Links 8/9/10

Hunt for ‘extinct’ frogs begins BBC

The Internet Generation Prefers the Real World Der Spiegel

Girls Hit Puberty at Younger Ages Wall Street Journal

Global warming heats up a nuclear energy renaissance Christian Science Monitor

The US isn’t leaving Iraq, it’s rebranding the occupation Seamus Milne, Guardian (hat tip Gonzalo Lira). From last week, still germane.

Married to the Clinton Mob TruthDig (hat tip reader Max). Again from last week, on another rebranding.

Do We Need an NEC? Matt Yglesias

Robert Rubin Argues Against ‘Major’ Stimulus And For Deficit Reduction Sam Stein, Huffington Post. Rubin’s role as a major, if not the major, architect of the crisis is Exhibit One as to why to listen to nothing he says, and unless proven otherwise, to run fast the other way: his primary allegiance is the interest of the banking classes, which is no longer that of most Americans. As we have discussed, cutting deficits now (when the private sector is deleveraging and we are running a sizeable trade deficit) is a guarantee of a further contraction, which will result in worse debt/GDP ratios, the problem this little operation was intended to fix.

Greenspan, Rubin, and Herbert Hoover Robert Reich

Waiting for Nothing? Tim Duy

US companies act on pay clawback rules Financial Times

U.S. Investors Regain Majority Holding of Treasuries Bloomberg


Top SSRN Corporate Law Downloads So Far Conglomerate. If this is a topic of interest, a good list of papers.

Still Paying for Lehman’s Demise New York Times. No joke, the BK attorney is pressing the court to approve that Lehman pay Dick Fuld’s legal bills.

Here’s Proof That If You Want Growth, You Better Not Look To The US Clusterstock

What is the role of the state? Martin Wolf’s Exchange, Financial Times

Podcast of 7/31 Interview of Yves by Michael Schussele

Antidote du jour:

Picture 5

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  1. Ray Duray

    Dear Yves,

    This just in… C-SPAN is currently reporting that your Saturday call-in show has had 7,430 online views. This is a remarkable achievement! Attagirl, Yves!
    [Search by Most Viewed]

    Be sure to let me know when you need to hire staff for your new career as a media guru!

    And, by the way, there’s a progressive who seems to be working the Fox News Network to some good effect these days. He’s an acquaintance named Mark Levine You might contact Mark now that you’ve gotten such big numbers at C-SPAN. Maybe he can get you in touch with a producer at Fox? Just a thought.

    Mark’s website:

    Another idea? How about contacting the Thom Hartmann Radio Program? Thom’s got the kind of thoughtful “beyond soundbite” style on air that would do justice to your message. I know some of the staff there. I’ll put in a good word.

    Best, Ray

  2. Anon

    “As we have discussed…”


    Please show me where what worked to get us out of the 1920 depression won’t work today, but what extended the Great Depression for a full decade will.

    I’ll love to see it.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      With all due respect, you clearly haven’t looked at the facts or the programs implemented in the Great Depression. First, creditor nations (like the US) have a worse time in financial crises. It takes time to work off the private sector overhang, either via default or restructuring. Second, the US had a very big expansion starting in 1933, which went into reverse in 1937….because the officialdom started trying to balance the budget.

      So keep making stuff up….you might be able to sell your uninformed prejudice on some websites, but it won’t go over here.

      As for the articles discussing our current situation, see

  3. Ignim Brites

    Robert Scheer concludes his “Married to the Clinton Mob” with this: “Clinton nostalgia is dangerous nonsense, and for Democrats to go down that road is to avoid serious assessment of their own party’s role in the economic debacle that haunts the nation.” That the Democrats had a role in the making of The Disaster should not obscure the point that the Disaster is indicative of a failure of American politics in general. It is civilization failure. Those who are most culpable are the university presidents of the past four or five decades.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Socialism and fascism are two sides of the same coin.

      Socialist (liberal, progressive) intellectuals (ie: University Presidents) desire a huge all-knowing smothering mommy government run by the very very very very smartest people of society (which happen to be University Presidents, of course).

      Fascist (conservative) intellectuals (the wealthy who are obviously successful or they wouldn’t BE wealthy) desire a huge all-knowing kick-ass daddy government run by the very very very very smartest people of the society (those successful in kicking-ass).

      The real issue is what you said: “It is civilization failure.” Our civilization – people – loves big government. The ONLY disagreement is which group of very very very very smart insiders gets to run it.

      It’s probably NOT a “civilization failure” at all tho. Perhaps most humans desire the safety of mommy or daddy protecting them from thinking.

      Perhaps this is the natural progression of all too-bit-to-manage societies:

    2. koshem Bos

      Robert Scheer’s piece is the worst lefty baseless liable I have read in about ten years. It’s on the same level of Glenn Beck’s crap. Grow up, Clinton hasn’t been president for a decade, his foundation is doing endless amount of good all over the world and as president, Clinton was smarter, more creative, more successful, more intellectual capable than the lemon we have now. Clinton is even way to the left of Obama.

      1. KFritz

        Both POTUS’s referenced are law professors. Clinton presided over the dismantling of the last vestiges of intelligent financial regulation, ignoring Stiglitz and his FOB Robert Reich. That alone brackets his Admin as mediocre @ best. Subsequent philanthropy can’t undue or disguise that.

        As much as Clinton’s failings, Sheer is sending up Tina Brown, her connection to the worst of the Clinton years, and her gauzing over the Clinton legacy with a celebration of a post-modern rich folks’ wedding. The NYT covered the show with discretion and taste, talking up the town of Rhinebeck.

        I don’t believe FOB Reich was invited to Rhinebeck.

  4. Kevin de Bruxelles

    From the Guardian article on Iraq: “The Iraq war has been a historic political and strategic failure for the US. It was unable to impose a military solution, let alone turn the country into a beacon of western values or regional policeman.”

    Well obviously these criteria were never going to be met; but does anyone really believe the US went to war in Iraq to turn it into a democracy? No, a far more likely reason was the fact that Iraq was the only Sunni-led country that was outside of the US sphere of influence. To me it’s clear the real reason for attacking and occupying Iraq was to integrate one of the last hold-out nations into the US’ global system as well as giving the US bases from which to attack other hold-out nations. The post Iraq invasion problem up until now has been that while Iraq was indeed made a US client state, the cost of maintaining this status was unsustainable. The US could not afford 130,000 troops occupying Iraq into perpetuity especially considering there were other countries–Iran, Syria, and North Korea chief among them–which were going to need a good hard push in order to also get into orbit around the US.

    So getting down to 50,000 troops is to cross the threshold into sustainability although 30,000 would be a better number. Better still, it was the supposedly anti-war party that has achieved this number which gives them the right to claim Iraq as their victory and therefore allowing the Democrats to drop their public faux opposition to Iraq. While seasoned cynics in the US never bought this Kabuki, it is possible that more naive international observers may have become confused by the Democrats occasional anti-war rhetoric.

    But that’s not to say that the situation in Iraq will be stable. The US looked to make an example for disobedient ruling classes everywhere by stripping the Sunnis of power and creating a puppet government run by the formerly low-life Shiites. But the Sunnis organized a very effective insurgency and there is no doubt that the US had to promise them a future return to power in order to convince the Sunnis to stand down the insurgency back in 2007. In return the Sunnis would have promised to integrate into the US global system. This certainly makes sense on a regional basis since all the other Sunni players in the region are rabidly pro-US and deeply imbedded into the US global system. And the Saudis were never going to allow the dividing line between Shiite and Sunni to move so far west, let alone all the way to their own border.

    This deal made sense for the Iraqi Sunnis as well since in light of Mao’s “Three Phase” theory of guerrilla warfare. The Sunnis had no problems achieving Phase 1 (gaining popular (Sunni) support) and Phase 2 (attacking the occupier’s military and puppet government institutions) but Phase 3 (switching to a conventional force to actually gain and hold territory) was always going to be a problem with the vastly superior US convention forces hanging around. The North Vietnamese were able to successfully achieve this transition to Phase 3 only after most US forces left Vietnam but they had been chopping unsuccessfully at the conventional bit for quite a while, as for example during the Tet Offensive.

    But before the Sunnis can get back into power the problem of Iran will need to be solved. There may have been a time in the early days where the idea was that giving Iraq to the Shiites would help convince the Iranians to come into the US flock. But that obviously didn’t come to pass and it is becoming clearer by the day that military force will be used to bring Iran in out of the cold. Now sure this attack will be marketed as an anti-nuclear proliferation strike in order to allow dumb liberal Americans to keep believing Democratic political leaders share their anti-war ideas, but the real reason will be to bring yet another hold-out nation into the US global system.

    But as soon as Iran is sorted, look for the Sunnis to regain power in Iraq, probably by 2012. With the US only leaving “non-combat” troops (yeah right!) and Iran out of the picture there is nothing that will save the Shiites from the Sunnis reclaiming their traditional role as the ruling class. And I hate to say it but as long as the Sunnis stay meekly within the US pasture then the war will have proven to be a strategic success. In the end, one anti-American Sunni dictator will have been replaced by an American-compliant Sunni dictator. No it’s not ponies and democracy but in the real world of global power it is success.

    1. Jackrabbit

      . . . does anyone really believe the US went to war in Iraq to turn it into a democracy? No, a far more likely reason was . . .

      Sadam’s threatening the Bush family.

    2. EmilianoZ


      your whole prediction rests on 1 thing: the toppling of the Iranian regime. You seem to assume it’s gonna be as easy as the toppling of Saddam, but what do we know about the Iranian army? Might it not be better organized and tenacious than the Iraqi army? Hezbollah is Lebanese but they might have had technical counseling from Iranian experts. And what will the reaction of the Iranian population be? The current regime is loathed by the urban middle class but still very popular in poor rural areas. And don’t you think the American people is now war-weary?

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        Re: And don’t you think the American people is now war-weary?

        No. “We” love spreading freedom (as long as there are enough slow motion eagles and flags).

    3. emca

      As to superior fire power being around, the U.S. (or U.S. paid mercenaries) will have to leave eventually, the Sunnis will be there forever. They can afford to wait.

      The War for the Middle East will have a very high price tag in a 10, 20 50 or 100 years, for self-anointed usurpers of tyrants and builders of democracy. If a fool and his (or her) money are soon parted, what fate the biggest fool of all, the U.S. of A?

  5. Ignim Brites

    Martin Wolf’s assertion that the core purpose of the state is protection differs from that of the American founders. For the signers of the Declaration of Independence, governments are instituted to secure rights. People are first, governments are second (and maybe not even that) in priority. It is also worth noting that Wolf takes a Rousseauian view that inequality is the major source of distemper in the state (i.e. people clinging to their guns and religion). The hidden assumption here is that people are deluded (victims of false consciousness) in believing that there is a power other than the Establishment.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: People are first, governments are second

      Wasn’t there a political party running around the US recently with the slogan of “Country First”?

  6. Jackrabbit

    Martin Wolf thinks that it is legitimate for governments to 1) protect against external threats, and 2) protect the needy (environment, disabled, poor, old and young, etc.) from “externalities”.

    What about the externalities of crony capitalism? What role should the government play in that case? When a small group of wealthy and well-connected people can stealthily influence the government – diverting resources to their own ends – isn’t that a threat that the nation as a whole needs to be protected from? Isn’t it just a matter of time before that stealthy influence turns into overt control?

    (I am thinking of Yves earlier posting: “Technically Incompetent” NY Fed Examiner of Biggest Banks Pre Crisis Promoted for Blowing Up the Economy)

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: What about the externalities of crony capitalism?

      I would think the sycophant-media class would not be able to become members of the sycophant-media class unless they were willing to create bullshit (stories, journalism) which would dismiss that crony-capitalism even exists.

      In effect “Crony-capitalism” is one of the results OF the “King not having any clothing”. The history of the world is the sycophants “proving” (to their own brains – re-enforcing their own duplicity – and) to the peasants that the King IS clothed and crony-capitalism is DEFINITELY not part of greatest country in the entire whole-wide-universe.

    2. KFritz

      All politicians and political parties are bankrupt. Nothing can ever be done again about the dreadful condition of our Republic (which isn’t a Democracy). This entitles me to issue blanket indictments of everything in sight. Gosh, what fun to throw rocks!

  7. anonymous

    Yglesias is a racist. No, wait. Fred Barnes is a racist. Or, is he? If I turn a blind eye to unfounded, politically-motivated slurs branding Republicans as racist, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m endorsing the slur.

    We’re all suffering because a handful of political operatives pretended to be journOlists and helped elect a second academic incompetent to succeed the idiot who ran the economy into the ground from 2000-2008.

    Can we please have a site policy that links to real journalists or experts, and not political hacks? Yglesias wouldn’t know the truth if it bit his behind. The fact that this philosophy undergrad has a platform of any kind speaks volumes about how little one has to know to enter the debate.

    As long as you’re willing to smear Sarah Palin and suck-up to Inflate My Grades, you’re in!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is pure ad hominem. Did you read the Yglesias post? Do you find anything wrong with it? Evidently not, because you launch into an o/t attack.

      1. anonymous

        Yglesias is a racist. Yglesias, Ackerman, and a gaggle of politically-motivated frauds in key positions in the media used JournOlist to create the anti-Palin line you espouse. Literally.

        I don’t expect you’d be thrilled to be called ‘racist’ for opposing Inflate My Grades failing economic policies, but if your happened to be writing from a position more clearly to the right, that’s exactly what Matt and his pals would be doing.

        I won’t read Yglesias because he has leveled precisely the sort of ad hom attacks you object to at virtually every critic of Obama I can think of. You saw Obama as the lesser of two evils. Those of us who held that you had things backwards were smeared as racists by Matt et al.

        I’m not about to refight those wars, but I’m certainly not going to read anything by any JournOlist member ever again. There are plenty of reliable authorities to read.

        Why link to and support gutter journalists?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            You have absolutely no business acting as thought police. If I saw Glenn Beck randomly saying something intelligent (unlikely) or Pat Robertson (more plausible), by the same token they’d be off the list too due to their history of past (to some readers as well as me) offensive statements.

            And his MSNBC link seems to be dead, but hello, race WAS an issue in the Presidential campaign. 88% of white people in Alabama voted against Obama. The immigration issue is a not very thinly coated attack on the growing influence of Hispanics (the hysterical claims are way beyond facts on the ground).

            And I’m sorry, but your attack is off base. I’ve seen Yglesias at a blogger conference, and hands down, he was smarter and more insightful than anyone in the room.

            If you don’t like what I write about or link to, act like and adult and go elsewhere.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Girls reaching puberty at younger ages?

    Equally importantly, are men reaching old age at older ages?

  9. Jesse

    @Ignim Brites

    “For the signers of the Declaration of Independence, governments are instituted to secure rights. People are first, governments are second (and maybe not even that) in priority.”

    The Declaration of Independence was in essence a declaration of war, which made its case by outlined abuses.

    If you wish to read about and understand the purposes of the Founding Fathers on the establishment of a government, you may wish to read the Constitution, since that is its subject matter.

    It is about much more than individual rights. It strikes a balance, with specific objectives.

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

      1. KFritz

        Its primacy seems to derive fr/ the fact that it was the earliest official document. It’s only legal function was to declare Independence, which wasn’t a done deal until GB signed off on it in 1783 under some duress.

        Wikipedia’s article on Organic Law in the US circular reasoning and explains zilch.

        The Constitution superseded the Articles of Confederation and the Northwest Ordinance became a dead letter when the entire territory achieved statehoods. Only the Northwest Ordinance would have been considered an Organic Statute after ratification of the Constitution.,_United_States

        So, what is an Organic Law.

  10. emca

    I was set for a cheery day when I read Quinn’s “THE MOTHER OF ALL BUBBLES” (caps not mine).

    Now I have to reconsider.

    Among the choice quotes (and /my low-life comments):

    “For those looking for a housing recovery, I’d like to point out that Japan’s housing market has fallen for 20 years with no recovery.”
    /buy now before prices go up!

    “Average /Chinese/ citizens have bought as many as five condos.”
    /check out Zero Hedge for the new restrictions on third mortgages for Chinese buyers.

    “The 2.2 million square foot South China Mall, with room for 2,100 stores, sits completely vacant. The Chinese have taken the concept of “bridges to nowhere” to a new level.”
    /the 3.5 T dollar Chinese version of the FED’s stimulant package?

    “When a government official, who can have you executed, tells you to lend, obedient bankers lend.”
    /What was missing from T.A.R.P. I guess.

  11. Ottawan

    In regards to the article on premature puberty:

    “I don’t know. A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It’s a proof. A proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it’s because it’s proven.”
    -Johnny Cretin (Cdn PM for 10 yrs, When discussing something totally unrelated to biology)

    I wonder if there’ll ever be enough proof to halt certain activites. We’ve known for years the correlations between certain activities and abnormal hormone levels, but we still get stuff like this:

    *China milk powder blamed for ‘baby breasts’*

    “Medical tests indicated the levels of hormones in three girls, ranging in age from 15 months to four years and who were fed the same baby formula, exceeded those of the average adult woman…”

    In China or here in North America, why isn’t anything done about it? Is the proof not a proof because it hasn’t been proven?

  12. KFritz

    That goalie (handing the ball) has very big paws. Probably very safe inside the 6 yard box. Does the orange color mean Dutch origin?

  13. Sundog

    Via Tim O’Reilly, this is a well-written, heavily-linked short history of Silicon Valley. The authors contend that culture really matters and the valley needs to be understood starting from the Gold Rush days if not earlier.

    Labor was a problem early in the 20th century.

    Unionization posed a problem for Bay Area radio component manufacturers. Manufacturing high precision vacuum tubes for amateurs in a tight-knit community that would accept nothing less than the best quality was difficult and demanding work, requiring strict standards and continuous innovation…. In order to survive, companies needed to be able to fire bad employees and retain and develop only the most talented – in the lab and on the line.

    Had these factories unionized like much of the Bay Area’s industry, they would have been driven quickly out of business. They responded by innovating. Applying labor reforms pioneered by Ford [and] Eastman Kodak, management started treating their employees in much the same way that startups treat their employees today: as equals. Ham radio egalitarianism persisted, and enabled them to keep their workers too happy to unionize. Healthcare, free or subsidized lunches, communal decision making, profit sharing. Startup culture, much as we know it today was present right from Federal Telegraph onwards, nearly one hundred years ago.

    Bradford Cross & Russell Jurney, “The Next Silicon Valley”

    1. KFritz

      Yes, the sloppiness and imprecision inherent in the performance of the trade unions has hampered Germany’s ability to export anything except decorative trinkets, right?

    2. KFritz

      Hate to say this but, please ignore my ad hominem response. I still think it’s possible to innovate w/ trade unions, but the treatment of labor you advocate is at least decent.

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