Links 2/23/12

Lambert again generously provided a lot of the links tonight. If it is not narrowly financial and not attributed, it probably came from him.

The NYPD Zagat Guide to Newark’s Best (and Most Threatening) Muslim Restaurants Gawker

Pawnshops for prosperous accept wine as collateral Yahoo

The Book of Jobs Moe Tkacik, Reuters

Google to Sell Heads-Up Display Glasses by Year’s End New York Times. Eeek, I like leaving my computer when I leave my computer. And I guarantee this will produce more car accidents.

Prions point to a new style of evolution New Scientist. Not new new but still intriguing.

Men Aren’t Going Extinct, DNA Study Finds Bloomberg. Should we be relieved?

Patton Boggs Lobbyists Threatens Scientific Journals with “Consequences” If They Publish or Distribute Diesel Exposure Data Science Insider

NASCAR: “The image of the Confederate flag is not something that should play an official role in our sport” Gannett

Georgia Democrats Seek Vasectomy Ban In Response To Abortion Bill Huffington Post (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Headline-grabbing way to take the news out of News Corp Financial Times (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Cherie Blair sues over hacking as Church case heads to court Independent (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

More zombie PMIs MacroBusiness

Chinese inflation is here to stay MacroBusiness

WikiLeaks: Saudis often warned U.S. about oil speculators McClatchy (hat tip Tom Ferguson). Yet Krugman insisted there was no oil speculation.

What Really Happened in the “Yom Kippur” War? Counterpunch (hat tip reader Chuck L). Holy moley.

Chinese Open First Car Plant in Europe Der Spiegel

Germany fights eurozone firewall moves Financial Times. So Germany is putting the screws so hard on Greece as to make default a realistic possibility, yet is unwilling to fund bigger risk cushions in case Something Bad Happens.

Outlook for growth back on agenda Financial Times. Quelle surprise!

25% of super PAC money coming from just 5 rich donors USA Today

The “Can’t Find Workers” Meme Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review

JPMorgan, Citi, BofA sued for $949 million by Sealink Reuters

Tom Miller, HUD Officials Laugh at Schneiderman Publicly Dave Dayen, Firedoglake and Firedog bitten Politico. You need to read both to watch inept damage control at work. We have HUD trying to walk back what it said about the deal, and now we have this reporter trying (on behalf of Donovan? on his own?) to obfuscate what Donovan and Miller clearly said. And he does it by trying to straw man Dayen (and notice the coward provides NO link to Dayen’s piece, making it harder for readers to see his misrepresentation). The good news is Dayen must be doing some damage if the officialdom is this desperate to take a notch out of him.

New Study From Consumer Advocates Shows Mass Servicer Abuse Dave Dayen, Firedoglake and Servicers Continue to Wrongfully Initiate Foreclosures: All Types of Loans Affected NACA. Yes, Virginia, it is every bit as bad in servicer land as we and others have been telling you.

New York Courts to Intensify Efforts to Prevent Foreclosures New York Times (hat tip Buzz Potamkin). What do you want to bet this will prove more effective than the mortgage settlement?

Obama Campaign Lists 35 National Co-Chairmen Wall Street Journal. Notice who is on the list: attorneys general Kamala Harris (California) and Tom Miller (Iowa, and leader of the AG effort)

Sign the Petition to Break Up Bank of America Public Citizen. Quixotic but why not.

Bank Lobby Widened Volcker Rule Before Inciting Foreign Outrage Bloomberg. Notes reader Michael C:

If the US regulators had any balls at all they could resolve this fake ‘international regulatory diplomacy’ issue by rescinding the Treasury prop trading exemption for the US the banks. Int’l problem solved/US banks smacked into line.

Let the non-bank primary dealers run the US Treasury Markets.

The bankers don’t seem to realize, as Whalen’s dictation yesterday indicates, that the Universal Banking model in the US has been seriously reimagined through Dodd-Frank. The replacement model is a scaled down pre 9/2008 Bank Holding Company, ex prop trading. The industry believes the post 2008 Bank Holding Company baseline is Goldman and Morgan Stanley.

The Alt. Banking Group of OWS has a blog! It needs an RSS feed, but I assume that will come soon. Mathbabe reports that Alt. Banking provided some short comments to the CFPB on credit scoring.

Responding to Critics, S.E.C. Defends ‘No Wrongdoing’ Settlements New York Times. Lame.You can see even from this story that she admits the banks break their agreements. So how can she claim they are effective?

Investigators Probe a Rush at MF Global to Move Cash Wall Street Journal. Wish I had time to write on this. So the new excuse is they had crappy records and didn’t realize they were dipping into customer funds. My answer: a big dealing firm that is that crappy at record keeping would have been dead sooner.

America’s First Great Financial Journalist: Echoes Bloomberg

Economics and society: Barrier to a breakthrough Robin Harding, Financial Times

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Duarte). I hope this was not mean to the pig. I think he must have been deprived of a meal to deliver this performance:

± I.M.F. ± from PlusqueMinusque on Vimeo.

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    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      CF, monumental discovery of organized crime in our *government*, and “This is only the beginning” says Gordon Duff. I hope Lord James of Blackheath has *top security* and protection. Will he go down in history as a spectacularly courageous hero? Ameritrust! Reagan, George H.W. Bush, P2 Masonic Lodge of Italy, Geithner, Greenspan, with Traitor Obama willing to hold the bag, making him an *accessory after the fact* covering-up, *looking forward*.

      “IN GOD’S NAME” (Yallop) marries “FUNNY MONEY” (Singer) with the blessing of “AMERICAN DYNASTY” (Phillips). How do the Vatican Bank, Continental Illinois grifters, Chicago, and the Henry Kissinger fit into this sordid picture?

      The Russian people must be mighty pissed. What would Ayn Rand say about this perversion of *Capitalism The Unknown Ideal*?

      Will William K. Black be Special Prosecutor?

      YVES, your Good Works have reaped the whirlwind for these (yes) *Conspirators* in Organized Crime and Treason.


    2. Walter Wit Man

      Uh, wow. Amazing allegations.

      Wonder if this is related to the story of the guys getting busted with old Federal Reserve bonds for huge amounts.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        WWM, see HSBC connection with Ronald Reagan as President of USA in 1984, with photos of interesting documentation:

        “NEW Benjamin Fulford UPDATE 01/04/2012 116 Trillion Dollar Deposit” (The1stWarning on Jan 3, 2012) – photo of clipping with following text below photo of persons:

        “THE TRILATERAL SOCIETY OF GLOBAL FUNDERS HELD IN GENEVA, CONFERENCE CR. 1984” — signatures of, among others: Queen Elizabeth (Elisabeth R: Trilateral Nations) and Ronnie (Ronald Reagan: President of the United States); President Ferdinand Marcos; and Tiburcio Villamor Marcos: sole Owner, Representative of Bank of International Settlements Boston and Switzerland, Union Bank of Switzerland Officer — etc. Photo of HSBC receipt shown in this video.

        Connect *dark spot* in Russia with the above and two of many *Occult* related videos at

        “Was 911 a Masonic Ritual Sacrifice?” (UnoRaza on Jul 19, 2011); and:
        “Do You Believe in Magick? (4of6)” [1-6] (pq92k2 on Sep 7, 2011).

        All of this may connect with the DRAGON claim on gold for the bonds, especially within the FRAME of drugs and *Occult* activities.

        Benjamin Fulford may be on the Oriental payroll, in which case – ?

    3. Valissa

      I thought it was very strange that the hall was almost empty. If this is such an important speech and issue, where is everyone? Even the few folks there mostly looked bored. Is this because he’s said it all before, or that the other Lord’s don’t care about this? Is this real information or some level of disinformation (not accusing Blackheath, I’m questioning his sources)? It’s very intriguing and could be true, but I would want more proof/evidence.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Valissa, Lord James of Blackheath has spoken before. If you search his name on YouTube, the slate of his expression in video may answer your questions.

        1. Valissa

          I will do that,thanks, but that doesn’t answer my question about the lack of interest in the hall where he was speaking. I’m most curious about that.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Valissa, he may not have advertised his intention in advance. I don’t know how it works in the House of Lords, but the Congress frequently has few members present at any given time. Moreover, he was speaking from the floor. It’s not as if the Prime Minister were addressing the House of Lords.

  1. rjs

    Georgia’s Reaction to Occupy Striking With AT&T Workers – ALERT:: here comes the full on assault on BOTH the labor movement, Occupy, and all social justice organizations in Georgia. : Georgia Senate Bill 469 (SB469), introduced today, attempts to effectively bankrupt labor organizations in our state and prevent our movements from ‘mass picketing’ outside of a business or private residence we ‘target’ with penalties up to $10,000 per day of violation. But there’s more….perhaps the most blatant and outrageous assault on our movements, coming right on the heels of our historic direct action at Occupy AT&T is Section 5- which will make it a FELONY to ‘conspire’ to commit criminal trespass while engaged in a political direct action- the act that 12 of us led last Monday at AT&T. There is no coincidence that the anti-worker, corporate funded, sponsors of SB 469 have set their targets on ALL progressive social forces in Georgia and thus require our immediate and unified response. This bill poses an absolute attack on basic worker rights and on all of our movements- but should also be viewed as a historic opportunity for us to mobilize a response in kind with even more united, bold series of actions to defeat it. Read the bill in its entirety here:


    1. LucyLulu

      From the bill: “or constitute a threat to obstruct or interfere with the entrance to or egress from any place of employment or the free and uninterrupted use of public roads, streets, highways, railroads, airports, or other ways of travel, transportation, or conveyance.”

      This is the portion I think is the major problem. What constitutes a “threat” to block entrances and exits could be construed very liberally? If picketing workers are surrounding the entrance and exit but have intentionally been careful not to block them, can the company owners still claim they felt threatened the group would have spilled into the access route? How do you prove workers’ intent or define what constitutes a threat?

      The rest of the bill, IMHO, is reasonable, assuming that workers’ rights to join unions are similarly posted in the workplace, unless there are implications I am missing. I believe the choice should remain firmly in the hands of the people, having strong libertarian tendencies, albeit socially liberal ones.

      In many places, including the town where I live, Occupy and any other group must pay daily rental fees to protest in public parks and spaces. This is an even bigger beef with me and I wish the ACLU would take it up. I think that is an infringement on 1st Amendment rights. When the Constitution grants the right to public assembly, it doesn’t mention the people having to pay to exercise that right, nor do I think that was the intent.

  2. tom allen

    That “NYPD Zagat Guide” article is some of the best subversion by deadpan mockery that I’ve seen in a while. Wish I could write that well. :-P

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The right thing to do is, in big bang economic terms, to allow merger. Remove the long-standing barrier: the Glass-Ceiling-All Act.

      Merge men and women into menwomen.

      ‘Hi, I’m a manwoman. I am happy with myself.’

      1. zephyrum

        ‘Hi, I’m a manwoman. I am happy with myself.’

        Sounds like manwomen would never leave the house.

        Sheesh. (Or is that heeshe?)

  3. hello

    “What Really Happened in the “Yom Kippur” War? Counterpunch (hat tip reader Chuck L). Holy moley.”

    ugh, I hate “conspiracy theories,” but the article makes a very interesting circumstantial case.

    Probably won’t know the real answer until I’m an old man in 2050 and some obscure government files finally gets FOIA’d.

    1. IF

      While I agree it made very interesting reading (and interpretation), I looked up the author and he seems to be at least colorful. I would like to see the original documents interpreted by somebody else as well.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        What do you mean, colorful? If anything, your prejudice should be reversed.

        You should be prejudiced against establishment authoritarian history, as that has been proven to be filled with complete fabrications.

        One is better off reading alternative sources and not so well known authors.

        How many times have believed documents “leaked” to the NY Times or Washington Post or even Wikileaks? Are they really more reliable than this guy?

        Please. The conventional wisdom of trusting U.S. MSM while mistrusting alternative media has it backasswards.

        Plus, I find it interesting that when reports like this are filed the internet is filled with ad hominem attacks rather than an analysis of the facts.

        1. YankeeFrank

          I wholeheartedly agree. We on NC are supposedly a more astute bunch, but even we fall for the brain-washing garbage of MSM corporate-slick authority. I read the counterpunch piece and it seemed entirely credible. I would be interested to see the original translation from the Russian diplomats papers, but even without it is entirely plausible.

          It is an active effort but must be made if we want to protect ourselves — do not trust the large and “successful”. In this era “successful” is almost completely synonymous with “crook”. Only trust those with a proven track record, and if that is not available then go with small unassuming sources. In this I refer not just to media, but also healthcare, car mechanics… anything where trust is required. And don’t believe any of the hype.

          Especially with regard to healthcare so many fall for the notion of “the best” or think we need phony geniuses like “House” when most care we require is pretty standard stuff, and your modest Indian doctor down the block is not just better at the standard stuff, but he will actually take the time and is more likely to notice something that the slick “successful” ones miss out of sheer arrogance or more likely simple lack of caring. He is also much less likely to load you down with “medicines” you don’t need and that actually harm you. Rant over.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Good rant. The same happens when people pick their lawyers. Oftentimes they are just buying the image.

            And how are laypeople supposed to have the skills to make a good judgment about a doctor or lawyer, for e.g.? Neoliberal propaganda lies to us about the “market” making good decision. It also blames the victims for not making proper choices.

            The market is supposed to reward and promote the best but usually the market is easily cornered by the powerful who dominate and control the choices.

            And our media is nothing but a mind control machine that is the weapon of choice for our elite. That’s why they hammer any opposing reporting as conspiracy-laden suspicious innuendo, while they ram propaganda down our throat.

            I watched the morning news this morning! The NBC news this morning was dangerous and misleading while this article is probably reporting the truth. I still know which way is up and down. The fascist mind-controlling death cult hasn’t gotten to me yet!

      2. ScottS

        I found the article filled in some obvious gaps in the official account.

        The Wikipedia account on why the war happened:

        …known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. The war began when the coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, which coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights respectively, which had been captured and occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War.

        So it happened because Egypt invaded the Sinai Peninsula. That’s not an answer to why it happened, that’s just how it happened. Sadat wasn’t going to poke a sleeping giant with a stick just to get back some desert territory his predecessor lost. Starting a war with Israel and switching “sides” in the Cold War to consolidate his shaky grasp on power sounds like something straight from Machiavelli — i.e., more plausible than a land-grab doomed to fail. All politics is local.

        Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, and General David Elazar met at 8:05 am the morning of Yom Kippur, six hours before the war began. Dayan opened the meeting by arguing that war was not a certainty. Elazar then presented his argument in favor of a pre-emptive attack against Syrian airfields at noon, Syrian missiles at 3:00 pm, and Syrian ground forces at 5:00 pm “When the presentations were done, the prime minister hemmed uncertainly for a few moments but then came to a clear decision. There would be no preemptive strike. Israel might be needing American assistance soon and it was imperative that it would not be blamed for starting the war. ‘If we strike first, we won’t get help from anybody’, she said.”

        Why wouldn’t you preemptively strike a country planning to invade yours? “If we strike first, we won’t get help from anybody” — why would you need help if you’ve already crippled their attack force? Because you know the fix is in, that’s not how the story is supposed to go.

        Now consider the aftermath. The US gets two allies in the Middle East. And to this day, Egypt still does the US’s dirty work. The US also gets to play hero and peacemaker, which they absolutely love. And they get to take away a Soviet ally per the containment/domino theory. Israel cements their special arrangement with the US, greater control over their internal population, and Egypt to patrol the Southern border. And Sadat gets to be a dictator and all the power and Western support he could want (until he gets his just desserts).

        This all makes much more sense than the official account, which asks us to believe that crazy Arabs went on a tear across the Sinai Peninsula just to see what would happen, and that the US/Israel didn’t crush Egypt out of mercy. Sorry, not buying it. Pre-arranging the whole thing makes more sense.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      hello, the book below may open your eyes anent Kissinger, for starters:

      “A CENTURY OF WAR: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order” – New Edition (2011) – by F. William Engdahl.

  4. Aquifer

    “should we be relieved?” – LOL

    The fact that the question was asked is interesting all by itself ….

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      lk, Blackstone sucked all the marrow out of the bones. They closed Birds Eye, and now the workers comprehend the meaning of Extraction Capitalism.

      When *private equity* royalty makes every living company a corpse, then the American people may get what we’ve been talking about at NC.

  5. peter

    in ref to your today’s 23.02.12 “antidote du jour” piece, believe the euro may have more substance as well as taste enhancement for the piglet?

  6. jsmith

    Ah, yes the Yom Kippur War, that little conflict where poor, beleaguered Israel was set upon by those big bad meanies the Arabs.

    Except it never happened that way and the above article isn’t the first piece to show that this was yet ANOTHER aggressive war on behalf of Israel.

    Whatever you do, don’t think that the Yom Kippur War had anything to do with Israel’s land grab after the war in 1967!

    They are such a peaceful innocent nation and great ally of the US!!!

    Speaking of propaganda, if anyone so cares as to witness the true nature of the recently “martyred” Saint Marie Colvin please read the comments on this article here:

    Not only was this woman one of the biggest cheerleaders/propagandists for the illegal Libya war but she was there front and center in supplying the West with wonderful tales of evil Saddam fed to her by Iraqi defectors years before the initial invasion in 2003.

    The link provided details the work of this murderous fiend, Ms. Colvin.

    One must wonder, how much blood on one’s hands would disqualify one from being considered a martyr in the eyes of the MSM.

    But no mind, the West now has the Patrick Tillman it needs for its future invasion of Syria.

    Huzzah, and don’t forget your mobile phones for recording Viagra-fueled rape parties!!

    1. liberal

      That comment thread at CommonDreams was interesting.

      From what I can tell, Tillman was a pretty good guy. Apparently he was even thinking of meeting Noam Chomsky at one point.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      I wouldn’t be surprised if our martyr is a complete fiction created for psy op purposes. It certainly fits the pattern.

      I haven’t looked into this but will do so now. Thanks for pointing this out.

      I’m also suspicious of the suppossed Koran burning in Afghanistan. This also fits a familiar pattern of U.S. psy ops. The U.S. kills a bunch of kids and then all of sudden these incidents pop up and any sort of resistance is blamed on Muslim sensitivity rather than the fact the U.S. is blowing childrens brains out in Afghanistan. How many goat herder boys just got blown up? But those crazy Muslims just go insane when you burn their silly book.

      Which makes me even madder at the U.S. propaganda in Syria. The U.S. is probably creating fake deaths in Syria, or doing the killing itself, and using the death of innocent children as an excuse to further invade and kill.

      The U.S. is the single biggest killer of children on this planet and yet our propaganda machine has us defending these childrens’ lives. It’s disgusting. We are worse than the Nazis.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        And btw, if you vote for any Democrat or Republican, you are complicit in these crimes. You are a Nazi. You fully and unconditionally support the murder. of children

        It saddens me that so many people that I know calmly support cold blooded fascist killers of children.

        But here we are.

        The news says this is perfectly okay (in fact, we’re saving children from evil “terrorists” killing them) and even many “progressives” that pretend to give a shit (like most people reading this blog), will go ahead and pull the lever for killing children anyway (jeez, I sure hope Schneiderman and Warren do something).

        Go ahead. Vote Obama. Vote Democrat. Those Arab/Muslim children need to be killed for freedom and liberty and . . . .

        U.S.A! U.S.A!! U.S.A! Kill! Kill! Kill!

    3. Walter Wit Man

      To clarify re the Koran burnings . . . .

      It appears the burning actually occurred and was not “faked”, as I wrote above. What I suspect is that they “accidentally” killed a bunch of kids (the U.S. rules of engagement basically allow U.S. soldiers to shoot anything they want for any reason), and they probably said:

      “Shit. We just shot a bunch of Muslim rat children. I thought they would at least be teenagers and not little children. Well, it was fun while we did it but we better try to fix this cause it looks bad. Okay, I know, let’s do that trick we did where we purposely burn a bunch of Korans and let it “slip” to the public [like not finishing the job so protesters can hold actual partially burned Korans in their hands], and then when the natives go crazy and want to attack us we can blame it on their silly religious superstitions and not our war crimes. Perfect plan. We may be planting false stories but it’s in the U.S. interest and its not for domestic U.S. consumption [wink wink].”

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Sure enough, my skepticism appears to be right on the mark:

        Just like the last time the natives went crazy in Afghanistan, and irrationally rioted because of religious insult, the U.S. (NATO) killed a bunch of children right before this supposedly religiously motivated rioting.

        On Feb. 10, 2012 it was reported NATO killed eight people in an air strike:

        “Seven of the victims were children aged between seven and 15, he said, adding that the adult was a 20-year-old mentally-handicapped person.”

        No wonder the Afghanis are mad. Can you imagine?

      2. Walter Wit Man

        The official story per BBC BBC

        “Korans were “inadvertently” put in an incinerator at Bagram airbase. . . .The charred remains of the volumes were found by local labourers.”

        Here is protester with one of the charred Korans charred remains (actually, most of the book is intact and is barely burned).

        Hmmm. Seems like a weird decision to incinerate Korans, but whatever, and then they do a poor job of it, and then day laborers are presumably cleaning out an incinerator or something, without any U.S. personnel around, and discover the Korans and take the Korans out of the base undetected? I’m suspicious.

    4. LeonovaBalletRusse

      jsmith, she chose to be a shill for Rupert Murdock, didn’t she? One who lives by the sword dies by the sword.

    5. justanotherobserver

      Really, you’ve got a problem with Colvin ?

      What’s your point, that the current govt of Syria is not bloodthirsty, and her death was some kind of fake conspiracy to convince us that it is ?

      Good grief.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        She knew exactly what risk she was taking. Murdoch attracts high-risk junkies, history shows. What is Murdoch’s purpose?

      1. tom allen

        Please. Some of us enjoy golden showers. We know we’re being pissed on and damned if we’ll pay for the privilege. Unlike the rest of you suckers. :-P

  7. mk

    re: “The Alt. Banking Group of OWS has a blog!…” – congrats on the blog. Just an FYI, my google chrome browser shows indicators:
    The site uses SSL, but Google Chrome has detected either high-risk insecure content on the page or problems with the site’s certificate. Don’t enter sensitive information on this page. Invalid certificate or other serious https issues could indicate that someone is attempting to tamper with your connection to the site.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      mk – “my Google Chrome browser” – Hope you’re not expressing your opinion, unless its the Google-infused Party Line.

  8. SR6719

    Topic: Nostalgia for the light

    Chile’s Atacame Desert. One of the driest places on Earth, devoid of insects, animals or birds, so arid that it shows up as a parched brown even from outer space.

    Here scientists have some of the most powerful telescopes on earth pointed towards the vast, almost cloudless, Chilean sky in hopes of unraveling the mysteries of the stars, the solar system, and our own existence.

    Meanwhile, in the same desert, a group of women are using different, less advanced, tools: tiny shovels. They’re probing the desert sands, in search of missing loved ones. Out of the tens of thousands of political dissidents who “disappeared” under General Pinochet’s rule (1973 – 1990), many that were not dumped into the ocean were dumped in the Atacama Desert.

    And so, in a desert that seems almost as vast as the faraway galaxies above, these women search for any clue that could be a link to their missing loved ones.

    In “Nostalgia for the light”, Patricio Guzmán (director of “The Battle of Chile” and “The Pinochet Case”) has found an original way of approaching his country’s past (Allende’s revolution and Pinochet’s counter-revolution), his lifelong interest in astronomy, as well as his interest in archaelogy.

    “Nostalgia” intersperses images of the solar system, conversations with astronomers studying the interplanetary light that has been traveling for hundreds of thousands of years to get here, arcaeologists who show the filmmaker rock carvings by pre-Columbian sheperds more than 10,000 years old, and a third group of searchers, relatives of “the disappeared” who sift through the sands looking for remains of their loved ones.

    “Nostalgia for the light” – Trailer: 1:58

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      SR6719, doesn’t this make a sentimental *romance* out of tragedy?

      Meanwhile, they’ve done a hatchet job on Baltasar Garzon, a real hero.

      1. SR6719

        But this film is a personal meditation by the acclaimed director of “The Battle for Chile” and “The Pinochet Case”. Hasn’t he earned the right to deal with his country’s tragedy in his own way?

        Here’s what Ariel Dorfman had to say about Patricio Guzman’s film “The Battle for Chile”:

        “Patricio Guzmán’s heartbreaking probe of Chile’s revolution, the Pinochet coup, and the long entangled aftermath will be considered for centuries to come one of the most eloquent and daring explorations of revolution and repression, hope and memory, to survive our sorry times. What Guzmán passionately and clinicly observes in Chile is valid for the whole world.”

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          SR6719, even in his treatment of Pinochet’s tragedy, he comes across as a Roman Catholic apologist. History shows that it is a Roman Catholic specialty to sentimentalize and *beautify* stark human tragedy.

          1. SR6719


            I couldn’t disagree with you more concerning Patricio Guzmán. But I’m also an admirer of the film-maker Michael Haneke, and it sounds like you might prefer his method of dealing with tragedy.

            First, I’ll briefly set the stage for the following scene. The film recalls an incident during the Algerian War when the bodies of hundreds of Algerian immigrants were found floating in the Seine. Among them may have been the parents of the Algerian man who kills himself in the scene depicted below. His parents had worked for Georges’ family (the witness to the suicide) before they went to Paris to join a demonstration during which they were killed. This tragedy (the Paris massacre of 1961) has been all but erased from the French public’s memory. Until now, that is.

            Warning, the scene is graphic, and depicts exactly what it says:


  9. Walter Wit Man

    As discussed on the links post from 2/21/12 the Wikileaks documents should be viewed suspiciously.

    Who really benefits from these leaks? Is this really a way for the U.S. and Saudia Arabia to deceive the world about its oil production under the guise of outing speculators?

    1. Walter Wit Man

      The 2/21/12 discussion between me, SR6719, and LenovaBalletRuse is here:

      I speculate that the Wikileaks cables likely contain disinformation and that the drama surrounding Assange and Manning is fake, and that these guys are really complicit in a false flag attack. The thread also evolves into a discussion of the JFK assassination, the Mary Pinchot Meyer killing, 9/11, Chris Hedges and Occupy.

      I would be interested to see an analysis of how this cable re Saudi Arabia oil fits into that theory.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        WWM, thanks for the link. I’m glad there was follow-up on “Dr. Mary’s Monkey” and items related to it. i appreciate your agony, having been involved with the wholesale deceit around these issues for decades. You will recall I’m from New Orleans going on three centuries, the New World birthplace of “la politique de Richelieu.”

        First, I’ll say that our “government” is like the House of Mirrors in the Orson Welles film, “The Lady From Shanghai,” and just as deadly.

        Anent JFK, if you follow Garrison, be sure to connect David Yallop’s “IN GOD’S NAME,” and recognize the depth of the *mafia* power from New York to Miami to New Orleans to Chicago to Kansas City to Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Delve deeply into the U.S.A.-Sicilian mafia connection in WWII to gain advantage in Europe during the War. Investigate the U.S. gambling connection via Meyer Lansky and other mobsters in Cuba, before Castro threw them out and they re-located to Miami and Las Vegas. The ORGANIZED CRIME connection to our *government* politicians is KEY, for it is the modus operandi of criminal gangsters that defines our “banking” system and the “War on Drugs”, a fake war.

        Connect all of this with the Godfather George H.W. Bush and his Agents.

        Investigate what happened to the comedian, Mort Sahl, of the “Hungry I” in San Francisco, who spoke credibly about the JFK assassination conspiracy and cover-up, and whose career was ruined. But they didn’t kill him because he kept his mouth shut thereafter.

        Investigate the criminal ties of Lyndon Johnson, and recognize his lust for the Office of President. Recognize that Aristotle Onassis was on the verge of marrying Lee Radziwill, the cousin of Jackie Kennedy, when Jackie was still married to Jack. Since a Catholic divorce of President and First Lady were out of the question, only Jack’s death would leave Jackie free to marry Onassis. This she did, as JFK’s widow. What motive did she have to help Lyndon Johnson become President, apart from revenge against philandering Jack?

        WWM, considering your argument, I suggest that we are living in such a House of Mirrors that Manning himself may be *doing his duty to God and country* by playing the role of the dis-honored soldier and persecuted whistle-blower. Anything is possible in this country, so long as the .01% remain in control.

        Finally, I refer you to the First Comment today to lINKS 2/23/12, which gives a LINK to the address in the House of Lords by Lord James of Blackheath, couched within the text of Gordon Duff. We can pray that the discovery is Lord James is genuine; I am taking it at face value, and I hope that the grand jury will begin to dislodge such arch criminals and traitors from our government of/by/for the People. You will see my hopeful comment that the REIGN of the .01% GLOBAL REICH and their .99% Agency will come to an end shortly.

        But actually, given the House of Mirrors globally, that’s not the way to bet. So I’m betting on a long shot, as a contrarian. So I am promoting a GOOD MAN and a GOOD WOMAN to lead We the People out of bondage to crime:


        *Uppity* Agents Unite! We have nothing to lose but our shame.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Those are all interesting points re the JFK assassination (or staged event). I’ve never followed the New Orleans details that closely and am becoming more aware of those (I’ve been interested in the subject since about 1990). I learned about the anti-Castro terrorist training camps in the South and how Lee Harvey may have been infiltrating those camps on behalf of the FBI (he was on the FBI payroll at the time, in addition to being on spook type payrolls like the coffee company you mention).

          It’s also interesting to note the infighting between Robert Kennedy and Hoover as well as the infighting between Kennedy and the CIA (if we can believe all this–I now suspect that JFK/RFK were feigning much of this).

          The CIA wanted to engage in more terrorism but Kennedy wanted to tone down the terrorism so his brother RFK came up with the compromise, terrorism-lite project, and Kennedy was evidently mad when he found out the more hard core terrorists (like Hunt and maybe George H.W. Bush?) were still operating.

          J. Edgar Hoover refused to even admit there was a mafia while RFK wanted to pursue the mafia (but in a bombastic media friendly way that also seemed to focus on mostly labor). The mafia seems to have been supported and or used by the CIA and secret government from the beginning so maybe that explained Hoover’s reluctance to go after them? And I just learned about the Israel/Zionist angle to the mob at that time. There are indeed some shady facts re Lansky. Interesting history you relate on the relocation from Cuba to the U.S.

          But the history with Jackie is starting to interest me lately. (and JFK’s girlfriend Mary Pinchot Meyer) She evidently thought LBJ killed JFK, according to a recent account.

          And I recently began to suspect LBJ as the primary perp, but now I think he’s just another co-conspirator and all these new revelations (like Howard Hughes’ confession) are just disinformation cover stories–designed to distract (something the perps have been amazing successful at). LBJ had a really important job covering up the crime/episode though. But does this sound like a woman who suspects the man she is talking with of murdering her husband? It’s weird. They’re flirting. And she supposedly told her biographer around this very time that she suspected LBJ! I know it’s a different time but I simply can’t explain the weird conversations.

          Then she was really intent on building up the myth of the presidency.

          So yes, as you point out, they both appear to be in an arranged marriage and since they both evidently wanted a divorce maybe that was a motive for faking his death. Joe Kennedy is reported to have forbidden a divorce, etc. And then the open fooling around by Kennedy. . . It’s weird and hard to believe that he was this much of a horn dog . . . and it’s weird he would have an affair with one of their good family friends, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and no one would know, including Jackie evidently.

          Oh, I thought I saw another weird connection to Onassis somewhere else too . . . . So these relationships and the Washington Set are what I’m interested in now . . .

        2. Skippy

          @Walter Wit Man,

          Why did Jackie fall into Onassis arms?

          Skippy… never got that one, its about as far removed from her origins as one could envisage. Have fun!

    2. SR6719


      I’m still trying to keep an open mind with respect to “Wikileaks as disinformation”, on the one hand, and Assange / Manning / Chris Hedges as agents provocateurs, on the other hand. I lost interest in the few Internet discussions I’ve seen on these topics because they always end up resorting to the ad hominem.

      Anyway, I’d appreciate any links or articles, from you or anyone, attempting to prove or disprove the “Wikileaks disinformation hypothesis”, as well as anything related (pro or con) to the “Assange/ Manning/ Chris Hedges as agents provocateurs” thesis.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        I have an open mind as well. I’m making the case to test the theory out and therefore probably sound more sure of myself than I am.

        I can’t find where I read about the theory of Wikileaks being disinformation first, but I think it was in 2010 at a place like common dreams but I can’t find it now . . . . They were simply speculating . . . using logic like I am . . . . and noting that the subject matter of some of the releases subtly helped U.S. policy rather than harming it and noting how Wikileaks had “partnered” with suspicious mainstream news organizations.

        Plus, there are precedents for similar disinformation campaigns. In fact, Cord Meyer specialized in this (to reference our previous JFK discussion), I think. In any case it’s fairly common trick (think the Niger documents or reports of Atta meeting with Iraqi intelligence). Since the perps control the evidence all we can do is speculate on public information.

        And as Arthur Silber notes, often times this is all we need to do: A similar concept is applied by the author to the piece on “What Really Happened in the ‘Yom Kippur’ War”. He quotes Sherlock Holmes as saying: “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Here’s the part from Silber I meant to quote:

          “An additional aspect of these problems must be mentioned, in connection with Tuchman’s (and my) argument that reliance on authority amounts to nothing more than “a comforting assumption that relieves people from taking a stand.” In the second part of “Fools for Empire,” I wrote:

          All of the facts concerning Iran’s activities lie in plain sight in the public domain. Here’s an additional fact: the same is true of the overwhelming majority of information that is allegedly so vital to intelligence work. That is not my contention; it is the observation of Ray McGovern, who worked for the CIA as an analyst.”

        2. SR6719

          Peter Beinart’s “The Crazy Rush to Attack Iran” is a perfect example of “faux-dissent”, as well as a reminder of why I try to avoid reading corporate media as much as possible.

          Superficially opposed to war, yet at the same time, in Silber’s words, accepting “the entire framework of those whose warmongering he criticizes”.

          Arthur Silber: “The continued insistence by virtually everyone on arguing about [government] “intelligence” arises in large part from the *reliance on authority* that is drummed into all of us, usually beginning in early childhood.”

          So your point is well taken: We must think for ourselves concerning Wikileaks, Assange, Chris Hedges, etc, or for that matter, *anything* coming from the media, and do this without preconceptions and without relying on authority, but rather ask ourselves “who benefits?”

          Peter Beinart, one of “the people who were manifestly, painfully wrong” about the Iraq war: the same Peter Beinart who wrote at some length about his sickening “regret” that the invasion and occupation of Iraq turned out to be “a tragic mistake”

          Well, apparently he didn’t learn anything and is prepared to make the same mistake it all over again.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Well put.

            I would take it even further though and I think the government has indeed engaged in criminal conspiracies and false attacks. And routinely does so. I am continually amazed at the proof I am finding in plain sight when I look.

            To show by example, why would an Afghanistani protester be holding a half burned Koran ? It’s a small fact. But important.

            Why would the U.S. only half burn a Koran? How could that happen? What would be the purpose? Why wouldn’t they completely incinerate it? It seems odd to burn Korans in the first place. And how would the half burned books then come into possession of normal Afghanis? The story is starting to get more and more incredible now.

            A protester isn’t going to simulate a burned Koran by burning his own Koran, is he? If they are so outraged at a burning I doubt they would burn their own for demonstration purposes. It’s strange and the timing with massive murder of Afghani children is also HIGHLY suspicious.

            Another example of a small fact in plain sight that changes everything is that gif of the police officer spraying something into the backseat of the car that JFK was supposedly just murdered in. It’s a little fact, but has big implications. Is there any innocent reason for the officer to appear to contaminate the murder scene in this manner? Why would a police officer be faking blood stains?

            This clip has evidently been in plain sight for decades . . . or maybe it was just shown around that time and hardly ever replayed. Interesting.

          2. JTFaraday

            Well, if you really want to vomit, consider that since the drive to Iraq, Peter Beinart was hired into a *full time* position teaching journalism at CUNY. Paul Berman was hired into a *full time* position teaching journalism at NYU.

            I don’t know. Maybe there are others.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Assange and Manning would be general perps whose jobs are broader than agents provocateur. Assange could be playing an agent provocateur role in that he could be encouraging whistle blowers that will get turned over to the authorities (think of the Wikileaks van trolling Occupy sites or someone uploading an illegal leak to Wikileaks trusting it will be confidential). And so maybe Manning is a victim of Assange’s act of provocation (in which case only Assange is the perp and Manning is simply the dupe).

        But the main benefit Assange and Manning provide is the cover story for how the cables got released. It is an elaborate cover story, with twists and turns and sex and international espionage and hackers, and this grand drama makes it is easier to conceal doctored documents.

        Plus, I now suspect that the U.S. uses the legal system as cover for psy operations, like it may have done in the underwear bomber case. So I’m looking at these incidents in a new light. As I pointed out the other day, Bradley Manning has made a number of odd legal moves that seem suspicious to me, just as the underwear bomber seems suspicious when he abandons one heck of a good defense and instead plays the crazy terrorist card and agrees to go to prison forever, I begin to wonder if something is afoot.

        I simply mention those other examples where I suspect something similar happened as a reason for my speculation (like with Hedges, or 9/11, or the first WTC attack, or OK City, etc.). I know these are shocking allegations, and I did not come up with these hypotheses lightly.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      I was posting on this at length in 2008. The Saudis and the majors were all saying oil prices were way way out of line with fundamentals. The fact that they were saying this privately strongly suggests their public position was not posturing. And the Saudis do not want prices to be too high, a high price makes alternative fuel sources more attractive.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Yep. That’s what I was trying to figure out. Thanks.

        So the leaking of this document actually helps U.S. policy as it indicates the Saudis are not posturing and are telling the truth and oil fundamentals are okay.

        I wonder why it took so long to release a fairly innocuous document.

  10. Valissa

    For today’s entertainment news…

    Strauss-Kahn held by French police

    Mr Strauss-Kahn, who less than a year ago was the leading contender for the French presidency in the forthcoming election, was under interrogation over his participation in several sex parties, dubbed “soirées libertines” by the French media, in Paris and Washington that were allegedly organised by senior police and business figures from Lille with whom he had links.

    … Using prostitutes is not illegal in France. But police were investigating whether Mr Strauss-Kahn, whose detention was extended for 24 hours, knew the women at the parties were prostitutes and that they were allegedly being paid for by a French company, which would open him to charges of complicity in pimping and abuse of funds.

    Mr Strauss-Kahn… has denied that he knew the women at the parties were prostitutes and complained he had been the victim of a media lynching over the issue. Speaking on French radio in December, Henri Leclerc, his lawyer said: “At these kinds of parties, you are not always clothed. I challenge you to tell the difference between a naked prostitute and a naked worldly woman.”

    … His wife, the journalist and broadcaster Anne Sinclair, has subsequently become the founding editor-in-chief of the French language version of the Huffington Post website, which covered his detention on Tuesday on its front page.

    What will S-K do next?

    Truth or prejudice?

    The tragic truth

    1. craazyman

      I can’t believe the Captain Jacques de Love is back in the news. Why can’t they just leave him alone?

      He should just go ahead and run for president at this point. I’d vote for him if I was in France. He might win!

      The cartoon about Berlusconi is hilarious.

      When I think of a “worldly woman” I think of somebody like Isak Denisen in Out of Africa, weary from the cares of tending to the estate and its staff, wearing Khakis and, if there is any skin being shown at all, only tastefully for artistic photographers who understand these things and who are probably homosexual anyway. haha. Shows how “unworldly” I am. I’m so naive.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Valissa, when will they cover the *jail-bait* under-age part? Europeans love to screw over the young ones. What better means of “bringing them up” into the depraved *culture* of the IMF, the World Bank? This *abuse and use* strategy has worked for the Roman Catholic Church/Empire for countless generations.

      Consider “The Franklin Cover-Up” (YouTube) and “The Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins. These systems have what Bill Black calls “perverse incentives” and “the criminogenic environment.” Can anything good come from these Masters of Perversion and Crime?

      As has been stated here, as for IMF victims, *We’re next.* Unless …

  11. kevinearick

    Currency, Frames of Reference, & Belonging

    Currency is governance, belonging to frames of reference, in a dimension of dimensions. We pay people to the extent they wind the empire’s clock, to repeat its History. If you look at the data, spreading the work out requires roughly 20 hrs/wk/person or 3 hours every day. Of course those choosing to do nothing else willingly give up their privacy, and seek to command the same of others, to the end of equal outcomes, make-work.

    Who sits in a corner office planning bridges and cities to nowhere, 18 hrs/day, expecting real people to follow the direction of economic activity multiplier effects, and why would anyone compete for the opportunity to be so stupid? Ask China. Empires are built by mental eunuchs. What China learned, before the dawn of European colonialism, was that attacking others destroys self, because it invites attack from within. The empire rots from the inside (beltway) out accordingly.

    The robot professor measures brain activity and learns that the body moves before the brain engages, up the old evolutionary chain, to the brain, which rationalizes self actuation into a belief of free will, to which it seeks positive feedback from the mirrors surrounding it, in a lie that rationalizes lying. Just reward clock social behavior with credit-controlled spending through the global HR system and you have the black hole of collapsing event horizons you see before you.

    Of course corporate could create 2M jobs between now and Christmas, but what would it get other than more solar panels from China and more energy contracts to Obama’s cohort? Trading debt, investment in the slavery of others, obfuscates the non-performing asset base, right up until it deleverages, when the participation “credit” relativity circuit blows up, and intelligence has emigrated, leaving nothing but replication of the master/slave relationship inherent to a clock.

    On one end is real income with no real assets. On the other is assets with no real income. At system reset, angle of incidence change, where do you want to be? What the occupiers are learning is that democracy, majority representative rule, is a soft bully centrifuge, which relies upon the desire to belong, to match the pattern, for power, on a path of diminishing returns, just like the tea party movement. It’s still feudalism.

    The key to an empire is swapping self-worth for non-recurrent material wealth, a piece at a time until the participants are all choosing the Pavlov swap currency, at less and less corporate cost, in the form of increasingly diverse shoddy work products, until all that remains is the hopium. Intelligent parenting is not quite so simple because the empire, of peer pressure, must increasingly focus on leakage to grow the ponzi, in the form of early childhood education, Family Law.

    Replicating parents train children to depend upon the replication as an authoritarian measure of self-worth, raising slaves for the empire from which they get their own sense of self-worth, in the form of more and increasingly shoddy, least-common-denominator replacements, like Microsoft. Accordingly, they are all terrified of being alone, with no mirrors, and will accept any empire frame of reference assigned, as the Order of Things, bullies bullying bullies.

    Intelligent parents embed a sense of self-worth in their children accordingly, despite the escalating cost of empire to do so. The physical senses are like an addiction, because they may only record the past, in a self-preserving feedback loop creating the event horizon. They will not accept any input over time without an event horizon pattern match.

    Children with self-worth employ imagination in a positive feedback loop, which acts as the empire’s negative feedback loop. The intelligent kid doesn’t match cards by sight, but rather by seeking the unknown, allowing the gravity of empire replication to do most of the work, with its misdirection of gamesmanship.

    It is not unusual for cops to have 5 or even 10 businesses running off of Criminal Justice, which process kids at the churn pool. That’s what its union exists to do. It’s a sponge. The kids in Seattle are learning that now. Don’t voluntarily stand in front of a loaded gun expecting something good to happen. Government has crowded out organic income production from the bottom up, and so craves the last 1%, leaving the sharks to eat each other in a feeding frenzy. Never again is an empire oxymoron.

    Expect the empire to isolate you into fear and depression as the penalty for non-conformance, by rewarding increasingly arbitrary, capricious, and malicious conformance / belonging, where the participants act happy on a stage built for the purpose, seeking ever greater prizes to assuage their anxiety. That is the value of Facebook.

    Train others to train your children accordingly. A real union does not balance concentrated power with concentrated power; it distributes power when and where it is needed. The solution to the professor’s problem is, of course, to make Friday Monday, and Monday the beginning of another job. If you do not exercise discretion, like anything else, you lose it.

    Wall Street trades debt slavery for the eminent domain to exploit the planet. It has its place in a civil society, but it is at the foot of the table. It only appears to be at the head to the willfully mesmerized diplomats, talking their way to fame and glory. The casino bets on entertainment. War is good for business.

    Now, we all are waiting for them to light up their system. Should be quite the fireworks. Over the long term, you do not play to win; your rights are inalienable. Others play to lose, in a false lottery built for the occasion.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      kevinearick, excellent Statement. But trauma makes us *Limbic creatures*–

      “ADAM’S CURSE” by Bryan Sykes reminds us of what it’s all about, so long as we are beasts without self-control.

  12. ScottS

    Good news from the CFPB! “We’re taking nominations for our Consumer Advisory Board”:

    We are looking for Board members with diverse perspectives and innovative ideas. These nominees may have a background in one or more of the following areas: consumer protection, financial services, fair lending, civil rights, consumer financial products and services, or community development. If you or someone you know can offer us expert advice in any of these fields, let us know by submitting a nomination letter and a complete resume/CV to CABnominations@cfpb.govf by March 30, 2012.

    I hereby nominate Yves Smith, Hans Rosling, Bill Black, Randy Wray, Geoffrey Sachs and Mike Check!

  13. Hugh

    David Dayen has done excellent reporting on HAMP and the charade of the mortgage settlement negotiations.

    I only wish his grasp of macro was as good. He tends to treat with great respect Establishment types like Krugman and neoliberal lite ones like Jared Bernstein and Christina Romer. And he continues to view most things through the conventional Democratic-Republican dichotomy.

    1. Valissa

      he continues to view most things through the conventional Democratic-Republican dichotomy.

      Even the best posters at political blogs are so deeply invested in the ‘traditional’ politico-cultural narrative, I do not think they are capable of changing that… it’s rather axiomatic for their existence. I have observed that people who post and comment at those are extremely attached to their political narratives and related terminology, as well as their assignments of good & evil (political ideology is a type of civic religion, and I respect it as such even if I don’t like it much). This is true of Dems, Repubs, liberals, conservatives and libertarians on political blogs of every stripe as well as the MSM and Political MSM which they constantly reference. Since they all reference each other they keep the same language/terminology and narratives intact.

      Individuals seem able to break from standard political paradigms in conversation, such as we try and do at this blog on occasion… but not when they are acting/identifying as a member or rep of a political group (herd allegiance). I look forward to the day when more peope refuse to use the traditional political narratives and develop more pluralistic persectives.

      btw, the only time I ever read posts at political blogs like FDL anymore (I was a regular lurker once upon a time) is when linked to here due to a financial news and/or analysis.

      I hope this blog stays oriented to finance, economics and money (and only politics relevant to those) as those are areas I want to learn more about. I really appreciate the finanical system education I have received here.

  14. Hugh

    Well, at least now we know that there is an after market for food critic wannabes.

    You know doughnuts are shaped like zeros and the NYPD could see a nihilistic threat that needed to be assessed in that. So maybe they should pay their officers to buy doughnuts. Probably would be a popular decision, and make our country *you may salute a flag real or imagined here* safer at the same time.

  15. Max424

    from: McClatchy re: oil speculation

    “Despite weak demand, the price of a barrel of crude oil surged …bla, bla, bla…”

    Weak demand? Far from it. Global demand for oil has never been higher. Over the last 8 quarters, world consumption of oil SURGED from 86.8 million bpd to its current, 89.6 million bpd.

    When is this bury-your-head-in-the-sand bullshit going to stop? Demand is up; way up! And supply is not; supply of crude oil flatlined at 74 million bpd WAY back in the year 2004, and the gap between 74 and 89.6 is being made up by turning –in VERY expensive ways– corn, tar, rock, and Venezuelan muck into usable petroleum products.

    Again, I’ll point out this out; in 2010, total world oil consumption exceeded total world oil production by 5 million bpd, and reserve oil stocks reacted accordingly, by rapidly depleting. Those are the facts.

    Oil speculation is dangerous, it has proven to be incredibly damaging (oil spike, 2008), and in my opinion, it is downright criminal, but in the much greater scheme of our drama, it is but a minor character –think the Wicked Witch of the East, in MGM’s 1939 production of The Wizard of Oz.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        WWM, don’t you think the Saudis are just waiting for their moment to screw over the West?

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Was Max talking about this the other day in more detail? Or someone else? Seems plausible that controlling the major reserves is the most important thing in the mid and long term, right? So that’s Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran? Libya?

          Seems like the U.S. can knock a puppet government over and sit on the oil. Wouldn’t the U.S. also do this to the Saudi government? If it needs to for national security?

          I’m more worried about the global elite than I am the Saudi elite–although they overlap.

          1. Max424

            There is NO QUESTION in my mind that we would take over Saudi Arabia –in a heart beat– should it come down to it.

            Think how easy it would be to sell to the American public!

            Just go back an unearth the data: 18 of the 20 9/11 hijackers were Saudi (Wahhabi! Muslim!) extremists! Osama bin Laden! Not only was Osama the Satanic Terrorist a naturally born Saudi citizen, but was at one point, he was a respected player in what is –clearly!– a despicable, autocratic regime (that hates on women, ta boot!)!

            Exxon/Mobile would be happy. The poor bastards are dying. Yeah, Exxon is making unreal quarterly profits, and will continue to do so in the medium term, BUT, their share of the global oil pie is depleting at a 5% annual clip. How long do they have at that rate?

            Not long.

            Iraq was supposed to be Exxon’s big chance, their “Dream Date,” but things ain’t workin’ out too good there. In fact, Iraq is the fucking pit-of-hell.

            But Saudi Arabia? It’s nice, it’s sparse, and unlike Iraq, it’s already tapped! And the ever efficient Saudi Aramco has done a real fine job for the undemocratic Kingdom over the last 50 plus years … has some state-of-the-art shit just waiting to be absorbed into the right corporate body.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Max424, no doubt you are right, given we are the world’s military superpower, so long as we have the oil, the petrol, and the jet fuel. There’s little doubt in my mind the triumphalist Americans would support Obama not only in bombing Iran, but in bombing the whole Middle East for their oil, devil take the hindmost.

            But would they then be in favor of nationalizing BigOil and OilServices so the People can retire on a steady income from the Federal Government like the population of Alaska?

          3. Walter Wit Man

            Oh Max. I have gone back and unearthed the data and I am confident that 18 Saudi religious extremists DID NOT hijack planes on 9/11. I don’t buy it.

            But Saudi Arabia does appear to be involved somewhat . . . . like the governments of Israel and Pakistan . . . . they assisted. They are junior partners, some more senior than others.

            Listening to Richard Clarke is a good way to get the international angle of 9/11 and to see how these countries assisted in 9/11. Richard Clarke is evidently whistle blowing, or in a pissing contest, or that’s the cover story . . . . the CIA is evidently not allowing this full movie to be released b/c Clarke is revealing to much [ha]. . . . I don’t trust him and I suspect what he’s doing is laying down another truth layer cover story to distract . . . “admitting” that the CIA allowed the “terrorists” to come in and that Israel was somehow watching them but that they were doing it to get an agent inside Al Qaeda. Bullshit.

            Just to sum up what the data I’ve seen so far indicates:

            Atta was a U.S. asset, but there most likely were no hijackers or hijackings that day. Atta and a few others may have gone through a metal detector that day, but that’s probably it and they may not have known they were part of the plan. There were likely no planes that crashed into the buildings or in the field in Pennsylvania, but explosives were either laid in the buildings or shot in via a missile or drone. Most likely napalm was used in the towers to simulate the jet hits.

            The live television feed was controlled by the perps and cgi was used to simulate a plane flying into the second, live. Later, “amateur” shots were also created to simulate the planes hitting the building (this were better done but obvious fakeries). Witnesses were planted in the first minutes and hours to create the myth of planes hitting–and the fake television images confirmed this myth to millions others.

            The two towers and building 7 were later brought down with thermite in a controlled demolitions. In fact, it appears the buildings were largely vacant and the few people present were quickly evacuated and the area protected.
            In fact, the building may have been built purposely for this false flag attack as it was largely hollow through most of its history.

            There very well could have been no deaths that day. Many of the suppossed victims have been proved to be fakes. There was a huge financial motive in many different ways. It was also an opportunity to fake a death or get a new identity or end an old identity (like Barbara Olsen).

            I know it sounds shocking. But that’s why they came up with a plan like this. They figured out they can get away with shocking events in plain sight because we are easily fooled for some reason and simply believe our eyes, or something. . . . anyway, if you look at all these details closely it’s one amazing revelation after another. It’s an amazinly bold plan and it worked out well. And they’ve used this same forumula in the past. As I note above, it appears even JFK’s murder may have been staged. For me it’s hard to ignore the huge implications of these apparent discoveries even though most people simply want to ignore it.

            10 years of endless war and the U.S. is sitting pretty for the near future. Didn’t they just give the Saudis like 100 jet fighters? I bet the U.S. is more than happy with its arrangement with the Saudis and if history is any indication the U.S. fascists seem to prefer radical elements. Nah, 9/11 was a good thing for these American and Saudi perps. They think they’ve found a winning plan and they may be right.

          4. SR6719

            Re: WWM’s comment at 2:04 AM (and I have another response, submitted earlier, below this one)

            Concerning the official versions of 9/11 and the JFK Assassination, among other things. It’s to our advantage not to believe in the official version of these events, since if we believe in the official versions and they are false or didn’t happen, that means we’ve been duped and swindled and we will die stupid.

            If we don’t believe in the official versions and they turn out to be false, we win on all counts.

            On the other hand, if we don’t believe in the official version of these events and the official version happens to be true, you still retain the benefit of the doubt, since at this point, there can never be conclusive proof that JFK was not a staged assassination or that 9/11 was not a simulated event.

        2. SR6719

          WWM (comment at 2:04 AM 2/24)

          Good one! I’m not saying I buy it, of course, but then there’s no reason to believe the official version of 9/11 either. (We should believe the official version based on what, the US media’s credibility and the US government’s record for telling the truth? Please.)

          And so your theory should be refined, then taken out for a test drive, until, like Sherlock Holmes said (in the Counterpunch article debunking the official version of Yom Kippur): when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

          Having a second look at 9/11 will be one of my future projects. For now, I’m 38 years behind this event back in 1963, still trying to play catch up, looking into the possibility that the JFK Assassination was a staged event.

          For instance, why is there blood all over the Limo where Jackie was sitting, and yet no bloodstains on the back of her dress after she exited the Limo? Or, if she immediately changed her dress, then why are there a few bloodstains on the front of her new dress, yet none on the back?

          And if Jackie suspected LBJ of the murder, then why is she flirting with him in that phone conversation you linked to above? It’s bizarre.

          To quote Alice, things are getting curiouser and curiouser….

          1. Walter Wit Man

            I agree that the facts about the blood are damning to most JFK theories. Did you see the gif above? I just can’t get over this revelation and the fact I just stumbled across it on that “let’s roll” thread. How many people are aware of this video? Like I note, there doesn’t seem to be an innocent explanation for the officer’s behavior. If you follow the gif link you can play the video which is a newsreel of the shooting from that time and they show the limo with the top down. There does not appear to be the blood and brain material on the seat or flowers that Nellie later describes (such as on her appearance on “the View”), nor does it match the pictures from the following day when the limo backseat was filmed to Washington and appeared to show blood and brain. I’m 98% sure there was no lone gunman assassination. I now put the odds of this “assassination” being staged at about 70%, and rising.

            If you want to check out the 9/11 hoax, the let’s roll forums are good as well as the September Clues website. The September Clues movie is a good place to start (although it could be produced a bit better and made clearer–although his research is good and I had to watch it a few times/research further to fully understand things).

            This actually is a good video that backs up the cgi arguments from September Clues and explains in better detail how they pulled of the cgi scam. And what’s interesting about this video series (3 videos) is at least one of the perps (and an apologist/perp) debates the ‘no planes’ theorists. Other people, like potential disinformation agents like Alex Jones and the ‘Loose Change’ guys (which is an early and probably the most successful ‘conspiracy’ theory movie), simply tried to engage in character attacks and deflection to distract people from this ‘no planes’ theory so it’s good to have people finally engage in the arguments. The September Clues arguments are very compelling so it’s good to have them tested by more establishment people. And imho the establishment perps in that video get revealed as hacks and liars. There is no good rebuttal to the no planes theory so that’s why people like Jones and the Loose Change guys are engaging in ad hominem and trying to avoid this theory!

            Plus, look how many people have viewed these videos! If we can believe Youtube hardly anyone has heard this compelling evidence. Less than 2,000. You can be one of the few people to see the best evidence. I have to say I do like the aspect of citizen activists revealing the truth and you have to forgive that dude for engaging in his music interlude in the 3rd video–you won’t see academics doing that but I love it! Even if the song goes on a bit too long. He’s bringing the truth and I find his logic very compelling.

          2. SR6719

            If you take the gif of the police officer spraying something into the Limo (without even looking over his shoulder to see if anyone is watching him), the Limo showing no blood before, versus the photographs of blood and gore that appeared later, the absence of bloodstains on the back of Jackie’s dress shortly after she exited the Limo, and so forth, the staged assassination theory looks more and more plausible, less crazy that I thought at first.

            So Jackie had to be in on it as well, right?

            So far I’ve watched the Part 1 and the first half of Part 2 of “The Key to 9/11), and read through parts of September Clue’s analysis (September Clue: “evidence presented in this research establishes beyond any reasonable doubt the pro-active complicity of the news industry – to an extent previously considered unthinkable……”

            The no planes theory, the question about how many people were actually killed, if any, and the news industry’s complicity is a fascinating way to look at 9/11 that hadn’t occurred to me before.

            If 9/11 were simulated, then the news industry’s complicity is the part that would surprise me the least. Just look how pathetic the US media has become, every government story seems to come straight from the White House itself, every banking story seems to be written by Wall Street, the US media might as well have their DC headquarters in the White House and their New York headquarters at 200 West St (right alongside Goldman Sachs)

            Thanks for this, it’s not every day someone comes up with an original way of looking at things.

            I’m not saying I believe any of it, not yet anyway, I have to do a lot more research, nevertheless I find the JFK staged assassination hypothesis and 9/11 no planes theory fascinating, and these theories deserve to be analyzed.

            Watching the video and reading September Clues’ 9/11 analysis reminded me of the following quote from Nietzsche:

            “We have eliminated the real world – which world is left ? The world of appearances ? Not at all. Together with the real world, we have eliminated also the world of appearances”

      2. Max424

        OPEC can’t do shit, in my opinion.

        They can talk, they can brag about their reserves, they can increase production by miniscule amounts for very short durations (thanks to to the very efficient public oil company Saudi Aramco), but they are no longer the great “swing” producer of their imaginings.

        Besides, they’ve all been lying about their “vast” reserves for a generation. Everybody but Iraq* is on their way to being tapped out.

        There is not much time. Exponential functions –like exponentially rising demand in OPEC countries for the oil they used to export– are eating away at our ability to respond to STAGNANT supply and RISING demand.

        I’ve written this before; extend and pretend now form the two long polymers of human DNA. It is the only explanation I can think for our insistence on believing in the fairy tales we constantly create for ourselves.

        The ever reliable Gregor MacDonald does not believe fairy tales:

        *We invading Iraq because it is the last place on this planet that has a fairly large reserve of easily accessible crude oil –that’s crude oil, not tar sands, corn/food, or Chávez’s mud/muck.

        Off note: Hey, Republican (and Democratic) War Mongers! What would happen to the global economy if 1,000 Iranian missiles plowed into this facility? Have you ever thought about it?

          1. Max424

            It’s a part of the Abqaiq oil compound, located on the east coast of Saudi Arabia, and it is within easy missile range of the Big Meanie across the Gulf.


            Bust that up (simple), and completely destroy the oil terminal that it feeds, at Ras Tanura (easy pickins), and global oil prices could find themselves above $500/barrel in an instant –with nasty speculator input, of course.

            Without nasty speculator input? My guess is $350-400.

          2. Yves Smith Post author


            1. The media really ignored the Saudis saying the oil runup was due to speculation

            2. It may indeed be newsworthy that someone in power told the truth in public! If the truth is on your side, why lie?

          3. Walter Wit Man

            My suspcions could certainly be unwarranted.

            The Saudis could be telling the truth and I really don’t have the ability to tell if oil fundamentals are sound or not.

            I am simply noting that we are dealing with a formal cartel here and an industry that admits it is keeping secrets. Almost all governments in the world consider the industry to be one of vital national security interest. So even according to the official story there are big secrets and accurate data is not released.

            I just think any assessment of the “truth” about oil fundamentals should acknowledge this huge motive and history of lying.

            Oh, and because these perps have engaged in shocking false flag attacks and acts of war and deception I think it’s foolish NOT to suspect foul play. So I’m duly suspicious.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          So these cables confirm (or I should say purport to confirm) that the U.S. was getting the same [bullshit] message in private from the Saudis that they were getting in public? That OPEC would be able to ramp up production in the future to meet the ~ 4.5 million bpd shortfall?

          1. Max424

            “…the U.S. was getting the same [bullshit] message in private from the Saudis that they were getting in public?”

            Good question. My guess is that the Saudis have made it clear to the highest levels of our government (Obama, the Inner Circle –does he have one?), that they are incapable of ramping up production in any meaningful way.

            Both sides agree to keep up an illusion; the Kingdom, should it become necessary, is perfectly capable of being a “swing producer of last resort” –even though, for the first time in the history of the Petroleum Era, Saudi Arabia is making, literally, no attempts to take advantage of a higher price regime (because they can’t).

            The Illusion Agreement keeps Mr. Market calm and happy, which is in everybody’s interest.

            Or the US could be getting duped by a smarter player. It wouldn’t be the first time.

            Note: None of this really matters, in my opinion. What really matter for the survival of the globe; what is the Big Mad Dog, the US, going to do going forward?

            It is important to remember, we, the Big Mad Dog, are almost helpless vis a vis oil.

            We have no oil companies, we have no banks. Unlike China, which has banks and oil companies, we cannot buy oil wells and facilities in other countries, and then have our state run oil companies produce and ship the life giving product back to Motherland (on state owned tankers).

            No, we rely solely on Mr. Free Oil Market! But what happens when Mr. Free Oil Market disappears completely? In 1970, 85% of the planet’s oil reserves were privately held. Today, 85% of the planet’s oil reserve is controlled by nation-states.

            The Big Mad Dog desperately needs to keep Mr. FOM in business; to at least hold on to some reasonable share of an exponentially depleting pie. And the only means at its disposal to accomplish this task?


          2. Walter Wit Man

            Well, if it’s war then the U.S. is perfectly situated. The U.S. is geared for war.

            That’s why the bases in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the whole area are important–they have a footprint that gives them the option to come in and take the oil later. They can choose their time and they are almost better off having a loyal lieutenant like Saudi Arabia for the medium future than trying to directly own all the oil now.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            Re the cables

            Your theory about the Saudis telling the U.S. inner sanctum that the fundamentals are not as sound as they are saying publicly sounds convincing to me. (Although I am not as informed as you and Yves appear to be so who am I to say).

            But that’s not what the cable says. The cable says the Saudis are saying the same thing in private that they are saying in public.

            So either this was not a very secret meeting/document so the Saudis gave the public story instead of the private story. Or this is a doctored document.

            In any case why would the Wikileaks board or advisory group (or whoever they are), only release these documents now?

        2. Walter Wit Man

          And I guess I only read that one Feb. 2007 cable. Would be interesting to go through all of them and see the other little details (like reserves, etc.).

          I also note the shout out to peak oil theorists in this cable, as well as alternative fuels . . . . don’t know the significance of all that yet though . . .

          1. Max424

            “But that’s not what the cable says. The cable says the Saudis are saying the same thing in private that they are saying in public.”

            Who knows. Maybe the Saudis believe their own stupid bullshit. Or maybe the Saudis believe the stupid Americans can be made to believe their stupid bullshit. Or maybe, the Americans are aware that the Saudis are full-of-shit, and pretend otherwise, because the stupid Saudi bullshit serves their purpose.

            Or maybe false cables were put out there like plump fruit, to be picked off by WikiLeaks, and published.

            I can only go by the fundamentals, and they tell me the Kingdom, for whatever reason, is proving totally incapable of making up for vast shortfalls on the production side.

            Believe this though: The upper echelons of American government is completely aware that global crude oil production flatlined 7 long years ago. They also know the Saudi oil juggernaut, even if it was pumping at maximum imaginary volume, could only make up for sliver of the exponentially growing gap between crude oil production and demand.

            Believe this too: The upper echelons of our government know that tar sands and shale plays would cost tens of trillions of dollars if they were ever developed to a level that would make the US “energy independent.”

            And the one thing we all know: The stupid American government believes that it is broke. It also believes that private industry is in charge. Always. So this type of multi-trillion dollar capital investment in tar sands and shale plays could never happen, because private industry doesn’t have that kind of money, only fiat currency issuing governments do.

            So, in my opinion, the stupid American government is fully aware that “energy independence” by way of tar and rock is a pipe dream, and the only alternatives are; a master central plan for renewables, or constant war.

            Since Republicans (and Democrats!) hate master plans and renewables, it will be war.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Good analysis Max. You’ve identified most of the options.

            I’m more cynical because I keep learning I’m not cynical enough, so I think the more nefarious options are more likely.

            Assuming you are correct about the fundamentals of oil not being as rosy as the Saudi’s claim, this statement by you is probably correct:

            “Believe this though: The upper echelons of American government is completely aware that global crude oil production flatlined 7 long years ago.”

            I too believe the U.S. officials and Saudis are going to be knowledgeable and as the first article you link to above notes, nations and oil companies have been very interested in this data and kept it secret so it’s safe to assume they have the best and most accurate information. Plus, they have a motive to play games with the true information because they have done so in the past.

            So the Saudis are probably lying in this presentation?

            This was a secretarial level meeting between U.S. and Saudi officials. It is labeled confidential. I notice the articles on these releases don’t provide much context about the level of the participants or the secrecy. Should we have expected secrets to be told in this working group or was this just a PR exercise between the governments? Did this group make any public findings or reveal anything to the public? The articles don’t go into the details we are going into here, instead they all seem to focus on the speculating angle (I haven’t done a comprehensive review–just an impression so far) and don’t question the veracity of the documents or claims within.

            Anyway, on a cursory level it seems like the secretaries would want to exchange accurate oil information and they did it sort of in secret, so I am suspicious of the veracity of these cables as they support important U.S. government policy but don’t seem logical. Wouldn’t a leaked document of Saudi Arabia telling the U.S. the “truth” in private look different?

            Of course you could be wrong on the fundamentals and oil fundamentals could be just fine in which case the Saudis are telling the truth in public and private and there is no hanky panky with the Wikileaks documents and these suspicions are not warranted. . . .

  16. LeonovaBalletRusse

    YVES, Naked Capitalism got a visual in the video interview at

    “On the Brink: Fiscal Austerity Threatens a Global Recession” — Interview of Dr. Heiner Flassbeck by Paul Jay today, 23 Feb 2012.

    The Naked Capitalism page appears during the discussion of Argentina.


  17. Hyman Minsky

    Re: the link to the Counterpunch article about the Yom Kippur war

    Yes, it’s the perfidious Jews always conspiring to spill the blood of the Goyem.
    You really can’t tell me NC is not anti-Semitic after this.

    Hyman Minsky

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hyman Minsky, you are insane if you believe your preposterous claim. If you had read NC comments for some time, and Yves herself, you would realize that the best freinds *the Jews* ever had are at this site.

      If you are serious, you are a damned fool.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Mroeover, Hyman Minsky, might we the commentariat conclude that you are one of the myriad Kissinger idolators too BLIND to see the truth?

        History shows that Henry Kissinger is the mortal enemy of *the Jews*.

    2. Hugh

      The big tell with hasbara is the equation of criticism of Israel with criticism of Jews. Once this spurious equation is slipped into the discussion, any criticism of Israel becomes anti-semitic. So Israel can run a fascist apartheid state but no one can call Israelis out on this without being accused of anti-semitism. Israelis with their one to two hundred nuclear weapons can at once say they fear being “driven into the sea” and threaten a country of 75 million with a nuclear program but not a nuclear weapons program. The hypocrisy in this comes from so many directions that it is difficult to know which way to turn, which to address first, or, in the face of such contradictory propaganda, it is even worth the effort to respond beyond labeling it for the propaganda it is.

  18. Skippy

    Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard may be forced to follow U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke by increasing mortgage purchases as house prices slump and the nation’s biggest banks extend their grip on the home-loan market, Bloomberg reported.

    Skippy… the new definition of citizen is… bag holder. Now why is Rudd challenging the neoliberal sect of the labor party…. um.

  19. Cynthia

    Tom Friedman is second only to David Brooks at being the worst and most insufferable joke of a journalist at the NYT. And my hat’s off to Belén Fernández for doing a masterful job of taking him down and exposing his lies and trickery in her book entitled “The Imperial Messenger”:

  20. Frank

    Park a bunch of dirty diesels with their engines running outside of the Patton Boggs offices and the homes of their partners.

    Has anyone seen the
    “Why we turned off your diesel engine and where we hid the keys” webpage?

  21. just me

    Did y’all hear my mighty guffaw?

    I clicked the SEC story link and jumped to this one in the sidebar:

    February 23, 2012, 9:30 pm Legal/Regulatory
    Holder Defends Efforts to Fight Financial Fraud

    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. spoke to about 400 Columbia University students and faculty members on Thursday.Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. defended the Justice Department’s record on financial fraud Thursday evening, asserting that the administration’s “record of success has been nothing less than historic.”

    And that’s as far as I could go.

  22. Anon

    Interesting piece about Steve Jobs, and his diagnosis with an illness that appears to have been eminently treatable, which route he supposedly refused.

    If the thrust of the piece is correct – and who knows? de mortuii nil nisi bonum, except for journalists? – and Jobs had indeed pissed so many people off during his lifetime, including the one woman he seemed to have professed some feeling for, then maybe he just couldn’t stomach being here any more, and the refusal to accept treatment constituted a form of suicide?

    The public face: extreme adulation and hero worship; among those who actually knew him, and interacted with him on a daily basis: somewhat the opposite. The cognitive dissonance must have been very noisy indeed, and perhaps there’s a point when you’d want to escape all that?

    And if he was serious about what he claimed LSD had shown him, maybe he wasn’t that bothered about the difference between life and death anyway?

    Or maybe, like a lot of other rich a**holes, he was just terminally bored? This way, he could go out in late middle age, while he still had a handle on the tech. (Tech is very unforgiving of those who can no longer keep up, and perhaps he feared that above all else?)

    And for all Jobs’ material successes at Apple, it always looked much more fun to be Woz than to be Jobs. Funny, that.

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