Links 7/29/14

How bird flocks are like liquid helium Science

I like this hypothesis Pharyngula. On tameness.

Learning the smell of fear: Mothers teach babies their own fears via odor, animal study shows Science Daily

New Keynesianism as a Club Thomas Palley

China’s financial risk Econbrowser. Keen charts and sourcing.

Zillow to buy rival Trulia for $3.5bn FT

Dollar Tree Agrees to Acquire Family Dollar for $8.5 Billion Businessweek. Great. A dollar store oligopoly. I can see where this is going.

Greenpeace Report: Obama Administration Exporting Climate Change by Exporting Coal DeSmogBlog

Proposed Law Amendment May Threaten Good Greenlandic Governance The Arctic Institute. Limiting public access to documents on resource development.

Dear Nancy Pelosi– You’re Letting Steve Israel Throw Away A Winnable Seat In Michigan Down With Tyranny. The eternal question: Stupid or evil? Or both?

Hillary Clinton vs. Elizabeth Warren: Big Differences, Despite Claims To The Contrary David Sirota, International Business Times. Words are wind.

This one chart shows why the fear and loathing of the Clintons that some factions of the political class feel does not translate to normal human beings Corrente

Why Our Black Political Class is Paralyzed and Silent on Gaza Massacres and Israeli Apartheid Black Agenda Report

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Top Journalists and Lawyers: NSA Surveillance Threatens Press Freedom and Right to Counsel The Intercept

Apple hit with class action suit for spying on iPhone users (Here are the court filings) Pando Daily

We Experiment On Human Beings! OkCupid

This Is What Tech’s Ugly Gender Problem Really Looks Like Wired. Also, this.

The alleged paedophile ring at the heart of the British Establishment Telegraph

The black hole of US government contracting Le Monde Diplomatique. Your privatized military at work.


U.S. Says Russia Tested Cruise Missile, Violating Treaty Times

Yukos ruling adds to Russia isolation FT. “Fog in Channel; Continent Cut Off”. Didn’t Russia just sign a gas deal with China?

The Ukrainian soccer ultras: allies of the resistance Open Democracy

U.S. sales to Russia have only risen since sanctions imposed McClatchy (SW)

Huge blaze out of control in Tripoli battle as Libya slides into chaos Reuters


Israel Takes Away 44% of Gaza Land … Herds Gazans Into Remaining Area George Washington’s Blog

Welcome to the Third Intifada Foreign Affairs

Netanyahu’s Hamas dilemma: Deterrence or decisive victory? Haaretz. “‘[T]he army is already preparing for the legal implications of the period following the war.”

NBCNews Buries Its Own Journalist’s Eyes, Modifies Gaza Story Moon of Alabama. Quick work!

How many would be alive today if Obama had not quashed Goldstone Report? Mondoweiss

To Summarize the Israeli/Gaza War Ian Welsh

Class Warfare

Five Decades of Middle Class Wages Advisor Perspectives

Minority Union at Volkswagen, For Now Labor Notes

Four NYC worker-owners talk co-ops, family, and jobs with justice Grassroots Economic Organizing

The new land of opportunity for immigrants is Germany WaPo

Failing the Third Machine Age: When Robots Come for Grandma Medium

The Atlantic Wall’s colossal wreck Le Monde Diplomatique. Look on my works, ye Mighty…

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Banger

    I went over to CNN and WaPost to gauge responses to the Gaza situation. In both places it appears the right-wing Jewish jihadis are out screaming for blood. This weekend I got in a discussion with a retired DIA guy and a Jewish ex-academic and they insisted that Muslims are “primitive” people who have to be treated roughly–the same arguments I had almost 50 years ago with some Israelis who said exactly the same except they were more graphic and claimed Arabs were “animals” and so on. I’m not saying that Jews are all chauvinists or whatever but this tendency in Jewish culture is discouraging.

    One comment in the WaPost said, basically, that all buildings in Gaza should be leveled all supporters of Hamas killed. Is this what pro-Israeli Jews really want? Is this considered moral in the Jewish religion? To go into a defenseless area and blow the crap out of it meting out collective punishment (can you describe the current Israeli assault as anything other than that?). How about the incredibly cruel treatment of the people there over how many decades now? The Gazans can’t even leave and are surrounded by nothing but hostility. Is chauvinism, destruction, killing of children, blowing up a U.N. compound out of pique, stoking religious hatred is that how Jews want to be seen? I don’t get it. When a powerless four year old has a tantrum and kicks you in the shin do you blow the kid away with a shotgun? Not to belittle the Gazans but their power is equivalent to a four year old maybe with a stick facing down an adult with a gun–is that so far off? The whole thing reminds me of child abuse–in many cases the child will keep doing whatever it is that got you pissed off in the first place and will keep taking the blows because the child eventually just stops feeling anything and will turn into a jailbird. The more you hit kids the worse it is–punishment without love, particularly violent punishment doesn’t work. Sure some kids become “obedient” but dead inside.

    Palestinians are a deeply traumatized people who have been badly abused by the Israeli state and their supporters in the U.S. political establishment which has adopted the same sort of response to opposition to U.S. rule–blow up shit and kill people. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine what has it brought us the citizens of the United States? The people there now deeply traumatized by war, chaos, violence for which the U.S. is directly responsible–other than Ukraine which is more ambiguous. And the U.S. public just shrugs its shoulders–WTF? And the mainstream praises the military to the skies (for what successes?) and politicians wave the Zionist flag and chant pro-Israeli platitudes because they know if they don’t they will be pilloried in the propaganda organs.

    BTW, the Arab world as whole, to be fair, has acted atrociously vis a vis the Palestinians–goading and funding the most radical elements yet, like the Gulf states and Jordan, allying themselves with Israel underneath the surface. In other words, like the Saudis in particular, pointing at “bad” Israel, supporting Hamas and the PLO and, at the same time, playing footsie with the Israeli right–who similarly are quite content with radical Islamists to hate on and create a fearful Israeli public that will support the right in perpetuity.

    1. Robert Dudekw

      When they say Arabs are animals, remind them that the Nazis thought of Slavs in the same way, and considered Jews even worse.

    2. Christopher Dale Rogers

      Due to large timezone difference I’ve only just come across this, one of your final comments it seems yesterday on NC – having just watched Jon Snow’s (UK Channel 4 news anchorman) outpourings on YouTube, much of what you say resonates greatly with me. To say I’m horrified at what’s being undertaken in my name by the UK government, the EU/EC and NATO would be an understatement, be it in Libya, Syria, Gaza or the Ukraine, never mind Iraq or Afghanistan. One has never followed the dictum “My Country Right or Wrong” and find it my moral duty to speak out and do what little I can to emphasise the truth in a sea of bullshit, lies and propaganda.

      As such, may I congratulate you for your comment and wisdom contained therein – we really do require a new world order, one based on equality, sustainability, the right to life and peaceful coexistence. Anything less is an insult to humanity and our children. And, if this means alliances with “Conservatives”, so be it, if this means armed struggle at the days end and rebellion, so be it for at the end of the day its getting to the point where sitting back and doing nothing endangers all mankind. What are these madmen thinking, what drives them, what do they actually want? They already own nearly everything and have more wealth than they could possibly utilise in a single lifetime, never mind ten lifetimes. Its truly depressing!!!!

  2. Banger

    Finally, the Libyan debacle hits the mainstream! What some of us predicted has come to pass in spades–chaos, chaos, and more chaos. This is the result of U.S. imperialism and, as the old commies used to say, their running dogs the Europeans. Some say Qadafi’s weapons are ending up in Syria/Iraq via Turkey spreading move chaos.

    We are now facing, again, despite Cheney not being in power, cartoon-level evil in the government of the U.S.A. Can anything good be said about U.S. military and foreign policy at this point–other than “it could be worse”? I would love to hear something–and yes it could be worse, far worse. There are elements in Washington that want 24/7 war because it pays big-time. Is the American “press” ever going to hold policy makers and this President accountable for Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Israel/Palestine, Ukraine, Syria? Just kidding. Everyplace the U.S. policy-makers touch turns into chaos and it’s really, really, really, really, really obvious.

    1. James Levy

      But it only gets me more confused: Qaddafi was a useful and willing ally in the anti-al Qaeda operations being run by US Intel. Why did they suddenly turn on him and destroy his country? I thought the real reason was that the Europeans were desperate to control what they saw as an escape valve for African refugees fleeing to Europe and didn’t trust Qaddafi to keep the plug in the drain (if you remember at the time the Italians were going nuts with shiploads of Africans trying to make it to Sicily). But the British and French abandoned Libya to total anarchy. Don’t they need Libyan oil? The whole thing makes no sense.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        There may be so many intersecting agendas that there is no single “real reason.” There was no such thing for WWI, for example. I think we tend to project, and wish to project, a lot more order and structure onto the world than exists. We reproduce within ourselves, that is, the habits of thought of our masters and empire. This is reassuring but necessarily universally helpful.

      2. Synopticist

        It was a toxic combination of old-school neocons and the new, messianic “responsibility to protect” liberal interventionists like Samantha Power and Susan Rice. The first were thinking mostly about oil, and wanted rid of a guy who might turn into an independent factor again one day. The second are delusionals who assume dictators going will lead to peace, love, human rights and walking into the sunset singing and holding hands. This holds true for the US, but also for France and the UK.
        Neither faction are realists who seriously ponder the consequences of their actions, both place overwhelming importance on the control of the media, and as such are completely willing to lie and use highly sophisticated propaganda techniques.
        That’s why the media campaign was so successful- remember the reports about Gaddafi bombing his own cities with jets, giving his troops viagra to mass rape, and flying in mercenary African troops? All complete and total bullsh*t, but echoed in the media and breathlessly amplified by the likes of Amnesty International and human Rights Watch.

      3. Veri

        Two more things:

        Qaddafi lost a few billion through Goldman-Sachs and their fraud. And was seeking to renegotiate BP oil contracts.

        Qaddafi minted a gold coin and was floating the idea of using it as currency in oil trading.

        He had to go.

      4. different clue

        That’s what I read too. The Europeans, especially France and most especially Italy, feared a million Libyan refugees racing into France and Italy to escape the Quadaffi forces moving East towards the Greater Benghazi area, after threatening to kill all the rats, etc. So Italy and France were the driving forces for getting America to lead from behind with our unmatched aerial assets.

    2. Ed

      But who is the evil puppetmaster these days if Cheney is gone. Unless its still Cheney himself? Even George W Bush stopped listening to Cheney eventually. Some news stories claim Obama mostly plays golf these days.

      1. toldjaso

        The VP is is the real boss, taking orders from the old boss. (Hence: “Meet the new boss, etc.”). The shadow chain of command is tight. John Coleman sheds light. COG structure is in place.

      2. Banger

        There is no evil puppet aster but many–to be more precise I believe the current power-elite are now an emergent network–no one in power sort of a Central Committee with shifting centers of power.

        1. Ulysses

          I confess to not fully understanding what is meant by “emergent network” in this context. Does it simply mean a fluid community of people, who find they pursue enough common interests at any given time to justify collaboration?

          1. Banger

            Not so much individuals as possess/gangs but yes that’s what I mean. For example Jamie Dimon has a group around him as do major criminal cartels, Ukrainian oligarchs, or execs at KBR. They all need to cooperate to keep things stable for themselves.

            1. toldjaso

              But they need the point man up close to spy and push the pain/terror buttons on the puppet in real time.

          2. hunkerdown

            What Banger said, except I should add cooperation does not necessarily require explicit communication. They may not coordinate *directly* so much as be programmed to respond to the same stimuli in the same way and in the same direction, like a swarm or flock.

        2. lambert strethet

          Now throw in the concept of a much smaller yet still competing network of squillionaires managing nodes in the network you describe as a portfolio and we are in basic agreement on a rough model.

          google, if you like, “scale free network” and “power curve” to see the basic structure….

          1. Banger

            Scale-free++ I would call it. Each hub or major node is occupied by a Godfather type of power arrangement–that doesn’t mean minor nodes or individuals aren’t networked with each other it’s just that the major nodes and hubs have much greater relative power than the size of the connections would predict.

    3. Abe, NYC

      I think the neocon mentality became so firmly embedded in the state apparatus, it will take a long time to get it out of the system. In 1991, the US chose not to overthrow Saddam – for very good reasons as it turned out 12 years later.

    4. susan the other

      We have no other way of getting anything done. No other means of accomplishing our goals than war. Because capitalism does not work for our purposes. And because our goals are for nothing but ill-gotten profit. To carry that thought into the future: What would happen in a world conquered by us and our allies after a decade of war? Capitalism will again fail. Because basically there’s no ism there. And everything we thought we were accomplishing by war will evaporate into thin air. Thin, polluted air. The only solution to our struggle is a responsible form of socialism and a dedication to environmentalism. Profiteering is insane.

      1. Jackrabbit

        Who is this “we” you speak of? I hope that you don’t mean to include the 99.9% of people that are taken for a ride by the ideologues and oligarchs that set the direction and reap all the benefits.

        H O P

        1. susan the other

          I speak of the deep state “We.” And only because we (both we factions) share the same country.

  3. Saddam Smith

    Failing the Third Machine Age: When Robots Come for Grandma

    These are the ‘money’ (ha ha) quotes IMO:

    Let me explain. When people confidently announce that once robots come for our jobs, we’ll find something else to do like we always did, they are drawing from a very short history. The truth is, there’s only been one-and-a-three-quarters of a machine age—we are close to concluding the second one—we are moving into the third one.
    And there is probably no fourth one.
    Humans have only so many “irreplaceable” skills, and the idea that we’ll just keep outrunning the machines, skill-wise, is a folly.


    It’s based on a world in which humans are valued only so far as they are economically productive.

    As more and more people seem to be saying, we need new definitions and measures of value/wealth and therefore of “economically productive”, too (the market system is too clumsy and myopic by far). The famous lump of labour fallacy is itself a fallacy. “Humans have only so many “irreplaceable” skills” and the work that’s left to us is going to require more teamwork, compassion and enthusiasm. In other words, it doesn’t fit well in a rigidly hierarchical system of coercion and money-based rewards (see Dan Pink). The point here is not to futilely soldier on with this model/paradigm, but accept that new circumstances require deep adaptation, and figure out how to adapt. Or perish.

    And that’s precisely what we’re not doing systemically: adapting deeply. It’s understandable of course; changing cultural reflexes is less a top-down but more a bottom-up affair, very bumpy and fractious and takes ages. But I think it is increasingly obvious that old-system thinking cannot solve the challenges generated by phenomena like technological advance and ecosystem breakdown. So it’s nice to see this article linked to here.

    1. James Levy

      I wrote an essay about this fallacy some weeks ago and can’t get it published. And I’ve gotten plenty published in my career. This is another of the shibboleths we are supposed to take on faith: since we’ve more or less had new jobs replace the old ones in a fairly timely fashion since the industrial revolution got going, this process now considered is absolute, inevitable, and therefore nothing to concern ourselves with. My big counterexample is, unfortunately, black Americans. When their jobs in the South were mechanized, they fled economic dislocation North, and America has yet to replace the (lousy) work they once did in the fields with new, remunerative jobs that can sustain families and communities. African-Americans in large numbers became a warehoused reserve army of labor that could be mobilized on rare occasions but mostly molders in ghettos (and prisons). There are working class areas of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland that are just the same except the warehoused population is white and not black. The idea that the machine automatically produces new employment is about as sound as Say’s Law about supply producing its own demand. But no one in Economics seems to want to address the issue.

    2. toldjaso

      So long as they are economically productive. Bertrand Russell and H.G. Wells made this clear.

      1. toldjaso

        They conveniently ignore the “economic productivity” of grandma’s love and labor to the stressed nuclear family near/with whom she resides, and not only as a balancing, supportive force for family members in crisis, as well as cook and caretaker of children; but as an accomplished teacher of the “way of the world” if she has been a professional in “corporate” life before her retirement from the fray. But of course, this “economic productivity” within the family is inaccessible to market manipulation and gain by financeers.

  4. Jim Haygood

    From an AP story by Matthew Lee and Julie Pace:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration pushed back Monday at a torrent of Israeli criticism aimed at Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, with U.S. officials saying Kerry had in no way abandoned key Israeli needs.

    Other officials used even harsher language, saying the attacks on Kerry crossed a line and put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy.


    Insha’Allah — God willing!

    Obama understands viscerally, from Israel’s habitual snubs of visiting US diplomats, that Israel is no friend of the US. Members of Congress are paid with campaign funds not to understand this — thus the Senate’s 100-0 vote to side with a foreign country over their own envoy.

    Seeing himself undermined in Congress on foreign policy, Obama acts out with ever bolder executive decrees, which may yet get him impeached. By driving a wedge between the president and Congress, Israeli sabotage of the US political process plays an important role in our noteworthy governmental dysfunction.

    1. Banger

      Interesting–the Israeli/American Jewish right-wing dominates Congress and that’s not going to change. And certainly the same cabal dominates the American propaganda organs–but I sense a shift there. There is a definite power-struggle shaping up. Most American, if the truth was reported more often would stand against current Israeli policies particularly if they understood that the Israeli right has goals most of us would not favor.

      1. PaulArt

        I have struggled with this long and hard. ‘The Israel Lobby’ by Meerscheimer and Walt is a good read in this context. When you come to America and in a couple decades become politically of age you surely bump into the Jewish people in no uncertain terms especially in the context of the AIPAC and the Palestine issue and you sail pretty close to the wind of antisemitism. In my case it was especially ironic given that I grew up in India reading Leon Uris who wrote hagiographies of the struggle for Israel and also pro-semitic novels like ‘A Stone for Danny Fisher’. I used to think Jewish people were so great and listened avidly to Simon and Garfunkel with nary an idea that they were Jewish. I have now come to terms with it through the understanding that in many ways whether the Jews are the chosen people of God or not, over the millenia they have occupied so many nerve centers of society that they have become too wise and smart for their own good. When you know a lot more about things that your peers then you become so much more better than them and when that happens you invite both admiration and hatred. The cloven hoof of greed also is close at hand constantly tempting one to use knowledge for one’s own pelf. Think Andrew Fastow of Enron and Bernie Madoff not to mention thousands of others over the ages. That is how I explain the repeated pogroms to myself. One can use one’s superior knowledge and wisdom to better society at large or to enrich oneself. In America we see Jews doing more of the latter than the former but I think it is mostly a reflection of the pendulum swing to the Right over the last three decades and not any predilection of Jews to give truth to Shakespeare’s caricature of Shylock. All that aside, we all know what happens to people who are ‘too clever for their own good’. I think that is what will be the denouement of Israel. When America goes down the tubes (as it is already doing), Israel will go along with it.

        1. Banger

          I don’t think the U.S. is, in particular, going down the tubes–but we, the citizens seem to be the ones going down the tubes–but I think we can reverse that trend.

          As for Israel and Jews in general. I’m a lover of Jewish culture and believe that Jews in the U.S. did more to civilize the USA than any other group along with African-Americans. But Israel and its supporters is just another matter. It’s a deep, very deep tragedy that could have turned out very differently. Jews just don’t make good fascists–it’s not in their DNA, yet here they are in half-hysterics, armed to the teeth slaughtering children as if there was no tomorrow. Why? If you talk to pro-Israeli Jews they give a variant of the argument that Muslims in general and Arabs in particular are primitive sub-humans–even very well-educated ones–it’s stunning at the absurdity of such discourses–a people who made great efforts at learning, contributions in science descending to primitive forms of fascism like the Germans of the thirties who were also well-educated and sophisticated by contemporary standards. Is a love of high culture a prelude to fascism? How strange it is.

          1. Troutbum

            Yes, the US is headed out to the dustbin of history, the slow motion collapse has already begun. And No!, it is not a reversible trend. Primary reason : You cannot fix stupid and Americans are increasingly stupid.

            1. optimader

              A more fair question is whether we are stupid or ignorant. I’m think’in we’re really no more stupid than any other countries population but we are indeed willfully ignorant as a society I puzzle on this , but I think in large part it’s due to the fact this is still an exceptionally wealthy country in relative terms. The population’s inertia is to remain amazingly provincial while accepting easily digested propaganda pabulum. Most people don’t want to rock their fragile existence and rather choose to acquiesce.

              1. Troutbum

                Stupid or Ignorant….
                Either way is a death spiral. “The degradation and debasement of American institutions deepens everyday” quoting Morris Berman, see his book “Why America Failed”.

                1. optimader

                  Ignorance is treatable, stupidity isn’t. Hardship tends to focus the mind.
                  Hardship hasn’t happened here yet (in our times anyway) in a demographically sufficient manner to push the rudder.

              2. Lord Koos

                While there may be some “willful” ignorance, since the 1970 there has been a successful campaign to dumb-down the American citizen, and more importantly, a successful effort to lower the expectations of the American worker. These were planned strategies, and they have worked pretty well at dividing the masses, the country now seems more polarized than it was during the Vietnam war period. The Republicans and tea partiers stoke this trend at every opportunity, and of course the growing economic inequality helps things along.

                1. Troutbum

                  Dear Lord,
                  That successful campaign was made possible by the stupidity of said people who pride themselves in their excessive individualism.
                  They are willing collaborators. Again, you can not fix stupid. One other note, I hear you on the GOP, but please don’t think the Dems are the answer. It’s the twin cheeks of the same ass.

                2. Skeptic

                  “…there has been a successful campaign to dumb-down the American citizen, ”

                  I spent one winter back in the 90s reading about the origins and affects of Television. Anyone who would do the same would readily agree with your statement. Now, in 2014, we have the added load of computers, Internet, Iphones, Sportz and More Sportz, etc. dumbing everyone down. The Lowest Common Denominator has no Bottom.

                  Long ago I came to the conclusion that Humanity was slowly losing its Consciousness, giving it over to entertainments and diversions. Next time you are wandering the Mall or similar human gathering place, ask yourself what percentage of those present are truly conscious.

                  1. Jim

                    Back in 1995 Christopher Lasch penned an article entitled “The Lost Art of Argument.”

                    He claimed that most people readily acquire knowledge that they can put to good use but since the general public no longer participates in debates on national issues it has no incentive to inform itself about domestic public affairs and especially about foreign policy.

                    Lasch traced the origins of this decline to around the turn of the 20th century, when the press was becoming more “professional” as was the foreign policy establishment.

                    Lasch concluded that when words are used merely as instruments of propaganda they lose their power to persuade and soon words cease to mean anything at all.

              3. Tom Bradford

                To misquote Malvolio:- “Some Americans are stupid, some achieve stupidity, and some have stupidity thrust upon them.”

                1. Troutbum


                  Pure poetry !
                  Meanwhile, the earth is burning, the American Empire is dissolving, and Capitalism is beginning its long march to oblivion. It’s a great time to be alive!!

          2. Carolinian

            It’s not strange at all and Jewish DNA, if there is such a thing, is probably 99.9 percent identical to anyone else’s DNA.

            Which is the point really. People act like people act given the right environment and set of circumstances. There’s also a more than trivial fascist strain in this country. Unfortunately our association with Israel tends to encourage it in some quarters. The issue isn’t the goodness or the badness of the Jewish people but that Israel–a country dedicated to the proposition that two wrongs do make a right–was a bad idea from day one….cooked up by troglodyte European colonialists as well as the Zionist movement.

            But that’s all water under the bridge at this point. Israel is here to stay. It’s time for the US to join the UN and put a stop to this conflict. It’s really we who are to blame for not having already done so.

          3. optimader

            “that Jews in the U.S. did more to civilize the USA than any other group along with African-Americans.”
            Huh? That’s a rather broad and patronizing brushstroke. As long as we’re taking a patronizing moment, I’ll vote for the irish and the chinks

            Olson Johnson: All right… we’ll give some land to the nig…. gers and the chinks. But we don’t want the Irish!
            [everyone complains]
            Olson Johnson: Aw, prairie shit… Everybody!
            [everyone rejoices

            We will see if this Gaza debacle plays out like a rejiggered version of the Boer War.

            “…During the later stages of the Second Boer War, the British pursued the policy of rounding up and isolating the Boer civilian population in concentration camps. Women and children were sent to these camps. A report after the war concluded that 27,927 Boer (of whom 22,074 were children under 16) and 14,154 black Africans had died of starvation, disease and exposure in the camps.[1]

            A British journalist, WT Stead, wrote:

            “Every one of these children who died as a result of the halving of their rations, thereby exerting pressure onto their family still on the battle-field, was purposefully murdered. The system of half rations stands exposed, stark and unashamedly as a cold-blooded deed of state policy employed with the purpose of ensuring the surrender of men whom we were not able to defeat on the field.”[2]

            The German Empire saw this as a clear sign of British weakness as it was struggling to maintain a portion of its empire in Africa, and sent the Kruger Telegram, congratulating the leader of the Boers on their war effort.[3]…”

            The British Empire never recover from the battlefield “victory”.

            1. Christopher Dale Rogers

              Many thanks for highlighting the way the British ran its Empire, such instances as you have pouted out are legion, may I add another one to this, namely the massive Indian famine in the last years of the eighteenth century when the East India Company was running the show in India – it was actually as a result of this famine that the British east India’s Charter was challenged by the UK Government and it was this challenge that gave birth to the British Empire itself.

              1. ambrit

                There was also another bungled famine in Bengal in 1943.
                As for “unconventional” warfare; the spreading of small pox infected blankets by early American Colonial officials among the Native Tribes, and the secret weapon, Fire Water, facilitated the “conquest” of North America by the White Man.
                Empires have seemingly never done much good for those benighted ‘peoples’ they have subjugated. It looks to be in the ‘genes’ of the Genus Empire.

                1. optimader

                  The Boer Wars are distinctive in so far as they financially broke the back of the British Empire thereby establishing it’s imperial apogee, without the society necessarily knowing it at the time..

            2. Banger

              Depends on what you consider important–I would say learning and the arts were clearly supported by Jews even if they weren’t that rich. I don’t see what’s so patronizing about it. Jews, on balance, tended to be better educated than their Irish and Italian counterparts–and I’m half Italian.

              1. optimader

                Depends on what you think “did more to civilize the USA than any other group” means.
                The Irish and Chinese did the heavy lifting to realize transcontinental transportation and communication infrastructure. This is what fundamentally enabled the scale-up of a polyethnic European bourgeoisie class that for the most part accounts for what is commonly regarded as “civilized” in this country .

                I do agree w/ your notion “I don’t think the U.S. is, in particular, going down the tubes”, or no more so evolving (or devolving) than any other country.
                People tend to think most apocalyptically about their contemporary time line in this mortal coil, and historically at least have been pretty much wrong..
                What may get us in the long run is human introduced environmental radiation, or other persistent poisons/mutagenic toxins, but this is not exclusive to the U.S.

          4. Christopher Dale Rogers


            If we make posts like this on many MSM forums, even the UK’s Guardian Newspaper, one is either “moderated”, placed in “moderation” purgatory or banned – I’ve been banned by the way for my support of the Gaza Palestinian’s and anti-zionist rhetoric. The reason for my banning was because I actually asked why my posts were all being deleted, despite sticking to all known facts and not advocating any form of anti-semitism whatsoever – those of the Jewish faith who were opposed were also censored or moderated.

            As usual, many thanks for your sage words and common sense – why we can’t all live in peace, take care of our environment and desire a more egalitarian society where no child staves I do not know. I am ashamed of the fact that us “humanist” seem to be in a small minority and if it was not for forums such as NC, one really would lose hope – so here’s a thumbs up for a truly independent internet, which currently at least acts as a small counterbalance to all the lies we are exposed too on a daily basis.

          5. Abe, NYC

            they give a variant of the argument that Muslims in general and Arabs in particular are primitive sub-humans–even very well-educated ones–it’s stunning at the absurdity of such discourses

            The reason for this is not absurd at all. Israelis know they have treated Palestinians extremely unfairly to say the least. The only way they can justify this to themselves is by dehumanizing them, i.e. claim Palestinians get the treatment they deserve because their are less than humans. That allows even otherwise decent people to reconcile their conflicting convictions and sleep well, just like Harry Truman.

            1. optimader

              ” Israelis know they have treated Palestinians extremely unfairly to say the least”

              sarcasm alert
              Could this be why this countries UN ambassador denies Israel the opportunity to set the record straight on human rights violations?

          6. Synopticist

            I consider the Israeli right not like western fascists, or even middle eastern extremists, but more like east European thugs.They’re closer to the ukrainian right sector than anything else. I would say that’s the DNA.

        2. alex morfesis

          “so many nerve centers of society ?”

          which white russian / ayn rand novels – comic-con fantasy games did you swallow ?

          dude, there were jewish quotas at hospitals and universities in this USA the “jews” controlled, less than 100 years ago…

          millenia ?

          everyone thinks they are the “chosen ones”

          some more equal than others…

          in some broken down backwater village in papua NG there is some “caste” system…
          its how humans put up with being bored and boring…

          I am better therefore….

          yes the only thing worse than the likud party is the drug dealing Hamas criminal organization shooting estes rockets into the air and hoping they don’t land on their own heads.

          these children do not know how to play nice nice…

          the only solution to the crisis is to take the ball away from both,

          jerusalem (yero-salima)

          and make it an international city that NEITHER SIDE can have…

          then they will have to come up with some other excuse to avoid running an economy…
          and living in peace

          as against to living in pieces…

        3. susan the other

          Anybody remember Marjorie Morningstar? It is my opinion that the Jewish artists and intellectuals who began to flower in the 40s ad 50s – only to be threatened and blacklisted – were very soulful characters. The threat they posed was socialism. They are very social people and very fair-minded. And their art reflected it. So the US crushed them and allowed only the Jewish militarists to rise and govern Israel.

          1. optimader

            “militarists” = Zi….onists.
            If you look the brief history of Zi… onism, it is ironically VERY anti-Je… wish. It is a Satist cutout replacement for the traditions of the ethnicity.

          2. Carolinian

            Practically the entire Hollywood “Golden Age” was brought to you by Jewish studio moguls. The only studio head who wasn’t Jewish was Daryl Zanuck. And of course Jewish presence in the arts–particularly music–is huge.

            Still, what does this have to do with the subject at hand? It really is antisemitic to say the Israelis are acting the way they are because they are Jews. It’s because they are colonialists plain and simple. Their supremacist attitudes are to be found in all such societies including our own when we were subduing the Indians.

            Unfortunately the “everybody does it” defense only works for Israel if you assume we are still in the 19th century.

          1. Tom Bradford

            I possess sufficient “Jewish Blood” to have qualified for a one-way trip to Auschwitz in 1943-45 but (fortunately, IMHO) was not brought up to be a Jew and choose not to be one. I choose to be me.

      2. toldjaso

        Isn’t it astounding that those who have taken the Oath of Office and serve a foreign power’s interests hold “dual passports” while in office? What would George Washington say?

      3. Jim Haygood

        Quoted in the Jerusalem Post, a Russian-Israeli oligarch kicks the hyperbole up another notch:

        The situation facing European Jewry is “simply intolerable, unacceptable and inexcusable,” Israeli Jewish Congress president Vladimir Sloutsker told MKs and foreign diplomats at a special session of the Knesset Immigration Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Monday.

        “Never before since the Holocaust, have we seen such a situation as today,” he said, referring to the continent-wide demonstrations by pro-Palestinian activists. “We are potentially looking at the beginning of another Holocaust now. These events will only grow in scale across Europe.”

        Danish Ambassador Jesper Vahr cautioned the communal leaders and legislators about linking anti-Semitism and the current Israeli military operation.

        “We are discussing anti-Semitism,” he said. “There is also another discussion going around the table pertaining to Operation Protective Edge. I would warn against mixing apples and oranges … we as a society also defend the right of people in Denmark to voice their protests against the actions happening on the ground. You know the position of my government on that.”

        1. Jackrabbit

          Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.

          I think the Zionists manipulate their fellow jews as much as they do everyone else. Absolute support for Israel has become a litmus test that every respectable jew must pass.

          And, in the same vein, it is NOT unpatriotic to question the actions of the US government – especially the mendacious, self-serving Obama Administration.

          H O P

    2. MikeNY

      There is nothing like this story to produce in me revulsion and despair. It has been the same effing thing every year I can remember. It sends me periodically into news blackouts, to listen to the birds and look at the flowers.

      No wonder people think Kerry robotic; I don’t know how else his job could be bearable.

      1. Carolinian

        Alternately: he really is robotic. You can probably make some excuses for Kerry–tough job and all that–but the lies and overheated rhetoric against countries like Venezuela and Russia are hard to excuse.

        1. ambrit

          It reminds me of when the Disney Animatronics Department replaced the assassinated Reagan in 1981. That way, the full corporatist agenda could be advanced. A real company “man” was at the helm for the next seven years.

      2. toldjaso

        Behind closed doors he says, like Christine Lagarde, “I do as I’m told.” (Christine Lagarde’s words beginning her “numerology” speech before the National Press Club, 15 January 2014.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      From George Washington’s Farewell Address:

      “…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of a imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusion into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. I leads also to concession to the favorite nation or privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions, by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will and a disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld.”

      1. fresno dan

        great quote!
        As they say, nations have no permanent friends, only permanent interests.

      2. Keenan

        And echoed by John Q Adams on the 45th anniversary of independence, and of America itself:

        She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

        She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.

        1. sufferin' succotash

          Between the lines, Adams was referring to the wars of independence going on in Latin America at the time (1821), saying in effect that while the US wishes Bolivar & Co. well in their endeavors it won’t be fighting on their side. Adams went on to become a one-term President, losing to Jackson in 1828 partly because of accusations that he had “surrendered” Texas to Mexico while Secretary of State. In the meantime, Anglo settlers were moving into Texas–bringing their slaves with them–setting up an ultimate confrontation with the Mexican government. The rest, as every schoolchild used to know, is History.

    4. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      July 29, 2014 at 7:47 am
      “Yet out of this flux arose neoconservative hegemony over Republican discourse about the Mideast. How this happened is a broad and multilayered story, reflecting shifts in power among and within various groups in American society as much as anything that happened in the Mideast. But it also has turning points where individual decisions had lasting consequences. None of these was more significant than William F. Buckley’s reluctant but unmistakable accommodation to the neoconservatives, allowing them in effect to regulate the terms of Mideast discussion in his own magazine, National Review. This development was signaled by his treatment of senior editor Joe Sobran and his denunciation of syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan.”
      The campaign against Buchanan began in 1990, instigated not by Decter and Podhoretz but by New York Times columnist A.M. Rosenthal, using a dossier of Buchanan columns prepared by the Anti-Defamation League. The indictment turned on several phrases: Buchanan had claimed there were only two groups beating the drums for war, the Israeli defense ministry and its Amen Corner in the United States; in another column he had named four commentators, all Jewish, who favored the war, and none who were not; in a third he listed four representative names of likely casualties—McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales, and LeRoy Brown. On a TV show he referred to Congress as “Israeli-occupied territory.” Rosenthal asserted, with the hyperbole typical for such charges, that the things Buchanan was saying could lead to Auschwitz.

      A large controversy among journalists and pundits ensued. Buckley initially weighed in by stating that while most of Buchanan’s points were defensible, his rhetoric was insensitive. As the fray continued, Buckley published a lengthy essay in National Review, “In Search of Anti-Semitism,” and later gathered it, along with a dozen or so responses, into book form. In the 10,000-word section on Buchanan, Buckley went back and forth weighing the arguments of Buchanan’s attackers and defenders, finally coming to the tortured conclusion: “I find it impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination amounted to anti-Semitism, whatever it was that drove him to say it: most probably an iconoclastic temperament.”
      Plato described what we see as shadows on a wall. Still, its good to know who is holding the flashlight.
      Also, it was often said of Bill Clinton that he was fortunate in who his enemies were (i.e., he was able to defend himself very well because of their extremism)

      1. FederalismForever

        Joe Sobran was a great writer, with a great take on Israel. His dismissal from NR was shameful.

      2. toldjaso

        Well, Buckley was Skull and Bones, who said behind closed doors the now-famous words spoken by Christine Lagarde — “I do as I’m told.” — the declaration that set the tone for the code speech to follow.

    5. toldjaso

      The have perfected the ruin of *Other* nations/empires over centuries/millenia. Practice, practice, practice.

    6. Jagger

      I am curious if any one has heard from Elizabeth Warren, our next great progressive leader, as the death and destruction mounts in Gaza? Is she showing the moral courage and leadership to denounce this outrage? Or has she sold her soul and joined in solidarity with Israel.

      Nevermind, I already know the answer.

      1. sd

        Warrens emphasis is domestic policy in case you are unaware of it. The right seems to be working hard to call attention to her lack of foreign policy interests which leads me to believe they are somewhat desperate to get attention off of her domestic initiatives. Red herrings are now a long familiar pattern with the right.

        My own view is Warren is not a creep which makes her a significant improvement over most of the politicians in Washington.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Well I looked to no avail for the record of the so-called 100-0 senate vote on Israel last week. But if she was truly part of that vote 100 percent for Israel…. i’m sure the neoliberalcons will love her for it…. and do precisely what you are doing…. urge others to look at any other part of her lessor bloody record.

        2. Jagger

          —-The right seems to be working hard to call attention to her lack of foreign policy interests which leads me to believe they are somewhat desperate to get attention off of her domestic initiatives. Red herrings are now a long familiar pattern with the right.—-

          I certainly hope you are not suggesting I am on the right? That would give me a chuckle. No I am pointing out that she and the other 99 members of the senate unanimously passed a resolution backed by the Israel lobby group AIPAC expressing support for Israel’s attack on Gaza and saying not a word about Palestinian deaths.. Either she is completely ignorant of what is going on in Gaza or she doesn’t have a particularly strong sense of morality. Personally, I cannot see how any person of conscience could support Israel today. But we are talking the US Senate and the next great progressive hope.

          —– Note that even progressive saints Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Sherrod Brown, and Bernie Sanders found nothing in this to object to.
          For the record, no U.S. military adventure has had the support of all hundred senators in decades. But, hey, this is Israel. And, more important, this is AIPAC. And cash. —

      2. Christopher Dale Rogers

        If I were a political advisor/strategist for Senator Warren, and if as an advisor one was privy to the fact that she intends to make a “run” for the Whitehouse in 2016, my advice would be clear: Steer clear of all controversial minefields. Let us not forget, if change is to come in the USA it has to come from within the Establishment itself, and the less rope Warren gives her enemies to hang her with the better. Best she keeps her powder dry, maintains her stance on domestic issues – specifically breaking up the finance cartel and gross inequality, for it would be a disaster for her to be hoisted by her own petard. And the last enemy she needs to make now is the Jewish lobby.

        However, if she has no intention of picking up the Presidential gauntlet and given she’s a Methodist, well yes, she should be screaming from the rooftops. Her silence is not damning, she has plenty of supporters who will scream from the rooftops. Once she has the keys to the Whitehouse, maybe she’ll prove as radical as the two Roosevelt’s and save the US elite from its own excess, and with it the Nation.

    7. Ron

      Noticed today that Israel has lost 53 soldiers a huge number and far above anything in the past. Its clear that Hamas has basically won this battle and that they now have the resources to force Israel to make military concessions in due time. The fact that Israel continues to bomb and kill that is nothing new and will continue but now they have taken a large loss of man power and could easily suffer greater losses in the future if they continue, this will impact the civilian politics sooner or later.

    1. abynormal

      i hear a pablo:
      In the night we shall go in
      to steal a flowering branch.

      We shall climb over the wall
      in the darkness of the alien garden,
      two shadows in the shadow.

      Winter is not yet gone,
      and the apple tree appears
      suddenly changed
      into a cascade of fragrant stars.

      In the night we shall go in
      up to its trembling firmament,
      and your little hands and mine
      will steal the stars.

      And silently,
      to our house,
      in the night and the shadow,
      with your steps will enter
      perfume’s silent step
      and with starry feet
      the clear body of spring.

      “Lost Poems: The poems were found, said Seix Barral, in boxes of the poet’s manuscripts kept at the Pablo Neruda foundation in Chile, and they will be published in late 2014 in Latin America and early 2015 in Spain.” YEEEPPPEEEE

      1. diptherio

        I rarely go in for the straight-up love poems, but Neruda…how can you resist? If I could write like that, I’d never sleep alone ;-)

      2. HotFlash

        Breed on, ground squirrels!! (with tears iny eyes…) And I am so stealing those lines.

        1. abynormal

          i hesitated dropping the poem on such a heated thread as today’s…glad i did and hope your comfort flourishes.

          “Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.”


  5. Swedish Lex

    On the Atlantic Wall.
    Sweden had numerous fortifications along its coast towards the WP. High precision and fire power that would have had to be silenced prior to a WP invasion:

    Never used, fortunately.

    A good video (second half speaks for itself unless your Swedish is good):

    The Air Force built both air bases Inside mountains and a multitude of mobile road air bases:

  6. Christopher Dale Rogers

    Lambert Sir,

    Many thanks as usual to your links to the “Black Agenda Report” – whilst I adore BAR I usually only visit from Links supplied by NC – however, the error of my way has now been amended and BAR is now part of my “favourites” in Safari, as is NC of course.

  7. Jim Haygood

    Countdown to default:

    Today’s meeting will convene at 11:00 (noon in Argentina) in the mediator’s office in New York. Economic minister Axel Kicillof will not attend. Instead of going to New York yesterday, Kicillof accompanied the president to Caracas to support her appeal to Mercosur.

    Mediator Daniel Pollack said he was willing to meet again with the envoys of the Argentine government given “the seriousness of the situation.” The difficulties appear to be the same. Among them, there will be no face to face meeting between the parties. “That will not happen,” said the mediator, Daniel Pollack.

    Just after noon yesterday, the mediator issued a statement when asked by journalists looking for clarification.
    “The technical delegation left New York on Friday night for consultations with their government in Buenos Aires and I have not heard anything from them since,” he said.

    Many saw in it a denial of alleged “phone contacts” during the weekend claimed by spokesmen for minister Axel Kicillof. In any case, shortly afterward, Pollack clarified matters by announcing a new meeting. “Again I urged direct talks, face to face, with the bondholders, but this will not happen tomorrow,” he said.

    The Government contends that it cannot comply with Griesa’s judgment because it would violate the RUFO clause, which until the end of this year prohibits offering a better deal [to holdouts] than other bondholders already received in 2005 and 2010.

    So the delegates arrive maintaining the same stance as before: reimpose a stay to block application of Griesa’s judgment, a request that the judge already refused. At press time, meanwhile, the vulture funds maintained silence.

    The approaching possibility of default drove the parallel dollar to 13 pesos, near the record reached in January this year. Thus the gap from the official exchange rate of 8.20 pesos widened to 58.5%.


    No face-to-face meeting (likely on direct orders of the widow K.). Instead, speechify to a friendly crowd of compañeros at the Mercosur wingding. Sheer political genius! /sarc

    1. ambrit

      Well, wouldn’t any ‘accommodation’ on this issue be a gigantic Stockholm Syndrome suicide attempt? They aren’t called vulture funds for nothing.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Argentina has spent ten years refusing to negotiate with creditors. As the special master’s quoted remark indicates, getting the parties to talk in person to reach a possible settlement is the judge’s main objective. Even under the threat of default within 24 hours, Argentina still refuses to meet its opponents.

        All debt holdout cases (and there have been plenty in the past) are eventually settled. If you don’t talk, you don’t settle. Debtor’s choice!

        1. ambrit

          Mr. Haygood;
          I’m sure that there are more than enough “mitigating circumstances” to keep a legion of pettifogging lawyers gainfully employed for years. The underlying issue, it seems to me, is the issue of when and why a contract can be broken. Breaking the contracts between Argentina and the “Vulture Funds,” although I’ll admit that the range of funds runs the gamut from pure Carrion Eaters to proud apex predators, is what Argentina wants. Argentina seems to have gotten a large percentage of the creditors to sign off on a haircutting regime. Holdout creditors have upset this apple cart through legal maneuvers. Now, the basic question is; do we want the absolute sanctity of contracts to rule our lives? “A system of Laws and not Men” sounds great in theory. The problem is, how that theory is applied determines all that follows. Argentina is wrestling with this problem at the nation state level. The court involved is, I believe, situated in New York, NY, USA. The people who will suffer for the predations of the Vulture Funds are mainly citizens of the sovereign nation of Argentina. If I were involved with running Argentina, it is easy to figure out where my loyalties would lie. What, if any, are the loyalties of the Vulture Funds? Thus, I see it as coming down to a question of Social Utility. Now, on to balancing the relative values of Vulture Funds and Nation States.
          As the maxim states: “Rules are made to be broken.”

        2. Alejandro

          “Holdout” by definition implies unwillingness to negotiate. The fact that Argentina reached agreements with more than 90% of creditors makes your statement that “Argentina has spent ten years refusing to negotiate with creditors” ludicrous.

          1. Jim Haygood

            ‘Holdout’ in this context means parties who were unwilling to accept Argentina’s unilaterally-dictated terms of the 2005 and 2010 exchange offers. Even then, Argentina refused to meet with creditors before announcing its offers.

            As press reports indicate, the judge and the special master have been pushing every day for the parties to actually meet. Argentina refuses.

            Brazil’s O Globo, looking at the impact on Brazil’s exports, is harshly critical:

            With the country in economic crisis and her popularity plummeting, Cristina turned to the shabby playbook of Argentine leaders in similar situations: demonize an external enemy — the vulture funds and American Justice — to increase domestic support, capitalize on the fact politically and try to unite the Bolivarian allies in a front against the U.S., the international financial community, etc.

            There are many signs that Cristina K. seeks confrontation as a political tactic to win back domestic support, with a view to the elections of 2015, when she will have to support someone to succeed her.

            But it will be a suicidal tactic. The Abecep consultancy estimates that, with an eventual default, inflation would reach 41%, GDP would fall 3.5% and consumption would recoil 3.8%. If avoided, the numbers are 34.5%, minus 1.5% and minus 1.8% respectively. But these figures would not allow Cristina to pose as a victim of “predatory capitalism.”


            1. Alejandro

              This really isn’t about Cristina K. but I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Michael Hudson.
              “Imposing austerity on debt-strapped economies is a product of political lobbying to promote a false picture of reality, a distorted map that benefits the financial sector. Restructuring the economy therefore requires a better guide to how economies work. The task is inherently political, because wherever one finds a wrongheaded and seemingly dysfunctional analysis retained decade after decade, special interests are at work. For the past century the main beneficiary has been the financial sector. In an alliance with real estate and monopolies, it has backed a reaction against classical economics, above all the distinctions between earned and unearned income, and between productive and extractive debt. The aim is to reject the idea of free markets held by the Physiocrats and Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and subsequent Progressive Era reformers: markets free from unearned income and privilege, above all in the form of land and natural resource rent, monopoly rent, and financial charges resulting from the banks’ privilege of credit creation. To ensure the ideological dimension of TINA, the academic curriculum has dropped the history of economic thought, along with economic history. This blotting out of analytic knowledge has enabled today’s “neoliberals” to turn the original liberal approach of Adam Smith and his successors inside out, by re-defining a “free market” as one that is free for rent extraction, free from government protection, price regulation and taxation of economic rent. One must turn to novelists such as Honoré de Balzac to be reminded that behind most family fortunes is a great theft — often an undiscovered one, usually from the public domain. This is precisely why privatization receives such endorsement in high circles. Throughout history the largest fortunes have been obtained by such transactions, often by insider dealing. Seeking to lower a cloak of invisibility around the manner in which these fortune hunters or their forebears got rich, they claim that it was all from the free market, not from the public sector or by financial and legal sleight of hand. As another Frenchman, the poet Charles Baudelaire quipped, the devil wins at the point where the world believes he doesn’t exist.”
              Hudson, Michael (2012-10-04). THE BUBBLE AND BEYOND (Kindle Locations 10425-10428). ISLET. Kindle Edition.

    2. Alejandro

      After the smoke and mirrors of legalese and theatrics subside, ‘we’ are left with:
      A very rich man suing a sovereign nation for UNEARNED ‘profits’, on paper he bought for pennies, of debt that grew exponentially and became UNPAYABLE, from debt that was originally and continued to be very likely odious and therefore illegitimate. The immiserating of millions and making a mockery of “our” system of “Justice” are afterthoughts at best.

      1. FederalismForever

        @Alejandro. In your example, the “very rich man” hasn’t even gotten anything back yet on the debt he purchased. So how has he “immiserated” millions?

          1. FederalismForever

            Usually in this context “unearned” simply means “not derived from labor” – i.e., interest, dividends, etc. If the “very rich man” in your example bought discounted debt with a stated interest rate, for example, the interest payments are “unearned” income. If the issuing country fails to make those payments, the population has not thereby been “immiserated” since at that point nothing has left the country.

            I read the article you linked to. I’d have to know more details to understand how the amounts purportedly owed to the vulture funds grew to such large amounts.

            America was so lucky that Alexander Hamilton insisted on paying back creditors in full, that way America would not gain the reputation of defaulting on its debts. The same can be said of Ulysses S. Grant’s exemplary leadership during the 1873-1874 Panic.

            1. toldjaso

              Alejandro’s reference to “unearned” has nothing to do with “unearned by labor”. He and Dr. Hudson make the same point, essentially: If you don’t buy Argentine bonds at par, you cannot claim “rights” to reimbursement at par, much less with “compound interest” — which includes “interest on interest” the classical definition of usury. The bonds were bought (likely on credit) at deep discount by the one or more pass-through shysters from whom Singer eventually bought his stake. The economic “judgment” by Judge GreaseMyPalm is highly suspect, and may be actionable, considering the frame.

              The conniving, sadistic equivalent of price-gouging cubed gives a great name to “Capitalism” skewed and to its sly practitioners, doesn’t it?

            2. Alejandro

              Thanks, I always appreciate honest feedback. It’s worth noting and understanding that debt’s throughout recorded history have always tended to grow faster than any economy’s ability to pay. Here’s a very good read, a little long but well worth the effort:

              “I read the article you linked to. I’d have to know more details to understand how the amounts purportedly owed to the vulture funds grew to such large amounts.”

              Re-iterating what toldjaso explains, it’s basically buy paper debt for pennies on the dollar, then sue for the dollar plus fees and “the magic of compound interest”. I’m sure you can calculate what’s earned and what’s unearned. Is making this “business” model, a viable one, a legitimate use of the Judicial System?

              1. toldjaso

                Thanks. I try to keep up with everything Michael Hudson posts. He writes the Gospel of Sound Economics for whoever has “eyes to see and “ears to hear.” No circulation can come from hearts of stone. Reading Dr. Hudson reminds us that the site of “intelligence” is the heart. “Ego tamquam centrum circuli” (Dante: Vita Nova)

            3. ewmayer

              The epic hypocrisy of course being that the vulture funds seek to profit by imposing steep haircuts on the folks they purchased the debt from, then turning around and denying the debt issuer the same option.

              Does anyone know offhand how the haircut that accompanied the vulture’s pennies-on-the-dollar purchase compares to that which Argentina has negotiated with over 90% of the bondholders?

              Continuing in that line of thought, I wonder if future sovdebt-purchase agreements might benefit from some kind of “first right of repurchase” clause, which would work as follows: Sovereign A sells debt to B, then ends up in a “we can’t repay” state. B, wary of entering into likely-lengthy-and-surely-costly debt-restructuring negotiations with A, arranges a deal with a vulture fund V to sell its debt at a fraction of par. But, the repurchase clause requires A to be offered right of first refusal to itself repurchase said debt at the same discounted price. To avoid collusion between B and V (they claim to have agreed on a, say, 50%-haircut deal, but when A refuses to match that, B actually sells to V at less than the stated 50% price), B would be required to verifiably go through with the sale to V at the stated price should A refuse, otherwise the debt is declared nullified, i.e. its holder forfeits any claims whatsoever on the issuer A.

      2. Jim Haygood

        It’s two o’clock. Do you know where your president is?

        CARACAS -. President Cristina Kirchner arrived 37 minutes late for the floral offering to the “Father of the Nation,” Simón Bolívar, and the official photo.

        The wreath ceremony was scheduled for 10 am in Caracas (11.30 in Argentina) and took place at Simón Bolívar Square before a crowd. The presidents of Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia had to improvise conversations while the Argentine president was delayed in reaching the site.

        Cristina Kirchner arrived at 10.37 and just after emerging from her car smilingly greeted the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and was greeted by the president of Uruguay, José Mujica, to whom for a few minutes she explained the reason for her delay in arriving from the Tamanaco Hotel where she is staying.

        After the wreath laying, the President witnessed the folk dance group Joropo, performing typical Venezuelan music, during which she also was encouraged to shake her waist [ay!] accompanied by her colleagues Maduro, Mujica, Evo Morales, Dilma and Cartes.

        Upon arriving at the site of the summit, the president was the only one who went to the balcony of the Yellow House to greet the audience, throw them kisses and touch her chest as a sign of affection.

    3. Carolinian

      On July 17, 2013, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde submitted notice that the fund would file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court. But then the IMF board met and, somewhat embarrassingly, because of objections from the U.S., decided against it. This could be why the Supreme Court did not invite a brief from the U.S. solicitor general, and ultimately did not hear the case. But who is responsible for Washington’s reversal?

      As in an Agatha Christie novel, there are numerous suspects who could have done the deed. The vulture fund lobby – a well-connected group led by former Clinton administration officials– known as the American Task Force Argentina, spent over $1 million in 2013 on the case. Then there are the usual suspects in Congress, mostly neo-conservatives and the Florida delegation, who want a different political party in power in Argentina after this fall’s elections.

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    Some interesting perspective on Ukraine from Pat Buchanan, with whom I find myself agreeing more and more.

    First, a retrospective on how previous presidents have dealt with Russia/Ukraine. Short, sweet and to the point.

    “When then did this issue of whose flag flies over Donetsk or Crimea become so crucial that we would arm Ukrainians to fight Russian-backed rebels and consider giving a NATO war guarantee to Kiev, potentially bringing us to war with a nuclear-armed Russia?”

    Fast forward to today, when the retarded Bob Corker uncorks himself. Per Buchanan:

    “If the Republican counteroffer to Obama’s is a return to the compulsive interventionism of Bush II, this is where some of us will be getting off.”

    1. Banger

      Great stuff by Buchanan. American Conservative and the Nation should join forces. The enemy of both is the “liberalism” of TNR, Huffington Post, NPR, NYT, WaPost, MSNBC, Comedy Central, CNN, Fox and so on.

      BTW, I don’t necessarily share the world-view of either American Conservative or the Nation–I’m far too radical a Deep Stater for that but they offer positive directions in foreign policy at least–and not as far apart as you’d think in domestic policies.

        1. Carolinian

          And btw I agree that Buchanan has always made a lot of sense on foreign policy, whatever you think of his “social conservatism.”

          1. abynormal

            “We had every right, and we were more than right … just and moral to smash (Germany and Japan),”
            …Pat enjoys the sound of his own voice as much as any other politician

            1. Carolinian

              Buchanan was last a politician 14 years ago, if you mean literally. However thinking back I believe I have heard him defend the Vietnam war so I’ll retract the “always.”

              That said, Buchanan and his ilk are somewhat different fish in the rightwing sea. They call themselves “paleoconservatives”–throwbacks to an earlier time.

          1. Carolinian

            I can’t even get MSNBC but the FDL thingie says Nation writers appear quite frequently on the network. Wasn’t Chris Hayes once with The Nation?

            1. Banger

              Well sure they use Nation people who need some money like Hayes but the minute he strays off the reservation they pull in the reins and he complies. The nation is limited and is careful to be politically correct but writers have far more scope than MSNBC which must keep the WH and Democrats happy, for the most part. Maybe it’s changing but when I heard their ME correspondence howling for war during the Syrian crisis last year I stopped watching.

    2. ohmyheck

      I also agree with Pat Buchanan (can’t believe I just typed that), until this:

      “Under Obama, the U.S. has declined to intervene in civil wars in Syria, Ukraine and Libya, or to go back in force in Iraq. He is pulling us out of Afghanistan. ”

      Um….no. totally and completely…no. Since when has Pat Buchanan become an Obama apologist? Just when you think you’ve seen it all….

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers

        I’ve yet to read the Pat Buchanan piece, but understand a desire of those opposed to the “New World Order” to combine forces to protect the notion of “nation state” and development of politics within said independent states not influenced by global corporates and neoconservatives/neoliberals.

        As far as intervention goes though, one is certainly not opposed to military intervention of the “peacekeeping” type overseen and mandated by the United Nations – we actually need to return to the rules and norms of international law. That said, one does not desire to see massacres as witnessed in the former Yugoslavia under the noses of UN peacekeepers, we really do need to focus on the fact that all human life is sacred, not just a life when it suits us.

        Let me read the Buchanan though before passing judgement on that.

          1. Christopher Dale Rogers

            I’m afraid yes, respect for international law, with the caveat that the law be applied impartially and without bias. Now, its not my fault the USA is the hegemony, neither is it my fault that Western Europe has failed to grow a pair of testicles.

            Call me a utopianism on this one, but respect for international law would go a long way, particularly without US neocons and neoliberals driving the show, which I’m wholly against.

            1. FederalismForever

              @Christopher Dale Rogers. Agreed! Yes, current “International Law” doesn’t work perfectly, but it would work a lot better without the neocon and neoliberal influence, and is “utopian” in the best sense.

      2. abynormal

        imo its the perfect projection, who’d a thunk
        for 2 birds/links with 1 stone:

        “In projecting onto others their own moral sense, therapists sometimes make terrible errors. Child physical abusers are automatically labeled “impulsive,” despite extensive evidence that they are not necessarily impulsive but more often make thinking errors that justify the assaults. Sexual and physical offenders who profess to be remorseful after they are caught are automatically assumed to be sincere. After all, the therapist would feel terrible if he or she did such a thing. It makes perfect sense that the offender would regret abusing a child. People routinely listen to their own moral sense and assume that others share it.
        Thus, those who are malevolent attack others as being malevolent, as engaging in dirty tricks, as being “in it for the money,“ and those who are well meaning assume others are too, and keep arguing logically, keep producing more studies, keep expecting an academic debate, all the time assuming that the issue at hand is the truth of the matter.
        Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned Author: Anna C. Salter. Ethics & Behavior, Volume 8, Issue 2 June 1998 p122” Anna C. Salter

        1. diptherio

          Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention! I’ve been saying almost exactly this for awhile now–a major problem with our politics is that most people are basically moral and assume everyone else is too. I used to have this problem, but falling prey to a few scams cured me of it (uh…not the being moral part, assuming everyone else shares my moral sense).

          1. Banger

            We have lost the powers of discernment–if we pay attention closely particularly to our “gut” we know who is malevolent and who is not.

            1. abynormal

              ahh, but this would entail us to alone time benefits…too skeerie for too many
              “To run with the wolf was to run in the shadows, the dark ray of life, survival and instinct. A fierceness that was both proud and lonely, a tearing, a howling, a hunger and thirst. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst. A strength that would die fighting, kicking, screaming, that wouldn’t stop until the last breath had been wrung from its body. The will to take one’s place in the world. To say ‘I am here.’ To say ‘I am.”

        2. toldjaso

          Neither “impulsive” nor “thinking badly” but insane with rage triggered by having some “button” of frustration, desperation, and impotence “pushed” by the adversary resisting the “Will” of the abuser.

        3. toldjaso

          “Salter” like “Wheeler” is another deepstate name over time, so dig deep and *caveat emptor*.

          1. hunkerdown

            Nothing about the genealogy of evil is actionable. Why waste the time? It just slows down one’s OODA loop to no good end.

      3. Paul Niemi

        Yes, Pat Buchanan is capable of using reasonable arguments as well, in favor of his ends. But I won’t forget that his aim is a GOP House and Senate in this election, and a GOP House, Senate, and White House in 2016. He is sending a message to Sen. Corker (who from?), because he doesn’t want the next election screwed up, and he sounds perfectly reasonable. But if Buchanan gets everything he wants, the next thing you know he’ll be leading an army to Mexico City to solve the immigration problem. One thing leads to another.

        1. toldjaso

          Know the deep history of Mexico City, including clans Bourbon, Bonaparte, and Redshield. Note that there is a BIS in Mexico City, Recall that Camus called the bar in Amsterdam “Mexico City” for cause (Albert Camus: “La Chute”/”The Fall”.

    3. MLS


      re: your use of the word “retarded”. Let’s not, OK? Please use some other – any other – word to describe Bob Corker (idiot, jackass, imbecile, pick your favorite I don’t care). The word “retarded” is a genuine description of individuals who have an intellectual disability. It demeans them to use the word in a disparaging way.

      I hope you don’t think I’m trying to go all “grammar police” on you, it’s just that that particular word is often misused in a very offensive way.

      1. MtnLife

        Not to “Internal Affairs” your “non-grammar policing” but the word imbecile is an old category of mental retardation meaning having a mental age of between 3-7 and able to follow simple commands under supervision. Idiot is a person of profound mental retardation having a mental age under 3. Lastly, since jackass refers exclusively to the male donkey and is a derogatory term for stubborn or foolish people, is that not sexist?

    4. fresno dan

      Katniss Everdeen
      July 29, 2014 at 8:36 am

      Who’d of thunk it – Pat Buchanan, peacenik??? What was once known, and disparaged, as “realpolitik” seems in today’s environment refreshingly logical, pragmatic, and practical.
      Think ahead to 2016 and we may have the distasteful choice of Hillary continues of poking, sanctioning, and churchladying Russia, or a republican who will promise a nuclear first strike…
      Am I the only one who thinks this is what it must of been like prior to WWI???

  9. trish

    re I like this hypothesis.

    one wonders…considering much of our population remains ignorant, entertained…indeed docile, in the face of our neoliberal rulers’ assault…uh, “domesticated species” with “smaller brain or cranial capacity”…hmmm. maybe it isn’t just cows and chickens …

  10. Carolinian

    The UAW and VW–Thanks for the link. Here’s another more generalized story on UAW goals in the south. Note the contagion fears from other manufacturers

    Charlie Bethel, director of legal affairs for Dalton carpet maker J&J Industries, said another union, not the autoworkers, could be emboldened by a VW victory to target tens of thousands of carpet and flooring workers across Georgia who start out at $10 or $11 an hour.

    Any similar drive to organize the BMW plant here in upstate SC would likely meet similar resistance–not necessarily from the workers, some of whom have expressed interest, but from the politicians and chamber of commerce types. That said, one group likely to be indifferent would be the famously anti-union textile manufacturers. Almost all of them have now moved away.

    However BMW owners can rest assured that at least one vital component of their cars, the engines, are being proudly union made….in Germany.

  11. dearieme

    The Atlantic Wall: “It was designed according to military logic”. How very damning.

    1. susan the other

      Comparing it to a Norman fortress and thereby making the case that it was already archaic in 1943 was poignant. Since we still use behemoth dinosaurs of military design, like bombers and fighters, and subs, and destroyers, and aircraft carriers, etc, even tho’ we now have insidious things like drones. And someday soon drones will also be obsolete. I like to think it will be because it will finally be understood how pointless war is.

  12. trish

    re Proposed Law Amendment May Threaten Good Greenlandic Governance.

    essentially, You don’t need to know anything till it’s a done deal because your meddling will only get in the way of what we wanna do and you’re gonna know about it anyway eventually so please don’t bother us till then…

    exactly the sort of insidious neoliberalspeak we see so frequently today.

    I hope the Greenlandic public quashes this.

    1. toldjaso

      Whenever the word “Governance” is used instead of “Government”, the NWOFIX is in.

      1. craazyboy

        Lots of options. Motel 6? The Carls Jr. $6 Burger? The 1950s 5&10 store? (vague is good)

        Aha! Store One, 1st Store, etc…

        It’s only a name. But now the new biz plan is to generate $8 billion in “value” for investors by selling 5&10 renminbi stuff for $5 & $10. And fast! The cheap money\overvalued stock has now been spent!

        But it’s only inflationary if it works – otherwise it’s asset deflation for shareholders – which our Very Serious People at the Fed take – Very Seriously! (They have PhDs and understand this stuff)

        We’ll have to be patient see what the employment impact is after they “right size” the merged company. As laymen, we shouldn’t let our imaginations run wild at this point and make wild uneducated guesses. Best to wait for the Fed to tell us how it works.

    1. optimader

      “The ***Dollar Store”, along the lines of the McDonalds signs of yore: ****Million Served?
      Or more arcane,
      “The Dollar e^** Store” . with the scientific notation is small font.

    2. Carolinian

      Does NYC still have those Everything’s a Dollar stores? Gone the way of the Automat?

    1. Tim Mason

      (That was in reply to trish and refers to the link to Pharyngula)

      BTW, have you noticed how the psychs who “discover” the link between maternal fears and those of their babies believe that their research will enable the experts to “intervene to prevent children from learning irrational or harmful fear responses from their mothers.” Oh, brave new world …

      1. toldjaso

        Abused children definitely can smell or “sense” every scintilla of anger/fear developing in the “parental” adversary, and we see this everyday in the “corporate” environment: “Look out, the boss is having a bad day.” George Lakoff has shown how the “authoritative” structure, if not absolute dictatorship, of the “family” carries through into the “corporate” world and especially into “politics.” The Communist Dictatorship of the Military in all of its forms is obvious.

        1. Tim Mason

          “The family” is a secondary construct – a thread that runs all the way through Scott’s “Seeing Like a State.’

    2. Carolinian

      Great post! (the linked blogpost). There have been some recent documentaries on how dogs study humans (they read our facial expressions) and on how humans bred wolves to select for playfulness and dependency, creating dogs. One on PBS was called Dogs Decoded.

  13. Christopher Dale Rogers

    Is it just me, or are we having technical issues posting today – Yves,Lambert or anyone?

  14. Christopher Dale Rogers

    @Banger et al,

    Anyone who questions the validity of the “deep state” really needs to check out the todays link to the Daily Telegraph story: “The alleged paedophile ring at the heart of the British Establishment Telegraph ” and then this link on Colin Wallace:

    I actually met with Colin Wallace with a few other students at the University of Leicester in 1990, at the time claims by Peter Wright, the author of Spy Catcher, were still making headlines, particularly with regards a conspiracy by Establishment figures against the then sitting Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who was considered a Soviet Agent by hardliners in the UK’s security services – Colin Wallace was part of this group, although operating out of Northern Ireland in the 70’s. As part of an establishment cover-up, Wallace was silenced by the expedient of his fiend being murdered, which he was framed for and imprisoned for – I met with him not long after his release from prison.

    What Wallace informed me and a handful of others made my toes curl, specifically allegations of paedophilia at the highest sections of the UK establishment. Indeed, he claimed that a relative of the Queen, and last Viceroy of India – I will not name names – on the day of his assassination by the IRA had been participating in horrendous acts, and that he was murdered as a result of these crimes, rather than for being linked to the UK monarchy or UK government.

    The stories Wallace told about Kincora and the way the UK security services utilised and encouraged these acts to blackmail leading business and political figures was really shocking, as is the repetitive nature now unfeeling in places in North Wales, the North East and Jersey in the Channel Isles.

    If you are in any doubt about the existence of a “deep state” I challenge you to learn more about one Mr Hoover of the FBI, Colin Wallace and others who have broken ranks and spoken out. And if you think it cannot happen in the USA, well, consider this, what happens in the UK usually happens in the USA and this applies equally to your Constitution, which effectively replaced a Constitutional Monarchy with an elected monarchy. Similarities abound I’m afraid.

    1. Banger

      Duly noted.

      You might look into the Franklin Savings and Loan Scandal for something equivalent.

    2. toldjaso

      Edward Heath is the Biggie. It is indeed “a vast conspiracy” (JFK, Ted Gunderson, John Coleman, et al.) The Franklin Coverup runs deep. If you listen attentively to the “Bohemian Grove” lakeside ceremony filmed by Alex Jones, it’s a safe bet you will hear the singular voice of the “token negro” at the heart of the Franklin Coverup singing as His Master’s Voice.

    3. Lord Koos

      This all dovetails nicely with the NSA blackmail allegations. With modern surveillance, this type of control is easier than ever.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        All mere froth compared to social relations like (say) usury or wage labor. Or the Global Accords Governing the Fair Use of Women. If you really want “deep,” look there. Of course, heinous plots by evildoers acting in secret are always fun; that’s why the Daily Mail is full of them. Not to say they aren’t “real”; it’s a question of focus and opportunity cost.

    4. lambert strether

      I just think the so-called deep state is the state, and always has been. “Deep” adds an air of pseudo-profundity which is, I grant, useful in polemic and propagation.

  15. Vatch

    I got a reply to my message to the FCC in which I opposed FCC 14-61 and supported Internet Neutrality. Here it is:

    Thank you very much for contacting us about the ongoing Open Internet proceeding. We’re hoping to hear from as many people as possible about this critical issue, and so I’m very glad that we can include your thoughts and opinions.

    I’m a strong supporter of the Open Internet, and I will fight to keep the internet open. Thanks again for sharing your views with me.

    Tom Wheeler
    Federal Communications Commission

    Well, gosh. Tom W. supports the open internet! Plus, he’s glad that they could include my thoughts and opinions! No mention of common carriers; just a minor omission, right? I eagerly await their final ruling. Will they support the open internet, or will they support the “open” internet (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)?

  16. fresno dan

    I like this hypothesis Pharyngula. On tameness

    great article. definitely adding that site to my favorites

  17. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    The only discriminator between Republicans and Democrats is the nature of their propensity for sociopathy: The Republican contingent is apparently driven primarily by emotion, the Democratic by intellect (the (D) contingent only shoots themselves in the nuts, accidentally — the (R)s will do it, intentionally, to prove a point).

    1. hunkerdown

      No, that’s just how they fancy themselves. The Upworthy Democrat is strongly driven by emotion, and the recent union-busting identity politics in “tech” aims to capitalize on that.

  18. fresno dan

    Dollar Tree Agrees to Acquire Family Dollar for $8.5 Billion Businessweek. Great. A dollar store oligopoly. I can see where this is going.

    I sure hope this doesn’t affect availability of my Chinese supplied butterscotch candy I buy at Dollar tree (or is it Dollar General…..or maybe Outta Dollars???).
    Which hopefully is made out of pure Wisconsin butter and fine single malt Scotch scotch…
    I mean, if its not made out of butter and scotch, why do they call it butterscotch?

    1. toldjaso

      As “apartheid grocering” becomes more and more deeply entrenched, a Word to the Wise: It may be bad for your health to ingest products sold at the MonopolyDollar store. “Target marketing” is real.

      1. different clue

        It may be bad for your health to ingest anything made in China, no matter what store it is sold in and for what price. Poison pet food, lead paint toys, melamine milk , dirty honey laundring, etc.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Basic market theory says that businesses should NEVER be allowed to merge or acquire each other, at least short of bankruptcy. Markets require small players to remain at all efficient – that is, to be a market at all. Consequently, any combination is in restraint of trade and against the public interest. The government makes the rules, via contract and incorporation law. Forbidding combinations would be a fundamental, market-friendly reform.
      Allowing companies to grow until the dominate the market poses the same problem, though it takes longer. some other mechanism, like a sharply graduated corporate income tax, is needed to force them to sell off pieces as they grow.
      Oddly, those claim to worship the market are uninterested in having one that functions.

  19. KFritz

    Re: The Atlantic Wall

    The sentiments of the article and the comparison to the Maginot Line are well done, but attributing the breach of the wall to air power seems off the mark. Allied air control did prevent the Germans from defending the wall with air power, but the wall was breached at Normandy by concentrating large numbers of Allied soldiers at one location, using naval bombardment (which didn’t do all that much good), and then intelligent tactics (probably including plenty of grenades), light artillery, and bravery (Omaha Beach was a bloodbath for American troops). The Germans were outmanned. Sorry to say, the writer sounds like an apologist for and acolyte of the air branch of the armed services.

    The wall going up in the “Holy Land” is also almost certainly analogous to the Maginot Line, the Atlantic Wall, and other similar fiascoes.

    1. Jess

      “naval bombardment (which didn’t do all that much good)”

      Actually, that’s incorrect. Back in 1991 I took a tour of Normandy. One of the others on the tour bus was a guy who had been in the first wave to land on Omaha beach. He explained that due to cloud cover the bombers dropped their loads too far inland to do any damage to the beach defenses. Then the so-called “swimming tanks” sunk in the rough waves. Finally, as the tide began to come in, several intrepid destroyer commanders couldn’t stand watching the carnage any longer. Defying their standing orders they risked their ships and their commands by sneaking in where their 5-inch guns could reach the shoreline defenses.

      Guided by targeting information from grunts on the beach, the destroyers set about systematically knocking out machine gun nests, pillboxes, and even the big German 88’s in the massive bunkers. In fact, at one bunker the gun is still in place but there is a nice, neat 5″ diameter hole in the armor plate in front of the gunner’s seat. There is also a huge concave crater in the back wall of the bunker. My tour friend explained that the shell undoubtedly beheaded the gunner and then took out the entire gun crew when it exploded against the wall. I still have a picture of my and the old guy standing in front of that bunker. (Wish I’d gotten his name and contact info, but alas, I didn’t.)

      1. KFritz

        I stand corrected! Thank you.

        There was bombardment before the landing, which wasn’t as effective.

    2. Jess

      One other quibble:

      “the wall was breached at Normandy by concentrating large numbers of Allied soldiers at one location,”

      In reality, while what you say is technically and narrowly true, in the larger context the Atlantic Wall was breached by Hitler himself when he invaded Russia. A critical element of Allied success was that a clever intelligence scam convinced Hitler that Normandy was a decoy and the real invasion would come at Calais. Thus he waited two days before releasing his Panzer reserves from the Calais region. By June, 1944, Germany had lost something on the order of 2 million men killed, missing, or captured on the Eastern Front. Absent war with Russia, the Calais reserves would not have been a factor because the entire Western Front would have been heavily reinforced.

      1. fresno dan

        July 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm
        I was going to bring up the same point. The US loss about 1/20 of the military deaths that the Soviets lost (the Soviets also loss staggering numbers of civilians while the US essentially lost none – I think one person in CA got killed by a Japanese bomb carried by balloon)
        Oh, Google shows me wrong – more than I thought, but I meant the continental US

        “In reality, it was already possible in the summer of 1942 to land a sizable force in France or elsewhere in Western Europe and open a second front. The British army had recuperated from the troubles of 1940, and large numbers of American and Canadian troops had joined them on the British Isles and were ready for action. Furthermore, it was not a secret that the Germans only had relatively few troops available to defend thousands of kilometres of Atlantic coast, and these troops also happened to be of considerably inferior quality compared to their forces on the Eastern Front. On the Atlantic coast, Hitler had about 60 divisions at his disposal, which were generally deemed to be second-rate, while no less than 260 German divisions did battle in the East. It is a fact, furthermore, that on the French coast in 1942 the German troops were not yet as strongly entrenched as they would be later, namely, at the time of the landings in Normandy in June 1944; the order to build the fortifications of the famous Atlantic Wall was only given by Hitler in August 1942, and the construction would drag on from the fall of 1942 until the spring of 1944.”

        Without the Russian front, with the multitude of divisions that would be available to Germany, I believe the Atlantic wall would have been unbreachable.

    3. Ed

      I also thought the story, though interesting, was a bit off.

      German defenses in Normandy were successful in bottling up the Americans, British, and Canadians for almost two months and throwing them off their timetable. Fixed fortifications in World War II were successful at least in causing delays, the attacker had to stop and concentrate all available forces on getting through the fortification.

      The Germans had the problem that the Allies could potentially attack almost anywhere on the French coast -taking the Pas de Calais would have made sense as the Allies would have started closer to the Ruhr after the landings, that is why the Germans were reluctant to move forces away from there. Rommel, who advocated the Atlantic Wall, was worried about Allied airpower but naval gunfire turned out to be just as effective. Its debatable, but I think not trying to defend on the beaches and fighting the Allies well inland would have been a better defensive strategy.

      This is interesting, but I don’t think any parellels can be drawn with contemporary news stories.

  20. Vatch

    Another Obama betrayal: several months ago, he nominated right wing Georgia state judge Michael Boggs to be a federal judge. The nomination is moving closer to a vote; thankfully, there is opposition:

    Huffington Article on Michael Boggs

    When judicial nominee Michael Boggs was in the Georgia state legislature, he supported efforts to keep the Confederate battle emblem on the Georgia state flag. What a guy!

    Obama Nominees Article

    Although I frequently advise people to vote third party in U.S. presidential elections, I also acknowledge that the Democrats tend to be better than the Republicans on certain social issues. I guess Barry O. wants to prove me wrong.

  21. Yonatan

    The Ukrainian soccer ultras: allies of the resistance

    A nice whitewash of the fascist supporters of the Ukraine regime – nicely in line with US policy and its penchant color-coded regime change.

    “Eventually, the sheer number of protesters pushed away provocateurs who fled to the local trade union building. As a result of a fire in the building, 40 pro-Russian separatists died. ”

    The building did not inexplicably catch fire, it was torched. The Russian speaking people herded into the Trades Union building were a mixture of men, women and children, aged up to about 70 years (from memory), camped outside the Trades Union building. Their attackers (the football supporters and others) rampaged towards their camp, setting the camp afire. The camp occupants retreated into the TU building, which was then bombarded with fire bombs. Later on, groups of attackers entered the building and the dead were dosed with petrol and set alight after they had succumbed to the fumes. Some were shot point blank in the head. Some were beaten after they jumped from first floor windows to escape the fire. A pregnant woman was strangled with a telephone cord. Videos show petrified women and children by windows inside the building as it was burnt.

    An analysis of videos reveals the whole event to be another false flag operation (as was the shooting at the Maidan), orchestrated by men wearing red armbands in collusion with the police. The red armband men were pretending to be pro-Russian, hence the provocation against the pro-Ukrainians. One such analysis is here – extremely graphic imagery.

    The people in the south-east of Ukraine voted for self-determination and were met with military force from the Ukraine regime. Why? It is because the poor south-eastern people just happen to live over potential shale oil deposits marked for exploitation. The IMF loans are also conditional on a unified Ukraine.

    1. Brindle

      Yes, the piece on Ukraine Soccer Ultras was basically pro-Kiev propaganda. I think NC posts such pieces under the assumption most readers can see the obvious.

      1. lambert strethet

        I wanted go see what readers would say. There are similar reports of soccer ultra involvement in. Turkey and Egypt, and I wonder if there ate sinilarities.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Thanks, Yonatan, for the horrific details. “Follow the money” proves a reliable rule again as always.

      In other news, entirely unrelated of course, VP spawn Hunter Biden was hired last month by Burisma Holdings, a private Ukrainian company that promotes energy independence from Russia. Rest assured there are no conflicts of interest in this or any relevance to ethnic cleansing in Eastern Ukraine.

  22. Carolinian

    Your liberal media:

    On his July 27 show, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer went on a rant about Palestinians:

    “In the Middle East, the Palestinian people find themselves in the grip of a terrorist group that has embarked on a strategy to get its own children killed in order to build sympathy for its cause, a strategy that might actually be working, at least in some quarters.

    Last week, I found a quote of many years ago by Golda Meir, one of Israel’s early leaders, which might have been said yesterday. ‘We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children,’ she said, ‘but we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.'”

    When he uttered these words, Israeli attacks on Gaza had killed over 1,000 people, the vast majority of them civilians, including several hundred children.

    Of course Meir said “Arabs” rather than “Palestinians” since she claimed there was no such thing as a Palestinian.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Was Bob Schieffer sitting on Bibi’s lap at the time? He was clearly channeling Benjamin Netanyahu himself:

      “All civilian casualties are unintended by us but actually intended by Hamas. They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can because somebody said, and I mean, it’s gruesome, but they use telegenically-dead Palestinians for their cause. They want– the more dead the better.”

      As repugnant and despicable as it gets, one wonders if a Nazi general ever uttered anything as disgusting in another time and place.

  23. Linda Wheatley-Irving

    The “hasbarists” are out in full force today at Canada’s newspaper of record, the Globe and Mail.
    Princess Haya al-Hussein wrote an open letter to Canada’s newspaper of record protesting the carnage in Gaza:
    …but unlike the petition criticizing Israel, posted a couple of days ago ( “The partisan approach to Gaza is a discredit to Canada”) and receiving overwhelmingly positive comments, some of them very articulate, Princess Haya’s has received an abundance of short, negative, simple comments, which flies in the face of the recent trend on this topic in the G&M.
    My question is: who’s paying these “Israel-firsters,” as we call them here in the US? Has the G&M fallen prey to a scam? Since this is so distinctly contrary to trend, the paper should start doing some “troll patrol”. Bloggers have to do this sort of thing on a regular basis; usually the email addresses give it away.

  24. toldjaso

    Lambert, see ZH re Paul Singer’s WARNING to all re the EMP. Is he saying what will happen if Argentina doesn’t pay him 100 cents on the USD plus compound interest? One of the commentators suggests that even an EMP “false flag” might be waiting offstage — a postmodern take on “shooting yourself in the foot”. Wheeeeeeee!

    1. abynormal

      another new normal as their sandbox shrinks. i love these headlines…we’ve been burden with their cost/pumped, loss of jobs/dumped and now we gotta listen to them whine.
      ‘like serial killers offering to pay for their crime’ fook’m

  25. Roland

    There was already an article here on the Atlantic Wall a while ago.

    Monde Diplo gets it wrong.

    The Atlantic Wall was not militarily futile as a strategic system of fortification. The Germans’ coastal fortification programme was a key factor in forcing the Western Allies to stage their 1944 invasion effort in Normandy, rather than at the more strategically critical Pas de Calais. The Allies were forced to accept serious logistical constraints as the price of making a feasible landing. If the Atlantic Wall fortifications had been of little value, as the article claims, then why did the Allies take such pains to avoid engaging them?

    The German system of heavily protecting certain port cities also proved strategically effective. If you know about the travails of the 21st Army Group’s advance into Belgium, then you know just how serious a problem it was that the Channel ports did not fall easily into their hands. The whole story at SHAEF during the fall of 1944 is about the conundrum of trying to advance to the Rhine in strength while supply lines stretched all the way back to Normandy.

    The defenses at Walcheren and Beveland, which denied access to the harbour of Antwerp, all by themselves probably extended the war for at least two or three months. How can anybody claim that the Atlantic Wall was ineffectual?

    In terms of something you can do to harm the enemy in wartime, while employing resources mostly unsuited for front-line fighting, the Atlantic Wall was probably a worthwhile effort for the Germans. The Monde Diplo article itself admits that most of the labour was mostly non-German and mostly unskilled, provided by PoW’s and local civilian conscripts. The resources devoted to the Atlantic Wall did not represent all that much opportunity cost for the German war effort. Cement was not the critical economic constraint for the German war economy in 1944.

    Speer’s criticism of the Atlantic Wall must be taken seriously. However, it is interesting that when Field Marshal Rommel was appointed to inspect the defenses in France, the first thing he insisted upon was more work on fixed fortifications: redoubts, wire, mines, obstacles. The Atlantic Wall was for the most part in accord with Rommel’s own idea of fighting the main battle at the shoreline. Rommel’s main anxiety was that the system wasn’t extensive enough.

    In grand strategic terms, the Germans were in deep trouble by 1944. But that doesn’t mean that the Atlantic Wall was a bad strategy for them. Those fortifications bought them altogether about six months’ respite from defeat.

    Even on an architectural note, the Monde Diplo article misses the mark. Of course the works were designed with pragmatic considerations foremost. But that fact in no way changes their architectural provenance. Architecture represents societies and cultures, contradictions and all.

    While the Monde Diplo author is aware that Hitler took a personal interest in the design of some of the works, this was not entirely vanity on his part. Hitler had spent considerable time in fortifications under fire, and had a number of ideas concerning the liveability and survivability of the works, from their occupants’ point of view.

    Finally, it is worth noting that fortifications remain of value in contemporary warfare. The Moroccans achieved considerable success with their system of berms in the Western Sahara during the 1980’s, against the Polisario. The Israelis’ Occupation Wall is an abomination from the standpoint of justice, but it has achieved its desired military effect. The Coalition forces which occupied Iraq used stupendous amounts of concrete and steel to build complex barrier systems in Baghdad, and significantly reduced their own casualties by doing so.

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