Recent Items

Links 1/22/13

Posted on by

I filled in for Yves tonight so she can focus on a project. It’s a doozy. It’s the bee’s knees, the cat’s pajamas, positively the lobster’s dress shirt. –lambert

Clues to Prehistoric Human Exploration Found in Sweet Potato Genome Science 

Looting the bank? Local conspiracy allegedly snared millions of dollars Seattle Times

A new Gold Standard is being born Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph. A bit stale but interesting if true.

Weidmann warns of currency war risk FT

Defeat in German regional elections dents poll hopes of Merkel and heir Guardian

Scottish independence is fast becoming the only option Guardian

Edward Tufte’s defense of Aaron Swartz and the “marvelously different” Dan Nguyen’s Hack Place

The enormous profits of STM scholarly publishers The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics

Nine facts about top journals in economics  Vox

The Practitioner’s Tale economicprincipals.com

A confederacy of dorks Interfluidity. IOR.

America’s debt dilemma: A looming crisis FT. Remarkably, or not, single payer is not mentioned as a cost containment measure.

No Joy in Vindication Another Word For It. Auditing the U.S. government.

Obama’s Inauguration Speech Dealt A Devastating Blow To Deficit Hawks Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider. Interesting if true.

Inaugural Address: Some Quick Reflections, and What Obama Did Not Say  Jesse’s Café Américain

Obama Needs a New Deal Robert Shiller, Slate

Inaugural hagiography

Can Obama Speak to History? The New Yorker (Klassy!)

The Big Deal Paul Krugman, New York Times

Live-Blogging The Second Inauguration Of Barack Obama Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic

(BAGNews photos)

An expansive case for progressive governance, grounded in language of Founding Fathers Greg Sargent, WaPo

Chart of the day: US stock market vs. US labor market AEI

Retail Sales and Jobs Financial Armageddon

Existing Home Inventory up 2% in mid-January CR

A confidence hit for US housing? Macrobusiness

U.S. Oil-Production Rise Is Fastest Ever WSJ

Energy Industry Doesn’t Understand Algeria Attack oilprice.com

Drillers explore ‘groundbreaking’ shallow fracking technique Pittsburgh Tribune

We’re in contact with uncontrolled chemicals McClatchy

The Trend Against Skeuomorphic Textures and Effects in User Interface Design Daring Fireball

Google search is already open source math babe

Are annotations the new comments? Felix Salmon, Reuters

Kickstarter loves films. Seriously, just look at these ridiculous numbers GigaOM

Israeli news broadcasters don’t cry Haaretz. Google headline. Must read.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

Print Friendly
Twitter13DiggReddit0StumbleUpon0Facebook2LinkedIn0Google+0bufferEmail

159 comments

  1. gonzomarx

    On radio 4 last night..
    Just Deserts
    Workers once won the fight for rewards at work, now executives dominate. Michael Blastland asks how bosses have become so powerful and if workers – and investors – can fight back.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/analysis

    and

    An action-packed thriller is about to unfold in Davos, Switzerland
    In secret meetings in tiny rooms, the rich plot to get even richer
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/21/davos-switzerland-rich-plotting-richer

    1. charles a cartwright

      #Econotainment

      Thank you for the mention, the Dutch NRC has a 2 pages fold-out yesterday on Davos, the Theater and the players…

      Of course it is not really deemed of importance that 3
      of the Liberal / Neoliberal PMS: Camaron, Monti and Rutte
      and due out there, it is just part of the game / the thriller.

      If one resorts to using but first names, even more familiar !

      It would be tempting to conclude following the trail of a “Kapitalismus als Spektakel” German recent essay, that neoliberalism ‘surtout’ helps to sell paper or Pulp !

    1. Yves Smith

      He was excited about the whistleblower posts, not me.

      He lives in Maine. He’s made enough mention of that that you might have taken notice!

  2. Ms G

    Greg Sargent: “An expansive case for progressive governance, grounded in language of Founding Fathers.” Signifying absolutely nothing (except possibly the exact opposite), Greg, as you bloody well know.

    Granted, Wa’po. Still.

    1. Brindle

      Jesse’s Cafe a little better on Inauguration Address:

      —”The words ‘banks, regulation, finance, financial, property, money, and fraud’ were never mentioned.—”

      1. Klassy!

        This stood out for me too:
        On education, he also narrowly focussed on schools as job training centers, instead of as transmitters of culture, saying: “…a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.”
        For much the speech we were addressed as workers, and definitley not in a class consciousness sort of way.

        1. different clue

          I predict! Obama will approve the Keystone XL Pipeline Northern Half. If he can’t approve it outright, he will approve it by sneakily approving the expansion and connecting of existing pipelines going east, south, and then back west to connect to the Keystone XL Pipeline Southern Half which he already approved . . . so that the Northern Half will have something to connect to when he approves it.

      2. Jackrabbit

        …portraying the climate change crisis as simply an opportunity for the US to gain or lose the leadership in a new technological marketplace.

        Note: That Obama mentioned it at all is probably due to the fact that he will HAVE to deal with climate change because an international agreement is due to be completed in 2015.

        The MSM seems to be suggesting that his mentioning climate change at all is remarkable and adds to his lefty street cred. A cynical observer, however, might be more inclined to see no real conviction on climate change except as a means to scare up a few bucks for his Presidential Library.

        1. Klassy!

          Yes, someone needs to point out to the mainstream/liberal media that not denying climate change is not the same thing as doinganything about it.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s the talking-doing gap.

            If only someone would invent a machine that takes talking as input and converts it to energy as output, then our children and small business would have energy independence.

            We might call it the Talking Energy Machine.

          2. Aquifer

            MLPB – considering the amount of horse manure that is generated by “talking” methinks that we could certainly replace underground fracking with your machine to utilize natural gas – but what is you plan to eliminate the toxic sludge byproducts? Or will your machine take care of that?

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There is a myth (I hope I am using that word correctly in light of a recent conversation here), that those talking with clean hearts produce no toxic sludge byproducts and those talking with dirty hearts do.

            That’s just a myth though.

          4. Aquifer

            Hmmm – well if we are to get much energy from your machine, it would seem that it would be much more “productive” if it used the talk from people with “dirty hearts” … My god – GS alone could power NY for a century …. as for the sludge, hmmm what if we genetically engineered it and fed it back to the “talkers” – shucks, they thrive on “derivatives”, don’t they?

          5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s probably better that they (banksters et al) do less talking and more ‘real work.’

            So, it’s all good.

            Let the clean hearted people do more talking and power the world.

          6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Lest people say I am careless with words, let me clarify by adding that this windbag energy is not the same as wind energy.

            It may not be as green, but it is more reliable, more predictable than wind.

  3. Ignim Brites

    The case for Scottish independence presented above rests on the defacto secession of London. Should we think about New York in the same way?

    1. Apo Stacy

      But the crux of it is that crushing analogy: the disorientation that you feel when you abandon an irrational ideation. The temporary vertigo of a mind freed of nonsense. The nonsense you give up can be an oriental potentate in the sky. The nonsense McKenna is talking about is nationalism hijacked by a state.

      As a kid I got these intrusive voices in my head that said “God is a fuck.” Didn’t know at that point what a fuck was, or even that it wasn’t really a noun but I knew it was trouble. Only nothing happened and gradually it became clear that God’s not a fuck, it’s just bullshit.

      So now here we are. Fuck America. America is bullshit. It doesn’t exist. There’s only a state that’s got its hooks in different peoples. Let them them go their separate ways.

      1. different clue

        Indeed . . .

        What if . . .

        America doesn’t work anymore. It’s an idea whose time is gone. It was nice while it lasted.

        On the cautionary side, when a key plurality of “deciders” within the Soviet Union decided the same thing, the pirates stood ready to turn the vacuum into wreckage and loot the wreckage. Would “letting America go” result in anything different here?

        1. Mark P.

          ‘Would “letting America go” result in anything different here?’

          No. Because in many cases it’s the same bad actors at work and what was done in the former U.S.S.R. was in many ways practice for what’s being done here.

          For just one example, do a search on Larry Summers, Andrei Shleifer, and Jonathan Hay. Or see –

          http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Article/1020662/How-Harvard-lost-Russia.html?ArticleId=1020662&single=true

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers#Support_of_economist_Andrei_Shleifer

          http://mathbabe.org/2012/03/11/why-larry-summers-lost-the-presidency-of-harvard/

          Not only did Summers deserve to lose his position at Harvard, but he should have gone to jail. These are our elite and, make no mistake, they’re scum.

      2. apo stacy

        Yeah, the wild East, good times. Like a frickin bouncy castle of skullduggery. Elsewhere, though, the world did it right (largely cause the US didn’t take an interest.) The thing that makes the difference is multilateral help with reconstruction and intensive mass education about all the state duties that this government blows off and conceals from the people. When people realize what the state has to do to justify its existence, there’s no going back.

    1. Susan the other

      It’s puzzling. Why do our big oil refineries want to create this balloon? Oil is now costing 10 times more than it brings in. The banks are willing to go along with this bubble, no problem – so who’s gonna pay? The claim that we are preparing to export this oil is also puzzling, since it will be at a 1000% loss. Or is that just a red herring because we are piping it to Houston and the Gulf. And from there to the military?

        1. Susan the other

          Just read Oil Price “The Energy industry Doesn’t Understand the Algerian Attack.” Really? I hardly have to comment on how peculiar this title sounds. I don’t think there is anything the energy industry doesn’t understand. When Oil Price publishes contradiction as if it were merely the cognitive confusion of the oil industry, I gotta back off. This is not a case of dueling jihadists from the Sahel which is connected to the ‘U.S. compound’ fiasco in Lybia and represents a power struggle with an undefined goal, at least to my thinking. The fact that the jihadists took 800 (80?) hostages and did not harm even one of them is interesting – only the Algerian commandos killed them, 30 of them. And the fact that the jihadists also did not harm BP’s industrial operations is interesting. It looks like BP, the British and the French are the beneficiaries of this whole thing because they will be able to justify establishing themselves in the Sahel land the Sahara with security forces which will last as long as the strategic resources last. I know all this goes without saying to a propaganda-weary U.S. public. But I’d just like to make a note of it.

          1. different clue

            If the “jihadists” were really just criminal kidnappers, then of course they would want to keep their hostages alive to sell for ransom money.

            I have read that the Algerian intelligence establishment has been suPPORTing these people in Mali and elsewhere, and perhaps just got offended that they would ply their kidnapping trade withIN Algeria. They decided to punish such ingratitude on the part of vulgar kidnappers-in-jihadista-disguise.

        2. Max424

          Excellent podcast (if you haven’t already heard it). Two of the best minds on the planet, Chris Martenson and Gregor MacDonald, discuss fracking, shale plays, and the Great Repricing.

          http://www.peakprosperity.com/podcast/80546/gregor-macdonald

          Oil shock is now permanent, and because it permanent, we can no longer see it.

          Or sense it. Like I always say: Bang em on the head with a hammer till they’re comatose, for the brain dead don’t feel pain.

          1. jrs

            Yes well I’ve finally concluded there’s enough oil, shale, fossil fuels to fry the planet. I wish it was otherwise and we’d hit peak oil and scarcity already. But nah the world will end in fire …

  4. citalopram

    I honestly do not understand why anyone would pay attention to the words coming out of Obama’s mouth; they don’t mean anything. Obama has always had a knack for saying the right things in the right way.

    Of course Obama’s not going to do anything about the critical issues of our time.

    Of course Obama’s lying again.

    Go back the sleep.

    1. sd

      Obama has always given very pretty speeches. it is after all why he was elected in the first place. That said, judge him on what he does and not what he says.

      ‘…weighed in the balances, and found wanting,’ comes to mind.

      1. Klassy!

        Or, as printed on the esteemed pages of The New Yorker:
        Obama is too complex, too nuanced, too elusive, and too careful, for words that stick.

        Or, “Stick it, base– these words don’t stick!”.

        1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          [insert your favorite red wine here] is too complex, too nuanced, too elusive, and too careful, for words that stick.

  5. Tom

    The enormous profits of STM scholarly publishers

    Business is getting better and better, according to all reports. This is particularly true of those who make a business of making reports. –
    Published in Tax Facts – 1924-

  6. jsmith

    Panetta says AQ not behind Algerian hostage crisis, vows revenge against AQ.

    Mali the model for future wars so sayeth Panetta.

    Summed up: Americans will help deliver more EU troops to the war crime party!!!

    From the WSWS:

    Inaugural Demagogy

    “At times his [Obama's] deceit assumed delusional proportions, as when he declared: “A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun.” Both claims are flat-out lies.

    Even as Obama spoke, his advisers were locked in discussions over an expansion of US military support for the French invasion of Mali, itself an offshoot of the US-led war in Libya. And his administration continues its central role in the sectarian civil war in Syria and its preparations for military attacks on Iran.

    As for economic recovery, to the extent there can be any talk of one, it is reserved for the wealthiest layers of the population. The broad mass of working people face continuing mass unemployment, declining wages, and spreading poverty, hunger and homelessness.

    snip

    Of course, the practice of bourgeois politics demands demagogy. The desperate condition of capitalist society must be hidden, or at least fumigated with perfumed phrases. But reality cannot be entirely suppressed, and it is reflected, if only indirectly, in the rhetorical materials with which the president constructed his inaugural address.

    This speech, one must assume, was the product of exhaustive discussion, with every word selected for its political effect. The decision to employ left-sounding rhetoric certainly indicates awareness at the highest levels of the state that public frustration over economic and social conditions is approaching the boiling point.

    1. sd

      It’s disturbing how quickly his administration looks for ways to engage in military activism rather than diplomacy. His foreign policy response on just about every matter seems to involve a gun.

      1. Accrued Disinterest

        Hey, Homeland won a bunch of Golden Globes. That’s a de facto approval by the Amurkan peeples to smash terrorism. And in addition, it’s great fodder for new and better video games.

  7. Stephen Nightingale

    Love the comments on the Guardian piece about Scottish independence. All 2427 (and counting) of them.

    Earlier notions of Scottish Independence were predicated on kicking over the Pound, and joining the Euro. In the light of the ongoing shambolics in the Euro department, they might want to rethink that component of the Independence platform.

    1. joebhed

      Independence?
      A nation needs both sovereignty and autonomy in ITS currency to be independent.
      That should really be obvious given the choices mentioned.
      A Scottish Greenback – the Scotty perhaps – would serve them well.
      Independence in money – or bust.

        1. J Sterling

          Your joke about “putting tartan on them” makes it sound as though you think the Scots would have to do something to their bills to make them more Scottish. But they already have:

          http://www.google.com/search?q=scottish+pound+notes&tbm=isch

          These bills aren’t issued by the Bank of England, but by three Scottish banks: the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland (a.k.a RBS, about whom we’ve read along with all the other disasters of the last few years), and the Clydesdale Bank.

      1. anon y'mouse

        presumably with a picture of James Doohan and the quote “we’re givin’ ‘er all she’s got, cap’n!” instead of God Save the Queen or whatever.

        too bad that will never happen.

  8. Klassy!

    Shallow Fracking? WTF? I don’t see what exactly is groundbreaking about it. This was not explained in the article. To me it seemed the same as currently practiced fracking except… shalllower.
    Shallower is safer because why? Because: “At shallow depths, however, there are fewer harmful naturally occurring elements to come back up from drilling. Fracks shallower than 2,000 feet are less likely to push straight up toward the surface and groundwater, because of the nature of the geology, experts said.”

    Is this our greatest worry from fracking– “harmful
    naturally occurring elements”?
    Seems like this is a done deal though– the article plays up the fact that smaller “family owned” drilling companies will be able to be players in the fracking game and nothing shuts down the debate like invoking “small businesses”.

    1. Ms G

      ” … and nothing shuts down the debate like invoking “small businesses”. Except maybe invoking “the children.” Though one understands why “the children” are not being invoked in this particular case where they may be drinking mercury water and dying of cancer very fast as a result of the boon to “small business.” Another damn zero-sum game that shouldn’t be how we organize things in our society.

      1. Klassy!

        Yes, “the children” and “terrorists” are useful too.
        If they really wanted to close the deal in this press release news story they should have dropped the phrase “energy independence” a few times. We must be energy independent for the good of our children’s future and so that we are not relying on the oil of “enemy” nations.

        1. Klassy!

          Marcellus Petro State Academy Charter
          Mission statement
          Partnering with local job creators to empower children with the real world skills they need to thrive in our ever changing global economy

    2. ambrit

      Dear Klassy!;
      I suspect that the association of the words ‘fracking’ and ‘groundbreaking’ is a meta pun. Especially since shallow means quite close to the surface [of consciousness I guess.]

    3. AbyNormal

      agree and to my minds horror, i picture shallow water tables corrupted an private water wells raped…with speed

      we the people have lost all consciousness, otherwise they could NEVER get away with spinning this new an improved frack of an idea, to the upside

    4. Jack Hepler

      The problem with shallow fracking is the proximity to water tables. I believe any fracking threatens underground water supplies. Dont care how wonderful fracking technology is, there is always 1) accident; 2) human error; 3) inviting shortcuts to save money.

      1. Klassy!

        Sounds like shallow fracking is one big shortcut. Plus there’s this:
        “Lawmakers exempted shallow drillers — even those using the same techniques as deep shale drillers — from the distance buffers it passed to protect homes and well water supplies from well sites.”

      2. Aquifer

        Bingo! Man they are REALLY counting on short attention spans …

        Remember only moments ago they were claiming that fracking was no threat to groundwater because the fracking was soooo much deeper than drinking water aquifers and there were sooo many “impervious” layers between that the crap used for fracking would “never” contaminate water supplies ….

    5. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      Not to mention we can all frack shallow anywhere and miss where the oil or gas deposit is. Much simpler and safer way to frack.

      Think we should call it safe fracking.

  9. AbyNormal

    for those appreciating historical data as i do…

    Capital is back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries 1870-2010 / Paris School of Economics 2012

    http://www.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/docs/zucman-gabriel/pikettyzucman2012slidesoctober.pdf

    from Timothy Taylor @ Conversable Economist:

    Just to be clear, “income” to economists is a “flow” concept over a period of time–for example, it might be what you receive in compensation for your labor and in return on your savings in a certain year. Wealth, on the other hand, is a “stock” concept of the accumulation of assets over time–for a person, it would include the value of equity in your home, as well as the value of what’s in your savings account or other financial investments. High income and wealth do tend to go together. But it’s possible to have high income, spend it all, and have little wealth; alternatively, it’s possible to have low income but steady saving, or perhaps the good luck to invest in the early days of IBM or Apple or Google, and end up with high wealth.

    that said and many charts later (my eyes cont. bleeding over)

    1) When wealth/income spikes up, it’s a potential danger sign of financial instability in the economy.

    2) Wealth is typically much more concentrated than income, and so when the wealth/income ratio is high, the political power of those holding lots of assets is probably stronger. The power of mega-rich billionaires, not just in the U.S. and Europe, but also in China and across fast-growing economies of the world, is large and growing.

    http://conversableeconomist.blogspot.com/2013/01/wealth-income-ratios-in-long-run.html

  10. Max424

    You know, if you stare at the antidote tree long enough, you might see the shape of an owl rising up in the middle.

    At least that’s what I’m seeing. Granted, I’m new to bark. I’m better with clouds.

        1. Max424

          Giggle.

          I said to no-one-in-particular once, while pointing at the sky, Quick! If you look at that cloud right there, you can see the profile of Mao Tse-Tung.

          Oh, I see it! It’s a floating Chairman! Said a very sarcastic no-one-in-particular. And wow! I see the face of Leonid Brezhnev at the other end!

          Dammit. I said. I’m serious!

          Said no-one-in-particular.

          Yeah, well I’m cirrus too!

    1. Aquifer

      The owl was the first thing i saw – to the point where i wondered if perhaps it hadn’t been deliberately sculpted in situ …. But whooooo knows …..

      1. Max424

        The Tawney Frogmouth! Never heard of it.

        Thanks for the link. Smart little bird, apparently, let’s the prey come to it.

        No, I think our guy (or gal) is hardworkin’ owl.

        http://www.boredpanda.com/owl-camouflage/

        There’s two photos in the series where I couldn’t find the Bird of Wisdom. I suspect the pulling of a fast one. Either that, or I need a new Camouflage Detector Ring.

  11. Garrett Pace

    Google is already open sourced:

    “it’s on us, the public, to run experiments to understand what the underlying [Google search] model actually does. We have the tools, let’s get going.”

    Hard to know what to think of that. The solution for Google’s increasing complexity is for us to work harder to understand how it affects us? Should that be the solution for dense and confusing legislation & financial instruments, too? Inscrutability is a feature, not a bug.

    The “problem”, such as it is, is the power concentrated in Google’s hands, not how they wield it.

    1. Expat

      It’s a problem AND it’s how they wield their power. It’s been USELESS as a search engine for years and now that they think they are as smart as you are it’s even worse. Just one for instance: unless you are looking up a quotation from Shakespeare or the Bible, you can’t identify fragments of text, which you could do in the 1990s. Unreliable, incomplete, and you can’t look at all the results anyway. And, unlike the sources in neighbourhood library (until it, too, is googlized), google cannot be relied upon for scholarly or legal purposes. Why these characters are allowed to continue to pollute intelligent life on this planet is beyond me.

  12. Valissa

    Opinion: Lance One of Many Tour de France Cheaters http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/01/130117-opinion-lance-armstrong-tour-de-france-sports/
    As the latest chapter of the sorry Armstrong saga unfolds, it is worth looking at the history of cheating in the Tour de France to get a sense of perspective. This is not an attempt at rationalization or justification for what Armstrong did. Far from it.

    But the simple, unpalatable fact is that cheating, drugs, and dirty tricks have been part and parcel of the Tour de France nearly from its inception in 1903.

    1. Stephen Nightingale

      Anquetil and Coppi were both self-confessed ‘users’. In the list of drug-cheating winners of the Tour over the last 30 years, 3 out of 4 evidently did it ‘juiced’. But the rise of the EPO era was the early 90s. Big Mig (Indurain) won 5 in a trot. He was ‘clean’. But then there was no way to detect EPO in his time.

    2. Aquifer

      I saw/heard somewhere that the reason that Armstrong’s trophies weren’t awarded to the second place finishers was because they were “doped” too –

      Does that mean you have to be a real dope to compete in cycling races?

  13. ambrit

    Friends;
    In my perocculations this morning I came across this “Question of the Day” in the Yahoo financial page: Should companies be able to limit what employees can say about them online?
    The early results, (with an admittedly small sample):
    Yes they can: 15%
    No they cannot: 9%
    Employees should use common sense when talking online: 76%
    What’s wrong with this picture? Lots.
    An anecdote: In the DIY Boxxstore I slave away in, a youngish woman of several years service, in a responsible position, was ‘let go’ because she had referred to one of the store managers in an e-mail to another employee as a “d—–bag.” How this missive came into said managers hands, I have no idea. Some bad blood already existing between the two, manager X bypasses the in-store hierarchy and goes to Corporate. Result, the e-mail is deemed to be ‘threatening’ and employee Y terminated. Since no store or corporate ‘business’ was involved, what is the basis for action? A great number of longer term workers here are urging her to bring action for redress, but the cost is prohibitive. Her response seems to be the sanest of all the ideas floated. “I obviously shouldn’t be working here. I’ve been unhappy for a while with the insane system they have here. I think I’ll just leave XYZ Corp behind and work on living a better, happier life.” Good for her.

      1. ambrit

        Dear LucyLulu;
        Ah ha! The old “intellectual” property scam! I didn’t think about all that “Use of this system makes you property of the Federation,” meme.
        Agreed, stricter rules concerning the interface of public, corporate and private communications would be of help, if the Rule of Law existed anymore.
        I’ll ask her the next time I see her.

    1. anon y'mouse

      this headline brought to you by the writers for Maxis’ SimCity (the original, not corporocratified game).

    2. Mel

      Norwegians have developed world-class skills in petroleum engineering; I’ve said elsewhere that when the oil is gone they can switch over to cream engineering instead. This is just one early example.

    3. Aquifer

      “Quelle Fromage!” Ha, ha, ha – that’s a good one!

      But seriously folks, that lends a whole new gravitas to the concept of “cutting the cheese” …

  14. Valissa

    EU grouping gets OK for financial transaction tax http://news.yahoo.com/eu-grouping-gets-ok-financial-transaction-tax-123726708–finance.html
    A group of 11 European Union countries was given the go-ahead Tuesday to work on the introduction of a tax on financial transactions.

    The tax is designed to help pay for the rescue of Europe’s banks and discourage risky trading. It would apply to anyone in the 11 countries who makes a bond or share trade or bets on the market using complex financial products called derivatives.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope it doesn’t suffer the same fate as our Social Security payroll tax – being borrowed by various European governments for something else.

        1. Valissa

          Tax heaven/haven toons…

          It’s a sign of the times http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5a7AINOurJU/SI1KgbHXN5I/AAAAAAAAAKo/funPES6wLyI/s400/Dissent+tax+heaven.jpg

          Crossing currents http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/ddn/lowres/ddnn146l.jpg

          What’s a word worth http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I00005cnWpbcB5nY/s/900/720/Banx-Cartoons-Punch-1982-03-10-389.jpg

          It’s all a matter of perspective http://s3.amazonaws.com/corpwatch.org/img/original/5-25-Cayman-Islands.jpg

          Another tax trick pony http://www.ips-dc.org/files/5513/fix-the-debt-ruse-cartoon1.JPG

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Mangement’s busy doing, like, investigative journalism for virtually no money. Meanwhile, I just approved your comment, which went into the spam filter — I’m guessing the trigger was 3 URL’s plus the word “fracking” which, when you think about it, could look to a robot an awful lot like another word that begins with “f” and contains “ck,” and not “firetruck.”

          * * *

          Anybody whinging because comment threads are not maintained in near real time by a human is free to contribute the salary that would take. The PayPal buttons are to your right.

          1. Valissa

            Sorry wasn’t my intention to upset you… I certainly am aware of how busy you guys are and how important what you’re doing is. I very much appreciate the time and effort that you and Yves put into this blog. But I usually can post 5 links, and I thought I had figured out all the “bad” keywords by now so I was wondering if the rules had changed. This past few weeks I’ve had way more comment attempts go into the NC black hole than usual. Perhaps I should just chalk that up to statisical anomaly.

            And btw, I donate every year.

        2. Aquifer

          Whoa, Lambert – take it easy man – sounds like you need a vacation – don’t take it all so seriously …. :)

    1. Jim S

      Hahah, bit of a coincidence I posted just below you, eh? I found it on sott.net, for what it’s worth.

  15. Jim S

    The must read of the day both enlightened and moved me. Thanks. Eldar’s last remark is curious, no?

    1. Valissa

      LOL… That’s one riot I can understand, I’m an anti-fan of hers of as well… tho for different reasons, I’m sure :)

      btw, the link kept causing my browser to get upset too!

  16. rjs

    when elizabeth warren was pushing for a CFPA, she said contract paperwork for consumers should be limited to one comphensible page in simple language…now that’s it’s an agency, the CFPB has finalized in January alone:

    · an 804-page Qualified Mortgage rule,

    · a 753-page mortgage servicing rule,

    · a 311-page high-cost mortgage appraisal rule,

    · a 125-page appraisal disclosure rule,

    · a 431-page high-cost mortgage counseling rule,

    · a 116-page escrow rule, and

    · a 541-page rule against steering borrowers to higher cost loans.

    It also issued a 185-page proposal to provide small banks a partial exemption from some QM provisions.

    That is 3,081 pages on final rules – or 3,266 pages if you include the proposal – related to mortgage lending.

    just saying….

    1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      So I guess next we hear all the screaming about the high legal cost of complying with Big Gubmint regulations.

      Knew I shoulda been a lawyer. It’s just that I hate typing and making up lots of BS.

      Having the USG employ haiku poets sounds like a great idea to me. [haiku > lightbulb over head]

      They could write the one page standardized contract.

      Then suggest what banks do with the contract:

      this
      use
      you will

    2. Ms G

      To paraphrase an esteemed member of the NC community, “When they say it’s in the interest of the consumer it’s NEVER about the consumer.”

      But My Gawd.

      Also, where else (ex NC) would you find crisp, concrete information like this (in context)? Thanks for posting the data.

  17. briansays

    tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of lbj’s death
    some say it was vietnam and not the heart attack that killed him
    but for…
    medicare, civil rights, and….???

    found these words on line
    something we won’t hear
    from one of the greatest speeches ever given to congress, Johnson’s “we shall overcome” speech

    “My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small Mexican-American school. Few of them could speak English and I couldn’t speak much Spanish. My students were poor and they often came to class without breakfast and hungry. And they knew even in their youth the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them, but they knew it was so because I saw it in their eyes.

    I often walked home late in the afternoon after the classes were finished wishing there was more that I could do. But all I knew was to teach them the little that I knew, hoping that I might help them against the hardships that lay ahead. And somehow you never forget what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child.

    I never thought then, in 1928, that I would be standing here in 1965. It never even occurred to me in my fondest dreams that I might have the chance to help the sons and daughters of those students, and to help people like them all over this country. But now I do have that chance.

    And I’ll let you in on a secret–I mean to use it. And I hope that you will use it with me.”

    1. ambrit

      Dear briansays;
      My God, has it been that long?
      FDR, JFK, LBJ, not to mention RFK and MLK. How many public figures do we have today who’ll be remembered by their initials alone? None that I can think of. They were giants, for good and ill, striding the earth. Todays politicians could do much worse than to study and learn from them. The present POTUS spins pretty speeches, and does f— all for the nation. Those earlier Presidents talked the talk, and walked the walk. “Time to get going Mr President! History awaits!”

    1. AbyNormal

      This signor is sound, safe, ready, and dumb
      As ever was candle, carrot, or thumb;
      Then away with these nasty devices, and show
      How you rate the just merits of Signor Dildo
      jim wilmot

      throughout Ben’s refined life
      i seriously doubt he’s imagined
      the powerful thrust of 99%ers
      when their hands get near that
      carrot/dildo

    2. jrs

      Re Whitey: I think he may have originally been (still is?) an an Austrian but I like a lot of what he writes as well, talks clearly about the mess housing is still in and so on.

  18. Hugh

    As citalopram notes near the beginning of this thread, Obama’s Inaugural Address was a speech. And if we have learned anything about this President, it is that the distance between his words and deeds is not only large but that while his words say one thing, his actions say the opposite.

    For instance, his words in support of programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, can only be taken as cynical and hypocritical since Obama has pushed hard to gut all three.

  19. Chris Rogers

    Re: The Presidents speech,

    not to put too much thought into this, but, seriously, had Obama written the speech, I may have an interest in it – that this speech was written on his behalf via ‘group think’ and whom he should pay political homage too, who actually gives a ‘FUCK’ – it being theatre to mollify the masses and keep his corporate sponsors onside.

    He’s no Roosevelt or JFK, so not really worth commenting on in my humble opinion!!!!!!!!!!

  20. AbyNormal

    i’ve spent decades pokin an punchin the ironies of economics & politics but im ashamed of my prior humor at fracking.

    too many have entered contracts without necessary disclosures and life threatening/ending consequences

    in the future, too many will be hog tied into these contracts… whether thru personal economic survival or without near enough means to fight

    we haven’t begun to see the fallout(s)

    fracking future for me: step aside laughter, pain dead ahead

    ***************

    Thanks Lambert for today’s educating an enlightening Links

  21. AbyNormal

    As of 2012, fracking is exempt from seven major federal regulations:[8]

    The Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, due to the “Halliburton loophole” pushed through by former Vice-President/former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney, exempting corporations from revealing the chemicals used in fracking fluid;

    the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which exempts fracking from federal regulations pertaining to hazardous waste;

    the Superfund law, which requires that polluters remediate for carcinogens like benzene released into the environment, except if they come from oil or gas;

    the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act;

    the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act;

    the National Environmental Policy Act; and
    the Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

    As of February 2012, only four of 31 fracking states have significant drilling rules. Five states have adopted disclosure rules, although they still allow for “proprietary trade secrets.”[9]
    -SourceWatch

  22. Ms G

    We’ve dodged Kill List Tuesday so far — fingers crossed — it’s already 21:44 EST. Does KLT run on banking hours, i.e, stops at 5pm?

  23. Hugh

    The Haaretz piece was interesting but I can’t honestly say I have any sympathy for Shlomi Eldar. He has great familiarity with all sides, but his own ideas remain a mismash. He spends most of the interview talking about Hamas and how they aren’t a partner for peace. But then he will let slip here and there in almost asides things like Israel essentially created Hamas or that Israelis aren’t capable of even minimal steps (giving up even a single settlement in the West Bank) to achieve peace. Of course, he never goes into what peace would look like. “Peace” in the Israeli political lexicon means the Palestinians surrender and either leave or die off. So he bemoans and despairs that there can be no peace. Well, duh. He says he has evidence that Israel embraced a policy of state terror, a war crime, against Arabs in Gaza, but rather than publish it or make it available to international bodies, he just sits on it because he can’t bring himself to look at it. I think what Eldar can’t face is that Israel created a monster, and it wasn’t Fatah or Hamas or the Palestinians, but itself. So Eldar’s solution is not to look in the mirror, but to hide it so he won’t have to.

    1. Jim S

      What I got from it was a sense that he was pointing the finger directly at the settlers as being the primary obstacle for peace without actually coming out and saying so. He seems to bear and enormous respect for Hamas as a political organization (but not sympathy–that he reserves for individuals) rather than blaming it.

    2. Manofsteel11

      1. A very clear and detailed of peace was prepared by Beilin and Abu Mazen, but then Abu Mazen was nowhere to be found during the Camp David II summit (realizing that Arafat had no intention to honor backchannel agreements).
      2. Many good Israeli and Palestinians have been discussing those details and articulating related operational plans, building institutional capacity and running joint projects for years. A political deadlock among Israelis and among Palestinians has prevented a paradigm shift (sounds familiars?). Be it weak/hawkish leaderships, inactive constituencies, imperialistic interests, fear of normalization, cultural cleavages, evil violent destabilizers or mere regional turbulence, placing the blame on one side is but an impractical approach.
      3. Israel evacuated several settlements in the northern part of the west bank and it has demolished multiple small settlements. Its willingness to withdraw has been well documented in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Please keep the facts right.
      4. ‘Hamas was created by Israel’ is true just as much as Israel is to be blamed for all other islamist human rights organizations, gender equality movements, liberal democracies, science-driven communities and non-violent intra-Islam conflict resolution parties.
      Where are the Arab reports, articles, documentaries and political parties dedicated to the need for reconciliation and amendment of the evils of the current state of affairs by peaceful means? Oh, of course, nobody Arabs resorted to violence before Israel was established and the PLO was only established after occupation began.
      Want peace? Establish an honest dialogue and then move on to pragmatic solutions.
      If one goes down the path you promote, one should start by having the free Arab press look into some of the violence and political missteps on the part of those who initiated the 36 and 39 massacres, supported the Nazis as they tried to concur the Middle East, launched the 48 war, initiated cross border provocations for months before the ’58 and ’67 wars, started the 73 war, launched rockets and ground attacks from Lebanon for years before the ’82 war, etc. The blame game is unlikely to deliver much need reconciliation.

      1. Hugh

        I am surprised that it took so long for the hasbara to appear. You guys are slipping. Palestinians have been the victims of a brutal 40 year occupation and have seen Gaza turned into an open air prison and the West Bank carved by Israelis settlements into a series of small bantustans. So no, Israelis and Palestinians are not equal partners in the peace process. Israel by magnitudes has been the more powerful actor and consequently, by magnitudes deserves greater blame for its failure.

        Netanyahu is the one who systematically destroyed the Oslo process after Rabin’s assassination. Clinton made a push at the end of his second term to get a deal done at Camp David. The US was hardly an honest broker in these talks. The chief US negotiator was Dennis Ross both a neocon and unabashedly pro-Israel. Arafat did not succumb to the intense pressure he was put under by both the US and Israel. And when the talks failed Ross and Clinton bitterly blamed Arafat. But the fact of the matter was that the deal was only good in the minds of Ross and Clinton. It addressed the issues they thought were important, but not those the Palestinians considered crucial. Arafat said later if he had accepted the deal he would have been assassinated by his own people.

        As for Hamas, Israel creation of it was an example of the colonialist’s paradox. People will resist rule by foreign powers. The colonial/imperial power sets out to eliminate those native leaders who challenge its rule. The moderates and inept are the first to go. It is a self-defeating process. Each generation of the resistance becomes smarter, more radical, better able to survive, and better able to challenge the hegemon. So yes, Israel’s efforts to destroy resistance has simply created a more capable resistance in Hamas.

        1. skippy

          Hay! Israel is not even a sovereign state in reality… its a land developers financial project!

          Skippy.. screw the humans… lets just make some money! Who cares what stuff they believe in…

          1. manofsteel11

            Do you know any Israelis personally? Have you been to weddings where Arabs and Jews friends celebrate life?
            Would a large minority in the US be allowed to publicly argue they are against the constitution, the flag and the administration policies, actively push for changing the national character of the country and still have representative in Congress as Palestinian parties do in Israel?
            How social-democratic is Israel’s economy as compared to the US of A? Did you check all quantitative indicators?
            Do you know what % of the population is for peace nowadays, despite all the efforts of its nationalist right to push forward the hawkish expansionist policies under Netanyahu?
            Do you know the settlers are but 5% of all Israelis, although evacuating them will probably mean a civil war in Israel? Can you disarm all militias in the US?
            Are you sure you are interested in peace and harmony, based on truth, compromise and mutual respect?

        2. manofsteel11

          1. I hate Hasbara as in propaganda, but appreciate an honest balanced and productive discussion that is focused on reaching compromise based on mutual respect and mutual concessions.
          2. I agree that Israeli control of the Palestinians must end, and should have ended many years ago.
          3. While Palestinians have been the victims, they also had a minor role in bringing about present realities. It is a fact that they began attacking Jews decades before Israel was established and their leadership supported the Nazi regime. It is a fact that the Arabs preferred war over the Partition Plan. They chose to form the PLO and carry out attacks years before occupation began. (PS Israeli control of what used to be Jordan and Egypt has been in effect for 45 years, not 40).
          4. “Gaza turned into an open air prison”? I am against the blockage. However, let’s keep the picture balanced. The facts are that the IMF tried build greenhouses and industrial estates for Palestinians when Israel withdrew 100% from Gaza, international aid came in the billions, and yet Hamas chose to burn the greenhouses down and use a lot of the funds for its rocket industry. Then Islamist Hamas killed PLO members in the dozens, instead of focusing on offering clear terms for coexistence with Israel or demanding that Egypt lifts its blockade from Gaza’s southern border. Moreover, while the US economy has suffered, the economy in Gaza was booming (in the very positive sense) until recently. If you think you can live with Hamas liberals and share their values, by all means, be my guest.
          5. “The West Bank carved by Israelis settlements into a series of small bantustans.” Agreed.
          6. While Israel is more powerful, it cannot do everything on its own. It is like asking a mature adult who understands the logic of respecting agreements to sign a real estate deal with a teenager. Palestinian apparatuses are very far from having the capacity that is needed to enforce peace arrangements. Even Israeli institutions just barely executed the withdrawal from Gaza, and you think that these parties have the capability to change their borders, economies, police forces, split the capitol, cooperate regarding water, sewer and air space, etc? Any proposed arrangement is both bureaucratically complex and politically sensitive that the smallest minority can blow it out of the calm water. But then again, the water in the Middle East are even more turbulent than in the past.
          7. “Netanyahu is the one who systematically destroyed the Oslo process after Rabin’s assassination.” Agreed.
          8. “Clinton made a push at the end of his second term to get a deal done at Camp David. The US was hardly an honest broker in these talks.” Agreed.
          Yet the outline of the deal was not only in the mind of the administration. If you talk to/ read the books by Palestinian, Israeli, European negotiators, it was all agreed upon in backchannel negotiations before the summit. Years of work with Palestinians, Israelis, other Arab countries, Europeans and some American ‘oversight’ were denounced and denied by Arafat in Camp David. Abu Mazen decided to disappear for a couple of weeks since he realized that Arafat was going to say no. By the time Abu Mazen came into power, it was already too late, since Netanyahu ran the game on the Israeli side.
          One may also wonder why didn’t the Saudis publicly support the proposed peace accords at the time? Or why did Arafat keep smuggling strategic weapons at a time when his representatives at the negotiation table were saying that a demilitarized state will be acceptable. (I would not accept that part).
          9. “Killing radical leaders is a self-defeating process.” Agreed. Yet, if there is no agreement on the parameters of peace and no leadership to bring it about (e.g. Abu Mazen will not agree on a symbolic Right of Return into Israel while Netanyahu will not split up Jerusalem), then the end result it conflict. Conflict requires defense by necessity. And, then it is a ‘choice’ between drones and ground operations. In addition, in some cases in the past such cruel policies have actually changes the balance of power within leadership and helped create somewhat better momentum. (Arafat’s exile from Lebanon and Abu Jihad’s assassination come to mind.)
          10. Israel must change course. The Palestinians must come together and put a clear end of conflict proposal on the table, preferably in the UN. Perhaps the political change now brewing in Israel might help, just as the Palestinian and Israeli economies are heading down. Unfortunately, Iran and Syria won’t allow for it under their current regimes, the Salafi militias are growing in power, and the developed countries are too busy with the economic crisis.

          1. Jim S

            It’s interesting to read your comments. Would you be willing to discuss the settlement issue a little further? eg. How do you think the demographics–specifically the increase of the Orthodox–will play out? How much curtailing and pulling back of settlements is actually feasible? And taking Jerusalem as a special case, what are the possibilities for an agreement there?

          2. Hugh

            No one would have characterized the apartheid regime in South Africa as the adult in the room or cast its black population in the role of an untrustworthy teenager. Yet here we have Israel running an apartheid regime in the territories and that is exactly how you characterize the relationship.

            You have this cognitive dissonance going on. Israel wants peace, but won’t do anything or give up anything to achieve it. It is the dominant power, the occupying authority. Yet it requires an equal partner, even though the power differential precludes one, and Israel attacks and seeks to weaken or destroy any potential leadership among the Palestinians.

            On the one hand, you say the settlers are only 5% of the population. Well, then why were they ever allowed to settle in the territories at all? Why have they been given a veto over Israeli policy? Why does Netanyahu, like his predecessors of whatever party, continue to build settlements and more particularly expropriate Arab land in and around Jerusalem for them?

            When I look at this conflict, I see something not much different from the lies and hypocries I see on Wall Street among the rich and elite classes. Whatever happens, it is never their fault. They have all the money, control all the levers of power, but when it comes to helping us, they are powerless. Yet throughout everything, every mistake, every “unforeseen” crisis, they come out on top, even richer and more powerful every time and we come out worse every time. But we are supposed to believe that, despite the patent impossibility of it, they have always acted in good faith and in our best interests and we are never to suggest at the risk of being branded as extreme that the system is rigged and they are the riggers.

            If we were discussing some other country, would you be raising these same convoluted defenses? Would you even bother with a response? I doubt it, but because it is Israel suddenly we are supposed to park our brain at the door and accept every screwy, hackneyed piece of propaganda no matter what.

          3. Manofsteel11

            @Jim S– I would be delighted to offer a detailed account of what would be pragmatic politically, economically and in terms of bureaucratic capacity, but this would probably be a 2 hours discussion/book.
            A few remarks in short:
            The nationalist orthodox are a very different group than the ultra orthodox. The former are about 5% of the population, with the hard core that will not move West of the 67 ceasefire line for monetary compensation constituting less than a third of that number. The overall nationalist camp is more sizable, but is Zionist in the sense that accepts the rule of law and majority decisions.
            The ultra orthodox just want to remain in their silos and receive money from the state’s coffers. They supported almost as many dovish government decisions in the past as they have supported right wing ones. For them the holy land will be given by god when the messiah arrives and there is no need for a proactive agenda.
            Demographic trends will have an impact in a matter of decades. And if one takes the Palestinian citizens of Israel as an example then the rate of fertility goes down very rapidly as the socio-economic conditions improve (Arabs and secular Jews are now closer than ever based on this indicator).
            In other words, if there is a real deal on the table that offers an end of conflict with the Palestinians then settlements are reversible, even though they are overemphasized nowadays (deliberately to avoid other topics?)(note past settlement evacuation from Sinai, the Jennin area and from Gaza).
            However, I do not see the Israelis establishing consensus regarding withdrawals from what has been termed ‘the large settlement blocks’ of Gush Etzion and Beitar, and Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Ariel- possibly with the next 5 years. This is not ideal as far as Palestinian territorial contiguity is concerned, but still leaves room for a viable state with highways and a train line connecting the main Palestinian cities.
            However, Israelis will not consider such risk taking, as far as loss of territorial depth and border control are concerned, as long as Abu Mazen publicly repeats a narrative arguing that Palestinian refugees will go back to Haifa and Jaffa, and his family will return to Safed (I personally know some Jews who’s families have been in Safed for many many generations, and I do not think that Jews who escaped Arab States in similar numbers to the Palestinian refugees would get to return to Iraq, Syria, Egypt, etc.). Abu Mazen is well aware of the formulas his people offered for a symbolic right of return, yet promoted a different political narrative publicly.
            As for Jerusalem, I believe that the general idea of letting the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem be governed by the Palestinians can be sold to Israelis within a broader framework. The details have been worked out with regards to symbols and functional arrangements (from legal systems’ coordination to sewer and beyond).
            However, splitting a city and keeping it functional for the sake of its residents would be a huge yet fragile endeavor. Splitting such a that is overwhelmingly poor and very religious on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides might be even harder, especially since the Palestinians residents there rely on Israeli social security and the advanced medical system in the west side of the city. If this is not enough, security arrangements are likely to be tested by radicals from both sides… (see Mostar as one of the only places where such a concept was experimented with).
            Just imagine how the NYPD would cooperate, if it had to, with the Iraqi police, no disrespect for any of them meant. If the city has a border zigzagging through its heart, then it is no longer functional and it is a source of tension. On the other hand, if it is open as the Palestinians and some Israeli suggested, then an Iranian pilgrim can cross into West jerusalem and from there get to Tel Aviv with no check points just like in the EU? Of if a murder takes place in West Jerusalem, and the body is dragged a few feet into East Jerusalem, which police force and court are managing the case? Complex sensitive solutions are unlikely to work. For now, the parties have not been willing to discuss arrangements that would simplify this issue functionally. Even worse, Israeli push for building expansion and Palestinians insist to discuss specific part of West Jerusalem that were Palestinian BEFORE the 48 war.
            I would be happy to add more points, answer more questions and explain what IS feasible, but this is getting a little long…(-:

          4. Manofsteel11

            @Hugh —
            1. Let me start by saying that there is discrimination in Israel (and non in the US?) which must be addressed.
            Yet, an apartheid regime is, by definition, focused on racial segregation.
            The Arab-Israeli is a national conflict, with orthodox religious fundamentalists on the extreme ends of both the Israeli and Palestinian political spectrums being the minority.
            If Israel was exactly like South Africa, there would be no Israeli Arab members of Knesset elected by the Arab constituency and who can freely publicly argue for an anti-Zionist agenda. (Do you see any minority in the US doing the same in Congress?).
            There are Druz and Beduin soldiers and very senior officers, so might it be about allegiance?
            Arab students study with Jews in all major universities and protest freely whenever they wish.
            Arab doctors treat Jews and Jewish doctors treat Arabs in the same hospitals, bed by bed, human being by human being.
            There is an Arab supreme judge who does not stand up when the Israeli anthem is sounded and TV shows in Arabic with all main channels.
            Is this about racial hate or about a national disagreement about who should rule which parts of the land and how?
            Clearly, some Israelis and some Palestinians are using hate speech, but there are several mixed cities in Israel that are doing as well as US cities with mixed population, if not better. And, there are good reasons why there have been several attempts on the part of Palestinian and Israeli top leaders to reach peace. Some of them are good friends by now, even absent of peace accords.

            As for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza: Israel has used brutal tactics to control the palestinians, and in other respects has also helped the Palestinians achieve more than their fellow Arabs in other states. Military occupation does not equal racial hate.
            The tragedy must be resolved, but perhaps avoiding the A word will actually help Israelis be less entrenched within their own racial-persecution-forbias?

            2. “Israel wants peace, but won’t do anything or give up anything to achieve it.”? As in the Beilin-Abu Mazen agreement from the 80s? Or most recent proposal from Olmert (not Abu Mazen, of course) just a few years ago?
            Indeed, Israel is the dominant power, yet it requires an equal partner in terms of peace proposals, mutual concessions and public diplomacy, AS WELL AS implementation capabilities, without which it all goes to…
            You say ” Israel attacks and seeks to weaken or destroy any potential leadership among the Palestinians”. On one hand, Netanyahu has indirectly undermined the Palestinian Authority by denying any peace horizon and allowing settlers to push forward (the reality most building has been in ‘the main settlement blocks’ and NOT in ‘remote areas’) BUT Israel has not attacked Abu Mazen and his people, it has provided Fayyad with funds and other resources on demand and it was the one to bring Arafat back to his people and give them weapons to gain control.

            3. You ask “On the one hand, you say the settlers are only 5% of the population. Well, then why were they ever allowed to settle in the territories at all? ”
            In the 70s it was a small minority that was considered utopian and insignificant (perhaps like some militias in the US?), and some in politics and the military liked the idea of having civilian population there as an excuse to have more military presence and budgets. Israelis shifted from public fear of being pushed into the sea (literally) to coming out victorious in the 67 war, which made some of them feel invincible for a few years (other prominent ones warned publicly that Israel should not stay in what was Jordanian and Egyptian territories).
            It soon grew out of proportion.
            – “Why have they been given a veto over Israeli policy?”- because while normal citizens (like the ones just voting for Lapid) go about their own business or protest the reality in Tel Aviv, the tiny yet active, risk taking and sometimes violent nationalist religious minority continues to act on the ground and take over political parties (Likud) threatening to basically rebel if they don’t get it their way. This minority is also elitist, so it has been taking over senior military positions etc.
            You may make comparisons to other small right-wing groups in other countries as you feel relevant…
            Why “expropriate Arab land in and around Jerusalem for them?”- Jerusalem is seen by BOTH Israelis and Palestinians as a different matter- as the current capitol it has major symbolic value politically. For Jewish politicians it is Zion after all, and a metropolis that needs to grow (any city you know of that is not seeking land reserves?)…For Palestinians there is no peace agreement without a picture of the Palestinian leader with armed soldiers on Temple Mount/Harem A Sharif. The parties see it as a zero sum game, and act accordingly, as sad as it may be.

            4. “When I look at this conflict, I see something not much different from the lies and hypocries I see on Wall Street among the rich and elite classes.” Agreed, only that sins in the name of ideology and security interests may be less criminal than those committed out of sheer greed and individual materialism?

            5. Jews did no always have “all the money, control all the levers of power”.
            Those who lived there before Israel was established were the poor, minority, escaping immigrants. They grew powerful while fighting off several Arab-initiated wars. They have become the riggers of the system by necessity, but then again, who is stopping other rich large Arab countries from rigging the system?
            Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have a much higher GDP.
            These countries, as well as Egypt and Turkey, have VERY strong modern armies, and huge population. However, until recently most of them never tried democracy, free markets and free access to education and information and secular focus on science and innovation as means to become dominant powers.
            Iran and Iraq stand where ancient empires invented math and astronomy, and it is my belief that if the Muslim Brothers in Egypt or the Saudis or the Iranians or the Hamas leaders would give ALL their citizens (including women) access to education and information and economic opportunities they would do very well.
            There are bad reasons why the Mid East is behind on globalization, be it dictatorships, cultural entrenchment or imperialistic force, and it has very little to do with Israel being far ahead of the game on that front, or its future relations with the Palestinians.

            Other countries to criticize?! Hmmm… where should I start? Imperialistic materialistic ones, corrupt ones or those simply incapable of keeping their nose where it belongs? The interesting thing is not that I chose to elaborate on Israel, what is interesting is that you will not find even a tenth of the critical coverage regarding much larger evils, with poor subjects from Tibet to many African countries, from Cuba to Kashmir, from the former lands of the Mexican and the Native Americans all the way to Spain and Russia. Why is that? Assad just killed more Syrians than all the casualties of all wars between the Arabs and Israel, yet look at the discussion during our recent elections on this subject. I Wonder Why?

          5. Jim S

            Thank you for the detailed answer! I might be able to come up with more questions, but maybe another day, eh?

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      “I think what Eldar can’t face is that Israel created a monster, and it wasn’t Fatah or Hamas or the Palestinians, but itself.”

      Yes, but what’s really interesting is that he himself admits that. “Not good” as he says.

      1. Ms G

        Rimshot totally legit, though I just watched it and it’s surprisingly good, especially in tandem with Yves’s two inaugural installments of the FraudClosure Disaster.

        Plus there’s a transcript of the whole show with pictures of the talking heads (including due diligence reviewer whistleblowers), Ted Kaufmann, Connaughton, and a few others. Lanny B. is left to squirm uncomfortably. The bits from the Senate hearings – good reminders of hideous words from the mouths of bankers.

  24. p78

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9819701/Central-bankers-should-be-brought-to-heel-by-elected-parliaments.html

    “The ECB’s actions have certainly been remarkable. It sent secret letters to the leaders of Italy and Spain in mid-2011 with a list of sweeping demands, covering pensions, labour reform, and sensitive political issues over which it has no constitutional authority.
    When Italy failed to comply with the terms, it switched off bond purchases, let yields spiral upwards, and forced Silvio Berlusconi out of office. That may be a good or bad outcome – depending on your point of view – but it is not the action of a central bank. It is the action of a political authority that has entirely slipped the leash of democratic control.
    The only real constraint on the ECB is the greater political power of the German Chancellory. Each stage of escalation in ECB’s emergency policies – culminating in Mario Draghi’s August pledge to buy “unlimited” amounts of Italian and Spanish bonds, once the political trigger is pulled – first required a green light from Angela Merkel.”

Comments are closed.