Link 6/19/12

Jigsaw Puzzles with Pieces of Unknown Orientation Andrew Gallagher, Chenlab

Robots equipped with tactile sensor able to identify materials through touch PhysOrg (Robert M)

The exponential growth in solar consumption FT Alphaville (Richard Smith)

Major Design Flaws Uncovered at Calif. Nuclear Plant; Watchdog Groups Petition for Closure Common Dreams (furzy mouse)

Mining moves to control the media MacroBusiness

The Day After Greek Relief, Euro Mockery Easy Street. Ed Harrison remembers that this reprises a Richard Smith classic.

Euro’s Greek honeymoon short-lived Financial Times

Nothing Has Changed: Analysts Expect Greece To Exit The Euro Clusterstock

Im Notfall könnte Griechenland selbst Euros drucken Die Welt. I’m told this says that Greeks could just starting printing euros. Even if true, they don’t appear to have figured that out.

Back to the 1930s: the hammer, sickle and swastika Aristides Hatzis, Financial Times. This is a forceful description of how close Greece is to coming apart.

Spain pleads for ECB rescue as bond markets slam shut Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

The Euro crisis is all their own doing Bill Mitchell

Chart of the Day: The smoking gun showing how the ECB wrecked the Spanish economy Ed Harrison

Gulf states crack down on Twitter users Financial Times

Robert Fisk: Mubarak’s 300,000-strong army of thugs remains in business despite elections Independent (furzy mouse)

Dark Ages Redux: American Politics and the End of the Enlightenment Common Dreams (furzy mouse)

Health Care Reminder: The True Power of the Bully Pulpit Jon Walker, Firedoglake

Judging De Minimis: Does the Judge in Your Foreclosure Case Own Stock in the Bank Deadly Clear (April Charney)

US judge orders ResCap probe Financial Times

Residential Capital Files Bankruptcy: Part 2 of 2 Mortgage Crisis Watch

Finance: A union to bank on Financial Times (Swedish Lex). We dissed a NY Time story yesterday for its claim that the lack of European-wide bank regulations was the reason for a slow motion bank run in Spain. We also said there was an article that needed to be written on the obstacles to banking union. This is that article.

* * *

Lambert here:

D – 81 and counting*

Occupy. “In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, two [UN Human Rights] envoys called on U.S. officials to ‘explain the behavior of police departments that violently disbanded some Occupy protests last fall’ and expressed concern that excessive use of force ‘could have been related to [the protesters’] dissenting views, criticisms of economic policies, and their legitimate work in the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms.'” Hillary? OWS: “A scrappy crew of Occupy Wall Street veterans that call themselves ‘Occu-pirates’ sailed out of the 79th Street Boat Basin once again on Saturday morning.” Crew met at Zucotti Park. Some ages: 65, 42, 28.

Montreal. “I wanted to document it and I was pissed off. I was really surprised (by how widely it spread)” (picture) “I had to go out to the Grand Prix as a volunteer to pick up garbage from Scouts who were running an ecological consortium at the request of the Grand Prix. … A police officer approaches me, and tells me up front I have no business here. It goes without saying that during this time, none of the fifty police officers around me bothered to search any of the young hotties with their the Gucci handbags. Finally, when they are about to arrest me, a Grand Prix official passing by tells the police officers that yes, the ecological consortium did exist and I could enter the site without problems. I was thus able to spend the day picking up crap after other, more ‘welcome’ people.” FECQ president: “‘Given the repeated failures of negotiations and the withdrawal of the government’s offer, it has become clear that only a neutral and credible process such as mediation would allow the two parties to orchestrate a real end to the crisis.’ The public appeal comes after two letters demanding arbitration were sent by lawyers to the government. FECQ is giving the government 72 hours to reach a decision on the matter.”

FL. Horse race: “Television talk show host Cristina Saralegui [often called the “Hispanic Oprah”] announced her endorsement of President Barack Obama, saying this weekend that there’s too much at stake not to speak up when Hispanics could ‘very well decide the next election.'” Voting: “The Fair Elections Legal Network, Project Vote, LatinoJustice and the Advancement Project to sue SoS Ken Detzner, claiming [FL’s] effort to ‘systematically identify and remove alleged non-citizens from the voter rolls (is) in violation of the National Voter Registration Act.'”

ME. WBUR poll: King (I) 50% likely voters, Summers (R) 23%, Dill (D) with 9%. Same-Sex Marriage referendum: 55% favor, 36% oppose.

NC. Premier birther debunking site based in Raleigh.

NM. This shadow government is now out of the shadows, splashed across the front pages of the state’s major newspapers. The scandal is centered on the use of personal email accounts to keep official government business from seeing the light of day. Insiders tell us that the back channel communications initiated by [Governor Martinez’s chief political advisor Jay McCleskey] and used by top administration officials–including the Governor herself–are more numerous than the two instances that have surfaced.” Sounds like Walker’s modus operandi in WI.

NV. 66% of Rs and 66% of Ds support legalized brothels.

NY. Fracking, summarizing National Research Council “[I]t’s not so much taking the gas out that causes earthquakes, but injecting liquids back into a well. [D]isposing of fracking wastes is going to be a lot more difficult, and so are some other hoped-for projects like carbon sequestration.” Best way to sequester carbon? Leave it in the ground. Fracking: “The group brought a map showing where bans and moratoriums already exist.” Corruption: “The contract to cater at the Empire Room was awarded to Charlie’s at the Fair, but according to the State Comptroller’s office, the company was given an unfair advantage and insider information about the bidding process. The contract wound up being voided….”

OH. Fracking: “Hundreds of people gathered in OH’s capitol city on Sunday to protest hydraulic fracturing. The protesters marched through downtown Columbus and temporarily occupied the front hall of the Ohio Statehouse. The group Don’t Frack Ohio organized the protest and three days of workshops,

SC. Corruption: “No law requires lawmakers to report their jobs with private companies, according to the state Ethics Commission. And nothing in state law bars groups that employ lobbyists from also employing legislators.”

VA. B-School coup at UVA, soon to be re-branded (spoiler alert!) The College at Dollar Tree: “Dragas, Kington and a third board member gave [ousted President] Sullivan a performance evaluation in November. They said her performance was good, but not great. They asked for improvement. They put nothing in writing, according to a source who was briefed on the meeting.” “The Sunday meeting of the executive committee, in which three members of the 16-person board voted to accept Sullivan’s resignation, was wrongly treated as an emergency meeting, circumventing public notice rules.” Former UVA Pres Casteen: “This is a public university, which means among other things it is an entity of the commonwealth of Virginia. In Virginia you can’t make secret plans for the allocation of public resources.” The Board of Visitors meets to consider a replacement for Sullivan: “About 2,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni rallied outside on the Lawn… Demonstrators carried signs with slogans like ‘Rally for transparency,’ ‘Shame on the B.O.V.’ and ‘Reinstate Sullivan.’ The campus radio station broadcast live from the Lawn, inviting students and faculty to voice their opinions.” Sullivan, parting remarks to the Board: “Corporate-style, top-down leadership does not work in a great university. Sustained change with buy-in does work.” Dragas statement: “We want to express our sincere regret for the pain, anger and confusion they have caused among many in our UVa family.” “Dragas has hired Hill+Knowlton, a public relations firm, to help the board ride out the backlash from Sullivan’s ouster, two knowledgeable university employees said. The U-Va. Foundation is picking up the tab.” One possible point of contention Dragas mentioned Sunday: “[Online education has] been legitimized by some of the elite institutions.” There’s already a University of Phoenix! Conservative American Council of Trustees and Alumni President Anne Neal: “I think this parting of the ways may actually be a harbinger of the kinds of tough decisions that boards are increasingly going to have to make given the new economic reality.” Ah, “tough decisions. Larry Sabato: “Turns out BOV didn’t use the manual for Strategic Dynamism. By mistake, they grabbed the one for Dynamic Strategery.” “Four of the 15 voting members sent an emissary on Sunday night to the [fired] president, Teresa Sullivan, to discuss the terms on which she would stay.” Closed door BOV meeting ends, 2:39AM. Sabato: “Commerce Dean Carl Zeithaml is UVA interim president. Sullivan NOT asked back.” (bio; interview) “Rector Dragas and Vice Rector Kington succeed in their ouster of President Sullivan.” “Dragas tells hecklers ‘Don’t believe everything you read in the papers,’ as she gets in car to leave.” Stay classy! Reach me that bucket, wouldja hon?

WI. “The recall vote in Wisconsin produced another significant 7% discrepancy between the unadjusted exit poll and the so-called “recorded vote.” In actual social science, this level of discrepancy, with the results being so far outside the expected margin of error would not be accepted.” (DCBlogger)

WV. “Sen Joe Manchin, Rep Nick Rahall and Gov Earl Ray Tomblin have opted not to go to the convention in Charlotte.”

Inside Baseball. Employment in swing states: “While the unemployment picture nationally remains gloomy, the story in many of the swing states … is either a) brighter or b) moving in that direction.” “[T]here is nary a shred of evidence to suggest that the unemployment outlook in the states has anything to do with state-level outcomes in presidential elections.” Teebee ads in VA, FL “mostly jammed around local newscasts and current affairs shows.” Media buyer: ‘”They are trying to get opinion leaders, early donors and the press to focus on certain issues or events.” 2006 paper, “It Feels Like We’re Thinking”: “The more information people had, it seemed, the better they were at arranging it to fit what they wanted to believe.” Obama’s deputy national security advisor McDonough of Hillary Clinton: “She’s really the principal implementer.” Ouch!

The economy. Doom: “75% of people were either very or somewhat worried the country is headed toward another recession.” Now go buy stuff! Pol sci prof: “This is the third summer of green shoots withering in the sun. I think patience is wearing thin.” Nice soundbite.

Robama vs. Obomney Watch:. Romney: “He said look, if I can’t turn this economy around in 3 years, I’m looking at a one term proposition. He’s right! We’re here to collect!” Except Romney misquotes Obama, who was quoting McCain in 2008. Except Obama also misquoted McCain, who said: “If we keep talking about the economic crisis [not “the economy”] , we’re going to lose.” (And if you want to read a farrago of broken promises and betrayals, read the rest of Obama’s “Remarks in Londonderry, New Hampshire,” October 15, 2008, from which Romney’s quote was lifted. “We’ve got to help states and local governments that have been squeezed.” Except, not.)

Immigration. “A survey in five swing states by Latino Decisions and America’s Voice found Latino voters very enthusiastic about Univision (Spanish language): “Romney would not say whether he would undo President Obama’s new order halting deportations for “DREAMers.” Lynn Sweet:” Mitt, evolving or revolving?”

Obamacare watch. “Smart money is said to favour the ruling coming on Wednesday 27 June or Thursday 28 June.” Romney camp: “My sources (which I freely admit to be third-hand) suggest that Kennedy will side with the conservatives” and strike down the mandate. Juan Williams: If ObamaCare is struck down, “Obama [could] use the bully pulpit … to launch a bitter attack on the current court as a corrupt tool of the Republican right wing.” ObamaCare doesn’t really kick in ’til 2014: “But the delay’s result has been that the law has no natural constituency — its promises have not been clearly conveyed to the people it is designed to help.” Is single payer is Constitutional? Jeff Greenfield: “The answer, unquestionably, is ‘yes.’ …. All the Congress would need to do is to take the Medicare law and strike out the words ‘over 65.‘”

The trail. “Over 37% of the positive messaging Obama received from third-party newsmakers came from these nonaligned newsmaker types, whereas Romney only received 26% of his third-party validation from these newsmakers.”

Ron Paul. “At the IA convention, a Romney staffer who flew in from Boston watched the proceedings but did not intervene.”

Romney. Veepstakes: “Sen. Marco Rubio talks about his Mormon childhood.” Although now he’s Catholic. (GP)

Obama. John Kerry is a master debater. Bloomberg’s Hunt, another Clinton trial balloon: “Obama should persuade her to leave her post a month or so early and campaign for him. She might add some electricity and she wouldn’t be likely to commit the same occasional discipline lapses as her husband.” Na ga happen.

* 81 days ’til the Democratic National Convention swills energy drinks on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. The symbolic number of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. ‘H’ and ‘A’ are the 8th and 1st letter of the alphabet, respectively.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Up the Ante

    — the nuclear Harlots at GE and their sundry radio lackeys should read this guy’s comment, [ THEY’VE BEEN FOUND ‘OUT’ !! , paid to be OUT ! ]

    “A Counterpunch article (link below) describes how people in the nuclear industry form a cult that is impervious to logic and reason.

    For evil to survive, it needs more than denial. It needs love and worship. Nuclear industry people know they are engaged in extreme evil. Hence they take refuge in a cult that gives them safety, security, self-esteem, and a sense of meaning. They know their cult is hideous. Hence they aggressively defend it. They see their victims (i.e. the public) as swarms of marauding rats that are hostile to their “betters” (i.e. hostile to cult members). Politicians become cult members when they accept bribes from the cult. Again, politicians cope with evil by worshipping it.
    The cult phenomenon arises in all groups that are engaged in extreme evil. Bankers. Soldiers. CIA agents. Politicians. Members of death squads. Operators of killer drones. And so on. ”

    — Steve Winwood’s “higher love” for the nukies is the production of nuclear weapons

    [ I now await YY and LooseyLulu to deny that their employers could be seen so clearly by the people, and to imply that ‘the people’ are in fact a “cult”. lol ]

  2. Up the Ante

    “We see that Disaster Kapitalism expands itself in new dimensions. First das kapitalists exploited natural disasters for high $$. Next, das kapitalists created their own disasters to exploit for high $$. Now das kapitalists are exploiting the mounting disaster of their own philosophy, ideas and initiatives for high $$.

    It should come as no surprise. If you build a machine that has a mind of its own, an economy for which growth is an end in itself, it will konsume people, other machines, itself, anything, everything. ”

  3. Mike B.

    The antidote today doesn’t work for me. It reminds me of the experiment in which monkeys were raised in isolation with either a fuzzy stuffed animal (as shown here), or with an approximation made out of wire.

    1. Aquifer

      Thanx for that ….

      It is time more of us wept … other worlds can sometimes only be seen through the prism of tears ….

      Chomsky is an amazing fellow …..

    2. Susan the other

      Only after the VN War did I get interested enough in it to begin to read. Chomsky was already one of the few clear voices. Most of the stuff out there was at least partial disinformation. One book entitled ‘Mule’ was about the Plain of Jars and the US airbase there which had more daily flights than OHare. That’s a lot of planes landing and taking off. Supposedly carrying opium and gold. They kept up this pace for years. In a book by Gore Vidal I learned that the VN war was an attempt to gain control of southern China – the mineral rich Shan (mountain) states and to protect Hong Kong. Other books allude to the fact that we were flat broke by 1954 and needed to loot for a living. Catherine Graham’s autobiography; Sterling Seagraves books about Marcos, others. Richard Nixon records his own comment in the 60s that Vietnam was a “cork in a bottle.” In a book about China (I think it was titled The Iron Rooster @ China’s railroad) there is a passing reference to a secret railroad that no one in China was allowed to see or talk about and the area was closed off. It had once been put in by the French and it went from Laos into southern China. Ellen Hammer wrote an interesting book about Diem.

      All of this made me curious enough to send for information from the Lao people, I think from a consulate in D.C. There was an international petition going around at the time, early 90s, demanding restitution and recognition. They also provided a map showing how rich Laos is, in mineral wealth. Gold mines in the vicinity of the Plain of Jars. All of which made sense. Now there is no news of Laos, surely big mining companies are there. Indochina is trying to survive in a world of trade.

      And, unable to find any clear answers, indeed without any clear questions, I always give in to a tired feeling as if it is the end of the day. I always wonder why we were so determined to go to war in Indochina. It all seems so pointless. The beneficiaries, in whose interest the war was fought, have hidden their own trail impeccably.

      1. Up the Ante

        “In a book by Gore Vidal I learned that the VN war was an attempt to gain control of southern China – ”

        There is a mountain tribe in that area of China, a remote area just northwest of North Vietnam, if I recall correctly, that was as ideally situated to grow opium as the Afghanis.

        The Japanese in WWII ventured well north into Laos, very difficult terrain, and for what purpose ? There certainly was no organized armies in that area for the Japs to have been hunting. The area in question in that area of China may have been exactly ideal for the purpose.

      2. Up the Ante

        Susan, is this the book you are referring to ?,
        Riding the iron rooster : by train through China by Paul Theroux

        “In a book about China (I think it was titled The Iron Rooster @ China’s railroad) there is a passing reference to a secret railroad that no one in China was allowed to see or talk about and the area was closed off. It had once been put in by the French and it went from Laos into southern China. “

    3. ctct

      this rang very true… i’ve been following chomsky’s writings since i was 15, but the last few years his age has really started to show… he’s seems very ‘worn out’ at this point… it’s understandable

      the article mentions that he is an ascetic and this conforms with my view of his being.. he seems like a long-suffering bodhisattva without the comfort of a spiritual lineage… i think it’s become (well, always has been) easy to dismiss him as whatever*, but I must admit i’ve never seen him as *self-righteous,as the reactionary might say, and as an *immobile left-gatekeeper from the activist left… but yes, he certainly recognizes his ‘compromised’ position(MIT) and I think that has weighed on him enormously(armchair psychology…)

      but he still manages to inject some optimism into his arguments/discussions.. noting the amount of people becoming aware of the truth of american empire, as well as showing compassion and understanding for the populist right in middle america

    4. David Petraitis

      I really liked that one too. The elite somehow need to see the victims as “unpeople” as this article mentioned. There is a need to talk about ‘caring’ solidarity and peace as an antidote to the rhetoric the ‘free’ market.

  4. Dan B

    “Im Notfall könnte Griechenland selbst Euros drucken.” Notfall can translate as “in case of emergency.” A subtle sense of humor in this headline.

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Touching robots.

    Why don’t they just hire humans to do that, at least in most cases?

    But when people learn of giggling robots padding down passengers, they will be out of work too.

    1. John L

      For that human touch, maybe the TSA robots can talk about how f!cked up they got on their last birthday while manning (robotting?) the X-ray machine. Newark “Liberty” airport. Never disappoints.

    2. Eureka Springs

      This is at least as important a reason to clearly define personhood in a constitutional amendment as eliminating corporations. Any time I interjected a thought along these lines in occupy “end corporate personhood” discussion groups… I never met one person who had yet considered this. Was a bit surprised at least some youngsters hadn’t considered it.

      I’m with Beard on this… we need to tax the the productivity of robots (foreign and domestic) 100 percent…. and distribute it progressively, directly to each and every citizen…. much like oil revenue in Alaska.

  6. Brent Musburger, Jr (news anchor)

    Breaking News! This Just In!

    Caught on tape by hidden camera…

    Dramatic new video shows Senate Banking committee members dressed up as women, wearing pink pants-and-tunic sets, dancing and performing lewd acts.

    Meanwhile Jamie Dimon and fat cat bankers can be seen dressed in tuxedos and top hats, puffing on Cuban cigars, and occasionally tossing a hundred dollar bill to the Senators.

    Story developing….

      1. Brent Musburger, Jr (news anchor)

        Well, it’s a slow morning, but we’re still doing better than our competitors in the MSM.

        On CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews and NPR, all the pundits and talking heads are discussing the affluent hedgie (with a really chill dude’ polo shirt) who filled up his Ferrari with regular gas instead of the recommended high-octane, and what this means for the future of our society, and why we should all be deeply concerned:

  7. Tim

    “Back to the 1930s: the hammer, sickle and swastika Aristides Hatzis, Financial Times. This is a forceful description of how close Greece is to coming apart. ”

    This article is embarassingly dumb, especially considering Golden Dawn and KKE lost seats. Somehow marginal parties that got even less support this election are actually the pulse of the nation?

    It is not the 1930s. Greece is not Weimar or remotely analogous. Simple minded “sensible” analysis like this offers no actually clarity, only sanctimonious bull.

  8. jsmith

    Taking a broad view of world events right now, one must be amazed at how cyclical the transformations of society really are.

    So, to combat the rise of fascism, the EU adopts a political/economic structure that brings them right back to fascism.

    Israel – a country built upon the devastation of the Holocaust – is now an apartheid state in which Arabs live in an open-air concentration camp, Africans can’t even walk the streets at night and whose leaders daily threaten aggressive war against an “existential” threat.

    The United States once the beacon of freedom in the Western world – hah! – seeks to further its war crimes by vaporizing innocent people from the sky all the while our SS take part in operations the world over meant to topple “unfriendly” regimes and install dictators whom we can do business with.

    Shall we discuss habeus corpus? Chortle.

    Why do the Americans, Israelis and Europeans claim to hate the Nazis even as they seek to exactly mimic the Nazi dream of a global totalitarian power structure?

    Why don’t they admit publicly that Hitler is indeed their role model in that he saw how “messy” such a global dream might be?

    Taken together one can say without hyperbole that the leaders of the United States, the EU and Israel are fascist war criminals.

    People have to start getting this into the front of their minds.

    We are no dealing with Presidents and Prime Ministers any longer.

    We are dealing with active war criminals who are waging aggressive war – both actual and financial – against the vast majority of the planet.

    What to do?

    Start by pulling yourself back from the detailed analysis of each new “crisis” and see the overarching themes.

    All of the “crises” are one crisis: a war waged by the sociopathic fascist elite against the rest of mankind.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Jack;
        Dare we try and cut out the nations altogether and simply talk about the “World Economy” and the “Hidden Masters of the Worlds Financial Fate?”

  9. JTFaraday

    re: UVA presidential ouster

    “One possible point of contention Dragas mentioned Sunday: “[Online education has] been legitimized by some of the elite institutions.” There’s already a University of Phoenix!”

    That’s true, but it’s not owned by Teh Boyz from Government Sachs:

    “The theory I have is that Goldman Sachs’s Education Management Corporation, a for-profit education provider, wanted to make or made a bid to offer online education through UVA. From this endeavor, EMC would invest profits back into the University, helping to heal some of the University’s fiscal woes. When Sullivan was reluctant or refused to agree to the venture, key members of the Board threatened litigation related to her performance as a fundraiser for the University.

    Here is how I’ve arrived at this theory:

    …3. Today, an article from Charlottesville’s The Hook raised questions about the potential role of Peter Kiernan, the chair of the Trustees at the Darden Foundation, the Board of UVA’s Graduate Business School, in the circumstances leading to Sullivan’s ouster. The article noted in particular Kiernan’s role as a former partner at Goldman Sachs and that Goldman Sachs “recently took a major ownership position in a group of online universities.”

    1. Lambert Strether

      Yes, it’s a tenable idea. It would be nice if there were some UVA faculty or staff who could feed us something more concrete, like a memo or an RFP or an article written by one of the perps, er, visitors…

      lambert_strether [at] corrente [dot] yahoo [dot] com.

      Just a thought!

      * * *

      AFAIK, UVA has only minimal state funding (under 10%). It’s certainly reasonable, then, that a faction of private funders would seek to seize control of UVA’s assets and loot them.

      1. John L

        University of Washington was told to accept more in-state students or lose its public university charter and go private. It opted to stay public. Perhaps not every state school will make that choice.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Eight new board members were installed and “regime change” was made clear. “Interim” Chancellor/Pres. is from the Business School. The female scholar respected by the Faculty, who had proven to be an EFFECTIVE Executive didn’t have a prayer of continuing under these circumstances. Neoconlib policy lives on: A Businessman for President of whatever, including the U.S., is the favorite shill in charge, come what may. The University of Virginia will suffer for this.

      1. JTFaraday

        Yeah, it could happen. But more likely EMC would market their association with UVA to improve their reputation and maket their services to students from the community college feeder system (and possibly UVA itself)– and keep the profits (or most of the profits).

        Otherwise, why do it. This student is just not cynical enough about syngergistic business partnerships in the 21st c. university.

  10. MuBarark Obama 2012

    The Occupy communication is here,
    a letter of allegation under two Special Rapporteurs (two or more is the norm):

    – on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression;
    – on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

    Good luck discrediting them, Hillary, you raging sow, special rapporteurs are the gold standard of independent oversight. These two specifically talk about state violence with reference to UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Officials. (Paging Scott Olsen!) They want to know: Have the victims been compensated? Have the state perps (paging Oakland Tango Teams!) been brought to justice?

    Every Occupier should know the submission guidelines
    backward and forward. Because in brutal illegitimate regimes like the US, where the judiciary is as rotten as the paramilitary secret police, you never ever trust the state. You go over its head to the world.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Hell yes. This was obvious without a UN investigation. The U.S., under the supervision and direction of the Obama administration, committed massive civil rights abuses over the last year.

      There were probably tens of thousands of people arrested last year and I would bet that less than 5% were ever convicted of any crimes or pleaded guilty. I bet most of the people were never even charged with crimes and I bet the vast majority of these crimes could be characterized as petty. I bet many of them carried no jail time at all and were merely citation crimes.

      The U.S. media has actively supported this crackdown and can only be viewed as complicit. Same with both major parties.

    1. F. Beard


      The causes of the bubble are deep and complex. Global central banks – including the ECB – mis-set the price of credit by running zero or negative real interest rates for long-stretches.

      They did so because the “China effect” of cheap goods flooding the world from Asia pushed down headline inflation at just the moment when central banks had foolishly begun to target that one variable. Their new doctrine blinded them to asset bubbles.

      The effect was vastly compounded by some $10 trillion of reserve accumulation by China and the emerging powers. This was recycled into the global system as excess capital – not goods demand – depressing bond yields and greatly aggravating the sovereign bond bubble in southern Europe.

      In other words, an excess of global savings over consumption is a large part of the narrative, and the reason why we cannot seem to recover. from

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      History shows that the U.S. pays through the nose for Europe. Case in point:


  11. Calgreen

    See how we taxpayers are stuck with the bill for nuclear power. You think Solyndra was bad?

    The Billion Dollar Taxpayer Subsidy for Nuclear Power
    Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program

    The Price Anderson Act is anti-consumer because it asks taxpayers to assume most of the liability of nuclear accidents. If the nuclear industry cannot have enough faith in its own technology to guarantee full responsibility for their own mishaps, then nuclear energy does not deserve these continued taxpayer subsidies. When Congress first created Price Anderson 44 years ago, they made it clear the Act was temporary legislation. After so many decades and billions in subsidies later, it is time to retire this boondoggle.

    The Price Anderson Act – a law that subsidizes nuclear power by creating liability protection for nuclear accidents – will expire in August 2002. The nuclear industry is working hard to ensure that the bill is reauthorized and expanded to cover a new generation of nuclear plants. Several bills have been introduced in the 107th Congress to renew the Act for another ten year period. Proponents of nuclear power are using their influence to ensure that this liability coverage would be expanded to new reactors.

    The primary mission of the Act is to subsidize shareholders’ value in nuclear power by placing a cap on the amount of insurance protection, thereby limiting the nuclear utilities’ liability.”

    Remember, every time some shill starts talking about how safe new nuclear is, just ask them “then why can’t they buy their own liability insurance?”

  12. barrisj

    A rather chilling article here, flagged by Jesse, on the confluence of above-the-law multinational corporate ethos and secretive Special Ops military forces:

    Secret State
    We are all now sadly familiar with the role of Off-shore tax havens. They allow companies to avoid having to pay tax. They also allow companies to hide any dealings they may not want scrutinized by prying regulatory authorities. Tax havens are, as Nicholas Shaxson in his wonderful book Treasure Islands has suggested, better thought of as ‘secrecy jurisdictions’. They are purpose built for shrouding in impenetrable and legally protected secrecy any morally dubious financial arrangements which might be embarrassing or costly if revealed to regulators or governments. The world of Off-shore provides a legal and moral nul-space in where most things can be arranged for a price.

    But that nul-space is growing and more than simply growing it is maturing.

    Recently Off-shore havens have added to financial secrecy another valuable service – data and communications secrecy. There are now companies based in off-shore havens which offer to protect emails and data caches from prying regulatory or legal scrutiny. Take this company for example – Private layer. Private Layer operates out of Panama and Switzerland. It’s purpose? This is from its web site.
    Suddenly not only is it possible for corporate finances to be moved beyond the reach of national oversight and regulation, but now corporate emails and other data can also be removed from national democratic and legal oversight. Corporation can now operate within any nation, making their profits there. but without the elected government, the tax officials, financial regulators, courts or police having any power to see what the corporation is doing. The police could not force the disclosure of emails because those emails would not be under UK jurisdiction. It would be entirely possible for a company to be breaking the law, exactly as News International did, but now most if not all (depending on how careful they were) the evidence required to bring their illegal activities to light, would be beyond the reach of any authority in this country.

    Now let’s add in one more recent development which might seem at first glance to be somewhat unconnected.

    In the week of May 21st of this year in Tampa Florida, Special Operations Forces from 90 countries got together at a Special Forces Convention. You can see a video of what they got up to here.

    The purpose of convention, which is a regular thing now, is (from their web site),

    ” The International Conference objective will be that U.S. and International SOF leaders recognize USSOCOM as a Global Command and gain a better understanding on how to become active partners in that partnership.”

    Who is USSOCOM? It is the umbrella US military command for all US Special forces. So here we have a programme the purpose of which is to integrate the operations and even the command structure with the US at the top, for the Special Forces of 90 nations. Is this anything to be concerned about? Well on one level, if you have Special forces why not have them work together well? Seems sensible. Except that Special Forces are by design the part of any nation’s armed forces which operate routinely and as a matter of course, outside of the law and beyond democratic oversight. Did you know, for instance that elements of the British SAS operated as a virtually freelance force in South America during the Dirty Wars? Did anyone ask you if you thought that was OK?

    Special Forces are quite unlike the rest of the military. They work far more closely with the Intelligence agencies than they do with the regular army and its command structure. While there is some democratic oversight of the regular military there is very little for Special forces. Their operations are covered by Intelligence secrecy and most parts of a civilian government, even those parts which might be privy to most other military operations, would not have any knowledge of, nor oversight of, Special forces operations. Who knew that certain elements of the SAS were on the ground in Libya long before any official admission of any military involvement, acting as spotters and target painters for all those ‘precision’ strikes? Now you might think such secrecy is necessary and even a good thing. I do not share that view. I think about rendition and torture and how the intelligence organizations coordinate and plan while the special forces provide the muscle.
    What this this and other documents now clearly indicate is that through this command and others the US can now commit troops to hostile actions without the Congress having to give its consent or even be informed. Now of course we all know this happens. SO what is new. In a sense nothing. In another sense it clearly shows how our governments, or at least elements within them, are keen to follow global finance’s lead in being able to operate outside of democratic oversight, outside its own laws and outside of any democratic accountability. This I think is, if not a new desire, a new maturation of the capability.

    There is a clear disdain for democracy being voiced among those who run and own global finance, who make up the supra-national world of the IMF, the WTO and other non-national, non-democratic global technocratic bodies. We all know what disdain the global financial and media companies have for the laws which ‘regulate them’. We know how far outside their own laws and international law our governments have gone in rendition and torture of civilians.

    It seems to me you don’t have to subscribe to any conspiracy theory to find this enough to worry about.

    And, as many of us have pointed out, the Obama Administration has been second to none in furtherance of an acute secrecy doctrine and the practice of covert armed intervention solely under the control of Office of POTUS, and this doctrine can only intensify during a second Obama term. Even more worrisome is the abysmal lack of interest by Congress and the public to somehow check this power, as it is now multiplying like a runaway bacterial culture, free of oversight and control.

    1. barrisj

      BTW, as an addendum to the above piece, a must-read article here by the foreign-policy analysts Flynt and Hillary Leverett provides some guidance on possible second-term Obama actions toward Iran and in the Middle East in general:

      Deep-Sixing the China Option
      How the Obama Administration Is Stalling Its Way to War with Iran

      By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

      Since talks with Iran over its nuclear development started up again in April, U.S. officials have repeatedly warned that Tehran will not be allowed to “play for time” in the negotiations. In fact, it is the Obama administration that is playing for time.

      Some suggest that President Obama is trying to use diplomacy to manage the nuclear issue and forestall an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear targets through the U.S. presidential election. In reality, his administration is “buying time” for a more pernicious agenda: time for covert action to sabotage Tehran’s nuclear program; time for sanctions to set the stage for regime change in Iran; and time for the United States, its European and Sunni Arab partners, and Turkey to weaken the Islamic Republic by overthrowing the Assad government in Syria.

      Polish up that Peace Prize, the Nobel Laureate is going the full monty.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        The war has already started. It’s on. It’s just a slow grind here in the beginning.

        The U.S./Israel is most likely assassinating people in Iran and engaging in terrorism.

        It is engaging in cyber war that is probably an act of war. There is a possibility people can be killed from these cyber attacks.

        The U.S. is spending millions of dollars to target the goverment. How would we like it if the goverment of Iran announced it was spending $1 billion or so on supporting the overthrow of the goverment and would do this in secret? Wouldn’t we consider this an act of war?

        The U.S. has surrounded Iran militarily. The U.S. has threatened war against Iran (Hillary threatened nuclear war against its citizens–Cheney proposed a first strike nuke attack–all U.S. governments have said “all options are on table”, an implicit threat of war). Furthermore, the U.S. has threatened Iran over something it has a right to do . . . develop nuclear power. Plus, the U.S. once helped Iran develop nuclear power and has never pressured Israel to join the same treaty that Iran has joined.

        Last, but not least, in fact this is the most important, the U.S./Israel is attacking Iran’s main and last allies in the region. Iran and Syria are allies and have a mutual defense treaty. This probably requires Iran to defend Syria. An attack on Syria is an attack on Iran.

        And the U.S. has most likely already attacked Syria for real. It has started a slow burning war and is now ethnically cleansing parts of Syria and softening the country before the full invasion. The U.S. is daring Iran to defend Syria.

        And eventually, I imagine the military of Syria and Iran would want to act together for full effect. Along with Hizbullah. So attacking Syria is the way for Obama to go after Iran.

        And this is happening right now.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Yep. Crazy, scary stuff. And so many people that don’t support fascism and war crimes and endless wars have are mindlessly lining up to support Obama this fall.

      The Washington Post did manage to publish the basic details of our illegal wars:

      “Special Operations forces have grown both in number and budget, and are deployed in 75 countries, compared with about 60 at the beginning of last year. In addition to units that have spent years in the Philippines and Colombia, teams are operating in Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

      Commanders are developing plans for increasing the use of such forces in Somalia, where a Special Operations raid last year killed the alleged head of al-Qaeda in East Africa. Plans exist for preemptive or retaliatory strikes in numerous places around the world, meant to be put into action when a plot has been identified, or after an attack linked to a specific group.

      The surge in Special Operations deployments, along with intensified CIA drone attacks in western Pakistan, is the other side of the national security doctrine of global engagement and domestic values President Obama released last week.

      One advantage of using “secret” forces for such missions is that they rarely discuss their operations in public. For a Democratic president such as Obama, who is criticized from either side of the political spectrum for too much or too little aggression, the unacknowledged CIA drone attacks in Pakistan, along with unilateral U.S. raids in Somalia and joint operations in Yemen, provide politically useful tools.

      Obama, one senior military official said, has allowed “things that the previous administration did not.” ”

      See also:

      Basically the media is able to say the reported the basic facts and covered themselves. Then they go about hiding these facts so we forget it.

      And some wonder if the U.S. is already waging war against Syria and Iran. Ha.

    3. Walter Wit Man

      Also in the war-has-already-broken-out-or-is-imminent news . . . . Israel makes moves for the Sinai Peninsula

      It might seem farfetched to some that the U.S., Egypt, and Israel would coordinate to start a war, then you should read this piece that Yves linked to a while back: There is some evidence that Kissinger basically masterminded the war with the help of both Israel and Egypt.

  13. kevinearick


    Funny, not, how they paraded the downstream executives through Nierenberg, much the way they parade CEOs through Congress today, but never examined the research project, the human scientific process. The Jews were lab rats, and they were sold out by their own, to computerize the consumption addiction process.

    Corporate captured everything it needed at the beginning of the process, inuring children to the Reich, with water colors. Like all good scientists, they simply ran the experiment to its conclusion to capture as much data as possible, and maximize misdirection.

    The education system you see today, beginning at early childhood, to replace parents with government, is hard power attenuated to soft power, over time, in a relativity circuit. Put currency in front of kids that have spent any significant time in the system. Count how many volunteer to work productively in exchange. What if you put down a dollar, an orange, and a spatula? What is the Euro?

    The addicts storm the wall in protest, the king has his servants throw just enough heroin over the edge to disperse enough of the crowd to regain police control, and the process repeats, until the wall is complete, intelligence is winnowed out, and the remaining population is stupid enough to assemble at the wall in worship. Take a look at Moses and gold.

    You gotta be smarter than the money changers, which is now a computer algorithm, stupid controlling stupid. Don’t participate and the empire starves for lack of sacrificial lambs. You always have a choice, between the known and the unknown. Raising children accordingly is much more productive than attempting to rehabilitate robots that desperately want to be robots.

    F-ing robots, f-ing robots in a circle, replicating robots at the discretion of a computer ponzi, until the black hole pulls them in, swapping the drug and the users, in a round robin game of SIMON SAYS. Make the system work for you instead of against you, by adjusting your virtual distance. Let the DNA churn pool do its job.

    Germany, like all the other lab rats, can’t do a thing about it, but talk, until the noose of its own design, Euro debt, strangles it as well. Take a look at the participating corporations to WWII, then and now, and tell me what a great guy Soros is. Do you really think Germany can survive without its import/export dependents?

    By all means, go to Goldman Sachs and sell your family wealth for pennies on the dollar. That’s how the ponzi completes the circle for another round. Soros simply bets on the addicts to be addicts, and plows the money back into the propaganda machine, another f-ing robot rewarded with accounting income for the purpose. Superstitious idiots reading empire signs and assuming they are God.

    Liberty is not a right. It’s earned, every damn day. Whether you pursue it, or any of the empire’s offerings, is up to you and you alone, which is why so few escape prisoners dilemma. The firefighters block the forest; nature burns them down.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      k, excellent. And there are “unknown unknowns”–original phrase from Prof. Knight at early University of Chicago–see recent INET Blog on Knight at:

      Funny how Rumsfeld plagiarized Knight for his nefarious purposes.

  14. Walter Wit Man

    More evidence of rising tension with Iran.

    The “semi-official” Iranian news source reports war games are planned with 90,000 troops from Iran, Russia, China, and Syria and that Chinese ships are sailing through the Suez Canal.

    But Russia and Syria are quick to deny it (how could Syria conduct games while it is defending itself from attack?). Russia claims it’s disinformation. I see nothing from China.

    What motive would Iran have to make this up? Wouldn’t they realize they would look foolish as it was quickly disproved? It seems more like Western disinformation. Did the U.S. hijack Fars? What’s going on? It’s very confusing. Did Russia promise Iran this and then punk them? Did they all agree to come up with this weird cover story?

    1. Walter Wit Man

      For a story that I don’t get the sense is being emphasized much, I see it there are 3,345 news articles based on the “Iran, Russia, China, Syria to Stage Biggest Joint Wargames in …” story.

      So I guess this message is getting out there. People will remember the first message–that Russia and China are being confrontational re Syria–whether it is true or not.

      I also note that I am seeing a Raytheon advertisement when I click on the Hill story. Jeez, these guys are getting brazen.

  15. Westcoastliberal

    Saw a report on the San Onofre probs last night on CH2; the problem was the “new” generator design specified a flow of water 4 times what the plant was built for. Get that? FOUR TIMES! No wonder the tubes wore out prematurely and it’s only by the grace of God the plant didn’t blow up!
    Letting such a massive problem slip by should result in not only the NRC blocking ANY attempt to restart this dangerous plant; further the NRC should ban SCE from owning/operating ANY nuclear plant in the future!

    1. Up the Ante

      If what you say is true the problems they must have experienced would have been so constant and so large as to render their power output at a fraction of its capacity.

  16. Herman Sniffles

    I thought Dimon’s answer to Ackerman’s ‘what’s the difference between gambling and investing’ was interesting. The most accepted answer to that question is that in investing you are taking a position in an actual product, an actual thing or company or commodity, while in gambling you are making a wager on an artificially contrived situation.Compare, for instance, the difference between buying a mining stock and pulling the handle on a slot machine. Since all derivatives (being “derived” from real things) are by their basic nature artificially contrived situations, the entire market is by definition gambling. It surprised me that Dimon wouldn’t have brought up this basic, ancient description, which he must understand. But I can guess why he didn’t.

    1. Ms G

      Good reference to today’s Q&A. But do you really think Dimon doesn’t know the difference? If he had intended to answer the Q truthfully he would have had to take the 5th Amendment!

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      And “naked” CDO’s etc. are “derived” from nothing. Pie in the sky to the nth.

  17. dSquib

    Garry Wills reponds to Roberto Unger.

    Wills seems like an intelligent and thoughtful man most of the time, not especially prone to the whims of political trends and electoral politics, to having his own view of “the possible” dictated to him by powerful actors for whom “the possible” is largely at their discretion anyway. Well, except in election season itself it seems.

    Is it too much to ask for him to raise his game here? I mean “purity”. Really? That’s one of the many mandatory power words it seems when it comes to denouncing third-party voting or non-voting abstention it seems. Is it asking too much for him to use his sweet spot at NYRB to hit higher than you’d expect of, say, Lawrence O’Donnell?

      1. dSquib

        Was I too harsh, though? I’m surprised he wrote something so light.

        I’ll add that the piece is a little less than 1,000 words, and most of the article relies upon two or three money quotes and typical themes, Supreme Court nominations etc. He’s addressing a fairly large and contentious subject isn’t he? Non-Democratic lefties will not see anything they haven’t seen before, or thought of before. What’s he trying to achieve?

  18. TimR

    That Bill Mitchell post was great. I still get lost in much econ speak, however this was clearly written even at my level. I bookmarked his blog to go back and read more later.

  19. Roland

    1. I dislike Fisk’s referring to the whole Egyptian army as “thugs.” Most Egyptian soldiers are young, short-service conscripts. Most of the army behaved well during the revolution last year. One of the reasons why Mubarak could not completely crack down is that he could not be sure whether the troops, aside from some elite units, would obey their officers if given orders to fire upon demonstrators. If the cabal of generals wants to thwart democracy they, like Mubarak, will probably have to rely on paramilitaries and the secret police, not the regular army.

    2. Too many people talk about instability in Egypt. This is mistaken. For a country that ousted a dictator who was entrenched for 30 years, the country has been remarkably stable. There has been little bloodshed since the downfall of Mubarak, esp. in proportion to Egypt’s total population. Of course, this makes the recent political schemes of the generals, and other parts of Egypt’s elite, quite inexcusable.

    3. Iran has a defense pact with Syria, but if Syria were attacked by NATO there’s not much that Iran could do about it. The defense pact between Iran and Syria was always more about deterring Iraq (i.e. when the alliance was formed Iraq was under Saddam) than about deterring the USA.

    4. Syria’s armed forces would be hopelessly outmatched in any open war with against a modern opponent. I saw elements of Syria’s army withdrawing from Lebanon back in 2005. We’re talking about T-55 tanks and towed 122mm guns. That sort of stuff was second-rate even in 1973, and today it’s antediluvian. Geographically Syria is highly vulnerable, caught between NATO member Turkey and US allies in Jordan and Israel. I don’t think Syrian generals would do more than put up a token resistance outside the capital, for national honour’s sake more than anything else. Real fighting against a modern invader would have to go guerrilla, with dispersed arms caches and a pre-arranged cell network. Unfortunately, the occupier would simply resort to mercanaeries and local anti-regime irregulars to carry out the many reprisals and atrocities necessary to overcome the guerrrillas. Think of Iraq, but with a much shorter learning curve for the foreign occupiers. Bottom line: without the open support and protection of a great power, Syria is indefensible, whether in regular or guerrilla warfare. Neocons in the Shrub era didn’t refer to Syria as “low-hanging fruit” without some reason.

    5. If a big war breaks out, the Israelis will certainly not be the ones attacking Syria, or Iran for that matter. The Israelis will content themselves with avenging their 2006 defeat against Lebanon, while NATO takes on the greater expense and complexity of occupying Syria.

    6. The Western powers might very well leave Iran alone for some years to come. It is not hard to imagine a tacit bargain between the USA, Russia and the PRC in which the USA leaves Iran in the Russian or Chinese sphere, while the USA consolidates its dominion over the Arab countries. i.e. Israel gets Lebanon and all that sweet fresh mountain water, NATO takes down Syria in the latest “humanitarian” venture, and the USA and its Saudi and Gulf allies form a Sunni-sectarian defense bloc against the eternal bogey of Iran. India and China would be happy because oil flow is not interrupted and their economic development continues apace. Russia would be happy because they get the USA to once again acknowledge them as a great power, but without actually having to risk a real conflict against the USA. Obama gets to play the most puissant warlord, but without an ugly and protracted conflict in a large mountainous country like Iran. Israel would be happy, because Hezbollah gets smashed, and the Palestinians once again find themselves without any friends in the world.

    7. Bear in mind that today’s Russian billionaire kleptocrats are not made of the same stuff as the Bolsheviks, or even the old-regime aristocrats. I’m willing to be pleasantly surprised by any display of integrity or courage on the part of the current Russian elite, but I certainly don’t expect it. I mean, they’re just a financialized bourgeoisie, and those sort of people never have any stomach for genuine risk.

    8. As for the ethnic and religious minorities which, collectively, make up most of the population of Syria and Lebanon? Their only consolations will be some blue helmets and UNHCR. Palestine writ large. Random drone strikes when they grow restive. Wretched of the Earth. A 21st century, spent in “camps.” Sux 2B them.

    9. But just think: there will be lots of employment for newly graduated humanitarian and progressive Westerners in the ever-burgeoning NGO sector. Endless material for graduate theses. Air conditioned Range Rovers with high-speed satellite internet, as they speed forth on their missions of mercy! Posing in body armour, for YouTube video. Imperial feminists, rejoice!

    1. Walter Wit Man

      3. As far as I know the Mutual Defense Agreement was signed between Syria and Iran in June 2006, after Saddam was out of power, so I don’t think it was to deter him: [link removed]

      I see a reference to a “pact” announced in 2005, where the Guardian headline reads: “Iran and Syria confront US over defence pact.”

      They signed another agreement in 2009:

      I don’t know if an informal alliance goes back to Saddam’s time though.

      4. You’re probably right about Syria being hopefully outmatched. They are a much bigger population than Libya though and have a lot of people in the Army and civil service and I get the sense a civil war will be particularly brutal there. Plus, the armed “rebels” don’t seem to have an organic base and I see Syrian society resisting much more than Libya did or even Iraq. An armed resistance might be very effective there–as in Lebanon.

      Plus, I get the sense Syria and Iran and Hizbullah could do some damage. They can reach Europe and most American bases and Israel and the Gulf states and they could target oil and trade. I would imagine they blow their wad and then go underground like in Lebanon when the Israelis attacked.

      It doesn’t matter anyway. The U.S./Israel/NATO is committing an unjust war of aggression that is illegal and immoral. Might doesn’t make right.

      5. I agree with you. I wonder if Lebanon will be a front. Plus the Sinai Peninsula.

      1. Roland

        Syria’s alliance with Iran started shortly after Khomeini kicked out the Shah. For example, during the 1980’s Gulf War between Iraq and Iran, Syria cooperated openly with Iran by closing off an oil pipeline from Iraq to the Mediterranean.

        I doubt that Sinai would be part of any near-term conflict.

        1. Egypt’s armed forces, unlike Syria’s, actually have some modern weapons, such as F-16’s and M-1 tanks. Egypt was only permitted to buy the stripped-down export versions, but the stuff is still not bad. While recent combat experience is lacking, the morale and discipline among Egyptian frontline formations is said to be pretty solid.

        2. Egypt today has a strong nationalist tradition, that has steadily built up over the course of the past century. Political discord among Egyptians, regardless of class or sect, would soon vanish if any foreigners were stupid enough to openly menace their country.

        Bottom line: 1967 was a long time ago.

  20. carmen

    I am looking for LJean that had left a post in Dec 2011. i have the signatures you are looking for….the signatures of Matthew F ryan…

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