Links 9/10/11

Elephants and livestock battle for water in East Africa CNN (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Exclusive: Smoked out: tobacco giant’s war on science Independent (hat tip reader Tim F)

The Responsibility of Intellectuals, Redux Noam Chomsky, Boston Review (hat tip reader Bill)

The imminent yuan float meme MacroBusiness

Markets tumble after ECB’s Jurgen Stark resigns Telegraph (hat tip reader Valissa)

The euro zone is coming apart at the seams now Ed Harrison

Greek PM to give key speech amid hostility Financial Times

How MI6 deal sent family to Gaddafi’s jail Guardian (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Political Forces Lining up to Raise Medicare Retirement Age Jon Walker, FireDogLake (hat tip reader Carol B). Thank God I’m as healthy as a horse.

ILWU Protest Closes Ports of Seattle, Tacoma Journal of Commerce (hat tip reader Godwin). The NY Times weighs in, and note the emphasis: Union Dispute, Turning Violent, Spreads and Idles Ports

‘Tea Party Zombies’ Creator Draws Ire AdWeek (hat tip Buzz Potamkin). Wow, they can dish it out but they sure can’t take it.

American Exceptionalism TruthOut (hat tip reader May S)

NOM’s 2009 Victory in Maine Comes Back to Haunt the Organization Pam’s House Blend (hat tip reader Carol B)

Judge accuses Barclays of breach of faith Financial Times. The judge also came as close as a judge can to saying a Barclays exec lied.

Banks Blow Off, Doom Foreclosure Fraud Settlement With AGs Dave Dayen, FireDogLake

Fighting against the big banks Al D’Amato, LI Herald. Mirabile dictu, Pothole Al backs Schneiderman

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Foppe

    Re: “Exclusive: Smoked out: tobacco giant’s war on science”

    Now this is a surprisingly shameless move.. Wonder if there are any rules included in the FOI legislation that allows you to deny requests on the basis of the requester not possessing integrity.

    1. gmanedit

      They want to see the data, paid for by the public and used to influence public policy. Stirling refused—illegally, it seems.

      See, for example, Dick Puddlecote and Richard Smith.

      Denying information based on who’s asking for it? Do you not see where that leads?

  2. G3

    Chomsky – “The US and its allies will do anything to prevent democracy in the Arab world”

    This especially jumped out :
    The other category is an oil-rich dictator who’s not reliable, who’s a loose cannon. That’s Libya. And there, there’s a different policy: try to get a more reliable dictator. And that’s exactly what’s happening. Of course, describe it as a humanitarian intervention. That’s another near historical universal. You check history, virtually every resort to force, by whoever it is, is accompanied by the most noble rhetoric. It’s all completely humanitarian. That includes Hitler taking over Czechoslovakia, the Japanese fascists rampaging in northeast China. In fact, it’s Mussolini in Ethiopia. There’s hardly any exceptions. So you produce that, and the media and commentators present — pretend they don’t notice that it has no — carries no information, because it’s reflexive.

  3. G3

    So, Ghaddafi went from being a rogue dictator to darling dictator to rogue again. Which means he is not a reliable Western pawn. So US/NATO swoop down on Libya to get rid of him. Makes sense as per the US policy.

    The many ways in which Ghaddafi was rogue :

    The author’s book itself is very good – some chapters available online here : See bottom for a map which shows all the “humanitarian” intervention by the “greatest nation on the earth”.

  4. financial matters

    Well done, Al. Let’s hope this is some contagious thinking..

    Fighting against the big banks Al D’Amato, LI Herald. Mirabile dictu, Pothole Al backs Schneiderman

    “”By pressuring the attorneys general’s executive committee to pass this fruitless proposal, President Obama and his administration are allowing the big banks, generous campaign contributors, to once again get away unscathed for their chancy and untrustworthy practices. In times like these, we need leaders like Schneiderman to challenge the big banks, making sure that victims receive justice and restitution and that overall reform changes the mortgage industry.

    To allow a settlement to be reached that hinders future investigations into large banks’ foreclosure and mortgage practices is criminal. Fight on, Mr. Attorney General.””

  5. Jim Haygood

    Crikey, it’s September 10th! Do you know where your Greek debt swap is? Cuz the Sep. 9th deadline has come and gone, as Edward Hugh explains:

    I personally was not that surprised by today’s statement from OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan that the plan wasn’t working out as planned, since there had only been a 75 percent take-up. The Greek government itself raised more than an eyebrow or two when it laid down a minimum 90 percent participation as its condition for proceeding, in a letter the government sent to global finance ministers at the end of August.

    The intention is to maintain the timetable, even though only 70% of bondholders are thought to have responded positively: “September 9 is the cutoff date and it is very likely that we may have a bigger response rate as bond holders rush on the last day,” a source close to the procedure is quoted as saying on condition of anonymity.

    If the PSI [Private Sector Involvement included at Angela Merkel’s insistence] falls, then so does the second bailout plan, and judging by the prevailing mood in Northern Europe at the moment, it seems unlikely that all parties are in the frame of mind to go all the way back to the drawing board. So when the Troika inspectors are on their flights back to Athens, it isn’t hard to imagine that they will have more than the fiscal slippage implied by Greece’s second-quarter 7.3 percent drop in GDP on their minds.

    Hey, we’re only talkin’ about 135 billion euros of debt here! That’s hardly more than a fortnight of federal spending for the mighty United Snakes. But it’s a pretty good chunk of change for a small place like Greece.

    One could infer that the G7 already know what’s going down, though as usual they don’t quite agree on what to do about it, other than suck their thumbs and cry for mommy:

    The final “terms of reference,” less binding than a formal G7 communique, acknowledged tensions in markets and clear signs of a slowdown in global growth.

    “We are committed to a strong and coordinated international response to these challenges,” it said, but provided no further specifics beyond urging growth-friendly fiscal adjustments.

    But it’s the nuts and bolts that count — think like a technocrat! Here’s the eminent Jean-Clodhopper Trichet, watching in horror as the eurozone conflagration flashes over in the final days of his star-crossed tenure:

    Seeking to allay fears over European bank funding, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet told the meeting European banks held some $5 trillion in collateral eligible for access to central bank funds.

    But perhaps in response to precisely this prospect of massive ECB intervention, Germany’s senior ECB board member Jürgen Stark resigned for ‘personal reasons’ (presumably because it makes him sick).

    Does Greece move the goalposts by accepting 70% participation in the PSI instead of 90%? Or does it pick up its Elgin marbles and go home?

    Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of … As the Euro Burns!

    1. Jim Haygood

      Bloomberg on tonight’s episode:

      Prime Minister George Papandreou will seek today to counter mounting domestic opposition to budget cuts and increasing doubts that Greece can avoid default as a three-year recession worsens.

      With the country’s bond yields at records and European officials increasing pressure on the premier for more cuts before they dole out a sixth tranche of bailout loans, Papandreou will deliver a nationally televised address on the economy from the northern city of Thessaloniki at 8 p.m.

  6. JimS

    Re: American exceptionalism, one of the tricks right wingers use to dismiss any potential solution to an American problem that is a success in another country is to say “oh, but that’s a small country, it wouldn’t work in our larger population”. So you can’t hand count votes because there are more votes to count than other democracies have. WTF? That just means there are *more people to count votes*!

    Whatever. It seems that only countries with larger populations can have anything Americans could use. That would be India and China, then. I’m sure right wingers, since they aren’t just being dishonest, would be highly willing to take examples from those countries, as long as Europe, Australia and Canada are out of the question due to being too small.

  7. Jack

    Yves, could you please provide an example of an online game (or other situation) where “the other side” dishes it in whatever way you envision is similar to Tea Party Zombies Must Die. Thanks. I’ll be waiting.

    1. Squasha

      I wonder if Yves wasn’t referring to Tea Partiers advocating 4th amendment solutions, questionably metaphorical campaign ads involving the use of firearms to take out the opposing candidate, the unfortunate coincidence of Gabby Giffords and Sarah Palin’s crosshairs and so on?

      1. propertius

        4th Amendment solutions? You mean:

        The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

        I dunno – it sounds like a fine idea to me.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The Tea Partiers regularly attack individuals in extremely vitriolic terms, including as pointed out already, including exhortations to violence involving guns, which as you must know, are owned widely in the US.

      This is bludgeoning is in a cartoon. Tell me the last time a public figure or news celebrity has been bludgeoned with a club.

      This is milder than what they’ve advocated, yet they get bent out of shape when a watered-down version of their standard fare is applied to them.

      You were saying?

      1. Eureka Springs

        All of this assumes it was not a false flag op from the get go. And it certainly keeps the zietgeist from thinking about substantive matters.

      2. Jim

        Yves, have to disagree.

        Please recall how Dems (and I’m one) treated Bush and Cheney. There is no comparison between how TeaPartiers are treating President Obama, and how the Dems treated Bush/Cheney. Not even close.

        1. justanotherobserver

          Not even close – wow you’re not even going to pretend you’re not a troll are you ?

          you mean calling out Bush the liar and Cheney the torturer wasn’t fair ? what exactly is your point ?

      3. Jack

        Hi Yves,
        I was saying, please show me some links so I can explore at least a few of the glaring examples that must be out there. Unfortunately, I can’t really think of any off hand. I acknowledge that I’m slow and doddering, so I’m hoping that you (or anyone else) can help me out with the links of the tea party going after people in the uncivilized manner that you allude too.

        1. bottlebrain

          Anyway we don’t mind when tea partiers revile us, because they’re all obese elderly invalids on scooters paid for by Social Security. They’re not any sort of threat, even with guns, because they’ve got rheumy eyes or the shakes.

  8. Tim

    Re Tobacco, simple ostracization of smokers around you his how you fight this disease. One at a time.

    “Hey slob, how about committing suicide in someone
    in your own private airspace?”

    “She’s a nice lady but her breath smells like she has a mouthful of cat-shit from smoking”
    Said around a bunch of teenage girls.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Raising Medicare retirement age?

    I have another good idea – raising legal working age. It would help with lowering unemployment by delaying millions from entering the workforce. (I am sorry I have to post this, but this is sarcasm.)

  10. Roger Bigod

    In the NYT magazine, Keller has a long neener-neener-neener about how he was really sorta right about the Iraq invasion. I submitted the following comment. It will be interesting to see if they let it run. As for the essay, don’t bother. You can see the same thing with better technique on cam4.

    Mr. Keller is unduly modest about his role in the response to 9/11. Thomas Friedman boasted that the invasion of Iraq would not have occurred except for the efforts of 25 people. Clearly, the Times was part of that project.

    The Times has been a valuable and constructive institution for most of its history. But a reckoning would put against the trustworthy news and sound commentary a considerable cost: hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of ruined lives, the violation of ideals we profess to believe in.

    I still log in to this site, but with lessening frequency over the years, because it often crosses my mind that the world would on balance be a better place if the Times had gone out of business in 2002.

    1. attempter

      The Times has been a valuable and constructive institution for most of its history.

      Not really. Take this famous and mendacious paragraph:

      It will be my earnest aim that The New-York Times give the news, all the news, in concise and attractive form, in language that is parliamentary in good society, and give it as early, if not earlier, than it can be learned through any other reliable medium; to give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved; to make of the columns of The New-York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.

      And then add the not-so-famous but far more accurate one that followed in the same editorial:

      There will be no radical changes in the personnel of the present efficient staff. Mr. Charles R. Miller, who has so ably for many years presided over the editorial pages, will continue to be the editor; nor will there be a departure from the general tone and character and policies pursued with relation to public questions that have distinguished The New-York Times as a non-partisan newspaper — unless it be, if possible, to intensify its devotion to the cause of sound money and tariff reform, opposition to wastefulness and peculation in administering public affairs, and in its advocacy of the lowest tax consistent with good government, and no more government than is absolutely necessary to protect society, maintain individual and vested rights, and assure the free exercise of a sound conscience.

      It’s the same old pro-rentier, pro-corporatist, pro-globalization, aggressively bourgeois NYT.


      1. Roger Bigod

        Yes, they’ve rarely been in the vanguard of the class struggle. But I was afraid they’d reject it because the last line is heavy, so I threw in a little niceness. I didn’t want to sound like a bitter crank. Especially because I probably _am_ a bitter crank.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Zen koan – Why doesn’t the master call himself a master?

    The way I understand it, when you think of yourself as an intellectual, you stop being an intellectual.

    I think in ‘Maintaining a Zen Motorbike’ there is a story about Twain on a riverboat conversing with its captain who talked about how once you think you know a river, you cease to know it…or something like that.

  12. Viator

    Some of Sarah Palin’s Ideas Cross the Political Divide

    “CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — Let us begin by confessing that, if Sarah Palin surfaced to say something intelligent and wise and fresh about the present American condition, many of us would fail to hear it.”

    “She made three interlocking points. First, that the United States is now governed by a “permanent political class,” drawn from both parties, that is increasingly cut off from the concerns of regular people. Second, that these Republicans and Democrats have allied with big business to mutual advantage to create what she called “corporate crony capitalism.” Third, that the real political divide in the United States may no longer be between friends and foes of Big Government, but between friends and foes of vast, remote, unaccountable institutions (both public and private).”

    1. Anonymous Jones

      Well, someone (it may have been my mother) once told me to watch what people do more than listen to what they say.

      One can drone on endlessly, even dabbling in the truth and even occasionally identifying the real problems, but when that person actually supports and enforces policies that will only worsen the real problems rather than improve them, all the droning doesn’t much matter, does it?

    2. SidFinster

      Someone ought to sniff out that article in the Sunday Guardian which said that, irony of ironies, the most aggressive critiques of the financial and economic status quo were coming from the right, not the progressive left.

  13. steve from virginia

    Here is the decision by 9th Court of Appeals: Cervantes v. Countrywide.

    Surprised that Yves hasn’t yet commented. This is the ‘MERS’ decision: the Court has decided the plaintiff lacks standing because she and other class members knew what they were getting into with MERS when they took out their home loans.

    Reading is suggestive of a ‘Catch 22’ but I’d like to hear what Yves has to say …

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