Links 6/9/10

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Snakes in mysterious global decline BBC

Social networks overtake Google in UK web hits Independent

Madder And Madder George Monbiot

Did a North Korean Torpedo Really Sink That South Korean Military Vessel? Alternet (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Treat Israel Like Iran Stephen Kinzer, The Daily Beast (hat tip reader Gonzalo Lira)

Will the Flotilla Attack Be Our ‘Kent State’ Moment? Common Dreams (hat tip reader Doug T)

U.S. confirms underwater oil plume from Deepwater Horizon well International Business Times

BP well may be spewing 100,000 barrels a day, scientist says McClatchy

BP Tries to Block Photos of Dead Wildlife

Nigerian spam email of the week John Hempton

This Oil Spill, too, Shall Pass Kalpa

Wall Street Still Doesn’t Get It Steve Rattner Wall Street Journal. Regardless of your view of Rattner, his anecdote is telling.

Americans want to Soak the Rich MMCCLXXVII Robert Waldman. I must be on Mars. I can’t believe the point that Waldman is making is actually contested anywhere outside the Wall Street Journal’s editorial pages.

The Continuing Collapse of Ponzi Finance and the Real Economy Joe Costello

Kroeber to Faber: China is very big, Marc… FT Alphaville

More Thoughts on Switzerland and Why the Euro is Not Lower Marc Chandler

Koo: Japan Nears End of 25-Year (!) Balance-Sheet Recession Paul Kedrosky. So this is what it takes if you don’t have a big war?

The OECDs perverted view of fiscal policy billy blog

Antidote du jour:

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  1. attempter

    Re Waldman:

    We must be on Mars? No, just amid the Wall St-Washington Propaganda Ministry.

    Somehow this absolutely striking, dramatic, undeniable feature of US public opinion has been overlooked.

    No, it hasn’t been overlooked, it’s been systematically suppressed and replaced by a welter of lies.

    Corporate hacks like Salmon, Drum, and Yglesias propagate this “America is a center-right country” lie because that’s their job. They do it intentionally.

    And then someone like Waldman adds another layer of the lie, the old “they’re not malevolent, they’re not lying, they’re just mistaken.”

    We just discussed Frank Rich as specialist in that sort of lie the other day. (Though the others all engage in that one as well. Just yesterday I saw a post at Tiny Revolution shredding an Yglesias example.)

    So there’s two species of Big Lie. Both are highly venomous, and we should be vigilant in spotting them.

  2. NS

    On this oil spill too will pass: The author is correct in slow moving ecologic disaster remain under or unreported, ignored in congress, local governments and out of sight to voters and consumers. Again, caveat emptor is the business plan.

    I’ve witnessed the southern states long history of profits over prudence with disregard for neighbors, friends and in particular those undeserving underclass.

    Old Boys know how to get stuff done, just ask the citizens of Birmingham, Alabama. JPM profits and are completely excused from bribing elected officials, fixing bond deals for those ‘sophisticated investors’ that can never be repaid with clear, unmistakable evidence of anti-trust activities. Not even a hint of the DOJ taking its blinders off.

    Do not read the following unless you have a strong stomach and live in the region. I watched that beautiful land raped. The Great Smoky Mountains became a developers paradise at the expense of the very attraction which draws people. After a long absence, the visit to the region I once called home was unrecognizable and I cried literally. Researchers diligently record the impacts but that goes unnoticed, unreported.

    So now its become a lipstick on a pig for those who settle there from far and wide. The ash taints water supplies, is used for building materials for homes and businesses and fill used as foundations while Goldman Sachs and their competitors profit, yet again.

    Coal Ash is very toxic and a brew not unlike the gulf oil spill. Traditional water treatment cannot remove the residuals. Rather that dispose of it responsibly its being put in the soil,in drywall, and they are seeking to put it on crops. No attention is given to the health hazards for all. Why not just compress it in to a cute shape, infuse it with fake colors/flavors and sell it to our children as a tasty chew? Might as well. Caveat emptor Moms and Dads while your kids play in coal ash and drink laced water even in those pretty ‘better’ developments with golf courses. Wonder how the local cows and pigs process that?



    North Carolina has long been a leader in promoting the use of coal ash as structural fill. Heavily dependent on coal, with 60 percent of its electricity generated by coal-fired plants, the state has a glut of ash to contend with — and has been encouraging utilities to use it as fill for more than 20 years.

    “It is encouraging to see the commitment being made to develop reuse applications for the coal ash as opposed to the continued use of county landfills,” stated a 1989 letter from North Carolina’s solid waste chief to ReUse Technology. The Georgia-based firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of Charlotte-based Cogentrix, which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group and operates a number of small coal-fired power plants in the eastern U.S. Prior to Goldman Sachs’ purchase of Cogentrix in 2003, ReUse transferred its ash removal operations and other assets to a separate firm called Full Circle Solutions.*


    This post is long, my apologies but the oil spill is just one ongoing economic/ecological disaster and its not going to pass but worsen as government(s) protect those who threaten our health and well being and that of the environment. The oil spill is a magnitude shift, I expect more while we’ll all pay for the misdeeds of the most enabled who are contemptuous of all but themselves.

    And we want OUR lives AND livelihoods back.

    1. Ronald

      Humans have shown a remarkable ability to destroy our environment before coal became popular wood was the primary heat source used for industrial purposes such as in pottery kilns that produced much of the liquid containers and tableware. The black forest was almost destroyed and closer to home large areas of were cut not by modern methods by men with axes,large hand saws and work horses. Most of the Calif redwoods today are 2nd and 3rd growth arising from the stumps as the original growth was logged back in the 1800’s. In Sonoma country were I currently live one of the old timers was telling me that every single tree in the country was logged back in the 1800’s and we only had a population total of around 15,000 people!! No doubt without coal and other fuel sources the planet would be devoid of tree’s today.

  3. someofparts

    WSJ link blocks non-subscribers. Makes me laugh to think fans of notorious WSJ op-eds have to pay for teh stoopid.

  4. DownSouth

    ”Kroeber to Faber: China is very big, Marc…”

    That was a fascinating debate between Faber and Kroeber, and it swayed me towards the belief that China really is in deep doodoo. It wasn’t so much what Faber had to say, but the fact the Chinese finance sector (and here I’m taking the audience reaction as a reading as to where the Chinese finance sector stands) is in such willful denial about what Faber had to say.

    Kroeber, and his fawning audience, really have drunk the Kool-Aid.

    I thought the telling moment was when the moderator asked whose viewpoint the audience—-made up almost exclusively of finance sector apparatchiki—-supported. Kroeber represents the sublime world of finance where infinite growth in the Chinese economy is a given. Faber isn’t so sanguine. Only one hand went up in favor of Faber’s point of view. All the rest supported Kroeber.

    Kroeber believes China will be able to maintain export growth of between 5% and 10% per year. Faber wonders how Chinese export growth will be possible in a world where global growth has stalled, and might even see another leg down.

    If Kroeber is right and Chinese growth does continue at a robust clip, Faber raises the specter of an entirely different problem this growth would create. Oil consumption will once again bump up against world production capacity, and oil prices will soar to $200 a barrel or more. Kroeber response to this was a non-response. In this Kroeber’s reminds me of this from the Robot in “Lost in Space”:

    Faber also talks to the issue of global geopolitics—-war—-something else that “does not compute” in the blinkered world of finance professionals who believe that only markets allocate resources.

    When Faber talked about the world’s bloated finance sector, that it does little else than bet against each other but otherwise performs no socially useful function, and is overdue for a huge contraction, he really lost his audience.

    China’s finance sector professionals look to me to be pretty much cut from the same cloth as BP’s executive and engineering set—-oblivious to the consequences of ignoring obvious warning signs that something could go wrong.

    1. purple

      Faber thinks about political economy, which is ‘non-scientific’ and does not fit into the realm of academic economists, I guess.

      He also points out the problem with deficit cutting is that wealthy people can shift assets to avoid taxation and the working class people will inflict a political price. Hence, we’re all doomed.

      As for war, there is a reason why Hu Jintao publicly worried about the ‘Malacca Dilemma’.

  5. Ronald

    Joe Costello makes a good point but Americans have showed little interest in winding down there lifestyle as Volcker and others have noted.

    “We need to restructure our culture to consume less and produce less. Just as we evolved from an agrarian society to an industrial society, we must now evolve to a design society. We need to spend more time figuring out how to do better with less stuff, understanding in doing so, we can all have better lives”

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      More is better. That’s why my cat over-eats. The cat relies on me (the deity of food) to regulate it.

      There’s no deity left to regulate human behavior, so – naturally – it’s a fratboy world. Par-tay until you vomit (dudes)!!!!

    2. Richard Kline

      That’s called austerity. Tell me again why it’s bad if the Europeans do it?

  6. mo

    Re: soaking the rich

    Was on Facebook this a.m. (I know, I know) and a cousin posted snark about Obama. Supportive comments by friends included complaints about higher taxes. My cousin is retired NYPD and a good person – really. However, I don’t think his social circle includes those in the highest marginal tax brackets.

    What I’m about to say isn’t news – but part of the problem is that lots of folks think they are the “rich” that will be soaked. Then there are those that have been convinced that the rich are that way because they’ve worked so hard, blah, blah, blah (again – not an original thought).

    Since I’m not a confrontational type of person, I’m not inclined to voice my resentment about the fact that any NYS tax increases I have to pay are partly due to the fact that he’s 48, retired and will be collecting a (NYS tax free) pension for 30 odd years.

    1. Pepe

      And then there’s my favorite reason why middle class types don’t want taxes to be raised on the wealthy – “I might be wealthy some day, and won’t want to pay higher taxes.”

  7. nowhereman

    Re: Madder and Madder;
    My those English blocks do get on. “Deniers” slashes like a knife.
    I have been stuffed into the category of denier simply because I am skeptical of the CO2 connection. I don’t deny global warming, I am just skeptical of the proposed “cause” and the insane remedies being proposed.
    The earth appears to be a closed system when it comes to CO2, the amount of CO2 on the planet is a constant. I don’t believe we get more from outer space. It is a “straw dog”.
    Because we all know that the World Governments aren’t going to go after the real culprits, the big industrial polluters, the ones that create this toxic shit in the atmosphere. No, they go after us to pay for their sins because we exhale.

    1. DownSouth


      The earth appears to be a closed system when it comes to CO2, the amount of CO2 on the planet is a constant.

      That statement is factually incorrect, but nevertheless is quite representative of the sort of anti-science we get from the AGW deniers.

      Perhaps you meant to say that the amount of carbon on the planet is constant?

      1. Anonymous Jones

        DS, seriously, why do you even try anymore? You can’t change the minds of people who write stuff like that with mere facts and logic.

        These are the sorts of people about whom I have one quote and one prediction (and you know I don’t like making predictions).

        The quote: “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt.”

        The prediction: The people with whom you have these types of debates will cease breathing before they realize how the above quote applies to them.

        Monbiot even addresses this in his challenge to find one person on that side of that debate who has ever admitted a mistake. It’s a pathology, not a belief system.

        [Sorry, wrong side of bed this morning.]

        1. NOTaREALmerican

          Re: It’s a pathology, not a belief system.

          And, wanting to change other people’s mind is also a pathology. That’s what makes political blogs so much “fun” and popular.

          (One more argument and I’ve got him… I can feel it…. Come on snake-eyes!!!!!! )

  8. Valissa

    In case anyone was under the illusion that Obama is some sort of environmentalist… gives you a clue as to who any congressional bills having to do with energy or climate change will really benefit (hint, it’s not the environment)

    Obama Under Fire for Backing Deal to Lift Global Ban on Commercial Whaling

    Obama signals tough stance, drilling to resume

    Here we can see just how excited Obama and the Dems are to be able to direct wars. They are determined to outdo the Neocons!

    U.S. ‘secret war’ expands globally as Special Operations forces take larger role

    Obama, one senior military official said, has allowed “things that the previous administration did not.” Special Operations commanders have also become a far more regular presence at the White House than they were under George W. Bush’s administration, when most briefings on potential future operations were run through the Pentagon chain of command and were conducted by the defense secretary or the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    “We have a lot more access,” a second military official said. “They are talking publicly much less but they are acting more. They are willing to get aggressive much more quickly.” The White House, he said, is “asking for ideas and plans . . . calling us in and saying, ‘Tell me what you can do. Tell me how you do these things.’ ” The Special Operations capabilities requested by the White House go beyond unilateral strikes and include the training of local counterterrorism forces and joint operations with them. In Yemen, for example, “we are doing all three,” the official said. Officials who spoke about the increased operations were not authorized to discuss them on the record.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      The peasants will continue to vote Republicrat because only a strong daddy & mommy party can protect the children from the bad people.

  9. Vesta

    I keep looking at this live feed and it STILL looks the same as before they supposedly capped it. How much longer will it take for this firehose to slow down to a trickle before all/most of our planet’s oceans are polluted? I thought about going down to volunteer this summer but honestly I don’t want to get cancer in a year or two and drop dead.

    The bailouts, unemployment, health insurance scams, paid off politicians, now this mess. Calling DC every week does absolutely nothing, it goes straight to voicemail. Sometimes I get sick with worry. I’m glad sites like this exist and so many intelligent and thoughtful people post and see what I see.

  10. Andrew Bissell

    Koo: Japan Nears End of 25-Year (!) Balance-Sheet Recession Paul Kedrosky. So this is what it takes if you don’t have a big war?

    Either that, or it’s what it takes if you listen to guys like Richard Koo and refuse to restructure bad debts, especially those in the banking system.

    “Quantity beats quality” in public spending to combat balance sheet recessions, Koo tells us. Well, at least Japan will have a lot of empty airports and very high per-capita concrete square footage to show for all that glorious combat. Hopefully it will be possible to convert these “savings” into means of sustenance for retiring holders of JGBs when the time comes.

    Anyway, Koo would at least do well to be more circumspect and wait until all the cyclical returns are in. Japan just had a negative CPI print, for cryin’ out loud. “The end of the balance sheet recession” hardly seems like a fait accompli at this point.

  11. Chris

    RE: WSJ article

    Google the title of the article and you’ll have access to the content.

    If you want to get really depressed read the comments.

  12. Richard Kline

    Did a North Korean torpedo sink that South Korean vessel? Not by any evidence presented so far of any kind. Not by the damage inflicted, wholly incompatible with the proposed scenario. Not by the judgment of the South Korean _military_ who did not propose, support, or accept that ‘conclusion.’ Not by the judgment of the South Korean public which roundly defeated at the polls since the idjit presently president of their nation who ran on a ‘Those Dirty Reds’ campaign.

    —But in the US press it is ironclad FACT that the crazies in North Korea (and they are, be it said, seriously whacked) went out and did this dastardly deed. We don’t have a free press in the US here either: only lies that fit the agenda of the 1% seem to see ink or pixels. Y’know, state [self-]controlled media.

    . . . Things are going to get much worse before they get any better, I do fear.

    And BTW to condense several other trajectories of concern in the links here, has anyone thought what is going to follow when Israel blows the ship of a neutral nation out of the water with massive loss of life? Because that day is coming, and soon. The more this rogue state proceeds without consequences, the less restraint it shows. Journalists, activists, and inconvenient parties have been assassinated for years. Civilians in the the thousands have been deliberately targeted and massacred without the slightest necessity or explanation. Zero consequences. What is the logical conclusion one draws from this? More of the same, unless it’s much more of the same. One doesn’t get to the Rape of Nanjing or the stalag at the end of the line in one bound; one works up to it. And we’ve seen the trial runs, now. Don’t be surprised if it’s a US vessel which goes to the bottom. Then what? Maybe then we’ll have a ‘Kent State moment.’ Until then, we only have premature anti-Zionists.

    1. Jon H

      If South Korea wanted to lie, they could have just blamed it on an old Korean War-era mine. They have no incentive to blame North Korea if it’s not true.

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