Links 3/7/14

I am still sick, behind the eight ball, and have tasks in addition to post-writing on my plate. I had wanted to give you another post after our 7:00 AM launch, but I am feeling worse and need to turn in. Apologies.

Unseen interviews with WW1 veterans recount the horror of the trenches Telegraph

Nationalism continues to make everything brilliant Daily Mash

Girl Scouts asked to end partnership with Barbie Capital Gazette (furzy mouse). Wow, Mattel figured out how to monetize space on Girl Scout uniforms?

16th-century manual shows ‘rocket cat’ weaponry Journal-Gazette (1 SK)

Computer Program Allows the Blind to ‘See’ With Sound Science

How to Find Out If Your Doctor Has Been in Trouble Patient Safety Blog


Yet another exchange hacked: Poloniex loses around $50,000 in bitcoin ars technica. Richard Smith: “Another day, another bitcoin….theft.”

Japan Says Bitcoin Not a Currency Wall Street Journal. Ouch. Means transactions are subject to sales AND capital gains taxes.

Business in emerging markets: Emerge, splurge, purge Economist

Thatcher’s Britain is the wrong economic model MacroBusiness

US, China ready to each assert power in Pacific Nikkei

How the Indian Man Leads the World in Preening WSJ IndiaRealTime

Brussels plans fresh rules on executive pay Financial Times

Bank Oversight: Europe Stressed by Approaching Stress Tests Der Spiegel


Ten handy phrases for bluffing your way through the Ukraine crisis Spectator (Richard Smith)

Flashback: Why Ronald Reagan Invaded Grenada Kevin Drum

US and allies punish Russia over Ukraine Financial Times

Punishing Putin Will Hurt the U.S. and Europe, Too Bloomberg. Editorial. Even the Administration’s proposed wet-noodle lashing has Bloomberg nervous.

Russia may face more sanctions over Ukraine Guardian

President Obama, Vladimir Putin speak on Ukraine crisis Politico. Wow, how can Obama and Putin talk past each other for a full hour?

The ‘We-Hate-Putin’ Group Think Consortium News

Ukraine Recruiting Its Oligarchs To Prevent Pro-Russia East From Seceding Agence France-Presse

Russians sink a boat off Ukraine coast — their own Stars and Stripes (1 SK)

Tense US-Russia relations complicate Abe’s diplomacy Nikkei

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Drones allowed to fly the US skies, for now CNET

Late Night: Opera Bouffe cocktailhag, Firedoglake

Declassify the torture report Washington Post. Editorial so significant.

Mayor de Blasio Falls Short on Job Approval, But Handled Snow OK NBC4

Colleges Straining to Restore Diversity Wall Street Journal

The Intercept’s Interference: Notes on Media, Capitalism, and Imperialism Cats, Not War. Quite the shellacking.

Exclusive: Pimco’s Gross declares El-Erian is ‘trying to undermine me’ Reuters. Digging a hole deeper. See Felix for background.

Goldman discovers money buys respect Gillian Tett, Financial Times. Who’d have thunk it?


US economy hampered by severe winter weather, Federal Reserve says Guardian

Tapering is Sooo 2013 Tim Duy

On Latest Jobs Data, It’s Anybody’s Guess New York Times. But expectations are generally low.

Insurers will destroy themselves to nudge us into robot utopia FT Alphaville

Antidote du jour. This is Josie B’s Dougie:


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  1. abynormal

    A new study suggests that Alzheimer’s disease may contribute to close to as many deaths in the United States as heart disease or cancer. The research is published in the March 5, 2014, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

    Currently, Alzheimer’s disease falls sixth on the list of leading causes of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whereas heart disease and cancer are numbers one and two, respectively. These numbers are based on what is reported on death certificates.

    “Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia’s are under-reported on death certificates and medical records,” said study author Bryan D. James, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Death certificates often list the immediate cause of death, such as pneumonia, rather than listing dementia as an underlying cause.” James added that attempting to identify a single cause of death does not always capture the reality of the process of dying for most elderly people, as multiple health issues often contribute.

    “The estimates generated by our analysis suggest that deaths from Alzheimer’s disease far exceed the numbers reported by the CDC and those listed on death certificates,” said James

    also/ Smart nanofibers to treat kidney failure
    March 6, 2014

    International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA)
    A simple way to treat kidney failure. A new technique for purifying blood using a nanofiber mesh could prove useful as a cheap, wearable alternative to kidney dialysis.

    “Much of your pain is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.”
    Kahlil Gibran (i hope this is taking place within you Yves…my fondest desire for you recovery)

  2. Petey

    I appreciated the Kevin Drum article on Grenada that you link to, as it’s something that had already occurred to me.

    However, one important difference is that Reagan didn’t try to annex Grenada to the US. Great powers can get away with invading small unallied nations, massively unjust as it may be, but annexation really is a violation of norms.

    1. Ignim Brites

      Putin is not annexing Crimea. He is facilitating secession. Legitimating the secession by referendum though is something Putin will come to regret as it implies acceptance of the international law of the democratic right of secession.

      1. Petey

        “Putin is not annexing Crimea. He is facilitating secession.”

        Well, invading Crimea, taking over the regional Rada by force, and having them hold a secret vote on annexation goes quite a bit beyond “facilitating”. That’s straight-up annexation via military force. Not a big fan of 1930’s comparisons, but it really is the Anschluss playbook with some modifications.

        “Legitimating the secession by referendum though is something Putin will come to regret as it implies acceptance of the international law of the democratic right of secession.”

        Maybe he’ll come to regret it. But not for the reason you mention. There is no ‘international law of the democratic right of secession’. Scotland is getting a legitimate secession referendum because the GB Parliament allowed it. Catalonia is likely not getting a legitimate secession referendum because the Spanish Parliament is unlikely to allow it.

        Neither situation has anything to do with annexation by military force.

        If Putin ends up regretting it, it’ll because the EU ends up imposing sanctions that badly hurt Putin and the oligarchs he depends upon, which seems pretty damn unlikely, but who knows…

        (Of course, if one thinks China will try to invade and annex the Russian Far East in 30 years, one could say that Putin created the precedent. But I don’t think the precedent would have anything to do with such a scenario, in the somewhat unlikely event it came to pass.)

        1. Dan B

          “Well, invading Crimea…” this is factually incorrect; Russian troops were there by treaty; as far as I know no new troops have been sent in. And the Nazi reference is as arrantly wrong and provocative as you can get -but so is its source: Hillary, who straight-facedly went on to say she’s just trying to deescalate the crisis. but then the USA govt. uses the Hitler calumny with regularity.

          1. Petey

            “And the Nazi reference is as arrantly wrong and provocative as you can get -but so is its source: Hillary”

            Just because you don’t like the speaker (or consider it provocative) doesn’t make it wrong.

            Invading and annexing neighboring territories under the pretext of ‘protecting our language speakers / ethnic compatriots’ really is directly out of the 1930’s German playbook, and hasn’t been seen in Europe since the end of WWII. It’s pretty difficult to honestly disagree with that limited but direct analogy.

            “Well, invading Crimea…” this is factually incorrect; Russian troops were there by treaty; as far as I know no new troops have been sent in.”

            The treaty is doesn’t allow Russian troops to leave their bases and take control of the territory. Russia has violated the treaty just as it has violated the Budapest Treaty. If US troops had left their West German bases during the Cold War and tried to take control of the country, that’d have been an invasion too. Or if in the present, US troops left Guantanamo and tried to take control of Cuba, that’d also be an invasion.

            1. Dan B

              “Or if in the present, US troops left Guantanamo and tried to take control of Cuba, that’d also be an invasion.” are you a lawyer? because you are inventing facts to cover up previously confected facts. I suggest you look up invasion, a la what “the meaning of is is.”

            2. Massinissa

              If this is an invasion, I hope there are more like it: There havnt been any deaths yet.

              I do hope WW3 begins and ends without anyone dying.

              1. Murky

                Likewise, Wall Street and it’s oligarchs have invaded the US government with their drones. There haven’t been any deaths yet. I suppose that’s a good kind of invasion too? [Choke!]

                Maybe the logic needs a rehab. Here’s my go at it. Russia has been operating its Black Sea Fleet out of Crimea since 1780 or thereabouts. I’d argue that long term continuous presence in Crimea gives Russia a solid claim. It’s the only good port for Russia’s navy, at least in the European theatre.

                More history… In 1954 Khruschev made a decision to pass Crimea to Ukraine, and it’s been reported that he did this while intoxicated. Unfortunately, Khruschev’s magnanimity during a drinking binge doesn’t exactly add much strength to Ukraine’s claim. Ukraine’s strongest claim seems to be one of proximity; no other nation so closely borders onto Crimea.

                Or maybe Crimea should go back to the Tatars? Crimea was the homeland of a Tatar people for many centuries, until Stalin deported the whole nation during WW2. Only in recent years have Tatars started coming back to Crimea. If there’s any historical justice, then the Crimean Tatars should also get some consideration.

                Well, that’s 3 claims on Crimea. Notably, the concept of ‘sovereign territory’ or ‘property’ doesn’t work very well in this discussion. Long term historical presence in Crimea seems to be a much better measure for competing claims.

                  1. Murky

                    Nope, I know very little about Greeks in Crimea. I recall only that Crimea was an important Greek colony many centuries ago. I’ll google it and try to get educated. Thank you.

                    1. Murky

                      Found a brief and very readable history of Crimea here:

                      Maybe the Greeks can claim ‘first’ in Crimea, as they came in the 6th century BC. They stuck around, but finally got relocated by Catherine the Great (1780ish) to the north end of the Sea of Azov. There they established the city Mariupol, and now there are still about 100, 000 Greeks in the general area. A few still speak Greek, but not many. Most of the major place-names in Crimea derive directly from the Greek: Yalta, Crimea, Simferopol, Sevastopol, Feodosiya, Yevtatoriya, Kerch, and Mariupol.

                      Now it’s 4 claims to Crimea.

                    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      There were many Greeks even into the early 20th century in that part of the world, around the Black Sea, Russia, Turkey, etc. Gurdjieff was from there.

            3. Binky Bear

              I would supplement with the US experiences in Hawaii, the Phillippines, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, and the Pig War in the San Juan Islands in Washington Territory. Also the eviction of the Hudson’s Bay Company from Fort Yukon and the Porcupine River.
              Also our post-World War habit of taking loser country colonies with strategic value giving us Saipan, Marshalls, etc.

            4. Andrew Watts

              Yawn. The hysterical and wholly impotent screeching by our leaders is yet another sign that the American empire is in irreversible decline.

              1. Synopticist

                It’s desperate and ugly and stupid.
                The only reason they aren’t paying a much higher political price for this half-baked adventurism is their total control over the corporate media.

                1. Andrew Watts

                  Oh, they’re gonna pay alright. It won’t be the war profiteers in our media who will make them do it though. It’ll be the Germans getting cozy with Russia. Remember, those fools in Washington shredded the European Union’s political compromise for more regional autonomy. I believe “F— the EU” was the relevant quote during the coup. The only reason I can think of why Putin hasn’t made a grab for the Eastern Ukraine is that he doesn’t want to upset Merkel.

                  If our leaders were anything other than complete fools they’d realize how unnatural an alliance between a resurgent Russia and a strong China is. In any case enjoy the show. The popcorn is just as tasty from the cheap seats.

    2. Massinissa

      If Grenadans held a vote and decided they wanted to join the US, would you be against it?

      I dont recall “having a vote on whether or not to join a country” being the same thing as “invasion” or “forceful annexation”.

      1. Petey

        “If Grenadans held a vote and decided they wanted to join the US, would you be against it?”

        If it took place during US occupation, of course I’d be against it. If it had taken place after the invasion, with a US installed government in place conducting and counting the vote, I’d be against it too.

        “I dont recall “having a vote on whether or not to join a country” being the same thing as “invasion” or “forceful annexation”.

        Well, two things:

        1) The vote is advisory. The Russian occupied regional Rada, (led by a party that got 4% of the vote in the most recent Ukrainian elections in Crimea), declared that they solely hold power to commit to annexation. And, of course, the vote will be conducted and counted by the Russian installed authorities, during the occupation. We’re squarely in the territory of “forceful annexation” here.

        2) Russia is signatory to a Treaty guaranteeing Ukraine’s territorial integrity, which it signed in order to get Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons.

        1. notexactlyhuman

          The millions of American dollars funneled into Ukraine to fund the anti-Russia and pro-NATO revolution that sacked Ukraine’s democratically elected government is plenty cause enough to suspend any such treaties. Putin is justified.

  3. Johann Sebastian Schminson


    Had that cold/flu. Not your typical bug. You’re going to be run down for a while. The fatigue associated with this thing is not like any other cold/flu, and it really hangs in there. 14 hours of sleep, per day, just doesn’t see like it’s enough.

    Get well soon, and sleep as much as you can.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Pat Buchanan responds to Hillary’s comparison of Putin to Hitler:

    Five U.S. presidents who faced far more violent actions by a far more dangerous Soviet Union — Truman, Ike, JFK, Johnson, Reagan — refused even to threaten force against Russia for anything east of the Elbe river.

    These presidents ruled out force during the Berlin Blockade of 1948, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the smashing of Solidarity in Poland in 1981.

    Yet, today, [thanks to NATO expansion] we are committed to go to war for Lithuania and Estonia, Obama is sending F-16s to Latvia where half a million Russians live, and the War Party wants Sixth Fleet warships moved into the Black Sea.

    If there is a Cold War II, or a U.S.-Russia war, historians of tomorrow will surely point to the Bushes and Clintons who shoved NATO into Moscow’s face.

      1. Dan B

        wars and bubbles waste and misallocate natural resources; these resources are either finite or exhaustible from over-consumption. human economies exist within these parameters.

    1. Emma

      “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”
      Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    2. JerseyJeffersonian

      Here is a link to Pat Buchanan’s entire post:

      I may not always agree with Mr. Buchanan’s social views, yet he does have a keen sense of history, amply on display in this article. I recommend that everyone with a mind toward a fuller understanding of history read it, and then use it as a launching pad for further explorations into the events and historical trends briefly touched upon therein.

      It is a cardinal error to blithely take guidance from the arrogant, ahistorical NeoConservative/NeoLiberal elites as they stride purposefully into minefields all around the world. They, the elites, will not pay any meaningful price for this; however we citizens – sometimes literally, sadly – may have our legs blown off as a price for our sheeplike compliance with their filibustering.

      1. Murky

        Yep, the Buchanan article you link to is an excellent read. I strongly agree with the idea in your first paragraph, that a knowledge of history is crucial to understanding Russia’s ‘invasion’ of Crimea. Thank you for posting this link.

        But your second paragraph has really poor focus. You talk about neoconservatives and neoliberals without giving any historical context at all. Presumably these people are either oligarchs or the ruling elite in our governments? You don’t say. Just the day before yesterday you tagged me as a ‘neocon’. That’s clear evidence of your indiscriminate use of these terms. Nor do you substantiate how these ‘neos’ cause global havoc and hurt ordinary innocent citizens. It’d be an excellent thing, JJ, if you could hang some real historical flesh on these ‘neos’. Otherwise your arguments read like half-baked conspiracy theory.

    3. different clue

      I thought Senior Bush opposed and prevented any NATO expansion. Is my memory wrong? I thought Clinton was the President who first began pushing NATO into Moscow’s face, as well as sending the Harvard Gang to Yeltsin’s Russia to organize the kleptifying and looting of Russia.

  5. Carla

    Yves, please try to be good to yourself. Your loyal readers will be here when you are strong and healthy again. Thousands of readers are wishing you well every day. Cuddle up with that thought.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      Ditto Yves, I’ve been reading you since this blog’s inception, and IIRC, have never known you to say you’re sick more than a day or so, so this thing deserves respect………and rest ! and vitamins.

  6. Eureka Springs

    On the WAPO tortured editorial.

    Looks like the report itself has been tortured so many times for so long now that it will prove to be as useless as the 9-11 report. Which of course was predictable and is a feature of all players involved Executive, Senate, CIA. All foxes determined to keep the meat inspectors out of their henhouse.

    Systemic fail. This government must be abolished as the Declaration of Independence foresaw. If torturers are utilized and protected… hell they are in charge! Nothing else matters.

      1. jrs

        I think most of us by this time are waiting for so many things to come out someday we’ve forgotten all we are waiting for. Like the second set of Abu Ghriab photos, whatever happened to …

  7. diptherio

    On David Graeber’s “There Never Was a West” ~GEO

    Graeber’s primary point is that the kind of egalitarian, participatory, Democracy favored by The Co-operative Movement and other Progressive movements and leaders is a repudiation of the basic principles of “The State.” Democracy, in this form, emerges in small groups. It has been observed in cultures all over the world. It has been identified as active from writings from antiquity. But it works, obviously, to eliminate significant differences in political, social, and, ultimately, economic power among its participants. It is a feature of the approach. The various forms of governments, down through the millenia, that have ruled the larger aggregations of people, have been instituted to provide mechanisms to allow, nurture, and protect such differences. The point is that The State is an entity created to establish and protect such distinctions. It is granted, in practice, a monopoly on coercive power (courts, police, prisons, and its military) to enforce such protections. Mechanisms of coercive power are antithetical to the kind of egalitarian, participatory, co-operative Democracy so many of us work to institute wherever possible.

    1. allcoppedout

      I take this to be true, yet we get economists lauding Thatcher as “brave”. Graeber sounds a bit like Habermas here and his split between the (small) life-world and system (which might be Baudrillard’s black hole). The problem is that the collective efforts Dip suggests are merely sucked away. It’s always easy for the predatory feather-bedders (like Thatcher) to build a regulatory black hole – in her case a highly restricted property market – to suck whatever we do into economic debt-rent.

  8. Emma

    Re Girl Scouts

    “the Girl Scouts’ Barbie-themed website included a game that would encourage girls to identify careers based on attire — “from a veterinarian in a frilly miniskirt, to a pink-suited U.S. president, to a race car driver in stilettos.”

    “Mattel gave the Girl Scouts $2 million to implement the Barbie-themed initiatives. At the time the partnership was announced, the Girl Scouts were struggling financially, with revenue shortfalls prompting the national headquarters to trim about one-fourth of its staff through buyouts and layoffs.”
    Guess having The Girl Scouts HQ in mid-town Manhattan will keep overheads down too…

    This ties in with some of the comments posted about Hillary Clinton yesterday. Whether we support her or not, the name-calling was shameful, and unbefitting of this site.

    Thankfully Lambert (+100 for his comment) showed the US isn’t entirely misogynistic. It would probably be easier for Hillary though if she had ‘flex appeal’ because of hot yoga, wouldn’t it? It would surely have been a far easier catwalk for Malala Yousafzai to stand up to the Taliban if she’d been wielding a Barbie in her hand? Guess the fact she’s named after an 1800s Pashto girl who put herself in the line of fire to rally the Pashtun army against the Brits, is totally uninspiring (poor 1800s Pashto girl too without a Barbie…).

    Perhaps though, empowering girls with Barbie in a frilly miniskirt and stilettos makes much more sense…….I mean, Malala, Pashto Girl, and even Nabila Rehman are all….umm…how is it pronounced….”A-rab” aren’t they? But surely it all depends on the context? If it’s benign sexism, then hey, let’s have Hilary, Malala Yousafzai, the Delhi bus rape survivors etc. all out in their hot pants and frilly miniskirts, yeah?

    And you know what?
    It does make sense because those hot pants and miniskirts are short and leave little to the imagination. So it’ll simply be easier for guys to remember just like most sexist jokes. Guess this is why the rest of the world had their first female leaders long ago, earlier voting rights for women, primetime female show representation (without token-tit accessories), Malala girl-power, higher percentages of women in national legislature, and haven’t increased the gender gap unlike the US (see World Econonmic Forum Global Gender rankings for starters). Interesting too, that these other countries were able to accomplish all this without having to manufacture Barbies in miniskirts.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “…encourage girls to identify careers based on attire…”

      What the hell does that even MEAN??? Is that supposed to be some sort of a SKILL???

      “Be anything. Do everything” Great motto. Sounds like something those Steubenville football players said to the drunk girl in the basement. They got convicted for it, if I recall.

    2. Massinissa

      About Clinton.

      I just want to point out that I dont care whether or not she is attractive, what she wears, or whether or not shes a woman.

      What I do care about is that shes an imperialist and a neoliberal crook.

      Having a female leader would be nice… If its one who isnt a criminal. Im still waiting for a black president who isnt a 1% marionette and mouthpiece.

      When Hillary wins the democratic primary (not if, when), im just going to vote Green Party in the general election like I did back in 2012. Obviously, Jill Stein wont win, but I would rather vote for a woman who might be a good president even if she will never be a president at all, as opposed to voting for a woman I KNOW will piss me off every goddamn decision she makes.

      1. Emma

        Though not all girls want to play with dolls (all the time). When I was really young, I had much more fun playing Cowboys and Indians with the boys, building treehouses and whacking a cricket ball about.

    3. ohmyheck

      Ah…the HilBot Vaginistas have arrived. Do we have to put up with being called mysogynists because we will be calling out HRC , as Massinissa does so quite well here, for the next 2+ years?
      I guess I will copy and paste Massinissa’s comment for further use, and deploy it as a response every time we have to read this bunk.
      I am a 57-year-old woman. Don’t use that cr@p on me.

    1. bob

      I’m not sure why they decided that was a rocket. It doesn’t even look like one.
      Given the tech and siege warfare at the time, they were probably used as incendiary weapons, delivered via catapult.

      They always land on their feet. Then they run around and spread the fire.

      1. optimader

        Could be the bird is a captured enemy Carrier Pigeon retooled w/ a payload & being sent back home and the cat is a 16th Century equivalent of a Patriot Missile deployed to avert imminent disaster?
        File Under: Nothing New Under the Sun

  9. JTFaraday

    re: The Intercept’s Interference: Notes on Media, Capitalism, and Imperialism, Cats, Not War.

    “But what matters here is whether the dirty money in question is causing Glenn Greenwald (and Marcy Wheeler) to run interference on a rich man’s behalf. And yes, that’s what is happening. And since the rich man in question has demonstrably been involved in funding imperialist activities, they are, by extension, running interference on imperialism’s behalf.”

    I haven’t followed every twist and turn in this, but it’s always seemed to me that Ames’ fundamental analytical error was in continuing to attack Greenwald as a “libertarian” and to extend that attack to Omidyar, when Omidyar is clearly someone who seeks out close relationships with governments in the pursuit of his goals. Ames’ own reporting on Omidyar indicates this.

    This does make Omidyar, now revealed as a partner of the US government itself, a particularly bad boss for Greenwald. Then again, Ames himself always found Greenwald’s civil libertarian criticism of the US police state objectionable for some reason that no one ever forces Ames to produce—that it’s “anti-government” doesn’t work for me– so you would think that Ames would be happy that Omidyar is likely to neutralize his declared enemy.

    It seems to me that Ames’ history of attacks on Greenwald, “the libertarian,” imply a line between the state and corporations that really doesn’t exist anymore, and all he’s ever really done was attack one of the few people attempting to keep an eye on what that corporatist state was doing to us. This really doesn’t recommend Ames either, whose insistence that working for Peter Thiel, nominal “libertarian” and tech investor who favors NSA spy programs, has no influence on his reporting differs little from Greenwald’s.

    And that’s also interesting. Because one outcome of the Snowden affair seems to be that US tech companies, who are losing sales abroad, are kind of placed in a position where they have to choose between the more “free market” model of selling their goods and services abroad or the corporatist government contract model that pertains to the military-industrial-security complex.

    As Naomi Klein points out in The Shock Doctrine, Chicago School “libertarianism” was designed to lead to corporatist ends right from the start. It’s just what the basic set up is, and it only masquerades under the rhetoric of the “free market.”

    1. JTFaraday

      From the Shock Doctrine (2007):

      “In some ways, however, the stories about corruption and revolving doors leave a false impression. They imply that there is still a clear line between the state and the [disaster capitalist] complex, when in fact the line disappeared long ago. The innovation of the Bush years lies not in how quickly politicians move from one world to another but in how many feel entitled to occupy both worlds simultaneously.

      People like Richard Perle and James Baker make policy, offer top level advice and speak in the press as disinterested experts and statesmen when they are at the same time utterly embedded int he business of privatized war and reconstruction. They embody the ultimate fulfillment of the corporatist mission: a total merger of political and corporate elites in the name of security, with the state playing the role of chair of the business guild–as well as the largest source of business opportunities, thanks to the contract economy.

      Wherever it has emerged over the past thirty-five years, from Santiago to Moscow to Beijing to Bush’s Washington, the alliance between a small corporate elite and a right-wing government has been written off as some sort of aberration–mafia capitalism, oligarchy capitalism and now, under Bush, ‘crony capitalism.’ But it’s not an aberration; it is where the entire Chicago School crusade–with its triple obsesssions– privatization, deregulation and union busting–has been leading.

      Rumsfeld’s and Cheney’s dogged refusal to choose between their disaster-connected holdings and their public duties were the first sign that a genuine corporatist state had arrived. There are many others.”

      1. sd

        Senator Dianne Feinstein, whose husband Richard Blum simultaneously feeds at the public trough while she makes public policy decisions. And you thought her vote for the Iraq War was just based on “intelligence”…

  10. Carolinian

    “Cats, Not War”….just puzzling through this word salad is giving me a headache (example:”rather, after demonstrating that she understands the less visible aspects of imperial policy, she goes on to suggest people have reason to believe that an NGO under a rival state of the U.S., funded by an oligarch and the U.S. government, attempts anything other than what it claims to attempt”).

    I can only give my own view that Glenn Greenwald is a hero of the left and someone who has actually made a difference. He’s also someone with a target on his back (perhaps not literally). The original Ames attack accusing him of “selling” Snowden’s material to Omidyar has led some rightwingers to hint at espionage charges for selling state secrets.

    So the sniping about his supposed lack of ideological purity is more than just navel gazing–it’s actively unhelpful. If one thinks Greenwald, Taibbi, Froomkin, Wheeler are all sellouts then by all means attack what they write. But this parsing the motives of their investor (and why doesn’t someone just ask him?) is just wankery imvho

    1. jrs

      I agree the writing at CNW, although I basically agree with it about imperialism, is dense. I’ve just about had it with post-modernist writing. But if the point the writing is making is just imperialism has a softer side. Ok. And this more subtle softer side is used more often by Obama? Ok …. but O is really NOT suble, he’s ONLY so compared to our previous cowboy who invaded a couple of countries. Nuland and so on as subtle?

      The point being made is that the policies of one’s boss can influence one? Yea, but that line isn’t going to win you much sympathy with the masses who ARE wage slaves afterall. They know that one’s boss has a certain amount of control over them and that you dont’ go directly attacking the boss and expect to keep your job, and yet for them it’s work for *some* boss or starve (they can only switch to different bosses). And big media is a choice of working for one boss or another. But one thing that could be said about Greenwald is he was a unique position with the Snowden docs, unlike your average wage slave and many journalists, he had bargaining power, he could have chosen to work elsewhere or for himself. He could have published on his blog and people would have followed him. But it’s possible he needed more protection than that (legal protection and so on, things a big organization could give – maybe bodyguards for all I know).

      I’m not sure Greenwald has made a difference. On what basis are we judging this? Certainly not changes in policy.

      Attacking what they write would kind of be beside the point as what is being addressed is more a “dog that didn’t bark” situation. It’s asking what is NOT being written about rather than a critique of what is being written about. And that which isn’t said is important.

    2. YankeeFrank

      I thought the piece was extremely smart. The fact is that Greenwald has compromised himself in the way the article specifies: by playing clueless to the fact that his boss is part of an imperialist oligarchy intent on not spreading democracy and transparency, but corporatist domination. He makes us all dumber with his over-simple head in the sand attitude. That’s not to say that his boss controls what he writes, but that Greenwald himself, perhaps unconsciously, is protecting his meal-ticket by running interference for Omidyar’s more nefarious activities, in this case his funding for a clearly imperialist NGO hiding under the rubric of democracy while setting up Ukraine for western capitalist domination.

    1. Murky

      I have family in Dana Point. And I just emailed ‘captain dave’, who lost a drone while making the video. Sending a few bucks his way. Also, check out the rescue of a humpback whale in the Sea of Cortez. Whale hopelessly tangled in a gill net. Humans (for a change) save a life. Whale goes ecstatic after rescue, breaching and doing tail slaps for an hour.

      1. optimader

        A spectacular place to go whale watching when they are feeding.. You are clearly in their environment in a wooden boat. Kinda puts life’s details in perspective when a humpback cruises along and then dives just in front of the bow wave. I get the impression they are buddies (with the boats)

  11. Murky

    Are we burnt out on Ukraine yet? No? Okay, then, here are 3 more lovely links about this ongoing geopolitical drama. The first one is about [drumroll goes here]… Oligarchs! Ukraine has found a way to put these people to good use.

    Now for 2 geographical links. Ever hear of the Kerch Straits? This waterway is the only thing that separates Russia from Crimea. If Russia builds a bridge across the Kerch Straits, Russia’s Kuban region then connects directly to Crimea. This would: 1) Make Crimea contiguous with existing Russian territory, and 2) Greatly facilitate transportation and shipping from Russia to Crimea. First a map.

    And a link from way back in December, before Yanukovych was deposed. The politics of bridge-building get some good explanation. Enjoy!

  12. diptherio

    Re: Drones allowed to fly US skies
    Proposed 2014-2015 hunting regs address drones: FWP looks to ban drones for hunting ~Hungry Horse News

    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commissioners are expected to outlaw another facet of society’s increasingly technological lives when it comes to hunting — drones.

    FWP’s proposed 2014-15 hunting regulations have a new section specifically addressing the use of drones for hunting. The commissioners are expected to vote on the new regulations next month. The draft regulations simply outlaw drones for use in hunting.

    Biologists and others have used drones for viewing and counting wildlife. Manufacturers in recent years now sell outfits for less than $500 that include a remote-controlled helicopter complete with a video camera that can transmit live video to the operator.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Even as they outlaw drones for use in hunting, some people are asking if hunters can hunt drones?

  13. Oregoncharles

    About “Declassify the Torture Report:”
    1) Not going to happen, because Diane Feinstein is a stooge for the Surveillance State.
    2) There’s some serious chicanery coming from senators who claim to be on our side. The trick: members of Congress have absolute Constitutional immunity for anything they reveal on the floor of Congress. That’s why Mike Gravel stood up and entered the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. ANY Senator privy to that report can declassify it at ANY time they have the nerve to do as Gravel did – and they cannot be penalized for it, although they could be removed from the committee. If they represent Oregon, as Ron Wyden does, they’re unlikely to face any electoral penalty, either. Yet both Wyden and Udall have been performing an elaborate charade about how they “aren’t allowed” to reveal what’s really going on with the NSA.
    They aren’t just chicken; they’re dishonest about it. OR, and quite possible, the Constitution really is a dead letter – in which case, we desperately need to know that.

    1. psychohistorian

      I agree about Wyden and am another Oregonian. Wyden is one of 12 Jewish Senators…can you say disproportionate representation? But, but, he is one of the “good guys” right?

      Observing the actions of “bad guys” in DC one would wonder what it would take for the “good guys” to try the same or similar tactics….or maybe they are all bought/compromised…..and not in the favor of the public at large.

      We have the best government money can buy.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I don’t consider Wyden a good guy, though he’s tried on this particular issue – in his own, gutless way.
        He’s extremely unreliable, arrogant and unresponsive to constituents, and really terrible on health care.
        Typical liberal.
        The Oregon Greens did our best to run someone against him last time, but screwed it up. My fault, in some part.
        Merkley is much better, but just put his foot in it on forestry – a key issue.
        I agree about government and money.

  14. curlydan

    Obamacare/Exchange links:
    eHealth recently released avg price paid for monthly premium prices, avg yearly deductibles, etc. purchased by day for 4Q13. These represent the prices paid by “the large, unsubsidized segment of the individual and family health insurance market”–i.e. those above 400% federal poverty line.

    The average deductibles were running near $5K to $6K per year. Ouch. The average premiums were $300/month. So the average policy requires $3,600+$5,000=$8,600 spend. If you’re a family or older, it’s a lot higher.

    Say hello to 16% of your economy.

  15. Chris Maukonen

    <blockquote cite="President Obama, Vladimir Putin speak on Ukraine crisis Politico. Wow, how can Obama and Putin talk past each other for a full hour? "

    Apparently you haven’t heard of brick walls.

    1. optimader

      One is a ponderous, serial bullshitter and the other most certainly is a professionally trained listener. Come to think of it, isn’t this the magic of many marriages??

  16. optimader

    “Now “Cosmos” is back, thanks largely to Seth MacFarlane, creator of TV’s “Family Guy” and a space buff since he was a kid, and Ann Druyan, Sagan’s widow. They’re collaborating on a new version premiering on the Fox Network on Sunday March 9. MacFarlane believes that much of what is on television, even on fact-based channels purporting to discuss science, is “fluff.” He says, “That is a symptom of the bizarre fear of science that’s taken hold.” The astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, serves as narrator this time, giving him a chance to make the case that he’s the Sagan of our generation… ”

    On the rare occasion I catch a couple minutes of NOVA, I feel it has been dumbed down to the point of triviality. Unfortunately Tyson is one of the fluff offenders, but in his defense he maybe is pushing back hard and it is a Producer/Allowable Content issue?

    Absolutely the hideously worst possible presenter is David Pogue. Just awful.

    Hopefully MacFarlane/Tyson kick some science ass, they’re both smart boys in their own disciplines. The program has some promise, plus I love astronomy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The problem with non-fluff stuff (on TV) is that when it is not explained well or if the viewer are not allowed time to digest the material before moving on to the next, it is then dogma-promulgation.

      I like fluff TV.

      With science programs, I always watch with closed caption on so as to be able to write down technical terms which I will look up, research and study in more detail if I am interested.

      It’s not different from watching foreign movies…for me.

      1. optimader

        stay curious beef.. that’s how you’ll keep those deep wrinkles in your cortex. Loosing curiosity is a fatal part of the degeneration into the “adult” rut for many people. Some tragically never have it to begin with.
        I habitually have subtitles on as much of anything I’ll take the time to watch is fur-in.

        Track this one down.. Funny as hell dry, dark humor.
        The Boss of It All (2006)
        “Direktøren for det hele” (original title)

        “The Danish lawyer Ravn owns a technology company, called ‘IT’, that he founded with the money he borrowed from his six directors. However, he invented a fictitious and powerful president named “The Boss of It All” to cover the unpopular policies of the company with the employees. When he decides to sell up the company to the Icelandic entrepreneur Finnur, the buyer demands to negotiate directly with the president of IT. Ravn hires the unemployed actor Kristoffer, who is a fan of the actor Antonio Gambini, to perform the role of president of IT under a contract of confidentiality. As time progresses, Kristoffer gets close to, and emotionally involved with, the employees of IT. He finds out information about the employees.
        – Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil “

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right about having more wrinkles in one’s brain.

          One day, when I can afford it, I want to learn to speak Martian. That’s how one can soak in, deeply, Martian culture, even as a tourist.

  17. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    The whole damned Crimea episode is beyond any condemnation our government might proffer to the world.

    Hypocrisy and lying of have become the only “virtues” associated with The United States of America and its government of NOT We, the People.

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