Links 8/20/13

Obamas Adopt 2nd White House Dog, Name Her Sunny AP. Oh, come on.

Super-Fast Quantum Computers? Scientists Find Asymmetry in Topological Insulators Science Daily

Experts surer of manmade global warming but local predictions elusive Reuters (Bloomberg; Times).

Not Too Big to Jail: Why Eliot Spitzer Is Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare Web of Debt

JPMorgan probed on US power markets FT

Judge endorses use of fraud law against Bank of America Reuters. FIRREA.

Fed advises US banks to lift capital targets FT

Rail Traffic Picks Up Some Momentum Pragmatic Capitalist

Stock Break From Herd Online WSJ

Shale Grab in U.S. Stalls as Falling Values Repel Buyers Bloomberg

Rupee tumbles as India concerns grow and emerging markets turmoil builds FT

Why The Indonesian Stock Market Is Cratering Business Insider. (Watch for the rupiah at 12000?)

Govt slashes GDP growth projection Bangkok Post

Capital Flowing Back to Advanced Economies as Asia Markets Slump Bloomberg

Can an Ice Wall Stop Radioactive Water Leaks from Fukushima? National Geographic

Buffett-Style Dinner Auctions Lure Chinese Seeking Just Society Bloomberg

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Journalist’s partner interrogated at Heathrow for nine hours ‘WAS carrying encrypted documents from Edward Snowden spying leak’ Daily Mail. David Miranda: “I knew my country would protect me, and I believe in my husband and knew that he would do anything to help me.” And see Yves here.

U.S. had advance notice of Britain’s plan to detain reporter Glenn Greenwald’s partner WaPo

David Miranda detention legally sound, says Scotland Yard BBC

Greenwald Partner falsely detained as Terrorist: How to Create a Dictatorship Juan Cole

David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face Alan Rusbridger, Guardian. ‘I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: “You’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back.'”

Britain’s botched use of terror laws Editorial, FT

Manning and Snowden made secrecy impossible Andrew Bacevich, Carroll County Times

Surveillance States and the End of Freedom Ian Welsh

Obama administration asks Supreme Court to allow warrantless cellphone searches WaPo. Most transparent administration in history!

Changing IP address to access public website ruled violation of US law Ars Technica

Michael Grunwald and the Assange Precedent Problem The New Yorker (The Atlantic).

Egypt Erupts

Egypt arrests Muslim Brotherhood’s top leader Al Jazeera

Concerned Israel quietly backs Egypt’s military Reuters. Headline should read: “In shocker, Concerned Israel…”

Gulf Islamist Dissent Over Egypt Foreign Policy

America’s Libertarian Moment The Atlantic. “… England, the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong, which are all approximately libertarian societies …” That one claim should suffice to remove David Boaz from the ranks of the serious, but of course he’s a made man in the political class by now. What a pile of dreck.

We need crime prevention, not militarization: Ursula Rozum Syracuse Post-Standard (bob). Another Bearcat. More fun with SWAT teams (radleybalko).

Content economics, part 3: costs Felix Salmon, Reuters (parts one and two). But DeLong: In Which We Watch Felix Salmon Vanish into the Weeds of the Economics of the Washington Post…

How Ludwig Wittgenstein helped me get over my teenage angst Guardian

Youth Studies Understanding Society

Violence, suffering and denial Billy Blog

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

rabbit

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About Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether has been blogging, managing online communities, and doing system administration 24/7 since 2003, in Drupal and WordPress. Besides political economy and the political scene, he blogs about rhetoric, software engineering, permaculture, history, literature, local politics, international travel, food, and fixing stuff around the house. The nom de plume “Lambert Strether” comes from Henry James’s The Ambassadors: “Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.” You can follow him on Twitter at @lambertstrether. http://www.correntewire.com

206 comments

  1. grayslady

    Alan Rusbridger’s article (he’s the editor-in-chief of The Guardian newspaper) is the most frightening piece I’ve read in my lifetime. We are a hair’s breadth from a repeat of 1930s fascism. I truly don’t know how much longer we’ll have freedom of the press. Yves’ sense of a disturbance in the force was dangerously prescient.

    1. Karl

      Yes, but with plenty of socially relevant semantics to make up for it:

      “I believe in my husband and knew that he would do anything to help me.”

    2. jrs

      Do you ever think that soon they’ll start banning books? Uh why even bother, who reads them, and who that does read them has any real power anyway? The people? Yea right.

      But why climb the mountain? Because it’s there. Why abuse power? Because they can. Hoarding a pile of subversive books ….

    3. charles sereno

      On the face of it, Rusbridger seems quite the fox —
      “It was a rather bizarre situation in which I explained to them that there were other copies and, as with WikiLeaks, we weren’t working in London alone so destroying a copy in London seemed to me a slightly pointless task that didn’t take account of the way that digital information works these days,” said Rusbridger.

      “Given that there were other copies and we could work out of America, which has better laws to protect journalists, I saw no reason not to destroy this material ourselves rather than hand it back to the government.”

      Rusbridger added that the alternative to destroying the computer hard drives would be “essentially surrendering control of that material” to the courts while fighting a lengthy legal case with only a small prospect of winning.

      “It seemed to me fruitless to go through that exercise of fighting that case, which would have meant that we could not write about the Snowden material when there were other copies. So it’s simply a matter of transferring our reporting to America,” he told The World at One’s Martha Kearney.

      Frivolous comment: I don’t think they gave a crap about the hard drive. They were just looking for some dirt in the backpack to toss to the tabloids.

  2. Joe

    Thanks to professional fluffer and ersatz journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, the son of Joan Ross Sorkin, a playwright, and Laurence T. Sorkin, a partner in a law firm, today we learn that:
    Hiring the Well-Connected Isn’t Always a Scandal

    “Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a company is not allowed to provide a personal benefit to a decision maker in return for business. But hiring the sons and daughters of powerful executives and politicians is hardly just the province of banks doing business in China: it has been a time-tested practice here in the United States.

    “This has been happening for thousands of years,” said Michael J. Driscoll, a former senior trader at Bear Stearns who now teaches at Adelphi University. “I have two sons myself, and one is an intern at a major firm. This goes on all the time.”

    Well at least he had the decency to not mention the Hilton sisters or Jaden Smith.

    1. rich

      Andrew Ross Sorkin Is Such a Wall Street Bootlicker Sometimes

      Andrew Ross Sorkin, the whiz kid-ish New York Times Dealbook reporter, sometimes gets unfairly characterized as a bootlicking Wall Street suckup who wants only to ingratiate himself with the powerful. Other times—like today—that characterization is completely fair.

      I mean, this shit right here is scarcely believable: “Hiring the Well-Connected Isn’t Always a Scandal,” by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Backslapping Apologist For Every Shitty Undemocratic Practice of the Wealthy Plutocracy. This is literally a column in which Andrew Ross Sorkin, the rich son of a powerful corporate lawyer and the best media pal to the Masters of the Universe, dismisses out of hand any concern that weirdo nitpickers might have about the fact that the children of society’s most rich and powerful people routinely land the most well-paid and desirable jobs. What sort of hippie freak would care about a thing like that, right?

      The news peg for this column is the fact that JP Morgan Chase is currently being investigated for hiring the children of highly placed Chinese officials. To do so in an attempt to win business would, of course, be against the rules. The normal reaction of a business reporter to such news might be: “Let me look into this story to see if I can find any wrongdoing by the bank.” Andrew Ross Sorkin’s reaction was: “Let me write a lengthy column larded with chummy anecdotes which justifies this plainly fishy practice!” After all, who would suspect a Wall Street bank of doing something dishonest or duplicitous? Not Andrew Ross Sorkin.

      http://gawker.com/andrew-ross-sorkin-is-such-a-wall-street-bootlicker-som-1171613192

    1. k

      While it strikes me as entirely possible they thought that, I assume this is a power and intimidation play that’s part of a larger bid to discourage other publications from stepping out of line.

    2. vachon

      I guess this mean that the first “payment” from the insurance policies Mr. Snowden put in place will be arriving shortly.

      Fire up the popcorn.

  3. NotSoSure

    Indonesian Rupiah at 10680. The Central Bank is in a bind, if it increases interest rate it will probably slow down the domestic economy which is already below target.

  4. gonzomarx

    quotes from the guardian editors article

    “The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: “You’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back.” There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. “You’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.”

    nice show of the power mentality!

    and

    “so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian’s long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian’s basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. “We can call off the black helicopters,” joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/19/david-miranda-schedule7-danger-reporters

    really!
    the spooks are acting like they have no idea how to stop it and the frustration is getting the better of them.
    reminds me of that Adam Curtis link on M15 from a few days ago

    BUGGER
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/BUGGER

        1. from Mexico

          “Hiding behind good old Reinhold Niebuhr?”

          You know, charles sereno, the sort of anti-intellectualism which you and folks like this Max Blumenthal exhibit sometimes goes beyond the pale.

          Instead of descending into the moral and intellectual sewer along with the neocons, did you ever consider trying to rise above it?

          1. charles sereno

            Whew! I wondered if I’d get a reply. Thanks. I hope you (and AbyNormal) attended the RealNews segment. It’s theme was Niebuhr’s “paradox of grace.” In my more unmannerly moments, I’ve called it a “theory of the lesser evil cum lipstick.”

            1. from Mexico

              Given that Reinhold Niebuhr was the most influential Christian theologian of the last 100 years, it doesn’t surprise me that folks like Obama, Bush, and David Brooks would want to cash in on his good name and reputation, as well as the Classical Realism he espoused.

              There is nothing new about this. As Andrew M. Lobaczewski writes in Political Ponerology:

              Every great ideology…contains danger, especially for small minds. Therefore, every great social movement and its ideology can become a host upon which some pathocracy initiates its parasitic life.

              Lobaczewsk goes on to explain the ways in which an ideology is vitiated into what he calls a “masking ideology.” The ideology

              succumbs to symptomatic deformation… The names and official contents are kept, but another, completely different content is insinuated underneath….

              Others are the specific facility for producing new names which have suggestive effects and are accepted virtually uncritically… Anything which threatens pathocratic rule becomes deeply immoral..

              The ideology of psychopaths, sociopaths, and characteropaths is thus “generally composed by slipping a different meaning into the same old names,” Lobaczewski conlcludes. “Average people succumb to the…suggestive insinuations for a long time before they learn to understand.”

              So what we have in the case of Bush, Obama and Brooks is their highly immoral neocon ideology being floated under the guise of Niebuhr’s Classical Realist ideology (which is also known as Moral Realism).

              Which brings us to folks like you and Max Blumenthal. Is your unjust condemnation of Niebuhr and the ideology he espoused due to human error at the epistemological level, or the result of human deceit at the ontological level?

              To the latter charge, Lobaczewski gives you an easy out:

              If such a ponerogeric union [Bush, Obama, Brooks, etc.] could be stripped of its ideology, nothing would remain except psychological and moral pathology, naked and unattractive. Such stripping would of course provoke “moral outrage”, and not only among the members of the union. The fact is, even normal people, who condemn this kind of union with its ideologies, feel hurt and deprived of something constituting part of their romanticism, their way of perceiving reality when a widely idealized goup is exposed as little more than a gang of criminals.

              1. charles sereno

                I think I agree. I’m aware of the danger of great ideologies for small minds (see Lobaczewski) because I fret (along with billions of others, I suspect) about lifting myself up. Ponergerics might be a bootstrap.

                    1. Joe

                      I wasn’t trying to be snarky, there should be an emoticon that signifies “not trying to be an asshole”.

                      I just wasn’t familiar with the word and I like to look ’em up when I don’t (increase your word power and all).

              2. Doug Terpstra

                Did you mean ponerogenic? Here’s a great synopsis of Andrew Lobaczewski’s (pre-Obama) book, Political Ponerology, on the genesis of evil (a disease):

                http://www.ponerology.com/evil_2b.html

                “In any society in this world, psychopathic individuals and some of the other deviant types create a ponerogenically active network of common collusions, partially estranged from the community of normal people… Their sense of honor bids them to cheat and revile that ‘other’ human world and its values at every opportunity.” (Lobaczewski, 138)

                “We could list various names ascribed to such organizations… gangs, criminal mobs, mafias… which cunningly avoid collision with the law while seeking to gain their own advantage. Such unions frequently aspire to political power in order to impose their expedient legislation upon societies in the name of a suitably prepared ideology, deriving advantages in the form of disproportionate prosperity and the satisfaction for their craving of power.” (Lobaczewski, 158, emphasis added)

                [and as if written in advance for Obama:] “Gangs have always provided great opportunities for young psychopaths. Their impulsive, selfish, callous, egocentric, and aggressive tendencies easily blend in with – and may even se the tone for – many of the gang’s activities. Indeed, there cannot be many other activities that produce so many rewards for violent psychopaths, with such impunity.” (Hare, 176)

                Living in a world whose morals and customs are meaningless to them and even seen as oppressive, psychopaths dream of a “happy” and “just” world where their depraved worldview is accepted as reality. They seek, by any means necessary, to achieve positions in government where their dreams can be brought to fruition. If injustice does exist in a society, their statements regarding the ‘unfairness’ of their situation can resonate with those who actually do experience such injustice. Thus, revolutionary doctrines can be accepted by both groups for diametrically opposed reasons.

                Ponerogenic groups are those with a statistically high number of pathological individuals, to the point that the group as a whole exercises egotistical and pathological behavior. Deviants function as leaders and ideological spellbinders, and while normal people may act as members, they have typically accumulated various psychological deficiencies. Those not susceptible to such influence are excluded from the group. These groups can either infiltrate existing governments or exert their influence from “behind the scenes.” Bribery, blackmail, murder and similar terror tactics are used to achieve these ends…

                Lobaczewski vividly describes the dynamics of the Bush regime and the Neocons, where Bush’s power was overestimated (misoverestimated?).

                “… a group of psychopathic individuals hiding behind the scenes steers the leader, the way Borman and his clique steered Hitler. If the leader does not fulfill his assigned role, he generally knows that the clique representing the elite of the union is in a position to kill or otherwise remove him.” In such a manner, George W. Bush is steered and controlled by a group of psychopathic advisors: Richard Perle to name but one.”

                Of course Z–nism immediately springs to mind, but this also fits Obama (as “spellbinder”) and the current predatory-parasitic kleptocracy like spandex. The US government under Obama has morphed into a highly sophisticated illegitimate criminal enterprise more deadly than the Mafia, a nuclear Mafia inseparable from Israel.

              3. Doug Terpstra

                Did you mean ponerogenic? Here’s an excellent synopsis of Andrew Lobaczewski’s (pre-Obama) book, Political Ponerology, on the genesis of evil (a disease):

                http://www.ponerology.com/evil_2b.html

                (Earlier longer comment was eaten, desaparecido; perhaps forbidden words)

                Lobaczewski vividly describes the dynamics of psychopathic political cabals, esp the Bush regime and the Neocons (with close association to [Sc]ionism). But this also fits Obama and the current predatory-parasitic kleptocracy like spandex. The US government under Obama has morphed into a highly sophisticated illegitimate criminal enterprise more deadly than the Mafia, a nuclear Mafia, conjoined with a certain ME country.

              4. subgenius

                not to take his name in vain, but Jesus you do keep coming up with the goods…thanks for the effort!

              5. Whistling in the Dark

                And, yes, this does come from years of steadfast, practiced ignorance and only the most platitudinal of superficial study, but…

                Seems to me Niebuhr is the Christian equivalent of Rushdoony (provocative, no?) and the Grand Inquisitor:

                They all represent the temptation and seduction of the Church (think: bride of Christ, think Eve, you know, just to be sexist, right) into the third (depends on how you count) temptation of Christ: people (polis) power.

                …And, you know, isn’t power a puzzle for all of humanity? So, someone had to answer these questions, right? Someone had to step up with some intellectual fortitude. Otherwise it’s a bunch of primitivism and happy-go-lucky happenstance that keeps things together, right? What kind of an intellectual theory is Christianity: God’ll figger it for ya! Shoot. I mean “grace”? “It is finished”? But, but, we were just getting started! Let’s start with “paradox” instead. What’s the sound of one hand flapping at the moon? Now we’re getting somewhere! You know, gosh knows we need to do something to fill time waiting for ol J.C.-come-lately. Takin his sweet time!
                As you were!

            2. jrs

              “theory of the lesser evil cum lipstick.”

              My mind is small and dirty, don’t go there, don’t go there …

                  1. charles sereno

                    (Regret can’t begin to describe what I feel when my fuc*ing ISP blacked me out at 3:30 pm. Perhaps for the best.)
                    “You know, charles sereno, the sort of anti-intellectualism which you and folks like this Max Blumenthal exhibit sometimes goes beyond the pale.

                    Instead of descending into the moral and intellectual sewer along with the neocons, did you ever consider trying to rise above it?” (from Mexico)

                    You did call Max an anti-intellectual, but not a neoliberal (the distinction is best left for another time). However, do you consider him a neocom? That depends on whether you think he’s joined me in the “moral and intellectual sewer.” For my part, I’d be happy in his company.

                    1. from Mexico

                      When I spoke of “the moral and intellectual” sewer, what I was speaking of is the way Blumenthal, you, Brooks, Obama, and Bush play fast and loose with the truth, and the way you and Blumenthal bend over backwards — either through ignorance, mendacity or ideological conceits — to parrot the neocon’s claim that they are operating in the tradition of Reinhold Niebuhr. It’s people like you and Blumenthal who allow the neocons to “hide behind good old Reinhold Niebuhr.” At no point did I ever call you or Blumenthal a neocon, or lump you and Bloomenthal together with the neocons as neocons.

                      This was made doubly clear in my 11:47 a.m. comment, which was posted in the thread hours before Lambert unleashed his straw man, and where I very explicitly separated you and Blumenthal from the neocons. Here’s what I said:

                      So what we have in the case of Bush, Obama and Brooks is their highly immoral neocon ideology being floated under the guise of Niebuhr’s Classical Realist ideology (which is also known as Moral Realism).

                      Which brings us to folks like you and Max Blumenthal. Is your unjust condemnation of Niebuhr and the ideology he espoused due to human error at the epistemological level, or the result of human deceit at the ontological level?

                      To the latter charge, Lobaczewski gives you an easy out:

                      If such a ponerogeric union [Bush, Obama, Brooks, etc.] could be stripped of its ideology, nothing would remain except psychological and moral pathology, naked and unattractive. Such stripping would of course provoke “moral outrage”, and not only among the members of the union. The fact is, even normal people, who condemn this kind of union with its ideologies, feel hurt and deprived of something constituting part of their romanticism, their way of perceiving reality when a widely idealized goup is exposed as little more than a gang of criminals.

                      And in the Wikipedia link Lambert provided on Blumenthal, there’s another example of the sort of dishonest rhetorical strategies Blumenthal uses:

                      In 2009, Max Blumenthal posted a short video on YouTube titled “Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem on the Eve of Obama’s Cairo Address”. The video was a montage of footage of drunken Jewish-American youth in Jerusalem in June 2009, shortly before Obama’s Cairo address. The youths used expletives and racist rhetoric about Barack Obama and Arabs, which included referring to Obama as a nigger and suggesting that he is “like a terrorist”.

                      This form of manipulating content is called “misleading vividness”: Describing an occurrence in vivid detail, even if it is a rare occurrence, to convince someone that it is a problem. It is throwing a spotlight on a small sample size, knowing full well that anti-Jewish bigots will assume it applies to all Jews.

                      Here’s what Amitai Etzioni had to say about the sort of tactic Blumenthal used:

                      Nisbett and Ross see the cause of prejudice in various cognitive biases. For example, those in groups against which prejudice is held, those members who fit stereotypes are given disproportionately higher weight than others, and “vivid” incidents are used to “validate” the stereotypes. Thus, according to this line of analysis, those who see a few lazy blacks, or loud Italians, and assume that all are, are simply over-generalizing. One may wonder, why do they not over-generalize positive attributes? Emotional mechanisms seem at work.

                    2. from Mexico

                      charles sereno said:

                      For my part, I’d be happy in his [Blumenthal’s] company.

                      That doesn’t surprise me at all.

                  2. Lambert Strether Post author

                    Apparently, you think you did not. I suppose that’s one reading of what you wrote. Again, please don’t try to make me responsible for your sloppy writing.

                    I like “unleash a straw man,” though. I wasn’t even aware that such a thing was possible. Possibly that’s because the nature of this alleged straw man is never disclosed. In any case, good to know.

                    1. from Mexico

                      Lambert Strether says:

                      August 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm

                      Max Blumenthal seems an unlikely candidate for the “neoliberal” label…

                      That comment was made in reply to this comment:

                      from Mexico says:

                      August 20, 2013 at 10:00 am

                      “Hiding behind good old Reinhold Niebuhr?”

                      You know, charles sereno, the sort of anti-intellectualism which you and folks like this Max Blumenthal exhibit sometimes goes beyond the pale.

                      Instead of descending into the moral and intellectual sewer along with the neocons, did you ever consider trying to rise above it?

                      So, Lambert Strether, can you point me exactly in that comment to where I labeled Blumenthal a “neoliberal” or “neoconservative”?

                    2. from Mexico

                      According to your correction, it was “liberal” that was an error. To wit:

                      Lambert Strether says:
                      August 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm
                      Too long upthread: Neocon. In which case my point applies even more forcibly.

                      But I had already accounted for your correction in my question (which I asked immediately above), which was as follows, and which I will ask again:

                      So, Lambert Strether, can you point me exactly in that comment to where I labeled Blumenthal a “neoliberal” or “neoconservative”?

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Quoting your original thoughtful comment:

            “Hiding behind good old Reinhold Niebuhr?”

            You know, charles sereno, the sort of anti-intellectualism which you and folks like this Max Blumenthal exhibit sometimes goes beyond the pale.

            Instead of descending into the moral and intellectual sewer along with the neocons, did you ever consider trying to rise above it?

            My reading was that those who had descended into “the moral and intellectual sewer along with the neo-cons” in paragraph three were Charles Sereno and Max Blumenthal in paragraph two. “Along with” implies affinity, to me; I didn’t imagine that that Sereno and Blumenthal were trying to pull the neo-cons out of the sewer, having gone into it to rescue them.

            That’s certainly a reasonable reading. If it’s not what you meant, please don’t try to make me responsible for your sloppy writing.

            NOTE Not sure what “anti-intellectualism” means in this context, except a ritual term of abuse. I quoted the interview; it’s certainly an open question whether Blumenthal is an “anti-intellectual.” I mean, unless the litmus test is giving the ol’ thumbs up to some sort of reading list.

            1. from Mexico

              Again, the question is as follows:

              So, Lambert Strether, can you point me exactly in that comment to where I labeled Blumenthal a “neoliberal” or “neoconservative”?

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                I gave you my reading. Pro tip: If you’re going to make a claim that somebody is in a “sewer,” take care to make it (a) crystal clear that somebody is not a member of the NC commentariat, or (b) why they are. Again, please don’t try foist off your sloppy writing on me.

        2. F. Beard

          And who says that the writings of Augustine are Scripture? They aren’t.

          It’s just like that dinner table game* where one sees how quickly a message can be distorted in its retelling.

          *One whispers a message to the person on the right (or left) of himself who does likewise until the message returns to him at which time he recites aloud the original message and its last retelling.

          1. charles sereno

            F. Beard, who in Gehenna ever said that “the writings of Augustine are Scripture?” Paul Jay certainly didn’t. You know something we don’t? I fondly remember reading Augustine’s De Trinitate. It was a pleasant respite from his moralistic ramblings.

            1. F. Beard

              I fondly remember reading Augustine’s De Trinitate. charles sereno

              I’m not fond of any extra-Biblical doctrine since it has only stood in the way of my understanding (such as it is) of the Bible, the supposed source of it anyway.

              A minute reading Augustine (or Calvin, Luther, etc), is a minute better spent reading the Bible itself.

        3. conrLambert Strether Post author

          Charles, thanks for the link; it’s interesting. Here’s an extended quote of the Niebuhr discussion, since what Blumenthal actually said seems to be absent from the discussion, for some reason:

          JAY: So we’re going to pick up on our discussion about Egypt, but I wanted to place it in the context of the kind of moral hazard and the kind of, I would think, kind of delusional moral conception created for these kinds of decisions. But how do you keep giving aid and you–to a military regime that has just killed 1,000 people? You have this crazy decision it’s not a coup, ’cause we don’t have to say whether it’s a coup or not. And everyone–the hypocrisy of it is just too obvious to even call hypocrisy. If Iran did even something a quarter of this, the American government would be going off their rocker.

          BLUMENTHAL: Well, how do you keep giving $3 billion a year to Israel? They’re talking about increasing Israel’s aid to improve its qualitative military edge. I mean, if the U.S. was serious about a war on terror, it would immediately end aid to Israel, which is practicing acts of state terror on a regular basis, particularly against the residents of Gaza. I mean, this is kind of obvious.

          But, you know, Obama just like Bush, needed a kind of high-minded philosophical framework. And you mentioned Reinhold Niebuhr. So he’s turning to that to justify advancing what he believes are U.S. interests.

          JAY: And do they not equate U.S. interest with defense of civilization in their own minds?

          BLUMENTHAL: I think Bush did.

          JAY: I think even Dick Cheney believes–.

          BLUMENTHAL: I think Bush had these ideas about–these Samuel Huntington-type ideas about a clash of civilizations. I think he saw things in a much more messianic way than Barack Obama, in a classically messianic, evangelical way than Barack Obama. And we have to remember who Bush is. He’s a former alcoholic who cleansed his soul through the blood of Christ and became basically a dry drunk who absorbed himself into this, you know, evangelical macho Jesus figure who was sort of a crusader.

          And I really believe, you know, for–I’m not making this as–making a positive statement about Bush, but he had strong principles and core beliefs. I don’t know if Barack Obama shares those kind of principles and beliefs, and I think many supporters of Obama in Washington are hard-pressed to define him in the way that Bush was easily able to define himself.

          And so back to Niebuhr, Obama was asked–when the Washington press corps, when the deans of the press corps and the pundit class wanted to vet him, he was asked by David Brooks, the neocon pundit, someone who Obama would want to kiss up to, as he did with Jeffrey Goldberg, what do you think of Reinhold Niebuhr? And Obama immediately said, I love him.

          Now, Obama isn’t the first president to love Niebuhr. It was really the post-World War II generation of cold warriors that loved him, because they were going to crack some skulls in fighting the Soviet Union. You know, I don’t think they wanted to do so directly against the Soviet Union, but in Latin America it had to be done. In Southeast Asia it had to be done. So Kennedy loved him. George Kennan, you know, Niebuhr was kind of his teacher, and this was the foreign policy mind, the man who really shaped the Democrats’ post-World War II agenda during the Cold War.

          And the central idea, if you really–I’m not a student of Niebuhr, but this is kind of common knowledge that his central idea was the paradox of grace, that you as a person in power cannot act without doing some harm, that grace is impossible. I think would think, you know, if I was going to aspire to a position of power, my philosophy would be to try to do no harm.

          But for someone like Obama, who is identified with liberalism, this is an attractive philosophy, especially during the war on terror, which he sort of extended after Bush provides you with at least the–it provides you with at least some kind of philosophical framework you can talk about to present yourself as a serious person with real principles to people like David Brooks, who, by the way, said he felt a thrill up his leg when Obama said that he liked Reinhold Niebuhr.

          But really all it’s doing is providing you with justification for the kinds of things that Barack Obama and his administration have done in the past two weeks–seven drone strikes in seven days in Yemen, maybe 35 dead. We don’t know who they are, and the Yemeni government has admitted–I mean, this is a government allied with the U.S.–has admitted that at least one-third had no affiliation with militancy or al-Qaeda.

          “The paradox of grace” seems to resonate both with the post on McKibben and leadership, and also with the “lesser of two evils” discussion constantly had with Obama loyalists.

          Adding: I don’t see any contradiction between being a famous Christian theologian and a faithful servant of empire. Happens all the time. Whether it happened in Niebuhr’s case, I’m not familiar enough with his intellectual history to know.

          1. from Mexico

            Lambert Strether said:

            “The paradox of grace” seems to resonate both with the post on McKibben and leadership, and also with the “lesser of two evils” discussion constantly had with Obama loyalists.

            That’s exactly what I was thinking. But not only the McKibben post resonates, but also today’s post “China Prepares to Bail Itself Out.”

            Both posts deal with power: who has it, whether they should have it, and, if they have it, how and under what circumstances they should use it.

            Neoconservatism, as John J. Mearshiemer has noted, is the marriage of military power with idealism:

            Neo-conservative theory – the Bush doctrine – is essentially Wilsonianism with teeth. The theory has an idealist strand and a power strand: Wilsonianism provides the idealism, an emphasis on military power provides the teeth.

            http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-americanpower/morgenthau_2522.jsp

            “The Romantic belief that the world can be reshaped by an act of will” is the ideal that informs neoconservatism, writes John Gray in Al Qaeda and What it Means to Be Modern. “American/style ‘democratic capitalism’ is destined to spread everywhere,” he explains, and as “it does, a universal civilization will come into being, and history will come to an end.”

            Realism, on the other hand, is the marriage of state power (military, economic, financial, police, etc.) with realism.

            For pacifists, whose opposition to the of use of military power is absolute, both neoconservatism and realism would of course be unacceptable.

            Reinhold Niebuhr had been a pacifist, but experienced a change of heart and resigned from the antiwar Socialist Party in 1940. It “was Niebuhr more than any other Christian thinker-activist who was able to turn the American Protestant ‘establishment’ away from its considerable indifference to the moral-political threat of Nazism – often couched in terms of pacifism – by arguing that the Nazis and their ideology had to be actively opposed, even if that meant going to war against Hitler and his minions.” (David Novak, “Idolatry and injustice: A Jewish appreciation of Reinhold Niebuhr”)

            Niebuhr had publicly expressed alarm over the Nazi threat as early as 1931:

            Worst of all, the growing anger of the German people over the economic slavery to which the treaty of Versailles condemns them, voiced particularly in the Hitler movement, threatens not only the parliamentary government of Germany but the whole peace of Europe. There is no real health and there are only a few signs of convalescence in the body politic of continental Europe. But liberal religion has a dogma and it views the contemporary world through the eyes of this dogma. The dogma is all the more potent in coloring opinion because it is not known as a dogma. The dogma is that the world is gradually growing better and that the inevitability of gradualness guarantees our salvation….

            It has given a note of romantic and unreal optimism to the preaching of the liberal church and has prevented it from making any realistic estimate of the moral problems of our day.

            http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1410

            Niebuhr came to believe that Nazi Germany posed an existential threat to the United States, and to civilization, which required a military response.

            In his Gifford Lectures, delivered in Scotland on the eve of World War II in 1939, he inveighed against Nazism with a warning that is just as fitting for today’s neoconservatives as it was for the Nazis then.

            “In the life of every political group,” he says, “whether nation or empire … obedience is prompted by the fear of power on the one hand and by reverence for majesty on the other. The temptation to idolatry is implicit in the state’s majesty.” He then speaks of “the claim of moral autonomy by which the self-deification of the social group is made explicit by its presentation of itself as the source and end of existence.” And most succinctly he states, “The nation pretends to be God.”

            The rise of Nazism jolted Niebuhr back to the reality of transcendent evil, and he steadfastly endorsed World War II, even while criticizing the Allied bombing of German cities and questioning the atomic attacks on Japan. Later, he supported Western resistance to Soviet communism, though he opposed the Vietnam War almost from its start.

            Niebuhr’s anti-communist liberalism was in sync with Hubert Humphrey’s until the Vietnam War, which Niebuhr opposed as “fantastic.” Niebuhr’s described his friend’s adherence to President Johnson’s war policy as “very sad.” (Mark Tooley, “Niebuhr and Obama”)

            Niehbur, along with almost all realists in the United States except for Henry Kissinger, opposed the Vietnam War.

            Equally, almost all realists in the United States — except for Henry Kissinger — opposed the war against Iraq.

            Max Blumenthal equates Niebuhr’s realism with Bush’s, Obama’s and Brooks’ neoconservatism. This is an empirical claim, one which is demonstrably and patently false.

            1. from Mexico

              The passage which most strikingly illustrates Blumenthal’s ignorance, or his mendacity, is this one:

              Now, Obama isn’t the first president to love Niebuhr. It was really the post-World War II generation of cold warriors that loved him, because they were going to crack some skulls in fighting the Soviet Union. You know, I don’t think they wanted to do so directly against the Soviet Union, but in Latin America it had to be done. In Southeast Asia it had to be done. So Kennedy loved him. George Kennan, you know, Niebuhr was kind of his teacher, and this was the foreign policy mind, the man who really shaped the Democrats’ post-World War II agenda during the Cold War.

              1. skippy

                @FMexico,

                Quire… is it your assertion that folks have been bastardizing (Un/Knowingly) Reinhold Niebuhr for ideological reasons (moving the window to justify political ends) et al and in your learned opinion would you classify the Niebuhr school of thought as form of Exceptionalism.

                skippy… hope you can clarify.

                1. from Mexico

                  Sorry about the slow reply, skippy. I was wanting to use a quote in my response to you, so I put you on the back burner, and then it took me a good while to find the quote.

                  Blumenthal is just doing a hatchet job on Niebuhr, and it’s done with empirical claims which are distortions and half-truths. Blumenthal’s arguments boil down to saying that half a loaf is the same as no bread. Asserting that we should defend ourselves against a threat to the life of the nation (Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia) is not the same as saying we should go fight a war of imperial conquest in Vietnam or Iraq. Niebuhr made those sorts of distinctions, and he supported the war against Nazi Germany and the Cold War, but he spoke out against the Vietnam War. To claim that Niebuhr supported the Vietnam War is a lie. The neocons make no distinction between the need to fight Nazi Germany and the need to fight Vietnam or Iraq, but Niebuhr did.

                  Blumenthal admits he’s “not a student of Niebuhr.” So if he has no knowledge of what Niebuhr actually said and wrote, then how can he be so all-fired sure that Niebuhr is guilty of all the things he charges him with?

                  As to your question as to whether Niebuhr was an Exceptionalist, I will answer with this quote of Niebuhr’s, which I believe places him well outside the neocon camp and its championing of American exceptionalism as well as preventive war:

                  The fact that the European nations, more accustomed to the tragic vicissitudes of history, still have a measure of misgiving about our leadership in the world community is due to their fear that our “technocratic” tendency to equate the mastery of nature with the mastery of history could tempt us to loose patience with the tortuous course of history… We might be tempted to bring the whole of modern history to a tragic conclusion by one final and mighty effort to overcome its frustrations. The political term for such an effort is “preventative war.” It is not an immediate temptation, but it could become so in the next decade or two.

                  A democracy can not of course, engage in an explicit preventive war. But military leadership can heighten crises to the point where war becomes unavoidable.

                  The power of such a temptation to a nation, long accustomed to expanding possibilities and only recently subjected to frustration, is enhanced by the spiritual aberrations which arise in a situation of intense enmity…. There is no simple triumph over this spirit of fear and hatred. It is certainly an achievement beyond the resources of a simple idealism. For naïve idealists are always so preoccupied with their own virtues that they have no residual awareness of the common characteristics in all human foibles and frailties.

                  [….]

                  [I]f we should perish, the ruthlessness of the foe would be only the secondary cause of the disaster. The primary cause would be that the strength of a giant nation was directed by eyes too blind to see all the hazards of the struggle; and the blindness would be induced not by some accident of nature or history but by hatred and vainglory.

                  –REINHOLD NIEBUHR, The Irony of American History

                  1. skippy

                    @FMexico,

                    Sorry old mate… but I find the rhetoric… apologetic.. especially in light of the factors that allowed that bit of history to take flight.

                    Lest we forget

                    “H. Richard Niebuhr argued for a principled “inactivity” based on radical trust in God. He wrote: “The inactivity of radical Christianity is not the inactivity of those who call evil good; it is the inaction of those who do not judge their neighbors because they cannot fool themselves into a sense of superior righteousness. … It is not the inactivity of the noncombatant, for it knows that there are no noncombatants, that everyone is involved, that China is being crucified … by our sins and those of the whole world. It is not the inactivity of the merciless, for works of mercy must be performed though they are only palliates to ease present pain while the process of healing depends on deeper, more actual and urgent forces.”

                    “But Reinhold Niebuhr disagreed: “Love may qualify the social struggle of history but it will never abolish it, and those who make the attempt to bring society under the dominion of perfect love will die on the cross. And those who behold the cross are quire right in seeing it as a revelation of the divine, of what man ought to be cannot be, at least not so long as he is enmeshed in the processes of history.”

                    Skippy… fooking hell… brothers thingy… so many have no clue~

              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                Here’s Niebuhr in 1966 on Vietnam. From the perspective of almost 50 years on, he reads like just another imperial counsellor, perhaps more nuanced and wiser than many.

                Was Niebuhr “the man who really shaped the Democrats’ post-World War II agenda during the Cold War”? Maybe, though it’s more likely a “thought collective” of which Niebuhr was a part did. Is that the claim that makes Blumenthal mendacious? It’s impossible to tell from your comment.

                1. from Mexico

                  @ Lambert Strether

                  For the life of me, I can’t see anything Niebuhr said in that piece that bolsters your, charles sereno’s or Blumenthal’s argument. In fact, it takes a wrecking ball to it, and reinforces what I have argued. Nazi Germany posed an existential threat to the United States. North Vietnam did not. From your link:

                  REINHOLD NIEBUHR: The analogy between our defense against Nazism and our defense of South Vietnam against the Communist North is flagrantly misleading. Nazism’s military nationalism threatened the moral substance of Western culture, the Jews with extinction, and non-German continental nations with slavery. None of these issues is involved in a civil war between two portions of a partitioned nation, one Communist and the other non-Communist.

                  REINHOLD NIEBUHR: other nations…are not impressed by our pretense of the defense of the right of self-determination in military actions which spell physical ruin to a nation which we are claiming to defend.

                  REINHOLD NIEBUHR: A high degree of political prestige and courage is required to extricate the nation from an impossible military and moral dilemma.

                    1. skippy

                      @FMexico,

                      Are my questions not worthy of answer?

                      Skippy… Samantha Powers is an cytotoxic of your main man.

            2. charles sereno

              History in the making:
              “Niehbur, along with almost all realists in the United States except for Henry Kissinger, opposed the Vietnam War.

              Equally, almost all realists in the United States — except for Henry Kissinger — opposed the war against Iraq.” (from Mexico)

              Are you serious? I give Niebuhr more credit than that. He was a rather lonely realist.

              1. from Mexico

                You know, charles sereno, there are people in the world who have knowledge of that which they speak, and don’t just make up stuff to fit their preconceived notions.

                Morgenthau, along with almost all realists in the United States – except for Henry Kissinger – opposed the Vietnam war. Their opposition came early, long before it became clear that the war was a lost cause; in fact Morgenthau was warning against American military involvement in Vietnam in the late 1950s.

                Equally, almost all realists in the United States – except for Henry Kissinger – opposed the war against Iraq. Many supporters of that war are now having second thoughts, since it is becoming increasingly clear that American troops are stuck in an open-ended conflict from which there seems to be no exit. The realists, however, anticipated big problems before the war began; in this, they have been proved largely correct.

                –John J Mearsheimer, “Hans Morgenthau and the Iraq war: realism versus neo-conservatism”

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  The empire has a portfolio of ideologues, or probably of networks of ideologues; their “stock” has different values at different times. Realists, nominalists, alchemists…

                2. charles sereno

                  Hi. I’m back online once more (I haven’t been hiding). I’ve just caught up with your exchanges with Lambert. What surprised me was your reference to Mearsheimer. You quote him as follows (at 9:51 pm) in response to me:

                  “Morgenthau, along with almost all realists in the United States – except for Henry Kissinger – opposed the Vietnam war.”

                  And after an intervening sentence:

                  “Equally, almost all realists in the United States – except for Henry Kissinger – opposed the war against Iraq.”

                  Except for Niebuhr replacing Morgenthau , the two sentences, which I cited and commented on, were not yours as I was led to believe. If I knew I was contending with Mearsheimer, I would have tailored my remarks with reference to his notion of “realism,” not yours. It may be that you and he have an identical view. That’s beside the point. I need to know how he would define a realist. I’m also not that persuaded by an argument from authority (one who knows). For fun, I looked up “realism” in Wikipedia. There were 13 definitions. This one seemed appropriate —
                  Realism (international relations), the view that world politics are driven by competitive self-interest
                  The only thing that proves is that both sides have to agree on the meaning of terms, if not on truth value.

        4. cause the bible tells me so

          When you’re trying frantically to distract people from the universally-accepted moral and legal imperatives of jus cogens, it gets a little old dredging up the same old just war proverbs from a dark-age horndog and patron saint of brewers. So Brennan’s taught his protege Obama to mix it up, drop the name of a modern thinker, a professor of applied christianity (a successful vo-tech program for the crucial workforce skills of crusading, inquisition, simony, mass hysteria, and fcking altar boys.) When the facts and the law are against you, religion’s very helpful. The discipline is advancing by leaps and bounds. When Scalia has decomposed into a puddle of grease and hair, the CIA puppet rulers of tomorrow will be quoting him.

    1. Crazy Horse

      I was in the US Peace Corps some 40 years ago. One of the favorite pastimes of the volunteers in country was called Pin the Tale on the Spook. It grew boring after a while because the spooks were so easy to identify.

    2. real

      read the bbc article about inefficiency of British spies within UK
      Most of it is true in other countries too…Counter inteligence operations are too difficult to carry the guy peter wright wrote a good book “spycatcher”about MI5 spy rings..seems like from 1940-1990,most of the english administration was penetrated by rusians but americans were more efficient in preventing russian spies to enter directly in govt..read mitrokhin archives..but that doesn’t mean MI6,CIA,FBI,DEA,NSA are inefficient in other countries…

    3. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      Those who visited aren’t necessarily (and in fact, most likely not) at the highest echelons … There are security clearances, and security clerances all compartmentalized, and I haven’t figured out how it might all work. Those who visited might have mortgages, bills to pay. Those two employees are themselves under control of higher echelons, all the way to Oztralia!

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        I’m referring to the two GCHQ employees who checked that the hard drives on the Mac were totally destroyed.

    4. jrs

      The way they joke around is such classic fascism that it just stuns. History doesn’t even rhyme it just repeats. I’ve seen this movie before, this isn’t even the remake – it’s the same @#$# movie.

      But it repeats the second time as farce? Yes it repeats as SELF-CONSCIOUS fascism, not with the real genuine appeal the orginal had (whatever that was), but as fascism that knows it’s fascism, that knows it takes from a playbook everyone hates and regards as the worst possible example. And it doesn’t even care. Fascism as farce.

  5. Howard Beale IV

    Groklaw to shut down over surveillance fears: “There is no shield from forced exposure”.

    “My personal decision is to get off of the Internet to the degree it’s possible. I’m just an ordinary person. But I really know, after all my research and some serious thinking things through, that I can’t stay online personally without losing my humanness, now that I know that ensuring privacy online is impossible. I find myself unable to write. I’ve always been a private person. That’s why I never wanted to be a celebrity and why I fought hard to maintain both my privacy and yours.

    Oddly, if everyone did that, leap off the Internet, the world’s economy would collapse, I suppose. I can’t really hope for that. But for me, the Internet is over.

    So this is the last Groklaw article. I won’t turn on comments. Thank you for all you’ve done. I will never forget you and our work together. I hope you’ll remember me too. I’m sorry I can’t overcome these feelings, but I yam what I yam, and I tried, but I can’t.”

    1. Walter Map

      How deep does the rabbit hole go?

      Oddly, if everyone did that, leap off the Internet, the world’s economy would collapse

      I’m waiting for somebody to point out that all digital commerce is utterly insecure.

      All.

      Any and all financial information is routinely collected. Anyone at all can be disappeared and their assets confiscated in total secrecy. So far there has been no mention of official or rogue security operatives starting up lucrative side businesses, but that is only a matter of time.

      You might like to think about taking some short positions, starting with Amazon.com.

    1. mookie

      Came here to post this very link! Just contemplating quitting the internet is difficult. It’s a doozy. Could I only use it for work?

      1. Walter Map

        Any business your employer conducts online is insecure and completely exposed.

        Plant potatoes. Don’t think of them as vegetables. Think of them as insurance.

    2. Bill C

      Groklaw’s influence in exposing corporate abuses of patent, copyright, and IP law in general and in mobilizing technical and legal experts against those abuses cannot be overstated. Thus, PJ’s reasonable concern for her and her collaborators’ privacy poses not only a setback for informed civic discourse but also for economic efficiency. Two sad thoughts:

      1. While technically-knowledgeable folks were always aware that email is generally subject to eavesdropping, I don’t think many believed that the US government was systematically eavesdropping on, archiving, and indexing virtually everyting on the Internet. I’m confident that Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and friends can cobble together enough pretzel logic to find this constitutional, but it surely and fundamentally violates the spirit of the Bill of Rights.

      2. Once again, US can-do technology wins! East Germany had to recruit, manage, and compensate hundreds of thousands of Stasi agents to keep an eye on everyone in a much smaller and more restricted society. The NSA now has less expensive and even more reliable intelligence (no middle man to distort things … they get the facts straight from every horse’s mouth) on a much bigger scale. Big Brother is fully automated!

      Looks like it’s time to rent the DVD of “The Lives of Others” and mentally re-cast it to today’s USian society.

      1. ScottS

        Estimates of the size of the Stasi are based on the number of reports filed — which have since been determined to have been written by aggrieved neighbors denouncing each other over petty grievances.

        In the tough times ahead, we would do well to remember that we can either pull together or we can pull apart.

  6. Patricia

    Seemed a little Monty-Pythonish to me, the mundane bureaucrat doing the basement wack-a-mole with a wink-wink.

    Steely-voiced phone calls, then altogether down into the bowels of the fourth-estate, smashing “truth” into fragments, whoopwhoop, then sweeping it up companionably with broom/pan while mentioning China, and then remarking on black helis on the way back up and out.

    Everyone knew it was ceremonial. “Just letting you know we can do this.” The Guardian merely demurred. They also want the statement heard, and afterwards Rusbridger hovered in comments under his editorial to reinforce it.

    I prefer my fright with a dose of doop-de-doo.

    1. grayslady

      There is nothing “wink-wink” or “ceremonial” about what happened at Guardian. But you go ahead and keep your head buried in the sand.

      1. Bill the Psychologist

        Hear hear grayslady…..turning everything into a joke is a powerful kind of denial.

        1. Jeff W

          Who hasn’t cringed at the abject denial evinced by, say, Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, really?

    2. Patricia

      Oy!!! I am not eliding the meaning of the situation here. I am only saying that from *my perception*, it seemed like old-fashioned British humor, a kind of ceremony of wits rather than a freak-out or display of stupidity.

      I do not believe Curtis’ shtick that Brit intelligence is merely a bunch o’ bumblers (although I am sure that some are). Nor do I believe that this particular situation (including Heathrow/Miranda) was aggressive pique like happened with the Morales’ plane. This appears more like chess. YMMV

      But anyway, I DO prefer my fright with doop-de-doo. It helps me live with it. Maybe its the last paroxysms in my few-remaining English genes? lol

      1. Patricia

        Of course, there must be division inside the British gov’t (as there also must be in ours even though silent). This may be reflecting that. Rusbridger is delighted to sacrifice a Macbook Pro or two to letting it all hang out because it is ridiculous and we must effin’ do something about it.

        Humor can be very serious. Surely you know that.

        1. Jeff W

          Or maybe

          Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.

          —Lord Darlington, Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde

          1. Patricia

            Oscar Wilde! He knew that reality lives between the lines, in the white space around the sounds, in the blankness between one bad dream and the next.

            In the margin between hearing a joke and drawing breath for a laugh, that is where you will find the “really serious”. Pay attention!

            W00t

    1. Joe

      I don’t think it’s about the dog. I think it’s about the fawning press coverage of a non event.

      But that’s just my opinion.

      Good press. Roll over. Play dead.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Ha! when I saw the second dog I thought the White House
        must be desperate for feel-good news. It will take more than one dog IMO — if they turned the place into a pet shelter that would be a start…

      1. Alexa

        As an avid “dog lover,” I certainly have no problem with “Sunny.”

        But, I suspect that the “Yahoo” piece is spot on about “brewing political trouble.”

        It would be difficult for me to believe that after the “roll out” of the ACA and the Health Exchanges this Fall–the midterm elections will likely result in a “bloodbath” for the Dem Party.

        Just heard that the Dem Party shill, Ed Schultz, is being brought back to MSNBC, five nights a week. Apparently, he is taking one of Hardball’s (Matthews’) time slots.

        If that doesn’t indicate “panic,” I don’t know what does, LOL!

    2. Jeff W

      Yves, this past Friday:

      A bizarre flurry of “look, over there, an airplane” of actions that garner positive headlines.

      Woof.

  7. Massinissa

    “… England, the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong, which are all approximately libertarian societies …”

    CANADA? Is he SERIOUS?

    The only one I might agree with would be Hong Kong, and even thats a stretch.

    How the USA, the land of the largest MIC on earth, is a ‘libertarian society’ is also beyond me, but its at least more reasonable than saying CANADA (or England for that matter!) is one.

    1. from Mexico

      Surging libertarianism or anarchism seems to be a growing narrative. Maju said something similar yesterday:

      Toni Negri claims that this loss of faith in leaders actually reflects the transition from highly hierarchical and disciplinary Fordism to the more decentralized Toyotism… The central motif is anyhow the loss of respect for authority, and therefore the loss of power of authority itself: certain “anarchism” within the ultimate form of Capitalism (but also complete ideological success of Capitalism in many senses). This phase would have been going since c. 1968, a date he picks because of the “springs” of that time, which were full of anti-authority rebelliousness, expressing a radical change in the way we all think.

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/08/bill-mckibben-movements-without-leaders.html#comment-1326552

      I just don’t see it. What I see is a reaction to the wielding of authority which is perceived to be increasingly corrupt and draconian.

      I see absolutely no evidence of a transition to a less hierarchical, less centralized, and less disciplined social and economic order. On the contrary, our world is much more hierarchical, centralized and disciplined now than it was in 1968. And I say that as a gay man. So while the LGBT boat may have risen realitve to others, the tide of individual freedom has gone out, with the net result being that my boat has sunk.

      1. from Mexico

        And given the people Rand Paul is teamed up with — Charles Koch, the Cato Institute, etc. — I’m highly suspicious of the sincerity of his libertarian credentials.

        I suppose time will tell, but I have to wonder if it’s possible to be a good apple in a bushel of rotten ones. For what Koch and the Cato Institute are up to is trying to float neoliberalism under the banner of libertariansim. Libertarianism believes in a weak state, a small state. Neoliberalism, on the other hand, believes in a strong state, a massive state, but one which is in the exclusive service of a small handful of oligarchs.

        1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

          I take it you probably mean the US-UK deep-state neoliberalism. That’s one pole. Then, there’s the Chinese pole of power. Then, the Russian pole of power. Sterling Seagrave said that on earth, the powers that be, as individuals/families, ultimately, “It’s all like scrambled eggs!” (secret alliances, with some treachery, etc.)

          1. from Mexico

            I don’t think neoliberalism is a good word to describe China. Neoliberalism is first and foremost a doctrine of deindustrialization. So that leaves China out.

            Here in Latin America they have coined the word “conservative developmentalism” to describe what went on in Mexico 1940-1980 and what has been going on in places like Germany and China for the past decade or two. It’s an industrialization strategy, but based on increasing exports rather than spuring internal demand. Brazil has walked a path somewhere between conservative developmentalism and progressive developmentalism, which is an industrialization strategy that relies on spurring internal demand. And of course conservatism and progressivism both explicitly advocate a strong state.

            1. Jeff W

              Neoliberalism is first and foremost a doctrine of deindustrialization.

              Could you elaborate on that a bit more? It seems right but it isn’t what comes to mind when I think of (the little I know of) neoliberalism, which is why I’d like to know more.

              1. from Mexico

                Latin America was the first place where neoliberalism was imposed. That’s why Greg Grandin calls it “empire’s workshop.”

                Latin America, therefore, offers the longest-running case studies of what neoliberalism is all about.

                Here, for example, is what happened in Argentina:

                The shift toward neoliberalism began during the dictatorship of 1976, deepened during the Menem administration, and was supported throughout by the IMF. This paper aims to identify why the crisis occurred when it did, but also to understand how the underlying shifts in the political economy of Argentina over more than two decades led to two waves of deindustrialization, an explosion of foreign debt and such a marked decline in the standard of living for the majority of Argentinians.

                [….]

                Argentina was recognized as having the highest standard of living and income per capita in Latin America for several decades, but as a result of neoliberal policies implemented through the last quarter century, it entered a depression such that over 50% of the population was living below the official poverty line, and almost one quarter of all Argentinians were in a state of indigence.

                http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1415-98482007000100001&script=sci_arttext

                Here’s another account:

                In the early 1970s Argentina was one of the highest income per capita and most industrialized countries of Latin America…. In this context a more export-led industrialization strategy was in the making, something that appeared to be similar to what was occurring with the NICs of Asia….. Nevertheless, this strategy was soon set aside. Since the mid-1970s an important role was assigned to foreign indebtedness and to local and international financial interests, a strategy that increasingly diverged from the industrial exports strategy concocted in the early years of the decade. Why was this strategy adopted? Apparently a growth policy that implied increasing industrialization would have favored a national bourgeoisie and its alliance with labor, something that could have been confrontational with the traditional alliance of agrarian oligarchic interests with foreign capital (Minsburg, 1987; Teubal, 1993).

                http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Rise_and_Collapse_of_Neoliberalism_in_Argentina__The_Role_of_Economic_Groups.pdf

                The first paper I cited elaborates on the role of deindustrialization as part of the imposition of neoliberalism:

                During the period between 1930 and 1976, Argentina, as well as a number of other countries, pursued the economic policies known as import substitution industrialization (ISI). This approach is associated with policies designed to protect nascent industry through tariffs and other trade or investment regulations, and to promote diversification into both light and heavy manufacturing, as opposed to just exporting agricultural products. From the middle of the 1960s, Argentina was experiencing a new phenomena — the growth of industrial manufacturing exports. In fact, they had reached over two thirds of all exports in 1973 (Kosacoff and Azpiazu, 1989: 109). However, when the military junta came to power in March 1976, the new government had a change of plans, and the importance of Argentinian industry would never be the same. This was evident in the economic policies implemented by the junta with its new Economics Minister, Martinez de Hoz. These neoliberal policies reflected a shift toward a laisseiz-faire approach, and were strongly associated with economists from the University of Chicago, such as Milton Friedman and Robert Lucas.4 The dictatorship carried out a transformation called the Process of National Reorganization (El Proceso de Reorganización Nacional), which was a reactionary political and economic agenda.

                [….]

                The economic and social policies pursued by the military government had a very negative impact on Argentinian industry, especially manufacturing. Between 1975 and 1981, the manufacturing share of the GDP declined from 29 to 22%, industrial employment declined by more than 36%, and industrial production as a whole went down by 17% (Smith, 1989: 251-253). The result of the neoliberal policies of the junta began the first wave of deindustrialization in Argentina.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  Hmm. Can you show that industrialization decreased globally? I’m not so sure it has. Since the neo-liberal thought collective is trans-national (as are, presumably its funders) we would expect its effects to be transnational. After all, the US over the last generation has been transformed into a site for resource extraction. But Buffets BNSF carries coal to China, and from China, shipping containers full of (industrially produced) Chinese goods.

                  1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

                    Trade between different countries has its pros and cons, as we all know. I’d say neoliberalism tends to ignore the cons of so-called free-trade (NAFTA and all that jazz). When it comes to the Chinese “deep-state”, beyond the Politburo or whatever, I mean the higher “echelons/masters”, the political-economic policy agenda is pretty obscure, at least from where I sit …

                2. Jeff W

                  Thank you for your kind response, Sr. Mexico! (As a long-time lurker and very occasional commenter, I just want to add that I appreciate and enjoy your comments immensely!)

      2. jrs

        People can vote for Rand if they want, Dems *deserve* to lose, so make me care. But to believe again that voting for high level people will change things … really? (though I’d have a little more hope for his father)

        Libertarianism is *one* seemingly logical response to the police state. That what we almost certainly will get is the same old policy of empire that they plan to *market* as libertarianism is a near certainty. Remember when Obama was marketed as progressivism and leftism? They plan to do the same thing from the right. Is the libertarian right capable of learning from the left’s Obama experience? They really need to take notes!

        So the people can keep voting against empire, and war and the police state, from both sides, AND they’ll keep getting it anyway, because the people’s positions don’t matter (like the Chomsky article). But certain policies that go under libertarianism will actually be used to make the situation worse even if only speaking in terms of power abuses? Yes, I know that. Concentrated wealth becomes concentrated power.

        Anarchism is actually an even more logical response to the police state (and has the virtue of opposing other forms of concentrated power) but they’re at such a tangent to anything having to do with the actual political system that …. However I do see plenty of small scale anarchism.

  8. YY

    A few years ago the UK police decided that another innocent Brazilian was a terrorist, pursued him down to the s̶u̶b̶w̶a̶y̶ tube and shot him dead. I think the Brazilians do remember this, while the rest of the world has forgotten, so this most recent “terror” nonsense will not impress them about the trustworthiness of UK police or the UK government.

  9. Charles LeSeau

    Oh, and anyone interested in chess, the FIDE World Cup 2013 enters into the (I think) semifinal round today. America does not endorse chess. Thus, Americans don’t know much about it and most of our “American” grandmasters are actually imported from other countries, but it’s a great game to follow these days and GM Nakamura for the US has made it through so far, who plays an exciting tactical style.

    All games are on chessbomb.com with real time computer analysis, and you can get livestream coverage from livestream.com, starting at 9:00 a.m. EDT (NOW), with IM Lawrence Trent and former women’s world champion Susan Polgar covering the games:

    http://new.livestream.com/cisha/wcc2013?query=chess&cat=event

    Some interesting matchups!

    1. diptherio

      Thanks for the link. It seems like chess and football (soccer) are two games that people the world over have in common. Both of them have helped me meet and befriend people in foreign lands. Telling then, that neither enjoy much popularity in the US…

      1. Charles LeSeau

        You are quite welcome!

        I’ve made lots of international friends through chess too. To an extent I see chess as a microcosm of our cultural experience. People tend to like what they’re shown. It’s been a source of simultaneous amusement and revulsion to see the way chess books in my local Barnes & Noble went from being a whole enormous section to just 8 books last I checked, while poker – which gets ESPN coverage – has an enormous section now when it used to be small. If a US team should ever win the world cup in futbol/soccer, watch for an immediate futbol/soccer boom, but don’t expect it to last unless maybe the TV and other media decide to push it hard. We’re like that. Bike boom after Lance, chess boom after Fischer, etc, but it’s not on TV, so…they die. The US actually has a rich history of monster players in chess too (Morphy, Pillsbury, Marshall, Fine, Fischer, Nakamura, etc).

        But I’ve got the internet, and for the time being I get to watch these excellent players of the post-Kasparov/post-super computer era, and they’re fantastic. People thought computers would be the end of chess, but they’ve only made some of the playing styles of humans even more knife edge/tactical or more ingeniously positional/strategic. I’m fascinated by chess and chess players, from both an asthetic point of view and from the joy of watching brilliant people at work on what amounts to an abstract argument. It’s one of those pursuits like music and math where genuine child prodigies emerge due to its abstract nature rather than its specific reliance on knowledge or experience, and these people all have unbelievable memories and first rate calculating devices in their heads. Some of the players are great too. I’m glad Peter Svidler has advanced so far in this (4th round, not anywhere close to semifinals as I wrote above). He’s a very urbane and funny guy whose interest in English is so strong that he speaks it better than many native speakers I know, so it’s nice to see him give interviews.

        1. diptherio

          I’ve only ever watched game analysis videos on-line (until today) so this is a novelty for me. My favorite player is Tal, a dead Russian, but Morphy and Fisher are right up there. But I love the Russians, for some reason…I was super excited to see Kramnik playing.

          1. Charles LeSeau

            Tal was incredible – just a fearless attacker and author of some of the prettiest checkmates and most daring chess tightrope walks I’ve ever seen. His autobiography, Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, is a desert island book for me; I’ve read it a dozen times or so. He was also very funny and a real humane character. From what I’ve read he didn’t have a single personal enemy in the chess world. Everyone loved him. He’s naturally a huge favorite of mine too.

            I gravitate towards the most friendly personalities, the artists, the bon vivants, and the underdogs, so Keres, Tal, Mieses, Bronstein, Svidler, and Spassky are right up there, and I root for the women whenever I can. (Women’s World Championship match is next month by the way, from Sep 10 to 27, between Yifan Hao and Anna Ushenina – it will also be broadcast on livestream with all games on chessbomb, and then we get the world championship itself between Carlsen and Anand in November!)

            Keep an eye on chessbomb.com. It has ongoing board coverage of all games in pretty much every significant tourney the world over at any given time, and then you can find live video coverage with human commentary usually on livestream, often with some big names doing commentary (Trent was pared with Nigel Short for the candidates match to determine Anand’s challenger, for example, and Short is a very entertaining fellow.)

            Youtube has some nice commentary. I like Kingscrusher’s videos (Prolific! Usually does a vid a day), Sean Godley’s (he’s in the middle of presenting Nimzovich’s My System in its entirety), and Chess Explained does some nice ones too.

          2. Charles LeSeau

            Oh, and obviously this current World Cup tourney is still ongoing, so that link I posted above will be kicking off again tomorrow morning, the next day, the day after that, etc…

  10. from Mexico

    @ “Fed advises US banks to lift capital targets”

    The Fed operates under the assumption that all Americans are terminally stupid.

    Bank capital is so easily gamed that it is a meaningless yardstick of anything but the Fed’s and its bankster owners’ ability to dissemble and deceive.

  11. from Mexico

    @ “Capital Flowing Back to Advanced Economies as Asia Markets Slump”

    It looks like the wheels are finally coming off the shale gas ponzi scheme.

  12. S Haust

    Big Brother:

    Aside from the sheer horror engendered by thesse events
    I can’t help recognizing what a comedy show all this is.

    We have “the authorities” looking most un-authoritative
    as well as many of them becoming completely unhinged.

    We hardly even need Jon Stewart for this one as the
    officialdom is already doing such a great job of making
    total asses of themselves. Now, if only they could
    manage to buckle down and do an equally great job (or
    merely competent job) on some of the things we actually
    hired them for…

    1. zygmuntNICEbernier

      +50
      My message to Big Brother would be:
      Look, Bro: dark sunglasses, black helicopters, bearcats, bayonets, insignia, medals, the rack, the guillotine, psy-ops on black project CIA (top secret) radio propaganda mind-facking, eye of Horus and I could go on; we’ve seen it all before; now, I need honest answers that actually mean something and say something, and that sould be at least 64 kilobytes of information. I promise, I’ll be patient. V/R, znc

  13. rich

    College students say no to costly textbooks

    College students heading to campus this fall will probably pay more for new textbooks, but recent studies suggest that the era of costly course materials could be coming to an end.

    College students and some of their professors are pushing back against ever-escalating textbook prices that have jumped 82% in the past decade.

    Growing numbers of faculty are publishing or adopting free or lower-cost course materials online.

    Students also are getting savvier: 34% this spring reported downloading course content from an unauthorized website, up from 20% in 2010, says a survey released last month by the Book Industry Study Group, a trade association whose members include publishers, retailers, librarians, and other professionals engaged in print and electronic media. Also, 31% said they photocopied or scanned chapters from other students’ books, up from 21% in 2010. The study (from spring 2013) is based on ongoing surveys involving about 6,000 book buyers a month.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/20/students-say-no-to-costly-textbooks/2664741/

    1. real

      i could publish my own notes on net but i stopped doing that…students tend to become too lazy and uninterested in lectures….once they know ready made- in depth notes are available on net,why will they attend classes?i ask them to read textbooks instead..list of textbooks is always given in syllabus–they can make their own notes,photocopy relavant parts of textbook,scan the book etc..not very difficult thing to do…if they want to learn,let them work for it..it sounds like callous attitude to some of over concerned parents but spoon feeding knowledge doesn’t work

      1. rich

        the cost of textbooks are out of sight…most of it is rehashed and repackaged…I would love to see actual costs and what the split is between school and publisher.

        1. ScottS

          It costs a lot to change the order of the end-of-chapter questions and some of the “true” answers to “false” and vice versa.

      2. Ed S.

        Real,

        It’s been a few decades since I sat in a classroom and I don’t know anything about your lectures but my experience was that I got MUCH MORE out of a lecture when I wasn’t focused on trying to scribble notes.

        My all time worst memory was in a graduate econometrics class: the prof had an 8 foot long table in the front of the room. At the beginning of the “class”, he would lay HIS notes out in front of him (around 20 pages). The “class” consisted of him copying the notes to a blackboard and the students furiously copied what he wrote.

        When he filled the blackboard, he’d wait 30 seconds and erase it all. Then repeat the process.

        I asked him if he’d make the notes available so that we could actually pay attention to what he was saying rather than trying to take “dictation”. He looked at me like I had just asked him to bite the head off of a live chicken.

        Dropped the class and demanded (and received) a full refund.

  14. Samuel Alexander

    The Wittgenstein article should be called, “Using Wittgenstein as an Intellectual Cop Out”

    If the author took Wittgenstein seriously, he would find that his own religious views and public religious rituals are comprised of the same “alien nonsense” as as the empty language of spirituality and “inner life” that he has, in my opinion, correctly dismissed.

    But one can’t read Wittgenstein and take away from it the idea that we should be okay with “I don’t knows,” as the author says. What we should hopefully get from Wittgenstein is that if the answer to a question is, “I don’t know,” and might likely always be, “I don’t know,” for everyone who is asked it, then we should examine whether the question itself makes sense, or if it is one that can be answered in the first place.

    I hesitate to proclaim what a “real” Wittgenstinian should believe, but I would think that in religious matters something like ignosticism would prevail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignosticism) rather than unquestioning adherence to ritual.

    In other words, rather than simply saying, “It’s okay that I don’t have the answers to certain religious questions,” it’s more helpful to ask, “Do these questions make sense? Can they be formulated in a way that makes sense or that is even answerable?”

    If someone asked me if I believed in God, the first thing I would ask them is, “What do you mean by God, specifically?”

    1. craazyman

      “If someone asked me if I believed in God, the first thing I would ask them is, “What do you mean by God, specifically?”

      An invisible dude in a toga with a grey beard and staff who follow you around and kicks your butt when you fukk up big time. And if you keep fukking up despite the instruction it’s the barbeque pit for ya. I’d say God exists but nobody sees him and so they get confused.

      1. craazyboy

        Holy Howling Rabbit, craazyman. You almost got that right.

        Man came from Africa and God made Man in His image – so that means God is a black dude, or maybe even a black dudess! The reason you can’t see Him is He/She only goes out at night.

        But He/She sure kicks butt – especially if you’re trying to get rich all the time. Betcha that rabbit up above was leveraged to the hilt on mortgage bonds. ouch!

        1. craazyman

          sometimes I can’t tell if it’s God or the Boogeyman. I wonder if Wittgenstein had that problem! Probably not since lunatics don’t believe in boogeymen.

          God could very well be a black dude, like Morgan Freeman, but we’ll never know since he’s invisible.

          For more Deep Thoughts about God and man, send $50 to;

          Mystery Circus
          PO Box 8
          Magonia 7777777

          1. ohmyheck

            https://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod

            The Tweet of God

            Excerpts:

            Money can’t buy happiness. But love can’t buy a Ferrari, either.

            Why is everyone I talk to crazy?

            Millions of people simultaneously believe both that Barack Obama is Muslim and that I had a son born of a virgin. Humanity, you’re the best!

            I deeply regret some of you.

            The next generation has been the worst generation in the minds of the present generation for 500 generations.

            Many people pass their days in a series of near-life experiences.

            1. Joe

              My favorite is: “Bless you for sneezing? Why don’t I just make you Pope for burping while I’m at it?”

            2. Walter Map

              Q: Who is God, really?

              1) He who dreams, and by dreaming, creates the universe.

              2) Eric Clapton.

              3) Silly question, mortal.

              4) God is our mighty fortress, our copilot, our guide, judge, father, and alibi. God followed us to the Pacific, the Rhine, the bathroom, the Pole, the moon. And wherever He sent us, wherever He followed us, God was there waiting for us. God is a Voice speaking to us in the night, a convergence of events leading to a sales opportunity, an invisible means of support. He is the last word of a dialogue in a movie about an old man, a kid, and a dog, the author of the Gideon Bible, and the hope of the future with the unknown up his sleeve. He is yesterday’s justification, today’s improved radial tire, tomorrow’s game show host when the fix is in. He comes in all colors, black, brown, yellow, and red. And He’s white all over. He knows when you’ve been sleeping, He knows when you’re awake. He lifted the Bambino’s homer into the second tier, and sometimes He lets John Wayne miss, just to keep you on your toes. God likes hamburgers, weekends, insects, Catholics, Protestants and the occasional Jew, hard work, good neighbors, and Bold Enforcer in the fourth at Belmont. He is Omnipresent, Eternal, Omniscient, and an honorary citizen of these United States, whatever the country of His birth. But after you’ve succumbed to cancer, or been crushed by a car, or expired by a sucking chest wound or heart failure, when you’ve killed yourself, or been killed, or just died, He can make everything right with those two little words: “Hello, sailor.”

      1. diptherio

        Greater purchasing power overseas. I built a school in Nepal for the same price I would pay for a used car here. If you want to maximize social utility (assuming one accepts that concept), then the thing to do is to transfer funds from folks with low marginal utility of income to people with high marginal utility of income. Give Directly does allow this to happen very, well, directly. 92% of donations make it into beneficiaries pockets, which is far better than plenty of other NGOs who can spend 30-50% on overhead.

        Also, I don’t know that we have cell-phone banking here like they do in Kenya. That little piece of tech is what’s making this possible. But yeah, I don’t see why we can’t set up an NGO to give money to poor Americans too…voluntary wealth redistribution is a good thing, no matter where it’s going on, imho.

    1. F. Beard

      Sounds like a plan!

      I’d love the “oomph!” my small donation would have in a poor country without it enriching rich “do-gooders” here.

      But I won’t commit to any continual donation.

    2. Emma

      Diptherio,
      Many thanks for sharing this with us.
      Truly an ascending NC highlight of today.
      I believe that the Give Directly founder, Paul Niehaus, originally got the idea from the UK charity Oxfam and their Cash for Coffins project in Vietnam. Both are nice examples of how to successfully cut out the middlemen.
      However, I have several Qs/concerns about the GiveDirectly approach: 1) who owns the phones and who has their hand on the money in the grass-roofed mud huts? 2) do these villages which are chosen by Give Directly, also offer access to healthy food, education with decent ROI, appropriate healthcare etc. which can be purchased with a portion of the money donated? 3) how do we as donors get updates on what has been accomplished in terms of real improvements in the lives of these people?
      In any case, I look forward to hearing the results of the Give Directly research related to the independent randomized control trial later this year.
      I also think it would be an excellent idea if Americans were to replicate this in their own backyard ie. going direct to the poorest families here in local communities across the US.

    3. Montanamaven

      I listened to that segment. Interesting that Heifer Int. wouldn’t give their stats to him. I have changed my giving ways. I give directly or very locally. I’m all in for helping here at home. I’m in.

  15. Vatch

    If you’re a U.S. resident, and you haven’t yet signed a White House petition to prevent Larry Summers from being nominated to head the Fed, please do so here. Please ask your friends to sign, because there aren’t enough signatures yet.

    1. Eureka Springs

      The petition stinks to high heaven of Deristocrat party veal pen trappings. Asking 85 to 99 percent people to pretend we could possibly be represented with the Fed structure as it is, even if Summers isn’t appointed is supreme troll behavior. I for one am delighted you don’t have enough signatures.

      The system is broken.

      1. Vatch

        Troll? I learned about this petition from the Links section of NC a few days ago. Yes, the system is broken, but we should try to fix it. Keeping Summers away from any influential position is one small way to improve the system.

        1. Massinissa

          The thing is, whoever is picked, it almost doesnt matter who, because they would do the SAME THING.

      2. Goin' South

        Amen.

        The idea that people who would appoint a Fed chairperson would give a shit about citizens’ views is absurd. The whole concept of a Fed is anti-democratic.

        On the other hand, it might be fun to see a petition endorsed by millions who thought Summers was a shit.

      3. Yalt

        I’d have had a more positive response to the petition if the proffered alternative weren’t a sitting member of the Fed board. How about a position demanding the nomination of…oh, let’s say Bill Black, maybe?

        1. Goin' South

          Peter Kropotkin’s chances are just about as good, and he’s an anarchist who’s been dead for around nearly a century.

          1. Yalt

            I thought about suggesting Bakunin but Black has more experience with bank regulation. Plus, he’s still alive.

            Maybe I’m just getting old and crotchety but I’m more than a little tired of choosing from a very limited menu selected by the other side. If I’m going to sign a pointless petition I’m at least going to sign one that asks for something I might actually want, instead of lending my name to what amounts to an affirmation of the status quo, shuffling Fed chairs on the Titanic.

  16. McMike

    FYI: Google has changed their ranking of this site. Used to be I could type only “naked capital” and NC popped out on top with a full spread of results. Now NC is not even on the first page.

    Furthermore, so when I searched for the full “naked capitalism,” the first link that comes up is a sub-level page. Not the main portal.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      In duckduckgo, “safe search”, the default setting, ignores the word “naked” in the query and this site appears nowhere in the results. Once the setting is changed the NC home page appears at the top of the results page. Might be a similar issue in Google, which I’m trying to minimize my use of.

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        Wikipedia has a decent page on Naked Capitalism. It says roughly that NC was ranked in the top 10 finance blogs in 2010 by technorati. I wanted to know what technorati is. There’s a link on their homepage with the text “Contact Us”. When clicked, the link turn to a 404 error (no-such-page): http://technoratimedia.com/contact-technorati/

      1. PWC, Raleigh

        yeah, teh google is “optimizing” for each of us based on everything we ever searched for, or looked at, or wrote in an email, or read in an email. i’m so optimized that i’ve been minimized

  17. Trisectangle

    Btw, is there any info of what the level of the water table is at the Fukushima plant vs the depth of the foundation?

    Ice walls shouldn’t work if the level of the water able is higher as it would simply go underneath it or am I missing something? Is it that you have a flow of water in a permeable top level soil layer above an impremeable on (in which case I can see how it could work).

    Of course if the standard water table is lower than the foundations they need to drain then no worries.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Begin at the highest points – with multiple spent fuel pools which are several stories above ground. We know at least one of them (reactor 4 spent fuel pool) is exposed atop a crumbling building. When, not if that building crumbles all other nuclear bombs, testing, waste, meltdowns in history combined will seem miniscule. We also don’t know where three melting 100 ton cores are at all and that numerous highly toxic storage/waste pools are all over the area at ground level and leaking.

      Ice sounds like a yakusa kabuki contract.

  18. Kurt Sperry

    The final link in the list “Violence, suffering and denial” is a useful reminder of the moral vacuity and, and yes violence, involved in the acceptance of planned mass unemployment as a policy instrument and the dehumanizing social assumptions it is constructed upon.

  19. Antifa

    To date, TEPCO engineers have only been able to freeze the ground at Fukushima a meter or so deep. That just trapped groundwater, causing it to rise and create a swamp, which made Reactor Building Four sink about two feet on one side.

    Freezing a mile long ring around the reactor site to 65 feet deep should work as described, since groundwater does not run that deep, but some risk still remains of the ring capturing runoff water from the cooling of the melted cores and leaking fuel rod pools. It will require lots of pump power and finding tanks or other places to store pumped water. And it will take years to complete.

    Regrettably, it’s all a sideshow that does not address the most dangerous situation this world has ever faced — the many hundreds of stored fuel rods barely kept under water in the several leaking pools perched four stories up in the various shattered buildings.

    The fuel rods are no longer vertical, no longer in neatly spaced and ordered rows. They are as jumbled as uncooked spaghetti tossed on the kitchen floor. The massive gantry cranes once used to lift the used fuel rods out in water-filled containers are shattered or have fallen into the pools, on top of the fuel rods.

    Any fuel rod removed and exposed to air will burst into flames from lack of cooling water, burn off its cladding, bend and melt and fall in flames to the ground. So removal in a water-filled container is the only way to remove the rods.

    But nobody has any idea how to approach the jumble of fuel rods, much less remove even one of them.

    It should be the top priority of every government on the planet to push TEPCO and their 40-year decommissioning plans aside and figure out how to eliminate the gigantic risk all those teetering pools of fuel rods pose to human life on earth.

    When they fall down and melt, there will be lots of plutonium released, and it will not go away for millions of years. There is no one unaffected by this clear and present danger.

    Why are we happily letting this happen?

  20. susan the other

    Just a comment on Ellen Brown’s piece on Spitzer, referencing Lynn Parramore and Yves last week. I wish all those feminists against Spitzer’s use of hookers would show as much outrage for Wall Street’s use of hookers. And I’m wondering, if Spitzer does become comptroller, can he make use of the FIRREA law that Judge Rakoff ruled valid in the B of A case? Or will Spitzer just invoke state protections for the pension funds? Can he go for damages, etc?

  21. susan the other

    Just curious. I thought it was strange that the CIA released two documents simultaneously. One admitting that Area 51 exists. Big yawn. And the other admitting the US overthrew Mossadeq in 1953. Area 51 was a red herring, right? The purpose of the release about Mossadeq was not discussed. Strange. I betcha it was a stragegic diplomatic move meant to ease the political tension between Iran which is surrounded by adversaries now. An out. An alternative to deploying missiles. The US confesses ergo the British confess; Russia is somewhat vindicated and Iran is placated. It is a piece of info that was as strange as that story about that Saudi “prince” who recently defected to Iran saying Saudi Arabia was not truly Islamic.

    1. ohmyheck

      I read this in my morning meanderings:

      http://www.eurasianet.org/node/67397

      “Rouhani May Go To Bishkek, But Unlikely To Focus On SCO”

      Basically it claims that Iran is steering itself away from its alliance with Russia and China, and looking towards a future aligned with The West.

      This makes no sense to me, but it seems there are other opinions out there.

    2. Ms G

      Susan TO,

      Where did you see the story about the US-UK coup against Mossadeq being released by CIA? Would love to see it.

      The story about how the US and the UK overthrew a democratically elected (secular) president of Iran because he did not wish to entrust Iran’s oil to foreign companies would be one of the top 3 I would teach in a US high school history class.

      Nobody, but almost nobody, has any idea who Mossadeq was and what we did to destroy him and a budding democracy in the Middle East. I don’t suppose the truth about that “incident” would have square so well with decades of US policy (and monetary gifts) based on the claim that Israel is the civilized world last barrier against an invasion of the Infidel Hordes.

      1. susan the other

        I know. Surprised me too. First I heard it on late night (early morning BBC) Sunday night; then on Chris Hayes (I think, probably not Rachael because I go on to Aljazeera at her hour) yesterday. Right there in plain sight.

        1. aet

          Etiquette requires that after any transgression, before a pardon may be granted, there must first be an admission – and a request.

  22. anon y'mouse

    woke up this morning to this email in the inbox from the Global Footprint Network:

    “August 20, 2013, 12:01 AM Geneva, Switzerland

    August 20 is Earth Overshoot Day, the approximate date humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can renew in a year. In just 7 months and 20 days, we have demanded a level of ecological resources and services — from food and raw materials to sequestering carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions — equivalent to what Earth can regenerate for all of 2013. Humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year.

    “For the rest of the year, we are operating in overshoot. We will maintain our ecological deficit by depleting stocks of fish, trees and other resources, and accumulating waste such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans. As our level of consumption, or “spending,” grows, the interest we are paying on this mounting ecological debt — shrinking forests, biodiversity loss, fisheries collapse, food shortages, degraded land productivity and the build-up of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and oceans — not only burdens the environment but also undermines our economies. Climate change — a result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceans — is the most widespread impact of ecological overspending….”

    don’t know how they can be so sure of the date, but nevertheless.

    1. JL Furtif

      If you take into account fossil fuel consumption, “Earth Overshoot Minute” would be around 2 minutes past midnight on January 1st.
      What the world consumes in a year, Nature cannot rebuild in a million years.

  23. b2020

    Re: warrantless cell phone searches.

    Useless article. Distinction between cloud-stored data vs. phone-stored data? Encrypted phone, or password locked?

  24. kevinearick

    the critters build big brother, piece by piece, every time they replace an intelligent thought, with peer pressure, and then bemoarn…sing me a river…

  25. rich

    Russian Officials Now Prohibited From Having Foreign Bank Accounts
    MOSCOW, August 19 (RIA Novosti) – Senior Russian officials, including lawmakers, judges and the heads of state corporations, as well as their spouses and underage children, are no longer allowed to keep their money in foreign bank accounts or financial instruments abroad as of Monday.

    The legislation, initiated by the Kremlin to “nationalize the elite” and deter corruption, originally envisioned a ban on owning any assets abroad, but the bill was softened in parliament to allow ownership of foreign real estate.

    The law came into force in early May, but officials were given three months to get rid of the respective assets or resign. The only penalty for incompliance is relinquishing one’s post.

    Several senators in the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, have quit rather than give up foreign assets, Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said Monday. The press service for the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, said the same day that no deputies there had resigned over the ban.

    Earlier reports said that nine of 166 senators – including Nikolai Olshansky, who featured on Forbes magazine’s list of the richest Russians – and some 15 of 450 Duma deputies reported getting rid of foreign assets.

    http://en.ria.ru/politics/20130819/182850233/Russian-Officials-Now-Prohibited-From-Having-Foreign-Bank-Accounts.html

  26. Hugh

    The Snowden affair is shaping up as another signature event. The actions and reactions to the disclosures strip away the facades and public faces and allow us to see behind the curtain and into the character of those involved. It gives us graphic illustrations of who is who and what is what. The lame propaganda and lies emanating out of the President, the White House, the Congress, the Washington Establishment in other words, along with the media, punditocracy, and veal pen blogosphere, ditto for the UK, all this is putting names to the commitment the elites have to subvert basic human rights and functions of government and the law.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      There’s more than a whiff of desperation in the Stazi’s tactics lately, chasing Snowden: bullying Russia, forcing down the plane of a Sovereign, abducting a journalist’s family member, closing a score of embassies, and maybe unrelated, the coup and massacre in Egypt. It reeks of desperation, actually.

      I’m eagerly awaiting Greenwald’s and Poitras’ coming revelations. For now, it’s good to see Obama squirm a little, at least until his impeachment and prosecution for war crimes.

  27. Propertius

    Re: the SWAT drill

    It’s really too bad the bus driver wasn’t armed. It would have served them right.

    1. AbyNormal

      It’s not given to people to judge what’s right or wrong. People have eternally been mistaken and will be mistaken, and in nothing more than in what they consider right and wrong.
      Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

    2. SubjectivObject

      Every bit of it and every participant was staged.
      Note the very sparse passengers and placement.
      They would not risk that someone would attack the guy if they saw an opportunity.
      All the after the fact passenger commentary was pure preparred propaganda.

  28. AbyNormal

    http://www.newser.com/story/172872/alleged-shooter-in-custody-at-ga-elementary-school.html

    Shots were fired today at a Georgia elementary school, reports WSB-TV. Reports indicate that no one was injured in the incident, and the suspected shooter is now in custody. One person at the school called WSB-TV to say that the gunman demanded she call the local TV station; gunfire could be heard in the background during that call. A number of sources described the suspect as a 20-something white man dressed in black and carrying an AK-47.

    TV footage showed students fleeing the McNair Learning Academy in DeKalb County, while others later evacuated the building in an orderly fashion. Parents have since been told to pick up their children at a nearby Walmart, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

    (shooter in custody & being interviewed…police did not exchange gunfire)

    1. Yalt

      “In brief: statements obtained through torture are not to be credited in any manner at all.”

      I caanot believe we’re still having this conversation. Of COURSE the point of torture is not to obtain reliable information; as the author states most clearly, one simply needs to be an honest human being with at least some limited capacity for empathic understanding to be able to see that.

      “When a person is subjected to unendurable, excruciating pain, especially when he is repeatedly told that the pain will go on and on and on unless he talks, he is very likely to talk eventually.”

      And to say the precise thing he has been told will make the torture stop. An apology, a confession, a denunciation of some targeted third party.

      How is it that this is not obvious, both from an attempt to imagine the experience of torture and from an understanding of the actual history of how its been used in the world? I truly do not understand.

  29. from Mexico

    Lambert Strether said:

    “The paradox of grace” seems to resonate both with the post on McKibben and leadership, and also with the “lesser of two evils” discussion constantly had with Obama loyalists.

    That’s exactly what I was thinking. But not only the McKibben post resonates, but also today’s post “China Prepares to Bail Itself Out.”

    Both posts deal with power: who has it, whether they should have it, and, if they have it, how and under what circumstances they should use it.

    Neoconservatism, as John J. Mearshiemer has noted, is the marriage of military power with idealism:

    Neo-conservative theory – the Bush doctrine – is essentially Wilsonianism with teeth. The theory has an idealist strand and a power strand: Wilsonianism provides the idealism, an emphasis on military power provides the teeth.

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-americanpower/morgenthau_2522.jsp

    “The Romantic belief that the world can be reshaped by an act of will” is the ideal that informs neoconservatism, writes John Gray in Al Qaeda and What it Means to Be Modern. “American/style ‘democratic capitalism’ is destined to spread everywhere,” he explains, and as “it does, a universal civilization will come into being, and history will come to an end.”

    Realism, on the other hand, is the marriage of state power (military, economic, financial, police, etc.) with realism.

    For pacifists, whose opposition to the of use of military power is absolute, both neoconservatism and realism would of course be unacceptable.

    Reinhold Niebuhr had been a pacifist, but experienced a change of heart and resigned from the antiwar Socialist Party in 1940. It “was Niebuhr more than any other Christian thinker-activist who was able to turn the American Protestant ‘establishment’ away from its considerable indifference to the moral-political threat of Nazism – often couched in terms of pacifism – by arguing that the Nazis and their ideology had to be actively opposed, even if that meant going to war against Hitler and his minions.” (David Novak, “Idolatry and injustice: A Jewish appreciation of Reinhold Niebuhr”)

    Niebuhr had publicly expressed alarm over the Nazi threat as early as 1931:

    Worst of all, the growing anger of the German people over the economic slavery to which the treaty of Versailles condemns them, voiced particularly in the Hitler movement, threatens not only the parliamentary government of Germany but the whole peace of Europe. There is no real health and there are only a few signs of convalescence in the body politic of continental Europe. But liberal religion has a dogma and it views the contemporary world through the eyes of this dogma. The dogma is all the more potent in coloring opinion because it is not known as a dogma. The dogma is that the world is gradually growing better and that the inevitability of gradualness guarantees our salvation….

    It has given a note of romantic and unreal optimism to the preaching of the liberal church and has prevented it from making any realistic estimate of the moral problems of our day.

    http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1410

    Niebuhr came to believe that Nazi Germany posed an existential threat to the United States, and to civilization, which required a military response.

    In his Gifford Lectures, delivered in Scotland on the eve of World War II in 1939, he inveighed against Nazism with a warning that is just as fitting for today’s neoconservatives as it was for the Nazis then.

    “In the life of every political group,” he says, “whether nation or empire … obedience is prompted by the fear of power on the one hand and by reverence for majesty on the other. The temptation to idolatry is implicit in the state’s majesty.” He then speaks of “the claim of moral autonomy by which the self-deification of the social group is made explicit by its presentation of itself as the source and end of existence.” And most succinctly he states, “The nation pretends to be God.”

    The rise of Nazism jolted Niebuhr back to the reality of transcendent evil, and he steadfastly endorsed World War II, even while criticizing the Allied bombing of German cities and questioning the atomic attacks on Japan. Later, he supported Western resistance to Soviet communism, though he opposed the Vietnam War almost from its start.

    Niebuhr’s anti-communist liberalism was in sync with Hubert Humphrey’s until the Vietnam War, which Niebuhr opposed as “fantastic.” Niebuhr’s described his friend’s adherence to President Johnson’s war policy as “very sad.” (Mark Tooley, “Niebuhr and Obama”)

    Niehbur, along with almost all realists in the United States except for Henry Kissinger, opposed the Vietnam War.

    Equally, almost all realists in the United States — except for Henry Kissinger — opposed the war against Iraq.

    Max Blumenthal equates Niebuhr’s realism with Bush’s, Obama’s and Brooks’ neoconservatism. This is an empirical claim, one which is demonstrably and patently false.

    1. zygmuntNICEbernier

      I have it upon an erudite Catholic authority that “grace is a gift of God”. That dogma/doctrine might or might not square with Niebuhr’s “paradox of grace”. Hopefully, this can be solved in less than forty thousand years.

    2. F. Beard

      WWII was essentially caused by the money system. How about a system that drives people into unjust debt for “absolute evil?” One based on usury for stolen purchasing power? That specifically oppresses the poor since they are the least so-called creditworthy? That recurrently wrecks the economy into dangerous desperation?

      Did Niebuhr ever speak about banking? Serious question.

  30. no more banksters

    EBU stops its support to the Hellenic Public Broadcaster: Another victory of the neoliberal dictatorship

    failedevolution blogspot

  31. Joe

    God help us all:
    Summers, Yellen allies wage behind-the-scenes effort to win Federal Reserve nod

    “Lawrence H. Summers, one of the top candidates to lead the Federal Reserve, was being beaten up, and his friends from his White House years wanted to help him.

    So earlier this month, recently departed Treasury secretary Timothy F. Geithner and other former Obama administration officials joined Summers for a private strategy call, according to people familiar with the discussion.”

  32. Joe

    God help us all:
    Summers, Yellen allies wage behind-the-scenes effort to win Federal Reserve nod

    “Lawrence H. Summers, one of the top candidates to lead the Federal Reserve, was being beaten up, and his friends from his White House years wanted to help him.

    So earlier this month, recently departed Treasury secretary Timothy F. Geithner and other former Obama administration officials joined Summers for a private strategy call, according to people familiar with the discussion.”

  33. AbyNormal

    Hang Seng -304
    Nikkei -106
    usd fighting 80.90
    10y bouncing off 2.810

    Be always lavish of your caresses, and sparing in your corrections. Cavendish
    :-/

    1. skippy

      Only two things myself expects in a day… wood in the morning and flaccidness at night… mental of course.

      Every generation
      Blames the one before
      And all of their frustrations
      Come beating on your door

      I know that I’m a prisoner
      To all my Father held so dear
      I know that I’m a hostage
      To all his hopes and fears
      I just wish I could have told him in the living years

      Crumpled bits of paper
      Filled with imperfect thought
      Stilted conversations
      I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got

      You say you just don’t see it
      He says it’s perfect sense
      You just can’t get agreement
      In this present tense
      We all talk a different language
      Talking in defence

      Say it loud, say it clear
      You can listen as well as you hear
      It’s too late when we die
      To admit we don’t see eye to eye

      So we open up a quarrel
      Between the present and the past
      We only sacrifice the future
      It’s the bitterness that lasts

      So Don’t yield to the fortunes
      You sometimes see as fate
      It may have a new perspective
      On a different day
      And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
      You may just be OK.

      Say it loud, say it clear
      You can listen as well as you hear
      It’s too late when we die
      To admit we don’t see eye to eye

      I wasn’t there that morning
      When my Father passed away
      I didn’t get to tell him
      All the things I had to say

      I think I caught his spirit
      Later that same year
      I’m sure I heard his echo
      In my baby’s new born tears
      I just wish I could have told him in the living years

      Say it loud, say it clear
      You can listen as well as you hear
      It’s too late when we die
      To admit we don’t see eye to eye

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGDA0Hecw1k

      skippy… whom said discovery was a bitch… oh yeah… that which can not be challenged.

      1. AbyNormal

        thanks for that memory skippy…reading it is heat seekin

        here, let me throw some wood on that fire…

        Let me watch by the fire and remember my days
        And it may be a trick of the firelight
        But the flickering pages that trouble my sight
        Is a book I’m afraid to write

        It’s the book of my days, it’s the book of my life
        And it’s cut like a fruit on the blade of a knife
        And it’s all there to see as the section reveals
        There’s some sorrow in every life

        If it reads like a puzzle, a wandering maze
        Then I won’t understand ’til the end of my days
        I’m still forced to remember,
        Remember the words of my life

        There are promises broken and promises kept
        Angry words that were spoken, when I should have wept
        There’s a chapter of secrets, and words to confess
        If I lose everything that I possess
        There’s a chapter on loss and a ghost who won’t die
        There’s a chapter on love where the ink’s never dry
        There are sentences served in a prison I built out of lies.

        Though the pages are numbered
        I can’t see where they lead
        For the end is a mystery no-one can read
        In the book of my life

        There’s a chapter on fathers a chapter on sons
        There are pages of conflicts that nobody won
        And the battles you lost and your bitter defeat,
        There’s a page where we fail to meet

        There are tales of good fortune that couldn’t be planned
        There’s a chapter on god that I don’t understand
        There’s a promise of Heaven and Hell but I’m damned if I see

        Though the pages are numbered
        I can’t see where they lead
        For the end is a mystery no-one can read
        In the book of my life

        Now the daylight’s returning
        And if one sentence is true
        All these pages are burning
        And all that’s left is you

        Though the pages are numbered
        I can’t see where they lead
        For the end is a mystery no-one can read
        In the book of my life

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBfFolxAitk

        1. skippy

          That hole Eastern philosophy meets Capitalism thingy via the Beatles resulted in a lot of Knighthoods… ewwwww~~~

  34. Hugh

    My take on Niebuhr is that he understood that the life of the individual and the life of the individual in a community led to moral complexity. Here are 3 quotes from his 1932 Moral Man and Immoral Society:

    So persistent is the cry of peace among the ruling classes and so strong the seeming abhorrence of every form of violence and anarchy that one might imagine them actuated by the purest pacifist principles, were it not for the fact that they betray no pacifist scruples when they consider international affairs. Most insistent upon peace within the nation, they are most easily provoked to join issue in martial combat with other nations. Sometimes specific economic interests prompt their bellicose ardor; at other times they find it convenient to strengthen their rule at home by permitting the fever of war and the resultant hysteria of patriotism to confuse their interests with the general welfare more perfectly than would be possible in a sober nation. More than one ruling caste has saved itself by an opportune war.

    Niebuhr nails the bellicosity and warmongering of the ruling classes. They embrace Niebuhr because of his later defense of the concept of a just war. For them, any war they contemplate is “just” and so they can use the intellectual prestige of Niebuhr’s name to justify it.

    The attitude of the parliamentary socialist parties during the World War is instructive on this point. Prior to the war they had been uniformly antimilitaristic and pacifistic. They opposed the rising military budgets which made the war inevitable. But they were finally seduced into the war. Lenin, and other communist critics, might sneer at their apostasy, and attribute it to the ambition and dishonesty of their leaders. But this moral explanation of the facts is not only incompatible with the deterministic presuppositions of the critic, but an inadequate analysis of the underlying factors. Whenever a nation does not completely disinherit its workers, it has been able to count upon their loyalty. The loyalty has been a little more hesitant than that of the middle classes; but it has been, on the whole, more generous than the nation deserved, when the real motives of its martial enterprises are considered.

    Here Niebuhr observes that appeals to patriotism of ordinary citizens trump reasoned pacificism and their actual interests where they have not been completely ground down. It is important to note this is how the ruling classes sucker us in to their wars.

    Gandhi’s boycott of British cotton results in the undernourishment of children in Manchester, and the blockade of the Allies in war-time caused the death of German children. It is impossible to coerce a group without damaging both life and property and without imperiling the interests of the innocent with those of the guilty. Those are factors which are involved in the intricacies of group relations; and they make it impossible to transfer an ethic of personal relations uncritically to the field of intergroup relations.

    In this last quote, Niebuhr evokes the complexity of moral action at the social level, that it can lead to violence, even violence against innocents. But isn’t it precisely this acceptance of violence, intended or no, to some “good” social end which undergirds the idea of just war?

    Now to be fair to Niebuhr, Nazism was an existential threat and one can see, especially with regard to this last quote, how Niebuhr could see violence justified in response to it: a just war. But this sets him on a slippery slope because his own belief in moral complexity means there are not just two polar opposites, a just and an unjust war. So how will he or we know the next war we are being sold is truly just? How unjust can a war be and still be just? Because of course, every war our ruling classes sell us they will tell us is just, and they will come up with good or not so good, plausible or not so plausible arguments to that effect. And this is complicated further because although the later Niebuhr may have been aware of it, he was not fully immune to the siren song of our ruling classes or their appeals to his patriotism and, being human, his ego.

    1. from Mexico

      @ Hugh

      That’s a wonderful summary.

      Who knows, maybe the concept of just law is all smoke and mirrors.

      But it does seem to me that it is an improvement over the Roman “war of conquest” law it replaced, which held that conquest itself was sufficient justification for war, and that conquest and occupation constituted sufficent title to legitimize the full domination and incorporation of defeated territories and peoples.

      At least just war became something we consider and debate, even though like you say the concept is easily gamed.

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