Links 6/7/10

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Amazon forest fires ‘on the rise‘ BBC

Australia orders Google ‘privacy breach’ investigation BBC

Afghan troops overrated, audit to show Financial Times. This is news? Well, maybe the bit that the officialdom can no longer pretend otherwise.

War on the World: Obama’s Surge in State Terror Chris Floyd

Israel Spurns Outside Gaza Raid Probe in Favor of Own Inquiry Bloomberg. This wasn’t smart tactically. They could have arrived at the same end by saying they welcomed an investigation but doubted the UN would be able to come up with a committee that would be neutral (and then negotiate the composition of said committee into the ground).

To Avoid Voter Rage, Democrats Skip Town Halls New York Times (hat tip reader Gonzalo Lira)

Technology: Spaces invader Google v. Apple.

Airport security: Intent to deceive? Nature

BP threatened with legal case over safety of all its oil rigs Guardian

How can an ethical fund hold BP? Telegraph. Easy, the people who rate them said BP was an upstanding company.

Pub, bars and nightclubs struggle to keep partying Independent

Euro ‘will be dead in five years’ Telegraph. European readers will be certain to note that the survey was of London based economists and therefore is a skewed sample.

The real vultures vs the eurozone John Dizard, Financial Times

Banks should give customers ‘bomb-proof’ accounts, says Policy Exchange think-tank Telegraph. An interesting proposal, but not quite as novel as the writer suggests. “Narrow banking” proposals like this go back to the 1930s.

A Good Crisis, Wasted Tim Duy

The dreadful potential of frugality Edward Chancellor, Financial Times. Hah, our Rob Parenteau and his discussion of Spain (see here and here) are picked up by the FT.

Don’t Get Mad, Mr. President. Get Even. Frank Rich, New York Times. In case you missed this, a great piece. Obama has ignored Machiavelli’s most important bit of advice: it is more important for a prince to be feared than loved.

The New Market Makers Rajiv Sethi. An excellent post. Key observation:

Generally speaking, stability in financial markets depends on the extent to which trading is based on fundamental information about the securities that are changing hands. If too great a proportion of total volume is driven by strategies that try to extract information from market data, the data itself becomes less informative over time and severe disruptions can arise.

Antidote du jour:

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    1. Yves Smith Post author

      They are known as little bandits. I think they want a handout, just like the banksters.

      1. aet

        The raccoons remind me of strangely enough of hippies greeting a sunrise…so I guess I kinda agee with both of you.

      2. charcad

        Raccoons are one of three dominant species on the planet, the other two being the crocodilians in coastal wetlands and the sharks in the oceans, seas and rivers (bullshark).

        No other land mammal is adaptable as the raccoon. They live in rural, suburban, urban, prairie, woodland, swamp and desert environments with equal ease.

        The Columbian Exchange was just the raccoons’ way of implementing Manifest Destiny. They’ve spread to and are now conquering Eurasia. If humanity ever launches starships raccoons will arrange to be on early voyages to suitable planets.

        1. aet

          I see humans are not included in your 3 species.
          I think,judging from numbers and adaptability, that impecunious humans constitute a dominant species on this planet, too.

    2. i on the ball patriot

      They are not praying.

      Snowbama has these over consuming little ‘terrorists’ up against the wall for a herd thinning execution.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. i on the ball patriot

          Perhaps there is context to be found in the eye of the beholder.

          Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    3. JTFaraday


      I saw Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi out on a fundraising jaunt on the Street.

  1. Hubert

    re Frank RIch,

    nice article but still triggered my BS detector: BO has an inner Teddy Roosevelt? Is Frank Rich kidding? Fool me once (election), okay – but fool me five times (Bailout, HC And Financial “Reform”, Guantanamo, Irak &Afganistan) and he still believes in “change we can believe in”? BO is a brilliant opportunist who made a great career out of never challenging the ruling elite. What does one think he might really change his sucessful style ? He got the job, didn´t he?
    There must be a progressive sect (Credo quia absurdum?) believing against all evidence in a non-existing Obama. What else has to happen until they get it ?

    1. Francois

      There must be a progressive sect (Credo quia absurdum?) believing against all evidence in a non-existing Obama. What else has to happen until they get it?</blockquote

      Good question Chris Hedges try to answer:

      The rise of this Christian fascism, [FT: or any other type of violent extremism for that matter, but left wing extremism is almost non-existent in the USA] a rise we ignore at our peril, is being fueled by an ineffectual and bankrupt liberal class that has proved to be unable to roll back surging unemployment, protect us from speculators on Wall Street, or save our dispossessed working class from foreclosures, bankruptcies and misery. The liberal class has proved useless in combating the largest environmental disaster in our history, ending costly and futile imperial wars or stopping the corporate plundering of the nation. And the gutlessness of the liberal class has left it, and the values it represents, reviled and hated. [FT:looks like what happened with Obama since the Great Recession, no?]

      The Democrats have refused to repeal the gross violations of international and domestic law codified by the Bush administration. [FT: Look Forward, Not backward, anyone?T] This means that Christian fascists who achieve power will have the “legal” tools to spy on, arrest, deny habeas corpus to, and torture or assassinate American citizens—as does the Obama administration. [FT: Those who have a problem with this last statement would do well to read Glenn Greenwald long series of posts on the topic of the gutting of civil liberties. Depressing, but highly instructive.]

      Those who remain in a reality-based world often dismiss these malcontents as buffoons and simpletons. They do not take seriously those, like Beck, who pander to the primitive yearnings for vengeance, new glory and moral renewal. Critics of the movement continue to employ the tools of reason, research and fact to challenge the absurdities propagated by creationists who think they will float naked into the heavens when Jesus returns to Earth. The magical thinking, the flagrant distortion in interpreting the Bible, the contradictions that abound within the movement’s belief system and the laughable pseudoscience, however, are impervious to reason. We cannot convince those in the movement to wake up. It is we who are asleep.

      Food for serious thought.

  2. attempter

    Rich is the species of hack whose job is to be mildly critical of Obama and the Dems, telling the lie that these mean well and really do want to work in the people’s interest, but that they aren’t sufficiently intrepid in fighting the malevolence of some bad corporate apples, and of course most of all the Republicans.

    So if everyone just keeps believing and hoping, keeps petitioning, keeps begging, keeps having faith in the good-but-temporarily-misguided Obama, eventually he’ll rise to the occasion.

    And in the meantime, whatever you do, don’t ever come to recognize the truth:

    Obama knows exactly what he wants to do. He’s a corporatist ideologue and he’s a status quo elitist by personality, and the likes of Blankfein, Dimon, and Hayward are those he respects and admires. He very clearly and consciously sees himself as their servant, while he sees the people as a resource to be mined by this savvy businessman elite.

    According to Obama (and to almost all politicians, but he’s of course the most important today), the purpose of the US is to be a rent mine for the bank rackets, the insurance rackets, the oil rackets, the weapons rackets, and all other oligopolies. No policy is meaningful except insofar as it escalates this looting.

    That’s why Obama and the Dems don’t care about the job crisis – because the best they can come up with to add new rent extractions is an employer tax credit for allegedly creating new jobs. That’s pretty weak compared to the Bailout or Pentagon budgets. It doesn’t really stir the corporatist “soul”. So they don’t care much about even pretending.

    (This is of course stupid politics, but they don’t care anymore. Out of a combination of being by now truly insane in their sociopathy, and figuring they’ve killed real democracy once and for all anyway, and that no matter how brazenly kleptocratic they are, they have nothing to fear from their rigged pseudo-elections, they clearly no longer care about even pretending.)

    But some hacks in the MSM see it as their job to pretend on the criminals’ behalf. That’s where the likes of Rich and Krugman come in.

    Thus we get this criminal nonsense:

    This all adds up to a Teddy Roosevelt pivot-point for Obama, who shares many of that president’s moral and intellectual convictions. But Obama can’t embrace his inner T.R. as long as he’s too in thrall to the supposed wisdom of the nation’s meritocracy, too willing to settle for incremental pragmatism as a goal, and too inhibited by the fine points of Washington policy debates to embrace bold words and bold action. If he is to wield the big stick of reform against BP and the other powerful interests that have ripped us off, he will have to tell the big story with no holds barred.

    That doesn’t require a temper tantrum. Nor does it require him to plug the damn hole, which he can’t do anyway. What he does have the power to fix is his presidency. Should he do so, and soon, he’ll still have a real chance to mend a broken country as well.

    It’s patently absurd and insulting to compare the snivelling little bootlick Obama to TR who, whatever you think of his principles (which were more mixed than some people remember), really had strong principles and fought hard for them.

    But Obama has no principle at all except for carrying corporate water and trying to vicariously borrow manhood by being a chickenhawk. (Characteristically, he’s said to be enamored of cowardly video-game drone warfare on a childish personal level. At least the Bush and Cheney sort of chickenhawk liked to pretend to be men by going out and shooting off real guns at defenseless animals and cronies.)

    The simple fact is that Obama is the bookish version of a flunkey and a thug. That’s what he immutable is, and Rich lies when he tells people to keep dreaming of an impossible “different” Obama, and Obama which doesn’t exist except in the criminal lies of propagandists.

    Obama can’t embrace his inner T.R. as long as he’s too in thrall to the supposed wisdom of the nation’s meritocracy, too willing to settle for incremental pragmatism as a goal, and too inhibited by the fine points of Washington policy debates to embrace bold words and bold action.

    He’s not “in thrall”, as under a spell from which the “real” Obama could in theory awaken. “Incremental pragmatism”, i.e. perpetuation of the corporate status quo, IS the goal. And the reason he doesn’t “embrace bold words and bold action” is because he flat out opposes bold action.

    (Except, of course, against anyone who does try to work in the public interest. Protestors at the G20 in Pittsburgh saw some bold action from the riot police. And someone who according to his campaign promises would be Mr. Transparency has been quite bold in his action against public interest whistleblowers. Just one of many areas where Obama has escalated beyond Bush.)

    The longer people believe in Obama, believe that anything will come from this or any system administration other than the perpetuation of massive crime, the worse things will get. Obama’s goal and the system’s goal is to enslave us all. The likes of Frank Rich want to keep the peasants quiet by peddling the opiate of cult faith.

    1. i on the ball patriot

      Excellent post!

      I would add, and emphasize, that it is less about new rent extraction and more about the intentional global herd thinning of the far too many over consuming tenants.

      Wearing all of the trappings of goodness on his sleeve, Snowbama now orchestrates the ruling elite’s new mandate; the intentional global fear and hate mongering that is meant to pit us all in perpetual conflict with each other so as to be eliminated and more easily controlled.

      Scamericans need to know that this is not just another cycle of plain old profit driven vanilla greed. This is the newer control driven pernicious greed at the helm and the scamerican people are the prime target. It is a well planned and well executed (daily events now regularly attest to its effectiveness and its global orchestration) global take down of the middle classes and the poor.

      Drop the hate and fear. Love one another, focus your ire on those who would eliminate you, the wealthy ruling elite, and yes, also on their sell out, scum bag, boot licking, collaborating twits like Krugman and Rich.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      1. attempter

        I would add, and emphasize, that it is less about new rent extraction and more about the intentional global herd thinning of the far too many over consuming tenants.

        I reckon they’ll go for a twofer.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        I second your assessment of Attempter’s post…especially the “sniveling little bootlick” quip. HA!

        Appreciate your vital advice too: “Drop the hate and fear. Love one another, focus your ire on those who would eliminate you…” Good advice.

    2. sgt_doom

      Hmmm….attempter, so what you’re suggesting is that perhaps Obama appointee Diana Farrell isn’t an actual economist (strangely appointed to his economics council) and that, having spent her entire adult existence at Goldman and McKinsey in trying to offshore as many American jobs as possible, there may really be a valid reason that the Saudi Arabian financial community has given her the highest marks of any U.S. presidential appointee in the past twenty years!

      Great comments, attempter!!!

    3. Hugh

      I strongly recommend reading Herbert over Rich at the Times. Obama is not Teddy Roosevelt. He is not FDR. His Presidency combines the worst of Clinton and Bush. If we need a more historical comparison, Herbert Hoover remains far more apt.

  3. Crocodile Chuck

    re: Future Attribute Screening “Technology’. the US spent hundreds of millions (billions?) for over a decade trying to develop an automated sniffer for security checkpoints. in the end, they gave up on GE and copied Australian Customs: breeding and training Labradors and beagles to perform the same function. A fundamental trait of america: blind faith in a technology solution. Last: the TSA’s SPOT methodology has more in common with Lysenko’s theories of Soviet genetics in the ’50’s-an era which recent administrations are apparently determined to recreate, eg Patriot Act, phone and electronic surveillance, etc

  4. charles 2

    I am tempted to paraphrase your “This is news ?” when I read this “Key observation” :
    “Generally speaking, stability in financial markets … can arise”

  5. anonymous

    It is better to be feared. Yves huffed off the same bag as Rich in 2008. The entire reason to vote for McCain-Palin is that these two scared liberals, the banks, and most of the world to death.

    McCain might have messed up regulatory enforcement as badly as Obama so let’s say BP and a large part of the financial debacle was going to happen either way.

    The big difference and the best reason to throw Dems out of power as quickly as possible is that McCain would have made nuclear energy the center-piece of his energy policy. Yes, the oil companies might still be running amock, but the pressure to drill deep in virgin exploratory territory would be significantly lessened. Given that Obama chose the BP rig to receive the safety award weeks before it blew up confirms McCain wouldn’t be any worse.

    I remain convinced that businesses have no confidence at all in the current gang and that fact more than any other keeps unemployment high. McCain is a state’s rights advocate and unemployment is a state, not a federal, responsibility. Businesses, not government, are going to lead America out of this mess. The question is when.

    Step one: Elect Republicans, impeach the nobody, make Biden President, (Joe couldn’t possibly do worse).

    Step two: Cut off all UI benefits, provide tax incentives and low-interest funding and hand-outs to any state that builds a nuclear power plant and nuclear waste facility in the state.

    Step three: Light-rail in all urban areas, enforce Singapore style corporal punishment for folks who decide to deface or trash public property.

    Step four: repeal hcr, dump cap and trade, and inform friends and allies that there’s a new-new administration in town that’s going to be issuing as many ultimatums as it is olive branches.

    Give the apologist-in-chief a place next to Jimmy Carter and get America back to work.

      1. anonymous

        Issue ultimatums to voters? I’ve no objection to critiques of what I actually wrote. The second term isn’t the issue.

        Nor, btw, do I believe McCain to be timid. People make fun of McCain for his flip-flops and they should.

        Unlike the dimmer wits I’m not looking for purity in any sense. I expect politicians to be corrupt and to steal from the public purse. I’m simply interested in how and what they’re stealing.

        How much worse does it need to get before voters recognize the need for real fundamental change, and building 50 to 100 nuclear plants across America and publicly caning those who deface or destroy tax-payer property sounds a whole lot like change to me.

        1. aet

          If that’s what you expect, I rather suspect that you’ve been electing, or appointing, the wrong people to care for the public purse.

          1. aet

            The fact that people are NOT revolting, etc., IMHO argues for the interpretation that “things” are not as bad as some would portray.
            Or maybe the real problems are not the apparent ones….nah, that NEVER happens.

            How a problem is phrased can make a great difference in the gaining of the solution.

          2. anonymous

            I’m not at all sure what you’re getting at with your ‘appointed’ remark. Do you really believe any individual appoints leaders?

            The ‘revolution’ I’m talking about is called an election. And there are real differences between the candidates, both in terms of ability and policy. Candidate M wanted to build nuclear power plants. Candidate O opposed the plants and despite his straddle on the issue, the fact is the US doesn’t have enough clean energy, and doesn’t have enough jobs.

            I expect, frankly, a big bundle promises to build a zillion nuclear power plants and ‘really get tough’ with everybody from President Can’t Quit Smoking. You see where this is going don’t you? There are things he can do, and there are things he can’t. He can, apparently, play basketball.

            He can’t bowl or govern. Only one of the above counts.

        2. sgt_doom

          “I believe McCain to be timid..” ??????

          Huh???? With his brilliant military record?

          He bombed his own aircraft carrier, lost all those jets piloting while drunk, last less than 24 hours in combat (in the air, not on the ground) before being captured by the enemy, then quickly sold out his country multiple times.

          Then, back in the States, he sold out his fellow military comrades (again!) by rolling over on those known POWs still in Vietnam.

          Hmmmm….just a chip off the old block (his daddy, the admiral, was the squid involved in the coverup of that Israeli attack on the USS Liberty).

          1. Skippy

            *whilst being drunk*….segways nicely into marring a bird whose father owns an alcohol distribution business..just had to kick the defective nag to the curb first.

            skippy…not too worry…started going to church…the biggest one in town should work.

    1. i on the ball patriot

      Step one: Recognize that the electoral process is a scam for duopoly dodos. You have bought the sleeve job, hook, line and sinker!

      Step two: Organize election boycotts as a ‘Vote Of No Confidence’ in this totally corrupt non responsive to the will of the people government

      No balls! No brains! No freedom!

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. aet

          Well, if you continually elect people wuho o NOT rewpresent YOUR interests, what can you reasonably expect to be the outcome?

          Better people need to be more involved with politics than they have been.

          1. aet

            I apologize for my continual mis-spellings, etc.
            The big screen won’t play nice with your comments fiont: I cannot edit, for to shrink the font to allow such renders the text illegible to me.

          2. aet

            If you continually elect people who fail to represent your interests, what can you reasonably expect?
            Don’t do away with elections: elect better p[eople, instead.
            Get involved, if you’ve got better ideas.

            Don’t say:”the system’s broke, let’s knock it over”.

            Try to separate the Baby from the Bathwater.

    2. BDBlue

      Just one problem with that plan – McCain is owned just as much as Obama is by corporate interests, maybe more (although I don’t think it matters at this point). All that maverick crap was just that, crap. The corporations don’t fear McCain any more than they do Obama. They fear no politician except possibly Nader, but that was 30 years ago before Nader was driven to the “fringe” (as all non-corporate hacks are by our wonderful corporate media).

      The amazing thing to me is that even as the chances of collapse grow almost daily, people are still arguing over McCain/Palin and Obama when, it should be clear by now, the essential policies of them all are the same – extract as much as possible from 98% of the population so that the elite can remain elite and save themselves during the coming collapse. Obama is largely enacting McCain’s platform (HCR, which you say should be repealed, was essentially a cross between McCain and Bob Dole’s plan), at least to some degree. So I don’t get why all the Rs are upset with him – he’s governing as they claim to want, he just happens to have a D after his name. Just as I don’t get why so many Dems continue to support him – he’s governing like the people they claim to loath except he has a D after his name. The D seems to override any policy concerns – like a sporting event. And that’s what I suspect history will record – when everything was collapsing people were arguing for their favorite team instead of uniting to stop the collapse.

      The primary reason to have voted for McCain was not that he scared liberals – he didn’t in the way you mean, that they would roll over for him – it’s that the Ds in Congress might’ve told him no on things that they’ll never tell Obama no on — more war, torture and detention, domestic spying, bank bailouts, drilling.

      1. anonymous

        Your concluding paragraph is quite good. McCain would do a better job of standing up to both Republicans and Democrats.

        The basic assertion that Ralph Nader or any other ‘progressive’ is going to ride in to rescue America and ‘fix’ everything is delusional, to say the least. Most industrial nations have lots of nuclear power plants. A few have Draconian laws to protect the property of the state.

        Let’s stick with proven solutions, shall we?

        1. sgt_doom

          McCain never had the balls to stand up to anything…..check out his brilliant military career!

          1. anonymous

            sgt. doom. Interesting name. Writing as someone who served and never saw combat of any kind, my default position on anyone who did/is/has is to honor and thank these individuals for their service. Memorial Day just passed. You have an unusual understanding of courage and resistance. Many people I know are fearful about flying, much less piloting a jet plane, much less piloting the plane into hostile territory where one might be shot down.

            Your ‘argument’ isn’t likely to persuade any thinking person I know. McCain-Feingold horrified Republicans every bit as much as picking Palin horrified Dems.

            McCain is courageous, politically well-connected and slightly demented. These are qualities that would serve us extremely well today.

            I find the same nuttiness in Biden, btw. Anybody would be better than I’m Furious.

    3. NOTaREALmerican

      How does this address the problem of the smartest amoral scumbags using advertising to manipulate the dumbass peasant voters?

      Democracy is dead, deal with it.

      It’s every scumbag for himself now boyz.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      Your comment re my statements on Obama is so peculiar (I Googled “huffed off the same bag” and your use is the ONLY instance on the Internet) as to be unclear, but it seems to suggest that I was a vocal Obama supporter. Nothing could be further than the truth. I checked my 2008 blogs to make sure my memory was not incorrect. Virtually all of the references to Obama come in excerpts from news and other sources and are almost without exception in passing remarks; the comments from me are almost entirely in passing comments as well.

      Having extreme antitpathy for Palin is not the same as being a fan of Obama, but they would lead to the same vote.

      I also see the blog pointed to some negatives on Obama in the foreign press that were played down in the US, for instance, his use of War on Terror rhetoric implied he was likely to escalate in Afghanistan:

  6. joebhed

    I hope your note that ‘narrow-banking’ type proposals, such as that in Mr. Lilico’s latest postulation here, have been around since the ’30s was not meant as a ‘been there, done that’ type of observation.
    Prof. Kotlikoff of Boston Univ. has also recently brought forward his ‘Limited Purpose Banking’ effort, one lauded by Governor King of the BoE.
    To a large degree, these are all variations on the themes going back to Soddy’s reforms and those of the Chicago Plan proposed to FDR.
    A re-do of Glass-Steagall means a re-do of THIS all over again.
    It was the Chicago Plan for Monetary Reform that was left on the legislative table back in ’33.
    Any effort that fails to separate the banking from money-creation functions of the monetary system is doomed to repeat this failure.

    1. aet

      Ah yes, that is worth repeating:
      “Any effort that fails to separate the banking from money-creation functions of the monetary system is doomed to repeat this failure.”

      The true aim and goal of government: The prudent creation of money itself.
      Is that simply another way of saying “price stability”?
      With no further Governmental economic goal?
      Or can the prudent creation of money seek to accomplish other goals or aims as well? Like providing employment, where there otherwise would be none? Or rather,priming the pump in the hopes of creating the conditions for employment to increase…

      Of course, the imprudent creation of money may allow the pursuit of all kinds of goals – but the imprudence of the action usually means any results are temporary, and usually a prelude to a worse situation than the one which the inprudent had been dealing with in the first place.

      1. joebhed

        The prudent creation of money should support the same economic goals as the present imprudent creation of debt does, all as contained in the Act – that of general price stability and full employment.
        The process of meeting those goals would be well established through the very public and very accountable process of national budgeting.
        The increase in the money supply comes via the annual Congressional compromise of adopting that budget, and the “balances formerly known as deficits”, would be spent on whatever public purpose we can engender through our collective political will.
        We could be on our way to solving a lot of economic problems like extreme booms and busts, and some of our political problems as well.
        Congress would be much more in control of the people whose money they are creating, and less in control of the debt industry of private capital.
        It’s a discussion worth having.

    2. i on the ball patriot

      “Any effort that fails to separate the banking from money-creation functions of the monetary system is doomed to repeat this failure.”

      “Any effort that fails to separate the banking from the aggregate generational corruption functions of the monetary system is doomed to repeat this failure.”

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      1. aet

        “Aggregate generational corruption factors”?
        The terms seem vague and loaded.
        people always and ever have great difficulty in seeing – much less admitting – the public virtues of their opponents.

        Of course, some would say that they only oppose those who possess no virtues whatsoever – but people ALWAYS say that.

        It’s when they admit the virtues of their opponents, that partcipants come closest to admitting the truth about a conflict.

      2. joebhed


        What I was observing was merely Soddy’s and the Chicago Plan’s more scientific approach to monetary system stability and soundness.
        There needs to be that separation.
        Even Friedman supported that wild notion.

        I believe what you’re observing is the corruptive influence that the money creators presently have over the Congress (“The banakers run this town”) and the fact that without doing something about THAT, we are doomed regardless of who creates the money.
        I do agree, with one caveat.
        With the removal of the money-creation powers of private bankers over money, and the restoration of that ppower to the people, acting through that same government, the corruptive potential of the debt-industrialists is greatly reduced, measured only by the willingness of the people to engage in economic democracy.

        1. i on the ball patriot

          Joebhed said; “I believe what you’re observing is the corruptive influence that the money creators presently have over the Congress (”The banakers run this town”) and the fact that without doing something about THAT, we are doomed regardless of who creates the money.”

          Yes, that is entirely my point. And further, the government has been corrupted for so long now — through aggregate generational corruption, e.g., the FED did not BUY itself into existence yesterday — that change from within the system is impossible. I would even go so far as to say that given the gross oppression of free speech, the intensity of graft and corruption used to buy elections, the disgusting creation of a now mountain of favoritism laws, and, the selective enforcement of that scam rule of law body, that this government stands today as a rogue government that has no legitimacy worthy of respect. Yes, you must obey it — but you do not have to respect it, nor do you have to give over your good name to sustaining it by voting in its corrupt electoral process. Positive change will require many outside the system influences, one of which is election boycotts as a ‘vote of no confidence’ in this over the top crooked government. Consider; the window of opportunity closes a bit more as each day goes by. Submitting remedial plans is like choosing wall paper in a house that is enveloped in flames of certain destruction. Better to salvage the best and plan the new house. And yes, people need to engage in a new economic democracy that will have to be far more transparent, less parasitic and more responsive to their needs.

          Aet, I don’t know what fucking planet you live on but voters ARE the problem in scamerica.

          When you sit at a rigged table you deserve to lose. People who constantly vote in the rigged scamerican duopoly dodo electoral process only serve to validate and legitimize the scam system and all of the corruption it produces that serves to enslave them.

          The system IS broken. Your silly, system provided, parroted exhortations;

          “If you continually elect people who fail to represent your interests, what can you reasonably expect?”


          “Don’t do away with elections: elect better p[eople, instead.”

          are nonsense!

          What you say here however is true, and you should take your own advice.

          “Get involved, if you’ve got better ideas.”

          A better idea would be to shun the crooked process as a ‘vote of no confidence’ in this crooked government.

          Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  7. Cynthia

    Dennis Blair was forced to step down as Director of National Intelligence because he failed to get wind of the Christmas Day underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber, and the Fort Hood mass murderer. But if there is anyone employed in the intelligence community that oughta be forced to step down, it is the person who is in charged of gathering intelligence on Israel. This person oughta be forced to step down for failing to get wind of Israel’s plans to storm the Freedom Flotilla and gun down in cold blood eight Turkish nationals and one American of Turkish descent. By the US failing to intercept the Israelis from committing mass murder on the high seas against one of our most strategically important allies in the Middle East, we may soon be in a world of hurt as we look at the mother of all wars square in the face!

    1. aet

      Perhaps some info on the “descent” of the Turkish Natinals ought to be provided – oh but that’s not necessary,as in the case of the American, eh?

    2. anonymous

      The five ships that were safely escorted to port and the Rachel Corrie are what? Israeli dupes designed to disguise the true murderous intent of the Israeli commandos?

      Israel shoots enemies with the same cold-blooded dispatch as the US and every other country waging wars. The last thing Israel wants is more bad press. I suppose you think the actual number of casualties on board the ship was much higher.

      You need to think some of this through. I don’t expect you will, however.

      1. Cynthia

        Bad Press will never bring the Israelis down because they know damn well that our Israeli-occupied media will always take whatever bad things that the Israelis do and spin them into something that looks good, enabling the Israelis to always come out smelling like a rose.

        1. anonymous

          Roses smell different in my part of the world, I suppose.

          Do people often tell you you’re nuts?

      2. Doug Terpstra

        “Israel shoots enemies with the same cold-blooded dispatch as the US and every other country waging wars.” Repelling onto an unarmed humanitarian ship in international waters is not war; it is a war crime. Some “war”, the concentration camp known as Gaza. I believe Cynthia to be quite sane.

        In another link, “War on the World: Obama’s Surge in State Terror”, Chris Floyd addresses the “successful” strategy of “cold-blooded shootings” of unarmed people that you endorse (though he admittedly may not be addressing you in this case):

        “Most sentient beings have long recognized that murdering civilians in foreign countries — especially through the cowardly methods of “secret war” — is entirely counterproductive … if your actual aim is to enhance America’s national security by reducing violent extremism and hatred for the United States, that is. However, if your aim is to perpetuate and expand a militarist empire and the bloated, brutal, corrupt, war-profiteering system that supports it, why then, secret war and civilian slaughter are perfectly logical and remarkably effective methods.”

        It echoes DownSouth description of manifest insanity yesterday of US “strategery”: “Following 9/11, the US embarked on a pathway of violence as the solution to violence.”

  8. Cynthia

    Retired Army Col. Ann Wright, who was aboard the Freedom Flotilla, may be right in thinking that Israeli police authorities confiscated a million dollars worth of computer and audio-visual equipment from her and other humanitarian aid workers with the intention to make a killing by selling this equipment on the black market.

    But I think they won’t do this until they’ve thoroughly destroyed all incriminating evidence against the Israeli commandos, which was captured by this equipment. I also think they know better than to make the same mistake that the Nazis did, which was to save reams of film footage, capturing their atrocities against European Jews.

  9. Angry Zebra

    Any chance you can stop posting links to FT that require a sign in? Whenever I visit links to that site here, I get a window telling me to subscribe and I have no means of accessing the linked content.

    1. Hugh

      Copy the FT title and google it. The link through google will take you to the full text.

  10. Valissa

    As commenters on this blog have pointed out, the field of Economics is geared to serve the wealthy elites rather than society as a whole.

    Does Studying Economics Make You More Republican?

    Although there are fields and sub-fields of economics that deal with local and community issues and even environmental economics, they don’t seem to get any real attention by the elites.

  11. Z

    Oh, rich’s piece is quite a piece all right, it’s a piece of shit … and many of his pieces have been like that since his party hero obama came into power. Here’s my least favorite part of it … and that says a lot:

    Obama’s excessive trust in his own heady team is all too often matched by his inherent deference to the smartest guys in the boardroom in the private sector. His default assumption seems to be that his peers are always as well-intentioned as he is.

    Yes, let’s all blindly assume … and against all logical thinking … that the man who was near the top of his class at harvard law school is this daffy guy who truly wants to do best for the people that he promised substantive change to, but just keeps getting fooled into doing what is best for his corporate constituency who just happen to be his biggest campaign donors. And believe this despite the ample evidence that he says one thing (see: health care bill debacle) and then slyly works behind the scenes thru his hand-picked chief of staff to do the exact opposite (see: public option, medicare negotiated drug prices, imported pharmaceuticals, mandate health care insurance with no public option) to keep his corporate sponsors happy with their investment in him (even though they may posture differently for public consumption). And this chief of staff that he appointed … and he didn’t fall from the sky like an asteroid into the well-intentioned one’s cabinet … was and is well-known as being the dlc’s master of deceit and someone who directs the democrats’ political kabuki theatre so that it always ends the same way: serving corporate amerika.

    I used to have a lot of respect for rich, but I’ve lost it .. totally lost it since he’s lost all semblance of objectivity now that the dems are in control. rich is a disgusting hack for the democratic party. Sure, he was spot-on when it came to bush, but he willingly … and eagerly … embeds his head up the donkey’s ass now that his hero dems are in charge. And beyond that he runs diversionary interference for them by laying heavy on the admittedly marginally more disgusting republicans and continually using them as an excuse for the actions of his own corporate-serving party.


    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, I agree with Rich here, and think your assumption is off base. You assume Obama is cynical and knows he is on the take. I think he is deeply deluded. Deeply deluded is far more effective and dangerous.

      1. Z

        What do you think about my assumption that is off-base? If he wasn’t being cynical, why the hell would he cover his tracks with the health care bill debacle where he continually said one thing but effectuated the exact opposite with his “support” of the public option that he pressured dems to give up on even though it became increasingly more attainable with the reconciliation that was used to pass thru the senate; said he was for importation of drugs and initially, thru his staff, refused to acknowledge that he made a deal with billy “bling” tauzin until tauzin called him out publicly on it; and also “supported” government negotiations with the pharmas for medicare drug costs that he dealt away behind the scenes to tauzin? Are you aware of this? If so, how the hell do you reconcile that with your beliefs that the congenitally well-intentioned one is blissfully ignorant? How is it possible to promise to the public to be fighting for one thing, and then purposely hide and deny your actions behind their back that effectuate the exact opposite AND NOT BE COGNIZANT OF IT? WTF?! That’s absolutely ludicrous!

        Beyond that, it appears that you YOURSELF … from your previous comments … believe that obama likes to have the public believe one thing and do the exact opposite. You have also accused the well-intentioned one’s administration of spewing propaganda and revising history to the public … does that not drip with cynicism? How do you reconcile that? And finally, are you a fan or personal friends with rich or something? That’s the most logical explanation for your illogical contentions … your intellectual hypocrisy … on this matter.

        You are a very smart person and I respect your opinion … most of the time … but I think that YOU are way off-base on this. I don’t respect your thought process on this matter at all … it’s illogical.


      2. Z

        On one hand, you contend that obama is deluded and actually believes that he is doing what is best, but on the other hand …

        And Team Obama’s zealous defense of these firms again reveals how, despite its efforts to present a populist, pro-reform image, that it will never cross its best friends, the big financiers, in a serious way.

        But I guess the daffy, congenitally well-intentioned one is being fooled by his entire team and doesn’t know that. And that he also was the only one in dc that hadn’t gotten the memo about his chi-town pal emanuel representing corporate interests … shepherding thru congress pro-corporate legislation … better than anyone else in the democratic party. Not to mention that the well-intentioned one’s actions just HAPPEN to continually benefit his biggest campaign donors on matters in which he campaigned on the exact opposite. IF you believe that: WOW!


      3. Z

        And finally, he takes money from big business entities like wall street, the health care industrial complex and the oil companies and then … after railing against these entities during the campaign … once in office, just happens to do little or nothing about reigning in wall street after they almost completely destroyed our economy and harmed millions of people in the process of making themselves filthy rich; mandates that citizens buy health insurance from private entities using the irs as an enforcement arm, deals away drug re-importation and government negotiated drug costs for medicare TO THE PHARMAS, and tosses away the public option that the insurance companies were against; and knowing damn well of the corruption in the mms, appoints an oil industry and mining-approved secretary of interior which results in little or nothing changing within the department … just the way the oil and mining companies wanted.

        But in Yves’ … and rich’s world … he’s not consciously on the take, the well-intentioned one is just clueless.


        1. Z

          I’d like to add that both bp and goldman sachs gave more campaign money to the well-intentioned one than any other candidate. And I’m sure the well-intentioned one can expect plenty of campaign dollars in 2012 from the corporate health entities that he tailored his health care bailout bill to benefit.


      4. i on the ball patriot

        Yves said; “No, I agree with Rich here, and think your assumption is off base. You assume Obama is cynical and knows he is on the take. I think he is deeply deluded. Deeply deluded is far more effective and dangerous.”

        I agree with Z.

        Appears to be a huuuuuuuuuuuge, huuuuuuuuuuuge blind spot here.

        Snowbbama KNOWS DAMN WELL he is on the take, and he is not so deeply deluded as he is deeply comfortable in that he knows and believes he will get away with his machinations because he has sooooooooo many layers of plausible deniability, one of which is that he will be touted as ‘deeply delusional’ and so we can not blame him.

        I would call that the Greenspan defense. Yes, like poor bumbling, consummate financial expert, Alan Greenspan, who was simply so ‘deeply deluded’ by the ideology of ‘free markets’ and Ayn Rand that he set off the world’s biggest debt trap bubble bomb and aided and abetted the creation of follow up financial derivative products that have been instrumental in decimating the global middle class.

        If Snowbama is deeply deluded it is in thinking that he will get away with it.

        Rich is a collaborating weasel.

        Dated but pertinent …

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. Valissa

          “Snowbbama KNOWS DAMN WELL he is on the take”

          Agreed with Z and i-on-ball… Obama cut his political chops in CHICAGO… where being on the take and trading favors with rich friends is just business as usual. However the liberals and progressives that were snowed by him and voted for him out of some sort of deluded hope for change (as opposed to those who voted warily for him simply because he wasn’t a Republican) seem to have a hard time accepting these facts.

          1. psychohistorian

            I agree with Z, i on the ball and Valissa. Obama is not deluded but he is dangerous because his actions are conscious, controlled and planned. He is playing out his role in a multi generational strategy to eliminate the public oriented services of American government. The rich have turned America into a global empire with almost absolute control over international commerce and the countries of the world.

            How can Obama who is on the inside of the conspiracy against the public be deluded?

  12. sgt_doom

    “Obama’s excessive trust in his own heady team..”

    Thanks for repeating that quote, truly rich in idiocy.

    Anyone referring to Diana Farrell, Laura Tyson, Larry (always wrong) Summers, Geithner, Wolin, Gensler, and Eric (“I’m going to jail every whistle-blower in America.”) Holder, is truly a complete and utter douchebag.

    ‘Nuff said on that matter….

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      By “heady” he means cerebral. I can’t speak to Holder, but Farrell, Summers, and Geithner most certainly are, and Obama is taken with intellectuals. Summers is a bully and a Rubin protege, but I’ve heard people who know him well (and still signal they have reservations about him) say how intellectually exciting it is to talk to him.

  13. Hugh

    The distance between Obama’s people centered campaign and corporate dominated Presidency can only be cynical in nature. Does Obama think he is doing good? Undoubtedly. But what he believes the good to be is widely different from what most of the rest of us do. If he is deluded then he is deluded the same way every other bankster, financial terrorist, and neoliberal Chicago School Washington Consensus hack is.

  14. Richard Kline

    Israel has an absolute stonewall policy regarding investigations, and invariably exonerates itself of any crimes. This isn’t a tactical decision, it is a long-term strategy, to inure the rest of the world to Israel’s invulnerability to any accountability. I know how that policy will end, I just couldn’t tell you when. This one won’t be ‘the one,’ though. Those that want justice from Israel will have to go out and get it.

  15. Richard Kline

    Joyous Rakish Furry: “It’s raining Chevrolets? Hell, yes, I’m all in for a free set of wheels. Here, Rico lend a hand: CATCH!”

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