Links 6/3/11

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World’s Oldest Champagne in 170-Year Shipwreck May Fetch $145,000 a Bottle Bloomberg. Buzz Potamkin says this bubbly is still drinkable; I say it’s another form of trading sardines.

Europe E. Coli Is Deadliest Outbreak as Rare Strain Causes Kidney Failure Bloomberg (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Watch out for the Thought Police: Homeland Security test ‘Minority Report’ system which knows when you’re even THINKING about committing a crime Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

Texas Urges U.S. to Leave Gas Fracking Oversight to States Bloomberg (hat tip Ed Harrison)

Humpty Obumpty and the Arab Spring Asia Times (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Building Europe, building institutions Speech by Jean-Claude Trichet (hat tip Swedish Lex)

ECB’s Trichet Suggests Creation of Euro Finance Ministry CNBC (hat tip Philip Pilkington)

Why are Bulgaria and the Baltics so Keen on the Euro? Edward Hugh

Libya bet $1bn on SocGen shares Financial Times (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Federal Workers, Feeling Threatened, Unionize Huffington Post (hat tip reader Paul Tioxon)

Ex-Mayor Daley’s new job is with law firm involved in city deals Chicago Sun-Times. More specifically, bad infrastructure deals that ripped off taxpayers.

Americans still avoiding doctors, insurers say Reuters

The Truth About The Middle Class David Cohen (hat tip reader Bruno)

Wall Street’s Role in Narco-Trafficking – “Business is Booming” CounterPunch (hat tip reader Bruno)

‘Moody’s alarm on debt limit is a show‘ Press TV (hat tip Richard Smith)

The Bank Lobby Steps Up Its Attack on Elizabeth Warren The Nation

Geithner and Goldman, Thick as Thieves TruthDig

Foreclosing on a Bunch of Snakes MarketWatch (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

Antidote du jour (hat tip Richard Smith):

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  1. MIWill

    re: Watch out for the Thought Police..

    Great. Yes, let’s have this Radio Shack device. When pointed at banksters or right-wing militia, nothing happens. Aim for environmentalists or peace activists, however, and lights will flash and alarms will sound.

    Oh, wait. Don’t we already have this capability? I think it’s called the FBI.

    1. Stelios Theoharidis

      For all your complaints about content scrapers, you linked a Counterpunch article that wasn’t on the Counterpunch website but rather at some beforeitsnews website. Sure the article is referenced but wouldn’t it be more suitable to link directly to their website?

      1. Yves Smith Post author


        Go read Felix Salmon on this topic. Some sites want their content read as widely as possible, others want to concentrate traffic on their site to create a comments community and frankly increase traffic so they can sell more ads. Felix is opposed to my stance, he thinks folks like me should only care about being read. That’s a convenient view if you are on a payroll.

        Counterpunch does not have third party ads and does not have a comments section So they do not appear to be of the maximizing eyeballs school. They don’t mind when authors like Hudson ask me to run their work as long as it runs on Counterpunch first.

        1. Philip Pilkington

          That’s because Counterpunch are a pack of Commies… kidding, well no I’m not, they really are a pack of Commies — but they run good stuff sometimes.

          Interesting topic though — link to the Felix Salmon stuff perchance?

      2. ambrit

        I was wondering at the proliferation of “distractions” on your website lately. Good for you, that means you can say no to the Petersons, Kochs, and Murdochs of the world.
        BTW, that would make you a ‘Capitalesse’ would it not? (Sounds like a medieval Title, like Frances’ Capital de Busch.)

  2. Foppe

    Re the piece by Ed Hugh on his ‘BELLs’: It seems to me that he forgot to answer his own question.
    Anyway, on the question why these countries want to adopt the Euro. Hugh:

    Only last week the Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis presented a book in Riga which he has co-authored with Anders Åslund of the Peterson Institute (How Latvia Came through the Financial Crisis) and the associated press release proudly states that a key lesson to be learnt from the resolution of Latvia’s financial crisis is that “devaluation is neither the panacea nor the necessity that many economists make it out to be”.

    Want to bet why “Latvia” (that is, the current cabinet) desperately longs for the Euro? I’m guessing it has something to do with a desire for personal enrichment by some members of the establishment.
    A lot of these countries seem to have voted for pro-free-market parties of late (because adopting the free market is western, and thus a repudiation of the soviet communism) without really considering whether this western mode of social and economic organization might not be at least as bad as the Soviet one.

    1. ambrit

      Most Estimable Foppe;
      So, the Prime Minister of Latvia has an economics book ghosted for him by a flunky of the Peterson Institute? Please, someone tell me this Aslund person has a decent reputation. Even if the arguement put forward sounds like typical Rightist propaganda.

  3. Philip Pilkington

    Uh… that ‘Thought Police’ article is such rubbish. Come on guys, just get it over and done with and build the machines you really want: Beard Detector 2.0 or maybe the Burqa Early Warning System.

    Seriously though, this is another instance of paranoia breeding pseudo-scientific nonsense. Remember the MK Ultra program? The CIA thought that the Soviets had a successful mind control program so they tried to come up with their own. Why did they think this? Well, because one or two US soldiers became convinced that Communism was better than Capitalist. The conclusion the CIA — or at least, certain fringe elements with power therein — drew from that was that the Soviets must be brainwashing these folks.

    What did the CIA produce out of their mind control program? Memory loss. That was it. Memory loss. Oh, and they also destroyed a bunch of people’s lives — but all is forgiven in the name of the pursuit of creepy pseudo-science, right?

    Here’s an awful interview with some of the people that were used in the ‘Psychic Driving’ portion of the program (about 0.50 in).

    Terribly sad. But this what happens when security agencies get so paranoid that they start engaging in very dubious pseudo-scientific ventures. Let’s just hope no one ends up in Gitmo because their heart-rate increased…

    1. LeeAnne

      Creepier than naked scanning every man, woman and child under threat of body groping pat down publicly, or worse and more dangerously, privately behind doors with any protest?

      Maybe that’s normal to you -and not creepy science, applied by creeps with no accountability, above the rule of law -in AMERICA.

      1. Philip Pilkington

        Yeah, that’s pretty creepy too — you guys should really do something about that.

        Still, if I had a choice between a seedy grope from some dodgy private security hire or having my memory wiped through life threatening procedures… I’d have to go for the seedy grope.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This is where zazen comes in handy.

      Empty your mind of thoughts.

      As they say, ‘nothing’ is better than ‘something,’ which is different from saying, nothinn (as in, there is nothing in the world) is better than something (implying this thing called ‘something’ is the best in the world, nothing is better than ‘it’).

    3. ambrit

      Mr Pilkington;
      Such outre shenanigans are not out of the mainstream at all. The SS’s office for psychic research is but one of many. On a more humorous note, the Rightists continuing dalliance with “Voodoo Economics” (thank you President Bush Senior!) falls well within that sphere of ‘faith based’ enterprises.

    4. Francois T

      The article may not be deserving a Pulitzer, but the science behind possible mind-reading devices has progressed by quantum leaps in the last 5 years.

      Note that most of the progress was achieved by researchers who were trying to help patients with aphasia post-stroke. The basic science behind it appears pretty sound:

      Now, I can’t tell if the Pandora box is fully open, but if so, we are going to need to reinforce civil rights even more than what they’ve been.

  4. CB

    I know it seems amusing, but to me, that animal looks like Chronic Wasting Disease. Which is not amusing.

    1. jfwells

      Actually, that elk looks very healthy. Plenty of wild animals “play” when nobody (except the game cam) is looking.

      1. OregonChris

        Agreed, it is an elk and it looks healthy. Cats and dogs play and do silly things all the time, seems that elk do as well.

  5. Philip Pilkington

    Failed central banker Jean-Claude Trichet receives zombified award for European integration — claims that the EMU has been a success:

    “EMU is the area where Europe has progressed furthest.

    It is a union where sovereign nations share a single market, a single economy and a single currency. Where they bind their actions through common laws and institutions. Where they remain unified and diverse at the same time.”

    Is this some sort of a sick joke? Nope. Does it sound like the old speeches coming out of Soviet leaders in the early-80s? Hell yeah.

    When you hear stuff as self-deluded as this you know the systems rotten — you also know that, contrary to what Trichet, it’s probably being run by technocrats.

  6. LeeAnne

    I love the idea of Chase having to be kind to snakes. It proves their value. Being forced into kindness is a bit of an anomoly but fits here actually where the bank itself is an anomoly. Created to serve the public, it rather exploits the public, transfering the production and virtues of workers from those producers to itself and cronies -all over the globe. My!

    May it have snakes everlasting.

  7. Jim

    For those of you who are following the virus XMRV. It’s not over. Frankly the scientific process is seriously flawed with the request of the “Science” journal requesting to retract Lombardi et al paper. As reported in the wall street journal.

    You ask what is XMRV? You know somebody with prostrate cancer, other cancers, autism, CFS/ME, fibromyalgia, Gulf War Illness?(the list goes on…)

    You may want to read the link below then. A response right from the lead researcher Dr Judy Mikovitz from the WPI, not some edited version from the coorporate owned media. Her words. FACTS.

    1. Michael Cain

      It’s an elk, not a deer. An expensive error to make during hunting season. And haven’t you ever watched a little kid stamping and kicking in a mud puddle?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I myself have that problem, so I speak with a certain authority here regarding this inability to properly identify animals.

        I blame it on our education system. There is no animal identification requirement for graduation nor college entrance.

  8. t briwn

    link brok no image 6 3 1 1
    p.s. p i m…co fund co “US debts $75t=trill=tom”
    2 Profs. “total $200t trill” on gdp $14t/yr or 13x gdp”

  9. vag_magnet

    “accuracy rates of around 70 per cent”

    They only have to interrogate 30% of passengers, unless those are false negatives, in which case they’ll have to interrogate them all.

  10. Foppe

    Here‘s a nice link discussing the history of Neoliberalism using Ferguson’s movie Inside Job, David Harvey’s A Short History of Neoliberalism and Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine.

  11. PQS

    Shorter “Insurers”:

    Damned “Consumers” aren’t spending their last pennies enriching us, even when they’re back at work! Better raise their rates again and make sure the deductibles are sky high. That’ll teach ’em.

  12. Michael Cain

    It is my understanding from acquaintances in the oil and gas industry that no matter what the top Texas politicians may say, the Texas Railroad Commission is actually pretty tough on the owners and operators of wells that pollute. To paraphrase one, “If we did in Texas what companies have been doing in New York and Pennsylvania, we’d be shut down and bankrupt.”

    Having spent decades setting up procedures that actually seem to work, I can understand them being unhappy if the inability of states like New York and Pennsylvania to do the job cause the feds to preempt all of the state regulations.

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