Links 9/26/11

I missed some hat tips today, so apologies if you contributed and I failed to thank you.

Spreading Freedom: Google And The War For The Web Ryan Grim, Zach Carter, Paul Blumenthal, Huffington Post. Richard Smith: “Google being evil.”

WikiLeaks’ Founder, in a Gilded British Cage New York Times

Shares Dive in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines Wall Street Journal

Will The IMF Save The World? Simon Johnson, Baseline Scenario

Euro Zone Death Trip Paul Krugman

‘Barrier’ Around Greece Needed: Merkel Bloomberg

China’s Squeeze on Property Market Nearing ‘Tipping Point’ Bloomberg

Met spent £5,000 on Yates’s legal bill without authorisation Independent (hat tip Buzz Potamkin). The News International scandal keeps looking worse and worse.

Are white liberals abandoning the president? Salon. Erm, this looks like denial by his rapidly dwindling fanbase. As we ALL know, it was clear what was afoot when Obama appointed Geithner and Summers. He repudiated the hopey-changey position before he even took office. The fact that it took his diehards this long to figure it out is a sign of white liberal guilt, not bias. The administration’s entire strategy since it sided with the banks has been to rely on propaganda and token gestures.

Barack Obama VS Those Craaaazy Republicans: Is He the Lesser Evil, or the More Effective Evil? Black Agenda Report

Obama Should Quit CounterPunch

White House Returns to Favorite Tactic: Hectoring the Base Blue Texan, FireDogLake

Buffett has replaced Soros as Republicans’ billionaire boogeyman The Hill, hat tip reader Auquifer. Gonna be harder to tarnish Buffett than a furriner like Soros.

Occupy WallStreet RevLeft. Scroll down to the photos.

Sentencing Shift Gives New Leverage to Prosecutors New York Times

Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets The Chronicle (hat tip Susan M). Sounds like the same kind of mesh architecture used for wi-fi.

What no-drama Obama could learn from no-hysterics Eric Salon.

States Losing the Most Jobs to China 24/7 Wall Street

Antidote du jour:

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    1. Jane

      Delightful! One of the comments under the video said:

      “this stopped me eating beef. I couldn’t eat anything that loved jazz”! Priceless.

      Thanks for the link.

  1. Deb Schultz

    Joan Walsh says it’s sad there have been so few recent Democratic presidents and then she says Chris Matthews is a liberal. Can she really be this ignorant? I can better believe she is wilfully self-deluding. Matthews and the gang trashed Al Gore relentlessly, giving Bush a huge boost. And in the recent months, this same bunch of ‘liberal’ commentators have, for the most part, been unable to engage seriously with the issues of funding, health care costs, and social insurance programs. So it isn’t surprising that she can’t see that for many of us ‘white liberals’ the thing we’re abandoning is the Democratic party and its invidious auxiliary elites. Obama’s loss of support can be seen as simply collateral damage–which does strike me as fitting.

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘Sentencing shift gives new leverage to prosecutors’ — as usual, the Times-Titanic is terribly late to the party … 13 years, by my count.

    In 1998, Bill Moushey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a ten-part series titled ‘Win At All Costs,’ detailing how prosecutors (particularly at the federal level) have transformed federal criminal courts into a conviction machine whose 90%-plus conviction rates are reminiscent of the former Soviet Union.

    It’s required reading … although you’ll never feel safe again, even if you have ‘nothing to hide.’

    1. ulrich

      A long time ago there was the presumption of innocence: “Innocent until proven guilty.”

      Then there was the presumption of guilt: “Guilty until proven innocent.”

      Now, no one would be crazy enough to try to prove their innocence.

      Prosecutors like to say they never make mistakes. What they mean is that no one would be so stupid as to challenge their imprisoning of innocent people.

      1. ambrit

        On that subject I highly recommend the documentary, “The Thin Blue Line.” It lays it all out neatly and succinctly. The events may have happened awhile ago, but the mind set is with us still.
        I loved the comments thread on that blog. The pictures do indeed tell the whole story. ‘Big strong cops restore law and order.’ How many times have we heard that lie before?

  3. Richard Kline

    Two on a bench, caught in the fascist dragnet; Simian: “We have only one chance. I’ll distract the guard, and you make a run for it.”

    Txorri: *tww-itt*

  4. Ignim Brites

    The CounterPunch piece is weird in its conclusion that Hillary Clinton would be a better standard bearer for the Dems than Obama. She represents even more than Obama the faux progressives that are concerned primarily about enlightened racial and sexual attitudes so long as their portfolios are growing in value. How bout Ed Rendell or Tim Kaine? Both these guys are basically mundane, feet on the ground types that would give the Dems a chance to avoid a wipeout. As for Obama, not running would give him the best chance to remain a significant force in the DP and a chance to win a second term in 2016 or 2020. It is likely the economy will crumble next year. If he doesn’t run, he can spin the economic decline as the market’s anticipation of a Rep president.

  5. Gareth

    Our household routinely returns all Obama fund raising mailers with a polite note explaining we don’t donate to Democrats who advocate cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I voted for him and will vote for him again as the lesser of two evils, but I won’t give him a dime or display a yard sign or a bumper sticker. We have already cut up our Obama 2008 t-shirts to use as cleaning rags.

    1. Tyler

      Don’t forget to use their postage paid envelope to return you note and all the other junk they send you back to them so that they can reuse it.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘We have already cut up our Obama 2008 t-shirts to use as cleaning rags.’

      Once I was trying to clean a mirror with Windex and facial tissue. To my frustration, it was only getting streakier and streakier. Then I found out that the tissues incorporated hand lotion.

      Better just chuck those Obama T-shirts. They’ll smear everything they touch with the greasy patina of insincerity.

    3. Pepe

      Lesser evil or more effective evil? (No R could cut SS)

      Voting lesser evil enables the rightward ratchet effect, AND it renders your specific opinions irrelevant.

    4. propertius

      I voted for him and will vote for him again as the lesser of two evils, but I won’t give him a dime or display a yard sign or a bumper sticker.

      Then you’re part of the problem. He doesn’t need your dime – he’ll raise a billion from the kleptocrats. He doesn’t need your sign or your bumper sticker – he’ll own the airwaves during the campaign.

      You’ve surrendered the only leverage you have (minimal though it might be), and you wonder why he has contempt for you?


      1. joebhed


        “Then you’re part of the problem.”

        What “problem”?
        And, “Who’s problem”? …..
        would Gareth be part of?

        I missed your point.

  6. Bernard

    way to go Gareth, love that part about teh T shirts. that is what Obama is worth of. Rags.

    being a Republican(Obama) doesn’t sit well with this liberal. i will vote against him and will actively argue with everyone i know, that voting for Obama is the Worse of two evils argument.

    Obama is the best Republican President the Republicans could hope for. that is why America has such wonderful “choices” in Perry, Romney et al.

    Republican know they will get more done with a Republican President like Obama than with a Republican like Romney Perry and all the other “candidates” put together.

  7. Pwelder

    There’s a paragraph down toward the end of Joan Walsh’s Salon piece that really nails down one of the main reasons for our present discontents. Here’s Walsh:

    “It’s hard not to notice that despite our admirable 40-year crusade to purge racism, overt and unconscious, from Democratic politics, most Americans, of every race, have grown worse off – and meanwhile, the same proportion of African Americans live in poverty as when Dr. King tried to launch a Poor People’s Campaign. As progressives have focused on the real and corrosive legacy of racism against minorities, one American minority has done very well, and that’s the richest one percent, who now earn a quarter of the nation’s income, up from 8 percent under Jimmy Carter.”

    That’s another way of saying that the economic interests of the constituents the left should serve have not been effectively represented. That would lose you a union election, but is apparently no bar to a comfortable perch as a Democrat politico or liberal pundit.

    Aside from Bill Greider (and don’t forget Yves) who is there on the left who understands the nuts and bolts of modern finance well enough to tell the voters what’s been happening to them? Pretty damn few, IMO. And that’s a pity.

  8. Jeff

    States losing jobs to China…

    Thank you Bill Clinton for working so hard to get
    China Most Favored Nation status…

    And people actually don’t spit on him when he appears in public?

    Oh, and don’t forget NAFTA

    1. wunsacon

      I hate it when anyone on the left holds up Clinton as a counterexample to a right-winger. Clinton deserves no respect from anyone.

      1. ambrit

        Dear wunsacon;
        What I’m wondering is, since Hillary has generally been considered the ‘brains of the family,’ what does that do to her ‘brand name?’ Has anyone here seen this woman at work up close and quasi personal? A front line assesment of Hillary would be greatly appreciated.

  9. wunsacon

    >> Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets The Chronicle (hat tip Susan M). Sounds like the same kind of mesh architecture used for wi-fi.

    I was thinking of that!!

    Why not write some code to reprogram either DSL gateway/hotspots or wifi receivers to talk to your neighbors’ devices?

    We could completely bypass all the telecomm backbones.

    No streaming video though. But, who cares? Go back to Netflix by mail.

  10. barrisj

    Some interesting “analyses” appearing in the financial press re: resignation of UBS CEO Osvald Gruebel this weekend. One chap actually referred to Gruebel as a “sacrificial lamb, for God’s sake! Well, right, the author of that statement is head of a “crisis-management” PR firm, but still…
    So, the fourth CEO in 4 years exits UBS, and in his wake are thousands of layoffs, and a $2.3bil trading loss. It really seems that the business media is interested only in how skillfully incoming senior executives negotiate their hiring and departure packages, with on-the-job performances quite secondary…just come on board with much fanfare, get booked on CNBC, and receive the ritual fellating from Maria B. “Sacrificial lambs”?? Such a monstrous disconnect from how the rank-and-filed are judged, an absolute obscenity, but reflecting quite accurately the state of the modern corporation.

  11. Anonymous

    The fact that it took his diehards this long to figure it out is a sign of white liberal guilt, not bias.

    Complete nonsense. Is it, ‘white liberal guilt,’ that keeps, die-hards with Clinton and other rightist democrats after decades of them doing everything they can to prove they’re nowhere near left, and will lie and backstab with the best of them?

    This, ‘they only support him because he’s African,’ nonsense is just as vapid as, ‘they don’t like the president because he’s African.’

    The Obama loyalists stick with the president because they’re lemmings, and politically immature. If it were Hillary Clinton or John Edwards in office instead — both of whom would likely be pulling the same sort of talk-left-walk-right routine the president does (or often tries to, anyway) — the lemmings would be vocally defending them too, against all reason.

  12. Westcoastliberal

    My wife & I supported and voted for Obama but will not this time around. The entire political system in the U.S. must be overhauled before we the peons have any say whatsoever.
    Any progressive who thinks Obama is on their side is delusional. I have a relative who believes this and won’t be swayed by any facts.

  13. propertius

    As we ALL know, it was clear what was afoot when Obama appointed Geithner and Summers. He repudiated the hopey-changey position before he even took office.

    I beg to differ. It was clear what was afoot when he reneged on his promise to accept public financing (and therefore abide by fundraising limits), before he even got the nomination. Whipping for TARP probably should’ve been a clue, as well.

    1. Aquifer

      To me it was fatally evident when he took single payer off the table during the primaries – and snowballed from there …

      1. propertius

        You’re right, of course – that May, 2007 statement that he wanted to give insurance companies “a seat at the table” was an obvious clue. At the time, I mistakenly attributed it to stupidity and inexperience rather than corruption.

    2. mk

      My first clue was during the presidential campaign when Obama voted for the big bank bailout, I’m sure he didn’t even read the bill. 2nd clue was also during the campaign when I saw that Goldman-SACKS-USA gave him $1 million.

  14. Aquifer

    “The fact that it took his diehards this long to figure it out is a sign of white liberal guilt, not bias.”

    I have to agree with this assessment – was glad to see it in print as it was something I had/have thought for awhile.

    As a self proclaimed “progressive”, I often felt defensive about supporting that “old white guy”(Nader) against that “young charismatic AA fellow”. The pressure was palpable. And his supporters were clearly on the “electing an AA as a proof that our nightmare of racism is over” bandwagon. Even some of the “progressive” media refused to rain on his parade even though it was evident long before his nomination that he was no progressive – and time and again their excuse was “oh, but isn’t this just wonderful!”

    The ecstatic encomiums heaped upon him as the second coming were clearly out of line with “mere” party loyalty. And even now, apparently the likes of Hope-Lacewell still think there is some mileage in pulling out the “critic as racist” card …

    I remember using MLK’s quote in my critiques of O before the election – that it was the content of character and not the color of skin that a man should be judged by – both by his detractors AND his admirers …

  15. joebhed

    On Merkel’s “Barrier to Greece”.

    What would be a ‘contagion-stopping’ barrier is now developing in the ECB’s back room.

    “Let’s pretend it’s 20 years ago and we were sitting around planning an orderly exit-strategy in case this thing don’t work”.

    Of course she has to admit that containing the contagion – a.k.a. cascading cross-defaults across the national banking sectors – may not be possible, besides that fact that it is essential. It has sort of like reached the pretend stage, where we say what SHOULD happen so that when it doesn’t, we said that the policymakers should have acted sooner and listened, despite the fact that they lack legal constructs needed at present.
    Another: “Oh shit !”.

    Ms. Merkel’s observation lacks insight into what is in Greece’s best interests and what options might open for Greece after the unplanned Euro-exit. Says she:

    “”Maybe Greece leaves, the next country leaves and then the next country after that,” she said. “They would speculate against all the countries.” “A small group of euro countries would be left at the end, deprived of the euro’s advantage as the currency appreciates”, she said.

    She blames the financial markets for acting in their institutional self-interests, while feigning concern for the Greeks.

    Here’s another scenario.
    Greece wakes up.
    Eyes wide open.
    We MUST default – we cannot function as a nation on the bankers’ austerity plans.
    Greece restores its sovereign currency and weathers the worst that the markets can throw at them.
    Greece reforms its monetary system along the lines of the Kucinich Bill, HR 2990, and converts all balances to real Greek money, from whence it is issued without debt.
    Thereby leading the EMU countries to their new, debt-free sovereign future.

    Like in the Kucinich Bill.

  16. Jim Haygood

    PAYBACK TIME, Officer Baloney, Sir:

    Activists connected to the Occupy Wall Street protests have published the name, phone number and family details of a senior New York police officer they accuse of using pepper spray on peaceful female protesters at a march on Saturday.

    The officer was named in Twitter posts and on various activist websites as NYPD deputy inspector Anthony Bologna, of Patrol Borough Manhattan South.

    The posts also cite an apparent civil rights charge against the officer dating from 2007.

    1. JTFaraday

      “First Precinct Captain Anthony Bologna went to college to become a teacher, but budget cuts led him to the police force.”

      How ironic.

      I hope they got the right guy, because his name’s been plastered all over the internet already. You know–call His Royal Highness, Permanent Mayor Bloomberg, and get him canned, etc.

      (Also ironic).

  17. scraping_by

    Re: Chinese Squeeze

    This article’s first commenter brings up a point often lost in economics – That often where there are losers, there are winners.

    The worst case scenario for China sounds a lot like what’s happening in Las Vegas. And it’s quite true that speculators, developers, equity harvesters, and others who think to grow rich on inflation are going to be hurt. However, the consumers, both buyers and renters, can look forward to some relief in the near future.

    Whether this is a policy of a benign Communist government, or whether they just need to take credit for the upside, don’t know. Not publicly available information. Still, it’s true that ever-rising prices are good only for a particular segment of the nation. It’s the party line for the MSM because that segment owns a lot of politicians and journalists.

  18. JS

    I’ve not seen pictures of *all* the Occupy Wall Street participants, but the ones I’ve seen look like stereotypical “hippies”.

    Why is that? They should be dressed in *suits*, not tattoos and piercings. They just make the cop’s jobs that much easier. Blend in with the suits. Make the cops have to *think*. Once the cops mistakenly bash in the heads of a few traders, *then* things will get interesting.

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