supply chain states like WI (sand) and UT (waste pond sites). From the Wharton School, “Why Africa’s Oil Riches Don’t Trickle Down to Africans”:

Ghazvinian visited all of the major sub-Saharan oil producers and typically found the same situation in each. The sizzling oil sector was enriching a clique of politically connected people [kleptocrats] and creating boomtowns catering [meth, prostitution, gambling] to the industry but seldom providing much wider economic benefit or even employing many local people. “It’s a capital-intensive industry, not a labor-intensive one,” he points out. “So they don’t need to hire a lot of people, and the ones they do hire are petroleum engineers. You have local people hired to be security guards, but that’s about it.”

On top of that, the flow of oil riches can create bizarre contrasts. Luanda, the capital of Angola and also the center of its oil industry, is just one example. Luxury high-rises are being built there despite the country’s extreme poverty, … “The disparity between rich and poor there is like nowhere else in the world.”

Sound familiar?

* 37 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with Pla Som Tod for everybody on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. There are 37 NBA players in Olympic basketball.

* * *

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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110 comments

  1. LadyLiberty

    Some other good reads

    Muni Rates Examined for Signs of Rigging

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/48410471

    The Justice Department’s MF Global Scandal Dates to 1932

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-27/the-justice-department-s-mf-global-scandal-dates-to-1932.html

    Saying ‘You’re Fired’ Is the Only Answer Here

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-26/saying-you-re-fired-is-the-only-answer-here.html

    Do Two Recessions Equal One Depression?

    http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2012/07/25/do-two-recessions-equal-one-depression/

  2. dearieme

    The views of the chap who presents himself as an “ex-sceptic” may be something of a red herring. At the WUWT website they have a paper up showing (they say) that warming in the US over the 30 years to 2008 is one third of the value claimed by the global warmmongers. This comes from restricting themselves to good measurements from rural sites not located at airports. Even when they reject fewer sites, they find the warming rate to be halved.

    I find this plausible: the standard methods that have been used for accepting and adjusting temperatures leave me with the distinct impression of having been done by people who are, by scientific standards, dim, slapdash or dishonest.

    Of course, whether the warming rate should be viewed as being half or one third of the warmmongers’ value tells you, of itself, nothing about what the causes might be. And the same is true even if you hew to the
    warmmongers’ value.

    1. Binky Bear

      Yet it was 90 degrees in Alaska’s Arctic tundra the other day, tens of miles from any airport. Permafrost was melting, the hills were slumping and sliding downslope as the ice holding them together melted, and watery clay oozed from the tundra. The vegetation, normally a wet swampy nightmare to walk through, was so dry it crackled, and the blueberries already ripe a month ahead of schedule.

      Yeah, it must be a miscalculation or a sampling error. Right.

    2. Kyrie Eleison

      That’s an awful lot of cherry picking, stuffing of straw men, and ad hominem slinging going on there.

      It seems to be an unusually long season for it.

      We’re all entitled to our opinions, of course. Yet, those which are extensively peer-reviewed pull a lot more water for me and I hope I’m not alone in saying this.

      1. Dave of Maryland

        You’ve hit the nail on the head with peer review. Enlightenment science is a consensus system It is expressly not based on anything else. Yes, it is “truth,” but it is truth that we agree on.

        Once the ball gets rolling, once the train has left the station, do you seriously think a scientist or opinion leader will risk his reputation by spitting in the wind? Of course not. Don’t be stupid. Good or bad, the consensus has to play out before a new consensus can replace it. The result are science fads. 40 years ago the fad was “new ice age.”

        This is not to say anything about global warming or gay marriage or evolution, other than to realize that science, as it is presently constructed, cannot make any case, either for or against.

        The French invented Enlightenment science c.1650. Whole cloth. They displaced Aristotelian science, not because the French were better, but because they were wholly ignorant, and the Germans, who were Aristotelian, had all been killed in the 30 Years War.

        In Aristotle there is no consensus. There is organization. There is method. Aristotle was the standard for 1500 years, because it worked. It had substance. The Enlightened substitute has been a flop for 350. (Are we better off now than before? Yes, but science had nothing to do with that. Our standard of living is due to Industrialism and engineering. Same as it’s been in every civilization.)

        So as a clever man once said about European civilization, that it would be a good idea, one might say the same about modern science, that it would be enlightening if there were some. Get us some real science and then tell me what the world is like.

        1. Up the Ante

          “Get us some real science and then tell me what the world is like. ”

          Good Lord.

          Offhand memory says that comment is uncharacteristic of you, Dave, so for that you receive these,

          http://bloggingblue.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Ostrich-man-head-in-sand.gif

          Dave ‘TEPCO’ of Maryland ?
          http://www.markwheadon.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/headinsand.png

          Fukushima I Nuke Plant Mascot Bird Was an Ostrich
          http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/04/ot-fukushima-i-nuke-plant-symbol-bird.html

          There is no global warming and nuclear is safe, in the same breath, right ?

          /sarc

        2. Up the Ante

          Just curious, Dave, when the reverse engineering of America reaches the point of no return will Dave de Maryland acknowledge it has occurred, “enlighten” himself ?

          “So as a clever man once said about European civilization, that it would be a good idea, one might say the same about modern science, that it would be enlightening if there were some. ”

          Would this be all it takes to contribute to global warming, Dave ?, baiting you to a certain extent,
          “Right now in the United States it takes ten calories of oil – seven of them imported – to grow and get to table one calorie of food. ”

          http://blog.buzzflash.com/hartmann/029

          Engineering the collapse of the most developed country in the world, is it sustainable ? Our relation to that effort would be ?

        3. Kyrie Eleison

          As an engineer, if I were to “spit into the wind” based on shoddy work or false conclusions, I suppose that would make me afraid of scrutiny.

          If I am confident in my works, let the works speak for themselves even if no one else is ready to hear it.

          I don’t have to stoop to authoritarian gang-bang tactics to get my point across, though this might do the trick for some and I would immediately be skeptical of those who are.

          I think Galileo, and Tesla, and many, many others would agree?

  3. dearieme

    I’m not sure how you an deny being “Entitled’ by crying that you are entitled.

  4. Gareth

    As one of those reviled “entitled” baby boomers who started working at the age of 17, never earned more than $30K in any year of my life and destroyed my lungs working in a polluted workplace, is it wrong of me to want to beat highly-paid elitist Bill Keller senseless with my walking stick?

    1. CB

      Have at it. Always glad to hear from another low wage earner, like myself, altho I didn’t work in a cripplingly polluted environment.

    2. F. Beard

      He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty. Proverbs 22:16

    3. Carla

      Please, don’t stop with Keller…we need a walking stick brigade to fend off elitest “Democrats” and their apologists (all other Democrats).

      Vote GREEN. And don’t let the bullies stop you.

    4. jo6pac

      I worked as long you did still have health so if you need any help sign me up.

      Agreed he is only one of many I alway like it when Dean takem down but npr sure doesn’t help.

  5. Bill the Psychologist

    “Games turn London into ‘ghost town”

    It’s also August starting Wed, many people probably decided to begin their summer holiday a week or so early due to the games, but European capitals and London are commonly “deserted” in August.

    1. Fíréan

      Is London not only an all year round tourist attraction centre,yet much so in annual vacation times ?

      The scare of a potential terrorist act (or flase flag incident)during the Olympic games, and all the added security arrangements and added security presense, whether the risk is be either small or great, may discourage many potential visitors ; tourists from overseas, from the provinces or dialy visitors from outer-city suburbs.

  6. F. Beard

    “A national debt will be to us a national blessing.” Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of Treasury,1780

    Maybe early on it was, when it might have been necessary to buy the loyalty of the rich to the new nation.

    Now the National Debt is a source of confusion about money and a source of private privilege for the banks and finance industry. The “blessing” has turned into a curse.

    1. FaustCarton

      Good reference, Orlov and Hudson have the lead in the most thankless of tasks -trying to give some solid foundations for humans to realise the abyss that the monsters of the 0.01 are prepared to tip us in. Keep your senses about you old mate.Act Local, Think Global, Realise Universal.

  7. Carla

    WR Pitt has no right to complain about THE PEOPLE, most of whom know that the legacy party system is rigged from the primaries right through the electoral college, and that the result has been corruption so wide and so deep that the franchise has been rendered almost meaningless.

    Instead of being a water-carrier for the corporate state, he could choose to investigate a constructive response to this mess, but no. He has the gall to blame the calculated and systemic destruction of democracy on THE PEOPLE. Shame on William Rivers Pitt.

    1. Aquifer

      In a post higher up, you encouraged folks to vote …

      I have to agree with Pitt – non participation in the system” entitles” one to – nothing …

      The fact is that the legacy parties-as-schmucks justifies non-voting only insofar as there is truly no alternative, and there have been alternatives for some time ….

      So the problem is that either a) not enough folks have voted for what they actually wanted or b) they have – either way the mess IS squarely in our lap …. And the answer is NOT to keep walking away, but to engage on something more than a superficial level and, perhaps (and i agree with) vote Green ..

      1. Carla

        The fact that the mess is in our lap does not mean that it is of our making.

        Yes, I vote Green. And almost everytime I tell a Democrat that, I am called “self-indulgent” and told that a vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Romney.

        I still think it’s wrong to blame the people for the destruction of democracy.

        1. Aquifer

          Carla,

          i think your observation about your friends refutes your own assertion – it is in the laps of those who use their vote as your Dem friends do – to defeat a Rep., period. Their discussion is not around why they affirmatively want Obama or why they don’t want Stein, but simply that they don’t want a Rep. It is a “team” mentality – not about how do we get where we want to go and who we will support to get us there. With a team mentality, the players can all be schmucks and deviants – it doesn’t matter, as long as they wear the team logo.

          It’s about “scoring” and “winning” without considering what they have actually “won” – the idea of Pyrrhic victories doesn’t seem to phase them. So yes, i do think the mess is in our lap because we dumped it there and it won’t be cleaned up until we start taking elections seriously and using them to get where we need to go. As a Stein supporter, i am sure you are familiar with her call to stop voting our fears – pointing out that doing so has gotten us precisely what we feared …

      2. Squasha

        Teetotalers in other societies plagued by similar levels of corruption aren’t nearly so contemptible as their American counterparts, it would seem. see Italy, Russia, Mexico, Afghanistan…

    2. JustAnObserver

      To vote or not to vote ? Even if the answer is yes there’s a further question as to who for or how ? Instead of the the 3rd party route (Green or otherwise) we could try this “Modest Proposal”. Lets take the “throw the bums out” from merely an expression of frustration to an actual tactic with the following methodology:

      Every election, whether mid-term or Presidential cycle the incumbent, of whatever party, Federal or State, Senate or Reps., would be voted out … without exception (*) … for as long as it takes … until

      1. Campaign finance becomes entirely public and heavily limited.

      2. K Street is flattened and turned into a public park.

      3. Other goals ?

      (*) Except, possibly, for those candidates who choose the public option for their campaign finance in advance of goal #1 being achieved

  8. Marc Andelman

    On Facebook, their behavior reflects the fact that they are partners with the banks, specifically Goldman Sachs. One of their other holdings is the largest online agency for child prostitition, on which they are also on the board. In truth, there is not a toilet big enough to put all those government employee pensions into, so these things have to be fabricated. Also, because all those schoolteachers and prison guards do not educate themselves or care about where their money goes, it goes to Wall street to be stolen. Quite simple and elegant really. They have to have QE3 to prop up this stock charade. The hell of it is, the underclass do not own stocks, and, they are only enriching the elite, and, the masses who they pay off, just like in any other corrupt banana republic or middle eastern dictatorship. I look at this as a semi-stable equilibrium, or a steady state, and nothing is going to happen until something triggers a “phase change”. That trigger in WWI was a complete bleeding to death of society, in France it was starvation. When people cannot eat, they will quickly look at the few who can, and blame them.
    -Marc

    1. Aquifer

      The problem is that the bed being stripped for the boomers is the bed being laid for the next generations ….

      1. Neo-Realist

        I’m wondering if the bed being stripped for the boomers will be replaced by a coffin for the futures of the next generations when one considers where the global economy and the environment (warming, peak oil, etc) are moving.

      1. Aquifer

        oops, sorry, Dan – it just seemed appropriate to point out that gutting those programs will screw not only boomers but those who follow ….

        The desire to cut off one’s nose to spite another’s face seems to be eternal ….

    2. F. Beard

      You mean the bed I made by paying FICA all my working life?

      Unless your comment was made in jest, no wonder you need anti-depressants. It is you who are making an uncomfortable bed for yourself since the unmerciful cannot expect mercy themselves.

      1. citalopram

        That is not the reason I’m on an anti-depressant.

        Hey, Boomers, you voted for your fellow boomers who are now raping the country.

        Those of us younger folks will be getting to work and fixing what you guys screwed up. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.

          1. citalopram

            Get elected to office and reverse the course.

            Another option: massive rebellion in which the existing power structure is overthrown and a new day dawns. Yes, violence. Radical times call for radical solutions.

            This however, is folly. It’s wishful thinking and there are no signs that any course reversal will happen. Stop fighting it, and let it die. America is dead, and the American People have killed it.

            *sips coffee*

          2. Aquifer

            Op Cit,

            so what does that mean, to “reverse course”? which course do you wish to reverse re SS – the course that is gutting it, which is the course we are on?

            If so then what is your beef with boomers defending it?

            And, if America is dead – where does that leave you?

          3. Kyrie Eleison

            We want an armed insurrection, and I’m taking down names!

            Who’s with me??!

            *scribbles notes on whoever replies*

        1. F. Beard

          Good luck with fixing the system! I can’t even convince many people that usury for stolen purchasing power is NOT a proper money system.

          So what will your generation do? Go back to shiny metals for money?

          As for my generation, I truly won’t miss this world. I knew I had lived too long when I saw my first pierced tongue.

          A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1

          1. Kyrie Eleison

            Wasn’t there some recent discussion regarding the concept of “narcissism of small differences”?

            We apply it to political parties, but I think it’s fairly obvious in organized religion also, hence all the different “sects”.

            This country loves to parade as a “Christian” nation, yet every time I look around I find myself at a loss for how this belief system syncs up with the facts on the ground.

            I can forgo charity and grace so long as I’m fighting the good fight against all those queer-o-sexuals, and slashing the tires of people who disagree with me ‘cuz it’s “God’s Work”.

            Is it any wonder so many people today are turned off by Christianity? Look at who preaches what passes as the “gospel” these days.

  9. jsmith

    Here’s a nice look at what Israel’s – and I do mean Israel’s – plan for Syria is:

    That’s right, turn it into Somalia!

    Thanks, apartheid scum and your enablers – looking at you entire United States government!

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/30/israels-plan-for-syria/

    From leaked converations of Putin with Israeli fascists:

    “We are not beholden to Assad,” said Putin. “Before the rebellion, he was a frequent visitor in Paris rather than in Moscow. We have no secret agenda regarding Syria. I asked President Obama, what are the US intentions in Syria; why do Americans reject Assad. Is it because of his inability to come to terms with Israel? Or because of his ties with Iran? Because of his position on Lebanon? I received no serious answer. Our reason, said Obama, is Assad’s violent repression of the Syrian people. I replied that violence is caused by Qatar and Saudi interference.”

    It’s also nice to note that Israeli fascists are complaining that the coverage by RT is not “objective” – i.e., pro-aparthied, pro-genocide.

    “The Israeli office of the RT outpours anti-Israeli propaganda. They broadcast talks with Hasan Nasrallah [probably a reference to Julian Assange's interview]. We spoke to the RT reporters privately, but they won’t budge, citing instructions from Moscow. Vladimir Vladimirovitch [Putin], please lean on the editorial policy of the RT so it will become objective towards Israel.”

    As an American citizen, I will say definitively that I respect Vladimir Putin more than ANY SINGLE politician in the United States of America and see that anyone opposing his rule in Russia is a puppet of the fascist neoliberal world order.

    Up Putin, down NATO!

    1. Walter Wit Man

      But Putin is leaving Syria to the wolves.

      Russia was Syria’s traditional ally yet Russia has already said it will not intervene in Syria to defend it as a power would normally do with an ally (e.g. if Israel were being attacked by a superior state the U.S. would intervene).

      Even in the link you leave, Putin is “distancing” himself–or at least that’s the game the media has been playing.

      Nah, I think Putin and Russian opposition to U.S. imperialism is fake. They are complicit. Why else would Russia allow the U.S. to supply its troops in Afghanistan over territory it controls? Why else would Russia allow the U.S. to maintain almost sole control of this important region?

      Iran and Syria are on their own. Lebanon too.

      Iran and Syria have a mutual defense treaty so what I’m looking for is if Iran will defend Syria militarily (and Lebanon too).

      Of course the media is ignoring this angle but I suspect an attack on Syria is the beginning of the final Middle East oil wars. Russia will quietly allow it and benefit from it, as it has the previous wars.

      1. citalopram

        Why? Maybe Russia learned its lesson in Afghanisan, and are expecting the U.S. to fail spectacularly in Afghanistan as well? It does appear the Taliban are bleeding us dry. Furthermore this war is unwinnable. What’s not to like?

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Well, fair enough. But I think this argument gets overblown.

          Despite squandering huge resources on wars the U.S. seems to only be increasing it’s global military hegemony. In fact, it seems to be making some people super rich . . . and similar things are going on in Russia. An elite benefits from these policies and it seems to be making them stronger, not weaker.

          Also, even if the U.S. overstretches and becomes weak Russia is letting America take all of the Middle East and Central Asia. The U.S. will have the most control over the world’s oil and major resources. Even if the U.S. eventually declines from financial stress, this is a huge geopolitical benefit. Simply look at a map of the U.S. military presence in the M.E./Central Asia and then it would be interesting to see a map of Russian forces.

          Plus, the Russians claim to care about the drug trade and helping the Americans in Afghanistan and Central Asia has only increased drug traffic.

          Nah, I’m still not buying the argument that Russia is employing a judo move. That’s like the Democrats claiming Obama is going to do all sorts of liberal stuff once he gets in office–it’s a way to explain away inconsistent behavior now and by the time the Democrats/Putin disappoint their followers it will be too late to do anything.

          1. Aquifer

            Walter,

            Do you really think we are “getting control” in the Middle East? Doncha think maybe that meme tastes a bit too much like DOD, or at least neo-con, Kool-Aid?

          2. Walter Wit Man

            I think the West has controlled the entire Middle East for almost 100 years now.

            I think we are entering a new ‘Arab Spring’ phase, which isn’t much different than the last phase, the pose colonial phase after WWII. I now suspect many of the seemingly indigenous nationalist movements, like the Baath party, were controlled or compromised by the West. So Nader and Saddam were actually controlled opposition. Other places, like Pakistan, were subdued by other methods.

            I’ve seen others claim Syria was the only true Arab democracy last century.

            But, to answer your question, it could be a DoD false meme that we are waging war for resources. Maybe they are lying about what resources they are interested in. The U.S. went to war less than 9 months after it was clear the world’s poppy production was in jeopardy. Maybe they simply want to sell arms and sow havoc. I think all the above motivations are equally likely at this point.

      2. jsmith

        “Nah, I’m still not buying the argument that Russia is employing a judo move. That’s like the Democrats claiming Obama is going to do all sorts of liberal stuff once he gets in office–it’s a way to explain away inconsistent behavior now and by the time the Democrats/Putin disappoint their followers it will be too late to do anything.”

        As a cynical person myself, I do think your cynicism may need some boundaries.

        From everything I’ve read I don’t think Putin particularly likes the West especially as of late. More, the man is an ardent nationalist and has been long before the rise of the Western neoliberals.

        Now that most Russians have actually seen the travesties of the neoliberal economic system, Putin no longer has to play the political “pro-America” card anymore – there’s more than enough support now in Russia for him to list “pro-democracy” groups as foreign agents and jail pro-West activists like Pussy Riot, so I don’t think his moves are insincere. I just think he now longer needs to play footsie with the West as the West has fallen so far out of favor with most Russians that anti-West rallies consistently and substantially dwarf any anti-Putin rallies over the last few years.

        Also, Russia need not worry about natural resources especially if they retain control of the central Asian countries, an idea that would be considerably threatened by the fall of Syria and Iran.

        No, it may be part of the general conspiracy theory that all of the international elite have made some sort of pact with the Devil or what have you to just lay down and all accept the imposition of an Western-based NWO around the planet but I don’t buy it.

        A conspiracy theory/plan like that might seem especially feasible in the minds of elite neoliberal Americans who have no real sense of history but to blithely say that Russia and/or China – each of which have cultures going back millenia – are going to accept some horsesh*t plan cooked up a bunch of Americans after WWII is a tad ridiculous, IMHO.

        Putin is allowing the U.S. to destroy itself as we allowed the USSR to destroy itself 30 years ago.

        However, I do believe there are lines in the sand which we shouldn’t cross.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Those lines in the sand must be on the banks of the Volga or well within Russian territory.

          I guess Western attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and now Syria and Iran don’t cross those lines (of course there’s more countries than this).

          I am indeed much more skeptical than most or than I used to be. I am re-evaluating much of the history I thought I knew–including Russian history. I now suspect insiders in Russia (like Yeltsin) assisted in and benefited from the “collapse” of the Soviet Union. There is an amazing story about Greenspan and Bush Sr. and Soros and others using secret bonds to attack the Soviet Union. Then you hear allegations of huge transfers of Soviet wealth and technology to Western companies (like maybe Oracle?).

        2. Walter Wit Man

          And I do have boundaries for my skepticism.

          Some have alleged that even Assad and Ahmadinejad are controlled opposition. This is taking it too far for me.

          But, who knows.

          I do think Assad played footsie with Russia and the UN longer than a leader in his position *should* have, if his goal is to repel the attack. But, I could be missing some critical facts because of Western control of the media.

        3. Walter Wit Man

          Also, Russia need not worry about natural resources especially if they retain control of the central Asian countries, an idea that would be considerably threatened by the fall of Syria and Iran.

          But here you just prove my point. Allowing U.S./Israel/NATO to attack and take over Libya, Syria, Lebanon, the Sinai, and Iran will drastically harm Russian interests. There is no getting around it, unless there is a secret deal to allow Russia, or a small elite, to share in the spoils. Or, unless this is yet another clever judo move.

          But that is what Russia is doing. Russia is allowing an attack on Syria, Iran, and Lebanon (and Sinai and prolly other places too).

          If Russia were serious about defending Syria it would NOT have said it won’t defend Syria. If this were a U.S. ally under attack, like Turkey, we would be sending military to Turkey to PREVENT an attack and be saying loudly we have the right, if not legal obligation, to defend Turkey. Why isn’t Russia sending troops and extra material to Syria and Iran to prevent an attack? Why isn’t it saying it MAY have a legal obligation to defend Syria and Iran? Why is Russia allowing the U.S. to use its bases for these imperial conquests? Why is Russia refusing to sell Syria the best fighter jets (paid for by Iran), when Israel requests that they not sell?

          Why did Putin call Assad a “dead man?” Have the Russians so quickly forgiven NATO for its extralegal action in Libya?

          It just all adds up to Russia green lighting these attacks but pretending to oppose them. Just like in Libya we will see Russia come up a just a biiiiiiiit short in preventing the Syrian and Iranian attacks. It’s already going on in fact!

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Netanyahu to Putin “You can appoint [Assad's] successor, and we shall not object…we shall tell you our preference soon.” Any puppet you want as long as he’s ours.

      “The main conclusion of the leaked protocols is that Israeli leaders retained their love to live dangerously. While some other countries, notably Russia, are seeking stability, Israelis love play, and power play.”

      Israeli leaders are Cheneyesque, desperate to cross their Rubicon into Iran.

    3. Up the Ante

      “.. anyone opposing his rule in Russia is a puppet of the fascist neoliberal world order. ”

      ???

      time out

      1. jsmith

        Yes, the main thrust of the oppostion to Putin are from the young who don’t remember what happened in the 90s and the elite bourgeoisie who want to fully impose a neoliberal economic system onto Russia.

        Here’s an interview with a Russian sociologist who talks about what drives opposition to Putin:

        There are several overlapping factors. First, the rise of a new generation of young people who don’t remember the “trauma of the 1990s”. They are not afraid of change, it is more attractive to them than the “gilded cage” of Putinist stability. Young members of the middle class want social mobility and dream about meteoric careers.

        Another factor is the swelling internal opposition within the Russian elite. In the 2000s, Putin served as a certain guarantor of balance between elite groups with completely opposite interests. Such as, for example, the siloviki and liberals in the government. Under President Medvedev this process became unbalanced. One was for Putin, the other for Medvedev. Those who stood with Medvedev felt the taste of power and property. They urged the President to remove Putin from the Premiership and run for a second term. For them, this was a chance that would have called for a struggle against the financial flows Putin’s people control. For control of Gazprom and other state corporations. Therefore, it was hard to presume that these groups would submit to defeat and quietly leave and put aside their plans for the next several years and, perhaps, forever.

        http://seansrussiablog.org/2011/12/09/why-are-russians-protesting-now/

        So, yes, basically Western-funded neoliberal puppets are the ones who oppose Putin.

        They want state-control of remaining commodities wrested from the government and the young bourgeoisie just want to party all crazy Real Wives of St. Petersburg-style.

        1. jsmith

          From a recent Paul Craig Roberts piece:

          Much of the Russian political opposition consists of foreign-paid agents, and once the law passes leading elements of the Russian political opposition will have to sign in with the Russian Ministry of Justice as foreign agents of Washington. The Itar-Tass News Agency reported on July 3 that there are about 1,000 organizations in Russia that are funded from abroad and engaged in political activity. Try to imagine the outcry if the Russians were funding 1,000 organizations in the US engaged in an effort to turn America into a Russian puppet state. (In the US the Russians would find a lot of competition from Israel.)

          http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2012/07/16/war-on-all-fronts/

        2. Up the Ante

          Clues to what drives opposition to Putin might be found in this book review’s description of Russia’s relation to the oil trade, keeping in mind that the “cash rich” Russia isn’t letting it trickle down,

          http://www.amazon.com/review/R2UUXBHJB3KCAX/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&channel=rw-dp&ASIN=0865716854&nodeID=283155&store=books

          Putin as yet another neofascist.

          Imagine the young of Russia’s response to the suggestion that Putin is not a fascist ?!

    4. Neo-Realist

      So when is Pussy Riot getting their pardon from St. Putin? 7 years in prison for a harmless performance in a cathedral just because Puty can’t stand criticism of his rule?

      1. jsmith

        Hmmm, let’s see.

        What kind of punishment do you think would be doled out to a foreign-backed anti-American government punk band that set up stage in a evangelical mega-church here in the Homeland?

        Potentially 7 years?

        Don’t be a fool.

        Hey, here’s a fun coincidence!

        Notice the Pussy Riot symbol in this picture:

        http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/01/all-girl-russian-punk-band-pussy-riot-rages-against-putin/

        Clenched right fist.

        Now where have we seen THAT before?

        Gee, here it is in a NED/CIA/USAID backed Serbian activist group Otpor! from the late 90s.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otpor!

        In fact, here are pictures of the same symbol being used in artificial revolutions around the world over the last 20 years: Georgia, Egypt, Ukraine, even – gasp – Occupy.

        Here’s an RT segment on it as well as another article that shows the same symbols – I mean EXACTLY the same symbol – used in all of these different “revolutions”.

        http://www.rt.com/news/color-revolution-sophisticated-technology/

        http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27053

        Nah, it’s probably all just a big coincidence, right?

        We should just believe that all of those billions of dollars that are spent by the hundreds of “pro-democracy” groups operating in these foreign countries is all going towards a noble cause and NOT for the furtherance of American neoliberal designs.

        It’s best not to think that the elite like to whip up and/or hijack public dissent to further their own ends, huh?

        Create activist groups that can either spark societal fragmentation or act as pressure valves to release anti-authority sentiments?

        Nah, probably just all a big coincidence.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Good find jsmith.

          Interesting.

          The perps do seem to recycle the same plans. We’re seeing a lot of stuff from the Libya attack being reused in Syria . . . like the minarets being attacked and then blamed on the “regime.”

  10. Aquifer

    What folks seem to forget, or pointedly leave out, is that those “entitlements” were meant not just for one, the boomer, generation, but for all generations – they were something we as a people decided a “civilized” society should do ….

    Social Darwinism, aka “The Market” is alive and well in this day and age and reasserting itself in many forms – one of which is gutting “entitlements” ….

  11. Don Levit

    Aquifer:
    I totally agree. We are alll responsible for the lack of liquidity to pay for Social Security benefits.
    Specifically, the politicians are to blame for using the Social Sceirity trust fund and 23 other trust funds as a clever, sneaky innovative way to fund an overbloated government. When the revenie falls short of the outgo, simply borrow from all these trust funds. It was a brilliant idea as a way of leveraging the dollars, 100%!
    The asset part materialized immediately (that money owed the SS trust fund that was borrowed by the Treasury), and was used to pay for current expenses.
    The liabiity part (the money the Treasury owes the trust fund) did not materialize, from a cash standpoint, until 2010, when cash outgo exceeded cash income. What a brilliant way to leverage an asset, for over 27 years!
    Wouldn’t you love to have a loan in which nothing, no interest, principal, nothing, was not due for 27 years, while you had use of the cash part of the asset! Cash asset, non cash liability, brilliant!
    Social Darwinism now comes into play, for the liability cash part is beginning to be recognized, and if the trust fund continues to dwindle, first loan interest, next loan principal, exhausted, will morph into additional debt held by the public.
    Don Levit

    1. F. Beard

      The US Federal Government is monetarily sovereign so household accounting does not apply. The US Federal Government is a money ISSUER not a money USER. The US Federal Government does not fund itself with taxes or borrowing.

      I suggest you learn some MMT. Bill Mitchell’s site is excellent: http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/

      1. Up the Ante

        “The US Federal Government is monetarily sovereign so household accounting does not apply. The US Federal Government is a money ISSUER not a money USER. The US Federal Government does not fund itself with taxes or borrowing [and is an island unto Itself.] ”

        fixed it for ‘ya,

        and got it, thanks [!][?]

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s interesting to note that the US government is both a law issuer and a law obeyer or user.

          When the government says Thou shall not steal, most people understand that the government also does not steal.

          When the government says Thou shall honor contracts you sign, most people understand that the government also will honor contracts it signs.

          So while the government issues money, most people expect the government to earn it just like everyone else.

      2. Don Levit

        F. beard:
        I have learned a lot about MMT on pragcap.com, and I think it is nonsense.
        By the way, for a fellow who likes to quote the Bible, why have you likened our federal government to a god – creating something out of nothing, creating money out of thin air., as if by 10 utterances the U.S. full faith and credit could do anything.
        I guess there are 2 Gods now.
        Don Levit

        1. JTFaraday

          Good grief. All the inhuman things the US government actually does and that gets your moral panties in a bunch?

    2. Aquifer

      Sorry, Don – don’t think you do agree with me. I claim that the system was set up as a social commitment and can be retained as such, if we have the political will to do so. You seem to claim that it was set up as a sort of Ponzi(?) scheme so the rich would benefit. It seems to me your scenario is one used by those who would dismantle it …..

      The social Darwinists are not the ones who set it up, but the ones who would take it down ….

      1. Don Levit

        Aquifer:
        You arte absolutely correct. The way the SS trust fund (and 23 other trust funds) works does look like people are trying to dismantle the system – at least the reserves, of which the trust fund represents. The government is very effective on a pay-as-you-go basis. But, as a vehicle to store wealth over a period of years, that is what a private insurer is for.
        Don Levit

        1. Aquifer

          SS funds, invested in T-bills, worth as much as any other T-bills including the ones held by foreign gov’ts. If SS T-bills are no good, neither are China’s …. Maybe you should tell China …

          The system isn’t broken and won’t be – unless we decide to break it …

  12. Garrett Pace

    The Drone pilot:

    “Colonel Brenton acknowledges the peculiar new disconnect of fighting a telewar with a joystick and a throttle from his padded seat in American suburbia.

    When he was deployed in Iraq, “you land and there’s no more weapons on your F-16, people have an idea of what you were just involved with…”

    The funny thing about this is that actual air pilots were already somewhat disconnected from harsh realities of battle (particularly when one side controls the skies). They just have to play the video game above the target. This new form of war where the enemy bears all the burdens of conflict has been very popular in the US for the past couple of generations.

    1. Garrett Pace

      And the executioners. Solzhenitsyn, from the Gulag Archipelago:

      “it is the the innocent who are punished most zealously. And what would one then have to say about our torturers? Why does fate not punish them? Why do they prosper?

      The only solution to this would be that the meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but in the development of the soul. From that point of view our torturers have been punished most horribly of all: they are turning into swine; they are departing downward from humanity…”

      http://crossroad.to/Excerpts/books/faith_under_fire/Solzhenitsyn.htm

      1. Unkle Smokey

        Nice. I just finished all three volumes of Gulag Archipelago and found it surprisingly timely.

        1. Garrett Pace

          I hope, if you haven’t already, that you will read Solzhenitsyn’s “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”, a short novel about life in a Gulag prison camp.

          Unlike Archipelagulag, AS was able to get this little story published in the Soviet Union in the 1960′s, because of the harsh light it threw on the (by that time discredited) Stalinist period.

          It’s theme, however, is similar to that of the quote I gave above – how systems, cultures and societies affect the development of people’s souls. This group of prisoners whose only goals are to steal enough food and avoid enough work to survive until bedtime, stand as a bitter indictment against a system that had been designed to change human nature for the better and bring about a perfect and equitable society.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Day_in_the_Life_of_Ivan_Denisovich

          1. Garrett Pace

            Hope you like it!

            At about 1/100th the length of Solzhenitsyn’s legendary Archipelago, it’s a very useful primer into the whole business of Gulag.

            …oh, and I use the word “business” advisedly…

    2. Up the Ante

      “The funny thing about this is that actual air pilots were already somewhat disconnected from harsh realities of battle [and the culture of the Air Force reinforces the pilots' view of their role as 'the entitled', little wonder the branch openly declared their intent to use personnas to subvert]. ”

      fixed it for ‘ya

  13. ep3

    re: entitled generation article.

    man, talk about someone who is self entitled. pot calling the kettle black. who’s fault is it that all those “investments” have been cut? who has continued to cut taxes even while those costs go up? and then, all the SS and Medicare gutting plans that have been talked about do not go into effect until after the boomers.

    1. ep3

      ok, my post above i wrote after reading the first page of that clown’s article. what complete propaganda! i guess it’s okay cuz he does mention third way in the article more than once. so in today’s world, that is a roundabout way of saying “this article sponsored by…”

  14. Walter Wit Man

    If my memory serves correctly, wasn’t Bill Keller the editor that made the call on the Hillary and Bill marriage troubles story? Where they looked into where the two of them were sleeping, etc.

    Funny that the New York Times is responsible for spreading so many of the allegations against the Clintons (like Whitewater, Travelgate, etc.).

    Keller is the Boomer’s propagandist. That’s probably his main job–Boomer memes that can be used to control them.

    He’s probably being called out for one more major job before his brand is ruined. But, the New York Times has the power to foist these crooks on us for a while.

  15. jessica

    “My Big Fat Belizean, Singaporean Bank Account Adam Davidson, New York Times. Reader Francois T points out that Davidson wrote a “well balanced, no shilling for the 1%” piece. We will see whether this is an anomaly or a trend.”

    Yes, but the piece does perpetuate the myth that most of the hidden money is in some exotic overseas location. The biggest location for hidden money is London. The Mexican drug cartels do plenty of their business in the US, not Belize. This vast reservoir of money kept hidden from the rules ordinary folks are subject to is not a bug in the system, nor a matter of it being just so difficult to control. It is a feature of the system.
    I would also disagree with the author’s claim that the problem is not lack of regulation, but rather overly-complex contradictory regulation. Rather than problem is lack of enforcement for the 1%. When complexity is a problem, that again is a feature, not a bug. Track down some of these complex rules and see how often the complexity was carefully paid for by the 1%. For the precise purpose of ensuring that there would be the appearance of a real effort but with little to no substance.

    1. Fíréan

      HSBC,the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Company Limited,and it’s money laundering is the subject matter ( very brief, no real details of consequence other than the fine ) of the link above that of the one on which you comment, few persons seem to be aware of the connections, the whole picture.

      The author of the New York Times article, Adam Davidson, seems to be most concerned with the loss of tax revenue to the government than the legality of the origins of the funds in offshore “havens”, or the legallity of the financial transactions, or true nature of the flow of unaccountable monies around the world.

      Governments and their agencies, as well as corporations and rich people, can engage in activities beyond the realm and restrictions of their own soveriegn laws if required funds are easily acquired and/or managed beyond their own territorial restrictions,budgets and laws, and the surveillance of disapproving entities, the media or the public.

      Even Stanford had high level USA governmental support to prevent preying investigations of his bank’s off-shore activities from concerned parties.

  16. alex

    “Dean Baker again, loaded for bear.”

    Does Dean know any other way to hunt? And that ammo he uses – facts and numbers – ought to be banned by the Geneva Convention. Not to mention that he uses the most effective sarcasm since Groucho Marx (albeit in a slightly drier form).

  17. ScottS

    Re: My Big Fat Belizean, Singaporean Bank Account Adam Davidson
    I did a double-take on this one when I read it yesterday. Is this the same Lord Haw-Haw that Yves has been shredding off and on for months?

  18. financial matters

    The Achilles heel of America’s financial system Gillian Tett, Financial Times. Not news, but a useful reminder.

    This is one of one of the very few economic issues that actually seems to get the publics attention.. ‘breaking the buck’ or ‘negative interest rates’. But it has to actually show up on their bank accounts first.. and this is a big fudge

    “”Until then, everyone had better hope nothing happens to create a new panic among money market fund managers or their investors; or we may all come to regret this shameful and dangerous $2.6tn policy fudge.”"

  19. Hugh

    Bill Keller is of course, the former executive editor at the New York Times. He came in after Judy Miller had written her propaganda pieces on Iraq’s WMD. He was responsible for the Time’s eventual half-hearted retraction of those stories. But Keller has always been a neocon and all around Establishment hack. He kept Michael Gordon on at the Times after Miller was dumped. Gordon co-wrote some of Miller’s Iraq WMD articles. Gordon went on for years being a stenographer for the American military in Iraq and tried several times to gin up the case of Iran supplying insurgents killing American troops (even though half the suicide bombers in Iraq came from Saudi Arabia). I remember writing on his articles and how easy it was to go through them and list all their lies, half-truths, and inconsistencies. Keller also kept John Burns another neocon and Iraq war apologist as bureau chief in Baghdad.

    Obama has already made a couple attempts to cut Social Security and he has signaled that he will go after it again if he wins re-election. Keller has made a very successful career out of being a mouthpiece of the Establishment. So I agree with Yves that Keller’s current bloviation is yet another indication that Obama and the Democrats have Social Security in the crosshairs.

    1. Kokuanani

      I completely agree that Obama and his “pals” have social security in the cross-hairs.

      I live in Hawaii. It’s a foregone conclusion that Obama will win here. But candidates for Senate & House seats keep repeating the mantra that they’ll “protect social security” [as if they're too stupid to know it's Obama who's the threat, not the Republicans].

      I urge everyone to confront their Dem candidates and ask them, “if/when Obama proposes cutting social security and other portions of the safety net, what will you do?” We all know they’ll fold, but it would be good to have them on the record denying it. Also, it might be a reminder that their constituents pay attention to such issues.

      1. different clue

        If Romney were the President trying to cut or abolish SS, would the Democrats support Romney doing it the way they plan to support Obama doing it? Why or why not?
        And depending on the answer, which President would be less able to cut or destroy SS?

  20. Ms G

    e Bloomberg’s War on Working People.

    It is important to note what is really (pitifully) at stake in this particular “living wage” battle. The NY City Council passed a “living wage” law whose scope is smaller than a starving mouse. It would cover all of 400-500 people because the “living wage” wouldn’t kick in unless the employer receives $1 million dollars in City contracts or subsidies AND the employer has more than $5 million in annual revenues. What is this “living wage”? A whopping $10 an hour (with benefits) or $11.50 without benefits — instead of current minimum wage of $7.25. This is in New York City.

    When the Council first passed the law, Bloomberg — fervent defender of Wall Street’s “Job Creators” — screeched:

    “the last time we really had a big managed economy was the USSR, and that didn’t work out well.”

    That’s right — minimum and living wage schemes are USSR socialist state “things.” When running for office 3 times, Mayor Mike never mentioned that he was a fervent advocate of gutting the New Deal.

  21. Herman Sniffles

    “Someone once said that decisions are made by those who show up”

    Yah, and the decision has already been made. But it wasn’t “the people” who showed up to make it. It was psychopathic, criminal minded bankers and corporate CEO’s. And the decision was for there not to be a choice on the ballot. And so there is no choice on the ballot.

  22. Paul Walker

    The ballot or bullet?

    Sheesh!

    Citizens are voting by refusing to turn out and give their vote to the “lesser” of the evils available by voting no-confidence via the only alternative available. The exercise of ones franchise should not be defined by taking ones pick at closing time at the local Holiday Inn bar. Thankfully many Americans appreciate this “feature” of the structure as it now exists.

    Voting none of the above when every available option seems terribly compromised is far from disinterested, it’s sensible.

    When this hopelessly compromised electoral/political system actually starts providing candidates and governance worthy of broad public support they’ll receive it. Until then take the no-confidence medicine and figure out how to actually provide governance worthy of more than an epilogue in the annals of supreme control frauds.

    1. Aquifer

      Not voting is not voting, period. It is neither voting “no confidence”, nor “none of the above”.

      The first rule is – ya gotta show up. Someone is choosing, if not you someone else will….

      There are other choices, time to choose them.

  23. Cap'n Magic

    Former Citigroup Manager cleared in Mortgage Security Case. http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/former-citigroup-manager-cleared-in-mortgage-securities-case/?nl=business&emc=edit_dlbkpm_20120731

    Bizarre response from jury tho: “In addition to handing up its verdict, the federal jury also issued an unusual statement addressed to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the government agency that brought the civil case.

    “This verdict should not deter the S.E.C. from investigating the financial industry and current regulations and modify existing regulations as necessary,” said the statement, which was read aloud in the courtroom by Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who presided over the trial.”

    1. Up the Ante

      “Bizarre response from jury “,

      Corporate psyops learned the jurors’ identities, mobilized their resources and ‘detracted’ from their ‘quality of life’.

      Rakoff, be-numbed that the jurors would allow such a thing, rubberstamped it.

      1. alex

        Don’t be ridiculous. That would be treating the peons as though their opinions and statements actually meant something. TPTB show the ultimate contempt of ignoring them.

    2. Up the Ante

      “Citigroup [Stoker] secretly stuffed the C.D.O. with toxic mortgages that the bank thought would lose value ..”

      And Stoker’s lawyer convinced the jury that Stoker did not know they were toxic after the sales pitch reassuring of due diligence on Stoker’s part ? and then the bank acted on that due diligence that they HAD done.

      This tells me there’s a story in these jurors, one that corporate psyops knows already.

      ‘two-week trial .. in Manhattan. ”

      http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/former-citigroup-manager-cleared-in-mortgage-securities-case/?nl=business&emc=edit_dlbkpm_20120731

      A textbook case of the need for a Recto-Crane to undo the Inversion.

  24. Ray Phenicie

    “Bots Raise Their Heads Again on Facebook New York Times”
    Facebook advertisers?
    What? I have yet to see a single ad on Facebook.
    Doh!
    I have Adblock Plus working full time.
    Sorry, I don’t see any ads at NC either!
    What would happen to the Internet if we all installed Adblock Plus?

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