Links 8/16/10

Boeing Plans Commercial Space Taxis by 2015 ABC (hat tip reader John D)

Nano “Wiretap” Spies on Cells National Geographic (hat tip reader Francois T)

Increase in ‘warm water’ dolphins off North East coast BBC

US issues arms deal ultimatum to Turkey Financial Times. This is awfully heavy handed, and the call by Obama puts US prestige on the line, big time. If Turkey defies the US, this is a big deal.

The Two Churchills New York Times (hat tip reader Don B)

Damn It: For Once, Obama (Briefly) Happened to be Right Power of Narrative (hat tip Chris Floyd)

Is Gulf Seafood Safe? George Washington

China Has Long Been the World’s Second Largest Economy: NYT Kills Electrons for Nothing
from Beat the Press
Dean Baker

Hurd Deal Inflamed Board Wall Street Journal. As I indicated, these official explanations don’t add up. Boards are normally very keen to see word of sexual improprieties disappear fast.

The Fed’s Backup Plan(s) for Lehman Economics of Contempt

German Workers’ Wages Belie Country’s Rebound Wall Street Journal

Mass Delusion – American Style Jim Quinn

Antidote du jour:

Picture 23

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  1. Francois T

    Re: US issues arms deal ultimatum to Turkey

    1) UN vote for sanctions: One has to wonder if the Obama Administration listen to its own intelligence community, or if they are eager to use them as Bush-Cheney did, hence repeating the same tragic mistakes. This article:

    is full of links highlighting the drum beat of propaganda to attack Iran, and the serious doubts real experts have about Iran nuclear plans, or even capacity to develop a nuclear weapon within the next decade.

    2) Turkey’s attitude toward Israel: Since I have nothing remotely polite to say about the behavior of the US political class when it comes to that, I’ll pass for now.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      FT quoted on ZeroHedge: “President Barack Obama has personally warned Turkey’s prime minister that unless Ankara shifts its position on Israel and Iran it stands little chance of obtaining the US weapons it wants to buy.”

      And more: “The president has said to Erdogan that some of the actions that Turkey has taken have caused questions to be raised .. . about whether we can have confidence in Turkey as an ally.”

      But wait: “They need to show that they take seriously American [more importantly, Israeli] national security interests,” said the administration official, adding that Washington was looking at Turkish conduct and would then assess if there were ‘sufficient efforts that we can go forward with their request’ [for arms].”

      This is bush league, not transformative change—the sort of ‘diplomacy’ will likely be applauded by China. Hmmm, who else can we poke in the eye for Israel?

    2. Richard Kline

      Let’s see: Within the last half dozen years, the Turks have finally broken the political grip of the fascist military oligarchy which has ruled their country for three generations. Over the last two generations, the US had actively funded, trained, and funneled support to that parasitical and backward looking caste, up to and including helping them set up a clandestine domestic network of off the books thugs and death squaders. Then there’s Turkey’s recent defiance of Israel on a matter of international law and simple justice, actions give adulation throughout the Near East, and widely supported in much of the putative ‘West’—except in the US. Of course, Israel had been the next closest ally to that junta in Turkey after the US. And what is the US response? “We won’t sell them any of our functionally useless whiz-bang toys.” This press release is intended first to coddle the israelis and second for domestic media consupmtion, to look ‘tough’ and ‘decisive’ when acting pissy-assed.

      The real politickal changes underway regarding Turkey’s relationships are astounding to anyone who’s followed the history here; truly a sea change, and the implications are substantial. Turkey has had hostile relations with the Persians for _1100_ years; yes, you read that right, and Turks have repeatedly occupied and run that country in the middle past, though never long or successfully. A political rapprochement between the two is history making—and well under way, courtesy of US imperialist asshattery. Turks and Arabs have _never_ been on good terms; look it up, find me the time. The probabilities of a working accord between the two peoples occurring naturally have been low, to say the least. As recently as fifteen years ago, the military in Turkey gave Syria a war ultimatum, no foolin’, regarding crossborder ill-will. We are well on the way to seeing an actual Syro-Turkish alliance bloom, with a real basis to it. While Islamic sentiment is strong among provincial Turks and a credo of the political party making most of these changes, it is nearer secularism than the kinds of 17th century social conservatism enforced by Sunni religious authorities in much of the Arab world. Turkish civil society is fundamentally secular, and that is not something at all likely to be reversed. Indeed, it is being exported _to the Arab world_.

      And what does the US have to say about any of this? Whining and aye-saying to any line Israel adheres to. Pathetic. But history is being made without us in the Near East, by those who live there, as it should be. Nobody there needs our destabilizing, chicken shit drones, and the sooner they make other plans the better for their citizens. We have never been a ‘friend’ to anybody living in Turkey. Better they should make friends with their neighbors, as they are doing now with some real vision.

  2. M.InTheCity

    Thanks Yves for linking to the great Arthur Silber (Power of Narrative). He’s great at shaking people awake – although not many people like that! He’s been writing some really honest apprasials about wikileaks recently. Thanks again.

  3. koshem Bos

    “Damn It: For Once, Obama (Briefly) Happened to be Right” and “Mass Delusion – American Style” are great example of the regular output of the faux left in the blogsphere.
    The first post shows the handy use of the label “war crime” for anything the author dislikes. War crimes are very serious crimes; they are not a title for everything you don’t like in a war. Then the author calls the Cordoba House controversy an invented controversy. When you belong to the hateful faux left and mandate that everyone thinks exactly like you and if not, God forbid. No matter what you think about it, the controversy is plenty real.

    The author of “Mass Delusion …” basically declare the American people to be a bunch of morons. How can you be a lefty and still believe that everyone else is a moron is beyond reason. The whole post drips of hate and dismissiveness.

    1. aet

      Nonsense…people ought to read the articles for themselves.
      I don’t think your “arguments” address the points raised by the articles – you just call their authors names.

      1. aet

        How ought religious bigotry be properly encoded ionto American Law, anyhow?
        Or is this to be decided on a mob-by-mob basis?

      2. George Booth

        Actually, I think the prior commenter has a valid point. I read the blog posts cited, and both authors engage primarily in name-calling and ad hominem attacks, rather than discussing and disputing the basis of their opponents’arguments. Sadly typical of the hypocrisy of the supremely rational left.

        And actually, while I agree that the “mosque” at “Ground Zero” is neither a mosque nor at “Ground Zero”, I find the notion of an Islamic cultural center in such close proximity to the former WTC site to be frankly offensive. It would be comparable, say, to building the RAF Bomber Command memorial in Dresden, or a Catholic Church at Sabra and Shatila.

        1. Anonymous Jones

          As much as you are entitled to find it offensive, I’m entitled to find your offense (and more importantly, your daft analogies) incredibly short-sighted and reprehensible.

          1. George Booth

            @ Anon. Jones:

            Thanks for making my point for me. Again.

            Res ipsa loquitor, indeed.

            Perhaps you can address my “daft” analogies more succinctly rather than simply dismiss them with a pejorative?



        2. Stelios Theoharidis

          I am so tired of this stupid WTC meme. A) it is not a mosque B) it is not at ground zero it is 5 blocks away C) there is already a mosque 4 blocks away from ground zero D) we have a right to freedom of religion in this country

          I for one think that all religion is absurd nonsense and I think teaching your kids this ignorant creationist (cavemen used to ride dinosaurs) crap is pretty close to child abuse. But, that doesn’t mean I am going to tell anyone that they can’t build a mosque, church, temple, or community center somewhere. Or that they can’t believe in flying spaghetti monsters.

          It is not Islam that flew a plane into this the WTC buildings but a radical group supported by Wahabi fundamentalist that our government keeps afloat through military aid in Saudi Arabia as well as CIA money and weapons that supported the Muhajeen in Afghanistan against the Russians. These people flew a plane into the WTC buildings. If anyone is responsible for this stunted version of Islam it is our own misguided foreign policy supporting rabid dictators in Arab countries against moderate rule to keep our oil companies awash in profits.

          1. Eric Overton

            I don’t think this is an issue of freedom of religion. My understanding is the imam behind the plans for the new mosque supports a sect of Islam called wasabi. This mosque will be fighting for shii law. I believe this sect is behind the ideology that caused the attacks on the world trade center. I all so believe them to be very destructive toward women and American superiority.

            I think every Mosque supporting Shii law is a direct threat to our constitution and our freedom to worship as Christians. I think the government should shut their doors permanently. I feel that any other way of thinking is very naive. I believe Obama supporting this mosque is an impeachable offence. Everyone responsible for allowing this threat to continue should be held criminally liable.

            I would welcome any Mosque to America that is not a threat to my way of life. I believe with all my heart that God wants us to defend ourselves and our ability to serve him.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      koshem, I agree with your (not so edifying) indictment of “the hateful faux left”. The true left, angry but caring, is more often open-minded, intelligent, and thoughtful. Silber’s post, in many ways, sounds much more like a tea-partier than a true lefty. Unfortunately, hate is contagious.

      That said, if “’Mass Delusion…’ drips of hate and dismissiveness’ it is still a serious wakeup call that people should read. But for the sensitive faux right, a kinder and gentler companion to that article is Automatic Earth’s “Bubble Psychology and Lessons from History”, including more eerily familiar prognostications from the 30’s.

      See also: “The Famous Prognosticator’s Hall of Fame”:

      I suspect a lot of what you see as hatefulness is more often the frustration and desperation of people trying to wake up the slumbering flock.

    3. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: How can you be a lefty and still believe that everyone else is a moron is beyond reason.

      I’ll take a stab at this. First, look at this: (From Jesse’s site):

      The simple term left and right doesn’t account for “authority worship or distrust” or “the worship (or distrust) of the very very very very very smart people that generally run social organizations – like political Parties”.

      Taking the example of the “lefties”. Those at the bottom of the left side of the circle (from the link) would have a completely DIFFERENT view of life that those at the top of the left side. The bottom lefties would be those who distrust large political and social organizations; stressing the rights of the individual over government. (Btw, the common term for our style of government used to be a Liberal Democracy – liberal meaning: not beholden to the nobility’s right to rule). Those at the top would be the traditional smothering mommy Party socialists who never met a centralized solution they didn’t like (because, of course, the very very very smart Party insiders get to run the scam).

      This same idea holds for “righties” too. Libertarians would be at the bottom right side of the circle. Fascists would be at the top right of the circle. There’s not much in common between the, two but both are considered “righties”.

      Regarding Americans being morons. Personally, any group of people that put up with a government like the US has had for the last 50+ years couldn’t exactly be all that intelligent.

    4. LeeAnne

      Well, it’s late in the thread, but I want to cheer for Harry Reid standing up for locating the Carboda center named after a Muslim slaughter of Catholics back in the 8th century “someplace else.”

      Reid: Mosque Should Be Built Someplace Else Huffington

      The Martyrs of Córdoba were forty-eight Christian martyrs living in the 9th century Muslim-ruled Al-Andalus, in what is now southern Spain; their hagiography describes in detail their executions for capital violations of Muslim law in Al-Andalus. The martyrdoms instanced by Eulogius took place between 851 and 859; …”

      Read in detail here at Wikipedia

      Can you imagine a new church or Synogogue being contemplated anywhere in the world or New York City today naming itself after a place where Muslims were slaughtered specifically because they were slaughtered in that place?

      This provocation is over the top. Americans are played for fools by all the players in the Middle East, but primarily here at home by the stinkiest political traitors the world has ever known; Europe has reason to feel sorry for Americans right now. Political correctness be DAMNED.

      The map of the site relative to the WTC shows the Post Office at 15 stories, while the Center is proposed at a total of 21 stories with a dome and on top -probably a clear view from the windows of the news World Trade Center site and the memorial and transportation to and from the site..

      GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!

      The Koran is a political strategic manual of directions for the domination of others -all others, other than Muslims PURE and SIMPLE.

      It is intrinsically anti-American, anti everything this country stands for. I do not stand for American suicide.

      I watched as no one stood up for Rushdie and against the people responsible for the fatwah against him as murders were committed in the publishing industry that took his books off AMERICAN shelves. Americans caved.

      1. LeeAnne

        for a detailed read on the aftermath of the Rushdie affair, the chilling effect it has had on ANY criticism of Islam here in my country and the rest of the world here

        1. Bates

          49 Catholics were killed? Hey, the Spanish Inquisition put the Muslims in the shade when it came to death and torture…or, do you simply dislike Muslims? Or, is it OK for Catholics to kill Jews and Christians but not OK for Muslims to kill them? If you are Catholic you well know that various popes have issued edicts based on their personal interpretation of the canon law.

          “The Inquisition was extremely active between 1480 and 1530. Different sources give different estimates of the number of trials and executions in this period; Henry Kamen estimates about 2,000 executed, based on the documentation of the Autos de Fé, the great majority being conversos of Jewish origin. He offers striking statistics: 91.6% of those judged in Valencia between 1484 and 1530 and 99.3% of those judged in Barcelona between 1484 and 1505 were of Jewish origin.[12] “In 1498 the pope was still trying to…gain acceptance for his own attitude towards the New Christians, which was generally more moderate than that of the Inquisition and the local rulers.”


          “The first auto de fe was held in Seville on February 6, 1481: six people were burned alive. From there, the Inquisition grew rapidly in the Kingdom of Castile. By 1492, tribunals existed in eight Castilian cities: Ávila, Córdoba, Jaén, Medina del Campo, Segovia, Sigüenza, Toledo, and Valladolid.

          Sixtus IV promulgated a new bull categorically prohibiting the Inquisition’s extension to Aragon, affirming that,

          many true and faithful Christians, because of the testimony of enemies, rivals, slaves and other low people—and still less appropriate—without tests of any kind, have been locked up in secular prisons, tortured and condemned like relapsed heretics, deprived of their goods and properties, and given over to the secular arm to be executed, at great danger to their souls, giving a pernicious example and causing scandal to many.”

          Here is a Wiki link…

          1. skippy

            Muslims had nothing to do with it, why should they be the whipping post. Just because the sheeple are told it was them and not the Saudi royal extremists does not equal political correctness. It’s like the 5th derivative in a bad bit of math, totally fked up.

            Skippy….strange how talking points become fact after a bit.

  4. purple

    Turkey has a lot of cards to play. They also blocked a northern invasion into Iraq during the Gulf War. Their economy is three times the size of Israel and twice the size of Iran and they will be the predominant power in the Middle East for a very long time.

    1. LeeAnne

      And, that seems to answer the question of why the Harvard portfolio, run by Washington authorities, has transferred their Israeli assets to Turkey assets.

  5. Bates

    RE: The Two Churchills…

    “He [Churchill] also saw the Nazi threat far ahead of the complacent British establishment, and his extraordinary leadership may have been the decisive factor in vanquishing Hitlerism from Europe.”

    This above statement is not true and is a weak attempt at revisionist history. Toye is either a revisionist or simply does not know the history of the period. Churchill was a great orator and wartime leader of GB, but in 1904 Hartford Mackinder had explained in detail the ‘Heartland Principle’; which in brief summary stated that “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World.” In the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 Mackinder stated his beliefs for all to hear…and the winners of WW1 listened and took some precautions. Since Churchill was an avid reader and prolific writer there is no possibility that he was unaware of Mackinder’s published thoughts.

    Mackinder reccommended a buffer zone of states be created between Germany and Russia and it was accomplished but proved ineffective in 1939. Mackinder’s greatest fear was a cooperative alliance between Russia and Germany would rule the heartland and eventually conquer the ‘world island’. Early in WW2 Germany and Russia did form an alliance. Of course in 1904 or in 1919 Mackinder could not forsee the coming of large scale strategic bombing but the effects of strategic bombing in WW2 have always been debated. At the end of WW2 Germany was producing more war materials than at the beginning even though untold tons of conventional bombs had been dropped on Germany.

    The Nazis and Americans also listened to Mackinder…

    “The Heartland Theory was enthusiastically taken up by the German school of Geopolitik, in particular by its main proponent Karl Haushofer. Whilst Geopolitik was later embraced by the German Nazi regime in the 1930s, Mackinder was always extremely critical of the German exploitation of his ideas. The German interpretation of the Heartland Theory is referred to explicitly (without mentioning the connection to Mackinder) in The Nazis Strike, the second of Frank Capra’s Why We Fight series of American World War II propaganda films.”

    see Wiki link for more on Mackinder…

  6. nowhereman

    Re: Damn It: For Once, Obama (Briefly) Happened to be Right, this article is typical of the we’re smarter than you, left wing, wing-nuts. Anytime the “Tyranny of the majority” especially the “idiot majority” is trotted out you know the argument is an extremely weak attempt to co-opt public opinion. Now, I may not agree with the wisdom of the majority, and I certainly don’t trust small sample opinion polls, but calling people idiots for what they believe, is just a non-starter for me and is evidence of a weak argument and an even weaker mind.

  7. EmilianoZ

    RE: China as second world economy

    The NYT article Baker refers to is titled:
    “China Passes Japan as Second-Largest Economy”.

    Using exactly the same data, Le Monde, which is supposed to be France’s most authoritative newspaper, published an article titled:
    “Deuxième puissance économique mondiale, le Japon devance toujours la Chine”
    (2nd economic world power, Japan still ahead of China)

    LOL! That confirms my belief. Data do not matter. Journalists can make data tell any story they want.

  8. dearieme

    I do like your picture of Mr Goldman and Mr Sachs reclining on the recumbent body of the American taxpayer.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Thanks for the laugh, dearieme and Yves. Dang, they’re cute!!! In this case the comatose meerkat, unlike the taxpayer, doesn’t seem to mind providing support.

  9. Jim the Skeptic

    Re: “Damn It: For Once, Obama (Briefly) Happened to be Right”

    I just wrote and erased a long comment about this link and then erased it. This is really really simple.

    Too much heat and not enough light.

    I won’t be going back to that website.

  10. Ron

    Hurd’s exit from HP remains a tech mystery and nothing written to date cast much light on the situation other then cutting a good bottom line isn’t what it use to be worth!

    1. craazyman

      So he cuts tens of thousands of jobs, cuts company-wide pay, apparently makes nothing new or original, pinches a blonde in the ass, and gets $40 million dollars to walk out the door.

      Who could make this stuff up? I’m not sure what is more newsworthy about this, the layoffs, the pinch or the cultural phenomenon.

      Life as a big time CEO in the USA.

      No doubt he’ll get a new gig at some private equity chop shop where he can stimulate more “efficiency”. LOL.

      Efficiency. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Shit.

      At the end of that road there’s one person working as a near-slave with one machine that makes everything with perfect sterile lifeless efficiency — and everyone else is independently wealthy or unemployed, mostly unemployed.

  11. recaldo

    Why are banks easing lending standards for small businesses for the first time in four years during an apparent slow down?

    Does it have anything to do with the Nov. election? A probable Republican win means that these moves by banks will have effect right after their election.

  12. skippy

    WOW how could it all go so horribly wrong.

    Hero worship, money worship, I/mine first (with plenty of authors) worship, Homo-sapien worship (the most blatant case of authorial bias this universe probably has seen), big is better worship, more complicated is better worship and my personal favorite…the process of bring STUFF to the market and calling it science.

    Skippy…for all those that quantify life in 0 & 1 values and expect that to fix things…the cliff is that way —->>>>

  13. Ottawan

    Talkin’ loud, sayin nothin’ (see Brown, James)

    Everyone does it. Here in the blogpit, like the at the House o’ Commons, there is no time for nuance. We are treated to the spectacle of people insulting each other, then feigning offence when insulted; offering a tiny paragraph AND ending with a plea for greater depth. I can just see the grin on the face of the little Goebbels’ of the world (they live for this stuff).

    Fact is, most MPs fell asleep when Eddie Burke stood. And he may have been one of the most careful speakers in the history of anglo political representation.

    Yet we still get these pleas for reasoned arguments. Is it really so hard to understand that the people who care about honest thinking are hopelessly marginal? That most people are too stupid to think critically? Is it really so hard to understand why we get rabble-rousers in the union shop and right-wing AM radio?

    Wake the f**k up y’all! Stupidity might be the most important variable of all!

  14. Doc Holiday

    “The phrase du jour is going to be ‘deflation’ and it’s not only going to last for a day but for some time,” said Christian Cooper, senior rates trader at Jefferies & Co in New York.

    “There’s real concern that without further stimulation of the economy the overall weakness could lead not only to a double dip but to outright price deflation … it may be an actual event as opposed to a concern.”

    ==> I’m re-born in the serious deflation camp, and see trouble brewing, i.e., fear not the double dip recession, fear deflation and a return to The Great Depression ll. The more worrying element is the retarded concept that more stimulus is needed, to kick up “positive inflation” — but obviously, we see the results of pouring Blue Agave-based spirit on a debt fire and then thinking that extra fuel would deplete the fire of its craving for oxygen … (breathing hard…).

    Random stuff:


    In underconsumption theory in economics, recessions and stagnation arise due to inadequate consumer demand relative to the amount produced. The theory has been replaced since the 1930s by Keynesian economics and the theory of aggregate demand, both of which were influenced by underconsumption.

    One of the early underconsumption theories says that because workers are paid a wage less than they produce, they cannot buy back as much as they produce. Thus, there will always be inadequate demand for the product. This, of course, ignores other sources of demand, to which we return below.


    ** Keynes observes that this is a precursor to his theory of effective demand. He notes that the book describes the paradox of thrift—showing that a community that forsakes luxury for savings achieves neither.


    “As such, QE, or ever cheaper money, has and always will be a “push” phenomenon, for which there is simply no demand, in a society that has trillions more of deleveraging to undergo. And banks realize that with retail investors not participating in the stock market, and thus having nobody to offload risky exposure to, using reserves to bid up risky assets will merely result in more pain down the road once profit taking time comes and everything goes bidless. As such, as debate over the utility of QE is moot.”

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