Links 5/15/11

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Are humans reshaping Earth? Raw Story

Mining ’causes islands to sink’ BBC

Persuasive speech: The way we, um, talk sways our listeners PhysOrg

Report on Kabul Bank Corruption Is Classified, Taken Offline Secrecy News (hat tip reader bob). How can you retroactively classify something that was public? Do you erase the brains of everyone who doesn’t have security clearances who read it? In case you are curious….

China’s web spin doctors spread Beijing’s message Bangkok Post (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Economic Bust in Australia:Near-Record Corporate Bankruptcies, Employment Drops Unexpectedly; Rise in Bad Home Loans;Record Low Property Transactions Michael Shedlock (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Will Aussie housing go bust? MacroBusiness

Credit Error? It Pays to Be on V.I.P. List New York Times

Krugman’s column on the financial crisis in Sunday’s Izvestia is shocking and appalling Lambert Strether

Stack of Evidence Sealed Galleon Case, Juror Says New York Times. Usually a long time in deliberations is considered to be a good sign for the defendant, but here the jury was being very meticulous about analyzing the evidence.

Sticky prices, leverage, and Pascal’s wager Steve Waldman

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Barbara B). Turn the sound up:

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  1. attempter

    Re Thugman:

    There’s nothing shocking about his pro-bankster propaganda to anyone who actually understands what Krugman is.

    The real Krugman is the aggressive globalization cadre from the 1990s. The guy who wrote manifestos with titles like “In Praise of Low Wages”:

    and attacked anti-WTO citizen activists in the standard kick-down way of corporate liberals, like in this piece which is nothing but a menagerie of pro-corporate lies and hackery:

    By the latter 90s when Smugman was writing such filth, the intent and record of neoliberalism had long been clear as a bell. Krugman wasn’t making “honest mkstakes” here; he was telling criminal lies, in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy against humanity. His proper place in the dock would be next to the likes of Streicher.

    Many became misled by his anti-Bush writings. But he never opposed Bush policies. As we’ve seen since Obama came in, Krugman is not anti-tyranny and he’s not anti-war. He’s only anti-Republican, and only because he’s pro-Democrat. That was the only basis of his anti-Bush writings.

    This has been confirmed since 2009, as Krugman has gone silent on Obama’s war, been explicitly pro-Bailout, tried to float the “Swedish” scam (which could have been the Bailout equivalent of the “public option” scam, if that had become politically necessary), became shill #1 for the health racket bailout, explicitly advocates regressive taxation, has systematically and explicitly denied that a class war exists, and has systematically and explicitly denied that corporatism as such is any kind of problem (the problem is only bad apples among CEOs and of course Republicans). Those are just a few of his major crimes.

    Krugman’s a conscious, intentional propagandist for kleptocracy, and for the Democrats in particular. He’s a conscious criminal. Accept that, and everything he writes makes sense. Refuse to accept it, and nothing does.

    1. Cian

      That’s not really true. I’m no great fan of Krugman’s stuff, but he did oppose many of Bush’s policies (he played a significant part in opposing privatisation of social security, for example), and he was anti-Iraq war when nobody else much was in the mainstream.

      He has also moved a long way from those dreadful 90s columns, and is in mainstream economic terms becoming shockingly heterodox (not in my terms, but hey, baby steps).

      I don’t see anything to suggest that Krugman doesn’t believe in the stuff he writes. I think his main flaw is that he’s pretty naive.

      1. attempter

        I said he opposed Bush and the Republicans doing certain things, but not the things themselves.

        If he’d been truly anti-war pre-2009, he would’ve remained anti-war since then. (BTW, it’s a fraud that the US is leaving Iraq, and anyway there’s no coherent way to separate Iraq from Afghanistan and the rest and call the one “bad” and the other “good”. I added this parenthesis in case someone wanted to engage in liberal/neocon casuistry about the Permanent War.)

        I’ve predicted that in the end Krugman will support the gutting of SS, and I stand by that. It would be consistent with all his other positions, e.g. on corporatized health care and regressive taxes. And he’s been gradually trending toward pro-austerity positions for a year now, including engaging in deficit fear-mongering.

        Here’s one piece which discusses these, from my series unmasking Krugman.

        The health racket bailout itself, for which Krugman was shill #1, is a veiled austerity bill.

        We’re never going to make progress so long as everyone insists on temporizing with the kleptocracy by maintaining his own favorite kleptocrats for whom he makes excuses. The elites are all waging war upon us. All of them.

        1. alex

          Proclaimed by Revolutionary Tribunal on this day, Sextidi 26 Floréal CCXIX: that Citizen Krugman is guilty of insufficient zeal and a False Revolutionary. May the Supreme Being have mercy on his soul.

          1. DownSouth

            And here comes alex, right on cue!

            And you didn’t even need any prompting from Lloyd C. Bankster! Que milagro!

            Lloyd C. Bankster says:
            May 14, 2011 at 11:28 am
            Um, banksters under attack!!
            Hint, hint……Do I have to spell it out?
            That would be your cue, boys, to step up to the plate. Who coulda known their intent, etc.
            Anonymous Jones, alex, Transor Z?
            Anybody out there?

            It’s good, though, that you’ve been forced out of the closet, that you can no longer masquerade as a moderate or impartial ‘voice of reason’. That mask you were hiding behind got ripped off, rather brusquely I might add, during the discussion on this thread a couple of days ago.

          2. Corporate Clone

            I understand your need to mock these people alex, but you have to admit these fake liberals are helping our corporate fascist cause tremendously. I’m thinking of planting a few of my own soon in key positions.

          3. alex

            “That mask you were hiding behind got ripped off, rather brusquely I might add”

            But that’s already been established! Surely even the Revolutionary Tribunal need not twice convict a man who’s already been found guilty of the capital crime of being a False Revolutionary.

            P.S. Does your revolutionary cell limit itself to sitting in armchairs and meeting on blogs, or do they still practice the occasional traditional weekend getaway in a mountain redoubt? Don’t forget your laptops and bandoliers!

          4. DownSouth


            This little game of neoliberals branding others as “revolutionaries” is quite a deception, kind of like the pot calling the kettle black. For what is neoliberalism other than a doctrine which capitalizes on the overthrow of existing governments so that the dictatorship of corporations can be imposed?

            Neoliberals fit Hannah Arendt’s definition of “professional revolutionists” to a tee. As she wrote in On Revolution:

            It is well known that the French Revolution had given rise to an entirely new figure on the political scene, the professional revolutionist, and his life was spent not in revolutionary agitation, for which there existed but few opportunities, but in study and thought, in theory and debate whose sole object was revolution.


            The part of the professional revolutionists usually consists not in making a revolution but in rising to power after it has broken out…

            Of course the first step in any revolution is delegitimizing the present government. Here the neoliberals borrow a page from Marxism. For, to borrow a passage from Arendt, neoliberalism “makes sense only if one follows Marx’s estimate of the state as an instrument of oppression in the hands of the ruling class,” that “the body politic and its laws and institutions are merely coercive superstructures, secondary manifestations of some underlying forces.”

            Here’s how Reinhold Niebuhr put it:

            In Marxist thought political power is always subordinate to, and the tool of, economic power. Government is always bogus. It is never more than the executive committee of the propertied classes.

            With this ideology in hand, it is thus possible for neoliberals to condemn the government for not bailing out insolvent banks in the wake of the Great Depression, as Milton Friedman did in Capitalism and Freedom (documented on this thread), and then turn right around and condemn the government for bailing out insolvent banks, as the neoliberals have done in the wake of the GFC. None of this of course makes sense, unless one sees the true agenda of the neoliberals, which is to condemn and delegitimize government, regardless of what it does.

            When and if the revolution comes, the agenda of the neoliberals then shifts to imposing the dictatorship of the corporations. Here again they borrow a page from the Bolshevik handbook, holding out the utopian promise of a stateless, non-hierarchical and coercion-free society, but in practice delivering the chains of slavery.

            As Hannah Arendt so aptly observed in Karl Marx and the tradition of Western political thought, “Marx’s idea of right government, outlined first as the dictatorship of the proletariat, which was to be followed by a classless and stateless society, had become the official aim…of political movements throughout the world.” And this dream of a dictatorship followed by stateless society certainly applies to libertarianism.

            This became abundantly clear when the Grand Wizards of libertarianism, Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, traipsed down to Chile in 1975 and threw their unbridled support behind the military coup and dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. As Greg Grandin explains in The Road from Serfdom:

            Like Friedman, Hayek glimpsed in Pinochet the avatar of true freedom, who would rule as a dictator only for a “transitional period,” only as long as needed to reverse decades of state regulation. “My personal preference,” he told a Chilean interviewer, “leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism.”

            This is the true face of libertarianism, which is nothing but a modified Marxism. As Arendt goes on to explain:

            Marx’s self-contradiction is most striking in the few paragraphs that outline the ideal future society and that are frequently dismissed as utopian… In Marx’s future society the state has withered away; there is no longer any distinction between rulers and ruled and rulership no longer exists… Along with the state, violence in all its forms is gone…

            Of course with neoliberalism, just like with Bolshevism, the “future society” never materializes. What prevails is what Arendt called “the one-party dictatorship, that is, the model of the professional revolutionist.” But, as she goes on to explain, it prevails “only after a violent struggle with the organs and institutions of the revolution itself.” This is where all the mass murders and dirty wars come into play, which have become the hallmark of neoliberal revolutions, just as they have with Marxist revolutions.

          5. alex

            Corporate Clone: “I understand your need to mock these people alex, but you have to admit these fake liberals are helping our corporate fascist cause tremendously.”

            I don’t agree. First off, Krugman is not a liberal, and has even written that he never thought of himself as one. These days anyone opposed to dumping the Social Security trust fund directly into Lloyd Blankfein’s personal account is called a liberal.

            Anyone who’s ever read Krugman much knows that he’ll always bend over backwards to come up with the least cynical and conspiratorial explanation, to the point where it’s sometimes comical. During the Enron blackouts he touted a model of his showing that the deregulation would lead to such results even without any intentionally bad actors. That sounded pretty silly after the tape was released of Enron employees laughing about how they were screwing Aunt Tilly.

            So what is Krugman’s crime? The article is about US monetary policy and its international effects. The part about the blame for our problems is little more than an aside. Yet here he is accused of showing insufficient revolutionary zeal. While I certainly can’t take the armchair revolutionaries here too seriously, the mentality genuinely is reminiscent of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (and various other revolutions with unhappy outcomes) where a lack of zeal was considered as much a crime as actively working with the enemy.

            Lastly, while ridicule is fun once in a while, I also genuinely dislike the sort of anti-intellectual mob mentality that says everyone in the world must be sorted into Good Guys and Bad Guys, and even a hint that one of the Bad Guys may have once expressed a thought that wasn’t completely Bad is enough to get someone put on the Bad Guy list. Insufficient zeal and all, and hardly supports genuine debate. It’s even more disappointing coming from people with intellectual pretensions.

          6. Yves Smith Post author

            You can say Krugman doesn’t call himself a liberal with a straight face? HIs blog is called “Conscience of a LiberaL’ echoing the title of his recent book.

          7. alex

            Yves Smith: “You can say Krugman doesn’t call himself a liberal with a straight face? HIs blog is called “Conscience of a Liberal’”

            You make an embarrassingly obvious point. What I was thinking, and should have written, was “Krugman is not a liberal, and has even written that he never used to think of himself as one“. As he has also written, his politics didn’t change so much as “liberal” was redefined. While he has clearly accepted this redefinition, I personally can’t accept such Orwellian redefinitions unless I also accept that Ike was a commie because he thought that people who wanted to get rid of Social Security were idiots.

        2. Cian

          I said he opposed Bush and the Republicans doing certain things, but not the things themselves.

          Apart from the very occasional lapse, I see little evidence of this. He’s remained anti-SS privatisation even when Obama started pushing it (and Krugman was the one people who pointed this out), he’s remained pro-regulation of Wall Street, despite Obama’s resistance. He’s criticised Obama’s move towards austerity, and (what he sees as) economic mistakes prior to that. I’m not really seeing much inconsistency there. I’m not going to defend everything the guy does (I have lots of criticisms of his position), but your caricature is ridiculous. It doesn’t say much for your own judgement if you present such a distorted picture of the man.

          If he’d been truly anti-war pre-2009, he would’ve remained anti-war since then.

          He’s not anti-war, per-se, he was against the Iraq War. I don’t think he’s ever claimed otherwise. And he was against it at a time when there was enormous pressure on Democrats in the media to support it. I hadn’t noticed that his position on this has changed. He may not share your views on the matter, but that hardly makes him inconsistent, it simply makes him somebody with different political opinions to your own (and fairly mainstream ones, sadly).

          and anyway there’s no coherent way to separate Iraq from Afghanistan and the rest and call the one “bad” and the other “good”.

          Of course it is. I may not agree with the argument, but its perfectly coherent. They were started for different reasons, and one was supported by far more of the world than the other.

          I’ve predicted that in the end Krugman will support the gutting of SS, and I stand by that.

          That’s nice. There’s no sign of it so far.

          It would be consistent with all his other positions, e.g. on corporatized health care and regressive taxes.

          The first simply isn’t true. His position is that the US should have either single payer, or a government insurance scheme of some kind.

          And he’s been gradually trending toward pro-austerity positions for a year now, including engaging in deficit fear-mongering.

          Because he said that if US healthcare costs keep increasing at their current rate they will cause fiscal problems. Right, because US healthcare inflation is totally sustainable. And its totally fear-mongering to say that the solution to it, is to fix the broken US healthcare system.

          His response on VAT is here:

          I don’t necessarily agree with it (I’d have to look at the evidence which he helpfully provides), but it has the merit of being based upon data, which beats the arguments on your blog.

          Now if you wanted to accuse Krugman of being politically naive, I wouldn’t argue.

          1. attempter

            What a passel of filth and lies. I’ll just dispose of two points:

            1. Health costs are driven by the criminal rentiers who infest the system. Thugman aggressively sided with the health insurance rackets, which have no reason or right to exist at all (as he himself used to say) against the people.

            Today he, and the NYT in general, are pushing the misdirection ploy that the payer side is now fixed, while all the problems are on the provider side.

            Kleptocratic lies don’t get much worse than that.

            2. I don’t know if you’re naive enough to believe the nonsense you wrote about the Permanent War, but all theaters – Iraq, Afghanistan, all of them – have the exact same purpose: Corporate looting, and using “war” propaganda to impose intimidation and conformity at home. In that order. Then oil is a distant third.

            As for the pro-bankster filth in this thread, while there may not be those who are all Good, we can certainly see pure Evil everywhere we look today.

          2. Kriegtheaterkritiker

            I don’t know if you’re naive enough to believe the nonsense you wrote about the Permanent War, but all theaters – Iraq, Afghanistan, all of them – have the exact same purpose: Corporate looting, and using “war” propaganda to impose intimidation and conformity at home. In that order. Then oil is a distant third.


            The theaters. A pleasant euphemism that conveys an attitude. The people in Afghanistan and Pakistan being killed by drones are only actors. The bullets are only foam. And at the end of the day, they go home to their bombed out hovels only to return the next day to be killed again in this klein Theaterpiece called war put on for the benefit of the folks at home.

      2. DownSouth

        Cian said: Krugman “has also moved a long way from those dreadful 90s columns, and is in mainstream economic terms becoming shockingly heterodox…”

        But that’s not true, as the very column that Lambert picked up on makes abundantly clear.

        Do you see “neoliberalism” or “The Washington Consensus” mentioned anywhere in the piece? Of course not. But looking at the world today through the lens of neoliberalism—-who rejected it, who opted for it and later rejected it, who opted for it and remain committed to it—-provides far more explanatory power than all of Krugman’s obfuscations. So using this rubric, let’s classify the various countries Krugman mentions:

        • Those who rejected the Washington Consensus:
        Brazil (I’m a little foggy on this. Brazil might have dallied with neoliberalism early on, but when Lula came to power there was a definite turning away from neoliberal policies)

        • Those who opted for the Washington Consensus but later rejected it:

        Argentina (see Argentina’s Quarter Century Experiment with Neoliberalism: From Dictatorship to Depression and Rise and Collapse of Neoliberalism in Argentina

        • Those who opted for the Washington Consensus and are till with it:

        United States
        Great Britain
        The European Union
        Mexico (see A New Time for Mexico by Carlos Fuentes)

        What’s the very clear pattern that emerges? Isn’t it that those who are still committed to neoliberalism are struggling, while those who never opted for it or who lived the neoliberal nightmare to later reject it are now doing better?

        Earth to Krugman! Americans may still be in a Kruman-induced torpor, but it looks like events may finally be jarring Mexicans out of their propaganda-induced stupor. A friend sent me this article a couple of days ago. As it turns out, the Calderon (Mexico’s president) government was turning illegal immigrants from central America over to the drug cartels to be executed en masse.

        Neoliberalism always ends in dirty wars and mass murders. It always has and always will. That’s its nature. As the article states:

        The scandal…begs the fundamental question once again that has been with us these years: “Where is the organized crime, in the cartels or in the government, or in both?”

        The Mexican people are not mistaken. The silent march for peace convoked by the poet Javier Sicilia that ended in Mexico City the 8th of May as an expression of pain and suffering was directed not against the cartels, but against the government of Felipe Calderon, responsible for carrying the country into this blood bath; not for error nor stupidity—-as many of the co-organizers of the march pretended and sought to co-opt and derail it from its most profound sentiment—-but for an amoral and criminal political decision of the current governments [of Mexico and the United States] who seek to privilege the beneficiaries of the regime and make viable the insertion of Washington into the internal affairs of Mexico as a consequence of “the colombianization” imposed, in which thousands die for the financial, economic and political interests in play.


        A people has nothing to do with a government that is de facto absolutely against the interests of the people… with genocidal logic, that continues sacrificing many lives for the sake of imposing on Mexico the neoliberal model that is intrinsically perverse, defending transnational interests.

        1. DownSouth

          This incident, where some of the immigrants from Central America lived to tell the story of how the Calderon government turned illegal immigrants over to the drug cartels to be murdered en masse, is reminiscent of something Hannah Arendt said in Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil:

          The holes of oblivion do not exist. Nothing human is that perfect, and there are simply too many people in the world to make oblivion possible. One man will always be left alive to tell the story… For the lesson of such stories is simple and within everybody’s grasp. Politically speaking, it is that under conditions of terror most people will comply but some people will not, just as the lesson is that “it could happen” in most places but it did not happen everywhere. Humanly speaking, no more is required, and no more can reasonably be asked, for this planet to remain a place fit for human habitation.

        2. Cian

          No it really doesn’t provide more explanatory power. Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of Krugman – shockingly heterodox in mainstream terms, is still pretty mainstream. I have little time for neoclassical economics, even when its shackled to pseudo-keynesianism.

          But just throwing out the words neoliberalism, or Washington Consensus doesn’t explain anything. Secondly its not true. There are a range of factors affecting all these countries. The US has different problems to Greece/Ireland, while France and Germany are both doing okay. China’s boom seems to be based upon a bubble, India has embraced neoliberalism with a vengeance, while Brazil’s boom is largely due to a commodities boom (benefiting Russia also).

          And honestly in the short to medium term he’s right. The US’s problems are a shortage of jobs, and the danger of a second financial crisis.

          I have no problem with criticising neoliberalism, but blaming everything on it just makes you look like a crazy, infantile, leftist.

          1. DownSouth


            Well all I can say is that you must live on a different planet than I do.

            The Success & Failure of Neoliberalism
            gives a nice overview of neoliberalism’s current travails in Europe and the United States.

            For an update on the India situation there’s The Global Financial Crisis, Developing Countries and India. You claim that “India has embraced neoliberalism with a vengeance.” But I don’t think the neoliberal revolution in India has been nearly as absolute as you would lead us to believe. For instance, there’s this from Jayati Ghosh’s article:

            Domestic banking [in India] is still generally secure, especially because nationalised banking remains the core of the system, largely thanks to resistance from the Left parties to government attempts to privatise it.

            And the imposition of neoliberalism has met with significant popular resistance in India, which has impeded it’s implementation. For instance, this article, Nandigram: neoliberal policies hit a rock in India, is only one of many that is available on the internet highlighting the popular resistance that has arisen in opposition to the imposition of neoliberalism.

          2. DownSouth

            And Cian,

            Is it possible for a neoliberal apologist like yourself to not end your comment by accusing your enemy of being “crazy, infantile, leftist”?

            I mean, that may work fine on some right-wing blog like Red State, but my guess is it earns you few points here on NC.

        3. BDBlue

          I believe South Africa could probably be added to the list of those still stuck with neoliberalism.

          1. illusionist

            “For an update on the India situation there’s The Global Financial Crisis, Developing Countries and India. You claim that “India has embraced neoliberalism with a vengeance.” But I don’t think the neoliberal revolution in India has been nearly as absolute as you would lead us to believe. For instance, there’s this from Jayati Ghosh’s article:

            Domestic banking [in India] is still generally secure, especially because nationalised banking remains the core of the system, largely thanks to resistance from the Left parties to government attempts to privatise it.”

            That is why they spent so long without a pot to piss in as a nation??

        4. Michael H

          DownSouth said: “A friend sent me this article a couple of days ago. As it turns out, the Calderon (Mexico’s president) government was turning illegal immigrants from central America over to the drug cartels to be executed en masse.”

          Thanks for bringing this important story to our attention. Unfortunately I’m unable to read Spanish. Were the excerpts from your own translation of the linked article?

          What’s interesting here in the USA is the total lack of interest in mass murders taking place just south of the border.

          Do you know if it’s possible to find a complete translation of the article into English? Or if any English language news organizations have bothered to devote so much as one or two paragraphs to these mass murders?

          1. DownSouth

            Michael H,

            From your comment below it looks like you beat me to the punch, but I also did a search in English and couldn’t find anything.

            And yes, the quote was from the article I linked, my translation.

            I’m glad the French press is reporting this story. And I’m like you, the blackout in the U.S. press doesn’t surprise me at all.

        5. Michael H


          I wasn’t able to find anything in English about illegal immigrants from central America to Mexico being turned over to drug cartels and executed. However the French news organizations are also reporting this.

          No surprise here, it’s what you expect from the US media.

          Thanks again for bringing this story to my attention.

        6. Cedric Regula

          As a neophyte to all things poly-sci, I still don’t think I can tell the difference between a neo libby and a neo con. And what are the good guys called so we will know who to vote for?

          But since I live rather close to the Mexico border, I get curious whenever I hear unusually bizarre things about Mexico. So lets believe for a moment Calderon thought it was a great idea to turn over the migrant unwashed masses to the drug dealers so they could set up a big death camp and mass burial sites. Knowing that drug cartels are motivated by profit, why did they cooperate with the request?

          Spanish looks like Greek to me, so the Spanish article was no help connecting the dots.

        7. CaitlinO

          Due to a public education in pre-Prop 13 California and a job that had me live and work in South America for a number of years, my Spanish is pretty awesome.

          You’ve misread the article, South. It claims that the Mexican immigrant authority turned over illegal C.A. immigrants to “para-military groups” who robbed and assassinated the victims. The Calderon government then planned to blame narco-traffic groups for the assassination. There’s no mention of who the para-military groups are associated with or why the government would feel that the Mexican people need any more convincing of the heinous nature of the drug cartels than is already provided by the bodies of Mexican citizens littering the streets of everything north of the D.F.

          Perhaps American media didn’t pick up the story because of its speculative attribution of motivation to Calderon and its rather vague assignment of blame to un-named groups.

          1. Cedric Regula

            That starts to make sense. Mexicans tend to be sort of entrepreneurial because generally there is no one to work for. So a para military group is like a rent-a-cop agency, except the kind that hangs around in a bar until work shows up. How they get the gun permits, I have no idea.

            So they were probably hired to run the illegals back across the border. What the illegals had to rob is another question. The para military guys may have just shot them to save the gas money.

            So maybe Calderon was somehow aware of a cover up plan designed to pin the bureaucratic bungling on the drug cartels, which have been leaving dead bodies all over the place.

          2. DownSouth

            CaitlinO and Cedric Regula,

            You both seem intent on trivializing what I and many Mexicans perceive to be a very serious problem.

            In Mexico there is no Blackwater and no Prison Corporation of America. You are taking a U.S. paradigm, where police and prison functions have been privatized, and superimposing it upon Mexico.

            In Mexico, there exists no lawful way in which the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) could have transferred custody of the immigrants they had apprehended to anyone other than the INM holding facility in Mexico City, where they would have been held until they could be processed and deported.

            Furthermore, this incident did not occur in isolation. It is just one amongst many that signal a return of the “dirty wars” to Mexico. The incidence of reports of “disappearing” political dissidents and enemies of the administration has experienced about a ten-fold increase in the last couple of years, as was reported by a team of UN researchers who recently completed a study in Mexico.

            Here are some videos that deal with this sudden explosion of Desapariciones Forzadas that is currently taking place in Mexico. In these videos they discuss in detail the tactic by which authorities apprehend someone and then turn them over to criminal organizations for liquidation. As the interviewees attest, the fact that it is not the authorities themselves who do the actual killing is not germane to establishing whether a state crime has been committed or not. In other words, you guys are barking up the wrong tree.




            Here’s an interview with one of the actual UN investigators:



          3. Cedric Regula

            I’m in no way comparing a “coyote” hired by the Mexican government to Blackstone. And everyone know our jails are way better than Mexican jails.

            I also maintain that if any criminal organization is doing work for the government, they are doing it on a for profit basis, and not out of a sense of civic duty.

            And I doubt Mexico is dealing with a small number of destitute migrant immigrants from C.A. I’ve heard the numbers are huge. But political dissidents should not be lumped into this group. That’s another thing again, even tho the same solution may be adopted.

            I would say that Mexico is turning into a Libertarian paradise, except they still have all these laws on the books, which seem to be enforced selectively, whenever the enforcer sees a way to make a buck. So in that sense maybe the legal system has been privatized.

          4. DownSouth

            Cedric Regula said: “And everyone know our jails are way better than Mexican jails.”

            Again you are just repeating hearsay with no knowledge of what you are speaking about.

            The INM holding facility in Mexico City is on par with any jail in the United States, whether we talk food, facilities, or humane treatment of the inmates. Some countries, like the United States and a couple in Latin America (Columbia and Brazil, for instance) pay the Mexican government a per diem to house their citizens in the INM facility in Mexico City. For this reason, if you are an American, Columbian or Brazilian and get picked up on an immigration violation, the Mexican authorities will hold you for the full maximum 90 days allowed by law before they deport you, in order to collect the maximum number of per diems for each detainee that is possible. If you are from Guatemala or Honduras, however, you will be immediately deported back to your country.

            And again, you’re trying to make distinctions where none exist. It doesn’t matter what the state’s reason is for turning a detainee over to a criminal organization for liquation. It is simply irrelevant. It makes no difference whether it is for reasons of politics, money, racial hatred or whatever, it’s still a crime of state.

      3. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Perhaps he’s somewhat ‘Ivory Tower’, but I just landed on a video clim from today’s Sunday chats over at the Crooks&Liars website, in which Krugman seems to say: “if we have to pick between being held hostage by (neoliberal, politically extreme factions in Congress) or defaulting, then it’s best to just default – rather than to give all the power to hostage takers”.

        That’s the way that I understand Krugman, and I happen to agree with him.

        I agree with Krugman that it’s time to go to the wall against the hostage takers, and those who are so terrified of their threats need to get some guts.

        This is more about power than it is about economics at this point.
        The economics are just the ‘baby’ in the power struggle, and one party is willing to kill the baby in order to achieve their Vaunted Ideological Goals. Feeding their blackmail is only going to feed their demands.

        I’m with Krugman, who appears to be the most clear sighted commenter in this situation.

    2. Elpa

      The very moment anybody start slapping a label (communist, kripofascits, nazi lesbian transvestite evangelical atheist) on somebody else, Krugman or YourNameit, the discourse is shifted from a rational political level to a personal smear attack level, which is usually carried out to discredit the person, as opposed to displaying the weakness and inconsistencies of his/her arguments (which is more difficult and expensive, but yelds better results).

      And it’s useless too: in politics, everybody is allowed to change his/her own mind, as remaining forever loyal to an idea, never changing one’s opinion no matter what the evidence suggests, is a sign of intellectual immaturity, of the adoption of a dogmatic approach to reality, whether it happens throught a received dogma or a self constructed one.

      Of course for the laypeople a politician/economist shifting opinon is easily labelled as “flip flopper”, thus discreting the person, but that doesn’t prove nor disprove any argument.

      It is not in changing one’s opinion that fault should be found, but rather in the method by which one has reached a conclusion or changed his mind – is the method being consistently used in evaluating situations, or is it being selectively used ? Is the method being warped to accomodate for absurd conclusions? Most people also are selective in telling the truth as they know it, omitting facts that would prove their arguments unfounded or inconsistent – now that’s a fault worth pointing out.

      And above all, be honest to yourself – does your argument hold water? If you succeed in doing so consistently, please tell me how.

      1. attempter

        1. Krugman’s record doesn’t show an organic evolution of a position. The record shows a consistent ideological viewpoint with self-cherry-picked exceptions.

        2. Specifically, Krugman has consistently taken a neoliberal corporatist position, albeit with the standard empty liberal rhetoric about wanting “better” corporatism.

        The cherry pickings were only to oppose specific Republican-led policies. But he has explicitly or implicitly supported the exact same policies where led by Democrats.

        The fact that K’s sycophants in this thread deny this fact displays their bad faith.

        That’s why I say that once Obama tells him flat out “I need your help on gutting Social Security”, K will comply.

        3. To the extent you have the power to act, your actions are the only meaningful measure of your intent, character, and morality.

        K has the freedom to say anything he wants. Therefore whatever he says is exactly what he wants to say, no more and no less.

        Just as for two years the Democrats had the equivalent of one-party rule, so whatever they did for those two years is exactly what they wanted to to. No more and no less.

        4. Meanwhile (since you bizzarely questioned my consistency), my record is 100% clear. I’m always, at each and every point, on the side of people who actually work and produce something, and against all parasites.

        Thank you for the opportunity of clarifying this distinction between a citizen and a criminal.

        1. Mighty Booosh

          So, People’s Front of Judea, not the discredited Judean People’s Front.

  2. pezhead9000

    “Our problem is unemployment. And to deal with our job shortage, we need low interest rates and, yes, continuing budget deficits to keep our economy growing.” — Krud-man

    spend baby, spend – ND2.0 manifesto

    1. Corporate Clone

      I quite agree pezhead. Unemployment has been a huge boon to my business. Due the threat of firing my employees, I am able to work them twice a hard for half as much pay. I’ve also cut their bennies. God, I love unemployment. Please don’t let it end!

      1. pezhead9000

        Central command, central command – we need more jobs; get the shovels and let’s dig some holes

        “Look around at this world we’ve made equality our stock in trade
        Come and join the brotherhood of man
        Oh, what a nice, contented world let the banners be unfurled
        Hold the Red Star proudly high in hand” — Rush 2112

  3. RBM411

    At what point can we all agree that Krugman is a hack and stop using his columns for anything other than fish wrapper?

    1. Francois T

      At what point?

      How about when Krauthammer’s columns are not syndicated anymore? Or that Marc A. Thiessen, torture apologist extraordinaire is expunged from the WaPo? Or…?

      There are PLENTY of stupid idiots that benefit from unfettered access to the establishment media for reasons that have nothing to do with meritocracy.

  4. Bernard

    amazing how defenders of the elite always know how to play the game. since they wrote the rules, i can’t imagine anyone one-uping them. it’s their rules, their everything.

    set the parameters and everything falls within. divide and conquer on “chosen” terms and the arguments stay on “topic.”

    Never admit to controlling the “conversation” or even admit there is “that” going on. Moi! Never!!

    with all the stupid and fearing Americans wanting to be led, why bother with any other “plan” to fleece Americans. Blame the “other” to misdirect attention while stealing everything of value….and it has been working for the last 40 years. throw in a few trolls and other diversionary tactics for “traction”, gosh how easy Americans are.

    1. DownSouth

      The movie, ‘The Matrix’, touched a deep chord in society because it exemplified this mechanistic trap in which so many people find their lives enmeshed, and from which they are unable to extricate themselves because they believe that everyone around them who “looks human” is, in fact, just like them—-emotionally, spiritually, and otherwise.

      Take an example of how psychopaths can directly affect society at large: the “legal argument” as explained by Robert Canup in his work on the ‘Socially Adept Psychopath’. The legal argument seems to be at the foundation of our society. We believe that the legal argument is an advanced system of justice. This is a very cunning trick that has been foisted on normal people by psychopaths in order to have an advantage over them. Just think about it for a moment: the legal argument amounts to little more than the one who is the slickest at using the structure for convincing a group of people of something, is the one who is believed. Because this “legal argument” system has been slowly installed as part of our culture, when it invades our personal lives, we normally do not recognize it immediately. But here’s how it works.


      The truth, when twisted by liars, can always make an innocent person look bad, especially if the innocent person is honest and admits his mistakes.

      The basic assumption that the truth lies between the testimony of the two sides always shifts the advantage to the lying side and away from the side telling the truth. Under most circumstances, this shift put together with the fact that the truth is going to also be twisted in such a way as to bring detriment to the innocent person, results in the advantage always resting in the hands of liars—psychopaths. Even the simple act of giving testimony under oath is a useless farce. If a person is a liar, swearing on oath means nothing to that person. However, swearing an oath acts strongly on a serious, truthful witness. Again, the advantage is placed on the side of the liar.
      ▬Lara Knight-Jadczyk, Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes

      1. Francois T

        As my teacher of religious studies put it succinctly:
        “Please, do not equate legality with morality, for legality is a political construct, and morality is a universal impulse of human beings.”

        1. Lidia

          This is relevant to the current torture “debate”. Bushies and other garden-variety sadists saying “but it was legal!”, “it was effective!” and human beings responding “doesn’t matter how legal or effective it is; it’s immoral”.

  5. lambert strether

    For those who came in late… There was a time in 2002-2003, just when the (political) blogosphere had begun to flourish, when Krugman was quite literally the only voice calling bullsh*t on the Bush administration, and he did that when he saw that their budget numbers were fake. So, kudos to him for that, because that’s not the act of a hack; it took courage. However, at this point, it should be clear to anybody who pays serious attention that the continuities between the Bush administration and the Obama administration are far greater than the differences, and yet Krugman pulls his punches with Obama in a way that he never did with Bush. I don’t know why that’s so, but it is so. If there’s a process of calculation involved, of the preservation of imagined influence, I can only plead that simply writing the truth would have an unimaginably greater, and more positive, impact “beyond the policy blackboard” as it were.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      It’s great to have someone taking apart these writings of Krugman in a reasonable way, but getting them posted here is just throwing meat to the ravenous psychopathic dogs on this site who have no concept of what they do or do not know.

      Oh wait, I forgot, they predicted everything and they know exactly how a global economy of almost seven billion people runs and exactly who is in charge and how many people are participating in the conspiracy and exactly how things “should” run (well, except that all these seven billion people have different ideas who should be allocated what and when and for how long, but that’s immaterial, really, just a minor point).

      Abstraction is great, guys, but see it for what it is…abstraction. It’s not reality. You’ve confused yourselves, and it gets more embarrassing the more angry you get in defending your own delusions about your own knowledge.

    2. attempter

      Evidently I wrote my second paragraph and gave those links in vain, but for those who came in late, the 1990s are prior to 2002-3.

      Anyone who looks at Krugman’s entire record will see that the anti-Bush Krugman for whom so many feel such nostalgia is the anomaly. As I said, attribute it to pro-Dem partisanship and nothing else, and all the evidence fits.

        1. attempter

          Your comment sounded like you were under the misimpression that you knew the history better than I, so I mentioned how the history in my comment went back further than yours.

          If I misunderstood you, sorry. Maybe you should speak more clearly and without so many inside jokes.

  6. Kilo Swami

    damming, deforestation and agriculture.

    Thousands of dams

    Should we call this the epoch of the beavers? The Castoropocene Age?

    Are we the beavers by any name? But should we distort nature when we can instead learn from nature? Should we as neo-beavers build our dams further upstream to create smaller ponds each with a smaller hydroelectric plant. Would more but smaller generators bring electrification closer to *point of use* for shorter transmission lines, for lower loss delivery system? Would such a system be cheaper to manufacture but easier to maintain?

    Tell me something! Is it more efficient to set up assembly-line for making 4 gigantic generators, or cheaper to set up assembly-line for making 4,000,000 small generators? Does economy of scale mean many iterations of the same loop or does it mean building one gigantic world class trade centre building to serve as a political monument that everyone can gasp at the sight of? Think about it.

    When you go further upstream to build ponds for energy production, fish-farms, children’s recreation, and burial of political outlaw’s cadaver; can you get more energy from the greater gradient or slope, than further downstream where large dams block ocean going vessels from convenient navigation? Should we look further downstream for wider rivers for bigger dams that can be owned by larger pyramidal companies that need excessively wealthy CEO to sponge up the profit before share holders can get a sniff of dividends?

    And finally, do small ponds upstream usually engender aquifers and springs further downstream? Springs for more natural life?

    Get the picture, Perfect

  7. scraping_by

    Re: Krugman’s column on the financial crisis in Sunday’s Izvestia is shocking and appalling

    “The only thing really to understand about Krugman is that he has cast his lot with the Establishment, that is the kleptocratic elites to which he belongs.”

    This is the only point in Hugh’s otherwise stellar post I might quibble about. Seen from the outside, Krugman isn’t part of the kleptocratic elite. If you want to find those, you have to look in luxurious shadows, in distant countries, behind high walls. The ones in public are surrounded by fawning press and do nothing but rent.

    Krugman is a servant, as tutors and most intellectual workers have always been. Working as a journalist, he’s still and always a servant. And not even giving value as an honest domestic might.

    Once again, Hugh hits almost every nail on the head. But it’s important to remember whether you’re dealing with lackeys or their masters.

  8. Max424

    Krugman believes the most efficient economic model is the one where you give the international crime syndicates trillions of free dollars.

    Now, if the crime syndicates should happen to blow up the world’s economy, and themselves, Krugman believes you should pump trillions of free dollars into the coffers of the crime syndicates — to make them whole again.

    Once the crime syndicates have been made whole, Krugman believes you should start the whole process over again, and give the international crime syndicates trillions of free dollars.

    I don’t know if this makes Krugman a neo-liberal, or a bad economist, but does make him an enthusiastic advocate of the process by which you give international criminal organizations trillions of free dollars.

  9. Patrick McCormick

    I have been reading your political blog. Perhaps we can help each other.

    The fact is, I’ve been reading blogs from all over this planet looking for writers that would make great contributors for a new online magazine my daughter and I are developing. Your commentary is of great interest to us for our News section which we are developing now.

    My name is Patrick McCormick and our magazine is called “The e-Buffet”. Our prototype is online. I hope you will take a look at it. It’s only been six weeks and we have assembled a remarkable group of talented artists and writers. It has become a Creative Collaboration and we are growing stronger every day. Between The e-Buffet and our contributors we have over 150 thousand readers, and we have not published our first issue.

    There are several excellent reasons for our early success recruiting this talent. First, it is a great opportunity to promote your own blog or website. Second we do not charge our contributors or make them work for free, we actually intend to pay them. The creators of The e-Buffet will take ten percent of the total gross revenue each month and place it into a pool to be split by the contributors. Admittedly, we are a start-up business and do not have deep pockets, so the pool will be small at first. However, with the type of artists we are attracting, I predict our readership will grow quickly.

    So, I like your work and I offer you the same opportunity that I have given the others. If you get in touch with me now, you can still place some of your material in the first issue due out June 1, 2011. Oh, the first few months you can submit articles and photographs that have all ready been published elsewhere. I believe that makes this one of those “Win, Win” opportunities.

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    Patrick McCormick

    1. illusionist

      You have been selected to receive this offer;

      – There is a gent whose uncle was the Nigerian oil minister. If you………

  10. Cian

    Is it possible for a neoliberal apologist like yourself to not end your comment by accusing your enemy of being “crazy, infantile, leftist”?

    Indeed, because its absolutely impossible that anyone on the left (the real left, as opposed to the soft-liberal end of Democrat) could disagree with you.
    My problem isn’t with your politics, its your simplistic analysis and the manichean grouping of the world into GOOD and BAD; black and white. Alex is right. You don’t have to be on the right to think that the world is a little bit more complex than that.

  11. Lloyd C. Bankster

    @alex and AJ


    I was up on my Wii balance board replaying Tiger Woods 16th hole chip-in at the 2005 Masters (remember the one?) when “Bones” called my Goldstriker iPhone 3GS Supreme (price tag $8 million) to read me your comments.

    Alex, keep working the good guys/bad guys is for simpletons/ the world is far too complicated/ there are no bad guys theme.

    AJ, loved the rabid psychopathic dogs line. Keep working the “how many people are participating in a conspiracy” strawman.

    The road to the Cayman’s is paved with misdirection.

    Tiger will be in town next weekend. How about joining us for a round of golf at the Sebonack, followed by tuna tataki with star-anise ponzu at East Hampton Point, washed down with a few martinis.

    I’m a happy camper right now, rockin’ and a-rollin’.

  12. Susan Truxes

    Are we reshaping the earth? They are planning to look into this. They are estimating it will take 20 years to study it? In the meantime, has anyone seen Arnie Gunderson’s videos on Fukushima? I found him on the RealNewsNetwork. His latest in a series from last Friday.

  13. Lee Vise

    The spin in this article is bizarre, but the story is newsworthy. Very few (no?) countries have ever managed to increase its standard of living 40-fold under the direction or, in the ast two decades, overwhelming influence of a singe person. To be seen as a liability after all that suggests a much bigger social change occuring in Singapore.

    I still can’t figure out whether it is a change for the better or worse, though. It’s hard to see how reducing much needed immigfration is going to help that country, for example.

    It’s even harder to see how incumbents around the world are going to manage to keep public support if this guy, with his track record, can’t.

  14. Binky the Bear

    Thank goodness the revolutionary guard has figured out that it was all Paul Krugman’s doing. Now that the foamers have decided that Krugman is the new Emmanuel Goldstein, what? Have a “libertarian” two minute hate?

    Yippee. That’s why some people are ranters on the internet and other people are actually doing things.

Comments are closed.