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Links 8/26/13

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Obama’s New Education Proposal: Change, or Changed Subject? Matt Taibbi

President Obama takes on the student debt bomb; meanwhile, the Gainful Employment Rule saga enters a 5th year Credit Slips

Call for aggressive action over EM crisis Financial Times

In 2 Charts, Here’s How Emerging Market Funds Are Hemorrhaging Cash Unlike Anything Seen In Years Business Insider

The March on Washington in Historical Context Rick Perlstein

Dr. King, The March on Washington, and Full Employment

March on Washington Meets Post-9/11 America AP. A short story, but the way in which it takes for granted the disintegration of peaceable assembly is instructive. Also there were reports of destruction of signs protesting “The New Jim Crow” of mass incarceration.

A Look Back at MLK on Meet the Press. Very illuminating, actually. The red-baiting of Bayard Rustin, trying to get MLK to agree that he should be more “moderate” and slow down, etc.

Syria:

U.N. to inspect site of alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria; lawmakers call for U.S. military response

U.S.: “Very little doubt” chemical weapons used in Syria AFP

U.S. Sets Stage for Bigger Syria Role WSJ.

And the punchline…

As Syria war escalates, Americans cool to U.S. intervention: Reuters/Ipsos poll Reuters. “About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.”

The AFL-CIO Is Exploring New Investments in Alt-Labor and Texas Organizing Josh Eidelson

Child poverty in Britain is causing ‘social apartheid’ The Guardian

An Economist Confused About Banking Matthew C. Klein

EverBank Agrees to Pay $37 Million to Customers Housing Wire. Continuation of the OCC settlement that torched the Independent Foreclosure Reviews.

ObamaCare’s architects reap windfall as Washington lobbyists The Hill

Measles Outbreak Traces To Vaccine-Refusing Megachurch Forbes

Goldman Losses on Options Glitch Limited WSJ

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

U.S. spy agency bugged U.N. headquarters: Germany’s Spiegel Reuters. One document: “The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!).” The Der Spiegel report isn’t online, to my knowledge.

Surveillance Revelations Shake U.S.-German Ties NYT

Snowden suspected of bypassing electronic logs AP

Guardian partners with New York Times over Snowden GCHQ files NYT. Related: How to Get the Government to Ease Up: Involve Scott Shane Emptywheel

Well-known blogger detained in China crackdown FT

Private lobbyists get public pensions in 20 states AP

Tesla Is Outselling Cadillac, Chrysler, Porsche, and Mitsubishi in California Slate

Film on Salinger Claims More Books Are Coming NYT

Antidote du jour:

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102 comments

  1. LucyLulu

    Central bank reserves, or government reserves if there is no central bank, are held in foreign currencies (or the international currency….. the yellow metal ‘bugs’ find attractive). They are used to purchase that nation’s domestic currency in foreign currency markets, as needed, to support the desired rate of exchange.

  2. from Mexico

    @ “A Look Back at MLK on Meet the Press”

    Wow! What great footage of King.

    It goes to drive home the fact that the “leaders” of yesterday’s March on Washington are not the heirs of King’s heritage. Occupy Wall Street is. One only has to look at the massive wave of state violence that OWS provoked to see who TPTB really fear.

    OWS drew blood, which this outstanding passage by Michael Corcoran from yesterday’s Links makes clear:

    While the financial industry is not likely to be cowering in fear over Congress and tweaks they may make within the existing structures of power, they are absolutely afraid of a population that dares to dream of a different structure entirely. The game is rigged – “we are like those little bitches (pawns) on the chess board,” as David Simon observed in another HBO show, “The Wire.” Moving a pawn forward one space, as Dodd-Frank did, does not threaten the kings of the financial industry. They are, however, rightly concerned about organized, working-class discontent. They are afraid of the people noticing that the game is fixed, and breaking the chess board in a million pieces to start anew….

    And speaking of the game and the many Americans who still imbibe the fiction that the game is not rigged:

    And, although it is in its infancy, the Occupy movement is helping to shatter these very illusions. The goal of Occupy is not merely to push for some legislative reforms in the short term; the goal is to educate the public on the true nature of the economic system. In many ways, Occupy succeeded in educating the public on these issues. When it popularized the phrase, “We are the 99 percent,” it educated many about how our economic system operates to benefit the top 1 percent only. It advanced the idea that the 99 percent is one class with the same interests and that this is the key point of division in America – not race, political party or views on social issues. That is the very essence of the left’s primary critique of capitalism and, for the first time since the early 20th century, it is now understood by anyone who heard and understood the simple phrase: “We are the 99 percent.”
    http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18317-in-deference-to-great-men-aaron-sorkin-vs-the-occupy-movement

    So here’s OWS’s scorecard:

    Consciousness raising: 10

    Instant access to the halls of power: 0

    Lunch or tea with presidents and sentators whenever it’s convenient: 0

    1. from Mexico

      And here’s the choice TPTB holds out when a people’s movement becomes too powerful: a place at the table or a place in history?

      Fortunately, the Rev. Martin Luther King and the many other organizers of the original March on Washington chose a place in history and not a place at the table. From one of today’s links:

      The AP cited their inside source, the one who warned about the possibility of violence: “One plan under consideration…is an effort to induce leaders of civil rights groups in ‘reasonable numbers’ to accept a ‘dramatic confrontation’ meeting with congressional leaders and other appropriate Congress members as an alternative to sit-ins. ‘Citizens have a right to petition the Congress,’ this source said,’ but they do not have a right to try to overpower it.’ He said there has been official consideration of whether the police might have to be augmented by military personnel if no compromise can be evolved.” The next day, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy warned the march’s organizers off: while he had “great sympathy” for protest, “Congress should have the right to debate and discuss this legislation without this kind of pressure.”

      http://www.thenation.com/blog/175887/people-who-have-greatest-stake-preserving-constitution-are-doing-most-destroy-it-march-w#

    2. JTFaraday

      “They are, however, rightly concerned about organized, working-class discontent.”

      I don’t think this is quite accurate. Perhaps one of the most potentially threatening things about OWS is that it didn’t, explicitly, define itself as “working class.”

      Nor did it issue a demand for “jobs,” although I’m sure everyone out in TVland expected it to. In NY, I think there was a bit of a scuffle within the group with regard to this issue, and it seems that the local “anarchists” continually scuttled this effort. I concede I’m under this impression due to hearsay, and don’t have first hand knowledge.

      Nevertheless, and while I’m sure it probably was under discussion everywhere, it interesting that no singular hue and cry for jobs issued from most local occupies either.

      I wonder why this is so.

        1. Yalt

          I wonder what would have happened if someone had suggested replacing “jobs” with “opportunities to do something useful for society without starving to death in the process”?

      1. Anarcissie

        A long time ago I was listening to Jesse Jackson orate on some street in New York City. Maybe it was when he was running for president. There was quite a crowd, and Mr. Jackson performed a medley of a number of mainstream campaign standards, quite well, too. Finally, he intoned, ‘Jobs, not jails!’ A young punk-rocker was standing next to me, and he expostulated, ‘Hunh! What’s the difference?’ and strode off. This is not an explanation, but it may serve as an angle.

        1. Montanamaven

          I concur. My understanding of anarchism is that there should be less toil not more in order to live in balance with nature i.e. less productvity and more sustainability. They lobbied and still do for shorter work weeks.and much leisure time. Occupy came together over debt. Graeber recently remarked that the first demands might be for a debt jubilee and shorterwork weeks. (In The Baffler)

          1. Yalt

            Maybe a more precisely anarchistic proposal would be not for “less toil” but for toil to be, to the extent possible, a matter of choice and not compulsion.

            In practice that would almost certainly result in less toil, at least less resource-depleting toil. But it seems more in keeping with the spirit of anarchism than a demand that people work less.

        2. punchnrun

          Wow, definite sign of social consciousness. Pretty much what I was thinking too. Personally I’m tied to the idea that I want to contribute to my (extended) family and my community. It forms the basis of my public persona. But being chained to a salary is a disincentive. I suspect that this “job” thing is a debasement of that contributory urge, twisting the social instinct for the purposes of the lords of the realm. From the tone of their communications, I think many OWS participants are not too enthused about the “work for the master who provides money” model of existence either.

        3. just me

          Amen – but maybe aim not to work less, but to fulfill more?

          Chris Rock: Now the people in the audience with careers need to learn to shut the f* up when you’re around people with jobs… Don’t let your happiness make somebody sad… If you got a job, I hope you get a career one day. Because when you got a career, there ain’t enough time in the day. There ain’t enough time… When you got a job, there’s too much time.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5jAmUae4Wk

  3. from Mexico

    @ “A Look Back at MLK on Meet the Press”

    Wow! What great footage of King.

    It goes to drive home the fact that the “leaders” of yesterday’s March on Washington are not the heirs of King’s heritage. Occupy Wall Street is. One only has to look at the massive wave of state violence that OWS provoked to see who TPTB really fear.

    OWS drew blood, which this outstanding passage by Michael Corcoran from yesterday’s Links makes clear:

    While the financial industry is not likely to be cowering in fear over Congress and tweaks they may make within the existing structures of power, they are absolutely afraid of a population that dares to dream of a different structure entirely. The game is rigged – “we are like those little bitches (pawns) on the chess board,” as David Simon observed in another HBO show, “The Wire.” Moving a pawn forward one space, as Dodd-Frank did, does not threaten the kings of the financial industry. They are, however, rightly concerned about organized, working-class discontent. They are afraid of the people noticing that the game is fixed, and breaking the chess board in a million pieces to start anew….

    And speaking of the game and the many Americans who still imbibe the fiction that the game is not rigged:

    And, although it is in its infancy, the Occupy movement is helping to shatter these very illusions. The goal of Occupy is not merely to push for some legislative reforms in the short term; the goal is to educate the public on the true nature of the economic system. In many ways, Occupy succeeded in educating the public on these issues. When it popularized the phrase, “We are the 99 percent,” it educated many about how our economic system operates to benefit the top 1 percent only. It advanced the idea that the 99 percent is one class with the same interests and that this is the key point of division in America – not race, political party or views on social issues. That is the very essence of the left’s primary critique of capitalism and, for the first time since the early 20th century, it is now understood by anyone who heard and understood the simple phrase: “We are the 99 percent.”
    http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18317-in-deference-to-great-men-aaron-sorkin-vs-the-occupy-movement

    So here’s OWS’s scorecard:

    Consciousness raising: 10

    Instant access to the halls of power: 0

    Lunch or tea with presidents and sentators whenever it’s convenient: 0

  4. YankeeFrank

    “Snowden suspected of bypassing electronic logs”

    Yeah, right. This is the latest attempt to get us to believe the NSA actually has even the slightest controls on all the data they suck up their bungholes. Don’t believe it. All this confirms is that NSA has finally read the meme surrounding the fact that they have no idea what documents Snowden actually took because they have no idea what any of their sysadmins and analysts look at every day. In other words, they have no significant controls on the data.

    The “LOVEINT” stories from last week prove that all the more. Its not impossible to structure systems so that a lowly sysadmin like Snowden could not change database, log, directory and file permissions. Of course that takes a lot of effort, separate tiers of sysadmins, etc. And when your sole guiding mantra is “collect it all”, and oversight is a joke, what does a self-respecting IT organization do? Leave it all open, its easier that way.

    1. LucyLulu

      I’m not so convinced that Snowden was a “lowly sys-admin”. I’ve read reports that he was hired to sniff out vulnerabilities and attempt to break the system, which is why he had access to so many different networks. A sys-admin typically only has access to the one network he/she administers.

      Changing file permissions and system access logs would require root access. He downloaded files that appear to have come from many different networks, implying he was able to obtain root access to all those networks. The most obvious explanation would be that he discovered some sort of bug or system-wide vulnerability (or back door access that Windows is rumored to have left?). The impression I’ve gotten is that Snowden was some type of whiz kid. How else could he have managed to advance the way he did, without the corresponding education. I know his type. They’re amazing, they can break in anywhere. I’m not saying the NSA may not be full of nincompoops. But that doesn’t mean that Snowden wasn’t brilliant.

      And from the article…….. Yeah, of course the NSA doesn’t have a clue what he managed to get. That’s why Obama is so panicked that he grounded the president of Bolivia’s plane and put such heavy pressure on Putin, and the UK detained Miranda and confiscated his electronics. You can bet the NSA has documents that would be disastrous, whether to national security or on the public relations front (surely both) if they were released. The Administration, Intel, they have no clue what’s coming and they’re afraid, very afraid. Personally, I suspect some Hoover type activity has been going on, and domestic surveillance much more widespread than revealed.

      The NSA says, “Laws, the Constitution??? What laws? What Constitution? We don’t need no stinkin’ laws or Constitution.”

      1. Antifa

        Edward is indeed a whiz kid and expert systems cracker. Booz Allen advertised for an “infrastructure analyst” and they got a real catch in Snowden, who could have gone anywhere he wanted in the NSA with his reputation, but here he was willing to take a cut in pay to take the job at Booz Allen. They probably figured it was so he could live in Hawaii. Edward actually took it so he could continue gathering data on the NSA’s crimes against our Constitution and against international treaties and against international law.

        An “infrastructure analyst” does not do sysadmin work, doesn’t keep the servers and networks and workstations and electronic logs and firewalls up and working.

        He breaks all that, or breaks in if he can, in the very same way an outside hacker will disrupt, damage, or crack in and steal data from the system. He wears a black hat for the company, telling them afterwards where and how he got in, and how to prevent others from doing the same.

        This indicates that Booz Allen knew to some degree how sloppy their system was. Too much new growth done too quickly.

        An infrastructure analyst worth their pay will get in, take what they want, and erase their tracks or make them appear as the routine work of an authorized user, just as an expert cracker from China, Israel, or Romania will do. That’s the whole idea — have somebody that good working inside you infrastructure to find all the holes in your system. There are always holes. Always.

        An infrastructure analyst who can’t come up with holes to show you, or who can’t cover their tracks the way expert Chinese crackers can, will be demoted to sysadmin in no time. Edward wasn’t, and he had three months to get everything he wanted. He was in no hurry, and not a soul at Booz Allen or NSA headquarters suspected a thing before reading about it in the newspaper.

        He had his way with the NSA, and they will never know where he went or what he has unless they get their hands on him and start pulling out his fingernails.

        1. Crazy Horse

          Ha Ha,
          Maybe those files contain pictures of Jon Corzine as Obama’s Dominatrix?

          Or to go a bit further back in history, details of Cheney’s assembling the team within NSA that placed the explosives in the WTC? Or plans for his seizure of complete control of NORAD on the critical day?
          Or the death of Osama bin Laden of natural causes in late 2001 and the made-for-TV body double charade played out thereafter until the final incredibly implausible and arrogant “burial at sea” to hide the DNA evidence?

          If Snowden is indeed a whiz kid and NSA a voracious but sloopy compiler of all the nations’ digital communication, it is likely that he came across several such bits of hidden history. And he would be a fool if they weren’t stored in a deadfall lock box somewhere. Is it any wonder that Masters of the Universe past and present are quaking in their boots?

      2. Yonatan

        Perhaps he had access to the NSA root password. An appropriate password would be ‘bwahahaha’.

      3. markf

        “Personally, I suspect some Hoover type activity has been going on, and domestic surveillance much more widespread than revealed.”

        why should this be a problem ?

        If most people don’t mind being under surveillance, they’ll probably apply the same standard to others.

        so they’ll think … good enough for me, good enough for… senators, judges, head of the EPA, police chiefs, etc.

        The thing that’s very difficult to understand is why anyone trusts that this information will be used honestly.

        Of course it won’t be.

        1. Walter Map

          The potential for identity theft is, well, comprehensive.

          Aside from yours truly, I still haven’t seen anybody point out that secure internet-based commerce is no longer possible, and that doing any kind of business online is an invitation to have one’s assets, person, and acquaintances disappeared. But it is only a matter of time before this inconvenient fact sinks in and the catastrophic effect on the economy presents itself.

          1. psychohistorian

            If nothing else the exposure of the weaknesses in the intertubes should kill online banking for those paying attention.

            As an aging techie that used to have professional network certification, I will never do any banking online that I can avoid….wait until they tell you that migrating to IPV6 from IPV4 will fix all security problems………lies, lies and more lies.

            I have spent my life around techies and while Snowden may be smart, there are many more like him or better. All we need is a little more social pain and they will out the rest of our cancerous social disorganization and the world will grind to a halt as we figure out what evolves.

            I hope it come sooner rather than later….too many people are suffering under the plutocrats and their puppets.

            Here is hoping for the 99%.

      4. Balthazar

        So LucyLulu, back when the story broke, I listed my ‘what-ifs’ regarding What Ed Snowden might have. That included evidence of routine surveillance of members of Congress, which would be pretty hot. IIRC that also included evidence of American black flag terrorism, or evidence planting to smear foreign ‘non grata’ organizations or states, such as Iran and Hezbollah, which —c’mon folks—seems all but certain to have been done. (“Iranian ‘terror network [sic]‘ seeking to ASSASSINATE the Saudi ambassador . . . ” right.) Either of those would be nuclear plasma hot if evidence hit the 24-hour news cycle. Another issue would be an actual program to salt web chat with pro-gubmint comments—domestic white propaganda—paid for and operated on a full-time, all the time basis by an NSA tentacle; I mean _somebody_ has been doing this.

        Even If Snowden doesn’t have that, the securecrats and Bama bubbies have to assume he _could_. . . . I hope they’re all sweating now.

      5. Balthazar

        “Laws? We don’t need no stinkin’ LAWS when we’re the Masters of Disasters of the Universe.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In Uxmal, on the Yucatan peninsula, they tell the story of a dwarf who had to pass 3 tests demanded by the king.

      1. He had to build a pyramid overnight, which he did and you see it today as the Pyramid of the Magician.

      2. He had to build a sacbe, a Mayan paved stone road, from there to Kabah and he did.

      3. He and the king had to survive being hit on the head with a hammer. He survived and the king didn’t.

      How?

      He had a magic tortilla.

      The same with the Hase here.

      That there you are looking at, that’s a magic waffle.

      1. psychohistorian

        I could have used one of those magic waffles when I took the side mirror off a Chevy Avalanche with the back of my bicycle helmeted head at highway speed.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In Uxmal, on the Yucatan peninsula, they tell the story of a dwarf who had to pass 3 tests demanded by the king.

      1. He had to build a pyramid overnight, which he did and you see it today as the Pyramid of the Magician.

      2. He had to build a sacbe, a Mayan paved stone road, from there to Kabah and he did.

      3. He and the king had to survive being hit on the head with a hammer. He survived and the king didn’t.

      How?

      He had a magic tortilla.

      The same with the Hase here.

      That there you are looking at, that’s a magic waffle.

      1. Synopticist

        Jeez, if you’d have asked me 3 years ago whether western intelligence agencies were capable of engineering a mass slaughtering of hundreds or thousands in order to intervene in a war I would have said “no, you nutter, are you mentally ill?”

        But then I’d have been equally convinced there was no way those same agencies would risk arming al qaeda, or that they’d bother spending untold billions on surveilling every e-mail, mobile phone call and google search on the planet.

        So I don’t know any more. I do know from Assad’s perspective it makes no sense to use chemical weapons in a relaltivelly built up area around Damascus on the day UN WMD inspectors turn up. And what was the military objective? If you’re going to defy trhe international community openly, at least use it gain a strategic target, send your guys in all suited and masked-up, ready to grab a vital height or crossroads. It defies military AND political logic.

        Conversely, it would suit the rebels down to the ground.

        1. jrs

          engineered in many things seems a bit much, they just have to let it happen, let whatever weapons fall into the hands of the rebels. Or use a situation when it arises. Because yes engineered is a strong claim, and yet it really does seem like a false flag.

          1. optimader

            Is it safe to extrapolate that anyone willing to eat an opposing soldiers organ meat on video is capable of most anything?

            1. Synopticist

              There isn’t the slightest doubt that elements of the so called “FSA” would be perfectly willing to carry out an attack like that if they had the capability. There’s a whole bunch of foreign al qaeda killers there after all.

              Do they have the capability? The answer partly depends on how close they are to western intel agencies I suppose, but even without it isn’t beyond impossible. There may well be former army defectors who have WMD experience, and al qaeda have a track record in chemical warfare going back to Iraq. There have also been other disputed attacks which the regime blamed on the rebels.

              I’m really reluctant to believe my own government may have had a hand in this, but when I see William Hague immediatelly claim Assad was behind it without offering a scintilla of evidence and the wholly corrupted British MSM swinging behind him without a shred of scepticism I get spooked. It starts looking like a pre-planned media messaging campaign organised by Brit secret services.

              1. optimader

                “..I’m really reluctant to believe my own government may have had a hand in this, but when I see William Hague immediatelly claim Assad was behind it without offering a scintilla of evidence and the wholly corrupted British MSM swinging behind him without a shred of scepticism I get spooked. It starts looking like a pre-planned media messaging campaign organised by Brit secret services.”

                Agreed on the reluctance.
                You can figure that pre-scripted press release responses are in the bag waiting for the event trigger.

                IMO it is reasonable to contemplate that control of chemical weapons in Syria, or for that matter imported from, say post MK Libya, is porous. I also think it is reasonable to contemplate that there would be a high value associated with releasing a chemical weapon to open the venue up for international intervention.

                Direct involvement of a western government isn’t necessary and would be an incredible blunder. If it made clear that “this will happen if that happens”, then plausible deniability is satisfied and events can take their course a the hand of the motivated parties. So goes eh wisdom of pre-broadcasting what constitutes “a line in the sand”.

                1. Doug Terpstra

                  But according to Generalissimo Colin Powell (pot), Mr. Assad (kettle) is a “pathological liar” (CBS, not the Onion). And he surely has the photo-shopped evidence to prove it. What a censored piece of redacted!

                  According to Reuters, “Syria agreed on Sunday to allow the inspectors to visit the site. The United States and its allies say evidence has been destroyed by government shelling of the area over the past five days, and the Syrian offer to allow inspectors came too late.”

                  Access granted within days, with UN inspectors already on site, is too late? Nonsense! You cannot destroy all medical and chemical evidence or eliminate witness testimony so easily with dumb bombing. This is as close to proof of a false flag operation and US complicity (if not authorship) as one can get. It’s despicable.

                  http://news.yahoo.com/obama-studies-options-syria-gas-attack-consults-uks-013947792.html

                    1. Doug Terpstra

                      Yup, the fix is in. Kerry made it official: Assad’s guilt is “undeniable” so we don’t need no stinking investigation. Your sense of smell is acute; this reeks.

                    2. optimader

                      Kerry is a clown mouthpiece.

                      I wonder if its too late for Assad to move back to London w/his UK born wife and pursue his Ophthalmology career?
                      She’s degreed in computer science, maybe she could hitch a Sys. Admin. w/ the british government?? Yeah, probably not.

                      More like:

                      Jimmy Conway: Yeah.

                      Vinnie: Yeah.

                      Jimmy Conway: Who’s this?

                      Vinnie: This is Vinnie.

                      Jimmy Conway: Vinnie, what happened?

                      Vinnie: Well we-…

                      Jimmy Conway: You get it straightened out?

                      Vinnie: No, we had a problem… and uh, we tried to do everything we could.

                      Jimmy Conway: What d’you mean?

                      Vinnie: Well, you what I mean. He’s gone, and we couldn’t do nothing about it.

                      [pause]

                      Vinnie: That’s it.

                      Jimmy Conway: What d’you mean? What d’you mean? Uh…

                      Vinnie: He’s gone. Uh, he’s gone.

                      [pause]

                      Vinnie: And that’s it.

                      Jimmy Conway: [smashing telephone] Fuck. Can’t fuckin’ believe that, can’t fuckin’…

                      Jimmy Conway: [crying] Fuck it, fuck… the fuck…

                      [Henry exits diner]

                      Henry Hill: What happened?

                      Jimmy Conway: They whacked him. They fuckin’ whacked him.

                      Henry Hill: Aw, fuck.

                      [Jimmy kicks phone booth]

                      Jimmy Conway: Motherfucker!

                      [pushes over phone booth]

                      Jimmy Conway: [cries]

                    3. optimader

                      If he were to discover the truth it may be very unsafe.
                      As a minimum consideration, there is at least one rebel leader willing to eat an advisaries organ meat on video.

          2. Fíréan

            Re. Syria and the chemical weapons attack, an article was published in the UK Daily Mail ( now deleted) and much quoted elsewhere on line at the time, january of this year, stating that USA President Obama had given a green light to a chemical weapons false flag operation in Syria.

            “US ‘backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria, blame it on Assad govt’: Report”
            Here’s the link to the Yahoo news version.
            http://in.news.yahoo.com/us-backed-plan-launch-chemical-weapon-attack-syria-045648224.html

      2. Reader since 2010

        from Mexico,
        I don’t get it? Why do we want in get involved in this civil war? At Democracy Now, Amy Goodman hinted that the real villain behind the Chemical attack were the rebel forces, it makes sense, Assad is winning, the only people who benefit are the rebels & Israel. Are we that determined to invade and destroy Iran, which I believe is the real motive. What happens when we finally destroy Iran, who’s next China, Russia, Aliens in some distant galaxy? Mex, your an expert in philosophy can you explain this madness? There has to be something more than just pure greed by those who profit from war.

        1. Saddam Smith

          I’m neither an expert nor from Mexico, but I’d say something approaching insanity, the type of insanity that comes from endemic bunker mentality in conjunction with the obvious need for the military/government to have a enemy plus the Perpetual Growth imperative of capitalism/civilisation equals ‘motive’. These people don’t want to twiddle thumbs. If they’re not fighting, if there is no enemeny, there’s no raison d’etre. I suspect its that simple (or convoluted, take your pick).

          1. from Mexico

            Saddam Smith said:

            These people don’t want to twiddle thumbs. If they’re not fighting, if there is no enemeny, there’s no raison d’etre. I suspect its that simple.

            There’s a lot of truth to that.

            I’m reminded of what Carlos Fuentes wrote in The Buried Mirror about late 16th-century/early 17th-century Spain:

            Spain at her height could do anything. She could exhaust her treasury and forget her poor, her bankrupts, her devalued currency, her incompetent economy, her overvalued currency, her recessions and depressions, her debts both internal and foreign, her deficit spending, her negative trade balance, as long as she could keep herself at the head of the mission against the infidel, the Islamic threat and the Protestant threat. But eventually reality caught up and imposed the limits that imperial folly had so easily hurdled over.

            Here’s how J.H. Elliott put it in Imperial Spain:

            It was in this atmosphere of desengaño, of national disillusionment, that Cervantes wrote his Don Quixote, of which the first part appeared in 1605 and the second in 1614. Here, among many other parables, was the parable of a nation which had set out on its crusade only to learn that it was tilting at windmills. In the end was the desengaño, for ultimately the reality would always break in on the illusion. The events of the 1590s had suddenly brought home to more thoughtful Castilians the harsh truth about their native land — its poverty in the midst of riches, its power that had shown itself impotent… It was under the influence of the arbitristas that early seventeenth-century Castile surrendered itself to an orgy of national introspection, desperately attempting to discover at what point reality had been exchanged for illusion.

            [....]

            [Spain was] a society with a false sense of values, which mistook the shadow for substance, and substance for shadow.

            [....]

            Yet the fatal over-commitment of Spain to foreign wars at a time when Castile lacked the economic and demographic resources to fight them with success, cannot be simply attributed to the blunders of one man. It reflects, rather, the failure of a generation, and of an entire governing class. Seventeenth-century Castile had become the victim of its own history, desperately attempting to re-enact the imperial glories of an ealrier age in the belief that this was the sole means of exorcising from the body politic the undoubted ills of the present. That it should have reacted in this way was not inevitable, but it was made the more probable by the very magnitude of the country’s triumphs in the preceding era. It was hard to turn one’s back on a past studded with so many successes, and it became all the harder when those successes were identified with everything that was most quintessentially Castilian. For had not the successes derived from the military valour of the Castilians and their unswerving devotion to the Church?

            It was one of the tragedies of Castile’s history that it found itself, by the end of the reign of Phillip II, in a position where it seemed that readjustment to the new economic realities could be achieved only at the price of sacrificing its most cherished ideals. However stern the warnings of the arbitristas, it was difficult for a society nurtured on war to find a substitute for the glory of battle in the tendious intricacies of mercantile ledgers, or to elevate to a position of pre-eminence the hard manual laboour it had been taught to despise.

  5. rich

    The Leveraged Buyout of America
    Giant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts. They are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy. How have they pulled this off, and where have they gotten the money?
    by Ellen Brown

    After listing some disturbing examples, they observed:

    According to legal scholar Saule Omarova, over the past five years, there has been a “quiet transformation of U.S. financial holding companies.” These financial services companies have become global merchants that seek to extract rent from any commercial or financial business activity within their reach. They have used legal authority in Graham-Leach-Bliley to subvert the “foundational principle of separation of banking from commerce”. . . .

    It seems like there is a significant macro-economic risk in having a massive entity like, say JP Morgan, both issuing credit cards and mortgages, managing municipal bond offerings, selling gasoline and electric power, running large oil tankers, trading derivatives, and owning and operating airports, in multiple countries.

    A “macro” risk indeed – not just to our economy but to our democracy and our individual and national sovereignty. Giant banks are buying up our country’s infrastructure – the power and supply chains that are vital to the economy. Aren’t there rules against that? And where are the banks getting the money?

    How Banks Launder Money Through the Repo Market

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/26-2

    1. craazyboy

      It should be obvious to the TBTFs by now, if it wasn’t already, that all they need to do is have a financial crisis and then they can buy the entire world on sale for 70% off and do it with ZIRP money.

      1. susan the other

        And Matthew Kline above re Economists Confused about Banking. Nobody seems to clearly understand how QE functions – even tho Fed governors seem to be able to give canned answers. Another BBG article this morning noted that Emerging Markets are totally freaked out about QE winding downs because they have come to depend on predictable low interest rates. And how the Fed doesn’t care about the EM, which I find that hard to believe. Especially with this tidbit: EMs have received, during the financial crisis, 3.9 trillion inflow into their economies. The Fed’s balance sheet expanded by some 3.5 trillion (what’s 400 billion among friends?). So maybe there is even more unaccounted-for money sloshing around at our TBTFs making it possible for them to buy up all of our public utilities and corporations. I guess any economist could be confused when the real economy is so under-the-table.

        1. psychohistorian

          I think the solution to this problem which I have stated many times before as a bumper sticker phrase is:

          NATIONALIZE THE FED

          The Fed was the first thing the plutocrats (the same ones who own the banks) bought years ago.

          1. Massinissa

            How the hell would nationalizing the fed help, since the plutocrats bought the government too?

            I mean my god, nothing would actually change from nationalizing the fed, at least until trustworthy people take over congress and the presidency, and that will be, oh, half past NEVER.

            1. F. Beard

              Hello-oh?

              The Fed services the credit cartel, the banks. It should be destroyed, not put under different management.

              1. susan the other

                I agree that we should nationalize the Fed, as should every country that has waited as long as we have; and I think one nationalized Fed will make no difference unless all sovereigns also nationalize their central banks in order to control them…. otherwise we have seen the devastation. We have no excuse.

            2. craazyboy

              But Obama could then inform Putin than the US Treasury has just purchased Russia and would he please return Snowden and then re-locate to Siberia so we may conclude our purchase of Syria without any more noise from the peanut gallery.

            3. Doug Terpsrtra

              Agreed, we would first have to renationalize our own government first. Few people understand the extent of the kleptocracy and just how far gone we really are.

              1. craazyboy

                Yup. Actually, for at least 5000 years many, many people have been concerned about whom gets to create money and spend it first. It’s a complicated checks and balances on power problem.

                I happen to think more checks and balances on the Fed, and more strongly defining their role as a regulator, is probably the safest way to go.

                But then I think of Larry Summers as our chief regulator…it’s time for me to get a beer.

    2. allcoppedout

      Thanks for the link. The use of repo in this form of money-laundering is very interesting.

  6. Eureka Springs

    Emerging markets? I guess the old “small business” canard has outlived it’s vague and dishonest effectiveness.

    Everything we know says the markets as they are, are a total sham, by and for the very large co’s, the very rich. To pretend we must maintain this farse called a free or emerging market is to laugh. Why TPP will surely save the day!

    It’s not about us, except for the looting.

  7. rich

    Facebook friends could change your credit score
    Choose your Facebook friends wisely; they could help you get approved — or rejected — for a loan.

    A handful of tech startups are using social data to determine the risk of lending to people who have a difficult time accessing credit. Traditional lenders rely heavily on credit scores like FICO, which look at payments history. They typically steer clear of the millions of people who don’t have credit scores.

    But some financial lending companies have found that social connections can be a good indicator of a person’s creditworthiness.

    One such company, Lenddo, determines if you’re friends on Facebook (FB) with someone who was late paying back a loan to Lenddo. If so, that’s bad news for you. It’s even worse news if the delinquent friend is someone you frequently interact with.

    “It turns out humans are really good at knowing who is trustworthy and reliable in their community,” said Jeff Stewart, a co-founder and CEO of Lenddo. “What’s new is that we’re now able to measure through massive computing power.”

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/26/technology/social/facebook-credit-score/index.html?iid=GM

    I wonder what happens if someone in your online circle buys raw milk?

  8. Ernesto Lyon

    Measles really isn’t that bad a disease in most cases. It used to be something that almost everyone survived just fine, with rare complications. Now it’s treated like a class V hurricane or something. It can be bad, but most of the time it isn’t. It’s hard to sell protection against something that people aren’t afraid of it, so they gin it up. And don’t forget that bad things happen to people who are vaccinated due to vaccine reactions (that’s why they are given by medical professionals). The calculus of the cost/benefit is never fully revealed to the consumers though.

    The vaccination story appears simple on its face: we have this great tool given to us by medical science that has prevented all of these terrible diseases, and only people made stupid by churches or taken in by misleading information on the internet, or those who are otherwise “anti-science” have any questions.

    But the reality is much more complicated. Vaccination is a multi-billion dollar business. Know why you can’t get a pediatrician visit for a sick kid any sooner than 2-3 weeks? Because the pediatrician’s docket is filled with “well-baby” appointments where healthy children get weighed, measured, and vaccinated. It’s a cash cow for the doctors office: easy visits and scheduled income. The vaccination industry will tell you that the whole thing runs at a terrible loss. Yes, and I have a fine bridge to sell you. The medical industry makes it’s money. We know that. Vaccines are no exception.

    Next, many of the recent outbreaks are occurring amongst the vaccinated, because vaccines often don’t work, or keep working (hence the need for boosters). Indeed a vaccination is a sort of insurance policy against a hypothetical dangerous exposure to a pathogen. The question with any insurance policy is whether or not the risks are justified by the premium, and the trustworthiness of the insurer.

    In the case of vaccines it is the medical industry that pushes and provides the vaccines that also vouches for the value, and the safety of the medicine. The FDA and CDC , which are supposed to protect us from snake oil and worse, has experienced regulatory capture with people moving back and forth between big pharma and the regulators. It’s no coincidence that they rarely meet a vaccine they don’t like.

    The vaccination system is broken and out of control. Keep your eyes on it and make conscious decisions. Keep in mind that your doctor is fed a stream of information from drug manufacturers both in advertising and in medical journals that it is hard for them to verify. Read Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma to understand how that works (it applies to all medicines).

    1. allcoppedout

      We should be concerned about big pharma Ernesto and its good to know you are. Measles though is dangerous and hit some communities like a plague. In roughly the last 150 years, measles has been estimated to have killed about 200 million people worldwide.

    2. SubjectivObject

      There may be a sly rationale for confidently opting out of vaccinations. To the extent the vaccinations are effective, and this reduces the population of active and communicative cases, the likelihood of needing the vaccine is proportionatley reduced.

    3. Kropotkin

      Ever consider that the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries could rake in much, much more money by not vaccinating entire populations and instead treating endemic infectious disease and associated complications with pharmaceuticals, hospitalization and invasive interventions?

  9. Jess

    The article about the AFL-CIO investigating organizing strategies in Texas opens with a picture of Richard Trumka applauding a speech by Obama.

    Tells you all you need to know. Or at least all I needed to know. Didn’t bother to read the rest.

    My father was on the Exec Board of his union. If he was alive today I think certain labor “leaders” might be in physical danger.

    1. AbyNormal

      ahhh the ole bedouin proverb: My father rode a camel, I shall ride a pick-up and my son will drive a Cadillac; however my grandson will drive a donkey.

      i trusted a donkey to the bottom of the grand canyon…my kinda ride

      1. F. Beard

        Question?

        Why are y’all called Progressives when living in the past is what you seem to prefer most? How about a relabeling to Regressive?

          1. skippy

            People that label themselves… have a tendency to label others… its an orientation issue… need to *create* a landscape… in which they can navigate.

            skippy…. sort of like this science:

            Rapture Index 186

            Net Change unch

            Updated Aug 26, 2013

            http://www.raptureready.com/rap2.html

            2010 High 174 2011 High 184 2012 High 187 2013 High 188
            2010 Low 168 2011 Low 172 2012 Low 176 2013 Low 183

            Record High 188 Record Low 58
            18 Feb 13 12 Dec 93

            Rapture Index of 100 and Below: Slow prophetic activity
            Rapture Index of 100 to 130: Moderate prophetic activity
            Rapture Index of 130 to 160: Heavy prophetic activity
            Rapture Index above 160: Fasten your seat belts

          2. F. Beard

            Well gold-bugs are fun to massacre and I might be getting rusty since they’ve been hunted to near extinction here.

              1. skippy

                “Fill in Blank ________ are fun to massacre and I might be getting rusty since they’ve been hunted to near extinction here.” – beardo

                skippy… and some wounder… how we got here… sigh…

                1. F. Beard

                  I knew you’d jump at that, skippy. So predictable.

                  But ask yourself how many gold-buggery has massacred literally?

                  1. skippy

                    Its got nothing to do with gold bugs… just humankind’s longest death parade…. all going according… too the ***script***.

                    Hint… the universe does not care about – you – it does not or was not created with – you – in mind…. billions of years vs. a few hundred thousand of which 10 thousand were even remotely aware and some hundred considered cognitive (for some).

                    skippy… smug superiority based on some divinity… has to be the most unfounded vulgarity… shared by – with the .001% and like them… killing makes them feel superior too.

              2. F. Beard

                And what can you do with Zen? Pretend you’re not starving when you are?

                And if life is designed, as I suspect, to drive one to his knees, how long before you are on yours?

        1. punchnrun

          What happens when you prune a rose or pinch off a bud at the and of a shoot? You get renewed vigor, branching and more blossoms. Sometimes one must regress to make progress.

          No offense take, we can see you’re just bustin on us, anyway.

    2. punchnrun

      If I were to be permitted to stable a donkey in my little tract house, there is no doubt there would be one here now. And chickens in the yard. But that’s just me.

    1. auskalo

      A nice summary of briton BS casino player, indeed!

      Savings glut? Or german and french banks’ casino credit?

      What does England produce, but credit and debt? Bankers?

      Casino lawyers?

  10. Yalt

    “About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.”

    I’m curious: did that 9% include those who responded “If Obama wants to fight a war in Syria he should go over there and fight it himself”?

    1. curlydan

      Let’s just institute the draft for this Syrian adventure where the chances of being picked are directly proportional to parents’ income.

      1. psychohistorian

        How about parent’s wealth instead of income. Otherwise I agree completely!

        Income is for the little people. The plutocrats are taken care of by their trusts and such.

  11. Doug Terpstra

    It’s official “US Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned what he said was the ‘undeniable’ use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23844643

    The verdict is in, so there’s no need for any investigation. US warplanes are massing in Cyprus, and war appears imminent. Are our embassies still closed?

    1. jrs

      Good point about the closed embassies, disturbance in the force indeed. And Congress, our useless Congress, where are they as war starts? On holiday of course!

    2. jrs

      P.S. this lame duck thing is becoming a real nightmare. I’d rather trade it in for a not so differently abled duck at this point.

    3. craazyboy

      These are sketchy one liners from RANsquawk or somewhere. But looks like they are trying to get Turkish and Putin’s permissions. Then it’s always good to have the IDF confirm things.

      *RUSSIAN, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSSED SYRIA BY PHONE
      *PUTIN, CAMERON DISCUSSED SYRIA IN PHONE CALL, KREMLIN SAYS
      *CAMERON, PUTIN SAY CHEMICAL WEAPON USE MERITS SERIOUS RESPONSE
      ‘IDF intercepted Syrian regime chatter on chemical attack’ – Times of Israel

    4. look! over there!

      wow, a disastrous war. This can only mean that Greenwald has some really spectacular Big Brother stories comin up. Maybe NSA shot themselves some Oprah upskirts.

      1. craazyboy

        Yeah little bro. Everyone knows we don’t have disastrous wars anymore. But I still dread the day when they tell us we really gotta pay for all this crap and I get a $100 tax bill for each Oprah beav shot.

  12. Lambert Strether

    So if we get to whack Assad because “he gassed his own people,” does Assad get to whack us because Obama killed a US citizen with a drone strike and no due process? Just asking.

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