Links 6/18/10

Stem cell therapy ‘damage’ seen in kidney disease case BBC

Google Urged To Let Personal Data Fade Away eWeekEurope

The Growing Geek iPhone Backlash Timothy Lee

Sincerely Yours: Another Legal Triumph for the Obama-Yoo Administration Chris Floyd

Turkey and Israel: The broken alliance Asia Times

Troubles in Turkey Marshall Auerback Chaostheorien

Iraq ill-equipped to cope with an epidemic of mental illness Washington Post

Citigroup Looking Past Volcker May Seek $3 Billion for Funds Bloomberg. A clear statement of what Citi thinks the fate of the Volcker Rule will be.

Le modèle américain Les Echos (hat tip reader Swedish Lex)

Is Spain Next? Mark Copelovitch, Econbrowser

EU Stress Tests Face Questions Over Stringency, Government Help Bloomberg

Obama’s Twist of BP’s Arm Stirs Debate on Common Tactic New York Times. OMG, the Grey Lady is simply troweling out the Team Obama PR. Go back to the Roosevelts, either Teddy or FDR, to see what taking on the corporate power structure really looks like. And Johnson and Nixon kept them in line through means less visible to the public, such as J. Edgar Hoover’s famed dossiers on prominent individuals, including CEOs (of course, in our total surveillance society, one can only imagine what information the powers that be can gather now, but . Companies did not DREAM of negotiating with government on an equal footing, which as Richard Kline pointed out, is exactly what happened with BP.

The Party of BP Steve Bennen

House-Senate Panel Broadens Audits of Fed New York Times. Mirabile dictu, one aspect of reform got stronger!

Fareed Zakaria Chastises The Media For Focusing On Wanting Obama Appear Angry Rather Than Solutions To Oil Spill Crooks and Liars (hat tip reader Francois T)

A Short History of BP Dr. M. Kamiar, Counterpunch (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

Has BP Been Too Careless Due To Its Imperial Past? EconoSpeak (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

China: where’s the inflation? Michael Pettis

Now Stocks Are 48% Overvalued, Says Smithers Clusterstock

Reality of America’s fiscal mess starting to bite Gillian Tett, Financial Times

Austerity is stupid, stimulus is dangerous, lying is optimal, economic choices are not scalar Steve Waldman

That ’30s Feeling Paul Krugman, New York Times

Antidote du jour:

Picture 63

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  1. burnside

    Chris Floyd’s putting forward that SCOTUS rejection of the Arar case was at the behest of the Obama administration wants better credentials than mere bald assertion.

    The Roberts court is fully capable of such action with or without misdirection from the administrative branch. With no credible citation on offer, I’ll side with Occam on this one.

    1. Francois T

      The fact that the Obama Administration was in sync with a SCOTUS “capable of such action with or without misdirection from the administrative branch” is precisely what makes this whole situation so scary.

      What few people, and most certainly people in the mainstream media, seem to be mentally able to grasp is that now, any future Administration will have the powers and absolute license to kidnap, ship anywhere in the world and torture/kill anyone, including American citizens. (Jose Padilla anyone?)

      Try to imagine for 10 seconds, what kind of country we would live (“exist” would probably be a more appropriate term here) now if the Bush/Cheney ticket would have ascended to power with these kinds of power already entrenched??

      Now, can someone explain to me how is this different from Argentina under the military, the Guatemala of Somoza, the USSR of Kroutchev, Breznev and Tchernyenko, and countless other regimes?

    2. i on the ball patriot

      Yes, mere bald assertion, like this …

      The scum bag, mind fuck, Washington Post gets my ‘NO SHIT SHERLOCK!’ award for its article headline; “Iraq ill-equipped to cope with an epidemic of mental illness” article.

      Well duh! How could they possibly be well equipped for much of anything given the extreme beatings they have been subject to at the hands of scamerica?

      The real thrust of the article is to continue to deflect from the illegal, immoral, and off the charts despicable, scamerican shock and awe gang rape invasion of Iraq and put the blame on those dumb Iraqi victims who just can’t seem to get along, and so yes, sectarian violence is the cause of their being ill equipped to deal with their mental illness problems. And of course it also titillates the fear and hate mongering glands of the scamerican Post readership as it continues the bogus implied meme that some people just can not handle freedom and democracy!

      Fitting — and spooky — that the article is served up with an ad for Shell Oil.
      Shell Oil, a closet nation state, formed to avoid the rules, regulations, and taxes of open public nation states, is a big benefactor of the invasion of Iraq.


      “BAGHDAD, June 3 (UPI) — Iraq plans to upgrade scores of oil wells and drill dozens of new ones as part of Baghdad’s ambitious drive to quadruple production from major oil fields now operated by Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Eni of Italy and other foreign companies.”

      More here;

      Fuck the Washington Post!

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.


      Weaker demand than May, and sold at a higher rate … still in very choppy waters ahead.


      “Nick Stamenkovic, fixed-income economist at RIA Capital in Edinburgh, said the results were encouraging but that nervousness is likely to remain ahead of Spain’s heavy refunding calendar.

      The government must turn over around €25 billion of debt in July.”

      1. Blog O. Vitch

        When I read that article I thought about a new potential
        multi-billion dollar market for American-made antidepressants.

        It could be the new business model for Big Pharma: bomb them,
        then medicate them.

    3. shargash

      One of the nice things about the Internet is that you can link to sources. If you had bothered to follow the links from Chris Floyd’s article you would have come to the actual brief filed by the Obama admnistration asking the court to reject Arar’s appeal.

      In other words, lots of credentials, no bald assertions.

  2. attempter

    The Bloomberg piece further confirms what we’ve been reading elsewhere, that the volcker rule is a cosmetic sham. The other day the NYT said the banks take it so unseriously that they’ll concede Obama that little bone to focus on the truly potentially onerous part of the Senate derivatives bill.

    I don’t buy the gray lady’s hype on the fed audit, though. We already know the Senate rejects a real audit. So if I had to bet, this is Frank’s sop to the “progressives” in the House. If he pretends to put up a fight, they can all feel validated before they cave in and vote for the sham senate version or for a bill with no audit at all.

  3. China bubble

    “My hometown is zhejiang, now I live in shanghai, my sister pledged her home to bank, she lived in hangzhou, she bought her home around 500,0000rmb five years ago, now her home worth 2million rmb, so she can get huge loan from bank, she gave this loan to a shark loan company with 30% return every year, she has been doing and living on this for 4 years, she is a middle school teacher, she earned 4000rmb per month, but with this lending arrangement, she has been able to buy a car, the interest income is 6 times of her salary, One of my cousin’s father lost all his principle of 4 million since one scheme blow up in 2008. That is my personal experience. 2 months ago I went back to my hometown in new year, this is 3 tier city, but many so investment companies shop in the street, and in 2009, I saw the so called investment companies( shark loan) opened in the town level, I visited four small towns, I saw there is shark loan shop in every town. China media is controlled, so you can’t find many negative exposure, but if you dig a little bit deep, by doing some search for shark loan in Chinese, you will find out how serious the problem is. In my home town a 150 million ponzi scheme blow up in 2008, the leader turned himself in after he paid all the local official leader in full, and he felt safe enough knowing he will be protected, but my cousin’s father was not so lucky for his 4 million, since he do not get his money back. Some people compare this bubble to Japan, to be fair, what happened in China real estate, the madness, the greedy, the loan shark with 100 % interest rate, it is much, much worse. “
    China housing bubble

    1. DownSouth


      One always has to wonder who is on the other side of the loan shark’s scheme, who is paying such exorbitant interest so that the loan shark can pay your sister 30%.

      Maybe it’s like it is in Mexico:

      Taja says he knows people who earn less than $800 a month but have credit card balances exceeding $23,000.

  4. Richard Kline

    Another lengthy, lucid, and engaged piece from Michael Pettis. It well rewards the time of any interested in macroeconomics generally who read it, even more than the specific perspective it casts on China’s present investment matrix.

  5. Glenn Stehle

    A right needs a left, and a ying needs a yang, and in all the political theater between the Joe Bartons of the world and the Edward Markleys of the world (Obama sycophants), what gets neglected is a realistic assessment of what Obama’s $20 billion agreement with BP actually means.

    The truth is that what we have is a vague, nebulous, almost ethereal promise to pay. There are precious few details, and no one knows what Obama gave up in order to “win” his putative victory.

    But besides a small band of skeptics like Yves (and a very small band it is), everyone else is rushing to uncritically and unquestioningly take Obama at his word.

    An important point was made at the Congressional hearings yesterday that should be kept in mind:

    Braley: We also had Mr. Barton earlier make this comment about what happened at the White House yesterday. Were you there for that conference with the White House?

    Hayward: : I was.

    Braley: : Do you think that BP was shaken down by the Obama administration to come up with this $20 billion compensation fund?

    Hayward: : We attended the White House at the invitation of the Government to form a way forward and try to work together to deal with the leak, the response to the leak, and to make, return the Gulf Coast to its past, and that’s what we’re going to do.

    Braley: : And I realize we speak the same language, but it’s not always the same language when we speak English in the United States and we speak English in Great Britain. So I want to make sure I’m clear on this. Here in this country the word shaken down means somebody in a position of disadvantage is forced to do something against their will. Is that how you viewed these negotiations at the White House yesterday?

    Hayward: : As I said, we came together to figure out a way of working together to resolve what is clearly a very very serious situation.

    Braley: : And the reason you came together, sir, is because it was not only in the best interest of the United States taxpayers, and the citizens of this country, it’s also in the best interest of BP to try to get this problem solved so that it can move forward. Isn’t that true?

    Hayward: : It is undoubtedly true. We would like to resolve this issue as would everyone else.

  6. Richard Kline

    Developer geeks are whingeing about not having the upper hand in developing for the iPhone, and ‘might maybe leave for something possibly maybe sort of as good sometime’? Let ’em; there’s the virtual door, bro’s: scat. The other 97% of those interfacing with the iPhone aren’t going anywhere.

    Why this disconnect? Developers are in it for, y’know, the _money_. They commit time and money to make money; for themselves. Their committment to the platform is zero, it’s just somebody else’s paid-and-managed situationl opportunity. And so, naturally, developers resent that the proprietor of that platform says, Our Platform, Our Rules, we’ve been burnt big-bad by pseudo ‘partners’ multiple times, and you guys don’t eat our lunch this time. And most of those ‘apps in development?’ Nobody really needs them or is going to miss them. Freeware gives the casual user more than they possibly need, and, guess what, it’s normed to the platform so it works. And for the _user base_ as opposed to the profit-seekers, this is a win. The arbitrariness of Apple’s app approval process is certainly annoying and grounds for complaint, yes. But that isn’t really the developers complaint, it’s the choke-chain someone else has over the opportunity to make money. Don’t like it?: Leave. Or design something so good and so useful that you force your way on. I’m not holding my breath there because what is the hot-buy to the geekdom is on the whole unnecessary and often uninteresting to the vast user base who will like and buy the iPhone. Flash is junk, and I’m a fan of anything the chokes its kudzu off my screen; maybe we’ll get something better that works instead of being forced to help ‘the developer’ build their profit margin on our backs.

    1. Cynthia

      Do you think that other smart-phone producers will soon catch up with Apple in terms of web applications and user friendliness? Or, do you think that Apple will dominate the smart-phone market for many years to come? I also want to know if you think that because AT&T is the sole carrier for the iPhone in the US, AT&T may soon not have enough wireless capacity to handle all of its iPhone customers, especially if Verizon, AT&T’s chief competitor, can’t hook up with a viable alternative to the iPhone. I was wondering if you or anyone else here have any thoughts on this.

  7. Richard Kline

    A great deal more is happening in the context of Turkey’s regional relations and international positioning than is summarized in these two, still worthwhile articles. Much of this is driven by the remarkable decline in control of the fascist military system which has held that country hostabe for the 20th century. I’d love to write a long comment on it, but I’m tapped of time and termerity for this night. Keep your eyes open, though, much is changing there.

  8. Valissa

    Here are a couple of great John Kass columns about the Blagojevich trial in case anyone is curious about what’s going on there. I have learned alot about The Chicago Way from Kass over the past couple of years. His columns are cynical, streetwise and witty and full of interesting characters.

    One thing that becomes clear from the columns below is just what “bipartisanship” means in Chicago… which gives you some idea of Obama’s internal political norms came from.

    I have included a short excerpt with my favorite quotes from each column, but both are worth reading in full.

    Democrats not only party in trough with Blago,0,1884420,full.column
    As I studied Big Bob Kjellander’s smiling face on the screen, thinking of how borrow-and-spend-Republicans have ravaged our national and state governments just as ruinously as tax-and-spend Democrats, I felt a tingle running up my leg. And I felt like lighting a nice maduro cigar right there in U.S. District Judge James Zagel’s courtroom, and swirling a fine glass of port, perhaps a 40-year tawny, and saying, “Ahhhh.” Perhaps Zagel would join me. But not in court. It wouldn’t be appropriate.

    Is Dead Meat’s trial a problem for Democrats? Sure. Corruption of the Democratic machine in Illinois is so heavy that taxpayers are numb to all the weight on their backs. But that’s only half the hog. For years I’ve been writing about the bipartisan Illinois Combine, a collection of top Democratic and Republican insiders who feed at the government trough. There it was this week in court, laid out like a fine, acorn-fed hog on a saint’s day. It’ll be turning for weeks on the federal spit.

    John Kass has the BEST opening line here…
    How Illinois is that? Testimony at Blagojevich trial: Barack, Rod and Tony hanging with Big Bob,0,44817,full.column
    Hopium smokers might consider it a buzzkill, but Wednesday’s testimony in the Blagojevich corruption trial sure gave me the munchies.

    What could be tastier than two Democrats — President Barack Obama and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich — hanging out with the treasurer of the Republican National Committee at a Wilmette fundraiser hosted by a political fixer who would soon be in federal prison

  9. anonymous

    The Party of BP. Funny. I clicked and went to a link expecting to find an Rolling Stone type analysis of the Dem betrayal of ordinary voters while protecting BP and other corporations. Instead, all I got was a few cut and paste quotes from assorted out of power party types and Steve in his tin-foil hat dreaming of convincing voters that the Presidential election is actually fall and George Bush is to blame for the BP spill and the clusterfrack that makes a mockery of the words “Dem Regulatory Oversight.” Good luck convincing Americans that Dems don’t control the WH, the House, and the Senate and that the reason all that oil is running onto the beaches is because Mike Brown hid out in the basement of FEMA so he could make Dems look bad.

    1. The Rage

      The only trouble is Bush is to blame. It was under his admin that the oversight of companies like BP were gutted and you can’t change that, if ever without major support.

      That is why I don’t have a big deal with the oil spill. The people along the gulf coast got what they wanted and its effects, are OVERBLOWN. Most of the country will see little effects from this spill and in the end, it will be cleaned up(and it will take years).

      So those whiney fisherman can shove it. When you act like little people who like to be raped, you get called out.

      1. Piero

        It would take much too much thought for most of the media to point this out, but the environmentalist movement/religion which made it impossible to drill for oil in the ANWAR and has made it much more difficult to drill in shallow water just off the coast should take a hit.

        Their position was largely a childish refusal to look at the big picture and realize that it’s better to get oil in some location than others. They held their breath and shouted “No!No!No!” and never bothered to too much ponder where oil would come from otherwise, as adults might have wondered.

        1. attempter

          I think once the cheap, easy oil was starting to run out, adults would think about breaking the oil addiction, period, instead of brainlessly whining and screaming, “Where’s my oil!!!!”

          Adults would definitely have started rationally apportioning the oil after the warnings of the 70s. There’s no doubt whatsoever about that. SUVs would never have existed, and sprawl would’ve been stopped. Adults would’ve restored the cities and the excellent electric tram systems we used to have.

          So the “where are we going to drill now” lunacy would never have existed among adults.

          But why am I trying to educate a terminal child?

  10. Doc Holiday

    “illiam Reilly, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency and the co-chairman of Mr Obama’s commission on the spill, said he was troubled by how little was known about the dispersants’ effects on the environment.

    ”I suspect that a lot of the pressure to use dispersants is cosmetic,” he said, meaning that they help keep the oil out of sight. He said he had not allowed them to be used after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.

    Outsiders have said BP and the government greatly misjudged the amount of oil flowing from the well. Eight days after the explosion, they produced an estimate of 5000 barrels a day. When some said this appeared too low, the Coast Guard said it was already responding to a worst-case scenario.

    The latest government estimate is that the flow is 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day. When the new cap began to siphon oil and gas away, it became obvious there was more of it than BP’s ships could take. Vessels being brought in from other parts of the world are expected to arrive by the end of June.”

  11. Doc Holiday

    Comment #8000

    ==> A fund raiser for the gulf clean-up? Hmmm, I’m not sure what this implies, because, I thought BP was to pay for the damage, versus having the little people get together? I realize the bay keepers in that region need miracle-like help, but WTF, why should the little people be in a position to turn this into a hoe-down, to raise cash, for a disaster that has nothing to do with their budget? This is very disappointing to me, but obviously I’m not there and don’t understand the dynamics — but on the surface, I hope this type of event is not common, because the financial responsibility related to this mess belongs to BP! I don’t get this and hope we don’t see a series of BP-backed fund-raising concerts and fund raisers to bail them out for criminal liability! We have enough whores in DC, and I hope the stars don’t cash in on this too — if they wanna help, they need to work on cleaning up beaches with their hands!!!

    > Cousteau & Kennedy Benefit for Mobile Baykeeper & Gulf Waterkeepers

    Come join Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Phillippe Cousteau to honor and celebrate Mobile Baykeeper and the Waterkeepers along the Gulf Coast fighting the BP disaster.

    WTF…. come celebrate?????????????

  12. KFritz

    Re: Turkey Both pieces are excellent.
    Ever since Ataturk implemented his vision of a modern Turkey ON Thrace and Anatolia, it has been shot through w/ cognitive dissonance. The nation was governed by a Westernized elite which always functioned, sometimes covertly under color of democracy and sometimes directly by its military, as a benevolent dictatorship. The majority of the population has always been more traditionally Islamic, but adaptable to the political situation in the great Pan-Turkic tradition of adaptability.
    The vanity of the ruling elite got them in trouble. They refused to acknowledge the bifurcated nature of their polity, and insisted on an attempt to enter the EU. The EU doesn’t tolerate ‘semi-democracies’ that revert to military dictatorships in time of crisis. So Turkey was forced to become a real democracy which, by default, gave a huge advantage to the Islamists. Since coming to power, these quasi-Medievalists have been moving Turkey cleverly and subtly toward Sharia, while moving their nation closer to EU membership–ironically.
    If the situation is viewed through the prism of ruthless realpolitik, the best outcome would be a coup by the remaining secular leadership of the Turkish military (before the Islamists replace them w/ ideologue goons), who would wisely abandon their love affair w/ EU membership and work toward some hybrid affiliation.
    If this offends lovers of democracy, too bad. A powerful Islamist state on Europe’s flank will be a five-alarm migraine.

    1. i on the ball patriot

      “Quasi-Medievalists have been moving Turkey cleverly and subtly toward Sharia”

      Does that mean ‘rag heads’ — democratically elected ‘rag heads’, like Hamas — are doing the moving towards Sharia here? And you are openly calling for their death, destruction, and oppression by their fellow countrymen?

      Your right — that’s a five-alarm migraine!

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      1. KFritz

        One more thing. I NEVER called anyone ‘raghead,’ or implied it. Evidently you have personal familiarity w/ ‘deception,’ attempting to tar me with a term not used.

  13. Francois T

    Re: Reality of America’s fiscal mess starting to bite.

    Mix the horrendous fiscal situation of many States with the rise in influence and number of deficit “hawks” ( I was about to say “terrorists”) in CONgress and you have some potentially extremely unpleasant mid-term (not the November 2010) scenarios unfolding.

    For instance, should the deficit hawks keep on scoring victories, what will prevent them to tell States “You’re on your own!”? Inebriated by their new found clout, fearful of a non-existent voters’ backlash about deficits, (talk about a case of manufactured consent) they could very well ignore all the warning signals. Remember, we’re not talking about sane people here, but extreme hypocrites driven by an ideology that transform the economy into a morality play; “poor bad, rich good; govermin is bad, because it is…well, bad!”

    “The circular motion…rub it!” (Frank Zappa –Dinah Moe Hum)

    In which case, we’d be screwed alright, even worse than Dinah Moe.


    1. The Rage

      Debt liquidation won’t work to clear the imbalances because of the structure of international economy.

      We can liquidate the debt, create huge public works(which Hayek supported 100%) and add FDR and Reagan to Mount Rushmore but it still won’t solve the inbalances and in the end, only recover enough to start the debt cycle over again by the 2020’s after 20-30 million die in famine, political unrest and other gross tales of depression. Nothing self-substaining. Who has all the capital to survive the collapse? MNC’s. The liquidation would destroy all the startups,small and middle businesses. It is the reason why the MNC’s were the true power behind the bank “bailouts”. But my Gods, they will cut the string if the western nations go into default and liquidate then deal with the consenquences.

      As long as the MNC’s hog up all the capital and refuse to invest in America, the country is dead. Collapsing wages won’t work, deficit spending won’t work. The Austrians and Keynesians both have it wrong because they are to old school thinking.

      This is a globalist/international system now. The “market” actors no longer consider themselves part of a country or nation. They freely use the US military for imperialistic crusades that only profits them. Imperialism is no longer by country, but internationally run now. We get no benefits from it. So a marine fighting in Afganistan isn’t fighting to protect and serve the Constitution of the United States anymore, he is fighting for corporate profittering under the guise of the “war on terror”. If I was a Marine in today’s army, I would leave the service and come home to protect my country. Untill the corporate influence is gotten rid of, we have no military.

      The government must sieze the capital markets and confiscate the MNC’s capital. Bring it back into this country for investment and a rebirth of America. There are MANY tools to do this. I would suggest Europe do the same thing. Let the “developing world” eat cake.

      I am sick of the leftists acting like scared puppies that they may look “ultr-nationalistic” or “racist”. Get over it and support your country. Because the capitalists are destroying it.

  14. LeeAnne

    BTW, “Hayward relieved of managerial duties in BP shakeup

    A day after he was grilled by Congress, BP chief executive Tony Hayward is being demoted. According to Britain’s Sky News,”

    It was that remark “… sticks and stones can hurt your bones but words never break them, or whatever …” that sunk him.

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