Links 3/18/12

Lambert as usual provided many links!

Pope commissions custom-blended eau de cologne Guardian

Arctic climate ‘tech fixes’ urged BBC

Obama to celebrate (part of) Keystone pipeline next week Yahoo

Shock ‘n’ oil VoxEU

Belgian rightsholders group wants to charge libraries for READING BOOKS TO KIDS TNW Media

Europeans can’t blog Bruegel

When Elites Depart John Robb

President Karzai casts doubts on US version of Afghan village massacre Guardian. I suspect the army remembers all too well how much the My Lai massacre cut into already falling support for the war in Vietnam.

Gulf Widens Between U.S. and a More Volatile Karzai New York Times

White House Stands By Obama Push for Yemeni Journalist to Remain Behind Bars ABC

Democracy Now on the imprisoned Yemeni journalist Glenn Greenwald

Lagarde Says World Can’t Be Lulled Into Sense of Security Bloomberg. Glad someone is paying attention.


Goldman Sachs Board Must Act on Smith Op-Ed, Ex-Partner Writes Bloomberg. The story also reports on the Goldman-defending piece written by Janet Hanson of 85 Broads, who is a shameless self promoter (I say this having seen her in action) whose business model depends on maintaining good relations with Goldman and Wall Street generally. If this is the best pro-Goldman piece Bloomberg could find, Goldman has a lot to worry about.

Barriers to Change, From Wall St. and Geneva Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Are police moving in on Zuccotti ‘occupy’ protesters? Raw Story. Has a livestream, which now has no visual but you can get an idea from the audio

How Occupy Wall Street Spent $700,000 in Six Months Atlantic. Lambert:

If the goal is to change the national conversation to include “income inequality,” which it did, $700K is a trivial amount with an incredible ROI, especially considering what they’re up against. It’s not clear that people will see it that way, however. The Atlantic article may be an opening shot.

Occupy Wall Street celebrates 6 months since start Associated Press

Unemployed Is Bad Enough; ‘Unbanked’ Can Be Worse New York Times

Insight: The banker and the cabbie: When two worlds collide Reuters. Jennings is toast. And read to the damning little bit at the very end.

How America Avoided A Fascist Coup in 1933 Jesse

The Banks Win, Again New York Times. This editorial disses the settlement and the stress test outcome.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. psychohistorian

    The imprisoned Yemeni journalist makes me think back to the reason I heard someone say that Osama bin Laden was killed instead of brought back to trial.

    The reason given was that Osama knew too much detail about the global inherited rich to be allowed a public trial forum to share that information….the real definition of global economics, by and for the global inherited rich.

    Perhaps our empire’s nakedness is a bit too glaring under serious journalism.

    What is really needed is to rip the blinders off Americans about their country’s imperialism around the world…..the real reasons our countries actions are hated.

  2. Brent Musburger, Jr. (news anchor)

    Breaking news! This Just in!

    Tom Friedman resigns from NY Times. Accuses them of corporatist propaganda!

    Speaking with Wolf Blitzer last night on CNN, Tom Friedman said an inside source had tipped him off that the NY Times is really just a big corporation that represents the interests of its owners and advertisers, including Wall Street banks. Furthermore (speaking on condition of anonymity), the source revealed that the Times does not serve the interests of the 99 percent, as Friedman had been led to believe since joining them in 1981.

    Friedman said he’s discovered, for instance, that when editors at the Times are laying out the day’s newspaper, their top priority is deciding where corporate ads will go. “That’s the most important decision to them, Wolf, can you believe it?”

    Then, once advertising decisions are made, the parts left over (disparagingly referred to by Times insiders as “news holes”) are where they fill in stuff and stick all the little things like propaganda puff pieces designed to please corporate sponsors.

    At this point Friedman broke down and sobbed, exclaiming: “Wolf, this is not why I got into journalism!”.

    Wolf Blitzer appeared stunned, told Friedman nothing like this could happen at CNN, and even offered Friedman a job with CNN in case things did not work out with his billionaire wife.

    Story developing….

    1. Max424

      “Wolf Blitzer appeared stunned, told Friedman nothing like this could happen at CNN…”

      Too funny.

      The beauty of it is; Wolf would be stunned. Genuinely. I harbor no doubt that Blitzer is so dumb he believes he is truly reporting the news.

      Tommy and Wolfy, walking hand-in-hand into the sunset. What a picture(a thousand worder!).

      1. Bam_Man

        If you had seen Wolf Blitzer playing “Celebrity Jeopardy”, you would know already that he is dumber than a box of rocks.

    2. hermanas

      I thought Brent’s story was fiction, no link. Is it true?
      I grew up understanding that “ignorance of the law is no excuse”, then with NSA, knowledge of the law is illegal, and now with the banks, there is no law.
      The “war on drugs” inhibits coping. Craazyman’s right, picnic in Arles with the local pan, fromage, and Cote de Rhone.

    3. Jim

      I stopped listening to Friedman when he began to argue for a 4 dollars a gallon tax on gasoline. No person who knows so little about the impact of energy taxes on income inequality deserves to be listened to.

  3. Mark

    I had a giggle at ROI being used to measure the impact of the Occupy movements – I guess all that protesting actually helped the capitalist cities they were protesting in, well, maybe just the tea and herb businesses :S

  4. LucyLulu

    There was a court order that OWS could remain in the park overnight as long as there was no sleeping. The NYPD defied the order and erected barricades. Later reports have confirmed there were no tents pitched or sleeping bags as reported earlier, though one protester claimed that there had been protesters holding up pup tents over their heads. Protesters claim that police were intentionally attempting to provoke them throughout the day. Police attempted to bar journalists from scene. One video shows police smashing a man’s head, claimed to be a medic, into a glass door, another of a woman having a seizure after being wrestled to the ground for elbowing a cop in the face (possible pre-ictal confusion?). Two metro buses are used to transport those arrested by Bloomberg’s finest, the world’s seventh largest army.

    For a good treatment of the story:

  5. Max424

    Meteorologist Lord (Julian) Hunt:

    “There is quite a lot of suppression and non-discussion of issues that are difficult, and one of those is in fact methane …”

    My fellow colleagues, let us not talk tonight about ghastly things, like the “methane problem,” but instead let’s focus our brilliance on pleasant motifs; like incremental Arctic melting, and techno miracles and airy fixes.

    Besides, if some of our members are correct, the “methane problem,” once the double-exponential cyclical feed-back power of it is unleashed, cannot be stopped, not even by Bill Gates and the Psychedelic Technocrats, and our planet will become so hot within a few decades that only baked ziti will be able to thrive.

    No use talking about that, now is there?

    1. Paul Tioxon

      The view from the commanding heights of capitalism indicate that the structural features of ultra rich and soon to be ultra rich Wall St Bankers will remain in place, without much of anyone at the C level being seriously investigated for crimes or successfully prosecuted and jailed. This comes as a shock to many who believed that the system of justice and the rule of law might actually be invoked when you destroy the whole fucking global economy. It stands to reason the system of capitalism can not allow its Patrician Members to destroy itself in the pursuit of profit. But then, that is the boom and bust problem of capitalism,isn’t it?

      Meanwhile, the peculiar sci-fi weather spring does not seem to rate as highly as the Arab Spring, and maybe even less than the Wisconsin Recall coming up shortly. But hey, even the structurally damaged obelisk, The Washington Monument resulting from one of the East Coast earthquakes can not seem to muster the same screaming and shouting against the 1%.

      Those of us on the Left, etc etc need to make alliances with people who actually have power, who are infighting with the wealthy who make money from oil and the mineral extraction sector. Of course, that will tough to do. The Left, etc etc will have to choose a side between the warring camps of capitalists. Life’s really a bitch.


      1. René

        “The devil has the widest perspectives for God, and that I why he keeps so far away from him—the devil being the oldest friend of knowledge.”

        — Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, #129

        “You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, “What did that man pick up?” “He picked up a piece of Truth,” said the devil. “That is a very bad business for you, then,” said his friend. “Oh, not at all,” the devil replied, “I am going to let him organize it.”

        – Jiddu Krishnamurti

  6. CaitlinO

    Senator Prescott Bush, daddy to 41 and grand-daddy to 43, was a member of the Plot Against FDR. Major General Butler testified to Congress that he was approached by the group who attempted to recruit him to provide the muscle.

    1. JTFaraday

      from the video:

      “Fascism was seen as an example to be learned from because it seemed like a quick fix. All you needed to do was get people to shape up.

      You could have had a handful of the wealthiest people in the United States found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.”

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Bush and the other American fascists may have failed in this over coup . . . but they later succeeded in a quiet coup, by probably 1949, if not earlier.

      Notice that the fascist coup was hidden from public view with the help of the Democrats, including FDR.

      Plus, the Americans funded and supported Hitler. People like Nixon helped hide American involvement with the Nazis and people like Dulles and Kennedy secretly adopted Nazi tactics and even snuck Nazis into this country to continue clandestine programs.

      It’s interesting that the overt American fascist coup plan revealed by Smedley in the 1930s was not much different than the Nazi plan. Both plans had concentration camps for unwanted people and both depended on a charismatic authoritarian and retired soldiers to march on the capitol.

      I’m starting to relearn my history from this period. The concept of the noble Americans riding in to save the day couldn’t be further from the truth. The Americans are very similar to the Nazis . . . but worse actually. The Americans have better propaganda though and have been able to fool large segments of their own population and the world. America is now fascist and has actually gone on to rule the world and is looking to surpass the Nazis in unjust killing and war crimes. I think a fair assessment would put America as worse than the Nazis.

      A better way of looking at this history might be to say elite business interests, mostly Anglo, supported a number of fascist coups in the 20th century and while Hitler and other overt fascists like Mussolini were successful for a while, the most successful fascists coup was the secret coup in America.

      The overt coup Smedley uncovered in the 1930s may have simply been the one that was stopped . . . . or was cover for something more sinister.

    3. Glen

      I think the debate today should be do we already have fascism? Is our democracy still working?

      1. Rex

        That’s what you saw? Dear me, as in oh my.

        To me, the lead is just running down to the ground behind the horses’ leg. It forms one of the triangular composition points that makes the image work. The horse seems to have some hay hanging from its mouth and there seems to be more in the girl’s hand on the horses head.

        The mist, curves, shapes and the intriguing interaction is what works for me. Like the Mona Lisa, it is straight forward, but seems to have subtle content that pulls the viewer.

        1. ohmyheck

          Have you seen the movie “Buck”? It is about the man who inspired the movie “The Horse Whisperer”. I suggest you see it, it’s on Netflix, and then get back to us.

          That horse indeed, looks “hobbled”. There is a woman in the movie who explains the reasons and the consequences of hobbling a horse. I am just going to hope we are incorrect about the presumed hobbling that might be going on in that photo.

        2. Aquifer

          If the lead were simply falling down to the ground it would be dangling in front of the horse’s head, unless it is attached to a pin right next to his leg, but even then it would be a pretty short chain. My first reaction was “why is this a “nice” picture?”

        1. evodevo

          You all don’t know ANYTHING about horses, do you … the “lead” is clearly lying on the ground behind the right hoof, if you take the trouble to look. The angle of the chain is entirely natural, considering that the lead is dragging in what appears to be foggy, damp grass that the horse has been munching.
          The girl is obviously a model – you don’t do horse training in that outfit!

          1. whythen

            The girl is wearing Blunnies, Australian riding boots that are waterproof and sturdy. The horse’s halter is way too loose and the lead is dubious, old rope and chain. It is dragging outside the left leg as the horse moves foreward. There is a danger of the horse putting his foot on the lead, or worse, sticking it into the loose mess under his head. It looks like a calm sort, though, so it probably won’t.

  7. Rex

    “No offense to anyone. In fact, we don’t really mean that Europeans can’t blog. It’s a reference to this great 1990s basketball movie ‘White men can’t jump’ ”

    So let’s extrapolate a la Loggins and Messina and say,
    Europeans can’t blog and Uruguayans can’t block a troll.

  8. Rex

    “I suspect the army remembers all too well how much the My Lai massacre cut into already falling support for the war in Vietnam.”

    In Vietnam a helicopter pilot saw what was happening at My Lai and landed to stop some of the atrocity. With our current military strategy maybe we should have sent in a drone to blow the village away so the rogue soldier couldn’t kill them. We already know how to backpedal from an event like that. Mistakes happen, right?

    1. One sandbag or Two?

      Re that Guardian article on the latest US jus cogens breach (Crime of Concern to the International Community number 20375629):

      Fisk! spots Gen. John Allen frantically trying to head off collective punishment by The Troops. Evidently The Troops decided they would put a bunch of heads on sticks to avenge use of force by the Afghan resistance. USA! USA!

      This is no neo My Lai. This is our Oradour-sur-Glane, and it’s only begun. Hostis humani generis, that’s our Commander-in-Chief! No foreign vacations for Ex-President Obama. Well, maybe he can hide out in Saudi at Idi Amin’ place.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Fisk does point to an important fact that our media is purposely hiding; the military brass were already worried that soldiers would murder Afghan civilians. And shortly after the brass warned the troops something happened.

      This appears to be a revenge killing. Maybe these families that were executed by the Americans were related to those suspected of killing Americans earlier? That is what appears to be the case. American soldiers, probably 15 to 20 of them, planned a mission to go and execute 9 children and others.

      Swarmed in to these families homes and took out a probably crying child and put bullets into their heads. The children were not victims of a lone nut.

      The children would have run away from a lone nut gunman and there would be bullet holes all over their bodies. Instead, American troops methodically put bullet holes kids heads.

      And now the entire media is lying about it.

    3. Walter Wit Man

      This is why the soldiers were forced to disarm when Panetta visited.

      We have trained killers executing children and engaging in sick psy operations and war criminals like Panetta know they have created monsters that could end up going rogue and killing their creators.

      The creator of bloodthirsty child killers knows all too well that his killer creations could really “snap” and attack the very people that created them.

    4. Walter Wit Man

      For those of you wondering how we got to the stage that our soldiers go out and execute 9 children in an over ten year war and the American people hardly stir . . .

      Then please see the comments above about Americans being worse than Nazis.

      The reasons America is worse than Nazi Germany is our fascism is more clever. We have better propaganda.

      We have a black peace prize winning president and we have people like George Clooney getting arrested for the first time in his life . . . not about the 10 year brutal and unjust war in Afhanistan (over 30 years really), but he’s getting arrested asking for more U.S. military.

      George Clooney, Move On, Michael Moore, Barack Obama et al. are the reason these kids got killed in Afghanistan. This is what makes American fascism so evil.


    5. All I want is a Section 8

      Excellent comments, and thanks to “One sandbag or two” for linking to the Robert Fisk article.

      Robert Fisk: “…Allen told his men that “now is not the time for revenge for the deaths of two US soldiers killed in Thursday’s riots…..”

      “Now this was an extraordinary plea to come from the US commander in Afghanistan. The top general had to tell his supposedly well-disciplined, elite, professional army not to “take vengeance” on the Afghans they are supposed to be helping/protecting/nurturing/training, etc…..”

    6. Walter Wit Man

      Afghanistan is the “good war”, “Obama’s war”, that Democrats wanted.

      Obama has also justified the borderless war. The war was always “global”, but Obama is normalizing and legalizing permenanent war.

      This is why some of his first actions were sniper assassinating pirate suspects and expanding the drone wars to other countries. Remember when Obama murdered dozens of children using cluster bombs in Yemen to kick start all this off? He invented Al Awlaki after the fact to help justify and cover up this monstrous war crime.

      Obama ordered cluster bombs to be dropped on a village in a country we were not at war with. Obama killed dozens of civilians including children.

      Why shouldn’t Obama go to jail for this murder? How is Obama any different than this “lone nut” that shot the Afghani rat kids?

      If you vote Democrat you are voting for the murder of children. How can we be so brainwashed that people like Clooney don’t mind that Obama murdered dozens of children in Yemen, in one incident alone?

      Fuck these war criminals. Put Obama and the entire leadership in jail! Impeach them and try them as the murderers they are! The media is complicit in these crimes as well. Look what they are justifying to us. It’s sick.

  9. BDBlue

    The article on the Morgan Stanley trader and the cabbie, among my many reactions was this – Coors Lite? Really? I guess money really can’t buy taste.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Connecting dots from the other day’s younger scientists link, we can inquire about whether we would have been better off had we had more ‘older, less innovative’ derivative traders, instead of all those young geniuses threatening us daily with their ‘innovations.’

      1. another

        Whereas the Masters of the Universe feel no need to conceal their elitism and let it spew freely from every orifice.

    2. craazyman

      I find if I’m planning to pound down a bunch of beers it’s often better to go with the thin and flavorless ones.

      They seem to go through you faster — both in pee and sweat — and keep the buzz manageable.

      If you have, say, 7 or 8 hand-crafted Belgian ales with a fruity aroma — especially on an empty stomach — they get heavy fast and you may even get the spins and have to puke. Even if you make it home first, trying to sleep is a bitch, laying there spinning and trying to figure if it’s worth puking or not. Better to stick to Coors Light or Bud Light.

      Nothing whatsoever implied about Mr. Jennings or his mental state — just my own experience.

  10. craazyman

    This Jennings/cabbie things — I dunno about this. sounds like a collision of two blockheads to me. a penknife? I mean really.

    I bet the cabbie got pissed and upped the price 50% — angrily and on the spot — and Jennings said “Who does this guy think I am, a derivatives client muppet?” And that’s when the cabbie lost it and started heading back to New Yawk fast through the midnight streets with Jennings trapped in the back seat, and Jennings said “He’s not taking me for a ride!!! I’m the bankster here!”

    I bet Jennings was on meds — like Lexapro or one of those deals (but not Xanax or he’d have been comatose) — that mixed with the booze and sent him into an arcing mind sprial. A penknife? What the hell is that gonna do? So he reaches through the window to make a scene and the cabbie instinctively grabs it and cuts himself.

    Two blockheads barreling down a suburban street at 50 mph in the night — passed all the McMansions.

    The Big Zero needs to invite these two dudes to the White House for a beer and put an end to it. Now. It’s a waste of mind-time and the courts have better things to do.

    If they were both smart, they’d go into business together and start a conflict resolution consulting firm. LOL.

    I predict this case dies an early death and never sees a courtroom.

    1. craazyman

      the Smith/Goldman fracas is even more insipid, if that were possible.

      now we have to read the diary entries of all the foul dust that floats in the wake of the quick money dream. the media even publishes them as if they were real news. as if what they do is serious “work”.

      or we don’t have to read them, but there they all are, like the talking heads on TV, babbling their fast paced addictive nonsense. If you have a TV.

      I guess there’s a point where they’re all hilarious. like well done comics. charicatures and distortions that reveal something profoundly true in pithy clever combinations of words and mind-images. but we already knew all of it.

      Just to see it though, is like seeing a drunk pee in their pants. You have to laugh, even though it’s sort of pathetic and there’s a part of you, a very human part, that feels pity and revulsion at the same time.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      You’ve been hanging out too long with bankers. Did you read the piece?

      1. It said that the driver COULD NOT, read COULD NOT, have reached through the barrier to grab the knife. That ALSO likely means Jennings could not have reached though far enough for the driver to grab the knife. And what is the driver, Superman, able to drive through Greenwich and at the same time grab a knife from a guy who is at best brandishing it?

      2. The TLC instructions are to call a cop in the case of a fare dispute. The driver was apparently trying to do so, didn’t have signal, and drove to find the cops. The cops found him when he finally did reach them and his hand was “bleeding profusely”.

      3. If you are trying to ward off an attack, you either try to block it OR you try to grab someone’s hand.

      4. If you had read to the end, it was a friend of Jennings who told the cops he was the perp. Jennings did NOT come forward and a friend was apparently appalled enough to say something to the authorities. What does that suggest to you?

      1. craazyman

        no self-respecting banker would ever hang out with me.

        the closest I have in that category is a semi-retired buddy of mine — Princeton and Harvard MBA — but he’s a money manager & he’s an eccentric.

        other than that, it’s mostly artists and aliens.

        yeah I read to the end. I almost always do. but I’m careful about what I believe. I stick to my story. You’re a sensitive and intelligent female and don’t understand blockheads the way I do. It takes one to know one.

      2. Leviathan

        Your reading is almost completely correct, but it does not say that the friend called the cops. The implication is that he told Jennings it was in the paper and the cops were looking for him. I would read into that that he told (or hinted) to his friend to turn himself in, which he did. It raises the question of whether he would have been found had he not blabbed to his buddy. His wife? Did he tell her? If so, was he worried that she could be an accessory? Lots of little questions here.

        BTW, the movie to reference in this case is not “Bonfire” but Michael Clayton. The drunk driving/hit and run set-piece that starts off the movie is a very close parallel to this.

  11. Swedish Lex

    His own perfume, long dresses only, designer hats. Elton John? No, the pope, the planet’s no1 gay basher. A bit twisted, really.

    1. Skippy

      I want fooking loads of diamonds, hope people die finding them…

      Packing plastic and that’s what makes my life so fooking fantastic…

      Skippy… wonder how the NYPD would stand up to a charge by a regiment of Gurkha’s with kukri drawn…. ask the Argentinian’s the last time such occurred… they ran from an entrenched position… child like at rest, but…

      1. F. Beard

        But what would the New Model Army or David’s Mighty Men do to Gurkas in a fair fight?

        “A man of courage is also full of faith.” Marcus T. Cicero

      2. Skippy

        Amends Lex, that was supposed to be a stand alone comment.

        Skippy…. Beardy… so how many Gurkha have you know? More talking about stuff you have little or absolutely no idea about, I can get that act from the people that come to my door. Humans living 800ish years in eden, we only need to follow the word and activate the rapture bring back the good old days… shezzz. Biblical based economics (political economics… remember), I’ve read that story, its full of bad things I’m not keen to replete. Why not take your show on the road, go to the stans, the boys sorely need you spiritual advice* (* moral, ethical, spirituality in absolute certainty cuz you say so).

  12. Ned Ludd

    $700,000 in expenses in six months – that’s a tiny amount for all the actions OWS supported, in addition to the cost of simply maintaining their own encampment. The item that stood out for me was “$11,170 to churches” to house “displaced occupiers”, which is probably a euphemism for the homeless occupiers who had nowhere to go after the camp was evicted from Zuccotti park – nice to see the churches making a buck off of that.

    The unions, for all their talk, must have provided very little financial assistance. This was the AFL-CIO rhetoric:

    The labor leaders said they hoped Occupy Wall Street would serve as a counterweight to the Tea Party and help pressure President Obama and Congress to focus on job creation and other concerns important to unions.

    “This is very much a crystallizing moment,” said Denise Mitchell, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s communications director. “We have to look for sparks wherever they are.”

    Compare the rhetoric to what the unions spend their money on: electing Democrats, who subsequently treat the unions like dirt. For the 2010 midterm elections, AFSCME planned to spend “in excess of $50 million”, the SEIU planned “to spend $44 million in total on its 2010 election program”, and the AFL-CIO was prepared to spend $53 million in addition to what its member unions (like AFSCME) were spending.

    In an interview with a small group of reporters outside a gathering of union officials, Mike Podhorzer, the AFL-CIO’s deputy political director, said that the organization is “not going to leave anything on the table” when it comes to keeping Democrats in power come November.

    Talk about wasting your money.

  13. juneau

    “two or three Coors lights”
    I have news, anyone who only drinks two beers remembers exactly how many they drank……..

    1. juneau

      I see he admits to drinking several more at the bar with the leggy waitresses, apologies.

  14. Lambert Strether

    Bloomberg’s NYPD goes nutso at Zucotti Park, where the Occupiers were celebrating their six-month anniversary.

    UPDATE Adding… They also to arrest two bagpipe players from (reports say) a French Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, and smash a set of bagpipes. And, oh yeah, they violated a court order by erecting barriers around the park, and of course they beat up a bunch of non-violent protesters and took them off to jail. Well done, Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg. Especially the bagpipes. You really know how to make your guys look good.

  15. JTFaraday

    “Walk around Athens with a local, and within a few minutes they’ll point at something and say, “That’s new — you never used to see that before.” Usually it’s a sight Americans have long grown inured to, but in Greece still causes pain and wonder. Like an old woman rummaging through garbage for food. Often these “That’s new” moments are the spark behind the new forms of mutual aid and self-organization spreading throughout Greek society.”

  16. Ep3

    Re: “BJ” as his friends call him.

    I love articles that say things like “after graduating from northwestern business school, he began working at Morgan Stanley and working his way up the company ladder”. Because they make it sound so easy. Like anyone, including our taxi driver could do such a thing, if they werent so lazy, or Muslim, or whatever other excuse. This guy knew someone, like a parent, or his wife’s family, who got him a job at Morgan. How many ppl hire into Morgan and don’t just magically move up the ladder? How many ppl, like our cab driver, with just one unfortunate accident, mistake, sickness, marrying the “wring color” person, don’t just hire into MS and actually have to work for a living? I know more ppl who got a job because of connections, than who actually worked hard to get where they were at. And the ones who worked hard, make less money and work at less desirable jobs. *please note, most friends and acquaintances are not college graduates.

  17. Hugh

    Lagarde is just another elite technocrat. In this case, she is talking her book because she wants more money for the IMF. So she is playing up the dangers of being lulled by false security. What she obviously is not talking about are the real drivers of what is going on in the world economy: kleptocracy, wealth inequality, and class war.

    As for “When Elites Depart”, its author should spend some time around here. The problem is not whether elites stay or go, but rather that there are elites at all. We need people with a certain level of expertise to manage our social institutions, but elitism is turning these into a ruling class of wealth and privilege. We do not need more and better elites. We need an end to them.

    1. Susan the other

      I thought Legarde was really only talking about one thing: the price of oil. She seemed to be pleading for oil to be controlled in a way that stabilized world economies at a certain new lower level, but a level that could be maintained.

      1. Dan B

        Lagarde was “pleading for oil to be controlled in a way that stabilized world economies at a certain new lower level, but a level that could be maintained.” This is not possible given the geophysical reality of peak oil coupled with the desire of elites to maintain their wealth, status and power at the expense of the 99%. Although it’s interesting that Lagarde is grappling with the predicament from the solution-less frame of the status quo.

  18. Hugh

    Re “Europeans can’t blog”, the joke is that post has no comments’ section, at least that I could see. So while it bemoans the absence of a European blogosphere, it seems to be committing the same kind of thinking, it decries.

  19. Eureka Springs

    Happy birthday Occupy? A bunch of adults celebrating a six month birthday? I’m not feeling it. The largest facebook occupy group in my neck of the woods has lost nearly half the “fans” it once had. From nearly 800 to 437. And out of the 800 one would be hard pressed to prove more than 37 were ever sincerely involved.

    It’s an idea which was completely taken over by Democrats who don’t even have the strength and integrity to leave that ongoing criminal party once and for all. Applying all of their failed practices and half hearted negotiations with no one but themselves, clutching pearls, selling their own beliefs far too short from the get go. And with the warmest and driest winter I can remember as an excuse for the winter slow down I seriously doubt one should expect them to rise up in 100 degree months.

    Blow out the half candle and develop another recipe. The original occupy idea/model was good, but far to many didn’t bother to learn it, much less practice it…

    Maybe something will come of it after the election…. but I suspect it will take a much more hunger and suffering before righteous anger leads to admitting our problems are systemic with the resolve to do something about it prevails. At some point even the borderline pacifists will have to admit it’s way past time to storm the bastille on a global scale.

    1. Purple Nurp

      Hey, what if a bunch of bunch of more or less loaded people were to get a case of nerves on, say, May Day, and transfer their money market balances to the FDIC safety of their local banks? Are money markets still the brittlest bone of the kleptocracy? Some funds have reduced exposure to European banks, but some big ones claim everything is fine. May 1 is sure to be a twitchy day in Europe, since Italians and Spaniards and Greeks put Americans to shame with their vocal love of liberty. Giving their banks a little whap in the nads might be a heartwarming “we are the world, we are the children” moment.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Well said. I too have the same feelings. I am glad someone wants to do something and protest is better than nothing. But it’s too little too late and it is being controlled by the police and divided by provocateurs and undercover agents.

      This is the only game in town and its doomed to fail.

      Plus, war will probably be the bigger issue this year rather than domestic issues. I *hope* protesters focus on war and foreign policy issues but I suspect Occupy is hopelessly co-opted by Democrats and provocateurs (e.g. those that attack anarchists and fellow protesters as “violent”).

  20. ohmyheck

    Re: When Elites Depart — going down the rabbithole, i.e., following a link at one site to a link on another site to a link on another site, I read this:

    “There is a RAGING wildfire behind the scenes as the entire $50,000,000,000,000 Credit Default Swap market is imploding due to the Greek default. The losses will come fast and furious once the auction is held on March 19th. The ISDA’s 2009 “Big-Bang Protocol” will be put to the test next week.”

    That puts the big bang as tomorrow, so that’s not much of a wait, to see if this CT is worth anything.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    My first comment went nowhere. Let me try again.

    Are Zen, vegetarian policewowmen less prone to police violence? Any stats to show one way or the other?

  22. Susan the other

    Gretchen Morgenson, the WTO and the Volcker Rule. Interesting. I wonder what the WTO agreements think about obligating taxpayers to make good on all the fraudulent “banking” instruments like credit default swaps. Because the US taxpayer bailed out GS and AIG and etc. And no, we will never be repaid. How exactly does separating depositor banking from investment banking conflict with WTO agreements? Perhaps those agreements are null because the taxpayer wasn’t part of the contract. We need a new WTO: World Taxpayer Organization.

    1. hermanas

      “Bullying” is a difficult issue because it’s fundamental to the American character.

    2. Aquifer

      From its inception the WTO was set up and its rules were written for the benefit of multinationals of whatever stripe. It was and is probably the biggest blow to national sovereignty, without the use of overt force, of all time. At the time it was set up and the rules were being written, many folks were raising red flags and alarms but were ignored or dismissed using various insulting terms. Another, of multiple areas for concern, is TRIPs relating to intellectual property rights. The ag subsidies issue was put off for awhile – the DOHA round never quite finished because by that time folks were waking up.

      Seattle ’99 was probably the first time the general public paid any attention – but went back to sleep. One of Nader’s positions when he ran was getting out of the WTO and remember the kerfluffle in the Dem primaries ’08 when Goolsby (sp?) had to reassure the Canadians that Obama’s tough talk on NAFTA was just for show.

      All these trade agreements are not about “trade” – they are vehicles for multinationals to transcend the ability of national governments to limit their activities – and governments signed, betraying their electorates on multiple levels on behalf of those multinationals ….

  23. F. Beard

    “Unemployed Is Bad Enough; ‘Unbanked’ Can Be Worse”

    The US Government itself should provide a free (within normal limits), risk-free fiat storage and transaction service and abolish its deposit insurance programs such as the FDIC. However, no loans should be made and no interest paid.

    The above would be a boon to the Postal Service too if they served as branch locations for the service.

  24. WorlsisMorphing

    [“Belgian rightsholders group wants to charge libraries for READING BOOKS TO KIDS”] TNW Media

    Wow ! …Now that is prodigiously powerful stupid.
    Great ! I think we have a winner for today folks !

    Yves, could you hand over the Naked Capitalism ‘Dim Bulb’ award please. These guys have earned it.
    Subordinate everything to property rights and this is what you get: ‘Dim Bulbs’ generating … ‘Dim Bulbs’.
    -The Gresham’s dynamic of Mediocrity.

  25. Aquifer

    Pope’s eau for pope’s woe – man, these guys are getting desperate – but cologne doesn’t mask the smell of scandal any more than mouthwash does that of booze …

  26. Hugh

    Re Vatican scandals, I came across essentially this story in the local dead tree media:

    “Pope launches criminal probe into leaks”

    The Vatican has launched an internal, criminal investigation into the leaks of confidential documents that alleged corruption and financial mismanagement and exposed power struggles among Holy See officials…

    In addition, Pope Benedict XVI himself has set up a special commission to shed light on the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal because he was so distressed by the “disloyalty” shown by those who leaked the memos

  27. Max424

    “In Vietnam a helicopter pilot saw what was happening at My Lai and landed to stop some of the atrocity.”

    Yup. Warrant Officer One, Hugh Thompson Jr. One of the most courageous and honorable men-of-arms this country has ever produced.

    Too bad there weren’t more like Hugh Thompson. The massacres at My Lai were dwarfed Operation Speedy Express. Between June of ’68 and May of ’69, 9th Infantry, operating in the Mekong Delta, slaughtered roughly 9,000 “enemy combatants” ( old men, women and children) at a loss of only 40 killed (mines and friendly fire).

    My Lai scale massacres during Operation Speedy happened at a rate of one every month. The “Butcher of the Delta,” 9th Infantry commander Maj. Gen. Julian Ewell, pleased with his work, described Delta countryside after the operation as resembling the “Verdun battlefield,” the dead women and children were piled so high.

    Verdun, today.

    Photo: The American cemetery, the little one.

  28. rich

    March 18 – The Author of “Power, Inc.”

    As this year’s elections become more of a merger between a casino and a circus, with billionaire ringmasters offering competing clown shows,we begin with a discussion about who really runs our country and the
    world. The CEO and Editor-at-Large of Foreign Policy Magazine, David Rothkopf joins us to talk about his new book “Power, Inc. The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government – and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead”.

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