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Links 9/3/13

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Five reasons for optimism about unions this Labor Day The Hill

Why Isn’t Every Monday Like Labor Day? Huffington Post

From a Moment to a Movement Robert Kuttner

Fukushima radiation levels ’18 times higher’ than thought BBC News. Whoops, the machines testing radiation levels couldn’t read the high levels at the plant.

New Lifeline for Home Buyers WSJ. FHA cutting their waiting period for foreclosure victims to qualify for one of their loans down to one year.

Libya and Its Contexts Jacobin

Two and a Half Years Later: Inside ‘Liberated’ Syria Reem Salahi

More Than 2M Have Fled Syria – UN BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Top-secret U.S. intelligence files show new levels of distrust of Pakistan Washington Post. Snowden’s latest.

Brazil and Mexico Probe NSA Claims BBC

Brazil, Mexico ask U.S. to explain if NSA spied on presidents Reuters

How the NSA Misleads the Public Without Technically Lying Gizmodo

The NSA’s Crypto “Breakthrough” The Economist

Rescuing California: How Jerry Brown Turned Around the Golden State | Politics News Rolling Stone. A few days old, but man is this terrible. I’d say about 80% of this article is flat-out untrue. The national media has air-dropped themselves into California time and again, and because Jerry Brown is someone they’ve heard of and he dazzles them with quotes about Roman history, they write up these glorifying tributes to how he “single-handedly” turned around California. This couldn’t be further from the truth; if anything, Brown’s austerity fetish is holding the state back a bit at a time it should be thriving more, or at least distributing the revenue windfall he refuses to acknowledge. And his position on prisons, amid a massive hunger strike, is truly abhorrent; we’re about to bail out the private prison industry to the tune of about $750 million. It disturbs me that practically nobody in the media understands all this.

GDP Drag From State and Local Governments Calculated Risk

Banks Face a New Set of Capital Rules Financial Times

Smaller Banks’ Loans Growing Faster Than Larger Rivals WSJ

Goldman Sachs Announces They’re Blowing Up A Nursing Home And There’s Nothing Anyone Can Do About It The Onion

Making ‘Too Big To Fail’ Banks Help Poor Borrowers David Cay Johnston

Investors Are Doing Better Than Workers Bloomberg

Philly teachers turn to crowd funding for supplies AP

Why Oil Companies Want to Drop Acid in California Take Part

Norway Oil Riches Up for Grabs as Anti-Tax Group Set to Win Bloomberg

Russian Law Isolates Gay Teenagers Washington Post

Photo Gallery: The Chancellor’s Chain Reaction Der Spiegel. Apparently German elections as vapid and focused on Internet memes as ours.

Diana Nyad completes Cuba-Florida swim USA Today

Antidote du jour:

77e67cd6e9ec986be3378280ab780f69

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74 comments

      1. AbyNormal

        Morning: Slept.
        Afternoon: Slept.
        Evening: Ate grass.
        Night: Ate grass. Decided grass is boring.
        Scratched. Hard to reach the itchy bits.
        Slept.
        j.french/diary of a wombat

        ahhh, life in the wombat lane. TopOfTheDaySkips’))

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Kind of like howler monkeys. They spend 90% of their time either sleeping or howling.

          Come to think of it, our mainstream media political/economic bloggers are like that too.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Huh, here I thought wombats were a figment of Hunter S Thompson’s narcotic-addled imagination. I don’t know why he was so terrified of them; they’re irresistibly cute.

        1. CB

          They’re also extremely territorial and big enough to do some real damage to humans who don’t get out of their way fast enough. The male wombat at Steve’s Irwin’s animal park chased Steve out of his enclosure, more than once.

      2. Emma

        This is by some little vegemite back in Oz:

        The Australian Wombat weaves
        A legend of what he achieves
        When out on a date
        With a wombatty mate
        He always eats roots, shoots and leaves.

  1. NotSoSure

    The Telegraph has been carrying a lot of news saying how the UK economy has turned around. Is this true? If austerity is not working then who is buying?

    1. LucyLulu

      Growth projections have been revised upwards to 1.8% by the OECD, which I presume is the basis for the upbeat reports by the Telegraph. Whether this is the result of austerity is debatable as other large advanced economies such as the US and Japan, which have not been considered to have implemented austerity policies, are seeing a similar upsurge. Also there are still risks to any “recovery” from the Fed backing off its QE policies and emerging economies, as reported here on NC. Also, I don’t know about the UK but here in the US, any recovery is being “trickled up” to the rich while the middle class continues with high unemployment and suppressed wages. Abe fears Japan’s economy will falter if they are unable to soon restart their nuclear power plants and wean off more expensive fossil fuels (which is affecting how Fukushima is being handled, unfortunately). The EU and China continue to face difficulties. Will the US, despite reassurances we are NOT going to war (I’m skeptical an attack won’t provoke a response that will provide sufficient justification for our warmongerers), find itself in another long and economy-draining war as domestic programs are being defunded? It’s been projected by Am. Soc. of Civil Engineers that if the US fails to invest $2T on infrastructure by 2020, our economy will suffer a corresponding loss of $5T. We have tens of thousands of bridges that require repairs. There is no talk of investment anywhere near this magnitude, if at all.

      The Telegraph, IIRC, is a newspaper with a conservative bias. Here are two stories from a progressive news outlet that offer a bit different slant:

      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/sep/03/ed-balls-george-osborne-economy

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/03/talk-economic-recovery-rings-hollow?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

    2. Richard Kline

      I appreciate the link to Reem Salahi’s reportage from inside North Syria. That is the face of the Syrian Revlolution as is has appeared in hundreds of reports also from within the country; of the facts on the ground; of who is who, and what they do. This report is not unique: it mirrors all the rest with a face that cannot be faked at the scale of information readily available.

      Revolutions are awfully tough. Many are killed; wealth vanishes; places are ruined; economy is dead for the duration and well afterward. It’s no easy road, only taken when prevailing conditions become unendurable. I hope that anyone with a view and position on intervention in Syria takes the time to read it and see what is really at stake.

  2. from Mexico

    @ “Brazil, Mexico ask U.S. to explain if NSA spied on presidents”

    From the article:

    Kerry said the NSA surveillance was aimed at protecting Americans and Brazilians from terrorist attacks.

    I think the only people Mexico’s president Peña Nieto is going to terrorize are the Mexican people, and this on behalf of the transnational corporate class and the US deep state.

    The US deep state seems to be paranoid, not even trusting its closest assets.

    1. CB

      “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” Henry IV, but true as long as humans have worn crowns. There is no such thing as a genuinely benevolent monarch, altho most now have been defanged and dictatorships are more the modern style.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does the NSA spy on cats?

      What if the bad guys train cats to be their carrier pigeons?

      If they don’t, I hope it’s not because they lack money.

    3. charles sereno

      Nobody replied to my puzzle yesterday. “Poodle” seemed too Old World. Am I unfair? (cihuahua, Brazil)

      charles sereno says:
      September 2, 2013 at 8:52 pm
      Puzzle: What head of state is being labeled a c_______a by his lack of response to reports emanating from B____l?

  3. kimyo

    john kerry on climate change:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/02/john-kerry-science-on-climate-change-is-irrefutable-and-it-is-alarming/

    US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the evidence for climate change was beyond dispute…

    “The science is clear. It is irrefutable and it is alarming,” Kerry told a climate conference in Majuro in the Marshall Islands in a video address from Washington

    john kerry on chemical weapons attacks in syria:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/30/john-kerry-syria-attack-clear-evidence

    John Kerry advanced what he called a “clear and compelling” case that Syria was responsible for a chemical attack that killed nearly 1,500 people

    “We know that these were specific instructions. We know where the rockets were launched from and at what time; we know where they landed and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighbourhoods.”

    The secretary of state sought to reassure the public that the intelligence, which has come under growing scrutiny in recent days, was reliable. “This is common sense,” he said. “This is evidence. These are facts.

    our pro-fracking, pro-nuclear power, pro-monsanto administration/president doesn’t give a shit about the environment. their ‘solution’ to ‘climate change’ will be just as effective as obamacare.

    1. Synopticist

      “we know where the rockets were launched from and at what time; we know where they landed and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighbourhoods.”

      Show us then. Don’t just expect us to believe you.

  4. Kevin Smith

    Someone from TEPCO was on BBC last night explaining that the 1.8 Sieverts/hr was BETA radiation [DIFFERENT from gamma rays]. Beta rays are blocked by, for example, 1 cm of wood. Still dangerous, but easier to manage than gamma radiation.

      1. diptherio

        Yeah, you know those guys who have been lying through their teeth since day one?…they now assure us that even though they were lying, it really isn’t all that bad. Why wouldn’t we believe them? What are you, some kind of conspiracy theorist? Jeez…

      2. LucyLulu

        As I’ve pointed out before, the risk at Fukushima is not the credibility of the level of radiation at a single source, but the difficulties posed by the vast amounts of contaminated water. This is complicated by Tepco being tasked to handle the problem independently and without meaningful oversight, as they have since the onset of the disaster, a job that Tepco is not equipped to dealing with.

        Abe again promises the government will step in and take over handling the problem and ensuring regulatory agencies such as the NRA will supervise the work. These promises have been made many times before. The international community stands ready to step in and help. Japan needs to accept this help but my understanding is that this is counter to their cultural values. In addition, Abe has conflicting interests in his need to restart other nuclear plants due to what he sees as a risk of the continued use of expensive imported fossil fuels on Japan’s delicate recovery. Politically, the more Fukushima appears to pose a threat to the people, the more difficult it is for him to get the needed support to restart the other plants. Thus, he is motivated to downplay the problems. Unfortunately, calling in international help would not play well in this regard. A major and immediate threat may need to develop first.

        I’m not denying there isn’t some risk to the US, particularly with seafood as time develops. But bear in mind, the largest risk is posed by the workers at Fukushima. The second largest risk is posed by those who live in Japan, particularly on the Honshu mainland. Hawaii would most likely be next affected. In comparison, the risk to mainland US is small. Monitoring the Japanese population is the best means of predicting future effects here at home.

        Understandably, obtaining this data is difficult however. Tepco and the Japanese government have not been forthcoming. Having followed the disaster closely the first six months, and having developed a deep range of sources from both within Japan and the international community, so that I could double and triple check info, I know this all too well. I read thousands of pages of documents, including many for background info, and corresponded regularly with experts in the field who answered questions for me and let me know when I was making false assumptions. It was my obsession, literally.

        My advice is to BEWARE of media sources. There are MANY fearmongering sources out there that make grossly inaccurate reports and wild predictions…….. consistently. Go back and check out their past reports, have the outcomes they definitively talked of come to fruition? One will find more accurate reporting from MSM than some of these “sky is falling” sources. (And no, I’m not a pro-nuclear advocate. We face similar risks here in the US, same old reactors, though a lower level as our regulation/oversight is better, assuming no terrorist attacks. I’m pro-renewable resources, unless/until cold fusion is perfected.)

        1. optimader

          “Tepco and the Japanese government have not been forthcoming.”
          Read: They have been premeditatedly been lying

          I’m sorry, but irrevocable, uncontained and uncontrolled increases in manmade radiation into MY environment does NOT comport with “small” when it come to risk.

          Tepco/J.gov. have not even come CLOSE to getting in front of this debacle, to the point of not even being competent enough to build fabricated tanks w/ properly torqued flange fasteners. Tanks w/o out level gauges…Shoot me.
          Have you seen the spacing of the tanks on the tank farm?
          It criminal IMO. And this is NOT even the core (excuse the pun) risk in this clstrfk.

          The Japanese gov. will continue to obfuscate and play fast and loose because the countries energy balance is in deep trouble.

    1. Paul P

      The problem with Beta, as I understand it, is not its radiating at a distance, as gamma rays do in an x-ray machine.

      The problem arises when some Beta element is ingested into your body and it substitutes for some element in your cells. The Beta the zaps you constantly, until your body replaces the cell. In the meantime, your cells DNA could be changed to some pre-cancerous state.

    2. LucyLulu

      Beta radiation is less penetrating than gamma (X-rays). Alpha (emitted by neutron/protons of heavier elements, e.g. polonium decay implicated in causing lung cancer related to tobacco, radium decay to radon) radiation is the most dangerous type of all, with effects seen at 1/10th or less the dose of gamma or beta, but has such low penetration it requires ingestion. That doesn’t mean beta radiation effects would be absent, esp. at 1.8Sv. Beta is the type radiation that has been typically encountered at Fukushima, the type emitted from cesium, iodine, and strontium. Radiation at that level would pose difficulties for workers in the area if not wearing protective gear and limiting exposure times. A dose of 2 Sv beta radiation is considered sufficient to cause delayed skin effects, redness and peeling, perhaps swelling, a few weeks later, similar to a sunburn. There would be a higher risk for development of basal cell carcinoma decades later. The same 2 Sv is the generally established threshold limit for a single exposure and cataract formation. Under 1 Sv, cataract formation is considered unknown. Cataract formation in response to radiation, unlike other effects, has been extensively studied. IIRC, above info can be found at the CDC site. As Paul alluded to, other effects can be seen if beta radiation is ingested or inhaled (as in iodine, which concentrates in the thyroid gland, or strontium in bones). However, the primary exposure concern to workers from storage tanks at Fukushima comes from cesium. BTW, a single acute dose of 8 Sv will be fatal (6-8 Sv is gray area, 50-100% will die). Higher doses can be tolerated if received over time (not implying these types doses are recommended over any time period).

      Nuclear workers are usually limited to exposures of 50 mSv per year (0.05 Sv). IIRC, Fukushima has raised the limit to 100 mSv (0.1 Sv) in the wake of the crisis. There is no protective gear I’m aware of that provides anywhere close to full protection from radiation, only effectively limiting ingestion by respiration while somewhat decreasing the levels of cutaneous exposure. (And I think we can safely assume workers don’t drink or eat anything obtained from onsite sources.)

      1. optimader

        Beta is the type radiation that has been typically encountered at Fukushima, the type emitted from cesium, iodine, and strontium. Radiation at that level would pose difficulties for workers in the area if not wearing protective gear and limiting exposure times.

        Beta radiation poses a risk to anyone that ingests/metabolizes a source…FULLSTOP.

        “And no, I’m not a pro-nuclear advocate.”
        I am pro nuclear, just not the technical/commercial model that exists today.

        “We face similar risks here in the US, same old reactors, though a lower level as our regulation/oversight is better, assuming no terrorist attacks.”

        I know several frmr NRC professionals that could very easily make you take a long stiff pull off your drink :o/
        Is the jnrc bad or worse? Maybe. Our NRC is co-opted and so far we are purely lucky, plain and simple. I have heard ridiculously obscene stories out of the nuke industry.

        1. optimader

          meant to say
          “Beta radiation poses a risk to anyone that ingests/metabolizes a source… “and you don’t need to be in the proximity of fukushima for that to occur.

          As I read your comment, maybe incorrectly, you seem to focus on risk to workers. You can breathe an aerosolized particle in Oregon and be fkd

  5. financial matters

    I liked this link that Calcagus suggested yesterday. It show the practical background that Wray has for his descriptive MMT theory (MMT primer) which also includes the prescription of JG.

    http://www.economonitor.com/lrwray/2012/07/23/why-were-screwed/

    “Bill Black insisted we were overlooking the most important factor, fraud. To be more specific, Bill called it control fraud, where top corporate management runs an institution as a weapon to loot shareholders and customers to the benefit of top management. While I was open to his argument back in 2006, I could never have conceived of the scope of Wall Street’s depravity. It is all about fraud. As I’ve said, this crisis is like Shrek’s Onion, with fraud in every layer. There is, quite simply, no part of the financial system that is not riddled with fraud.”

    “First, there are no regulators to stop it, and no prosecutors to punish it. But, far more importantly, fraud is the business model.”

    “In the second scenario, the 99% occupy, shut down, and obliterate Wall Street. Honestly, I have no idea how that can happen. I am waiting for suggestions”

    I think David Graeber’s Occupy movements have some interesting ideas here.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ask Bill Black what happens to the best government money can buy when it can print as much money as it likes?

      Do you get a new set of people, saint-like in this case, in that government?

      1. financial matters

        Limits on printing are still there. It’s more about asking the question, why is there plenty of money to bail out the banks or go to war but not to fund education, health care, useful employment?

        Once people understand more what the real choices are that enables them to take more power to make better choices.

        I thought Fadhel Kaboub described it well for Egypt..

        http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2013/09/a-financial-sovereignty-strategy-for-egypt.html

        “The good news for Egypt is that a social and political movement is slowly beginning to clearly articulate its economic grievances, reject neoliberal reforms, and demand alternative economic plans. The pro-democracy youth movement and the independent labor unions are starting to mature as political forces after being overwhelmed by the Muslim Brotherhood and the pro-business establishment forces. The challenge for Egyptians today, however, is to convince the military leaders that the path towards stability and prosperity is possible if they reject neoliberal policies and address the root causes of the country’s structural economic problems.

        Egypt’s leaders understand the concept of “national sovereignty” (political and territorial sovereignty), but unfortunately they are unaware of the critical role played by financial sovereignty (http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2011/07/mmp-blog-6-what-is-sovereign-currency.html, which Egypt lacks because of its massive external debt (not to be confused with domestic debt denominated in Egyptian pounds).”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Why is there plenty of money to bail out banks…?

          That’s why the question is not, do we have enough money.

          We have enough money.

          1. financial matters

            I don’t think a lot of people understand that as when social issues come up they start worrying about the debt ceiling.

            These IMF type social austerity measures have been harmful to many countries for many years.

            It digs them deeper in debt rather than enabling them to build out through domestic production and consumption with less debt denominated in foreign currencies.

            The US has abused its reserve currency ‘advantage’ by using the money for McMansions rather than factories. And we’re having trouble shrugging off this FIRE sector predominance for productive labor employing industry.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              There are at least 3 parties here:

              you and me
              the government
              0.01%

              When there is no money for the first, when it has been taken by the last, if you just give power to the second to print more money, it’s easy to overlook what the last party has done.

              It might be easier to swallow had the second party not been bought by the last.

              1. financial matters

                Well said ;)

                The key is to empower the first to truly become the second.

                And develop better policies to enhance equity over debt to ‘euthanize’ the rentier advantage of the third.

                1. LucyLulu

                  The only way to empower the first in the second is to remove the third’s money from the second.

                  Since SCOTUS declared corporations to be people, we apparently need a constitutional amendment to undeclare them. As Walter Map eloquently explained in a quote in links yesterday by Huxley commenting on Citizens United, corporations have more rights than people:

                  “The corporation is essentially a mechanism for increasing one’s rights while decreasing one’s liabilities. The more powerful your corporation the greater your rights and the smaller your liabilities. If your corporation is sufficiently powerful you can do whatever you want and never have to answer for it, depending on how much grief you get from other people with power. For obvious reasons, criminals love corporations.

                  That means anybody who is not a corporate officer is de facto and de jure a second-class citizen. This contradicts the 14th amendment “guarantee” to equal protection, but so what?”….

                  Loved the quote, Walter!

        2. charles sereno

          “The challenge for Egyptians today, however, is to convince the military leaders that the path towards stability and prosperity is possible if they reject neoliberal policies and address the root causes of the country’s structural economic problems.” (F. Kaboub)

          Convince the military to change what they’ve been doing?

    2. Calgacus

      Thanks, but that wasn’t me, it was Nobody’s comment. I disagree strongly with the idea ” that the JG won’t cure anything by itself”. Wray doesn’t mention it at all in that article. Although one could (weakly) argue that since he says “Honestly, I have no idea how that [obliteration of Wall Street] can happen.” he is saying that. Also his “But they are not planning and conspiring for the restoration of feudalism” is naive. They most certainly, most consciously are.

      The JG is not a band-aid on cancer, but an explosive that will weaken and inevitably destroy the whole rotten structure. Like blowing up a dam. It may take a little time, but the force of water behind the dam is enormous. The bad guys understand this perfectly well. Grover Norquist has said that if a lesser measure is adopted – a real National Health single payer system in the USA – then he and his “conservative” troops should just admit defeat, pack up and go home.

      1. financial matters

        Thanks for the clarification and thanks for the comment.

        I also think that these are powerful ideas whose time has come.

  6. from Mexico

    @ “Libya and Its Contexts”

    That is a fabulous article, and Greg Shupak lays out all the dirt on the US/NATO intervention in Libya to show it was hardly a “humanitarian” intervention.

    What drove the US/NATO intervention in Libya was realpolitik combined with the quixotic quest to spread American-style “democratic capitalism” everywhere, with the end result being that US/NATO committed and/or facilitated some of the most unspeakable war crimes conceivable to humankind. The fact that the liberal interventionists goo over all this with a layer of self-righteous piousness does not change the underlying reality: the US/NATO intervention, to paraphrase Bernard Williams, was a demonstration of the “priority of politics to morality.” Can we say Henry Kissinger?

    And as Shupak points out, at least the conservatives are somewhat more honest about their motivation: self-interest. Or to be more specific, the special interests of a small minority of Americans — the military-industrial complex — which the conservatives, in their own bout of hypocisy, attempt to pass off as the “national” interest.

    But I would fault Shupak for one thing, and that is that he gets carried away on a cloud of Enligtenment Utopianism. He tells us that:

    What is needed is for debates about the legitimacy of political violence and intervention to be based on a consistent application of coherent principles and scrupulous attention to the particular details of each conflict, for there are no simple, one-size-fits-all answers to questions about the legitimacy of the use of political violence.

    Good luck with that. As Arthur Schelisinger Jr. put it: “The heart of man is obviously not OK.” And as moral psychologists like Jonathan Haidt and Counter-Enlightenment thinkers like David Hume have pointed out, the human capacity for moral reasoning is quite limited. Without a balance of power, morality has a way of flying out the window. Montisquieu’s discovery, contained in one sentence, spells out the forgotten principle underlying the whole structure of separated powers: that only “power arrests power.” Even if we assume that law and principle are capable of checking state violence, the limitation they set upon the use of political violence can only result in a decrease of its potency.

    How well this part of Montesquieu’s teaching was understood in the days of the foundation of the republic. On the level of theory, its greatest defender was John Adams, whose entire political thought turned about the balance of powers, for example when he wrote:

    Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all His laws. Our passions, ambitions, avarice, love and resentment, etc., possess so much metaphysical subltlety and so much overpowering eloquence that they insinuate themselves into the understanding and the conscience and convert both to their party.

    [....]

    Power must be opposed to power, force to force, strength to strength, interest to interest, as well as reason to reason, eloquence to eloquence, and passion to passion.

    1. charles sereno

      I suspect this is not the best forum for an extended philosophical discussion. I’d like, however, to ask one question and hear your response. Then I’ll leave it at that for this time. Your arguments and examples here and previously, I think it’s fair to say, can be characterized as anti-Enlightenment in this respect: Although you recognize the value of reason, you do not accept that it has played or perhaps even should play a DOMINANT role in human affairs, what I take to be close to a Haidtian approach. Of course, I’ll let you speak for yourself. My question is this. In Obama’s better moments, when he speaks about his (honest) beliefs while understanding and reaching out to others, how does that differ from your own view?

  7. real

    Regarding thi topic:
    Top-secret U.S. intelligence files show new levels of distrust of Pakistan
    Look hat american expert on india,pakistan says in interview to indian express

    Tell us about the change in attitudes. In India, Pakistan, Washington, and the change in attitudes vis-a-vis each other. There are many variables.

    In the case of Pakistan, we always believed that Pakistanis were a true ally. And they would tell us that. The Pakistani argument was that the Americans betrayed Pakistan many, many times. There was some truth in that but it was clearly an exaggerated story. I think the war in Afghanistan, the American soldiers in Afghanistan, has put paid to that argument.

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/you-either-normalise-with-china-or-normalise-with-pakistan.-its-easier-to-normalise-with-pakistan.-in-the-long-run-competition-will-be-with-china/1163579/0
    I regularly teach American officers in various summer schools, and seven years ago they started telling me, ‘Professor, I’ve served in Afghanistan for a year and the people who were shooting at me were coming from Pakistan. They are our ally. Why are they doing this?’ I would tell them that Pakistan is playing a double game. And that began a slow shift in American opinion about Pakistan. Ironically some Republicans are more anti-Pakistani than the Democrats. It used to be the other way around.

  8. rich

    Detroit Billionaires Get Arena Help as Bankrupt City Suffers

    At the 1997 groundbreaking for a 40,000-seat ballpark for Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers, Michigan Governor John Engler said the stadium would symbolize the city’s renewal.

    Ford Motor Co. (F) Chairman William Clay Ford Jr., whose family owns the National Football League’s Lions, said in 1999 that his new 65,000-seat dome would “showcase the city’s turnaround.”

    Now that Detroit has become the biggest U.S. municipality to declare bankruptcy, it’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s turn to tout a comeback spurred by a stadium for a suburban fan base financed with help from city taxpayers. Snyder approved a plan to put public money toward a $450 million downtown arena on behalf of the the National Hockey League’s Red Wings and their billionaire owners.

    The 18,000-seat complex and a planned $200 million private development nearby would transform a blighted area into one with apartments, offices, restaurants and shops, says Snyder, who controls the city through an appointed manager. Critics call the plan a giveaway to Mike Ilitch, owner of the Red Wings, the Tigers and the Little Caesar’s pizza chain.

    “It’s going to be very tough, in my opinion, to make the case that the city of Detroit should go into bankruptcy so they can simply go in and just raid pensions or give money to the Red Wings,” said the Rev. Charles Williams II, senior pastor at Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in the city.
    Hockeytown Agonistes

    Yet six days after the Detroit’s filing, an arm of state’s economic development corporation gave preliminary approval to sell $450 million in tax-exempt bonds to finance a 650,000-square-foot facility to replace Joe Louis Arena, the home of the Red Wings since 1979.

    Bipartisan Scorn

    However, the state still must take money from programs to make up for cash benefiting the Iliches, said Shikha Dalmia, a senior analyst for the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, which describes itself as a public-policy think tank promoting free-market economics.

    “The left should be crying bloody murder,” Dalmia said. “Why are you diverting money that’s meant for Detroit school children to this guy’s pocket? And the right should be crying about crony capitalism. They could easily have passed another state law which allowed this money to go to fighting crime, or a bazillion other things.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-03/detroit-billionaires-get-hockey-arena-as-bankrupt-city-suffers.html

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Just print more money and we won’t need to talk about things like helping out the 0.01%.

    2. Skeptic

      What really gets me is that some of the leading Alternative folk have no understanding of how Professional/Collegiate/Olympic Sports are intimately connected to and owned by the 1%. They are at the very least, Cartels.

      Dimwit Michael Moore for example:

      “Michigan raised documentary filmmaker Michael Moore appears in a Detroit Tigers hat in many of his films. Cover of DVD set of The Awful Truth featuring Michael Moore”

      http://nethelper.com/article/Detroit_Tigers

      I see alternative folk all the time in expensive, logoized sportz gear. Usually when you see a labor demo, there will be Michael Moore wannabe dimwits in Yankee, Nike, Adidas, etc. gear advertising for their Enemies. They had no understanding of how the System is linked. Pretty hard to take when the victims themselves do not even know who victimizes them.

      The recent demos in Brazil against professional and Olympic sportz hopefully heralds a change in these attitudes:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/06/protests-spread-across-brazil/100536/

      Workers unite, you have nothing to lose but your favorite sportz teams!

      1. anon y'mouse

        I tend to think of sports as the new opiate of the masses.

        besides the weather, work and taxes it is probably one of the only communal subjects of conversation most people feel comfortable discussing, because it is one of the only areas which can be argued about with any civility.

        imagine what would be left to talk about at those family gatherings without sports. it is truly sad to me that this is the case–that the important things can’t be talked about because we all have bought our position and refuse to budge.

        did we allow it, or was this state of “nothing important can be talked about” created for us? one imagines the latter.

        1. LucyLulu

          Having a family heavily predominated by women, we don’t discuss sports at family gatherings. Oh to be able to argue sports but alas, it would generate no response as there is no interest or knowledge from my sisters or nieces. Holidays would be considerably less bloody. Merowww!

          If anyone’s interested, will be sending out invitations for Thanksgiving soon.

  9. Jess

    The Jerry Brown myth is a fraud. Here’s a few examples of the turnaround that’s not a turnaround:

    1. The pension funding liabilities are still way out of whack and the temporary Wall Street bubble is not going to solve them.

    2. The LA-SF HSR fiasco, which Brown conned and coerced voters into going along with is now slated to run, not from LA to SF, but from Bakersfield to Modesto. (From gangs and oil wells to gangs and Foster Farms chickens.) And it will cost at least 8 times what the original estimate was. Now, problems with right of way, delays (behind schedule on everything, and some court challenges) make it likely that, thank God, it will never be built. (Of course, the money spent on it, and targeted for future spending, could be used for education, social services, etc., but hey, when it’s a boondoggle you gotta boondoggle it all the way.)

    3. The goddamn prison guards union extracted a new exemption from limits on overtime pay accruing toward pension calculations. Seeing that the average prison guard accrues TWO MONTHS of overtime per year, that’s a helluva boost in pensions. (Thanks to a new state law, no other public employees get this golden bennie.)

    I could go on longer, but I’m already feeling nauseous. And to think I was once a huge Jerry Brown supporter, back in the old days when either he was different or I was a whole lot dumber and naive.

    1. charles sereno

      Jess, when you recover from your nausea, I hope you’ll enlighten us even more about Moonbeam. The reporter almost made me barf. Maybe he hopes to be Press Secretary next term.

  10. Kim Kaufman

    Jerry Brown is trying to divert money from the recently passed Prop 30 – which was supposed to be for education – to pay for more prisons. I have heard it’s his right-wing wife who is making the decisions these days.

  11. Eureka Springs

    In the midst of what most certainly must be great tension Isreal fires missiles in the Mediterranean today, calling it a “test”.

    Google blocks SANA from search results.

    And Obama heads to Sweden which happens to be where tests are being conducted on alleged chem weapons in Syria last week.

    Tests conducted at the Think-tank/research organization “FOI”. FOI were apparently caught last year for having secret ties to Saudi Arabia helping them with building missiles…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Simoom

    (H/T MOA comments section)

    Enough to make one lose their lunch before lunch time.

    1. optimader

      “…The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 millisieverts an hour.

      However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could only read measurements of up to 100 millisieverts.

      The new recording, using a more sensitive device, showed a level of 1,800 millisieverts an hour…”

      These numb-nuts are running a nuke facility.. No one is this stupid, therefore it must be Global Terrorism w/a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

  12. Yonatan

    “Goldman Sachs Announces They’re Blowing Up A Nursing Home And There’s Nothing Anyone Can Do About It”

    Don’t give them ideas. They would probably actually do it, just for the lulz.

  13. Hugh

    The US has a population of around 312 million and Pakistan has a population of 177 million. It is a big country and very unstable. In a lot of ways, this should be a bigger concern for the Indians and Iranians than us.

    Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are our two biggest allies in the War on Terror. This is, of course, completely nuts as they are also the two biggest sources of anti-US terror. The Taliban which sheltered Osama bin Laden and al Qaida was a creation of the Pakistan’s intelligence services. Far from being allies in our occupation of Afghanistan, an idiot imperial adventure if ever there was one, Pakistan has been extortionate rates, as in tens of thousands of dollars, per truck going to supply US troops in Afghanistan. At the same time, they have been propping up the Taliban because they calculate the US will, eventually, leave Afghanistan and the Taliban not Karzai will return to power there.

    I wrote on another thread about the threat of failing states like Syria. Pakistan has been scaring the beejesus out of even neocons for years now because it has been steadily drifting in this direction as well. A failing state with nuclear weapons and a population of 177 million is scary no matter where you sit on the political spectrum. Importantly however, while our current kleptocratic leaderships are worried about Pakistan imploding, they have done virtually nothing since 9/11 to stabilize the country.

    1. allcoppedout

      Fear not Hugh – BBC Newsnight is discussing the Lake District’s world heritage status.

      The number of mad countries with nuclear weapons surely pales against the fate of Wordsworth’s paradise of golden daffodils. Pakistan, India, North Korea, Israel … and what goes on in that lead mine in Borrowdale!

      We may as well speak gibberish in this kleptomadocracy. We wander lonely and wet by drizzle in the Lakes just doesn’t hack public desire for “nice days”. I’m 60 and know both that I was brought up on centuries of lies and that my fellows can’t live without more lies.

      Foreign policy is about hosts of golden daffodils. Pakistan is where taxi drivers come from. I don’t know how we break through the ignorance. Education has failed, as captured as the media and politics.

      Maybe we need a crazier approach? By people without red buttons within arm’s reach.

  14. Glenn Condell

    Australia’s 3 commercial TV networks refuse to air anti-Murdoch advert:

    http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/antimurdoch-ad-banned-from-television-20130903-2t37c.html

    Commissioned by our Move On counterpart Get Up to highlight the absurd and extreme anti-Labour bias of the dominant Murdoch press, the only three commercial majors exercise their right in a free country not to air it and of course the ABC can’t (it’s ad free) Result, it doesn’t get seen.

    It is bracing, character-building even, to live in such a free country. Mr Murdoch should try it some time.

  15. Institute for Study of the Obvious

    Perhaps we underestimated Ban Ki Moon. His secretariat did some excellent work but he was often viewed as a Western tool, seduced by all the pomp and perks of office.

    After spending years groveling for US approval, now, with the point of no return near at hand, he points out, as Kofi Annan did before him, that use of force that the UNSC does not plan and direct is illegal. In advance this time, not retrospectively.

    Obvious though it is that US officials are criminals, it’s nice to hear UN officials say so. It paves the way for a UNSC resolution declaring USG conduct a threat to peace, and it lends urgency to efforts to prosecute aggression as a crime.

    Ban Ki Moon chucked another shoe in the works of the US war machine. That’s brass balls.

  16. JTFaraday

    re: Rescuing California: How Jerry Brown Turned Around the Golden State… “And his position on prisons, amid a massive hunger strike, is truly abhorrent; we’re about to bail out the private prison industry to the tune of about $750 million. It disturbs me that practically nobody in the media understands all this.”

    So, they got the crooked justice system to load ‘em up in the first place and now they need the state to bail ‘em out? In between somewhere, the extracted “profit”?

    Oh, where oh where is that “creative destruction” when you really need it?

  17. mookie

    Steal This Article Charles Davis, The New Inquiry

    The truth is the human race has never been better off. We live in an age of plenty. The problem is one of distribution: Instead of being used for the benefit of all, that plenty is exploited for the benefit of a select, privileged few, who profit from polluting and in some cases sabotaging the commons. Natural resources, from the land beneath us to the electromagnetic spectrum all around us, are monopolized by corporations bound by law to maximize quarterly profits, not the good of society. Our mutual inheritance is passed on to a handful of wealthy people who rely on the labor and genius of others to make themselves wealthier.

    Those at the top take all the credit in the best of times and blame everyone beneath them the rest of the time. At all times, though, they take the money.

    1. Joe

      “How many men ever went to a barbecue and would let one man take off the table what’s intended for 9/10th of the people to eat? The only way to be able to feed the balance of the people is to make that man come back and bring back some of that grub that he ain’t got no business with!”
      -Huey Long

  18. allcoppedout

    The Snowden leaks look increasingly tame, maybe some kind of diversion. Most people read little on international relations and its history. No one should really be surprised that we don’t trust Pakistan or that they don’t trust us. Wikipedia gives some clues, but the literature is generally damning and extensive.

    Hugh said somewhere recently that anything left tends to be received as conspiracy – but we might extend that to ‘reading too much’. Intelligence leaks are surely something different to repeating information already in the public domain, though spies have not been above this with their own masters.

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