Links and Quick Takes 6/4/10

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Out of their tree: virus blamed as drunken parrots fall from sky Independent (hat tip reader Buzz Potamkin)

Less attractive fish have ‘better sperm’ BBC

Email AT&T’s CEO, Get Threatened With Legal Action Gizmodo. AT&T did eventually apologize, but one wonders if that would have happened ex the negative PR.

Unusual economic indicators, Brazilian plastic surgery edition FT Alphaville

CIA Drone Operators Oppose Strikes as Helping Al-Qaeda Truthout. Reader Richard Kline notes:

The implication is that operatives are actually going through local intel from inside Pakistan that demonstrates, exactly as was and should have been predicted, that those slain are operatively inconsequential but the net result has been enormous recruiting gains for the Pakistani Taliban: we are growing their organization by this wimptastic assassination campaign. The same is alleged throughout SW Asia as a consequence of drone murders.

Yves here. I must confess that from the get go I hated the drone operation. I even met someone who owns a drone company (Stanford algorist, made a lot of money using his models to speculate on real estate in Vegas, then got into the drone biz. When I met him a couple of years ago, his just carried little cameras, but he may have moved up to bigger, meaning more deadly, things), He insisted, with a straight face, that he was in the business of saving lives. At best, he was in the business of death transfer.

Prosecuting Crimes Against the Earth David Uhlman, New York Times

The BP Oil Leak and Tea-Party/Business-Republican Politics Rdan, Angry Bear

Global Bank Pact Advances Wall Street Journal

Volcker: The Time We Have Is Growing Short Mark Thoma

EIA: Hard Core Peak Oil Forecast Steven Kopits, Econbrowser

Mortgage Applications Plummet John Lounsbury

JP Morgan fined £33.3m for client funds error Times Online

DTCC Posts CDS Market Activity Snapshot Alea (hat tip reader Richard Smith). Confirms one of our arguments as to why CDS are not suitable to be exchange traded (we’ve argued for them instead to be regulated as insurance, with the objective of greatly reducing their use). Click through to the data summary and look at the low trading volumes.

Lessons to be learnt from Kazakhstan Gillian Tett. The mouse that roared! Kazakhstan cramed down Western banks in the course of restructuring a Kazakh bank.

The Palestinians cannot be hammered into submission Philip Stevens, Financial Times

Prayers, tear gas and terror Sydney Morning Herald (hat tip reader Richard Kline). One of the first
extensive compilation of interviews from those onboard the Gaza aid
convoy (including Fairfax reporters).

Antidote du jour:

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  1. skippy

    Volcker, please don’t urinate on my grave.


    Israel…not unlike America has over stated and assumed it’s place on this world, many will suffer for their hubris.

    1. aet

      Israel seems to have gotten it right,this time…in their own waters.

      I don’t have much to say about this, except that Israel is young, as States go, and seems to be making the mistakes of a youth.
      Even though that State is in some sense,an emanation of an ancient Nation.

      But we all have to live together, and a just settlement of the outstanding issues ought to be sought with all possible speed.

  2. alex black

    Yves and Richard, great link on the drone story.

    The sad impression that one comes away with is that the drone use is less for military purposes than for political purposes – the administration feels it must be perceived as “doing something” and this is the best it can come up with.

    Send in a drone, kill a member of the Taliban and perhaps a few innocent bystanders, turn 100 men into new Taliban fighters, send in drone to kill one of those new 100 Taliban fighters, rinse, repeat.

    Not a good tactic, but it makes a needed sound bite during campaigns. Can’t be looking “soft on terror” now, can we?


    1. Francois

      It is also a great way for the National Security-Industrial complex to grow even more. The more terroriss they generate, the more they’re “needed”.

      Which by the way, suits senators and congresspersons really well; more defense contracts to be distributed in pretty much each district, more photo-ops and ribbons to cut for those who brings home the bacon while draping themselves into the flag.

      Glenn Greewald has a great post on this emotional need of the oppressors to play the role of victims, thus justifying every need for more weaponry and mindless aggression:

      In Imperial Ambitions, Noam Chomsky — talking about America’s post-9/11 policies — described the central mental deception that is at the heart of all nations which dominate others with force (and if you’re one of those people who hear “Noam Chomsky” and shut your mind, pretend that this comes from “John Smith”):

      In one of his many speeches, to U.S. troops in Vietnam, [Lyndon] Johnson said plaintively, “There are three billion people in the world and we have only two hundred million of them. We are outnumbered fifteen to one. If might did make right they would sweep over the United States and take what we have. We have what they want.” That is a constant refrain of imperialism. You have your jackboot on someone’s neck and they’re about to destroy you.

      The same is true with any form of oppression. And it’s psychologically understandable. If you’re crushing and destroying someone, you have to have a reason for it, and it can’t be, “I’m a murderous monster.” It has to be self-defense. “I’m protecting myself against them. Look what they’re doing to me.” Oppression gets psychologically inverted; the oppressor is the victim who is defending himself.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        Well, that’s all well and good, but the author of the quote just assumed his conclusion by using the label “oppressor.” Yes, maybe the label is correct in many instances, but who’s to decide? No one thinks they have bad taste, right? And they always think they can “Potter-Stewart” oppression and “know it when they see it.” Of course, all the people who are so *sure* about the future aren’t, you know, as it turns out, always right about the future.

        You ever watch MMA? Ever seen a reversal you didn’t think was coming?

        There are enough black hearts in every culture to poison the mood. This is all a battle, and for the most part, the only reason one side is the oppressor and the other side the oppressee is that one side is winning (usually only on a temporary basis).

      2. Doug Terpstra

        The “emotional need of the oppressors to play the role of victims” is a morbidly fascinating psycho-dynamic, a strange phenomenon of the human capacity for self-delusion. It’s something Jonathon Haidt describes in “The Happiness Hypothesis” as our internal lawyer, which all of us have (except NC commenters), who is an expert liar in hypocrisy, self-justification, and self-righteousness. He compares it to an elephant, sometimes rogue, that our semi-conscious rider self has great difficulty controlling.

        Speaking of rogue nations, the US and Israel fit that dynamic to a tee. Even more fascinating, in Israel’s case, is the perverse dynamic of the abuse victim morphing into the very monster-tormenter for which he harbors such intense fear and hatred. In a vicious cycle, we seem to mirror the object of our attention, and in Israel’s case, IMO, actions base on a justified fear of anti-Semitism create the conditions that excacerbate it. Hence the Middle East has become a breeder-reactor of global conflict. Palestine, IMO, is the most critical defining issue of our time. And yet, once again, Obama dithers.

      3. NOTaREALmerican

        Re: “I’m a murderous monster.”

        What if enough people did admit they were “murderous (normal humans)”, would that make Chomsky wrong about the true motives of the people?

        The problem with liberalism is that the believers think people aren’t “murderous (normal humans)”. Normal humans know otherwise, which is why liberalism is a joke to most of them.

        1. Skippy

          You did not just use the term normal humans…right?

          Skippy…Remember the usage of norms is what precipitated the GFC in modeling.

    2. Richard Kline

      So alex, I agree: the function of the drone assault is primarily political, and even more primarly intended for _domestic_ political impact. This is one reason why the policy is impervious to actual assessment by intel operatives, since the effects of the strike are secondary at best to the policy of striking. Obama doesn’t _care_ if these work as long as there’s a regular drumbeat in the media of “X terrorists [sic] slain in [Anywheristan] today by US . . . .” Irrespective of the gross immorality and illegality of the drone assassination program, this indifference to the actual impact of the strikes is extremely dangerous because the policy is not engaged with the consequences of the actions, if you follow.

      I have opined before in commentary here at NC that there may be, in my opinion, a further goal of the drone program which _is_ engaged with the consequences. That is, all those recruits to the Pakistan Taliban or the Yemeni jihadist resistance have the direct effect of destabilizing those regions—but that may be the real intent of the policy. The governments in those areas don’t want to attack these militants, for multiple reasons, so the idea may well be to so destabilize the areas that the local authorities have no option but to strike to preserve their own power. This has in fact been the result in Pakistan to my observation. Drone strikes >>> Pakistani Taliban uprisings >>> Pakistani military counterforce out of necessity. Same in Yemen, only the thug in charge there lacked the firepower to make a successful offensive.

      In the short term, the drone assassination program is grossly counterproductive; more militant recruitment, as noted in the linked article. In the long term, teh assassination program is catastrophically counterproductive; if people have no option but to resist, they do so, and moreover get enough practice to get good at it and hit back. But in the mid-term, the Obama Admin, and others to follow ‘get what they wanted,’ i.e. clumsy local repression. This policy is a mid-term domestic electoral strategy to put it bluntly, and as such a grotesque exhibit of the hubris of naked power wielded by cowards without vision.

  3. attempter

    Even as freelance cornucopian fundamentalists still act like Peak Oil is in any way doubtful, the corporatist EIA and IEA themselves have been coming off the Kool-Aid.

    Each year now they bring their hitherto fabulistic projections down closer to reality.

    The Pentagon is also starting to acknowledge reality:

    And in spite of their propaganda, Big Oil also knows it. A hint: Nobody would ever think of deepwater drilling at all, let alone in the Arctic, if they thought there was still any easy oil left to find anywhere.

    On the contrary, deepwater drilling, the tar sands, the talk of shale oil – these are signs of supply desperation.

    A basic rule: The easiest and best-quality is produced first, and no producer moves on to harder, lower-quality reserves except under duress of scarcity. The same goes for coal (US high-quality anthracite exhausted, production is now mostly in the bituminous and sub-bituminous, and will have to move to the low-quality lignite) and metal mining, and natural resources in general.

      1. Scrap

        I don’t understand why Peak Oilers are so beholden to false dichotomies and tautological thinking. Calling everyone who disagrees with you a cornucopian certainly impairs honest debate.

        The reason production is falling is because marginal wells and projects are being discarded, as would be expected when price falls. The opposite happened when prices were skyrocketing–we just couldn’t bring them on fast enough due to severe industry tightness. This is why ALL commodity prices skyrocketed in 2007, and not just oil. Free money after 2005 created unnaturally high demand growth, that in turn led to high prices that in turn lent credence to the illusion of immediate supply disruption, whereas a far more complex situation is the reality.

        The reason frontier exploration is getting harder is because companies are exchanging geopolitical risk for technical risk. Take a hard look at Libya and Iraq and tell me oil EVERYWHERE is getting harder to find.

        This all is irrelevant without defining “Peak Oil”. If you mean usage has peaked, it’s great for our environment and our society! If you mean it’s some kind of apocalypse where oil prices suddenly go through the roof and food starts rotting due to lack of transportation, blah, blah, blah, then I think both the forecast and the premise should be re-examined.

        The former will be rendered moot by many years of subpar demand (the world has not decoupled). See the first Great Depression when oil was ridiculously cheap. The latter ignores above-ground issues and also the demand side of the equation, which is so often casually overlooked and subject to linear trend extrapolations.

        1. The Taming of the Shrewd

          “The reason production is falling is because marginal wells and projects are being discarded, as would be expected when price falls. The opposite happened when prices were skyrocketing–we just couldn’t bring them on fast enough due to severe industry tightness. This is why ALL commodity prices skyrocketed in 2007, and not just oil.”

          Double-check your facts. Oil supply hasn’t increased since 2005.

        2. attempter

          The former will be rendered moot by many years of subpar demand (the world has not decoupled).

          That may end up being true, but you seem not to get the implication of it. If in fact there really is a prolonged zombie “recovery” of fake growth and resumed growth in oil consumption (by “prolonged” I mean several years), then the effect of the c. two dozen major projects mothballed or cancelled, and all the other investment foregone, on account of the credit crisis, which were necessary simply replace falling production from existing wells, let alone meet the rising demand, will be to bring the classical Peak, where demand tries to exceed available supply, within a few years.

          In its 2008 WEO the IEA famously said the world needed six new Saudia Arabias by 2030, 4 to replace falling production from existing wells and two for new demand, if supply were to meet demand based on the “growth” expectations prior to the crash of 08. But even the existing SA isn’t what it used to be, let alone finding six new ones, which would still be operative if mid-00s demand growth trends were to resume.

          So that’s if the phony “recovery” can be zombified long enough. It’ll then be quashed once and for all by classical Peak Oil.

          But if on the other hand you’re right about “many years of subpar demand”, what could that mean other than that we’re already terminally committed to the Second Great Depression based on the unsustainability of exponential debt/”growth” itself? If there were a recovery, real or zombie, it would cause resumed oil demand growth. If that demand growth doesn’t materialize, that can only mean economic stagnation for the real economy.

          In that case it’s true, we may very well not see the classic Peak for a long time, since the curve of declining production would take longer to descend to meet and overtake the descending demand curve. (Whereas in classic Peak Oil an ascending demand curve bumps its head on stagnant or declining supply.)

          I don’t understand why Peak Oilers are so beholden to false dichotomies and tautological thinking. Calling everyone who disagrees with you a cornucopian certainly impairs honest debate.

          You mean as opposed to this etiquette of the symposium?

          blah, blah, blah

          Actually, it’s my experience that whenever one states the truth about Peak Oil there will probably be a “blah, blah, blah” response which offers no counterargument, so I was just dismissing it ahead of time with the reference to cornucopian cultists.

          This all is irrelevant without defining “Peak Oil”. If you mean usage has peaked, it’s great for our environment and our society!

          I doubt that. I think the power structure will respond to Peak Oil by trying to extract every resource it’s economically/politically possible to extract. We already see how environmental concerns mean nothing where it comes to offshore drilling and the tar sands. Both of those are, as I said, steps of depseration in response to the end of cheap, easy conventional oil. There’s no reason to think they’ll stop short of ravaging the Rockies for the oil shale, not on environmental grounds.

          And by the political limits of what’s possible, I include in that their ability to use slave labor, which is clearly their intent. (The restoration of de facto and even de jure slavery is clearly portended by the entire logic of neoliberalism.)

          So no, if I could receive a message from the future telling me oil consumption in 2020 will be e.g. 40 million barrels per day, I wouldn’t assume that means an environmentally and sociopolitically better world.

          1. aet

            Better the nigh taxes,than the high profits.
            After all, I get a vote on how to divvy up the taxes….

        3. aet

          I am not so sure about just how much of that”un-naturally high growth in demand” was actually so.
          Global demand continues to grow, after all.
          Doesn’t it?
          No doubt some of the growth was “un-natural”, I just am not so certain that it is as great an amount as you think….
          or seem to think.
          What I do know is that at present consumption, we have centuries of oil already found.
          And I still do not know why the predictions of a falling harvest at some indefinite time in the future ought to effect the price of oil now.
          Why pre-sell a possible shortage?
          OPEC is right: there is no shortage of oil.

          1. aet

            But climate change nevertheless makes it imperative that we reduce our wanton burning of the stuff, nevertheless…so I do approve of high prices…I mean taxes…on oil.

          2. aet

            Bah…I’ve garbled my replies.
            More than is usual, I mean.

            Long story short: there’s no shortage of oil…but we MUST burn less, or the climate changes…so prices must stay high to lessen use..IMHO better that high prices = it’s taxes, than profits: I get a vote, however indirect, on where the taxes get spent – unlike oile co profits.

  4. i on the ball patriot

    Double posted for general comments …

    Yves, good summary post and thanks for all you do in keeping up with and exposing all of the hypocrisy and bullshit involved in the intentionally made complex voodoo science that threatens us all, but in the end, much of this is just another ‘eyes glaze over’ mystery for the common person who is also suffering the double whammy of concurrently being propagandized into loving and adoring the same forces that exploit and destroy her/him.

    The additional work to be done is to simplify and package the message and get it to the common folks in a form that they can get interested in, understand, and relate to, so as to stimulate them to a positive corrective action. They need to better see who screwed them and how.

    In the final analysis, the cause and effects of the slow death threatening spiral downward of global finance — some, like myself, would say the intentional torture and strangulation of global finance — share many similarities to the murders, here in scamerica, of JFK, MLK, and RFK.
    In terms of cause and effect there are some jump off the page similarities

    • Many believe in their hearts there was a conspiracy involved as a causative effect.

    • And many believe in their hearts that these events were meant to effect the oppression of the common person.

    It was those beliefs that stimulated the rage to at least get the Justice Department involved and create highly publicized and talked about, depending on your belief, honest or white wash reports.

    Now we have the slow death spiral of global finance, with far greater significant effects to the common person, and the common person has no focus other than a nebulous overly complex system of voodoo economics to rail against. So, in order to get the public more involved and knowledgeable, I suggest to my fellow, “dear readers”, that we all bunch our undies, rely on the integrity of Yves’ great information, and get our hyperbole glands in overdrive so as to blow some life into this mess.

    e.g. … attention getting sample headlines, fill in the simplified economic stories and explain who YFS is and what, in your best level down interpretations the problems are, under these headlines …

    They Murdered JFK, They Murdered MLK, They Murdered RFK, And Now They Murder YFS!

    RFK, JFK, and MLK Were Murdered! Are They Now Killing YFS?

    When They Murdered RFK, JFK, and MLK We Had Justice Department Investigations! Why NO Investigations For The Death Of YFS.

    And of course YFS is YOUR Financial System. A common person, mythical superman like hero who embodies the best of the myths of JFK, MLK, RFK and all of the best attributes of the fairness and democracy that they promoted. Let’s blow some life into YFS champion of the little guy.

    So get cracking ‘dear readers’, if this suggestion doesn’t light your fire work on an alternative that honors the concept of getting this horrendous strangulation and torture of YFS to street level in a form that the masses can understand.

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  5. Peripheral Visionary

    Re: CIA Drone Operators Oppose Strikes as Helping Al-Qaeda

    To quote somebody who was in a position to know, “War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it.” I suspect that many of the concerns over the drone program are linked to deeply-held romantic notions over war being about honorable face-to-face contests of will, but if it ever was, it has long since ceased being such.

    I have often heard the claim that this program or that tactic is “creating more enemies than we are killing”, but have rarely seen any firm statistics to back such claims up. Certainly, such claims–made repeatedly regarding the conflict in Chechnya and the conflict in Iraq–look rather thin now that it is obvious that insurgencies in both regions are in their twilight.

    But the drone program has never been about reducing the numbers of the enemy; it has always been about reducing the leadership. The type of operations the tribal and Islamist forces run in NW Pakistan and in southern Afghanistan are heavily dependent, not on numbers, but on leadership and expertise. Manpower is easy enough to fill out with promises of drug money and power. But leadership takes not just years, but decades to develop, and hardened, reliable, experienced leaders are becoming an increasingly rare commodity for the Islamists in some areas.

    In 2001 on 9/11, both al Qaeda and the Taleban had a deep pool of leadership talent of individuals who had honed their abilities over the war against the Soviet Union, as well as in Chechnya, in Bosnia, in Somalia, in the Sudan, etc. That pool of leadership has been steadily drained by the years of attrition since, and is slow to refill; a year or two of experience running a suicide bombing network in Pakistan is not the same as decades of experience fighting the Soviets, the Serbs, the Algerians, etc.

    I don’t know how successful the drone program is (although it has achieved some notable successes in taking out very prominent leaders), but it is based on a fundamentally sound approach, namely depriving the enemy of competent leadership. Insurgencies certainly outlast the deaths of their leaders, but as has been demonstrated countless times, the loss of critical leaders is often the first step toward the end of the insurgency. The Bolivian Communists never recovered from the loss of Guevara, nor has the Chechen insurgency recovered since the death of Basayev (and the seeds of its eventual demise may have been sown years earlier in the death of Dudayev.) Leaders with twenty or thirty years of experience simply cannot be replaced by some kid pulled off the streets of Cairo or London, and to the extent that the drone program succeeds in taking out top leaders, I suspect it is doing more to hurt the enemy than to help them.

    1. Tom Bradford

      Perhaps Al-Qada’s number 3, Mustafa al-Yazid, did deserve to die. Perhaps his death will damage Al-Qada.

      But did his wife deserve to die? Did three of his daughters deserve to die? Did one of their grandchildren deserve to die? Will their deaths damage Al-Qada?

      Innocents died on 9/11, deliberately killed by terrorists. Innocents died along with al-Yazid, deliberately killed by the United States of America.

    2. Richard Kline

      So Peripheral, if I may use the familiar here, there are many points in your remarks I might engage as a counter-argument. Not that the main premise strikes me as inaccurate; indeed, losing seasoned leadership always hurts, yes. But follow your argument of, say, Guevarra, though. You’ve noticed that Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Paraguay are headed by socialist governments, and that Nicaragua was until we destabilized it, and will be again? The problem with your analogy is that it is too restricted in timeframe. Our repression only proved more evidently to many in Latin America that we had no solutions for them, no partnership, no justice, no wealth. We have firmly lost any leadership in the most of that region, and are on the verge of even losing the ability to engage with the governments there. That is a long-term consequence of our ‘decapitation’ and ‘El Salvador’ strategies. And that is exactly what we are on the way to producing in SW Asia as well. If our engagement with the inhabitants of those regions is to unilaterally assassinate any who oppose us openly, we lose the majority there out of sheer disgust and self-preservation.

      Al-Qaeda doesn’t care a whit about the US: they attack us because we attack them and arm the governments of their own region to kill them. That is not a defense of their policy or program, but an objective observation of policy and outcome. If we want terrorist attacks on out own soil to cease, by far the most effective policy is to take our bombs and guns and GO HOME. When was the last time that the Vietnamese blew up a building in US territory? When you answer that question, it is clear how childishly deranged present US policy is.

  6. Peripheral Visionary

    Re: Prosecuting Crimes Against the Earth

    I was pleasantly surprised at how well-reasoned this piece was, when I was expecting yet another mob-justice hang-’em-from-the-hightest-lampost piece. It’s particularly when emotions are running the highest that it’s important to remember that any action taken in the public sphere needs to follow the rule of law. There may be a course for criminal prosecution available, but it needs to follow due process and adhere to the law as written.

    1. DownSouth

      Give me a break! What planet do you live on?

      The “rule of law” in the United States is a joke, something the right-wing trots out every time it wants to oppress its helots.

      For the poor and vulnerable it’s “the rule of law.”

      For the rich it’s the Golden Rule: He who has the gold rules.

      1. i on the ball patriot

        A hearty second to that, the rule of law is a fucking blatant scam! A rich man’s shell game on roids. Wake up and smell the class warfare.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      2. alex

        “The ‘rule of law’ in the United States is a joke, something the right-wing trots out every time it wants to oppress its helots.”

        In other words you’re objecting to the lack of application of exactly what Peripheral Visionary wants to see applied – the rule of law.

        Forget the mob justice bullshit – we’re not going to have anything approaching the Reign of Terror under anything approaching current circumstances. The mob justice stuff is fun for an occasional rant, but it doesn’t mean anything.

        I’ll take one Bill Black (and his environmental equivalent) over a million mob justice ranters any day. I’ll be the first to admit that the application of the rule of law to the plutocrats is especially poor these days. It was better under Reagan for heaven’s sake, when Bill Black was doing his shtick. But I wouldn’t call it beyond possibility.

        By contrast the mob justice talk is a silly fantasy. Worse, when overused it keeps anyone from taking the issue seriously. A well publicized Bill Black or Yves Smith though will make people notice.

        1. NOTaREALmerican

          I know not a single peasant – either socially or at work – that knows of Bill Black or Yves Smith.

          Most of the white peasants are pissed off at “those people”.

          Liberals – being the clueless nice people they are – always under-estimate the meanness and stupidity of the real peasants. This is why they are always so shocked when – despite all the well-intentioned programs to ease the burden of peasant life that the liberals create – the liberals are still despised by the very people are trying to help. It’s pathetic really. But, it’s the penalty for having so much guilt.

          1. alex

            “I know not a single peasant – either socially or at work – that knows of Bill Black or Yves Smith.”

            Right, which is why I said Bill and Yves need to be better publicized (I think they’d make a great double billing).

            “always under-estimate the meanness and stupidity of the real peasants”

            Charming way to put it, but the correct word is “ignorance”. Not everyone has the time or interest to read specialty blogs. Which is why I’m a fan of Matt Taibbi’s reporting. I don’t like the profanity (call me old-fashioned but I think it detracts from seriousness) and most of what he reports isn’t terribly original, but it does get attention. I do know people who’ve read it.

            “the liberals are still despised by the very people are trying to help”

            That’s ok, martyrdom has a certain appeal.

        2. DownSouth


          That the status quo identifies its interests with law and order is a moral conceit.

          We saw this during the Civil Rights movement when the southern white racists trotted out law and order as a weapon to be used against the freedom marchers.

          King wrote his essay “Love, Law and Civil Disobedience” as a counter against the kind of polemic that you and Periferal Visionary invoke. “We must never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal.’ It was illegal to aide and comfort a Jew, in the day’s of Hitler’s Germany,” King wrote.

          1. alex

            “That the status quo identifies its interests with law and order is a moral conceit.”

            The issue at hand is the opposite – that the status quo is ignoring the law. What’s your point, that laws against fraud are unjust? My point is that failing to apply them is unjust.

            As King was well aware, injustice takes many forms. He rightly believed that unjust laws should be disobeyed, openly and publicly, ala Rosa Parks. That’s the essence of civil disobedience. But do you think he supported the non-application of murder and conspiracy laws to lynchings?

          2. DownSouth


            The issue at hand is the opposite – that the status quo is ignoring the law.

            You and Periheral Visionary can lie and distort all you want, but I think most people are bright enough to see through your campaign of disinformation.

            The status quo is the law.

            One has to look no further than tax law where a double standard has been written into the law:

            The professional fund managers of these hedge funds and private equity firms are allowed to treat a substantial portion of their compensation as capital gains, meaning they are most likely taxed at 15% rather than the 35% rate that applies to ordinary income such as wages and salary.

            And as Kevin Phillips observed in Wealth & Democracy:

            The result by 2000 was a Washington in which liberals found themselves muttering about “corruption” that was largely legal behavior—-decision-making lubricated by so-called “soft money” political contributions, and resulting in flagrant tax favoritisms, bank bailouts, gutted regulations, and see-no-evil adminstration of the federal election laws.

            And as Skippy pointed out below, witness the Tea Partiers. They are allowed to assemble, demonstrate, carry guns, and threaten violence. But let someone who poses even the remotest bonafied threat to the status quo try to demonstrate, and they are put down ruthlessly, as we saw happen to the students in Pitsburgh last September who were protesting the G-20:

  7. Peripheral Visionary

    One more comment from me, then I will shut up. :)

    Re: The BP Oil Leak and Tea-Party/Business-Republican Politics

    “If this calamity in the Gulf illustrates anything—and it does—it’s that libertarian ideology . . . ”

    There was something about this piece that seemed off, but this sentence captured it: the Tea Party is not libertarian. Not by a long stretch. The recent poll found that most Tea Party supporters are firm supporters of Medicare; that is not, at all, a libertarian point of view. Any libertarian who is worthy of the name is adamantly against government programs of the size and expense of Medicare. I think you would also find similar disconnects regarding the military (Tea Partiers are for a large military, libertarians favor a much smaller one), overseas “adventures” (Tea Partiers are supportive, libertarians not), immigration (Tea Partiers are strongly pro-enforcement, libertarians are more mixed but many favor open borders), etc.

    I think one problem with discussions regarding the Tea Party movement in general is that nobody seems to have a firm idea what their ideology is–and that seems to include them as well (difficult questions put to Tea Partiers all too often result in “hmm, well, I’m not sure . . . ” type of responses.) The result is that everyone projects one point of view or another on to them, either to turn them into flag-waving supporters of all that is good in America, or fanged snarling beasts that represent all that is bad in America.

    My own view is much more simple: I think the Tea Party, unbeknownst to most observers and even most of the Tea Partiers themselves, are the movement of the status quo. They don’t stand for any one specific, clearly-defined ideology, they just want things to go back to the way they were in 2005, or 1995, or 1985. The one feeling they seem to share is that things used to be OK but now they’re not, and somebody in Washington is to blame. The positions they support are almost exactly the bipartisan “consensus” that developed during the late Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton years: generous government spending on the military and retirees, cutbacks on spending on welfare, easy money for borrowers, cheap gas, and homes for everyone. I see them as eminently well-intentioned, but largely uninformed on one critical point, namely that the way of life we enjoyed for the last twenty years is proving to be unsustainable.

    But libertarians, they’re not.

      1. Jack Parsons

        Tea party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public,

        There is no education question in the poll.

    1. fresno dan

      I agree. I have almost never met a real live person who fit the personna of “Liberal” “redneck” “democrat” “republican” “tea partier” “socialist” “libertarian” ad infinitum. They are mostly straw men.
      Not to say that there are not plenty of close minded people who get some catch phrase or bumper sticker philosophy that they “believe” in without ever examining the contradictions or complexity of their own posistions.

      I am certainly willing to conceed that there are obvious flaws in my own libertarian views (nothing like reality to drive a stake though the EMT). But it seems a little unreflective to blame libertarians when we have non-libertarians such as Rubin, Summers, Geithner, Bernanke, et al who have run and are running policy.
      The only question is what do you call present policy and you are serious?
      Liberal (I don’t think so)
      Conservative (perhaps know nothing republican, but I do not think most conservatives would say this is how you handle TBTF)
      Libertarian – I don’t think the philosophy is to give trillions to the cause of the problem.
      Its Obama’s policy, and I’m sure he would say it is pragmatic and middle of the road.
      It strikes me that it is not a good policy – but you know what???? I really don’t know what would be the best policy. Theres a saying around here, “Those who are the most informed KNOW the least, while those who are least informed KNOW the most.”

    2. DownSouth

      Would the true libertarian please stand up!

      Like all true believers, the libertarian cannot accept that he embraces a failed ideology that is built upon naïve and false assumptions.

      He’s like those who continued to support Marxist ideology in defiance of all the evidence. When Lenin and Trotsky seized power and began their purges, summary executions and imprisonment without trial, that wasn’t “true” Marxism.

      And now that private corporations have seized power and are being anything but nice, the libertarian cannot bring himself to admit the evil of private corporations, or that the private corporations’ seizing of power and running amok is the fruit of the libertarian’s highly blinkered and naïve ideology.

      So Peripheral Visionary cannot tell us what libertarians are, he can only tell us what they are not, and they’re definitely not the Tea Partiers. This is so because the libertarian Utopia, just like the Marxist Utopia, is nowhere. The Utopia exists only in the imagination of the libertarian.

      1. DownSouth

        Ditto for fresno dan. He can’t tell us what a libertarian is, but he knows for sure that Rubin, Summers, Geithner and Bernanke aren’t.

        So what is a “true” libertarian? And who gets to decide? The libertarians have now excommunicated Greenspan, along with Rubin, Summers, Geithner and Bernanke. And they now want to purge the Tea Partiers.

        Peripheral Visionary said:

        I think one problem with discussions regarding the Tea Party movement in general is that nobody seems to have a firm idea what their ideology is…

        Could not the same thing be said of the Libertarians?

        1. DownSouth

          The only thing the libertarian seems to know is that, if the outcome was bad, then that wasn’t them.

        2. fresno dan

          I believe the definition of a libertarian is one who believes in minimizing government regulation – something along the lines of the government that governs least governs best.

          “Like all true believers, the libertarian cannot accept that he embraces a failed ideology that is built upon naïve and false assumptions.”

          Well, that could very well be true. It can certainly be argued that the US was very libertarian for its first 150 years (I would say slavery is NOT in keeping with libertarian principals), but became much less so as the modern industrial state precluded the kind of individual action and responsibility that was possible in an agrarian society.

          But, I am only aware of one self professed libertarian in Congress – Ron Paul. I am unaware that Rubin, Summers, Bernanke, Geithner have ever practiced libertarian ideals (i.e., a libertarina view is that Goldman Sachs, citibank, BoA, etcetera should all be bankrupt, their creditors and stockholders taking ALL the losses prior to any government backstopping – perhaps that’s naive). Of course, it begs the question – is Obama a libertarian? Perhaps its naive to believe that people who reach the pinnacle of power will ever do what is best for the “people”

          As far as Greenspan, I think he fits the bill. But as I recall, 20 years of adulation preceded his de-canonization, in which maybe a few like Jim Grant pointed out the flaws of easy money. And the problem is, the ideology was not as important as the idea of easy money, all the time, which nobody, apparently of any ideology (or at least, ideologies represented by elected officials), opposed. Oh, and there was that non-libertarian philosophy of bailouts – as I recall LTCM for one.

          However, as I pointed out in my comment, I am dubious of these labels to begin with (team red, team blue – I have never met anyone who voted for one or the other, when one had a serious detailed conversation with them, that did not have many substantial disagreements with the one that they voted for with what they were doing).

          Take as an example the financial “reform” bill – I don’t think it could be called liberal, conservative, socialist, or libertarian. I also don’t think it can be called “meaningful” reform. And I think it hinders progress to call it democratic or republican (does the “democratic” wing of the democratic party think its a good bill? If the republicans didn’t have to hand together, would they all think it a good bill?).

          Do you think it is a good bill? Why or why not? And if no, why do you think Congress has passed such a bad bill? (Oh, Congress is corrupt???….or stupid???? that’s why we need more laws, passed by….)

          Is this law better than no law, worse than no law, or so insipid that it is of no affect?

          And finally, one example of a law that exists that I think we would be better off if it had never been passed – and that is the establishment of the rating agencies and the mandate that bonds, to be bought by certain financial institutions, must be rated by Moodys, Fitch, or S&P.
          To me it appears to be a good example of an ostensibly good intention gone bad. And from what I have read about the contrived ratings of municipal bonds (making them appear riskier than they are, apparently to have some sort of equilibrium market between private and public bonds) undoubtedly, billions, if not 10’s of billions in added interest costs have been foisted upon municipalities, and peripherally upon bond buyers, who bought riskier private bonds because of the contrived bond ratings.

          If we take society and analogize it to baseball, I am willing to accept that it is naive to believe that the ballplayers will honestly call strikes and outs on themselves. But I also think it is naive not to assume that the owners will not manipulate the rules (designated hitter – what an abomination) for their benefit (attendance down – more scoring, lower the pitching mound, and let athletes take steroids).

          I am curious to know what you do view as the ideal ideology.

          1. jest

            “I believe the definition of a libertarian is one who believes in minimizing government regulation – something along the lines of the government that governs least governs best.”

            That’s not really libertarianism, that’s conservatism in my eyes.

            Either way, the problem I have with this is that it leaves absolutely no way to evaluate how effective government is. In turn, it effectively diminishes the role of democracy because there is little to vote for.

            It forces the citizenry to rely on counterfactuals to evaluate policy, because the efficacy of gov’t is based on absence & quantity, rather than enforcement & quality. That is a recipe for failure, as evidenced by the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the CFMA, the MMS/BP disaster, mines exploding all over the country, etc.

            I would feel better about those ideas, *if* there were a clear line as to the definition of gov’t overreach. But there is none; in fact, it seems to change everyday.

            But as I said, the only way to evaluate libertarian policy is with counterfactuals, so we end up with nonsense like libs agreeing with the Massey CEO saying there are too many mining safety regulations b/c no mines have blown up in the last week; but when a faulty mine finally does blow up, libs all of a sudden don’t agree anymore, & want someone’s head on a stick. When the controversy ends & becomes a memory, they want go back and remove the regulations they just asked for!

            It’s completely arbitrary, trite nonsense.

          2. fresno dan

            “That’s not really libertarianism, that’s conservatism in my eyes.”
            Well, I would be interested in what the short definition of libertarianism is, as opposed to conservatism (If other than being semi autistic – “never go full autistic”)

            “Either way, the problem I have with this is that it leaves absolutely no way to evaluate how effective government is.”

            Well, what is the way to evaluate the present government’s effectiveness? What time frame should be used to say reach 7% unemployment?

            “In turn, it effectively diminishes the role of democracy because there is little to vote for.”

            I am not following that – libertarians (or conservatives) prevent liberals, or democrats, or even republicans from nominating…who? Would Kucinich (? sp?) have been a better nominee that Obama? Would Paul have been a better nominee than McCain?

            As I recall there was something like ?8? choices on the presidential ballet. Isn’t it a tautology to say that because of the powerful, the people will never have a meaningful choice? None of the green party candidates got more votes because of the libertarians? Or because the powerful won’t fund them to buy commercials? Or maybe, just maybe, the people really don’t want high gas taxes. (I think that would be a good thing, but I don’t think thats an oil company conspiracy)

      2. NOTaREALmerican

        I can tell you what they are:

        Libertarians are the semi-autistic people (which is why most are males) that don’t comprehend that most people aren’t semi-autistic. The libertarians – therefore – doesn’t understand that the non-semi-autistic people (the statistical majority) are out in the world make social deals to screw other people. These social deals include using organizations (one of which is government) to enhance the power of the insiders (the social people at the top). The semi-autistic people (libertarians) are – therefore – at a huge disadvantage in trying to dismantle the various social organizations which are designed to screw the less social and less intelligent. This causes a huge amount of frustration in libertarians (as it should).

        1. Anonymous Jones

          Well said, except the semi-autistic do generally accept the terror of groups of the statistical majority in the “government.” They just don’t accept it happens in all other groups as well. It’s an undue focus problem, not just an inability to conceive of the “other.”

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Less attractive fish have better…

    Simllarly, evolution has made less attractive squirrels have deviousness, which ‘experts’ confuse with ‘sapiens-ness.’

  9. Doug Terpstra

    Breaking News: Drone CIA drone-operators discover intelligence at agency infamous for spectacular, criminal stupidity.

    The naked emperor’s drone program is certifiable insanity, the ‘perfect’ al-Qaeda recruiting campaign. Every week they announce some new high value target killed—like the constant Vietnam body counts, tragic and pointless. To paraphrase Doritos slogan, “go ahead, kill all you want; we’ll make more.”

    We’re doing precisely what Israel wants and is itself doing— terror begetting terrorism to fuel eternal war; using fear, hatred and insecurity as renewable resources to guarantee perpetual profit. At least some “drones” at the CIA are finally beginning to see the obvious. Barack, again is an utter disgrace.

  10. Kevin de Bruxelles

    I felt a little guilt about laughing at so loudly when I read the title: “Palestinians cannot be hammered into submission”. And sure the article was OK if not a little naive. But since I’ve been following this struggle pretty closely, I know very well that the Palestinians have indeed been pretty much getting hammered into submission ever since the Israeli tanks first rolled in back in June of 1967 (Sunday will be the 43rd anniversary of the beginning of the occupation of the West Bank). Of course in engaging in this land grab, the Israelis have made the same mistake that the Prussians / Germans made in 1870; namely, getting greedy and grabbing too much territory that will not allow a stable peace to ensue. But at the end of the day the Palestinians have only themselves to blame for their pathetic plight. It took France 48 years to get Alsace-Lorraine back from the Germans, the Palestinians show no signs that they will get their territory back any sooner than that.

    And while I certainly can feel sympathy for the Palestinians, their failures really anger me. And this is because they remind me so much of the failures of the Democratic Party in the US.

    Now no one can really blame the Palestinians for the disaster of not repelling the original invasion. At the time they were under the weak control of Jordan and it would have been too much to expect for them to stop the Israeli tank charge by themselves. Where they can be blamed are in the choices they made afterwards. When confronted with the Israeli jackboot pressing down on their neck they had two paths to go by; the peaceful path of Ghandi or the violent path of Mao. At the time the example Ghandi’s path was being followed by blacks in the US. Mao’s path had just been successfully utilized in Algeria to throw out the French. The Palestinians kind of half-ass chose Mao’s way, but then they went on to execute this choice in a cowardly and corrupt fashion. Instead of killing occupying soldiers, killing occupying settlers, and killing collaborators within their ranks, the Palestinians instead either collaborated with the Zionists or they engaged in rock-star terrorism, hijacking airlines, killing athletes, blowing up civilian busses, etc.

    Ah but the Palestinians were weak and the Israelis strong some may say. Sure that is certainly true, but the gods of war invented a tool for the weak called an insurgency. And while throughout history it has gotten mixed results, (one stellar example of success was the Spanish insurgency against Napoleon) after World War 2, the combination Maoist theory combined with the ubiquitous supply of modern firearms has meant that a disciplined insurgency had ever chance to eventually ejecting an occupying power.

    To see the difference between pre and post WW2 insurgencies, just look at the contrast between the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 and the war in Algeria (1954-62). At Omdurman a heavily outnumbered British army armed with machine guns and artillery massacred the Mahdi’s foolishly assembled force armed with nothing more than spears and antique firearms. The British lost 350 men to around 10,000 natives killed. In contrast in Algeria the FLN followed the way of Mao and were ruthless in killing French solders, civilian settlers, and their own traitors. The French exploited the internal killings by leaving false evidence of collaboration in order to trigger internal FLN purges. But in the end FLN prevailed and De Gaulle was forced to engineer a withdrawal from Algeria.

    But some may still claim the Israelis are fighting for their existence and so there is no way Palestinians could defeat them. Well then why has Hezbollah been able to defeat Israel twice then?

    You see, when Hezbollah was confronted with the jackboot of Israeli oppression, they didn’t cry for the United States to play “honest broker” (kind of like a rape victim pleading with the father of a rapist to play judge and jury) and they didn’t go playing international terrorist by hijacking airlines. And they certainly didn’t start licking it like the sycophantic Palestinians have tried. No, the dirt poor Shia got down into the trenches, eventually morphed into the highly disciplined fighting force that is Hezbollah, and did the hard work of defeating Israel. And at first the Shia of southern Lebanon actually welcomed the invading Israeli troops back in 1982. The Shia were so sick of the pot-smoking hippy PLO fighters that they actually imagined the Israelis would come in, kick PLO ass, and then leave. But as with all occupying forces though-out history, the Israelis balked at the leaving part.

    So after an eighteen year struggle Hezbollah succeeded in sending the Israeli jackboot fleeing back over the border out of Lebanon. At around the same time, the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords which were nothing more than an agreement for the Palestinians to engage in self-occupation in return for their elites receiving some ermine robes along with a few other trappings of power, along with the occasional international welfare payment.

    And in 2006 Hezbollah again stood their ground, this time in a conventional war against an Israeli frontal attack. The result has been peace on Israel’s northern border because among other things Hezbollah has earned the respect of Israel. In other words they have become very close to equals.

    War and politics all comes down to the words of Thucydides: “Right, as the world goes is only in question among equals in power. The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”

    And so it is in American politics where the rich and powerful (in theory Republicans) would represent the Israelis, while the role of the Palestinians, the poor and weak masses, is supposed to be played by the Democrats. But instead of fighting the jackboot of corporate power, for the last thirty years or so the Democrats have been eagerly licking it. While the tools to fight a peaceful political battle are certainly different than those used to fight an violent insurgency, the principles are the same. But instead of fighting the Democrats have collaborated so much and have built up so much confidence that wealth in America has decided to allow Barrack Obama to play the role of Yasser Arafat and are rewarding the supposed representatives of the masses with a bout of self-occupation. Don’t expect the American masses experiment in collaboration to turn out any better than the Palestinians. The only way collaboration, or working together is possible is between equals. So for example Hezbollah could work with Israel since they have built up mutual respect. Or European Social Democrats can work successfully with wealth (for example, the Saltsjobaden Agreements in Sweden) but only after mutual respect has been established by setting up a just society.

    So yes, the Palestinians have been hammered into submission for 43 years and will continue to be up until the day they decide to change their ways and actually effectively resist this hammering. And in a similar fashion the masses in America will continue to get hammered. Only people who act like Hezbollah cannot be hammered into submission, because these kind of people fight back when hammered.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Most large groups of humans have to have another group to laugh at and torment; “those people” of course.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Fascintating analysis, thanks. Perhaps this is why Israel fears Hamas and elites everywhere fear genuine democracy.

      The Democratic Party as collaborators is also astute, an observation so many are now waking up to, thanks to Barry. It doesn’t look promising yet, even on this site, but I do hope Americans will be able to transcend the decades long divide-and-conquer campaign so effective to date. That too, may be thanks to Barry and a post-racial society. The next collapse may open that door (?).

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        The next collapse will see the formation of a Chinese model government. This is what the new deal prevented. It only bought time.

        The natural social order is a nobility with lots of worshiping dumbass peasants. It’s the peasants that are generally the most pissed off when it’s pointed out the king as no cloths.

      2. kevin de bruxelles

        Thanks Doug.

        Yes Hamas is certainly a step up from the PLO / Fatah. But they have yet to achieve Hezbollah status. The funny thing is that back in the early eighties while the US was funding Bin Laden and the other Mujahedeen in Pakistan / Afghanistan, Israel was busy funding the embryonic Hamas in Gaza. The idea was to divide the Palestinian people and to then make a settlement with the more reasonable Islamists. My how outlooks change over time!

        The stupidity of this can be seen in the analogy to US politics. Just think if true believers on the right took their anti-Democratic rhetoric seriously and actually funded a third party to split the left. What are the odds that this third party would be as pathetic as the Democrats? Zero. So to no one’s surprise, Hamas turned out to be less wussy than the PLO. The huge mistake Israel made was not realizing that the PLO were their best friends. All the invasion of Lebanon accomplished was to substitute PLO losers with hard-ass Hezbollah winners. Sadly corporate America does not seem to be on the verge of making this same mistake by dumping the Democrats.

        Hamas did well to evict Israel from Gaza but I think they made a mistake by continuing what I call their “bottle rocket” attacks on Israel. These had next to no military significance but only served to help consolidate their power internally. Inevitably Israel spanked them down hard in 2008. Hamas would have been much better served to concentrate exclusively on civil issues while responding hard to any Israeli attacks.

        Now they seem to have adopted more of the Ghandi / MLK approach. On the one hand at this stage of the conflict this could pay off well, at least in Gaza. The problem though is that Islamic culture doesn’t really do non-violence very well. A similar problem appeared in Northern Ireland in the late sixties. There are many similarities between the black struggle for equality in the US and the Catholic struggle for equality in Northern Ireland. One huge difference obviously is that while blacks took the non-violent approach, the Irish did not have the sobriquet “fighting” for nothing. They took Mao’s way, and while they never achieved independence, they did eventually achieve equality.

        Hamas and the other Islamists are going to have to work hard if they now choose the non-violent path. They have definitely won round one of this go-around with the recent killings on the high seas but in the future engagements it will not be easy for them to sit back while Israeli soldiers are pummelling them. This just shows how impressive MLK’s achievements were in the sixties.

        The other thing they should stop doing is trading one Israeli corpse for 450 live Palestinians. Whatever short-term feel-good messages these kind of deals may bring, the long-term message the Palestinians are sending is that Israelis and Palestinians lives are not of equal value.

    3. i on the ball patriot

      I don’t buy it Kevin. Sounds like revisionist pap to me. The Palestinian pounding began when Churchill and Truman — puppets of the wealthy ruling elite — allowed the creation of Israel as the regional watch dog surrogate state well before 1967 right after W.W.II . Egypt was favored by many of the ruling elite at the time, but the unique combination of the plight of the Jewish people, the Zionist movement, their culture, religion, sympathy for the holocaust, end of W.W.II, etc., made them an excellent choice for their machinations.

      Comparing Hezbollah to the Palestinians and then laughing at a title that speaks of the Palestinian hammering and then going on to compare them to democrats in scamerica is, I believe, a real stretch and rather demeaningly insensitive of the heinous situation and the global politics of intimidation involved.

      It is like comparing and taking sides between women suffragettes and racially oppressed blacks in scamerica and then comparing them to the politically oppressed in some other nation state.

      Do the failures of blacks really anger you?
      Do the failures of women seeking the vote anger you?

      All in all a very deflective comment and it makes me wonder where you are really coming from. The democratic and republican parties are both co-opted entities of the global ruling elite. And I would not really characterize the asymmetrical damage inflicted on Hezbollah as winning anything. They suffered very severe poundings and loss of life.

      The macro orchestration of events through global propaganda is the tell. This is a global war of the wealthy taking down the middle classes and the masses. It is the rich oppressor pitted against the oppressed. You only create more division where you could choose to unify by pointing out the common oppression in all of these groups. We are all Gazans now.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      1. kevin de bruxelles

        i on the ball,

        Ask yourself this question. Is the statement that the Palestinians cannot be hammered into submission perception or deception? All your comment says, quite correctly I might add, is that the Palestinians have been being hammered into submission longer than I said. Fair enough, you are right.

        One thing that I like about your comments is that at times at least you seem to be able to accept reality. Like when I talked about the BOP you said people would be better off without them. Well I can assure you that without their BOP’s the Israelis would have simply sunk each and every one of those boats. I see when reality shines a less than glamorous light on one of your favoured puppies though you withdraw into heady comforts of idealism.

        The fact is that only power can stand up to power. Wussy sentiment and cry-baby cuddling of favoured puppies only encourages weakness. If the Palestinains want to stop being hammered by the Israelis then it is high time that they stand up to them and fight. Thinking the quartet is going to save them is pure and utter weakness.

        The same rule applies to average Americans who are playing Palestinians in their fight against their own Israelis, the corporate elite.

        If you had the slightest clue you would understand that my comment was a call to fight oppression and not to whine about it.

        And yes the failure of many blacks in America really fucking pisses me off to no end. To see the way many black children are raised does indeed make me very angry. And no, I don’t blame whitey for it now, although he certainly played a part in creating the problem in the past.

        You have to make a decision, are you going to listen to the pretty little lies or are you going to stand up and fight?

        1. i on the ball patriot

          kevin de bruxelles,

          All externalizations are deceptions.

          You have a very strange way of rallying the oppressed while demeaning them at the same time and deflecting from their causative problems.

          Simply saying that if the Palestinians want to stop being hammered by the Israelis then, “it is high time that they stand up to them and fight”, is like telling the Jew in the ghetto gas chamber that it is high time that he stand up to his fascist oppressor and fight, while also telling them that at the end of the day, as the life flows from their bodies, they have only themselves to blame. And at the same time you chastise one who would perceive the inequity of the situation and speak out against that inequity, as someone who withdraws “into heady comforts of idealism.”, what ever the fuck that means.

          And then you plod on into how angry you really are that blacks failed in scamerica — again for being spineless and gutless wussies — and throw in the real message, the now formula; “let’s only look at now and the future propaganda”, where whitey is blameless now even though whitey administered all of those whippings and beatings in the past (and still meters them out through the red line in the financial whip). That is fucking funny Kevin. The car thief tells the cop, “Forget the car was stolen last year, I am blameless now.” Sure! And of course we should all forget the aggregate generational corruption that has given us the FED, the dysfunctional acceptance of usury, the tilted playing field in the scam rule of law, the crooked electoral process, yada, yada, fucking yada. I don’t think so Kevin.

          The fact is that only deception can stand up to deception.

          You make deceptions based on your perception.

          Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

          1. Kevin de Bruxelles

            Yes and which way did the oppressed Jews finally chose; Hezbollah or Palestinian? In other words did the Jews just sit there whining about getting hammered or did they go out and do something about it? So now which way should both average Americans and Palestinians go? Should they keep crying about getting pounded or should they stand up and do something about it? As for blacks, again, look at what the Jews did. After WW2, they didn’t sit there and just whine about the Germans; they went out and gained power. They didn’t obsess over who was the car thief, they went out and kicked ass and decided it would be they would be playing the role of car thieves. Are you saying blacks are not capable of doing this?

            It’s real simple. You can cuddle your little puppies all you want. It just says that deep down inside you don’t consider them equal. People must stand up to power. The defeatism you are pushing only serves the corporate interest you claim to resist. The Palestinians can defeat Israel, but only if they stop collaborating and start fighting. The same is true for the American people.

          2. Skippy

            Kevin, with all do respect the Jew’s_did not_have any thing to do with the creation of the israeli state. It was the actions of a small group of elite Zionists, with the monies, power and connections to push their agenda. I feel that lumping all Jews together in this regards is unfair and it paints them with a broad brush, and implicates them in crimes they did not commit.

            Come together we must to demand the representation we were promised, although nothing must be done to allow them to pull the trigger, for they will and it will surprise you.

          3. i on the ball patriot

            kevin de bruxelles,

            In addition to; being almost incoherent, not addressing my responses directly, posing new and even more deflective questions to me, ascribing beliefs to me that I do not hold, and continuing to mouth extreme fantasy, over the top, burst out loud laughable revisionist history, all of which I would be wasting my time to address, you have revealed to me your bias.

            Thank you for that.

            Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

          4. DownSouth


            ….although nothing must be done to allow them to pull the trigger, for they will and it will surprise you.

            Anyone leading a violent conflict must be willing to make an…assessment regarding the possible casualties to a minority population confronting a well-armed, wealthy majority with a fanatical right-wing that is capable of exterminating the entire black populaton and which would not hesitate such an attempt if the survival of white Western materialsim were at stake.
            –Martin Luther King, Jr., “Nonviolence: The only road to freedom,” Ebony, Octover 1966

          5. Skippy

            Sadly DS this is the roll of the Tea Party I fear, fed impetus until critical mass is achieved…threat to the hegemony in place at this time and set up to create violence when pushed to far, for it is their programed response to any threat external or internal.

          6. Kevin de Bruxelles


            I enjoy criticism but please critique what I have stated and not what you project. It is sad for me to read what you wrote because I certainly respect your opinion.

            Nowhere did I state that Jews were collectively guilty for Israel or the other charges you made. Please be more careful in making serious accusations like that. What I wrote is still sitting there and quite clear. I said that after a period of oppression the Jews chose strength (Hezbollah) over weakness (Palestinians). Strength can be reflected in many ways, one of which is indeed the founding and support of Israel. But choosing strength can also mean academic and professional success for example. The point of my comment was to refute the idea that because blacks have been oppressed in the past that they must still choose weakness. The comment was certainly not meant to impart collective guilt on anyone.

            In fact through out my comments I have strived to show that Israel simply does what all powerful entities do; abuse the weak. The way to stop the abuse is to stop being weak.

            As for your allusions that I am trying to stir up violence you totally miss this sentence from my first comment where I try to link the Democrats failures with the Palestinian failures ; “While the tools to fight a peaceful political battle are certainly different than those used to fight an (sic) violent insurgency, the principles are the same.” I was indeed concerned that someone would mistake my intent and so I purposely added the peaceful vs. violent contrast (which is why that “an” was left there) to make it clear that I was not calling for violence in the US. I’m sorry if I did not make that more clear. But there is a huge range of peaceful things Americans could be doing. One example would be to not vote for the two corporate parties for example. This would be a far more powerful way to fight the system than pathetic uses of violence.

            As for the fact the Palestinians choose violence, I also stated that they had the choice to follow Gandhi or Mao. It was their choice to use violence but that is not so unusual since they had been invaded and occupied by a foreign army. The French Resistance made the same choice during the Nazi occupation while the Vichy Regime choose collaboration just like the Palestinian Authority have done in the West Bank. If god forbid the US is ever occupied by a foreign army I imagine many Americans will choose to fight using violence as well, while others will choose collaboration.

          7. Skippy

            Curious (I don’t know) that you choose to reply to my observations, rather than the other’s (DS or IOTBP) within this local thread.

            Allow me to deconstruct your comment…

            KDB said…I enjoy criticism but please critique what I have stated and not what you project. It is sad for me to read what you wrote because I certainly respect your opinion.

            You project/fawn emotional enjoyment in the context of criticism (engaging in spirited debate), then proceed to extend sadness over what I wrote, because you respect my opinion…WTF???…projection???…I put forth facts, not a projection of my emotional state with regards to this issue.

            KDB said…Nowhere did I state that Jews were collectively guilty for Israel or the other charges you made. Please be more careful in making serious accusations like that.

            You said *Jews* (totality) in the first case_your lack_of distinction, so please refrain from the emotional hyperbole and the veiled threats.

            KDB said….What I wrote is still sitting there and quite clear. I said that after a period of oppression the Jews chose strength (Hezbollah) over weakness (Palestinians).

            This should be clarified (time of oppression) pre/in-term Balfour 1917 or post Palestinian mandate up to 1948 and oppression from whom[?] and under what pretences, the indigenous population or internationally driven MSM and again with the *Jews* (TOTALITY) memo.

            KDB said…Strength can be reflected in many ways, one of which is indeed the founding and support of Israel. But choosing strength can also mean academic and professional success for example.

            Define *strength* then provide further illumination to your statement of “founding *strength*” its basis, its tenets, terrorist acts[?] partaken by a few and lollipops for the general masses?.

            KDB said…In fact through out my comments I have strived to show that Israel simply does what all powerful entities do; abuse the weak. The way to stop the abuse is to stop being weak.

            Apologists for the elite, enabler, the the horror of ideological malfeasance’s in my book, full stop, not to far from the Germanic feelings in the 30s I might add.

            KDB said…As for the fact the Palestinians choose violence, I also stated that they had the choice to follow Gandhi or Mao.

            Unfortunately they did not have many options with regards to its public *understanding* the forces brought to bear against it (historically repetitive), no one gave them the enemies play book.

            I’ll let it go there and side with IOTBP statements ^ above.

            Skippy…I too am saddened, for I thought you were more concise with fact over feelings. I always looked forward to your thoughts, as I thought they were unbiased by such simple human failings…caveat I’m still working on mine (social imprinting)…sigh.

          8. DownSouth


            …again with the *Jews* (TOTALITY) memo…

            It is unfortunate that Israel is as much a captive of a fanatical right wing as is the United States.

            As an American I resent being put in the same category with Dick Cheney, just as I’m sure many Jews, and Israelis, resent being put in the same category with Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu.

            The fact that not all Israelis support the fanatical right-wing militarism that has gained currency in Israel was evidenced in a letter-to-the-editor in yesterday’s NY Times:

            Mr. Ben-Gurion told me that Israel would regret maintaining control of Arab-inhabited regions and another people after the 1967 Six-Day War. He said the war would never end as long as Israel occupied the area, an occupation he felt was both strategically and morally wrong.

            And if succeeding right-wing governments had taken his advice, the war might well have been over years ago, preventing Hamas from ruling Gaza, giving Iran no excuse for threatening Israel with nuclear destruction, and making life much easier for the United States.

            The Israeli assault on the pro-Palestinian flotilla is a symbolic result of the tragic survival-imperiling refutation by Israeli right-wingers of the visionary views of their country’s two greatest leaders.

            Dan Kurzman
            North Bergen, N.J., June 3, 2010


            Each person should be judged by the content of his or her character, not by their nationality, religion, or skin color.

    4. gordon

      K. de Bruxelles: “The Palestinians can defeat Israel, but only if they stop collaborating and start fighting”.

      Agent provocateur, anyone?

    1. MarcoPolo

      I once stayed at a hotel in Costa Rica that had one of these KB Toucans domisticated and it would make the rounds to our tables and share breakfast with us. As I remember it prefered bananas to coco pops. Perhaps that’s of necessity. There are far more bananas in CR than coco pops (not a bad thing).

    1. i on the ball patriot

      UPDATE …

      FLASH: Israeli Navy Approaching Rachel Corrie

      1. At 10 am Malaysian time today, Matthias Chang from the Rachel Corrie informed his son that israeli navy ships approaching the ship 9 minutes ago via web
      2. ‘Rachel Corrie’ near Alexandria, sailing along coast being approached by fast patrol boat 14 minutes ago via web
      3. Two warships coming on on the side of Rachel Corrie, 35 miles out of Gaza 31 minutes ago via web
      4. Guardian article, 9 human rights workers shot 30 times at close range:

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      1. i on the ball patriot

        Current top story on Google news page …

        “Ohio teen wins National Spelling Bee”
        The Associated Press – Joseph White – ‎30 minutes ago.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. Richard Kline

          Wouldn’t want to offend those advertisers with any humanity or anything. The founders of Gobble may or may not have been evil, but the fossilized cactus running the shop there now might as well be named Ford Frick II.

      2. Richard Kline

        Evidently ‘intercepted’ but not boarded as of yet, according to blog updates over at Alternet:

        It would mean a great deal to me if a ship with Rachel Corrie’s name on it broke the heartless siege of those who murdered here, too. The meaning if far larger to be sure; my personal satisfaction is of little consequence to any but me. She went to my college a few years after I did, and time was I looked into training for what later became the organizations she joined. I should be on a ship now, inf a different life. Time it was this life . . . .

        Come on baby: it’s One Small Green against the Black 10000, and my money’s on you. Full speed ahead.

  11. LAS

    If it weren’t for the Antidote du jour, Naked Capitalism would just be too hard to take sometimes. What kind of society are we to allow welfare programs for the elderly and disabled be corrupted for the profit of a few already rich individuals? Why are our mutually shared natural assets (the Gulf waters or the rain forests, for example) to be ruined for the profit of a few capitalists? Petty capitalists are so keen to protect their one little acre and income stream they own, that they resent paying the progressive social taxes to preserve the great shared assets of the planet. Too late we realize the wealth of the planet was not where we thought it was.

    1. i on the ball patriot

      Yes, the article linked is a pretty good take on events. It provides a lot of supporting information related to the macro orchestration of global propaganda which the author does not fully develop.

      Reading it with that macro viewpoint lens in mind one can clearly see some of the more formula effects, parallels, and similarities, of the intentionally created sea change in the global psyche meant to thrust us all into a perpetual conflict with each other.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  12. Dan Duncan

    Goddamn, this is some amusing commentary!

    All I want to know is WTF was going on at 8:40 p.m.

    The first wave of stupidity at 8:40 comes from Skippy…who writes that Israel was created so a group of Zionist elites could push an agenda….

    Are you kidding me? And What, exactly, was the agenda Skippy? Was it a “secret” agenda commemorated with sacrifices on an altar?

    Meanwhile, also at 8:40, we get this riveting insight from Tom “dicto simpliciter” Bradford, who writes:

    “Perhaps Al-Qada’s number 3, Mustafa al-Yazid, did deserve to die. Perhaps his death will damage Al-Qada.

    “But did his wife deserve to die? Did three of his daughters deserve to die? Did one of their grandchildren deserve to die? Will their deaths damage Al-Qada?”

    You know, Tom, some jobs just aren’t conducive to family life. Perhaps, upon the birth of child #1, Mustafa should have retired, or at least accepted an administrative position within Al Qaeda.

    A silver lining to your penetrating insight, however, is the fact that now the US has an excuse for not taking Bin Laden out.

    “See, we would have killed him, but he was with one of his 6 wives and we just didn’t think it was appropriate to put her in danger like that.”

    And just when you think it cannot possibly get any dumberer, Tom hits us with the following two sentences that are worthy of inscription on the Rosetta Stone of Achingly Stupid Moral Equivalence:

    “Innocents died on 9/11, deliberately killed by terrorists. Innocents died along with al-Yazid, deliberately killed by the United States of America.”

    I couldn’t make this shit up.

    1. Skippy

      Ahem…it was not an act of the Jewish people, it was by those with the means, power, connections and a agenda to pull it off or are you saying every one had a vote on it.


      The declaration was made in a letter from Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, a Zionist organization. The letter reflected the position of the British Cabinet, as agreed upon in a meeting on 31 October 1917. It further stated that the declaration is a sign of “sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations.”

      The statement was issued through the efforts of Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, the principal Zionist leaders based in London; as they had asked for the reconstitution of Palestine as “the” Jewish national home the declaration fell short of Zionist expectations.[2]

      The “Balfour Declaration” was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty with Turkey and the Mandate for Palestine. The original document is kept at the British Library.

      The Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920) was the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed with Germany before this treaty to annul the German concessions including the economic rights and enterprises. Also, France, Great Britain and Italy signed a secret “Tripartite Agreement” at the same date.[1] The Tripartite Agreement confirmed Britain’s oil and commercial concessions and turned the former German enterprises in the Ottoman Empire over to a Tripartite corporation. The open negotiations covered a period of more than fifteen months, beginning at the Paris Peace Conference. The negotiations continued at the Conference of London, and took definite shape only after the premiers’ meeting at the San Remo conference in April 1920. France, Italy, and Great Britain, however, had secretly begun the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire as early as 1915. The delay occurred because the powers could not come to an agreement which, in turn, hinged on the outcome of the Turkish national movement. The Treaty of Sèvres was annulled in the course of the Turkish War of Independence and the parties signed and ratified the superseding Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

      Skippy…Dan I used to look at you as a worthy opponent, with respect but…these days I wonder how many *cranks* on your box it takes till you spring forth…with your *non* factoid utterances…most people retire to private quarters before (mentally) masturbating…pleases observe social protocol in the future.

      PS. always personal and never sticking to the argument, with out a slur…may some one salt your patch.

      1. Skippy

        BTW I stated the creation of the Israeli state with in the British controlled Palestine after WWI…previously Turkish domain..did you notice the date 1915 before cessation of conflict..umm…was the agenda…shez.

        Skippy…you really are the type to start a bar fight with your crocodile mouth only to exit the back door with your humming bird ass and smirk with satisfaction of your mental prowess.

  13. Unsympathetic

    The money sentences from Gillian Tett’s article on Kazakhstan:

    “In theory, lenders should have an interest in avoiding default. In practice, CDS players do not. The credit world has become a hall of mirrors, where nothing is necessarily as it seems.

    At best, this makes it very difficult to tell how corporate defaults will affect banks; at worst, it creates the risk of needless value destruction as creditors tip companies into default.”

    It’s all well and good to think Kazakh “stared down” banks.. but that simply isn’t the case. The lender, in this case Morgan Stanley, stands to make more money from CDS written on the Kazakh bank than the value of the loan that was crammed down by the government. So MS really doesn’t care at this point.

    The question is.. who holds the other side of that CDS, and when will they demand the US taxpayer – er, excuse me, the Fed, make them whole?

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