Links 5/29/14

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A Lyrical Witness to a Nation Riven by Race New York Times. Maya Angelou is dead.

Spectacular fin whale breach a rare sight GrindTV (OIFVet)

In the UK You Can Now Only Buy Heirloom Seeds if You Are Part of a Private Members Club Organic Prepper (David P)

World’s largest peat bog discovered in Congo BBC. Lance N: “It’s as big as England! That’s a lot of Scotch.”

High Risks, Few Rewards for Mexico with Monsanto’s Maize Triple Crisis

Obese or Overweight People Top 2.1 Billion Worldwide Bloomberg. EM:

Idiotic “meaningful statistic” des Tages:

“More than half of the world’s 671 million obese people live in the U.S., China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan and Indonesia.”
…which total to almost exactly 4 Bln, or … (breathless pause; wait for it) … 56%, also more than half – of the estimated current global population of 7.17 Bln. Ergo, a giant nothingburger of a statistical blurb.

OTOH, the “exceptional” U.S. being home to 13% of the world’s obese – 3x the average per capita rate – is highly significant. But following that with “…followed by China and India, which together represent 15 percent” as the article does is again inane, because China and India taken together are home to 36% of the world’s people; thus their collective per-capita obesity rate is much lower than average, and drastically lower than that of the U.S.

The End Is A.I.: The Singularity Is Sci-Fi’s Faith-Based Initiative Popular Science

Lookout launches ‘theftie’ to help catch phone thieves Financial Times

Paper money is unfit for a world of high crime and low inflation Financial Times. Notice his first reason is to create negative interest rates. This is exactly what Izabella Kaminska predicted, that Bitcoin would legitimate digital currencies, which central banks have wanted to introduce but were reluctant to due to public suspicion as to their motives. So the anti-central banking crowd is handing central banks a huge prize. And of course Rogoff focuses on petty crime, as opposed to the crimes that persist, like money-laundering and tax evasion, with bank compliance. Iran’s money laundering was not done via depositing $100 bills at Standard Chartered, for instance.

Google Releases Employee Data, Illustrating Tech’s Diversity Challenge New York Times. “Tech’s diversity challenge”? How about “Google’s hiring bias”? Remember how professional orchestras in Germany were almost entirely male until the union forced blind auditions, and the number of women went to 50/50 almost immediately? Oh, and the previous line had been the women weren’t as good. And as EM points out: “94% white and asian – If you’re black or hispanic, well the company contracted for janitorial services is hiring…”

Japanese Ice Wall To Help Prevent Spread Of Radiation OilPrice

China urges local governments to quicken spending to support economy Reuters

Europe has an even bigger crisis on its hands than British a exit Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

EU elections: The European malaise BBC

The German Court does Europe a favour Bruegel

As Goes Greece, So Goes Europe? New York Times

Discontent in the Saudi royal family Washington Post

Iran-Based Cyberspies Targeted U.S. Official, Report Alleges Wall Street Journal

Ukraine

Ukraine says hundreds of armed militants have crossed border Ukraine says hundreds of armed militants have crossed border McClatchy (furzy mouse)

Russia’s Economy May Have Avoided The Worst Fallout From Ukraine Business Insider

Ukraine: The Antidote to Europe’s Fascists? Timothy Snyder, New York Review of Books. Snyder has now crossed the line from being a propagandist to being certifiable.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NBC’s batso-nutso marketing machine demonizes Edward Snowden Pando

John Kerry challenges Edward Snowden to ‘man up’ and face trial in the U.S. Agence France-Presse

Edward Snowden interview: breaking law was only option, says whistleblower Guardian

Newly Released Documents Show Outgrowth of ‘Homeland Security’ Is Corrupted Federal and Local Law Enforcement Pam Martens (Homeland Security Heroes). A must read.

Opinion: Obama lacking candor DW

Intelligence Committee Doesn’t Care If Targets Are Even IDENTIFIED Before They Are ASSASSINATED George Washington

VA IG finds ‘systemic’ problems Politico

American jails have become the new mental asylums – and you’re paying the bill Guardian

Sandra Fluke Tears Off Limbaugh’s Label in California Campaign; ‘She Really Upends the Race’ Bloomberg (furzy mouse)

Concentrated Markets Take Big Toll on Economy New York Times. Decades of weak anti-trust enforcement will do that.

Verizon FiOS Gets Benefits Of Being A Public Utility Without The Regulations Consumerist

SEC exams find bad behavior at variety of firms, not just ‘fringe’ shops Chris Witoswky, Reuters

N.J. Investment Council Reviewing General Catalyst Deal Bloomberg. Previously reported by David Sirota at Pando.

Wells Fargo settles remaining ‘robo-signing’ mortgage litigation Los Angeles Times (Lisa Epstein). A screaming bargain.

Book Review: Jennifer Taub’s Other People’s Houses (Highly Recommended) Adam Levitin (Credit Slips)

Fink Says Leveraged ETFs May ‘Blow Up’ Industry Bloomberg (furzy mouse)

Goldman’s Cohn Says Inactive Trading Environment Is Abnormal Bloomberg (furzy mouse). And bad for profits! Banks hoist on their QE petard!

FT v. Piketty

Follow up on problems in ‘Capital in the 21st Century’ Chris Giles, Financial Times

More on Piketty Jim Hamilton, Econbrowser

Thomas Piketty: Capitalism in Its Current Form Undermines Democracy Truthout

Class Warfare

Cut-Throat Capitalism: Welcome To the Gig Economy Alternet

College Is a Poor Solution to Income Inequality Slate

The robots are coming for your job MacroBusiness. Fortunately, they don’t want mine.

Dear patient readers,

We hope you are not confused by our continuing to place our private equity document releases first in Recent Items. They’ll stay there today. We have given you 7 rather than the usual 5 Recent Items so as to not interfere with your normal navigation.

Pay Inequality Is Massive… Among America’s CEOs Business Insider

Patriotic Millionaires (furzy mouse). In case you haven’t seen it.

How corporate jets fly under shareholder radar Bethany McLean, Reuters

Can a nation save? MacroBusiness

Antidote du jour (Lance N):

antidote_SweetTooth

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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151 comments

    1. fresno dan

      We have the illusion of choice in elections – why shouldn’t there just be the illusion of privacy in our personal papers and effects?

    2. jrs

      Wow TrueCrypt no more, that’s big. Wasn’t learning to use TrueCrypt Greenwald’s first baby step toward encryption? Not that that really matters but TrueCrypt is no more in general is huge.

  1. cwaltz

    It’s been well over a decade that they’ve been hollering about stupid robots replacing people, you’d think that if the technology was that freaking advanced we’d see more of it already.

    http://www.dailytech.com/After+McDonalds+Strikes+Corporation+Eyes+Replacing+Workers+With+Robots/article34956.htm

    I thought this article was interesting. I have to wonder how many people the article writer figures are in the back assembling burgers and other sandwiches to make the “Momentum” machine cost effective(I’ll give you a hint the average fast food kitchen has 2 people working on the line assembling food)? Meanwhile the machine still requires manpower because it still needs someone to feed it ingredients and if the author was even a little bit familiar he’d know that it would also be problematic because the machine would be specialized to “burger only” which’d mean that they’d either a) need a separate machine for chicken sandwiches b) need to get rid of items besides burgers or c) continue to employ someone to make the items other than burgers. Oh and the machine has a cost of about $100,000( and would likely require maintenance costs as well) Heh. Good luck saving money that way McDonalds. Oh and Panera already has rolled out some kiosks.

    Here’s one users review:
    http://jasonrowens.com/panera-kiosk-trouble/

    So yeah…..I’m pretty sure we’ll still be talking in a decade about the robots replacing people (and it ought to be the middle class worried because THOSE are the jobs where the cost prohibitive robotics might make sense, not the minimum wage jobs.)

    1. Banger

      The reason they are talking about robots a lot these days is because the technology is now “ripe” for ubiquitous robotics. What will determine the speed that these technologies will be implemented is capital and the cost of labor. Right now capitalists are mainly interested in speculation and labor costs are relatively low and headed lower so implementation of new technology will be slower than projected.

      1. cwaltz

        Japan suffers from labor shortages at the lower end of the wage scale and they still have struggled to create robots that are cheap enough(and sophisticated enough) to replace people. It’s even gotten to the point where their government is subsidizing their development in fields like nursing home care.

  2. Skeptic

    In the UK You Can Now Only Buy Heirloom Seeds if You Are Part of a Private Members Club Organic Prepper (David P)
    “If these new laws are passed, there will be fewer and fewer varieties developed for gardeners and small growers. Everybody will have to grow varieties that have been designed for commercial large-scale farming, whether they like it or not.”

    This is a Perfect Example of how the 1% want to take over ALL commercial activity and drive out small, independent, local producers/operators in ANY business. In this agri case, the gardeners and small growers will not be able to get access to the more appealing and niche market products that will allow them to compete with AGRICROOKS.
    Look around you, these same techniques are used in all commercial activities, to drive out any small competitors and get all the money to flow to the 1%.

    1. ambrit

      Yes, hence some of the scantly reported local farmers group agitation against big agribusiness in the so called Third World. The dim outlines of Che styled peasant undergrounds are already manifesting. I really hope that some bloody minded individuals start sending RPGs and Stingers to indigenous and Peasant groups. It’s going to end up like Nam; groundlings shooting at chopper borne “Crop Stabilization Commandos” whilst C 130s spray defoliant on croplands out of compliance with “Patent Protection Regimes.”

    2. sufferin' succotash

      Price and quality are for losers. It’s all about market share!
      That is to say, rent-collecting.
      A medieval seigneur would understand perfectly.

    3. OIFVet

      The European Commission are 27 appointed shills accountable to no one but the elites. Layers upon layers upon layers of Eurocracy is what passes for European democracy these days. And then these buffoons are shocked, shocked that the Euroserfs don’t appreciate their benevolent neo-feudal lords and turn to uncouth extreme nationalists instead.

    4. McMike

      Indeed. Note that big companies are perfectly fine with on onerous regulation when it is being used to crush alternatives and competition, and to increase captive markets.

      1. James Levy

        Three extreme points, but I think valid ones: 1) if Kunstler and others are right, supply chains are going to break down under the strain of peak oil; 2) crop yields are certain to go down due to climate change; 3) lack of variety leaves crops extremely vulnerable to blight. Britain is putting itself in one hell of a dangerous situation given this emerging reality. Within 30 years most nations are going to be under incredible strain to feed their populations. Discouraging local production of a wide variety of more resistant heirloom crops is insane.

          1. LucyLulu

            Fracking was illegal in NC until now. Landowners have very few rights. The legislation was passed very quickly, and did not include safety regulations as politicians had promised if fracking was approved. Any amendments introduced by Democrats weren’t entertained.

            They have until Jan 1 to pass legislation. I don’t know if or what they plan on passing yet. Nothing surprises me anymore since health ed teachers were required to teach that abortions cause later miscarriages and infertility. Then fracking could begin by next May.

    5. jrs

      But heirloom seeds can be replanted from the previous crop year after year (a characteristic of heirlooms). So therefore how is this law enforceable? Remember these laws are as weak as the enforcement mechanism. Disobey.

      1. makedoanmend

        Obey the law – Darwin’s Law. As he pointed out, nature keeps throwing up new forms and varieties for trial and error. Humanity, as part of nature, has done a very good job through the millenia of giving a helping hand by selecting for traits and breeding those traits into permanence in plants and other life. So we should just keep on doing what observed law says is successful.

        Forget the EU or any other so-called organisation’s self-determination to extinction for short term gain. It’s a long term losing strategy. You can’t be disobedient by doing correctly.

        (I’m just playing with your point JRS, not refuting or dissing you point – which is valid.)

      2. OIFVet

        Disobey many people shall. My small picture view of a particularly illustrative case: Bulgaria. The transition to “free”-market neoliberalism has displaced Bulgarian produce and veggies from the supermarket shelves, there is just no way to compete with the subsidized factory farms of France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Yet Bulgarians are inveterate gardeners, a result of centuries of self-reliance, and domestic small-scale production is at every farmer’s market (and there are a lot of them). People flock to them because the taste is better than that of the supermarket crap, and because the relationships between the sellers and buyers go back many years. People like my granny have been cultivating their own favorite varieties for decades and use their own seeds rather than commercial seeds, and there isn’t power on earth, not even the EU, that can stop them. At least, not yet. I think this small local example demonstrates both the danger to the bottom line perceived by the Monsantos and the way to fight them. Small and local is good. And tasty. And beautiful.

      3. Kurt Sperry

        Stable heirloom cultivars and landraces often lack the flashy appeal (and heterotic vigor, thus yield) of F1 hybrids which throw close to random unstable polyhybrids as their progeny thus meaning their seed is of little or no use. Don’t expect your heirlooms, which can vary from stable to quite variable, to perform the same or be as reliably consistent as commercial F1s. For obvious commercial reasons seed sellers have always hated stable lines that produce true progeny, so don’t ever expect to find much of these in flashy seed catalogs. For them stable lines are useful only as breeding stock for hybrids which won’t breed true.

      4. LucyLulu

        More and more people are moving to heirloom seeds and organic backyard farming. And the Europeans are far more avid gardeners and more environmentally conscious, in general, than Americans.

        JRS is right. There will be an informal swap market of seeds among family, friends, and neighbors. Vigor, disease-resistance, and other desired features can be bred for by crossing different heirloom strains, the same way it’s done by commercial growers.

    6. Veri

      The grab for market share is nothing short of a naked attempt to assert rent-seeking control over seeds. Also, BioAg companies fattening the bank accounts of quite a few compliant Euro-crats.

      The issue is that such a naked attempt indicates that the rent-seekers are NOT afraid to pursue such naked and obvious attempts. They do not fear doing so. They do not fear the peasants.

      For any such attempt to succeed, the rent-seekers (or Oligarchs or what ever you want to call them) allow for a certain level of frustration to be vented from the discontented minority. Occasionally, arrests are made to remind such malcontents that Big Brother is ever present. Such is the way any successful grab for power should be made to perform. Always have a safety valve to bleed away discontent, slowly. So that such discontent among the peasantry does not grow to explosive proportions.

      Such as seed clubs. That will be harassed by authorities to remind the peasants that Big Money Brother is always, always watching.

  3. rich

    Carlyle’s Love-Hate Relationship with Municipalities

    Contrast this with Carlyle’s convoluted position on its ownership of Missoula’s Mountain Water.

    The Carlyle Group claims it does not own Missoula’s water system and therefore cannot be named as a defendant in the city’s condemnation lawsuit, according to court documents filed by Carlyle’s lawyers on Tuesday.

    The global investment firm is asking Missoula County District Judge Karen Townsend to dismiss it from the case, leaving Mountain Water Co. as the sole defendant in the city’s bid to force a sale of the utility under eminent domain laws.

    Carlyle’s claim that it doesn’t own the water system seemingly contradicts that it would have to approve any sale of Mountain Water, as well as a 2013 letter from Carlyle Infrastructure managing director Robert Dove to Missoula Mayor John Engen indicating a willingness to listen to offers to buy Mountain Water. In the letter, Dove stated that “Carlyle Infrastructure is honored to be the ultimate owner of Mountain Water.” Carlyle ultimately rejected two city offers to buy Mountain Water in the past.

    In short, the essence of Carlyle’s argument is that although it owns the companies that own Mountain Water, it does not own the water system. And that means the city of Missoula has the right to sue only the direct owner of the water system, Mountain Water.

    This isn’t the first time Carlyle lawyers have offered absurd legal defenses. They did so with LifeCare Hospitals after 25 patients died in their long term acute care unit in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath. Carlyle’s crack legal team defended SemGroup’s implosion with a puffery defense to angry investors. This brings back memories of Carlyle’s turning away from Carlyle Capital Corporations’ reeking carcass.
    http://peureport.blogspot.com/2014/05/carlyles-love-hate-relationship-with.html

    1. diptherio

      As a resident of said municipality, I can tell you I was quite distressed when the city and the PSC signed off on the sale of our water system to Carlyle. Fortunately, our local elected officials may not have been quite as naive as I thought they were.

      In MT, verbal agreements are legally binding. The problem, of course, is proving what a verbal agreement actually stated–but it is nonetheless the law of the land.

      Our mayor made a verbal agreement with Carlyle representatives that the city wouldn’t protest Mountain Water’s sale to Carlyle, so long as the company promised to sell the system to the city in 2014. Carlyle agreed, the mayor agreed, and there were lots of witnesses. So now the city is suing to enforce this verbal agreement, with plenty of witnesses to testify as to what the agreement was, and Carlyle, probably assuming that anything not in writing is unenforceable, seems somewhat taken aback.

      Our judiciary is actually pretty decent in this state, so I think we may have a shot.

    2. jrs

      Ah the Carlyle group, open conspiracy. Owners of Booze Hamilton (Snowdens employer). Where war criminals go to prosper. Open conspiracy at least as interesting as any hidden conspiracies.

  4. ozajh

    Regarding the antidote; when I worked in IT that sort of grab was usually aimed at the coffee . . .

  5. Jim Haygood

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – The U.S. economy contracted by 1% in the first quarter to mark the biggest decline in three years.

    That must be why Treasuries had a monster rally yesterday — ‘Verdict first, data afterwards,’ as the Queen said.

    What’s J-Yel to do, but treat the ailing patient with a fresh dose of rocket fuel?

    1. craazyboy

      What’s J-Yell to do? Figure out why the last dose didn’t get spent on GDP? Naaaa.

  6. Jose

    The most important sentence from today’s links is perhaps the following one:

    “…economists equate saving and investment when they shouldn’t.” (from “Can a Nation Save?”).

    Try to explain that to the pro-austerians of the eurozone. Their stubborn insistence on the virtues of “thrift” is leading a continent to economic ruin.

  7. ambrit

    Friends;
    Wells Fargo gets away with murder yet again.
    I have just had an encounter with Wells Fargo that has me wanting to forgo my usual usage of euphemism and bowdlerization and descend into plain old fashioned profanity.
    I have just stopped working for Lowes. Their 401k program is ‘managed’ by Wells Fargo. Or a subsidiary thereof, or a sub contractor, I can’t easily get a firm answer. I want to cash out this 401k before the Stock Market tanks. Wells Fargo has told me that there is a thirty day waiting period before I can have access to my 401k funds. Huh? My money is not really my money? For at least thirty days? If the Market goes t–s up in the intervening time, do I get to sue for loss of potential profit, like the TPP corporations? (Private Individual, meet Transnational Corporation.) So, now I’m Long the Market for the next three weeks. [Crosses fingers and toes.]

    1. McMike

      The other surprise timing is often the gap between when contributions come out of your paycheck and when they get credited to your investment account.

    2. MLS

      ambrit,

      Are they telling you that you can’t even liquidate your holdings and keep cash until you are able to move the assets? Unless they have some sort of market timing rule or limitation on transaction frequency, you should at least be able to do that.

      1. McMike

        True. Can’t he at least allocate out of stocks into a money market type holding? My tiny 401k let me do that online effective close of trading that day.

      2. ambrit

        MLS and McMike;
        Thank you both very much for that. I have fooled myself somewhat by not asking them enough questions. Thank you again.

  8. arby

    A wonderful mix of stories today from the astounding world of thieve ’em while you got ’em. The European election stories and the Cohn and Fink articles reveal an anxiety about the sustainability of this financialised loot ’em up. Kudos on the private equity spotlight. One wonders whether being known to others as a hapless victim of scam artists is more compelling to action than just being scammed and no one knowing that you have been plunked.

  9. OIFVet

    Re: Snyder. For sure, but right now they are busy dealing with fascism at home. The Right Sector staffed National Guard is trying to neutralize kindergarten-age neofascists holed up in the ‘Eagle’s Nest’ kindergarten in Slavyansk. Nip ’em at the bud, that’s a sound strategy.

    1. Murky

      OIFVet, how much extreme political bias can you pack into a single post? A lot! Here is a more careful parsing of your ‘facts’.

      1) Rampant fascism in Ukraine? That claim is a pure product of Russian propaganda, which has now been discredited. Did you bother looking at the results of the recent Ukrainian elections? Tyahnybok of the Svoboda party pulled in 1.3 percent of the vote. Dmitry Yarosh of the Right Sector got less than 1 percent. So the ‘fascists’ (your favorite word!) in Ukraine are polling under 3%. Meanwhile, the ultra right-wing parties in western Europe have shown explosive growth. Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front in France just obtained 24 percent of the vote. So, forget about Ukraine. Time to start worrying about fascism in Western Europe.
      2) The link you provided about how ‘fascists’ bombed a kindergarten in Slavyansk is also bogus. Lordy, how you’ve become a propaganda sponge. You really think Russia’s RT propaganda machine is a reliable source of information? Funny how the BBC, the Guardian, NYT, and other western media missed this story of the kindergarten bombing. Because the facts of this story have not been substantiated. And RT regularly disseminates disinformation, showing a great willingness to ‘lie’ if it can be an effective means of manipulating public opinion. There are counterclaims that Moscow backed terrorists were operating out of that kindergarten. http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/ukraine-soldier-killed-in-kindergarten-rebel-attack_933260.html

      3) I concede, however, that you are 100% correct about Zbigniew Brzezinki, whose book you recently recommended: The Grand Chessboard. This guy should be our Secretary of State, instead of the Obama stooge John Kerry. Brzezinki recently delivered a lecture at John’s Hopkins University about Ukraine. He recommends ‘Finlandization’, a policy that would commit Ukraine to excluding NATO.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekZC7dqwe0U

      1. OIFVet

        ” how much extreme political bias can you pack into a single post? A lot!” Just trying to keep up with the Snyders Murky. It ain’t easy and I am losing that battle, I am happy to report. BTW, thank you for participating in my field trials, your participation proved that my murky bait is effective.

        1. And the nazis started out as a small group gathering in Bavarian beer gardens. The neonazis may be small in number but they control the security ministries. That is a de facto control of the country. It is that simple. Talk to me again about the Euro extremists when they gain control of the security apparatuses in Europe.
        2. You expect the neocon party organs to inform you about how their flunkies are attacking kindergartens? That would not sit well with domestic audiences. You talk about RT disseminating Kremlin propaganda and then link a “counterclaim” based on Kiev’s unsubstantiated report? It’s quite ironic. Which is not to say that RT does not spread propaganda, it does. As an adult of average intelligence and the helpful benefit of having grown behind the iron curtain I am perfectly capable of sifting the facts from the propaganda. Apparently you can’t, as evidenced by your use of the Kiev-approved “terrorist” label. Sorry but that makes it hard to take you very seriously.
        3. Whoa, when did I ever recommend Old Zbig for SoS? Unless you by correct you are referring to my disdain for his support for the Imperial project, in which case carry on.

          1. OIFVet

            Too easy JJ, too easy. Combine a Snyder, provocative language, and a link to RT and you are sure to catch yourself a murky. I only wish that this little bit of fun didn’t have to originate in a bloody conflict where those who are sure to lose either way are spilling each other’s blood in the name of empire and the profit of their bloody elites. I may side with Russia in all this (combination of millenia of shared history, opposition to empire, and loathing for neocon meddling and neoliberal bottom-feeding) but in the end both regular Russians and Ukrainians will lose from this conflict, as will we regular people in the West. The oligarchs and the power elites of all involved parties will be the winners regardless of outcome. It is a rigged game, and in the end those who do the actual fighting are always the losers.

              1. OIFVet

                Oh no, I am really trying to stay away from the thin ice. I admit I will be testing its boundaries occasionally, hopefully I didn’t push too far in this case. .

            1. Murky

              Glad to oblige, OIFVet! Whose propaganda is the most loathsome is not easy to settle. It’s always bad during times of war. I think Russian propaganda is more effective at manipulating public opinion. Better coordination of the media apparatus; it’s a unified message. More Orwellian too; threre is no ethical conundrum about fabricating stories or falsification of facts, so long as the message gets through. News agencies in the West also twist the facts and misrepresent the truth, but it’s not as blatant. Getting caught in an outright lie will damage reputation. So stories get slanted, fronted, or played down, depending on whose interest is at stake. Western news agencies also complete with each other, so it’s not always a unified message. Except before money, power, Wall Street and the US govt, when they dogpile and cheerlead the pablum of the day.

              Right you are about the real costs of the Ukrainian conflict. So far a few hundred people have died, but at least it’s not thousands or tens of thousands like in the many other Post-Soviet nationality wars. Lessee…. 1. Armenia and Azaerbaijan had a war over the Nagorno Karabakh enclave, 2. Abkhazia broke off from Georgia, 3. South Ossetia left Georgia, 4. civil war in Tajikistan spread to Uzbekistan and parts of Kyrgyzstan, 5. the Transdnistria conflict between Moldova and Russia is on a long burn, 6. two brutal Chechen wars, 7. and now Ukraine. Did I miss anything? The post -Soviet territorial space has had huge nationality problems, and many wars. Why is this region of the world so freaking unstable?

              1. OIFVet

                Murky,
                Had you been willing to concede that what you call Russian propaganda derives its effectiveness from the simple fact that the US triggered this madness and alligned itself with unsavory characters you would have saved yourself the trouble of coming up with this whole discourse. Yes, there is slant just like its western counterpart, I reject the Orwellianism you try to ascribe to it, and chuckle at your contention that Moskow is better at media coordination. But underneath it all no one can deny the fact the US neocons planned and mishandled this fiasco, so what you call propaganda objective observers call reporting the facts.

                As to the question you pose at the end, let’s do a little comparison to a similar post-imperial situation that lead to a lot of bloodletting. The Balkans are what they are in very large part because of 500 years of Ottoman rule and the Congress of Berlin from 1878. The latter marked the continuation of the western powers’ policy of containment of Russia, and by overturning the San Stefano treaty and installing a German czar in Bulgaria, as well as drawing borders which left large minorities of all nationalities in all states, it set the course for a very bloody 130 years. All that so that Russia would not have a powerful Balkan ally in Bulgaria, only to see Bulgaria turn into what the NYT then called the Prussia of the Balkans. This revanchism was caused by Great Power games and led to two national catastrophes for my people. My family has suffered dead in both Balkan wars and in both World Wars. Do you blame the western powers for that the way you insinuate Russia is to blame for post-Soviet mess? Should I blame them for their great power games or the Ottomans for 500 years of oppression? Well, I don’t. It is much better to forgive and to learn from the past. That goes for all. I have told you before and I will repeat it, you have an ax to grind with Russia and it clouds your judgement.

                1. Murky

                  We’ve already gone the rounds with the premise in your first paragraph. You about a US backed coup that overthrew Yanukovich. Me that it was a popular revolution. Dead topic.

                  Your second paragraph has good content. Sorry to hear that you lost family in Balkan wars. And in WW1 and WW2. Similar losses occurred my family. From Trebenje. But that was long ago. Do I blame the Western powers? Yes. Particularly because WW1 was brutal, stupid, and avoidable. Am I insinuating that Russia is responsible for the many wars in Post-Soviet space? Yes and no. Yes because there was a lot of repression of minority nations. No, because huge multiethnic empires eventually unravel anyway.

                  Your last bit is a nonstarter. Saying I have an axe to grind against Russia. As if you don’t have an axe to grind against Ukraine? A topic better ignored.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Well, being from the Balkans explains a lot. We’ve been arguing for millenia over details those in the West find absurd, what’s a few more years. Look, for the n-th time yes there was a popular and justified uprising. The problem is who was placed at the head of it and whose muscle was used. I can see our man Yats having grievances: his party was not in power, and thus it could not steal as much as it used to when Yuschenko and Timoshenko were in power and made themselves billionaires. So selling his services to the west as its puppet and using nazi muscle to overthrow the elected government was a logical move. It also hijacked and delegitimized the Maidan movement and assured more of the same for Ukrainians. I am dismayed that you claim to want the best for them yet support this naked power grab and sellout to a neocolonial master.   It’s sick and twisted joke to pretend that trading one master for another is somehow an improvement and will end well. It isn’t and it won’t.

                    Also, as a Yugoslav you should know that small multi ethnic empires unravel just as well as the huge ones, and end up just as bloody. Given all that I can’t explain your obstinate refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of ethnic russian claims in the east. These regions were never part of historical Ukraine (an oxymoron itself BTW), they were added to Ukraine in the 1920s by the bolsheviks for purely administrative reasons. And morally, who is anyone to deny these people the right to self-determination? Obstinacy and refusal to federalize made things bad. Using the army and fascist thugs made the loss of the east inevitable and irreversible. The east is gone and it will not be coming back. At this point it is delusional and self-defeating to use force to try to keep the east. All that does is spill blood, destabilize the rest of Ukraine, and increase the chances of losing the south as well. What sort of delusional Ukie can’t fathom these facts and realize that it is being used by the US, paying with slavic blood the price of US imperialism?

                    No, I don’t have an ax to grind with Ukraine. I have one with those puppets and nazis that are doing the western bidding. They are not Ukraine, they are traitors to the Ukrainian cause and scum that feeds on blood to achieve its own selfish ends. All they managed to do is plunge Ukraine in a bloody civil war that can spread to the world, and to lose a big chunk of it. The regular people are the losers, again. What started as a legitimate and genuine grievance has been hijacked and made things worse. It takes real talent to make Ukraine an even bigger basket case. And you should thank the US and its man Yats forthat.

        1. Banger

          Well said–certainly everything hangs on who controls the security agencies and the media in any country–guns and propaganda rule over everything.

          As for Zbig–I like him because his view of the world is coherent unlike most everyone on the right, left and center who speak from viewpoints based on sentiments usually unquestioned. He is, a noble enemy–his position is a challenge to the rest of us to get our minds on straight.

          RT, btw, for all of its annoying razzle-dazzle is a pretty good news organization at least compared to the Western mainstream media. It does tend to make some propaganda but what news org doesn’t? However they seem to be pretty good at facts as far as Ukraine is concerned.

          1. OIFVet

            I agree on RT. Compared to the old Pravda and contemporary WaPo and NYT it comes out looking pretty good. But notice how back in the day embassy people would still read Pravda. For all of its propaganda it still offered the careful reader valuable insights about the goings on in Politburo and in the Kremlin. You yourself have pointed out the same about the contemporary NYT in respect to foreign policy deliberations. To dismiss any news source out of hand the way Murky does is silly and a clumsily transparent game.

            As to Brzezinski, I respect him because his ideas are dangerous. Which is also the reason why I dislike him.

            1. Robert Dudek

              Very few can hate Russia as much as a Pole. I know this well as my extended family is/was filled with Russophobes.

      2. Banger

        We have a great divide of course here between those who basically believe the mainstream media narrative and those who do not. Is RT more or less propagandistic than Western media? So far it seems RT has more diversity and more truthful reporting about a variety of issues including Ukraine. Of course it has a bias and it is, annoying and I take whatever they say with many grains of salt. But the degeneration of the Western media has astonished me it is much more propagandistic than it was even during the Bush administration about matters of war and peace.

        For example, the refusal on the part of Western media to report the massacre in Odessa when it was clearly shown on video is a glaring example. I can name you incident after incident where the mainstream media lies and grossly distorts events that are connected with possible use of force.

        Those of us who have followed American policies in the outskirts of Russia know that the U.S. policy is to weaken and divide the region just as its general policy in Central Asia and the Middle East is the very same. Mind you, that policy is not irrational–it makes sense from the POV of policy makers i you understand what their general motivations and objectives are, i.e., full-spectrum dominance, American Exceptionalism and so on.

      3. alex morfesis

        yup old fascists don’t exist…they never died…

        in chicago, during the “yugo this way I go that way” break up
        of montenegro plus, there was this hardly standing building
        in the edge of the mexican and black community in chicago

        near old rt 66…

        the General Michailovic association, or some type of name.

        one day, all of a sudden,the building gets painted,
        there are young men in funny
        uniforms standing guard, and then poof, a few months later,
        like magic, the wars break out in the wondrous land of
        “trow-mehn-doos”, and suddenly in chicago, in-laws were
        at each others throats, as sudden “partisanship” turned into
        ethnic hate, as former atheists suddenly went back to their
        historic religious hate-mongering. I could blame it on the
        Cubs having a lousy team, so that the bernaze sauce did
        not keep them distracted…

        but, that is certainly not the only “paperclippers” I have come
        across in the good olde US of A. Even found one hiding out
        in north manhattan, at the end of the east river drive, what is
        now a school, was an old sorta dead parking lot with marina
        attached. We had leased it from the City of New York’s HPD
        department and were told “Hanz” came with the lease…

        tried to get rid of him, and my dad freaked out…we were getting
        pressed to leave him in place…

        if it looks like a nazi, walks like a
        nazi and knows how to spell Vlassov-Gehlen…

        its probably a duck…

        1. OIFVet

          The US Govt. certainly did its fair share to save the useful nazis and channel their accumulated know-how toward building its empire and sabotaging these new, respectable, hard working immigrants’ former homelands. Not talking about the Werner von Braun types either, but the muscle for dirty work: former SS both German and ethnic. Ukrainians earned a reputation as concentration camp guards. Here are a couple of good links about our government’s complicity and collaboration with this scum: http://www.thenation.com/blog/179057/seven-decades-nazi-collaboration-americas-dirty-little-ukraine-secret and http://my.firedoglake.com/blindpig/2014/05/06/what-was-the-14th-ss-division-gallicia-and-why-does-it-matter/. In ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ Crile had an interesting aside about the CIA’s employment of ethnics and their use to foment coups in their ancestral lands. American exceptionalism my butt, we do not have any moral leg to stand on, all of our rhetoric about how much we care and about and fight to spread freedom and democracy is a vile lie.

          1. John Jones

            OIFVet

            Can I get your opinion on the Kosovo war.
            Do you think it was handled correctly etc?

            1. OIFVet

              I don’t know if I would be the most objective person to ask, at the time I studied this issue in college I was a raging neocon and serbophobe. I gave a professor of mine quite a heartburn by including a reference to the Djordje Martinovic incident as part of my analysis and using it rather gratuitously to undermine the Serbian position. I will try though, I am no longer neocon or hate the Serbs.

              The short of it is, IMO the US had no right to carry out this “humanitarian” war and I have come to believe that it created, deliberately or not, an even larger humanitarian crisis. First, there was a massive refugee flow into Macedonia, something the US had anticipated but failed to prepare itself and Macedonia for, which in turn destabilized Macedonia by altering its own ethnic makeup and continues to be a problem to this day. Second, what had been relatively isolated incidents of Serb atrocities prior to the war intensified markedly. The US had no plan to prevent or at least try to minimize the instances of atrocities. This leads me to believe that the war had nothing to do with making things better for Kosovars and everything to do with neutralizing a strong Russian ally and potential base in the Balkans, a region which we know to be quite vital to US and NATO designs for control of Eurasia. Moreover the US credibility suffered by aligning itself the KLA, an organization it had previously declared to be a terrorist group. So no, even if we are to assume that US motives were pure, it definitely mishandled the war even though it ultimately achieved its objectives. None of this is something I believed or included in my college-days analysis.

              This is not to be misconstrued as giving the Serbs a free pass. A short timeline from my paper: From the annexation of Kosovo during the First Balkan War to the mid-1960s the Kosovars were subject to persecution and discrimination within Serbia. From 1966 to 1974 Tito carried out a gradual process of giving the Kosovars increasing amount of autonomy within Serbia, formally declaring Kosovo an autonomous province of Serbia in 1968 by constitutional amendment and giving it a direct representation in the Yugoslav federal parliament with the passing of 1974 constitution. The reforms gave Kosovo a de facto republic status in the Yugoslav Federation, but denied it de jure recognition with the associated right to secession from the Federation. Which was a rather bad move on Tito’s part but powerful as he was he could not go further. He instituted these reforms as a way to curb the Serbs’ power and influence within the Federation, and it did aggrieve the Serbs, rightly or not. It definitely pleased the Kosovars though and it did make life there markedly better. After Tito’s death in 1980, and particularly beginning in 1985, the Serbs began a campaign to air grievances of alleged Kosovar transgressions against ethnic Serbs, including the infamous Martinovic incident. The campaign culminated with the SANU Memorandum of 1986, which basically stoked Serbian nationalism by accusing Kosovars, Croats, and the Slovenes of conspiring to dismember Serbia. True to the saying that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, the memorandum was viewed and used by Milosevic, then deputy president of the Serbian communist party, as a way to seize power by branding himself a nationalist. The rest is history, as they say. Combining nationalism and personal ambition rarely end well.

              In summary, the US had no legal authority to attack Serbia, and whatever moral authority (R2P) it claimed does not hold up at all in view of the humanitarian crisis and the destabilization of a neighboring state that the shoddy planning and execution of the war caused. The US believed the Serbs would cave in within a few days and simply did not plan for a long and sustained air campaign (remember the Apache fiasco) or for boots on the ground approach which is really the only way to prevent large scale atrocities. Which of course also points out the folly of the US civilian and military leadership blind faith in air power and technology superiority as substitute for boots on the ground.

              The Serbs, OTOH, are far from blameless victims. The SANU Memorandum was incredibly xenophobic and revisionist document and it was calculatedly so. It led to all of the Yugoslav wars and in the end was a disaster for all involved. The Croatians, the Bosnians, the Kosovars, the Serbs: all of them suffered and none of them was completely blameless, including the US. I firmly believe in the right of self-determination for all groups and make no exceptions for Kosovo, despite my stand against US involvement; had the Serbs settled for autonomous Kosovo the conflict there would have been avoided and Kosovo might still be a part of Serbia. Something the Bulgarian experience through the Balkan and World Wars should have illustrated to the Serbs had they been willing to learn and control nationalist impulses.

              Hope this is useful, its rather brief given the complexity of the issue.

              1. John Jones

                I should correct myself I did not know a lot of what you wrote here. Thanks again.

                “The reforms gave Kosovo a de facto republic status in the Yugoslav Federation, but denied it de jure recognition with the associated right to secession from the Federation. Which was a rather bad move on Tito’s part but powerful as he was he could not go further.”

                Why do you think it was a bad move by Tito though?
                Would it not guarantee Kosovo separating from Serbia if he did that though?

                I guess this is what I am trying to figure out. Whether it was right for Kosovo or states within countries to declare independence or self-determination.
                I can understand it if they have a historic presence in a region of a country before the current rulers they are under. Or to be separated in times of persecution and discrimination or genocide and for that to be permanent based of whether the country committing the crimes changes.

                1. OIFVet

                  What I meant by “bad move” is that it created a legal limbo about the status of Kosovo which Serb nationalists could then exploit to give themselves a seemingly valid justification for using force. As to why Tito did this, he simply could not muster enough power to legalize Kosovo’s republic status. Tito was of a Croat/Slovene origin and did not trust Serb nationalism, particularly since Serbs dominated the officer corps of the Yugoslav military and the bureaucracy of the Yugoslav Federation. By going only halfway on Kosovo’s legal status he managed to hand the Serb nationalists a taylor-made claim to victimhood.

                  As to historical presence, I had explored this issue in depth for my assignment. The short of it is that modern Albanians appear to be the descendants of ancient Illyrian tribes which inhabited the southwestern Balkans long before Slavs appeared there and pushed them up into the mountains of what is present-day Albania. Demographic data for the period of Ottoman rule is sparse but appears to support Kosovars’ claims that they always had a majority in the Kosovo region; the demographic data from the 19th century on is much more detailed and shows that they maintained that majority after Ottoman rule as well, despite Serb attempts to drive them off by force and by encouraging Serb migration to the region by way of land grants for ethnic Serbs.

                  One thing to remember about the Balkans is that it has been a mixing pot for all of human existence so pretty much any ethnic group can make semi-valid claims to a region. The decline of one dominant group was always followed by the rise of another, with the associated movements of people and borders. For that reason claims based on ancient history make little sense in the Balkans. Same goes for the legal aspect of it as the dominant group gets to write the constitution and its recognition to the right to autonomy/independence for minority regions. To me it all boils down to the moral aspect of the question of self-determination, always a tricky territory to navigate. Even more so in the Balkans.

                  1. John Jones

                    But if one culture is there before the other and contiues to be why would that not be valid or make sense?
                    Even if they all have mixed over time which is true as I think all the ethnicities in the Balkans have gone into each others respective cultures. Do you mean because others have also been there a long time?

                    I don’t know I guess this could be my own shortcomings on this issue.

                    1. John Jones

                      I guess what I might be trying to figure out is
                      when is self-determination the right path to go down and when does it tear up a country and someones own history and culture.
                      It is a difficult topic.

                      I have probably given you a headache on the issue.
                      Thanks for your time and input.

                    2. OIFVet

                      Well, to me self-determination should be recognized as a universal right. If a minority within a country is being discriminated and persecuted it should have the right to carve out its own country if its grievances won’t or can’t be redressed. If the groups coexist peacefully it makes no sense to break up a country. Then there is the variable of personal and geopolitical ambitions stirring up the pot for their own ends. Of course in the real world it is rarely this simple, it is a rather complicated and difficult issue as you said. In any case it is useful to think about these issues in light of what is going on in Ukraine, so it was good for me to go back and revisit my earlier thoughts and see how they may have changed over time as the world around us changes.

  10. Paper Mac

    “94% white and asian” – it’s not at all clear to me why these categories are being lumped together. I’ve even seen the google data headlined as “Google too white, male”, which isn’t what the data say at all- if the idea is that the ethnic/racial makeup of Google’s workforce should be approximately proportionally the same as the American population, whites are represented about in the proportion that you would expect, while asians are overrepresented by 4-600%, depending on what the (absurd and itself racist) category “asian” means. Increases in black and hispanic employment would thus have to come at the expense of asian, not white employment. Even if google conducted entirely blind hiring procedures (which would probably fix the gender disparity), I doubt this would do anything to rectify the ethnic/racial disparity given the massive overrepresentation of asians in the postsecondary hiring pools google draws from. It seems the American press is desperate to avoid drawing attention to the fact that the asian (particularly Han Chinese) diaspora has long since established itself in an important position of great socioeconomic privilege reminiscent of the situation in Southeast Asia. I wonder if they’re worried that pointing this out might have the same sorts of tragic outcomes that tend to occur when Malays or Indonesians get riled up about this kind of thing.

    1. Working Class Nero

      They cannot break out the Asian numbers separately because it doesn’t fit the “white privilege” narrative. The oligarchs who control the media have erected powerful taboos about even discussing race or gender issues where white males are not the bad guys. While they are happy to play divide and rule by stirring racial animus towards especially working class white males; the last thing elites want is for the masses to turn this weapon upwards against them by looking too closely at the ethnic or tribal makeup of our elites.

      So such concepts as Asian Privilege or worse, Jewish Privilege (because there are many fields where they are hugely over-represented), are strictly verboten. When talking about race, only whites are acceptable targets. A very recent example of this racial double standard was when the mixed race (English / Chinese) Elliot Rodger, who is exactly as white as Barrack Obama (50%), went on his recent killing spree, in which three victims were stabbed and three shot. In response Michael Moore said “Nearly all of our mass shootings are by angry or disturbed white males.” Huh? A quick look at the numbers from 1982-2013 published by Mother Jones show that mass killers were 66% white, 17% are Black, 9% Asian, and only 6% Latino. So the reality is spree shooters more or less look just like America, except Blacks and Asians are slightly over-represented and Whites and more so with Latinos are under-performing their population percentages. So we go from whites being “nearly all” to the truth being they are slightly underrepresented in the mass killing category.

      But why limit these things to spree killing (hint: the numbers don’t fit the white = evil narrative). But let’s be brave here and look at reality when it comes to race and murder:

      According to the US Department of Justice, blacks accounted for 52.5% of homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008, with whites 45.3% and Native Americans and Asians 2.2%. The offending rate for blacks was almost 8 times higher than whites, and the victim rate 6 times higher. Most murders were intraracial, with 84% of white homicide victims murdered by whites, and 93% of black victims murdered by blacks.

      Blacks are 13% of the population but make up 52% of the murderers. In fact, black men between the ages of 16-30 are about 2% of the population but commit more than 50% of murders in this country annually. Why doesn’t Michael Moore tell us about this?

      Just think about how we respond to, on the one hand, a blatant lie about white spree killers, and on the other hand a documented fact about black murderers. The white lie is considered courageous and speaking truth to power while the black fact is racist.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You’re right about re-direct, so we don’t talk about unprosecuted financial crimes, or non-crimes (because they have been defined away).

        Taking care of your friends, because of your mutual connection or guanxi, is never a crime, according to ‘them.’

        Then, there is the ‘promoting a few minority token candidates’ to join the elites diversion. The assumption here is the elites are natural and desirable…you’re directed away from questioning wealth inequality and from challenging the very existence of the elites…the status quo.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The lingering legacy of Confucianism where one, free of the ‘wasteful energy of challenging the status quo, existing power structure,’ is able to devote full time to making money and propagating family lineage in Southeast Asia or engaging in scholarly pursuit in order to climb the technological ladder inside the imperial core as model subjects of the scientific/technological empire.

      That 2,000 year old Weltanshauung is deeply imprinted in the cultural DNA.

      Cultural Revolution? What Cultural Revolution?

    3. BondsOfSteel

      I’m guessing when they mean “Asian” they mean people who’s ancestors (or themselves) were born in Asia.

      A large % of the workforce at top tier technology companies like Google were not born in the US. I’d guess the Asian number is out of proportion with the US population because there are a lot of really good software universities in India. That means there are a lot of really good Indian programmers…. and that means top tier technology companies hire a lot of Indian programmers.

      Programming teams in these companies are like mini-UNs. I’ve worked on many teams where I was the only programmer that was born in North America. One team had 6 programmers… and we realized we represented 5/6 of the populated continents… all except Australia.

      Personally, I found this diversity one of the coolest things about these companies.

      P.S. A lot of the international co-workers I’ve had have gone on to become US citizens. This includes people from Romania, Brazil, India, Poland, South Africa, Persia (Iran), Russia, Egypt, Pakistan, and China.

    4. jrs

      Well when 1/2 Asian serial killers are “white males” while 1/2 white Presidents are “african american’s” we’re playing by strange rules.

      1. jrs

        Or maybe the rules are just patriarchy after all? As in both cases it is the race of the father that is determinate of how people choose to identify them.

  11. optimader

    Observations from the back of the Short Bus of Washington’s political scene. the question is : Is Kerry really this stupid? The answer is no, he’s more stupid.
    When Kerry come to mind I often think how pathetic Teresa Heinz must be to have married this block of soft wood. She has infinite resources, yet this intellectual flotsam is was what she tied her bowline onto?

    ….John Kerry challenges Edward Snowden to ‘man up’ and face trial in the U.S. Agence France-Presse

    ….I was stopped because the United States government decided to revoke my passport and trap me in Moscow Airport,” Snowden told NBC.

    “So when people ask, ‘Why are you in Russia?’ I say, please, ask the State Department.”

    But Kerry hit back, saying Snowden should do the patriotic thing and return to the United States to face charges for leaking a trove of classified documents.

    Two of the charges were brought under the 1917 Espionage Act and Snowden is wanted for theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence information.

    “This is a man who has betrayed his country,” Kerry told CBS News. “He should man up and come back to the US.”

    “The fact is, he has damaged his country very significantly. I find it sad and disgraceful.”

    Snowden was granted asylum by Russia in August 2013 after being holed up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport since June 23.

    Kerry however denied that the State Department had trapped Snowden in Moscow, saying “for a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer, frankly.”

    “If Mr Snowden wants to come back to the United States today, we’ll have him on a flight today,” Kerry told NBC.

    “A patriot would not run away and look for refuge in Russia or Cuba or some other country,” Kerry said. “A patriot would stand up in the United States and make his case to the American people.”

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Snowden DID stand up and take his case to the American people. He simply wasn’t stupid enough to let those he exposed become his judges and jailers.

      1. OIFVet

        He did, but the fundamental problem is the American people themselves. I have the local “progressive” talk radio on, and an American “progressive” woman called in to opine that Snowden is a traitor, a coward, and a thief. These are largely the same people who condemned Bush for warrantless wiretaps, mind you. Now that Dear Leader has been exposed for having greatly expanded surveillance these “progressives” are blaming the messenger for bringing them the message. Cognitive dissonance will not be allowed to enter the bubble of the personality cult they have voluntarily moved into. Lambert dislikes the term but I will say it anyway: these are sheeple. They are voluntarily walking into a dystopian future of total control such as the Soviet Block could only dream about, and are thrilled about it.

        1. optimader

          …the fundamental problem is the American people themselves…

          Absolutely correct.. Root cause analysis, Obviously these policies policies are acceptable to the American people or it would not be tolerated. Americans by in large sell out for the perpetuation of an eroding status quo.

          I will very occasionally tune into the “progressive(?)” talk radio when I have a book on CD run out and I want to get current taste of this flavor of intellectual pabulum.

          A couple months ago I spent a few minutes listening the duplicitous ass-hat Ed Shultz talk over then disconnect a caller that was challenging ES regarding the BHO admin policy regarding Snowden in particular and whistle blowers in general.

          Shultz was parroting the party line that Snowden should have taken his concerns up the chain of command as a whistleblower. When the caller challenged Shultz w/ the recent cases of whistleblower who’s life have been terrorized and destroyed, ES became apoplectic. Regarding an illustrative case, ES said apparently the whistleblower took his concerns to “the wrong authorities in the chain of command”.

          Again, I find guys like Shultz and Maddow more evil than those who I would see on Faux News. The latter at least has the thin shred of personal ethics to not misrepresent their bizarre philosophical P.O.V.s.

          1. OIFVet

            Yep, these two are insidious, vile phonies. ES’s big ego is dwarfed only by the size of his large butt, both of which he needs to be stroked and kissed daily by sycophants as he waxes about his “love” for the working class. A love he expresses by lying to them and getting handsomely compensated for his “service.” Still, at least they pretend to be deeply contemplative thinkers, a tactic meant to give a veneer of intellectual legitimacy to their manufacture of consent on behalf of the elites. Miller does not even pretend, hers is the Baghdad Bob role of regaling us with tales of the stunning victories Dear Leader delivers on our behalf in his battle with the Evil Forces of Obstruction, victories which have cured the problem of access to affordable health care and healed the economy for the 99%.

          2. jrs

            It’s propaganda. They expect people not to be informed about other whistleblowers, because that’s how the propaganda is plausible (“oh yes of course that makes sense, he should have gone up the chain of command”) And considering the same media doesn’t inform them about other whistleblowers it works, to an extent. But a narrative that the U.S. govt destroys anyone who seriously challenges is much more plausible if you starting gathering actual data.

        2. ohmyheck

          Yup. At DailyKos, the latest meme is that Snowden could have done this under Bush.
          Um, which logically follows that… Snowden waited to come out just to make Obama LOOK BAD.

          That’s it, folks. That is the bottom line for the anti-Snowden campaign.

          Who give a rat’s benoot about your civil liberties and privacy, just neverever make Obama look bad.

          I would link to the diary, but the comments are particularly vile today.

          1. OIFVet

            Sometimes I think that Daily Kos regulars are graduates of the Gestapo Thought Police Academy.

            1. Kurt Sperry

              The core group of O-bots there are at least that far gone. It’s basically become a personality cult.

    2. fresno dan

      I think about the gunboat sliming of Kerry when he ran for president in 2004….and I begin to think they were on to something.
      Really, when you look at his service in Vietnam, and than you look at his testimony in the 70s congressional hearings, it does seem to be of a design just to check all the boxes and follow the prevailing attitudes…
      I only wish we had reporters that had enough critical intellectual capacity to ask Kerry:
      Exactly what is different about the “classified” material Ellsberg leaked regarding Vietnam versus Snowden???”
      (I’m sure the answer would be along the lines of “methods” – which begs the follow up questions of whether the monitoring of all Americans is an acceptable method, does the 4th amendment still hold, do you believe anyone at NSA or in the government broke ANY laws, etcetera)

      1. McMike

        I find the swift boat campaign despicable. Say what you want about Kerry, he really did stick his neck out in harms way and get wounded more than once.

        The SB smear was an insult to every vet who has put his life on the line, gotten wounded, or earned commendations (granted those can get a it little dodgy). And it represented a new high in lows for the right in its exceptional level of cynicism and hypocrisy.

        Whatever you think he may have been thinking then, or doing now, he inserted himself into combat as a leader of a gunboat, while the rest of the elites were skulking around at stateside universities or going AWOL from their Guard duty.

        Sorry, but the SB slime still frosts my hind end the way the SCOTUS did in Bush v Gore.

        1. optimader

          The Swiftboater BS was indeed a bunch of BS, and an excellent example of the superficial detritus that apparently counts in our political process.

          The USG awarded the medals to Kerry, he didn’t award them to himself!

          The fact that Kerry couldn’t rhetorically shred a bunch of unsavory A-holes making vacuous retroactive calls for political reasons on the merits of his military decorations, like them or not, was the only take away insight for me on Kerry,

      2. optimader

        ….when you look at his service in Vietnam, and than you look at his testimony in the 70s congressional hearings, it does seem to be of a design just to check all the boxes and follow the prevailing attitudes…

        Kerry had his finger in the wind looking for political traction, and he hasn’t changed. He cant even agree with himself on whether he threw his military medals/ribbons over the W.H. fence in 1971.

        He is as fake as his pathetically cultivated fake Boston Brahmin accent.

  12. Massinissa

    @Goes Greece

    He acts as if Syriza is extremist when it truth its pretty center-left by European standards…

    Or would be if Austerity hadnt become a ‘left wing thing’ in addition to being a ‘right wing thing’.

    Syriza wouldnt actually change all that much if they got in power. Theyre just posers. Theyre certainly not ‘extremists’.

    The only group worth fearing in greece, either for the regular greek or the european elite, is Golden Dawn. Thats a threat to just about everyone.

    1. chris

      Yes. I was watching BBCAmerica the day after and they kept calling Syriza the “radical leftitst” party. This way they can suggest that the left is an equally pernicious progressive version of rightwing neo-nazism.

  13. Vatch

    After I looked at the Patriotic Millionaires website, I wondered how many of them aren’t just millionaires, but are billionaires. So I looked at the Forbes 400 list of billionaires. I plowed through the first 60 names on the list of billionaires, and not a single one had taken the pledge to ask for higher taxes on incomes over $1 million per year.

    This isn’t surprising. Although oligarchs may disagree on multiple issues (compare the Koch brothers and George Soros), on the twin issues of income protection and wealth protection, they show great uniformity. Oligarchs don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize their positions of power, and their power depends on their current wealth and future income.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      A few of them might be legit. A few more of them might be looking at history and thinking about the end game.

      1. fresno dan

        I’m sure a fair number wouldn’t mind raising taxes – on sources of income they don’t own.
        A few of the really sophisticated ones might even allow for the raising of taxes on their own sources of income (as long as the laws like copyright or oil depletion that keep their source of income immensely profitable are left sacrosanct….)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am not sure if ‘patriotic’ is the applicable word here…

      In any case, it is NOT patriotic to do things that will subtract from the GDP.

      For example, if you cook the food you have grown or raised yourself, you have subversively damaged our GDP. And that is NOT patriotic.

      1. Vatch

        If a person or family eats home grown food, then there’s more farm grown food available for export or less need to import food from other countries. So eating the produce of one’s own garden may not raise the GDP, but it is beneficial for the national balance of payments. So using a home garden is patriotic.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You make a good point, though, at the end, it sounds like it’s a wash, and not ‘net’ patriotic.

          1. Vatch

            What’s the connection between paying or not paying taxes, and growing or not growing one’s own food?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I wasn’t sure if paying taxing is ‘patriotic’ or just decent, just and fair thing to do. That is, the rich paying more taxes is good in and of itself, and not necessarily ‘patriotic’…admittedly, that’s my own personal opinion.

              To me, patriotism, as they ‘educate’ us, is more about consuming and contributing to the GDP. So, I commented on growing and eating one’s own food.

    3. Vatch

      I checked numbers 61 to 100 on the Forbes list, and still no matches on the Patriotic Millionaires site. The richest 100 people in the United States have unanimously chosen not to endorse this program. I believe this is a “Quelle Surprise” moment.

  14. Jackrabbit

    Obama Lacking Candor
    – DW

    Hulsman’s narrow focus on Foreign Policy misses the big picture of Obama’s Candor. Obama has been duplicitous, mendacious, and less-than-honest about a wide range of issues from ‘fat cats’ to the NSA. Obama’s proclivity for eleven-dimensional slight of hand has become a bad joke. It comes as no surprise, then, that people like Sun Tzu, a commenter at Moon of Alabama, are deeply skeptical about Obama’s new thinking on Foreign Policy:

    Obama is going to war. If he said at West point that the hammer is not the only tool expect the opposite. War is in the offing.

    So who to believe? Hulsman or your lying eyes? Is Obama’s lack of candor due to his straining to appease different foreign policy factions or an attempt to finesse a neocon ‘double-down’ of foreign aggressiveness? Time will tell, but his recent actions feel more ‘double-down’ than Hulsman’s ‘limits of power in a multilateral world’:
    – approved more arms and training for the Syrian rebels
    – ended his (never genuine?) ‘reset’ with Russia and lobbied US firms to stop investing in Russia
    – announced that the US will keep nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan until at least end of 2015

    Also see:
    Obama’s West Point Speech: A Foreign Puzzel, Not a Foreign Policy

    1. Jackrabbit

      A ‘Victory’ that pulls Russia and China Closer Together: Nuland’s Ukrainian Mess

      A good description of the foreign policy failure and historical context. In the 70’s, the US effectively exploited deep mistrust between Russia and China. Each looked to the US as a partner. But this favorable situation slowly deteriorated. Culminating in what might be termed ‘The Ukraine Gambit’ that has solidified relations between Russia and China.

      What a blunder! A more enlightened leadership might have taken pains to pull Russia into the Western orbit as a partner at the end of the Cold War. Instead, capitalist vultures were unleashed to feed on the Soviet carcass, while promises not to expand NATO were broken.

      Its difficult to know if we should be horrified or thankful at this turn of events given that the neolib/neocon uni-polar world vision seems to be a dystopian nightmare for most of us.

    2. Jagger

      What puzzle? This is an election year. Got to get the lefty base out with the proper pandering. So his words mean absolutely nothing now and will mean absolutely nothing after the elections..

    3. Jackrabbit

      Obama’s love for, and extolling of, ‘exceptionalism’ is the ‘tell’ that he is a neocon. It is the neocon’s self-licking ice cream cone.

      I think this is fundamentally what Hulsman misses. Yeah the American people don’t want any more overseas adventures. But Obama CAN’T admit to a multilateral constraints on power . . . because exceptionalism!

    4. Jackrabbit

      Some more good speech-related links:

      Old Flaws in Obama’s New Foreign Policy

      “With this speech, Obama simply and finally jumped out of the Afghan frying pan only to leap back into the Mideast fire, and beyond that, to the ever-smoldering terrorist and tribal horrors of Africa. (Whatever happened to the “Asia pivot” policy?) . . . Alas, Obama’s “new” strategy sounded much like the old one.
      . . .
      Perhaps Obama thought that a new anti-terrorist emergency fund he was asking Congress to fund would distinguish his approach. It’s to be a $5 billion barrel to support friends and allies with arms, training and the like. But Obama and President George W. Bush provided Afghans and Iraqis with hundreds of billions in arms and economic aid to a very modest effect indeed.”

      How Neocons Constrain Obama’s Message

      As American neocons continue to shape the narratives that define the permissible boundaries for U.S. foreign policy thinking, the failure to enforce any meaningful accountability on them for their role in the criminal and disastrous invasion of Iraq has become painfully clear.

      In any vibrant democratic system, it would be unthinkable that the neocons and other war hawks who yahooed the United States into Iraq a little more than a decade ago would still be exercising control over how Americans perceive today’s events. Yet, many of the exact same pundits and pols who misled the American people then are still misleading them today.

      [snip]

      Even though Obama did oppose the Iraq invasion last decade, he has been sucked into the same barren rhetoric about American “exceptionalism”; he makes similar hyperbolic denunciations of American “enemies”; and he plays into new false narratives like those that paved the way to hell in Iraq.

      On Wednesday in addressing the graduating class at West Point, Obama had what might be his last real chance to shatter this phony frame of propaganda, but instead he delivered a pedestrian speech that tried to talk tough about crises in Ukraine and Syria as a defense against neocon critics who will predictably accuse him of weakness.

      [snip]

      In his day, Kennedy also faced powerful war hawks who sought to constrain his vision of an international system that recognized the legitimate interests of other nations and their peoples. But Kennedy still deployed his rhetoric bravely to smash the narrow framework of Cold War reductionism.

      By contrast, Obama accepted the tiny frame as shaped by Official Washington’s still powerful neocons; he simply tried to maneuver for a little more elbow room.

      Obama Asks for $5 billion Blank Check to Fight Terror (A request made in his speech)

      In his speech, Obama noted that “a critical focus” of this new fund would be “the ongoing crisis in Syria.”

      A senior administration official told reporters Wednesday that any effort to train the armed Syrian rebels would have to come from the new fund, if it materializes. . . . “We want a fund like this precisely so we have flexibility, so that if we need to surge particular resources to a particular counterterrorism partner we can do that,” the official said.

      “It’s a mystery fund. It’s sadly typical that they haven’t worked through the details” [said Gordon Adams, who served as the top national security budget official in the Clinton White House].

  15. JohnB

    On ‘the singularity ‘ – the article is just focusing on a few people who have made silly predictions, it doesn’t disprove the idea: It most definitely will happen, we just don’t know when – could be 100 years, could be 1000 – but it will happen, just requires a much greater understanding of the human brain, and how to recreate and nurture it (particularly in an entirely artificial/simulated environment of some sort).

    We know it’s possible, simply because that’s exactly what we (as humans) are already – it’s just a matter of time, for developing the right technical capability, and knowledge, for achieving it.

    Unless we hit a law-of-physics type brick-wall in our ability to gain understanding of the functioning of the human brain – which there’s no indication to suggest this will ever happen – it really is inevitable.

    1. F. Beard

      The problem isn’t whether AI is possible but whether an AI will be necessarily good and beyond that merciful since humans are not necessarily good but often require mercy.

    2. Dan B

      “Unless we hit a law-of-physics type brick-wall …” Well, there is that pedestrian second law of thermodynamics.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s likely that the more we know about the brain, the more we will feel that we don’t really know how it functions.

      That is, the more we know, the less we know…or something like that.

  16. Mike

    As someone that hires programmers the idea that the diversity mafia is coming to coding makes me shake my head. While I’m sure that talented African American programmers exist I have literally never seen one. Being geeky is not a huge plus in the African American community.
    As recently as last week I tried to hire an African American female. Despite college degrees she literally was unable to send me an email with an attachment. Despite not even being hired she wanted to argue at length that the attachment had in fact been attached and that I wasn’t seeing it.
    I have been to high level attack training where members of the US military made up the bulk of the attendees. I watched in astonishment as all the African American attendees from a major branch of the US military promptly went to sleep!
    Of course noticing any of this makes me racist. The fact that I will hire the first African American I find with a glimmer of coding talent will mean nothing…

    1. tyaresun

      I think deep rooted cultural biases are at work here. I am an Asian with two very bright daughters. I don’t think I will ever be able to convince them to go into programming. The first one graduated last year (biomedical engineering) and was looking for a job for a whole year. I paid for her python and perl classes which she completed but refused to look for programming jobs. She preferred sitting at home.

      I have been interviewing applicants for data science/predictive analytics positions for many years now, I have rarely seen African Americans in the application pool, it is mostly Chinese, Indians, and Whites, followed by Iranians, Turks, and Russians, followed by Koreans and Vietnamese. Most of the female applicants are Chinese and Indians, some Russians and Turks.

      Hopefully, this will change some day but I do not see anything changing in the short or medium term.

    2. Working Class Nero

      In architecture it is a similar story. Back in the 90’s in California I worked for a top corporate firm and we won a huge public project. But in those days (I’m not sure if they still do this) you had to build a team of small “Identity Firms” that were owned by females, blacks, or Latinos, disabled veterans, etc., in order to win public projects. So a few weeks later we got word that the black firm that we partnered with was going to send over six architects to supplement the team and work in our offices. Me and my CAD manager buddy who sat next to me (both from less genteel backgrounds) were super happy at the prospect of having some fun loving brothaz joining our office. We were getting plenty sick of the string of boring Ivy League Asian dudes that the boring Ivy League Asian dude who had just been promoted to Associate Partner kept hiring. In contrast, west coast Asian dudes were cool because they were somewhat twisted, used their Asian names, and only wore ties to meetings. The east coast Asian dudes were typically corporate tools who were all Brooks Brothered out every day. Of course the sad reality was that we were all corporate tools but some of us felt better about ourselves if we were able to plausibly deny this fact.

      But in the end what we really craved were “talented” female colleagues. Talented was our code word for hot because even back then you had to be damn careful with what you said in the office.

      Well the big day finally arrived and we all meandered our way downstairs to their studio to check out the newcomers. The black director of the firm was there with his black lieutenant to introduce, to our extreme astonishment, three rather hot Asian women and two goofy looking white guys along with a white hippie chick.

      My CAD buddy knew the lieutenant from university so later we got the chance to talk to him. After profusely thanking him for having the kindness of sharing with us some of his top Asian “talent”; we started messing with him about why he was holding out on the brothaz (for some reason it never dawned on us that maybe some sistaz would come work with us). After jokingly denying their firm was racist, and after pointing out that some of his best friends and children were black — he said that try as they might they just never had any realistic black applicants. He said there were so few blacks graduating from architecture school that the last place in the world these few young black architects wanted to work for was for a token black firm. Instead these new black architects were inundated with offers from the best corporate offices, whose directors were desperate to have at least one black architect in the studio to give the slightest contrast amidst the usual sea of white and Asian architects that flood most offices.

      1. James Levy

        I’m sensing a pattern here, guys–so you’re saying blacks are too stupid to be architects or computer programmers? Because, let’s be real: that’s what you’re saying. Perhaps if you never saw anyone, ever, in those occupations that looked like you, and never grew up thinking that that is something you could do with your life, and came from poverty and crappy schools and therefore couldn’t get a fancy education at an elite, extremely expensive university, perhaps that had something to do with this–rather than black people being stupid.

        1. Working Class Nero

          Stop projecting your hate on others. The woman who hired me at my elite firm was black. No one is saying blacks are too stupid to be architects or programmers. What I am saying (I cannot speak for programmers) is that on the job market, for what ever reason, so few black architects appear, that even the black firms only hire Asians and whites.

          1. neo-realist

            At the risk of repetition, you seem to not realize that a big factor in why you’re not seeing larger number of blacks in the programming and architectural fields is that they tend to get the schools with the crappy K-12 education—fewer resources and lacking in those cutting edge educational programs in math and science that predominantly white schools in the nice neighborhoods possess. If we equalize the input and resources for all regardless of racial, ethnic and economic background, I’m pretty sure that over the long run, we’ll see more blacks in those fields.

            1. Working Class Nero

              And at the risk of being repetitive, what you say is true but we were not discussing the “why” portion of the lack of black job candidates. What we were saying is that the fact that there are racial disparities in the people hired to do these jobs is not necessarily a sign of racism on the part of the people doing the hiring. In fact, often, the people doing the hiring are desperate to hire blacks, but for the reasons you stated, and perhaps others, there are very few qualified blacks for these jobs.

  17. Jim Haygood

    From Bloomberg:

    The end of a decade-long boom driven by cheap money and strong commodity prices has deeply divided Latin America between fast-growth countries along the Pacific coast and stragglers on the Atlantic.

    Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, which make up 98 percent of the combined economies of the Mercosur trade bloc, will grow an average of 0.6 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook. Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, which formed the Pacific Alliance trade group in 2011, will grow 4.2 percent.

    The divide has little to do with western Latin America facing a dynamic Asia and China or the eastern region’s exposure to a Europe still recovering from crisis. The countries faring better have opened their economies, adopted market-friendly policies and generate more productivity and investment prospects.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-28/divided-latin-america-favors-fast-growing-pacific-region.html

    ————

    Chile’s economic model — still kickin’ ass, after all these years.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Faster growth, maybe… but there are lots of problems with faster growth.

      China, home of faster growth, has plenty problems.

    2. El Guapo

      “Chile’s economic model — still kickin’ ass, after all these years.”

      Yup, still kicking ass for the rich Chilean elite. Not uprising you get a stiffy thinking about it.

          1. OIFVet

            Do you mean this kind of uprising? I pity the poor souls who find that…uprising, though the thought of all the lost revenues Pfizer could potentially sustain triggers a thrill going up my leg :)

  18. chris

    Watching one of those local 24/7 news shows – BayNews 9 in Pinellas County FL (a channel available to Brighthouse customers only) – when the main spokesman offered a short newsbite about the presence of germs on paper money, with an especially dire warning “even pneumonia!” What was most incongruous was that the warning was delivered through that up-beat tone of voice and pleasant on-screen demeanor that is de rigueur for broadcast talking heads which, seems to me, undercuts the obvious intention of getting people to use their credit cards. Afterall, only dirty low life stupid people use cash anymore.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You wash my money and I will wash your brain.

          Mutual washing is a fetish.

          1. ambrit

            Dear MLTPB;
            As well as a venal sin, unless practiced by consenting adults of agnostic inclinations.

  19. fresno dan

    The End Is A.I.: The Singularity Is Sci-Fi’s Faith-Based Initiative Popular Science

    I wouldn’t be as sanguine as the article. Not that I care. But if you were to tell me that chemicals, indeed atoms, would eventually, without direction, assemble themselves into auto replicating units, and then, as if by magic, to make themselves ever more complex, until eventually they could organize themselves into agglomerations of groups that would have the intellectual capacity to assert that Obama and Romney are the two best possibilities to lead a nation with thousands of nuclear weapons that could annihilate the earth??? I would say that is unpossible!!!

    “The greatest achievement in the field of AI occurs by accident, and unobserved.”
    Consciousness, the greatest achievement in the history (perhaps) of earth, occurs by accident (evolution) and unobserved.

    “But with few exceptions, the path to machine hyper-intelligence passes directly through the human brain. And anyone who claims to understand biological intelligence is a fool, or a liar.”
    Maybe the same goes for AI? How it would work and how it would develop? Who can even guess…
    One could posit that with google self driving cars and maybe Amazon drones, computers will have mobility and sensors (internet of things – I guess your refrigerator will know what temperature is). They will network. They learn – by viewing (assessing) objects, using criteria, and classifying the objects (much like humans…or amoeba).
    http://www.nature.com/news/how-brainless-slime-molds-redefine-intelligence-1.11811

    They will be given algorithms to deal with the “trolley question” (i.e., contingencies of how to get the least bad outcome of a bad situation).

    “Meanwhile, the Singularity’s proponents still believe that intelligence can be brute-forced into existence, through sheer processing power”
    Seems to me that is how evolution did it (there are animals with bigger brains than humans, but apparently the number of connections and neurons is a more important factor). Is there anything magical about a human brain versus a mouse brain?
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2220020/

    Intelligence pretty much seems to be number of connections.
    Consciousness and intelligence both seem to be “emergent” properties ….they just seem to appear.

    “Even if you were to awkwardly graft various specialized systems onto one another, they wouldn’t add up to AGI”
    OK. But lets talk about awkward systems, grafting, etcetera….the human spine. Designed ideally for four legged critters (actually, that’s a lie….designed initially for animals in the water without legs). Evolution takes what you give it and hacks it and makes it work. Its NOT IDEAL – all it does is assure the system (dna carrier reproduces the dna) reproduces itself. Indeed, it is designed not for perfect reproduction, but to allow variation. Buggy software is annoying for humans, but for the creation of AI, it is ideal.

    Maybe there never will be AI – but the article comes perilously close to Bill Gates quote that no one will ever need more than 640 bytes of computer memory
    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9101699/The_640K_quote_won_t_go_away_but_did_Gates_really_say_it_

    1. Jagger

      —“But with few exceptions, the path to machine hyper-intelligence passes directly through the human brain. And anyone who claims to understand biological intelligence is a fool, or a liar.”—

      Remember the above, when you read this below:

      —“Seems to me that is how evolution did it (there are animals with bigger brains than humans, but apparently the number of connections and neurons is a more important factor). Is there anything magical about a human brain versus a mouse brain?”—

      Always examine all assumptions with a microscope when discussing consciousness.

    2. craazyboy

      The article completely ignores Ian M. Banks Culture series, where spaceships became sentient, but were completely bored by humans and other alien bio-forms. Not the least reason being that it took so long to talk to them!

      They did feel a responsibility to keep humans and other aliens from committing genocidal acts against each other and themselves – so they did take time away from doing cool universe stuff to keep bio-forms from seriously hurting each other.

  20. Eureka Springs

    So, that’s Edward Snowden’s paw and John Kerry’s neoliberalcon cookie?

    love the photo.

  21. flashdrive

    Re Pam Martens on the US Gestapo rollout: military interpenetration with municipal police forces is one element of the NSPD 51 classified annexes (the ones that you can’t see even if you’re a legislator with TS clearance and collateral access.)

    Another important element is domestic military intervention directed by a decentralized command structure that suspends the constitution and the public laws for “comity,” i.e., courts and lawmakers courteously step aside.

    You can see the low-level implementation easily enough, in the fusion centers Pam describes and in the martial-law contingency planning, http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/302518p.pdf
    but the interesting part is authentication of orders. Get the requirements and specs for that system and you know who our apex court and president report to.

    Booz Allen’s got the con on that too. Snowden should have stayed another couple weeks and got it because when you see that, you wake up and see what kind of country you live in.

    It’ll come out soon enough.

    1. fresno dan

      Good catch “flashdrive” – I saw the link to the Washington Times when I was wearing my tinfoil hat reading Zero Hedge….
      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/28/inside-the-ring-directive-outlines-obamas-policy-t/

      It just annoys me that they say this is ALL Obama’s doing – Obama is certainly culpable, but really, the Repubs, despite the incredible claim that they want “small gubermint” are knee deep in this stuff of ever more surveillance and government control – but both the repubs and demos want to maintain the illusion that they disagree on some stuff….

      On the other hand, I am in the possession of a document with a list of over 200 names (per every single municipality in the US, so its quite a few people) of terrorists and/or communists and/or communist terrorists – not to mention transsexual bisexual leftists… . And just reading the comments section of NC, one sees that the US is full of scalawags, malingerers, miscreants, rapscallions, scoundrels, reprobates, and caitiffs. It seems pretty obvious to me, that we will have to destroy the US in order to save the US….

  22. fresno dan

    Newly Released Documents Show Outgrowth of ‘Homeland Security’ Is Corrupted Federal and Local Law Enforcement Pam Martens (Homeland Security Heroes). A must read.

    “Last week, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) released a trove of some 4,000 documents it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showing that the movements of the mostly peaceful participants in the Occupy Wall Street protests were subjected to an “enormous spying and monitoring apparatus” that included coordination between the Pentagon, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, local police, private security contractors and corporate interests.”

    Considering that this same thing happened with the civil rights and Vietnam anti-war movement, one can say, “same old, same old – the more things change the more they stay the same.” Though it is probably worse now as I don’t believe Wall Street was playing a big part in the surveillance regime back than.
    But I have to say, it seems to me that there was genuine outrage, and real pushback among real, ordinary people that got reflected in the polity. But now it seems the “national security” argument has replaced that last refuge of scoundrels, patriotism, and that absolutely nothing other than some very minor hand waving will be done about this. No convictions, no investigations, no demotions. Indeed, no denial of bonuses and probably extra bonuses if you whomped somebody with your nightstick…
    The people choose not to be free…

    1. craazyboy

      Plus, after 6 years, Eric Holder has gained intimate knowledge of all the donut shops in the Beltway area…

  23. Ronald Pires

    Paper money is unfit for a world of high crime and low inflation – Financial Times

    But what will we give the beggars that populate our street corners after currency goes electronic?

    But seriously, just the other day I was thinking how there wasn’t a place left the average person could save their money that the banksters weren’t already busy stealing from. And I thought, people are going to lose confidence with this crap, and they’re going to end up back stuffing money under the mattresses, which so far is the only place BigBankster hasn’t gotten to.

    Well I guess I spoke too soon. BigBankster knows people will eventually get to this, and a move to electronic currency will stop them. So they want electronic currency so that we have to keep our money in places where they can steal it.

    Anyways, when people lose confidence in their currency, which mean any part of their currency (like its use as a store of value … SAVINGS!!!), that currency collapses. And once you’ve made that happen, my Bankster buddies, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men won’t put your wealth back together again.

    And then we proles will have the last laugh.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Even if you did accumulate a stash of paper money, and The Powers That Be were still disposed to permit its future use, there is a workaround; namely, there would be a time-limited program implemented whereby a new paper fiat would be issued, and all prior paper fiat would need to be surrendered in exchange for the new issuance. After the window closed, all of the prior paper fiat would no longer be honored as legal tender, and any attempts to use it as such would likely be considered to be criminal. This smokes out all stashes of the prior paper fiat, and you can be sure that tabs would be kept on all those who brought it in for exchange – names/domiciles, amounts – and the information passed along to the IRS for a check against tax filings.

      Special allowances, of course, for 1%ers.

      But it might never come to this, as the Deep State traffics in things like narcotics and weaponry, and these are cash businesses by design, and anything that would disrupt the ease of this commerce would be streng verboten.

      So probably cash use by us peons will be disparaged and discouraged, but not discontinued. The Elites are already hard at work making sure that we don’t have too much money, so paper fiat still being in circulation and considered legal tender is a minor annoyance to Them.

  24. rich

    Billionaire claims he owns the road, the beach and the tides

    The lobbyists for Khosla are using as justification for their position a decision last October by Superior Court Judge Gerald Buchwald that said Martins Beach was still subject to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War in 1848. The treaty essentially required the United States to recognize Mexican land grants as long as the owner filed a claim. Jose Antonio Alviso, who owned the land grant at the time, filed such a claim, and a patent for the beachfront property was issued in 1865.
    The letter opposing SB968 claimed that Buchwald’s order means Khosla does not have to provide access to either the beach or off-shore submerged tidelands, which his lawyers point out were specifically mentioned in Buchwald’s ruling.

    Lawyers fighting for public access to the beach were apoplectic.

    “It’s preposterous,” said Joe Cotchett, the lead attorney for Surfrider, which is awaiting a decision on a lawsuit claiming that Khosla needed a California Coastal Commission permit before he could close the road or make other improvements.

    Gary Redenbacher, who argued the case before Judge Buchwald, said even under Mexican law beaches were public property below the highest tide line.

    “The beach itself has always been public,” he wrote in an e-mail. ”Therefore, the claim by the lobbyists that it is a private beach has zero credibility in the law whether part of a Mexican Land Grant or not.”
    http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/2014/05/28/billionaire-claims-he-owns-the-road-the-beach-and-the-tides/

  25. David Petraitis

    I have been following the Fukushima slow motion debacle since the quake. The Oil Price article is slightly overstating the case for the wall (aka Icebox) with the word “prevent” in its title and first paragraph. What “prevent” means in Japanese-TEPCO-speak (otherwise known as lies and prevarications) is “SLOW DOWN SOMEWHAT (we hope)” I’ll take you through a few of the facts which might help alleviate the lack of clarity and light from the perpetrators (irony filters on, please)
    Fact 1: Water flows downhill. The Fukushima Daichi plant is just above sea level and the water from the plant which cannot be pumped out flows into the Pacific.
    Fact 2: Three (3!) of the plants have suffered core meltdowns and two (at least) core melt-throughs which means that the nicely named “Corium” or the melted slag of uranium, plutonium and the zirconinium pipes which once were the fuel rods are sitting in the basement or in the ground under the basement in a true China Syndrome. (Oh and zirconium reacts with the water in the presence of radioactive heat to create Hydrogen, which then blows up – a loud thump was heard this past week from Unit 2 basement)
    Fact 3: Building on Facts 1 and 2 – The fresh water from the water table above the plant flows through the ground under the plant, into the basements swirls around the Corium cooling it while picking up all sorts of radioactivity and out to sea.
    Fact 4: TEPCO has also sprayed and pumped seawater into the plants. Seawater is corrosive and pipes needed to continue the cooling are failing due to the corrosion.
    Fact 5: “Some” of the water from the basements is pumped out (through pipes which are subject to corrosion and leaks) and into storage containers for later cleaning and then flushing into the Pacific. Some of the containers were badly constructed and are leaking back into the groundwater above the plant.
    Fact 6: Radiation in the Pacific at the outflow is spiking this week. Radiation in the groundwater wells ABOVE the plant is spiking this week and are above the levels that are considered safe to dump in the Pacific.
    Fact 7: The Icebox (I remember my grandmother’s icebox here) around Fukushima will only slow the seepage of the (already too radioactive) groundwater above the plant from getting into the plant, and let it flow merrily around and under the Icebox into the Pacific.

    Hypothesis: The Icebox will be a failure: the Corium will continue to fall into the ground until it moves below the walls of the Icebox.

    1. ambrit

      Extensive geological mapping is required before building any large structure. This helps the architects figure out the design of the foundation. Shouldn’t the Tepco people have geological maps of the Fukushima area? Of course they do! I wonder what those maps are showing the real experts?
      How far down before the melted Corium hits bedrock?

      1. James Levy

        I’m incredibly puzzled at how a nation that is near the top of any list of the most advanced, scientifically and technologically, countries in the world can act so ineptly, so consistently, as Japan has in this crisis. It’s as if they have no world class physicists and engineers, like this happened in Ghana or Myanmar. Does anyone have any insight into why this is all happening?

  26. bwilli123

    Priorities,priorities.

    (Australian) “Prime Minister Tony Abbott has begun personal meetings with the Senate crossbenchers who will decide the fate of the budget – but novice politician Ricky Muir is refusing to play ball.
    The elusive senator-elect has declined an invitation for a one-on-one meeting because, he said, he cannot get time off from his job at a rural sawmill in regional Victoria…”

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-courts-crossbench-senators-to-save-the-budget-but-one-wont-play-ball-20140529-397d3.html#ixzz338ssdoV7

  27. Charles Taylor wants a cellblock bitch

    McClatchy on accusations of aggression flying around, yeah, sure, it’s all in good fun now, but wait till the ICC starts adjudicating claims and counterclaims.

    The window for legaloid horseshit is closing. 14 down, 16 to go. Slovakia is the 14th state party to adopt the Rome Statute’s definition of aggression (the UN hasn’t registered it yet) and the seventh NATO member.

    There’s still hope for Lockheed and General Dynamics. Plump squirming maggot Harold Koh weakened the amendment as much as he could to let the US hide from the law. There are options for explicit opt-outs and vetoes, so all the US government has to do is shit-can its national honor and influence, and really, what’s left of that anyway?

    But without ICC jurisdiction we got US aggression in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. With jurisdiction on the way, we got the US backing down in Iran and Syria. In 2017, with potential criminal liability for the Kerrys and the Powers and the brass and the next presidential figurehead, we shall see.

  28. different clue

    Or unless its part of the long-range overclass plan to engineer a situation in which several billion people die off over the next few decades . . . and make it look like an accident.

  29. different clue

    This in reply to David Levy’s comment that restricting crop varieties with global warming on the way is insane.

  30. JerseyJeffersonian

    It is devoutly to be hoped that these criminal elites will get their just desserts, but realistically I’d settle for them dialing it back, & letting the world do without all of their “protection”.

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