Links 3/12/12

Yves will be speaking at a conference hosted by the Atlantic in Washington, DC, on Wednesday called “360 Degrees: What Will it Take to Fix the US Economy?” The day long program includes Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Sheila Bair (don’t get too excited, the big dogs get solo turns, Yves in on a panel). Her session on “Diagnosing a Sick US Economy: Why Did We Get Here and What is the Fix?” is from 10:20 AM to 11:45 AM and you can watch the live stream here.

New Shark Species Discovered in Galapagos Wired.

Capsule which will carry skydiver to the edge of space for record-breaking 23 mile freefall is now ‘ready for flight’ Daily Mail.

Boost Your WiFi Signal Using Only a Beer Can Discovery Channel (Sideshow).

Global interest rates: Libor – a benchmark to fix‘ FT. Fix?

US bank dividends set to double‘ FT.

Bipartisan consensus on weakening Sarbox includes Obama Times editorial. What could go wrong?

The Bloom Comes Off the Unemployment Report Rose Economic Populist.

NAACP to challenge state voting laws before U.N. panel in Geneva McClatchy.

Obama Plans Big Effort to Build Support Among Women‘ Times. Sweetie.

* * *

After slaying of 16 Afghan civilians, American Army sergeant held for investigation Boing Boing. Good roundup. Check these tweets from the Beeb’s Kabul correspondent. Afghani reports say more than one soldier. Obama “shocked” [, shocked]. Foreign policy establishment: #FAIL. Gingrich: #FAIL. Poll: #FAIL. Another poll: #FAIL. My question: What do we know now that we didn’t know in 2011, 2010, or 2009? And remind me who was President in 2011, 2010, and 2009? Was it that same guy who courageously opposed “dumb wars” back in 2008? Just asking. –lambert

* * *

Why the American Empire Was Destined to Collapse Alternet (MS).

Madness of March: NCAA gets paid, players don’t Salon.

NCAA Men’s Basketball: 2012 Tournament Yahoo Sports. The brackets.

Japan’s rubble economy Al Jazeera. Shovel ready!

NOAA: Fourth Warmest Winter on Record Only the winters of 1991-1992, 1998-1999, 1999-2000 were warmer.

Canadian Government Targeting Opponents of New Oil Sands Pipeline Truthout.

Protesters link arms around the world to decry nuclear power AFP. 140 miles takes 60K people.

Tribes opposing solar power projects in Mojave desert Guardian.

Oil spill aftermath: A tale of three plaintiffs Reuters.

Ken Griffin: “I think (the ultra-wealthy) actually have an insufficient influence” Chicago Tribune.

Six Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying Cracked (PQS).

‘Occupy’ as a business model: The emerging open-source civilisation Al Jazeera (author).

Just Cause and Occupy Oakland Team Up for Foreclosure Defense Occupy Oakland Media Collective.

The 1 percent recovery Chrystia Freeland Reuters.

In the 2010 recovery, 93 percent of the gains were captured by the top 1 percent. That’s because top incomes grew 11.6 percent in 2010, while the incomes of the 99 percent increased only 0.2 percent.

That gain is particularly painful because it comes after an 11.6 percent drop in income for the 99 percent, Saez reports, the largest such fall over a two-year period since the Great Depression.

That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

Snowclones. An oldie-but-goodie analytical tool for the media critique.

Antidote du jour via Furzy Mouse:

NOTE: The cats next time.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Up the Ante

      “And which of these trustees is now arguing that the same executives who presided over the failure of the firm .. should get hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses for helping to unwind the company? Louis Freeh ..”

      Louis, mitigating risk of .. loss of remuneration.

      “Giving bonuses of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the execs who helped cause this disaster in the first place might actually prevent swindled customers from getting their money back. ”

      Louis, mitigating risk of .. potential justice.

  1. dearieme

    NOAA: Fourth Warmest Winter on Record Only the winters of 1991-1992, 1998-1999, 1999-2000 were warmer.

    So the sceptics are right: warming seems to have stopped in 1998. Of course, the Climategate e-mails revealed that some of the global warmmongers are prepared to admit it within the club but not in front of the children.

    1. John L

      Those years were solar maxima. We’re just coming off a solar minimum. Check back in couple of years.

      1. Dave of Maryland

        Which is controlled by the planet Jupiter. All 12 year cycles are.

        In a brilliant stroke, I reduced the signs of the zodiac to energies inside the earth, bursting to get out. Not in the sky. (No “13th sign” for me!) Then I stumbled on the new, trendoid theory that there’s a giant crystal at the center of the Earth. Hey, I said to myself, what if astrology was one of the properties of that massive crystal? What if astrology was the study of how the Earth-crystal relates to the (presumed) Mars-crystal, Jupiter-crystal, Venus-crystal, etc.?

        So what if astrology was nothing more than the study of giant, interacting crystals? With the Earth’s own crystal soaking us with its own energies, non-stop, night and day?

        Like it or not, that’s how the Old Farmers have been predicting the weather, and while they’re good, they’re not the best by any means. So it is getting warmer, or not? Astrology can give you the weather as far back or as far forward as you want, because astrology, uniquely, can tell you what the crystal at the center of the Earth is up to. All the weather people can tell you is where the clouds are at the moment, and they’re not much better at it now, than they were 50 years ago.

        I would have a lot more respect for science if it was scientific.

        1. LucyLulu

          Irrespective of our ability to predict future weather patterns, we certainly have no difficulty tracking past weather patterns. The thermometer is not new or controversial technology. When looking at global marine temperatures over the last 100 years, there has been an upward trends with the rate of increase becoming far more dramatic over the last 30 years. This rate of increase far exceeds any rate that the earth experienced during the prehistoric geological climate shifts that caused widespread special (def: related to species) migrations, adaptations, and extinctions.

          There is essentially unanimous agreement among climate scientists that the earth is warming and concentrations of greenhouse gases are on the rise. In the US however, the agreement among the public falls to 50%. What is more noteworthy though is the division that falls along identified political ideology. Only 21% of those who self-identify as being politically conservative accept climate warming as being a valid phenomenon. The relationship between acceptance of science and political inclinations is even if perhaps not surprising, very interesting. I don’t have the link but the article was published recently in Ars Technica if any are interested in further information.

          In any case, China considers environmental matters of sufficient concern that they have allocated $750 billion in 2012 to exploration of alternative technologies, many multiples of what we will invest (don’t recall exact number), while ten years ago, US investment was four times that of China. Even assuming the whole thing is a major hoax, the world is moving away from fossil fuels, and we are missing out on a booming business, at just the time when we need to be rebuilding our industrial/manufacturing base. From a strictly business perspective, its been a bad decision on our part……… swayed by fossil fuel moneyed interests.

          1. psychohistorian

            Reminds me of one of the first “economic” observations of my youth.

            In the 50’s Firestone and Goodyear kept radial tires out of the US through various ways so they could milk their existing manufacturing longer and be better prepared to compete.

            Unfortunately in the matter of climate change, the consequences of inattention could be much worse.

    2. polly wanna cracker

      Come back when you can solve a first-order linear diffyq. Then we’ll show you why AOGCMs are hopelessly over your head.

    3. tom allen

      Shorter: we just had the fourth warmest winter on record — the others having occurred in the past 20 years. No worries. Also, sorry if there’s going to be another drought.

      Jeez. Better denialism please.

      1. dearieme

        Oh look, you can’t pray the sun in aid now. Back when The Science Was Settled, we were assured that variations in energy inflow played no part. Has the science become miraculously unsettled?

        1. polly wanna cracker

          Blah blah blah blah words words words from some innumerate amateur chump parroting his betters.

          This is not like where you live, there are smart people here.

          1. mookie

            Dave of Maryland, you are delusional. You write in all seriousness about astrology and giant crystals within the earth controlling human affairs, then have the audacity to question the intelligence of others? Stop. Just stop.

            Dearieme, science is a process for satisfying curiousity. Its defining characteristic is falsifiability. As opposed to religion, astrology, crystal worship, or whatever drek you hold dearest, any aspect of a scientific theory can always be falsified. If it can’t, it’s not science. (Hence, most economics, psychology, and sociology ≠ science) I hope this isn’t too insulting, but I’m going to suggest you and Dave from Maryland read the wikipedia page on the scientific method. Ignorance is not bliss and your loudly trumpeted ignorance reflects poorly on this website and all of us who participate in the comment section.

          1. wb

            @D of M : “… because astrology, uniquely, can tell you what the crystal at the center of the Earth is up to. All the weather people can tell you is where the clouds are at the moment, and they’re not much better at it now, than they were 50 years ago.”

            Hahahahaha. Great fun. And so how did the so-called astrologers find this so-called crystal ? What’s it made of ? How big is it ? I’m glad I don’t have to rely on you for anything predictable, D of M. I mean, you don’t even understand the difference between ‘weather’ and ‘climate’, which is as kinda sad and ironic… they are not the same thing, you know.
            And as for dearieme, he/she/it has never ever made a correct statement re climate science on this blog so far. Lazy, very lazy, repeating sloppy second-hand denialist lies.

            I prefer to listen to someone like James Hansen who actually knows what they are talking about.


        2. wb

          Och, you must have fallen asleep during that part of the lecture, dearieme.
          You appear seriously confused about what science is, and what science does.
          Do you know the percentages of the gases that compose the atmosphere ? I mean, do you know anything about anything, or do you just spout an opinion for the sake of it ? Do you know anything about feedbacks in the climate system and why they matter ?

          Here’s a British scientist who actually knows stuff about climate. Worth a listen. Then, if you can actually refute anything he says, with informed understanding, you might not be such an embarrassment. Of course, you can’t because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    4. different clue

      If you are correct and the global has stopped warming, that should mean that the ice-fields/glaciers/etc. have stopped melting and will not melt, the oceans have stopped rising and will not rise, etc.

      If you are correct, have you thought about the vast contrarian investing opportunity lying spread out before you? Just figure out all the things that the global-warming-mainstream-believers are afraid to invest in for fear of losing their investment as the global warms. And invest in those very things.

      For example, if people become afraid to buy land in coastal Louisiana, it will get cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. That would be your big chance to buy up thousands of acres of it (or at least hundreds) and then wait for the rest of us to realize that the global isn’t warming after all, nor is the ocean rising. When we ( or our descendants) realize that all is well and we decide to buy-back-in to coastal Louisiana, then you ( or your descendants) will be able to sell that land for a pretty penny. Maybe even a shiny dime, har har har.

      So what are you waiting for? Your fortune awaits! Buy oceanside seafront coastal property today! Or tomorrow at the latest!

    1. Eureka Springs

      Via moonofalabama (my must go-to blog on these matters).

      This BBC report includes a timeline:

      00:00 Aircraft heard by eyewitness over villages
      01:00-01:30 Helicopters heard, followed by gunfire
      02:00 Witness says she hears shooting in one of the villages
      03:00 Time at which soldier is said by Afghan officials to have left US base
      A night raid gone wrong and a cover up attempt which then went wrong too. Or something like that.

      The whole thing happened only some 500 yards away from the base. Folks there must have heard any shooting in the village.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Our media is filled with lies. They are literally putting out fake news!

        I have no doubt the media is coordinating with the American military to engage in propaganda directed at the American people. And to cover up for crimes like this under the guise of “protecting” the troops by hiding the full truth of their crimes (“it’s a lone nut, not a policy”).

        It does appear this above incident was not a lone nut as the media and military are telling us. One must assume they are lying–they lie and fake news even!

        These are psychological operations in the media and internet.

        Sure, war criminals like Obama will pretend that these pych operations are aimed at the Afghani people and not Americans and are thus legal . . . . but that’s a bald lie like everything else our media and politicians and military says.

        One should not trust the blogs either. Even though there is a lot of good info at Moon of Alabama there are some perps hanging out there as well. With the scandals at places like Reddit going on (fascist spooky type perps taking over Occupy Wall Street moderation, etc.) it is becoming apparent that the fascists have not only totally infiltrated the media but the blogs as well. Many blogs are set up to attract opposition and then they act as gatekeepers keeping people away from the most critical information.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        From this BBC account:

        Most villagers expressed scepticism that this was simply the work of a soldier who had lost control. One woman described how she was woken at 02:00 by the sound of helicopters. Others spoke of seeing computerised equipment in the area.

        Whatever the true chronology of events, this incident is being seen as yet another black mark in the catalogue of deadly Nato operations.

        “I saw one person come to our home, I told my son: ‘You have to be quiet and calm because maybe this is a night raid’,” said one woman.

        An hour after gunfire erupted, she went to her brother’s home and saw that corpses from his family had been set ablaze. She screamed for help.

        Setting the bodies on fire doesn’t seem like something one guy could do.

  2. Susan the other

    Nomi Prins with Morris Berman. Think this idea that we Americans can’t change was a bit too depressing. Change is the one constant, even in our sicko culture. The changes will happen without any more “ontologically” idiotic debates simply because the system does not work anymore. The earth shifted and the old riverbed is dry.

    I have the opposite feeling – that change is happening at breakneck speed. Just because we are wandering in the ruins of patriotic confusion, Berman would have us all move to Mexico. How romantic: The Mexican Dream. But I would submit that you can neither go back nor move away. Stay put and stake a claim for your own happiness.

    1. Neo-Realist

      The Mexican Dream? More like the Gringo’s Nightmare: Dirty water, corrupt cops, grifting like nobodys business, and serious poverty. No thank you.

  3. KFritz

    The Cantenna looks good, but will it work as well if the edges are bent over on themselves? To get rid of all those sharp edges?

  4. Walter Wit Man

    Add 9 more Muslim rat children to the pile of dead. I would hope this would satisfy the blood lust of America but I’m afraid America is baying for more blood.

    America sure knows how to mete out terror! Send bloodthirsty and indoctrinated Western savages to Afghanistan to murder women, children, and whatever else moves.

    Note the utter evil of our leaders and media.

    The media calls the Koran burnings “accidental”. But even the official claim of responsibility (U.S. gov.) admits it was an order.

    Gingrich and McCain don’t worry about slaughtering children . . . hey, just a few broken eggs . . . stay the course . . . and remember, we are much nicer than the Taliban or Al Qaeda (a CIA run terrorist org–but I repeat myself). They target children on purpose! We swear it’s an accident! It’s the childrens’ fault actually. They keep associating with terrorists! We are simply doing God’s work by killing everything that works in Afghanistan. And McCain is *worried* America isn’t going to have the *guts* to see this war through.

    America. The biggest war criminals known to man.

    If you vote for a single Democrat or Republican you are a Nazi supporter of the slaughter of children.

    Instead of voting for Obama, one might as well go out and cap a kid directly in the brain. Shoot that Muslim kid right between the eyes. It’s probably much more humane that having Obama send in the bloodthirsty American killers that think killing Afhan children is like Call of Duty.

    1. barrisj

      The US and Nato/Isaf are an alien, invasive species, as so many strains of a virus or bacterium, that have colonised their host; however, the host has generated powerful antibodies against these pathogens, that eventually neutralise and destroy them, as the former Red Army learned to its chagrin. But, no surprise, the usual suspects are still calling for “completing the mission”, and “we can win this thing” (Sens. McCain and Graham). The US is trying to shove a “strategic partnership” down the Afghan’s throat before a main-force “pullout”, which includes a large contingent of “left-behind” Jsoc goon squads to continue the nightly raids, beatings, arrests, and assassination of “militants”. The so-called “turnover” of the Bagram prison to Afghan control says nothing about other black sites throughout the country that are no more than torture chambers run by CIA/Jsoc operatives. Whether what passes for the Afghan government will accept such a “partnership” is moot, as the US is committed to some sort of occupation indefinitely, at whatever cost to the stability of the host country. However, the tide is running strongly against the occupiers, and it is absolutely impossible to imagine any government other than a craven US client agreeing to any type of post-occupation residual armed force, and perhaps that is indeed the end-game, a “win” if you will.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Yep. They are actually normalizing death squads as a war tactic. And selling it to the American people as a winding down of war on one hand and a cool new way to wage war on the other (assassination lists and immense amounts of firepower used by small kill teams).

        I have no doubt the Republicans will play the role of right-wing fanatic. They will collectively call Obama a “pussy” for “leaving” Afghanistan. But as you note they are not leaving or doing anything they didn’t want to do for other reasons. It’s easier for the U.S. to keep it’s basic bases there and then conduct terror operations under CIA cover, (and thus no accountability).

        So while people may be fed up, especially the Afghans, things seem to be getting worse.

        The U.S. is now normalizing and expanding these terror death squads as a policy.

        And once again. Where are the liberals?

        Someone please explain why Obmama should not immediately be impeached? How can any “liberal” vote Democrat?

        1. EH

          And once again. Where are the liberals?

          We’re still waiting for Obama to pick us up from the polling station.

  5. Birch

    re: Canadian Government Targeting Opponents of New Oil Sands Pipeline

    It’s getting bad up here. The newspeak and double think are well advanced. Now, forestry and fisheries loving BC rednecks are considered environmental extremists out to destroy the nation! The nation being, of course, not a geographical or cultural reality, but a global corporate illusion.

    Good article though. Thank you for linking to the Canadian stuff.

  6. Walter Wit Man

    Right now terrorists are running around Syria killing women, children, and civilians. They are also killing members of the Syrian government in a Western-backed coup.

    And yet the “progressive” blogosphere is silent.

    Most liberal blogs won’t cover this absolutely amazing story. Why? The answer is because they too are complicit.

    Ask yourself why the “liberals” always seem to be a dollar short and a day late when it comes to opposing things that really matter?

    How many people died in Libya? Do liberals even care? The first war without any sort of congressional cover and liberals couldn’t care less.

    You do realize the president is now starting full on wars, complete with psychological warfare DIRECTED AT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, via false news stories put out by intelligence agencies and DoD, right now? There are terrorist death squads in Syria right now.

    Funded by America and fucking MoveOn! You got that you murderous little scumbucket liberals? The money places like Digby and Daily Kos raise goes to death squads!

    The U.S. is arming Syrian rebels and fomenting yet another brutal civil war.

    And liberals are silent. Most of the liberal blogs are actually fake blogs that exist for the sole purpose of controlling any opposition. They may bitch and moan and pretend like they care about old wars like in Afghanistan, but they won’t point out the psychological warfare in real time and are actually running interference for the criminals.

    Why no Syria coverage? We are killing thousands and spreading terror as we speak!

    The silence on the fake war news and propaganda coming from Syria is damning.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Indeed. The career “progressives” running interference for Obama — and I say this completely without irony — are far more dangerous than the Rs. I’ve often thought that if Rush Limbaugh had a voice like Garrison Keillor and a show on NPR, everything would be jake with the angels.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        That’s actually a good comparison. Garrison Keiler and Rush Limbaugh.

        Brothers lost at birth? Both in the same CIA class?

      2. Up the Ante

        “The career “progressives” running interference for Obama — and I say this completely without irony — are far more dangerous than the Rs. ”

        They admit the Rs are bad, and they trust the message is received without irony.

      3. LucyLulu

        Progressives like Obama are absolutely more dangerous than Republicans, I’ve long maintained that position. The base will silently accept what Obama does, the same things that if he were a Republican they would cry bloody murder over. He’s can ratchet up military intervention, clamp down on civil liberties, and slash the safety net in ways that a conservative could never get away with.

        Shhhhh, it’s a secret but ….. Obama is really a Republican double-agent.

    2. ohmyheck

      What Lambert said. Those types of “progressive” websites are called “Left Gatekeepers”. The cognitive dissonance and pretzel logic is only going to get worse as the election nears.

      Why can’t citizens have the choice of “none of the above” on their voting ballot?

    3. abelenkpe

      It’s true! As a liberal working in the entertainment business let me assure you we receive instructions not to discuss Syria or Libya at any cost. It’s not because we have a history of opposing the buildup to the Iraq war or demonstrating against war in general. We only do this to drive paranoid conspiracy loving conservatives crazy so they can then be labeled as such and put away in a re-education camp run by FEMA with taxpayer dollars. They come in one door angry and confused and leave as hippies longing to live in a geodesic dome off the grid in the desert.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Can you give us some clues about where you work?

        Here’s a specific example from the Huffington Post. Sharmine Narwani has had stuff published in the Huffington Post for years.

        “Then, on December 5, I submitted the first of my Syria articles to the Huffington Post. The article, entitled Dubious Dealings: Syria and the Arab League, contained exclusive information – the list of Syrian amendments to the Arab League’s protocol to green-light an investigative mission into Syria. They did not publish it and did not respond to any emails.

        The HuffPost published my subsequent article Stratfor Challenges Narratives on Syria which quotes extensively from US intelligence analyst Stratfor’s report that the Syrian opposition has been fabricating claims and events.

        Since then, I have posted five further articles on Syria backstage at the Huffington Post. None have been published, and after many attempts to email editors there, I have still not received any explanation as to why.”

        It’s interesting to me that the one piece the Huff Post published is most likely U.S. sponsored DISINFORMATION (I presume all Wikileaks documents are disinformation and this is yet more evidence in my book).

        So it does appear that there is coordination on some level. The BBC, CNN, New York Times, Time, Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek, Fox, Huffington Post, and many other publications and blogs do appear to be “in on it.”

        We can laugh about the fact that some group of people appear to be using our mass media as a weapon against us . . . . sure, it can be funny in some ways I guess.

        But make no mistake about it . . . the media is a weapon aimed at the American people. It’s deadly serious business being run by real people with a real agenda.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          And for those wondering why the perps would try to prevent any mentions of fake rebel claims in publications like Huffington Post but then would release the Wikileaks document that says the same thing . . . .

          Even though this is counter intuitive it is a classic psychological operation, from what I understand.

          The perps are allowing an asset to release the “truth”* so that we trust this source as a legitimate source of the truth in the future. There are many different ways they can mislead us which is why the war logs and Stratford emails are so broad in scope–basically the cover story allows them to spread disinformation on any subject the perps want.

          Plus, the truth was probably going to get out anyway so might as well release the truth in a very limited format then work really hard to diminish the truth and keep it from spreading. For instance, this is what we see on Syria. A few obscure sources reveal the truth but then the major media blacks out any reference to the truth. So we live in a society where the truth is shown, its just really hard to find and people are tricked into not looking at it and dismissing it.

          *The evidence I’ve seen suggests the claim the rebels are faking attacks and making false claims is in fact the truth.

        2. polistra

          THANKS for the Narwani link. I KNEW these things were wrong, but didn’t know where to find something closer to the truth.

          (The Stratfor Wikileaks pointed to a reality behind the standard media line, but seemed inconsistent and dubious.)

          1. Walter Wit Man

            It really is an amazing story and demonstrates the bad faith of the corporate media. I happened to have read some of those stories that were censored (like the one on the casualty figures the Western press is using) and it’s clear why the Western press is censoring this information.

            And this is just one publication spiking stories on Syria–The Huffington Post–but every mainstream publication did this as well. Not only that but they promoted the fake stories as well.

      2. LucyLulu

        Before you laugh……

        I thought the same thing as you, and set out to prove the conspiracy theories on Syria were bs. I’m no conspiracy wing-nut, quite the opposite, I am a born skeptic who has never bought into the Kennedy assassination, 9/11, and Illuminati type plots (no offense intended to those who believe differently) set forth. Several hours of digging later, looking at numerous sources from sites around the world geared to foreign audiences, I discovered the evidence DOES support that it is the opposition that is doing the slaughtering of innocent civilians, and which is being supported by US and French forces. This makes sense in light of the Syrian and Iranian regime’s alliance that has been a problem child to our pro-Israeli and other Mideastern policies. In fact, in 2003 Iran offered to open their nuclear program to full transparency and cease all support of anti-Israeli and other terrorist activity in a letter to Bush but instead the decision was made that a regime change would be preferable. This was shortly after the fall of Hussein. (As documented in newly released book about US-Iranian diplomatic failures, A Simple Roll of the Dice.)

        “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.”

    4. Externality

      How many people died in Libya? Do liberals even care? The first war without any sort of congressional cover and liberals couldn’t care less

      President Clinton did something similar with the former Yugoslavia, forum-shopping between the United Nations Security Council and NATO for approval in order to wage wars unsupported by either Congress or the American people.

      President Clinton assured the American people that a UN-backed no-fly zone over the former Yugoslavia would be a brief intervention using unarmed AWACS aircraft. (Operation Sky Monitor) He also claimed that since the mission was authorized by the UN Security Council, he had no obligation to explain himself to Congress or the American people.

      In the coming months, President Clinton sent fighter planes to shoot down planes violating the no fly zone, launched US air strikes on Bosnian Serb positions, engaged in a strategic bombing campaign against the Bosnian Serbs, and incited skirmishes with Serbia proper. Each time, he relied on the authority of the UNSC and/or other multinational bodies, not the express consent of Congress or the American people.

      In October, 1995, the House passed, by a vote of 315 to 103, a resolution stating that President Clinton should not send, or promise to send, soldiers to Bosnia without Congressional authorization. Less than two months later, Clinton announced that he was not required to get authorization from Congress, and sent combat troops to Bosnia. While he promised they would stay for under a year, they remained until 2003.

      In 1998, the usual hawks — neocons and liberal interventionists– decided to attack Serbia and give Kosovo (then part of Serbia) to the Kosovo Liberation Army. After convincing (for reasons that remain classified) the State Department, the UK, and France, to take the KLA off their respective lists of terrorist groups, the Clinton administration set about manufacturing consent for the war.

      When it became clear that neither the American people, the Congress, nor the United Nations Security Council would support the Kosovo war, President Clinton decided to wage the 1999 Kosovo War through NATO. (Clinton claimed that the NATO treaty gave him the authority to attack anyone so long as enough NATO members approved.) Preserving Western “credibility” and stopping human rights abuses, he claimed, took precedence over public, Congressional, and UN objections and the UN Charter. The same UN which he used to justify bypassing Congress over Bosnia was now savagely attacked by the administration’s surrogates. Congresspeople of both parties, including Congressman Ron Paul, unsuccessfully sued to block the war. After the Kosovo war, the US built the enormous and permanent Camp Bondsteel. US troops remain in Kosovo.

      Just as the Obama administration is ignoring the Libyan rebels’ atrocities against Black Libyans and African immigrants, the Clinton administration ignored the KLA’s human rights violations. The Clinton administration, despite the huge US troop presence in Kosovo, stood by as the KLA killed large numbers of Roma (“Gypsies”) and forced many others to flee to Serbia and elsewhere. Kosovar crimes against Serbian people and religious institutions were similarly ignored. There are even well documented cases of Serbs being slowly killed while their organs were sold, one at a time, on the black market.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Thank you for correcting my statement above.

        Like lots of Democrats and former Democrats, I forgot about this history.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          That should be Joe Biden. Not Joe Lieberman. And he even teaches con law!

          And I like how emphasitic he is–it’s a “fact” he will move to impeach Obama if Obama doesn’t get authorization.

  7. F. Beard

    The Federal Reserve is this week expected to pave the way for a doubling of bank dividends and share buybacks when it unveils the results of stress tests on the largest US financial groups. [bold added]

    And what, pray tell, is the source of funding for those dividends and share buybacks? Cheap loans of new money from the Fed?

    Can we not have a usury-free money supply? Yes we can. The Federal Government should simply spend its money into circulation and tax it out of circulation as necessary to control price inflation in its money. As for the private sector, all government subsidies for usury should be eliminated and usury-free monies such as common stock should be encouraged.

  8. F. Beard

    What a country! To be rich one pretty much needs to be a banker – a counterfeiter and usurer – or to borrow from one.

    Well, since the whole world is permeated with usury and counterfeiting let’s not be surprised if The End is near. We were warned.

        1. Birch

          I know. I meant it in a good way, believe it or not.

          I would very much like to see Cartman take on the banking establishment. He’s the kind of guy that needs a good project like that to focus on.

  9. sonomapotter

    The latest killing in Afghanistan by a rouge GI is treated different then when a pilot or Drone kills civilians which is considered acceptable consequences of the mission. It is interesting to see how the media/government reacts in these situation vs pilot or drone creates noncombat deaths which is heavily defended by both MSM and government sources.

  10. Walter Wit Man

    If one wants an example of the banality of evil one need look no further than to Hullabaloo’s David Atkins.

    This little Democratic party hack and ad man represents the absolute worst in war propaganda and shows us what the true purpose of the “progressive” blogoshpere is. He pretends to oppose the war but this fink will do whatever his masters like Obama tell him to do.

    Atkins is *worried* that if the U.S. leaves Afghanistan the murderous Taliban will take pover:

    “The darker side of all this, of course, is that the hardline theocratic conservatives in Afghanistan are primed to take power back after our departure, continuing the reign of terror they exercised for years.” Then Dave goes on to talk about the terror of Buddhist statues being destroyed and how Islam is against women . . . .

    Thanks for your concern Dave.

    I’m sure these dead Afghan children really care about the statues more than the bullets in their heads thanks to people like YOU. Did the Taliban run around murdering civilians in this manner? I don’t think so. The Taliban actually has the support of the people because they are of the people and not a foreign occupation force and THEY DON’T RANDOMLY MURDER CIVILIANS. Afghan women would rather have Talian men in charge than murderous finks like YOU telling them to accept death squads that kill their children. As if these death squads are concerened with “freeing” Afghan women. Did you see the rapes that American service women go through? Do you really want these guys with guns and no accountability spreading American feminism in the Middle East?

    Of course you do because your real goal is to support American fascism. You’re lying. You’re complicit. You’re evil.

    These blogs like Hullaballoo are captured opposition. Most likely Dave is getting paid to write propaganda. He’s trying to fool more silly ass liberals into supporting fascist death squads! It’s for feminism and art preservation! And the children! Not the dead Muslim rat children we kill but other children we show in our propaganda!

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Good article. I forgot about the cynical use of this tactic by the Bushes, like Laura.

    1. Gargantua's spangled hat

      Compliant pissants clawing their way to the top. The funny part is when they get dumped, once they’ve served their purpose. No more tantalizing articles for Digby. They take Atkin’s Dad’s money and run, leaving him to fap his Robert’s Rules in East Bumfeck and demand more dead wogs ex cathedra with lots of “I think this, and I think that,” like his pusbag party gives a rat’s arse what he thinks.

  11. Up the Ante

    “.. including the notions of our being the “chosen people” and the availability of an endless frontier ..”

    And ‘forever growth thru war’.

    “Hence I would argue that nations get the governments they deserve; that the wool is the eyes.”
    Jesus, Mr. Berman, that’s exactly the “lineage” of Allen Dulles’ view in their Occupying the Occupy movement. Very good.

    (if you’re going to bang on someone’s doors you may as well be two-fisted about it) lol

  12. Hugh

    Re “The Bloom Comes Off the Unemployment Report Rose”, those are nice graphs. I have advocated for some time reworking the BLS unemployment numbers to include more of what I call the BLS undercount. The BLS defines out of the labor force anyone without a job who has not looked for a job in the 4 weeks before its survey is conducted. I used to use, like the author, the BLS category Not in Labor Force, Want a Job Now for that purpose, but looking at this category historically I found that it didn’t really track with economic events.

    A better way I found to calculate the undercount was by comparing the current labor force to where we would expect the labor force to be in a solid expansion. This expected labor force size can be easily calculated by simply multiplying the potential labor force, given by the Noninstitutional Population over 16, by the participation rate (the ratio of the labor force to this population) in a solid expansion. I use a figure of 67% based on the expansion under Clinton. Multiply that by the Noninstitutional Population gives us the size of where the labor force should be. Subtracting out the size of the current labor force gives us the size of the BLS undercount. Going this route, the current BLS undercount is 7.56 million, substantially higher than the 6.387 million from the BLS category Not in Labor Force, Want a Job Now, used in the article. More this number actually tracks with economic events.

    For February, I calculated that the real unemployment rate with this methodology was 12.5% and disemployment (the analogue to the BLS U 6 measure of un- and underemployment) was 17.5%.

    As always in economic discussions, it is important to understand what the definitions are and what is actually being measured, not purported to being measured. The BLS, for instance, uses a very restrictive definition of what it means to be unemployed. As a result, the unemployment rate it reports does not correspond to what most people consider unemployment to be: not having a job, but wanting one, although it is used as if it did mean this.

    1. LucyLulu

      I agree that the unemployment figures miss too many people and need reworking and overall your formula looks good. The only suggestion I would add is that some modification might be needed to account for the higher number of retirees in the population since Clinton was president. I don’t know how significant this number currently is since we are at the front end of the baby boomer retirement era, but it will be increasingly so over time.

  13. barrisj

    This perhaps is an apposite moment to recall the writings of the GREAT C Wright Mills, who – among other observations – coined the marvelous phrase, “crackpot realism”, when referring to Cold War “leaders” as the Dulles bros. and their ilk:

    (excerpted from The Causes of World War III)In crackpot realism, a high-flying moral rhetoric is joined with an opportunist crawling among a great scatter of unfocused fears and demands. In fact, the main content of “politics” is now a struggle among men equally expert in practical next steps—which, in summary, make up the thrust toward war—and in great, round, hortatory principles. (p. 86)

    . . . The expectation of war solves many problems of the crackpot realists; it also confronts them with many new problems. Yet these, the problems of war, often seem easier to handle. They are out in the open: to produce more, to plan how to kill more of the enemy, to move materials thousands of miles. . . . So instead of the unknown fear, the anxiety without end, some men of the higher circles prefer the simplification of known catastrophe. (p. 87)

    . . . They know of no solutions to the paradoxes of the Middle East and Europe, the Far East and Africa except the landing of Marines. Being baffled, and also being very tired of being baffled, they have come to believe that there is no way out—except war—which would remove all the bewildering paradoxes of their tedious and now misguided attempts to construct peace. In place of these paradoxes they prefer the bright, clear problems of war—as they used to be. For they still believe that “winning” means something, although they never tell us what. (p. 88)

    . . . Some men want war for sordid, others for idealistic, reasons; some for personal gain, others for impersonal principle. But most of those who consciously want war and accept it, and so help to create its “inevitability,” want it in order to shift the locus of their problems.

    Word, brother.

    1. Up the Ante

      Perhaps C. Wright needed some help with his “unfocus”-sedness, from Smedley Butler, paraphrased, ‘It’s a racket, outlandish profits for a very few.’.

      Took care of that, now, didn’t we ?


  14. Hugh

    Re Sarbanes-Oxley, banks already have been effectively released from it. Yes, they still have to file but in response to the meltdown, the FASB changed its accounting rules allowing banks officially to cook their books, completely vitiating Sarbox requirements.

  15. Brent Musburger Jr. (news anchor)

    Breaking News! This Just In!

    Attorney General Eric Holder said he is reviewing the verdicts handed down to German officials by the Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials on October 1, 1946, and has announced the Justice Department will be seeking to overturn all 22 convictions, resulting in posthumous exonerations.

    Story developing….

    1. Spandau Lodge

      Americans’ contempt for their own law is a tribute to ubiquitous national brainwashing. With an Occupy committee trying to articulate their common ground, I was amazed to see how vague and wimpy their state-violence verbiage was. This regime has pretty much figured out how to neutralize antiwar motherhood & apple pie. Occupy really needs to break some humanitarian law over the country’s head. Ask why we un-signed the Rome Statute and when we’re going to ratify it. Ask when we’re going to comply with the binding treaties that the Rome statute is based on. Ask when we’re going to comply with and enforce UN Charter Chapter VII. Ask if the government plans to harbor executive-branch fugitives when the world makes aggression a crime. You have to attack Getting Away With It, the US Government’s only guiding principle.

    2. barrisj

      Yes, over 60 years ago, the US and allies were the plaintiffs at Nuremberg, representing those millions of dead, injured, and displaced peoples victimised by Nazi Germany. Then, many of the Nazi leadership were sent to the gallows for – inter alia – instituting “wars of aggression” against sovereign nations. Today, regrettably, those same plaintiffs have now seen fit to adopt the same tactics of the Nazis, with the only difference being the aggression is now tarted up with the raiments of “humanitarian intervention”, and “responsibility to protect”, concomitantly perverting the very ethos of the UN which was created in response to the horrors of WWII. The former Western colonial powers and the US have continually used their influence within the UN Security Council to push through fig-leaf resolutions justifying illegal and criminal invasion of heretofore sovereign states, unable to countenance the principle of noninterference in the affairs of other countries. “Freedom”, “Democracy”, “Human Rights”, noble ends, but not achievable at the end of a gun, especially when the West has its collective hands on the trigger. The same claptrap bollocks that Mills wrote so trenchantly about in the 50s (vide supra), “crackpot realism”, even today still holds sway amongst Western “statesmen” and “leaders”, and millions of people across the Middle East and South Asia are the worse for it.

      1. Up the Ante

        Holder, like Bernanke, would like us to go back to the time and re-do it.
        The jetlag drug pales to their treasuring of Nazi love, of Nazi promise.

        Then again, that type of thinking is what you get when forced to have carnal relations w/Lizard men.


        1. Up the Ante

          ” “When these firms changed from partnerships to public companies, the ethos changed dramatically,” said Charles M. Elson, a professor of corporate governance at the University of Delaware. “The notion of client loyalty went out with the old structure. And as these became public companies, clients looked for the cheapest deal, and the firms looked for as many clients as possible.” ”

          A better description of the Nazi ethos could not be found.
          Short term, with plausibility and deniability thrown away.

          “If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.”

          Blundering, ‘talented’ Lizard Men.

    3. Imp Unity

      Besides which, those resolutions didn’t authorize anything. They made it clear that use of force was a decision for the world under UNSC rules, and the world had not taken that decision. The US government took the legal proof of its aggression and waved it like a flag. Iraq, illegal. Afghanistan, illegal. Libya, illegally overstepping the objectives. Right there in black and white. More people would have noticed, only when was the last time our prechewed media published any resolution’s text? They hide it like it’s SCI. The UN system works, it’s just that this government breaks the law. When Ted Bundy got away with a lot of murders, we didn’t conclude that the ethos of the system was perverted, we thought, “get that dangerous criminal.”

  16. Hugh

    I don’t know about anyone else but I found the Berman piece on “Why the American Empire Was Destined to Collapse” boring and couldn’t finish it.

    According to Berman, America has been failing for 400 years. Apparently he is so enthralled by the notion that he does not see the irony and inherent contradiction in it. In human history, 400 years is considered a pretty good run.

    My take is that in American history, we have experienced revolutionary and/or pre-revolutionary periods every 30 to 40 years from the Founders and the Revolution to the Constitution to Jackson and the banks to Lincoln and the Civil War to the Gilded Age and the rise of the labor movement to Teddy Roosevelt and trustbusting to FDR, the Great Depression and WWII to the civil rights movement and Vietnam to the housing bust and the meltdown. What is different this time around is that we have a full-blown kleptocracy to deal with and no real opposition or leaders to push back against it.

    So yes, we may fail this time but we don’t need to go back more than 35 years to see the reasons why.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder what it was like after 1,000 years of Byzantine rule or 1,800 years of Roman/Byzantine Weltanschauung.

    2. Up the Ante

      “Apparently he is so enthralled by the notion that he does not see the irony and inherent contradiction in it. ”

      You can, as it were, over-simplify, if you choose.

    3. different clue

      Visible leaders would be assassinated one way or another.
      A counter-kleptonomy movement would have to be Leaderless. ( In practice many tens of thousands of micro-leaders, all of equal importance, and far too many to kill).

      Leaderless Mass Economic Resistance (LMER . . pronounced “elmer”) would be about millions of people making their own day-to-day economic survival activities a little more klepto-resistant and klepto-invisible than those activites are now. There are people thinking and even doing about how to get that designed and achieved. Googleable names that come to mind start with Ran Prieur, Catherine Austin Fitts, Woody Tasch, Financial Permaculture, Permaculture, Dmitry Orlov, and hundreds of others too numerous for me to even know about . . . and all of them open to be studied and learned from over the next few years before the internets go dark and take all this information with them into the darkness.

      Oh! and . . . two more names come to immediate mind: Jeff Vail of Rhizome: A Theory of Power and John Robb of Global Guerillas and just lately of his new effort called Resilient Communities.

    4. JTFaraday

      I haven’t actually read the book, but I just think it’s funny that he’s so exercised about “hustling” and doesn’t see *himself* as a hustler. I guess hustlers are only found in the economic marketplace, but not in the sacred marketplace of ideas where Emerson and Richard Hofstadter (ugh!) hold forth in shining purity.

      OTOH, it’s pretty hard for me to see industrialized workforces as “hustlers.” Maybe in the heyday of unionization there was some hustling going down. The networking, facebooking knowledge economy independent contractors may be hustling, (but they’re not necessarily getting as far as Berman, whose book has 5 stars at There’s not a heck of a lot hustling going on at the fry line at MickeyD’s or in corporate workplaces where picking up the slack of the laid-off is non-negotiable.

      If I had to pick and choose between a “marketplace of hustlers” OR the “totally administered society”– understood as sclerotic (public and private, government, corporate, educational etc) institutions of “mass society”– as the source of America’s current crisis state, I’m inclined to go with the latter.

      Although, really, the point where the “marketplace of hustlers” and the “totally administered society” meets might be the better point– powerful and authoritarian institutions fully captured by economic and intellectual hustlers, completely impervious to input “from outside” but with real ramifications for everyone “outside.” That’s where you get your real weapons of mass destruction.

      Unlike Berman, I don’t think it’s “the end,” but I do think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

      1. Up the Ante

        And in keeping with the growing realisation in your comment JT,

        “– powerful and authoritarian institutions fully captured by economic and intellectual hustlers, completely impervious to input “from outside” but with real ramifications for everyone “outside.” “,

        Allen Dulles spins in his grave at being found ‘Out!’ decades in his future, his “Germany’s Underground” being all the ‘confession’ he could manage at the time.


    1. psychohistorian

      My old home town Tacoma nearby. Most of the base is/was ripped off from the Nisqually indian tribe….its fairly well contaminated land now from some reports.

      Just one of the ugly results of a war machine.

  17. Lambert Strether Post author

    Afghans express skepticism on lone sergeant theory:

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghans are expressing growing skepticism that a shooting rampage that killed 16 civilians was carried out by a single U.S. soldier.

    Abdul Rahum Ayubi, who is a lawmaker from Kandahar province where the tragedy occurred, said Monday it seemed impossible for one soldier to cover the ground between the houses that were attacked — over a mile (2 kilometers) — and also burn the dead bodies.

    Bismullah Afghanmal, a parliament member, said the reports he received from villagers indicate the shooting before dawn Sunday came from several directions.

    But Gen. Mohammed Zahir Azimi, defense ministry spokesman, said initial reports indicate a single shooter.

    U.S. officials also said they believe the soldier acted alone.

    Dunno about the helicopters. But even the lone shooter theories say the guy set the bodies on fire. How does one guy do that? Was he carrying cans of gasoline with him? Makes no sense.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      The propagandists are getting stretched thin . . . or maybe creative is lagging because they realize they are actually working for the terrorists rather than against the terrorists and morale isn’t what it used to be.

      You’re right it doesn’t make sense. It’s extremely unlikely that one person could do this and burn the bodies. They aren’t even bothering to make up believable propaganda.

      They picked their patsy and are running articles about his base and going the lone gun man route.

      I would trust a random freshman in a journalism class to report this story before I would trust the criminal stooges at BBC or whatever fake “news” outfit the perps are using for cover. Seriously. Literally. Actually, I would question the student for choosing a fraudulent line of study so maybe we are better off with a History major or something. Or actually, let’s talk to a car mechanic. I bet he would be able to see the obvious holes in the story the BBC and their criminal gang of propagandists are “reporting.” A car mechanic would not be so foolish to uncritically report government propaganda like this.

      And yet these criminal reporters put out the government story and act like it should be accorded respect or is the truth. This goes beyond journalistic negligence to outright fraud.

  18. just me

    I’m not finding Yves’ or anyone’s Atlantic conference livestream at that link — help?

  19. different clue

    Robert Rubin? RObert RUbin!? Isn’t he one of the people who helped Goldman Sachs penetrate governments and destroy economies all over the earth?

    I hope someon Mike Checks his ass.

    1. Yves Smith

      Hahaha, my sentiments exactly. I’m going to do an advanced taping at RT TV to have an excuse not to see him (not that anyone will be keeping tabs). It means I miss most of Volcker, but them’s the breaks.

      1. different clue

        I can understand wanting to avoid him rather than have to see him. But if you could stand the odiosity of it all, would hanging around long enough to see him give you an opportunity to make him squirrrrrrm a little? If you had a chance to ask the right questions? Or are these talks not structured that way?

        Not even a suggestion , just a thought.

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