Links 10/15/11

Site performance was AWFUL on Friday. Apologies. If it is any consolation, I was tearing my hair out too. I think it has been fixed.

Lambert will be live blogging the October 15 protests later today, so stay tuned!

Dolphins ‘decompress like humans’ BBC

U.S. Copyright Czar Cozied Up to Content Industry, E-Mails Show Wired

Saddam ‘double’ escapes Alexandria porn kidnap gang, again … Ahram (hat tip reader 1SK)

Obama orders U.S. troops to help chase down African ‘army’ leader CNN (hat tip reader Externality). Uganda? WTF? Per Foreign Policy, our intervention isn’t new, but still….We have a humanitarian disaster in Mexico, which is significantly our doing, and we are sending troops to Uganda?

Foreign riot police may now be operating in Greece Golem XIV (hat tip reader Externality)

Investor threat to second Greek bail-out Financial Times. Even though the haircut should have been deeper, you can’t retrade a deal now.

Chaney says ‘recession has already started’ in Europe and talks EuroTARP Ed Harrison

The Iranian “Plot” Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch (hat tip Joe CostelloO)

Constitutional Moments: The People’s Voice Dylan Ratigan, Huffington Post

Part of Alabama Immigrant Law Blocked New York Times

Geithner on Wall Street Prosecutions: Just You Wait! Dave Dayen, FireDogLake

Students storm Goldman Sachs building in Milan Reuters (hat tip reader CaitlinO)

Occupy Wall Street needs corporate sponsors MarketWatch (hat tip reader Valissa)

Images: Occupy San Diego NBC San Diego (hat tip reader tyaresun)

Wall St protests spread to global stage Financial Times

Auctioneer: Stop All The Sales Right Now! YouTube. Video footage of the foreclosure protest we posted on yesterday.

Elizabeth Warren Announces Her Bid for Senate YouTube. This parody has been making the rounds.

The Critics Of Modern Macro Are Wrong Paul Krugman

The Smugness of Unintended Consequences James Kwak

The 1930s Sure Sound Familiar Joe Nocera, New York Times

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Diego Méndez

    Re: “Foreign riot police operating in Greece”.

    Absurdly nonsense. Most European countries have police brigades dependent on the Ministry of Defense, hence quasi military.

    French Gendarmerie, Spanish Guardia Civil, Italian Carabinieri… all of them are branches of the armed forces. That doesn’t mean they take out the tanks and start killing protesters. They’re just police.

    And even if they got sent to Greece (which they didn’t as of today), they would only do so to help the Greek government. The level of civil unrest in Greece is worrysome and, while this is a very complex matter and I can be easily misunderstood, there are some conditions of incipient anarchy where sending some foreign police may prevent another Greek civil war.

  2. Jesse

    Re: Uganda, I felt’s article was infinitely better than anything you’d read elsewhere:

    Obama’s letter promised that US troops would not engage LRA forces ”unless necessary for self-defense.” But considering the deployment’s provocative nature, this caveat is probably meaningless.

    1. Susan the other

      About Uganda. It isn’t. (About Uganda) It is about South Sudan, aka oil. The LRA, what a ghastly crew, has probably been operating with our help. It it is definitely our MO. Too bad some senators are extolling this “intervention” as a virtuous act. It’s just a virtuous excuse.

      1. KFritz

        Yep. Lots of S. Sudan petro resources near the LRA’s area of operation.

        Now that the oil doesn’t belong to Khartoum, we’re more concerned about the LRA. So perhaps, we’ve enabled the LRA by non-benign neglect. It’ also enabled by instability and metals resources in the east of the Congo, which is enabled by instability in Rwanda. Our non-support of the UN is also an enabler of the LRA.

        1. KFritz

          Addendum: if the UN peacekeeping mission in E. Congo was more robust, it would weaken the LRA by not allowing it to operate in E. Congo.

  3. stibbert

    interesting that the “Arbabsiar/Quds plot” meme was debunked so rapidly, by Greenwald, emptywheel, Juan Cole, and Cockburn.

    it’d been hyped by Holder, H. Clinton & pres. Obama, who now appear to have been ill-informed & ill-advised. who provided them w/ the info & advice? in the NSC/DHS hierarchy, whose shtick is tanking, & whose will rise as a result of this stupidity?

    mebbe we’ll read about it from Dana Priest, a year or so from now.

    1. LucyLulu

      I have zero military or intelligence background and when I first heard the story, my first thought was of who would be gullible enough to buy a whopper like that? Therefore, its unfathomable that anybody from the Pentagon or from intelligence could be taking it seriously either…..which leaves one to wonder why the story would be circulated.

      For those who enjoy conspiracy theories, this was published in the September 2006 issue of American Conservative, titled Not So Clean Break, after Israel bombed So. Lebanon:

      Netanyahu seems to be the main mover in America’s official adoption of the 1996 white paper “A Clean Break”, authored by him and American fellow neocons, which aimed to aggressively remake the strategic environments of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. As they say in boxing circles, three down, two to go……

      The trouble, of course, is that the three are not down……

      Now we hear that the neocons want Syria and Iran to disintegrate next. Is there no one with any brains left?

  4. dearieme

    After contemplating Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m not too sure how to identify any substantial problem that is likely to be made any better by sending US troops, except perhaps some sort of disaster relief after, say, an earthquake. Will the expulsion of Saddam from Kuwait go down as the last successful, substantial use of the US Army? Which prompts the possibly related thought: will Bush the Elder go down as the last grown-up to be US President?

      1. ambrit

        Bully for you, Mr Mahan! Just Bully!
        Seriously, good sir, naval forces were, and, I suspect, still are, primarily intended to facilitate maritime commerce. My favorite analysis of that dilemna is Conrads description of the colonial powers’ ‘big guns’ shelling an essentially empty jungle, (from the early part of “Heart of Darkness.”)

  5. aet

    RE: dolphins

    From the headline, l imagined dolphins getting together and putting their tails up (sic) in well-appointed grottoes/bars, all the while chatting, relaxing and snacking on sushi, after a full and difficult day of pack hunting.

    But it’s actually about bio-pysiological responses to changes in water pressure at depth.


  6. jswift

    >Even though the haircut should have been deeper, you can’t >retrade a deal now.

    but can you explain?

    given that the deal was based on overly optimistic
    economic forecasts,and that someone has to pay,
    what other choice is there? (Once more,
    the tooth fairy
    and its immediate family have not come through).
    It seems like a contradiction in terms,
    in the context of a potential bankruptcy,
    to protest about retrading a deal.

    And what bargaining chips do the
    investors hold?


    1. Yves Smith Post author

      There are too many moving parts to make it viable to retrade a deal in the Eurozone. Rengotiating an agreed deal is usually a deal killer even when you have only two parties, it is usually seen as bad faith and the party asked to make the additional concession says, “Go to hell” which is what is happening here. To retrade a deal means killing the deal.

      You get the haircuts on the next bailout to Greece, they are non-ending anyhow until everyone either gets sick of it and does a REALLY DEEP restructuring or everything goes to hell and Greece somehow exits (despite how tricky that would be to do without leading to even more capital flight….it would take speed and utter secrecy, and the latter is very hard to achieve).

  7. rcyran

    Nocera is right – “Since yesterday” is a great, fascinating book to read if you want an overview of the Depression. You can download it for free on Project Gutenburg.

    And his previous book, “Only yesterday” was a book on the 20s. I read in it 2006 and was struck by all the amusing parallels – the part about the land bubble in Florida was hysterical.

    1. Jim A.

      I remember reading some of “Only Yesterday” a few years ago and being struck by the parallels to the big bubble.

      1. Maximilien

        I saved a quote from the book:

        “In the autumn of 1926, two hurricanes which struck Florida showed what a Soothing Tropical Wind could do when it got a running start from the West Indies.”

  8. Jim Haygood

    Poor old Ted Kennedy still can’t get no respect:

    Known as CLASS, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program was a long-standing priority of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

    Although sponsored by the government, it was supposed to function as a self-sustaining voluntary insurance plan, open to working adults regardless of age or health. Workers would pay an affordable monthly premium during their careers and could collect a modest daily cash benefit of at least $50 if they became disabled later in life.

    But a central design flaw dogged CLASS. Unless large numbers of healthy people willingly sign up during their working years, soaring premiums driven by the needs of disabled beneficiaries would destabilize it, eventually requiring a taxpayer bailout.

    After months insisting that could be fixed, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finally acknowledged Friday she doesn’t see how. “Despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time,” Sebelius said in a letter to congressional leaders.

    Officials said they discovered they could not make CLASS both affordable and financially solvent while keeping it a voluntary program open to virtually all workers, as the law required. Monthly premiums would have ranged from $235 to $391, even as high as $3,000 under some scenarios, the administration said. At those prices, healthy people were unlikely to sign up.

    Okay, we’ve disposed of THAT scam … OOPS, no we haven’t:

    [CLASS] still counts as reducing the federal deficit by about $80 billion over the next 10 years. That’s because of a rule that would have required workers to pay in for at least five years before they could collect any benefits.

    Administration officials said Obama’s next budget would reflect the decision not to go forward. Even without CLASS premiums, they said the health care law will still reduce the deficit by more than $120 billion over 10 years.

    ObamaMath, comrades — it’s as phony as his Connecticut Social Security number!

    Yet even as the transparent CLASS hoax crashes to earth like Humpty Dumpty, the same flimflam artists would have the credulous believe that ObamaCare — a colossal blank-check spending program — will ‘save’ $120 billion from the deficit.

    Fool me once, shame on … oh never mind!

    1. ambrit

      The aphorism has been re-engineered. It now reads; “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you’ve perfected your technique. Fool me three times, the New Social Contract at work.”

  9. Jim Haygood

    From retired Col. Douglas Macgregor, writing in Foreign Policy:

    Today, there are more than 317,000 active-duty U.S. military personnel stationed or deployed overseas. In the Central Command theater of operations, encompassing Iraq and Afghanistan, there are approximately 180,000 active-component personnel as well as over 45,000 reservists. Approximately 150,000 active-component U.S. military personnel are officially assigned to Europe and Asia. And some estimates note that there are two civilians and supporting contractors for each service member in certain locations.

    The United States long stayed secure without this kind of sprawling imperial apparatus. But as the Cold War drew to a close, instead of adjusting force structure and spending to a strategic environment newly friendly to U.S. and allied interests, the U.S. military began a dramatic expansion of its overseas presence into areas where, historically, it had been episodic at best. America’s Cold War commitments, meanwhile, continued without interruption. After expelling the Iraqi Army from Kuwait in 1991, the U.S. military was directed to stay in the Persian Gulf and build massive facilities. And following the 9/11 attacks, the global war on terror resulted in major new Army and Air Force installations from Europe to Central Asia.

    Why does America need all these facilities? The original Cold War goal of protecting European and Asian societies from communist threats and internal subversion has long ago been met, and many overseas U.S. bases are now redundant. What better time than now, when the United States faces fiscal calamity but few real military threats, to judiciously sort those that are truly needed from those the Pentagon can live without? It’s time to declare victory and go home.,0


    THANK YOU JESUS, one americano out of 300 million actually GETS IT!!!

    Shame about the other 299,999,999 who are running this croaking muscle-bound empire into the freaking ground … :-(

    1. Susan the other

      Our MIC is busy creating a new identity for itself. No retired General is going to talk sense into them. Right now it’s the only thing feeding the world economy via its own rendition of disaster capitalism. 300 million of us have just given up. What’s the use? If I could give them several good alternatives to blowing people and buildings up, that means that 300 million other citizens could do the same. I really do not think this is the proverbial “feckless citizen” problem.

    2. Maximilien

      “It’s time to declare victory and go home.”

      What is for most everyone a victory is unfortunately for the Pentagon a defeat. Without an enemy, the Pentagon is nothing. It is defeated. Therefore, after vanquishing a foe, it must immediately conjure another one in order to justify its continued existence.

      For examples, see the Cold War after “victory” in WWII and the Gulf War after “victory” in the Cold War. (Scare quotes are courtesy the Pentagon.)

    1. scraping_by

      True, and they’re playing catch up.

      Leviathan is reacting the only way it can, the only way it knows how – spreading dead people across the landscape. The idea of actually engaging with the locals violates their neoliberal morality. While the Chinese bought a solid monopoly with the SSA national elites, keeping them as trading reps and ignoring all outside of trade, the elites of the Core have only an absurd-sized military and keep money to themselves.

      The elite’s policy is to bring nations from the Gap into the Core one at a time means that it’s Africa’s turn. Whether it’s Barry’s decision to carry civilization to the benighted continent or his controllers in the financial industry, doesn’t matter. He’s a happy little lackey and now we have an expansion of The War.

      It’s not a war in Iraq, a war in Afghanistan, a war in Libya, and all the places the special forces violate international law. It’s just one war.

      I’m using the terms from _Blueprint for Action: A future worth creating_ by Thomas PM Barnett. As an unapologetic imperialist for the New World Order, he put Sub Saharan Africa outside the area of operations. But that was six years ago.

  10. thump

    In the highly unlikely event the hoplites and thetes were tempted to turn their weapons and overwhelming numbers as voters against the partially disarmed few above them, the oligarchs of Athens could, as a last resort, threaten to call for assistance from neighboring oligarchies, especially at Sparta. “This ever-present threat,” Lyttkens writes, “greatly enhanced the coercive bargaining power of the rich stratum.”

    re: power in ancient Athens, in _Oligarchy_ by Jeff Winters, p.88

  11. BondsOfSteel

    The Geithner clip from CNBC made me laugh so hard, I snorted coffee out of my nose.

    He is either delusional or a liar. Very, very dramatic enforcement actions? Hah!

    1. Jane

      Yes I know – and all said with a straight face.

      The first person he should investigate is himself – I wonder how that is going to work out?

  12. La Caterina

    Yves, FYI- clicked on the “Auctioneer” link above and got sent to a CNN video on the Uganda story.

  13. Externality

    For all the banksters’ whining, I wonder how many working- or middle-class Americans can live like this:

    An Pham Jr., a 31-year-old banker, recently laid down about $7,000 at the Beverly Nightclub for a roomy booth by the DJ, Champagne and a lot of Grey Goose. The industrial-chic club, with its exposed pipes and hanging Fellini-esque light bulbs, was characteristically full that night. And loud.

    “I don’t wait in line here!” Pham screamed over the music. He was entertaining a dozen or so friends and business clients, including the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Dutch mixed martial arts fighter Alistair Overeem. Overeem, a.k.a. “Demolition Man,” sat two booths away as a pretty blond refilled his drink. Pham, a New Jersey native who now lives in Marina Del Rey, depends on the Beverly for this kind of A-list service, especially when he has clients in town.

    “Any time I party, I don’t pay for drinks — I pay for real estate at the club,” Pham said. “It takes half an hour to buy drinks at the bar.”,0,3356243.story

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