Links 3/3/11

The Science of Women and Cats: The Bond Is Real Time (hat tip reader May S). This study simply shows that cats find women easier to train than men. I suspect most women would find their experience with training men to be broadly similar.

Lasers can act as ‘tractor beams’ BBC

The Battle for Control — What People Who Worry About the Internet Are Really Worried About The Scholarly Kitchen (hat tip reader Richard Smith)

Should we cheer or fear cyber vigilantes like Anonymous? InfoWorld. This is not well argued or reported. Retaliating as Anonymous did with HBGary is not the same as being the aggressor, and Anonymous says it was not responsible for the attack on the Westboro Baptist Church.

Soldier Faces 22 New WikiLeaks Charges New York Times

After the Sauds John Quiggin (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

New air strikes in Libya oil town BBC

The Hollow Cry of ‘Broke’ New York Times

CBA’s capital MacroBusiness

Australian Building Approvals Slump, Exports Decline on Floods Bloomberg (hat tip reader Skippy)

Lehman in SCDO trial down under FT Alphaville

Wisconsin Democrats Announce Recall Effort Against 8 Republican State Senators Dave Dayen, FireDogLake. The locals are liking the budget less the more they look at it.

Supreme Court: Corporations don’t have ‘personal privacy’ rights Raw Story

A Test Where the Banks Had the Questions and the Answers New York Times

Why it makes sense to hope for a house price crash Telegraph

Is the Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Overbroad? Adam Levitin

GAO: Treasury Has Failed to Make Needed Improvements to HAMP Jon Walker, FireDogLake

Is The New York Fed Making A Serious Mistake On Bank Dividends? Simon Johnson

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2011-03-03 at 5.18.49 AM

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  1. attempter

    Re SCOTUS:

    It’s a good decision in itself, but on a relatively minor, technical issue. They probably only took the case in the first place in order to have a pretext to issue an “anti-corporate” decision with great fanfare, in order to fool the gullible into thinking this is not a radically pro-corporate court. Meanwhile aggressive judicial activism on things like campaign finance reform will continue.

    Re Anonymous:

    To the best of my knowledge Anonymous has never done anything but retaliate against aggressors. Cf. the Bradley Manning story for more details.

    Re another scam:

    Months back NJ supreme court justice Rabner issued an order that was supposed to force all servicers in the state, especially the six major ones, to demonstrate the soundness of their foreclosure procedures, or else face suspension of foreclosures, period.

    Since then it’s been an ongoing sham, as the court-appointed mediator Dauber keeps running interference for the banks, begging for more time on their behalf. It’s clear that they cannot respond to the court order, and are simply stonewalling, with the court appointee’s collaboration.

    After multiple postponements and reschedulings, March 1 was supposed to be the court date. I guess I don’t need to tell anybody what happened.

    So now we’re absolutely, positively going to get action later in March. You bet.

    As much as I despise the likes of Walker in Wisconsin, I can at least appreciate an open thug who launches a full frontal attack. But I feel a special contempt for these snivelling, cowardly little liars and scam artists like Tom Miller or the FCIC or Jacobson and Dauber here in NJ.

    Any Galtians out there, please answer: Why would the Masters of the Universe keep needing postponements of their court date in order to gather their evidence to prove that their foreclosures are on the up-and-up? Shouldn’t they have been able to do that the very next day? I’m starting to think they aren’t “earning” those paychecks.

  2. Rex

    There is a typo in the first link (Cats story). Missing h — http is ttp so clicking the link fails.

  3. Ina Deaver

    The cat and I have an agreement: he looks pretty and sits in my lap, all warm and purry/furry. He enjoys being petted, or at least fakes it really, really well. I feed him. I even buy treats and toys. I have him trained to sit to receive treats, come when whistled up like a dog, follow simple hand commands, etc. He has me trained to let him in, feed him when he’s hungry, and let him have a radically disproportionate part of the bed.

    The situation with the man is a good bit more complicated. Poor guy would take the cat’s deal in a heartbeat, I’m sure. But there is no denying that, as I sit here, I’m smiling and my blood pressure is lower because I’m having to type around the big fat furball, and I’m getting it done early in the morning because the man isn’t up yet to demand my attention. ;)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My cats train me by scratching, without killing, me whenever I mis-behave.

      They figure what doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger…bless their hearts.

  4. Agent Vanilla

    The Westboro take down was claimed by a whitehat hactivist called the The Jester. He also takes claim for downing jihadist al Qaida websites. Anonymous and Jester made subsequent statements that their interests aligned only on this single matter.

    1. Dave of Maryland

      “Whatever does not kill me, strengthens me.”

      We will quickly end up with bullet-proof websites. What are the upsides, what are the downsides?

      Blogging, for example, is a way of freely modifying, aka hacking, an existing website.

      Hacking websites is thuggish. Makes no difference whose site.

    1. Francois T

      “libya/d.c.: “how can we help them if they have no leader?”

      Thanks for proving what critics have said for years: stop having an eternal priapism on high tech and get some freaking human assets on the ground. Don’t be such REMFs!

      Human assets on the ground would know who leads. Satellites and drones don’t.

  5. Ignim Brites

    It is interesting that Simon Johnson’s piece appears in the New York Times Economix blog. Johnson worries that:
    “There is a very real danger that the New York Fed now will fatally undermine the fragile credibility of the rest of the Federal Reserve System.” Slowly it is dawning on the NY financial press that there will not be another bailout. Can anyone imagine Tim Geithner bamboozling Congress into a 700 billion blank check? No, this is the ballgame. If the TBTS banks and the New York Fed screw it up, its all over for New York.

    1. Cedric Regula

      Credibility? What credibility? As far as I can tell both the privately held NYFRB and the main “independent” one where Ben hangs his whig are nothing more than sell side stock analysts that happen to own a printing press.

      The whole idea of “bank capital”, “owner” equity and Tier 1 &2 capital ratios is bizarre to me anyway when applied as a means to somehow guarantee banking stability. I think it was Basel 1 that came up with it, Basel II refined it, we just proved what a load of crap the concept is, and now Basel III retains the concept, and the argument is over whether it needs to be more or less, and how slowly do we need to roll in the new levels (up or down).

      The only thing the Fed and it’s NYFRB henchmen could be trying to do is pump up bank stock prices. They have been doing it by mark to myth accounting, saying the second loan portfolio is good, etc… this allows the banks to issue new stock at elevated prices and get some real money and re-cap a bit.

      Now they will say the banks can pay divs, boosting stock prices more. But they haven’t fixed the accounting yet. Will the banks sell more new stock issues and re-cap with real money(so they don’t get into liquidity trouble, even tho they are probably technically insolvent under real accounting rules), or will they just be able to grow the biz sort of like Enron did?

      Like anyone needs that.

    2. craazyman

      It’s kind of funny when one serious economist talks about the thinking of other “serious economists” or maybe in this case “banking industry leaders” or whatever form of dogfood English is the euphamism of the moment.

      They don’t use words like “lying” or “fraud” or “looting” or “madness” or “theft” or “insanity” or “parasitic extraction” or “financial murder” and certainly not “demonic possession” and “exorcism” or metaphors for states of individual and group pyschology. that would admittedly be off-topic, from the perspective of a certain intellectual framework.

      No. Somehow they believe that there is a logic and a precision that governs money and the institutions that manipulate it. This is a comforting illusion, made more rigorous by the math that covers it like a tarp (no pun intended bowaahhahahahaha). I suppose if you work the blades in a slaughterhouse you know where meat comes from. But if you work the money blades the blood is an abstraction, and it’s covered over in equations and statistics and theories. ROTFLMAO.

      I would guess after a while in the slaughterhouse you see each cow as a piece of lifeless substance, some sort of mechanical puppet, somewhere between a piece of bacteria and a mannikin. I appreciate that this is in the Bible. But I’m speaking as a metaphor. And if you work the blades in the money slaughterhouse then the same desensitization takes place and the layers of management — the distance between you and the results of your actions — are so thick and so vast that you can make up almost any story that speaks to your vain sensibilities and that makes the world a stage for the magic of your mind and the magic of your life and its extraordinary specialness. A magic presented to you, by virtue of some external variable that is always hidden from the baroque tableaux of the rush of phenominazation, and that is never questioned. Only inherited.

      Who really has consequences for what they do? Only those who doubt. And what is doubt, but a disease and a distraction from the encroaching perfection of everything?


      Well, we see around the world what happens when social trust disintegrates in its entirety. And we see how money, which is a form of social trust, evaporates like the remnants of a dream. And we see what fills its place.

      It’s really hard to take these dudes seriously. No knock on the author of this piece at all (although it may seem like it). But no. Seriously no. I don’t mean that. It’s just the utter depth of shallowness of the entire mise-en-scene. The phenomenal flatness. the 2-dimentianality. the lack of Spirit. the lack of life. the lack of anything that will matter in the scope of billions of years. the void. the incredible void of it all. You could call it a form of bankruptcy, but that’s a loaded word. LOL.

      1. skippy


        For a more visceral feel check out JBS SWIFT, 52% market share methinks, you are closer than you think.

        Skippy…4 to 6 years ago_so many_contracts were signed, so many plans made…some body has to pony up ( )

        and one for the road

        Just because the vice makes you feel comfortable (relaxes), does not mean your not being…fatted up.

  6. Max424

    I have my two cats trained up like little Marines. They’re under strict orders; they must pester me at least 6 hours out of every day. In other words, there is none of this cat nap 20 hours, and pester only 4 crap. Not in my house.

    If I catch them sleeping too much, I roust them.*

    *I used to blow bugle reveille at em, but I found they respond much better to the sound of a can of Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys cracking open. I swear my male can hear that top popping a mile away (how easily I manipulate my two little beasties).

    1. Chris M

      I’ve been a cat person all my life. My cats are only trained to beg for their treats first thing each morning. But my wife has me trained to scoop the litter box each evening. Kind of an ironic rejoinder to your casual sexism.

  7. DownSouth

    Re: “After the Sauds” John Quiggin

    Quiggin said:

    But the rationale for decades of US policy has collapsed. Uncounted billions (counting Iraq, trillions) of dollars have been spent on the premise that the US has a vital interest in determining political outcomes in the Middle East. Yet in the current upsurge the US Administration has been reduced to the role of a bystander at a sporting event of which they don’t know the rules – cheering on whoever seemed to be winning at any given moment (the rightwing opposition has been even more obviously bemused).

    Andrew Bacevich, in The Limits of Power, talks about the origins of the “decades of US policy”:

    In Washington, confidence that a high-quality military establishment, dexterously employed, could enable the United States, always with high-minded intentions, to organize the world to its liking had essentially become a self-evident truth. In this malignant expectation—-not in any of the conservative ideals for which is retrospectively venerated—-lies the essence of the Reagan legacy.


    History will hold George W. Bush primarily accountable for the disastrous Iraq War of 2003. But if that was had a godfather, it was Ronald Reagan…

    [T]he splendid army that Reagan helped create found eventual employment not in defending the West against totalitarianism but in vainly trying to impose an American imperium on the Persian Gulf.


    Dissent, where it exists, seldom penetrates the centers of power in Washington. Principled dissenters, whether paleoconservatives or libertarians, pacifists or neo-agrarians, remain on the political fringes, dismissed as either mean-spirited (that is, unable to appreciate the lofty motives that inform U.S. policy) or simply naïve (that is, oblivious to the implacable evil that the United States is called upon to confront).

    The ideology of national security persists not because it expresses empirically demonstrable truths but because it serves the interests of those who created the national security state and those who still benefit from its continued existence—-the very people who are most responsible for the increasingly maladroit character of U.S. policy.


    [T[he American people have only themselves to blame. They have allowed their democracy to be hijacked. The hijackers will not voluntarily return what they have stolen.

    One result of that hijacking has been to raise up a new political elite whose members have a vested interest in perpetuating the crises that provide the source of their power. These are the people who under the guise of seeking peace or advancing the cause of liberty devise policies that promote war or the prospect of war, producing something akin to chaos.

    1. Otter

      Too bad Bacevich’s memory goes back only as far as Reagan.

      A man with a better memory or a few books would have more to say.

  8. licking Jamie Dimon's shoes

    Re: The Hollow Cry of ‘Broke’ New York Times

    “As governments begin to stagger from the self-induced hemorrhaging, Republican politicians like Mr. Boehner and Mr. Walker cry poverty and use it as an excuse to break unions and kill programs they never liked in flush years.”

    That sentence above isn’t too bad, by the low standards of the NY Times, but then they go on to mention “Republican” eight times, in a short editorial, the gist of which can be summarized as “Republicans bad/Democrats good”. I’m not falling for this, as it’s clear Obama and the Democrats would also like to bust the Unions, as instructed by their corporate masters.

    Reading editorials like this is kind of like watching FoxNews “Republicans good/Democrats bad”, only in reverse.

    But this should come as no surprise considering that the Times is unable to investigate financial fraud or decry the lack of prosecutions, (or, for that matter, even mention Charles Ferguson’s comment when he accepted that award for “Inside Job”); and considering how they love to quote Jamie Dimon, always approvingly (they should just give him a regular weekly column). Considering how the NY Times always covers up for the banksters, never investigates the role of corporate money in politics; never admits that both parties are equally corrupt, that in reality we have only One Party in the United States, the Party of Money.

    Well, if that’s what the NY Times is reduced to, then about all that’s left is blame the Republicans and hope nobody notices the corruption is systemic, and the NY Times is part of it.

    How much longer are Americans going to fall for this mindless, simplistic crap: “Republicans bad/Democrats good” or “Republicans good/Democrats bad”? How much longer before people understand that One Party controls the United States and this One Party is rotten to the core?

    Anyway, that was my rant for the day. Now I feel better. Now I can go back to my full time job at the NY Times and spend the rest of the day sucking up to Jamie Dimon. :)

  9. Jim the Skeptic

    RE: Supreme Court: Corporations don’t have ‘personal privacy’ rights

    This bunch has serious doubts that the constitution protects the ‘privacy rights’ of human beings, so how could they grant that protection to corporations!

    All this fawning over this decision is just pitiful. This Supreme Court has increased the rights held by corporations to a staggeringly insane level. (They are allowed to interfere in an election in which they can not vote! YET.)

    1. Max424

      “This bunch has serious doubts that the constitution protects the ‘privacy rights’ of human beings, so how could they grant that protection to corporations!”

      Good point.

  10. DownSouth

    Re: “Soldier Faces 22 New WikiLeaks Charges” New York Times

    Here we have a soldier who allegedly released a video showing U.S. soldiers riding around in a helicopter murdering innocent civilians, plus emails that make it brilliantly clear the extent to which the Obama administration lies to and deceives the American people. And yet it is not Obama and his gang of criminals that are in the brig, but this soldier.

    In dark times like we are currently living in, when the world has been turned on its head and evil seems to have triumphed, Martin Luther King frequently recited the following words from the poet James Russell Lowell, which are most appropriate for the current situation:

    Once to every man and nation,
    Comes the moment to decide
    In the strife of truth and falsehood
    For the good or evil side;
    Some great cause God’s new Messiah
    Offering each the gloom or blight
    And the choice goes by forever
    Twixt that darkness and that light.

    Though the cause of evil prosper
    Yet ’tis truth along is strong
    Though her portion be the scaffold
    And upon the throne be wrong
    Yet that scaffold sways the future
    And behind the dim unknown
    Standeth God witin the shadow
    Keeping watch above his own.

    Truth forever on the scaffold
    Wrong forever on the throne
    Yet that scaffold sways the future
    and behind the dim unknown stands God
    Within the shadows keeping watch above his own.

    1. Jim the Skeptic

      Sir, you seem to believe that each of us has a right to place our judgement above that of our democratically elected officials. That is a formula for anarchy.

      Martin Luther King did not believe that we are each above the law, but that sometimes we must break a law to point out the injustice of that law. And that we should be willing to suffer the consequences of our breaking the law.

      I believe that the PFC should be shot. He is responsible for serious damage to OUR government. How can the release of huge numbers of those classified diplomatic cables be justified?

      As to the video, those soldiers in the helicopter believed that they were being fired on and they used overwhelming force, soldiers are not policemen. If you ever find yourself in an occupied city, DO NOT POINT A WEAPON, A CAMERA WHICH MIGHT CAUSE A FLASH, OR ANY OTHER OBJECT AT SOLDIERS, or that may be the last thing you ever do. In a ideal world that would not be the case, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

      1. Tertium Squid

        Obvious troll is obvious.

        Just in case someone agrees with him, though.

        “How can the release of huge numbers of those classified diplomatic cables be justified?”

        How can our government maintaining secrecy over almost everything it does be justified?


        Especially a microphone.

      2. DownSouth

        Jim the Skeptic,

        Before you get too carried away with your pronouncements on what Martin Luther King believed and didn’t believe, you might want to try reading what he said.

        His most hard-hitting speech in regards to American militarism was “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam,” which can be read and listened to here.

        Here are some quotes that are germane to the current conversation:

        • Now, let me make it clear in the beginning, that I see this war as an unjust, evil, and futile war. I preach to you today on the war in Vietnam because my conscience leaves me with no other choice… Now, I’ve chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

        • Now, of course, one of the difficulties in speaking out today grows the fact that there are those who are seeking to equate dissent with disloyalty. It’s a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced. The truth must be told, and I say that those who are seeking to make it appear that anyone who opposes the war in Vietnam is a fool or a traitor or an enemy of our soldiers is a person that has taken a stand against the best in our tradition.

        • This is a role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolutions impossible but refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that comes from the immense profits of overseas investments. I’m convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.

        • This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

        • I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. We are presently moving down a dead-end road that can lead to national disaster. America has strayed to the far country of racism and militarism. The home that all too many Americans left was solidly structured idealistically; its pillars were solidly grounded in the insights of our Judeo-Christian heritage. All men are made in the image of God. All men are bothers. All men are created equal. Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth. Every man has rights that are neither conferred by, nor derived from the State–they are God-given. Out of one blood, God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. What a marvelous foundation for any home! What a glorious and healthy place to inhabit. But America’s strayed away, and this unnatural excursion has brought only confusion and bewilderment. It has left hearts aching with guilt and minds distorted with irrationality.
        • Now it isn’t easy to stand up for truth and for justice… It may mean having a seven, eight year old child asking a daddy, “Why do you have to go to jail so much?” And I’ve long since learned that to be a follower to the Jesus Christ means taking up the cross. And my bible tells me that Good Friday comes before Easter. Before the crown we wear, there is the cross that we must bear. Let us bear it–bear it for truth, bear it for justice, and bear it for peace. Let us go out this morning with that determination. And I have not lost faith. I’m not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order. I haven’t lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. I can still sing “We Shall Overcome” because Carlyle was right: “No lie can live forever.” We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant was right: “Truth pressed to earth will rise again.” We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell was right: “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne.” Yet, that scaffold sways the future.

        Anyone who says that Bradley Manning is not bearing a very heavy cross is lying. Of course he hasn’t been made to pay the ultimate price for his convictions like Martin Luther King. Not yet at least. But if he had your way, he certainly would.

        1. Jim the Skeptic


          Speaking out against the Vietnam war is just a little different than burning ROTC buildings which was the method used by the Kent State mob to protest the Vietnam War. The one is protected speech, the other is criminal activity! I am truly sorry that you can not tell the difference.

          This PFC is a criminal. No one coerced him into working with classified information. He could have refused. He gave his word and then proceeded to break his word many times over.

          We are not sovereigns unto ourselves. You would not want to live in a society where everyone could pick and choose which laws were to be obeyed.

          All criminals who are caught, bear a very heavy cross, and I have no sympathy for them. I obey the laws and I expect others to do the same or suffer the consequences.

          Tertium Squid said “How can our government maintaining secrecy over almost everything it does be justified?”

          Contact your congressman to ask him to impeach the President for secrecy. We elect officials to serve for a certain term or until they commit high crimes or misdemeanors.

          And do not point a microphone at a soldier, if there is any remote chance that he may mistake it for a weapon. I am shocked that you are shocked by this little bit of reality. You have lead a very sheltered life.

          Once upon a time we had a draft and a large number of American men were taught the facts about remaining alive in a war zone. Now we have an entire generation of men who believe that soldiers are policemen. Good grief!

          1. aet

            Nor are there any such things as witches, even though their existence was for ages universally affirmed.

          2. craazyman

            and we have a generation who don’t think soldiers should be policemen or sent to prop up psychopaths and madmen. and that when they are, there is a man somehwere in the background, making a profit from their service.

            Yes the world is a complicated place. And sometimes it takes a little bit of thought to navigate it. And sometimes when you think your own thoughts and not the thoughts of others, they will surprise you with their clarity.

          3. DownSouth

            Jim the Skeptic,

            I know of no instance where Martin Luther King participated in or advocated burning down ROTC buildings.

            That said, I wouldn’t doubt that James Earl Ray, the man convicted of the assasination of King, believed that King said and did such things.

            Letting ones imagination run wild to the point that one starts advocating that someone be shot is a dangerous proposition.

          4. DownSouth

            Jim the Skeptic,

            And by the way, you’re not a very good liar.

            You claim that “As to the video, those soldiers in the helicopter believed that they were being fired on and they used overwhelming force, soldiers are not policemen.”

            Of course anyone can look at the video, which can be viewed here, and see for themselves that your assertion is patently untrue.

            Jim, I think you have a fairly acute problem discerning fantasy from reality. And like I say, that can be dangerous, maybe not to yourself, but certainly to other people.

          5. DownSouth

            On second thought, maybe those men in the helicopter did believe they were being fired on, just like you believe Martin Luther King participated in or advocated burning down ROTC buildings.

            Of course when you or James Earl Ray or our soldiers can’t tell the difference between truth and fiction, which by all indications none of you can, it’s not you who pay the ultimate price, but those who the imperial overlords deem as being expendable.

          6. skippy


            The most telling part, even more that the dead, was the glee that was shown by the killers, too me.

          7. Jim the Skeptic

            In my message above I said “As to the video, those soldiers in the helicopter believed that they were being fired on”

            I have a copy of that video. At 2minutes 30 seconds into the video someone in the helicopter says “Yeah we got a guy shooting.” Exactly what do you think that meant?

            In another message I said “Speaking out against the Vietnam war is just a little different than burning ROTC buildings which was the method used by the Kent State mob to protest the Vietnam War. The one is protected speech, the other is criminal activity! I am truly sorry that you can not tell the difference.”

            And you have twisted that to “just like you believe Martin Luther King participated in or advocated burning down ROTC buildings.” DId it never occur to you that I was contrasting legal versus illegal protests against the Vietnam war? Really?

            Please get a grip.

          8. chad


            Unless you fall lockstep into the stereotypical leftist mantra 75% of this otherwise excellent blog as degenerated into over the years you’re going to suffer the wrath.

            oh and DownSouth, do you have a Quote of The Day database dedicated solely to Nakedcapitalism?

          9. Jim the Skeptic

            DownSouth says: “…or our soldiers can’t tell the difference between truth and fiction, which by all indications none of you can, …”

            I have a copy of that video which I downloaded directly from Wikileaks back when it was first posted. You must be looking at an edited copy or you would have seen and heard this. Times are minutes:seconds.

            At about 1:50—–They identify 5 or 6 men with AK47s.
            At about 2:25—–A man goes to the corner of a building and is looking around the corner at them.
            At about 2:30—–In the helicopter ”He’s got an RPG. We got a guy with an RPG”
            At about 2:45—–As the helicopter is clearing the side of the building the man comes up and points something at them and there is a flash. It is either a rifle muzzle flash or a flash of light off a camera lens.
            At about 2:50—–In the helicopter ”Yeah we got a guy shooting.”
            They proceed around the building and open fire.

            The point is not what you think or what I think, the point is what did they think.

            They were operating in a war zone, they had identified men with AK47s, and they saw a flash just as they went around the back of the building. Under those circumstances their actions are not unreasonable.

            We don’t have to like it, we can regard it as barbarity. But that is war. You are sadly mistaken if you think otherwise.

            As to the glee, they were safe, none of them were hurt, and the guys with the guns are down. Do you think that might just cause a rush of relief?

            If you don’t like this, protest against all wars. There are no good wars.

          10. Tertium Squid

            Dude, Jim – I don’t want to live in your world, but it’s pretty clear I do.

            Of course Manning is a criminal. He broke a law and he’ll go to jail for it. I don’t think anyone here finds that surprising or even reprehensible. Holding him and treating him the way they do is what’s unconscionable. The military is trying to make an example out of him, due process be damned.

            As for helicopter gunships blowing away gaggles of recreating Muslims, your attitude about it is pretty conventional. That video has been parsed enough that it’s not very useful to go into it again – opinions have crystalized. What’s amazing to me is how different people can see such different events in the same video. What I see is a relaxed group of guys chatting with a reporter and a cameraman. They are very relaxed. They haven’t the slightest thought that they are in danger, least of all from a couple helicopters that are a mile or two away. (I believe an armored convoy was one street over at the time, but they don’t seem to care about that either.) They all have guns, but from what I hear so does everyone else in Baghdad. They are having a nice afternoon chat.

            How you (and the soldiers in the helicopters) see danger and violence is quite amazing. If this is some fiendish ambush it would have been about the stupidest one ever – standing around on the street totally defenseless and oblivious to any military presence around them.

            First they blow away the guys, then they blow away a good samaritan in a minivan who stops to render aid. Lucky stroke that two children in the van were only injured. Bet those kids love the USA now!

            I agree with you that soldiers make terrible policemen, which is why it upsets me so that they are being used in that capacity.

            Yeah war is hell. Whatever. Everyone in Iraq knows how US soldiers do things – Manning didn’t make anybody less safe by showing it to us.

          11. Tertium Squid

            Oh, and this is too hilarious to let pass:

            “As to the glee, they were safe, none of them were hurt, and the guys with the guns are down. Do you think that might just cause a rush of relief?”

            Back at base: “Finally the streets of Baghdad are safe from that minivan!”

            I believe in God, and I believe when we get to the other side we’ll get to meet each person that we touched for good or ill.

          12. attempter

            Bradley Manning is one of the few heroes of our time. His explanation for why he did what he did demonstrates that he’s the finest incarnation of a democratic citizen.

            Brainless, nihilistic obedience to elites, on the other hand, is subhuman, despicable, and beneath contempt.

            I love the way someone who calls himself a “skeptic” reveals himself to be such a snivelling little conformist.

            Sir, you seem to believe that each of us has a right to place our judgement above that of our democratically elected officials…..

            And that we should be willing to suffer the consequences of our breaking the law……

            I believe that the PFC should be shot. He is responsible for serious damage to OUR government.

            “Our” democratic officials! “Our” government! “The law”!

            That would be the same officials, government, and law which are 100% in the hands of Wall Street and the corporate rackets. The same officials who would be hanged if subjected to the rule of law according to Nuremburg. But as we now see, Jim thinks Nuremburg was a travesty of justice. That’s clear enough from his bland rhetoric about “war”, which evidently just accidentally befell these “officials” and “government”, who in turn were placed over us by God.

            (Jim’s rhetoric makes clear that he believes not in the sovereignty of the people but divine right government. You’re in, well maybe not good, but some kind of company, since there’s also a statist arguing with me at Baseline Scenario. He says the Constitution is nothing but what the SCOTUS says it is, and we must obey. I should fix you up with him.)

            Tertium says:

            I believe in God, and I believe when we get to the other side we’ll get to meet each person that we touched for good or ill.

            It’s amazing how so many people who claim to believe in god clearly do not believe that the god they’re going to meet will be a just god. Their actions – robbery, murder, contempt for the poor and weak, support for criminal corporations and government, support for all these crimes – sure don’t bear that out.

          13. attempter

            I only just noticed that the “our elected officials” talking point is the same as the one being propagated in Wisconsin. So we see what mailing lists Jim must be on. He must be instructed to conform several times a day: “Keep saying, ‘OUR elected officials’. Use all caps for our.”

          14. Jim the Skeptic

            I have been registered as an Independent for over 3 decades. I regularly vote against both major political parties. I have voted for 1 winning candidate for President in 30 years. And you think I am a conformist?

            We elect our leaders but a growing percentage of the population doesn’t seem to believe that those elected should be able to implement their policies when elected.

            In that case, exactly what is the point of an election? We don’t have to like their policies, and very very frequently, I don’t. But they have the power for their term of office.

            Words have consequences. I prefer order to anarchy and chaos. I believe in personal responsibility. Apparently you don’t.

            As to the video, the helicopter crew wins my sympathy. American soldiers are not policy makers, they have been the pawns in the wars of the last century. They want to survive and return to their families. They are attacked without warning and their day to day lives are completely out of their control. I don’t know how any of them escape “Post traumatic stress syndrome”.

            That helicopter crew may have made a mistake in thinking they were being fired on. General Stonewall Jackson was shot by his own nervous sentry when he attempted to return to his own camp. Pat Tillman was killed by a segment of his own platoon after he had moved up a hill on foot. Deaths by “friendly fire” have been documented in most modern wars. These are all obviously accidents. Accidents happen in war and I believe this crew was not prosecuted.

            What disturbs most people who have never served a day in the military, is the casualness of the whole scene, the one-sidedness of deaths reeks of unfairness, and the “glee” afterwards is unseemly. Those assessments are accurate and they expose the ugly truth about modern warfare.

            You are entitled to your opinion, I am entitled to mine.

            Have a good day.

          15. Anti-State rupture


            What you are describing as non-conformism is in fact *total conformism*, in that you advocate blind respect for authority figures, and cannot imagine that authority figures are capable of committing crimes, and then lying about those crimes. To you, it seems the only real crime lies in questioning authority.

            The following is an example of what anti-State, non-conformism might look like. (And I think it goes without saying you will disapprove and instinctively side with the cops, the KGB and the Russian oligarchs, and against these artists):

            “An art group [whose]….installations and performances have included organising the mock execution of migrant workers in a Moscow supermarket, an impromptu expletive-filled punk rock performance in a courtroom, throwing live cats at McDonald’s cashiers and painting an enormous penis on a bridge in St Petersburg…..and…[overturning] seven police cars, some of them with officers inside, at St Petersburg’s Palace Square one night last September.”

            Art or crime? We struggle against the authorities who are criminal indeed…”


          16. Jim the Skeptic

            To Anti-State rupture”

            This issue is dirt simple.

            I believe that we have an obligation to obey all laws. However there may come a time when a law is so odious that we are compelled to disobey it. And then we must accept the punishment for our actions.

            Do you believe that every citizen is a sovereign unto himself and has a right to choose which laws he will obey? Do you desire the absence of government?

          17. attempter

            We elect our leaders……I believe in personal responsibility.

            Anybody who can explain this contradiction will be my hero and leader.

            exactly what is the point of an election?

            I have no idea, and evidently you can’t explain it either.

            Silly me – the very fact that I believe in personal responsibility is why I believe it’s about time we actually grew up and took responsibility for ruling ourselves. There is no Fuhrerprinzip (Leadership Principle, as adhered to by e.g. believers in even real elections, let alone the sham ones in this country) in direct democracy.

            Sorry, but it’s clear that you’re the one who’s desperately trying to escape from all accountability and responsibility, just like you want to absolve these highly trained professionals who hold the overwhelming preponderance of firepower. In both cases, let’s escape from freedom to Our Leaders.

            It’s clear what Manning’s real offense is in your eyes, the offense for which he deserves to die. It’s because he actually did stand up as a citizen of the human democracy and take responsibility for himself. Precisely because he did hold himself accountable.

            How evil and drained this world is, that such a human being is now at the mercy of vermin.

  11. Tertium Squid

    For a while I was puzzled why the military was allowing news of Bradley Manning’s abominable treatment to become public. Wouldn’t they worry about the publicity, making him a martyr, pressure from the public to let him go, treat him more leniently, etc?

    Well, duh. They want the world to see how he’s being treated to scare other potential whistleblowers away from doing something similar.

    Doing it all in violation of the laws that are supposed to be governing this situation should be even more chilling for any Bradley Manning proteges. They want whistleblowers to see what sort of people they are dealing with, and how unrestricted their power really is.

    1. Tertium Squid

      In this matter, of course, Glenn Greenwald is doing exactly what they want him to.

      But how could he do otherwise than to highlight Manning’s plight? Hopefully it backfires on them. Only when the curtain is pulled away do we see who we are really dealing with. Let it fill us with a great and terrible will to put right over might.

    2. DownSouth

      Tetrium Squid said: “Doing it all in violation of the laws that are supposed to be governing this situation should be even more chilling for any Bradley Manning proteges. They want whistleblowers to see what sort of people they are dealing with, and how unrestricted their power really is.”


      The fact that they are a law unto themselves, unrestrained neither by man’s law or God’s law, makes them all the more terrifying.

      And this is state-sponsored terrorism. There’s no other word for it.

      1. Tertium Squid

        It reminds of some of the creative assassinations of Russian journalists.

        They had to tread a fine line. On the one hand they had to be discreet and not prompt a lot of outrage.

        But on the other hand, they had to be an unmistakable signal to other journalists about what happens if you step out of line.

    1. KFritz

      Call Animal Protection! That photo is plainly animal cruelty. Canines should only be fed fusilli or radiatori.

  12. wunsacon

    I love Mish. But, he does not seem to understand that two “wrongs” DO make a right, when you’re dealing with money — where the nominal amounts are meaningless and what matters is people’s *relative* accumulations.


    – Mish has $1.

    – Yves has $1.

    – Mish and Yves both want to buy an apple from Attempter.

    – If DownSouth gives Mish $1 and gives Yves nothing, then Mish can spend $2 on the apple. The apple can be his alone.

    – If DownSouth (*quickly*)* gives Yves $1, the advantage is no longer Mish’s.

    1. wunsacon

      * However, if the money isn’t quickly given to Yves, then Mish will already own the apple. Giving Yves $1 a year later, means Mish — if he still owns the apple — can now sell it to Yves for $2.

      In other words, belated stimulus benefits the first stimulus beneficiary again.

      1. wunsacon

        So, the only way to take away the unfair advantage given to the top 1% through the trillions in bailouts (and state-sanctioned theft) seems to be: increase the taxes of the top 1%.

        1. wunsacon

          Sorry, I responded without re-reading my example (from this morning) and while multi-tasking. My prior response to you (re: Mish selling the apple to Yves for up to $3) is nonsense.

          Mish didn’t have to spend $2 on the apple. He just had to spend $1.01 — one penny more than Yves. Since Yves has more money now, if she wants it she’ll probably end up paying Mish a premium over his purchase price for it.

    2. craazyman

      I really doubt DownSouth would give Mish $1 or even a penny.

      Mish is an anti-union fanatic.

  13. the capitalist perversion

    Re: Soldier faces 22 New WikiLeaks Charges

    Related to the persecution of Bradley Manning for daring to tell the truth, the PTB seem to have found an even more effective way of attacking WikiLeaks, as described by Ramon Glazov in his takedown of WikiLeaks “defector” Daniel Domcheit-Berg (better abbreviated to “Shite”):

    “First, the Right accused WikiLeaks of endangering US soldiers and Afghan informers. Then after “Cablegate” the neocons conceded to the lack of evidence and switched to the opposite tactic: insisting there was nothing exciting at all about Julian Assange’s leaks. Spectator editorials appeared, claiming we already knew Sarkozy was a narcissist and Berlusconi was a womaniser. This didn’t work either. The cables had a lot of new information about DynCorp bribing Afghan police with “dancing boys” and Mubarak telling the US to install a “fair dictator” in Iraq.

    Now a much easier way to discredit WikiLeaks has emerged: attacking Assange as a human being. It’s easy because there’s no need to touch any wider political issues….”

  14. Anonymous Jones

    I really enjoyed the Internet/Battle for Control link. Not sure I agree with the conclusion about control, but it is a thoughtful analysis. Thanks!

  15. Further Comment

    There was an article last night at FT Alphaville, that I can’t seem to find anymore. Here is a related link, that asks pretty much the same thing as last night.

    From my experience with many fails, it usually comes down to inability to perform. Which means that generally someone in the deal has mistated something about either the assets or the funds and cannot perform as the contract requires. Either the quote ‘buyer’ doesn’t have access to the money he has been using as proof of funds. Or the the quote ‘seller’ isn’t really authorized to sell those assets as he has been claiming. I’d say it’s about a 80% chance that someone is not being forthright in at least one party to the deal on average… and on the final day the truth comes out and the deal falls apart.

    That’s not to say there couldn’t be other reasons. I’m just sharing the very most common reason I know. And to the good-faith actors in the deal, it feels like a crime has been perpetrated on you, but you don’t have the time or the funds to pursue litigation, so…. next. In some cases one of the parties will call law on each other, but it is so hard to prove and costly, that they usually just move on. You would have to have deep pockets to make this your issue.

    Quite often the sell-side people will get multiple people moving in opposite directions on the same deal to get many offers going, knowing that most buyers will not perform. Of course, this ups the levels of fails by a lot. Plus it’s not allowed so at they end they have to choose which 1 of the deals they will complete. I suspect they have their real favorites, and also fail favorites. After awhile, it feels futile.

    1. Skippy

      Yes…yes…down the rabbit hole we go…do you trust their/mine electrons…the photons say its all good…deal on![?].

      Skippy…micro seconds of due diligence…camping spawn in electronic platform gaming is *full of win*…till none come too your server…admin abuse methinks…time for no clip mode…things one see’s…product coders initial glee…becomes rampant pron feast…here comes the lawyers.

      PS…Admins cry to the sky…populate my server[s or we are undone…wait…we’ll chuck a few bots in…no one will notice…right?

  16. Dirk

    Interesting that the Info world calls WBC a legitamate religious site. The KKK also used the (burning) cross as their symbol. Does that make them a legitamate religious group? What is the difference between the WBC and the KKK? Both are hate groups.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The WBC manages to achieve the dubious distinction of being a bunch of grifters masquerading as a hate group

  17. BondsOfSteel

    Ok… how is this anything other than bailing out private losses with public funds?

    Bank Of America Begins Mortgage Principal Reduction Program In Arizona

    If you read the proposial ( you can see that they’re going to spend $50,000 per homeowner! And they’re reducing 2nds with is nothing but throwing cash at the banks.

  18. Sundog

    Now, this lecture said that I would sketch out the two paths that I see journalism taking in the next decade – so here they are:

    The first path is a self-interested profession that sees value in users beyond their eyeballs.

    The second path is a self-interested profession that allows others to control the public sphere.

    I would obviously not expect the industry to be anything but self-interested.

    In either case, technology will not change journalism. People will. You will.

    Anyone interested in the future of journalism in democratic society should take a few minutes to read the whole thing, but really *everyone* should read this bit.

    Paul Bradshaw, “Is Ice Cream Strawberry?”

  19. notexactlyhuman

    Anonymous posted a note last night on FB, titled Operation Icarus, requesting the collective shift its gaze toward the NYSE. What that means, exactly, I don’t know. I’ll just paste it here in full in case some of you can’t access:

    “Operation Icarus

    Attention Brothers: The opportunity to create financial chaos and public unrest and from that, there will be a previously unachieved amount of lulz to be had. Charge your lasers and aim them at the the New York Stock Exchange. (

    It has been said that humanity is not an end in itself but rather a means to an end. We have shown the world our strength to deny ignorance, overcome adversity, fight oppression and even the power to throw a wrench in the system that perpetuates it. We are enslaved within a matrix of institutions with the illusion that each stands alone, each fighting for power, for profits, for the scraps on the table that represent humanities dwindling resources. In reality however, these institutions; the arms industries, banking and other financial institutions, government intelligence agencies and countless others have formed what was once a clandestine coalition whose corruption and avarice have become increasingly transparent due to wikileaks and the efforts of anonymous. This coalition seeks the preservation and the perpetuation of the powers that be and this octopus operates through the tentacles of the IMF, the Federal Reserve and the World Bank, masterminded by think tanks such as the Bilderberg group and the Council on Foreign Relations.

    The puppets of the powers that be include the president of the united states and his cabinet, and through them they are able to repress the freedom of information and with it the free and open exchange of ideas which are fundamental to the existence and operations of anonymous and the ability to see beyond the veil of secrecy from which the powers that be stand behind. But where does the power behind the throne lie? Within the global financial system, centered within the New York stock exchange.

    They feel secure in their ivory tower built on the broken backs of the laborers of the world for what are their subjects but human…all too human. In humanity lies the restraints of pity and mercy, driven by fear. But We are not merely human. Anonymous is something much more for we possess neither fear nor mercy. It is time to show the world the true power and the true face of the faceless, the nameless and the ghosts of society.

    Like Icarus, the powers that be have flown too close to the sun and the time has come to set the wings of their empire ablaze and watch the system their power relies on come to a grinding halt and come crashing down around them. We must strike at the heart of their empire by once again throw a wrench into the machine, but this time we face a much bigger target; the global financial system. This time our target is the New York Stock Exchange. (

    This is a call to arms my brothers who for too long have stood for nothing but have criticized everything. Stand now, behind the banner of free men against the tyrannical matrix of institutions that oppose us. Ready your weapons and aim them at the New York Stock Exchange. This is the operation to end all others. Innocent people may stand to lose something from this but the powers that be stand to lose much more. Bring the rain brothers.

    We are Anonymous
    We are Legion
    We do not forgive
    We do not forget
    Expect Us.”

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