Links 6/13/12

U.S. government to use ‘drones the size of GOLF BALLS to spy on AMERICAN citizens’ Daily Mail (furzy mouse) Releases Open Source Software The US government has outsourced an open source project to India.

Estimating the Potential Impact of Failure of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool George Washington

Drug Family Accused of Laundering Cash With Horses New York Times

Checking In Barry Ritholtz (furzy mouse). Wow, I don’t use any of these sites ex the inescapable Google.

Skout, a Flirting App, Bans Minors After Rapes New York Times

The Mining Boom Is Making Australians Dumber Clusterstock

Down-Under Greeks Send Money As Crisis Awakens Ties To Homeland Bloomberg

Euro-Australia: An instructive counter-factual Yanis Varourfakis

Fears rise over EU handling of debt crisis Financial Times. This blog and plenty of other commentators were skeptical, and this time, Mr. Market’s euphoria has worn off pretty quickly.

CNBC graphic of the day, Greek bond yield edition Felix Salmon, Columbia Journalism Review. This makes me feel so much better about the fact that I seldom get asked and even then pretty much always turn down financial TV requests (save longer format ones). If Martin Wolf comes off not making much sense, what good are they?

U.S. Probes Cable for Limits on Net Video Wall Street Journal. While welcome, the timing is pretty sus.

JPM and ING: Some Trading with the Enemy Is More Equal than Other Trading with the Enemy Marcy Wheeler

The Obama Administration Is Criminalizing Investigative Reporting Huffington Post

Ann Romney Sending Her Horse-Slave to Pillage Europe for Gold TBogg, Firedoglake

Ratings agency warns of rough road for New York State Thruway Syracuse (bob) :-(

Foodie Files: Disney seeks out haggis from W.A. Bean in Bangor Bangor Daily News. I suppose I should remember to have real haggis the next time I am in the UK…

Obama campaign’s rough patch concerns some Democrats Washington Post. I must note Obama gets nice looking photo today, in contrast with yesterday. Notice the original headline was apparently “erratic behavior” (see the webpage, as well as the URL).

Gingrich: Elections rigged in favor of the wealthy Raw Story

“Hypothetical, illustrative example of the orderly liquidation of JPMorgan Chase” FT Alphaville. Note the objections in the comment section, such as by dhdhohm. And the paper assumes the FDICcan void cross default clauses. Not if they are in agreements governed by UK law. Finally, notice how this hit the media in a big way on the eve of Dimon’s Senate testimony.

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon releases testimony before Senate hearing McClatchy

BREAKING: Victory for Minneapolis mom over Citibank’s foreclosure effort AmericaBlog

Ex-loan officer claims Wells Fargo targeted black communities for shoddy loans Washington Post. Sanctimonious Wells strikes again.

Prebuttals, part 2 John Quiggin

Wall Street’s high-stakes love affair with Europe continues Christian Science Monitor

Charles Ferguson: Predator Nation, Global Predator Class Jesse

Tweet of the day (Richard Smith)

* * *

Lambert here:

D – 87 and counting*

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” –Satchell Paige

Montreal. “A vision of free, publicly accessible post secondary education has strong roots in Quebec where the concept of universal access to education is often seen as comparable to socialized health care. This common value is the result of the massive overhaul of post secondary education in the 1960’s when, after mass student protests, the government created nine new university campuses and a free college system that was intended to open up higher education to those not part of the political and economic elite or clergy who then dominated Quebec. While tuition was initially justified to help cover the costs of the expanding campuses, students believed it would be eventually phased out.” “4170 estimated number of arrests made in Quebec since February as a result of the protests.” “We can not punish or arrest people for offenses they have not yet committed or are about to commit. Democracy requires that we take risks and that the police power should be strictly controlled.” Pearl clutching: Eugène Delacroix parody poster sold by Quebec rock band found in arrested Québec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir’s home, shows Charest dead at feet of the Bananarchiste (Banane Rebelle guidant le peuple). Yves Bolduc, Quebec Health Minister: “There are always subliminal messages MR SUBLIMINAL Banane! Banane! put forward through paintings like this. For certain vulnerable people, this can be a danger.” Be sure not to keep any political cartoons in your house! Red Square: “The idea is to show up at Émilie Gamelin Park with $10 and receive a tattoo of the carré rouge on your chest. The event is called “Tatoo-O-thon de carrés rouges.” From the Facebook event: “They would like us to remove (our red squares). That is why we will put them on our chest in permanently. Imagine hundreds of people getting red squares tattooed on the chest at the same time, all in the same evening. A monumental ‘FUCK YOU’ to the authorities who would like to see (the squares) disappear.” Silent majority: “Will it be the PQ or the Liberals in the next elections? ‘It will either be the street and referendums or democracy and the economy,’ affirms Jean Charest. Under the pretext of this demagogic principle, the government is allowing a situation to fester to the point where it could deteriorate into a major social crisis. If serious events occur, the Premier will demonize civil disobedience, violence, chaos, vandals and all supporters of opposition movements.”

Minister of Culture, Communications, and the Status of Women, Mrs. Christine St-Pierre responds to Fred Pellerin, the red-square toting storyteller, who turned down the National Order of Québec. “St-Pierre’s public affirmation that there is a link between the red square and violence sends the loud and clear message that all those who have spoken out against the tuition hikes are potentially behind the universally condemned actions that have taken place at certain protests. The government is effectively saying that all those who wear the square could even be responsible. It charges anyone who wears the red square of guilt-by-association with the few that have committed some reprehensible acts. It also says that violent incidents are more than just the actions of a fraction of those present.”

CO. “According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, about one-third of Weld County is in a drought condition and the rest is considered to be abnormally dry. Overall, all of CO is at least ‘abnormally dry’ and three-quarters of the state has some level of drought. ”

FL. “FL Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has worked to outlaw manmade narcotic ‘bath salts’ since shortly after she took office, said she is ready to add more chemicals to the list of banned substances, including ‘Spice’ and other synthetic drugs sold at gas stations and specialty shops.” Sold at gas stations?

ME. Of Angus King, I: “If it’s a 50-49 Senate, he becomes a very powerful person,”

MI. “With hundreds of protesters filling the Capitol building and grounds, mostly women dressed in pink t-shirts sporting the phrase ‘Women are watching and we vote’,” Rs tabled a package of anti-woman, anti-choice bills.

MT. “A WV man who told authorities he was hitchhiking across the country and writing a memoir about kindness was injured in a seemingly random drive-by shooting near MT’s booming Bakken oil patch.”

NY. “‘There were a lot of not so pleasant things with getting the [wampum] belts from our people, so for them to come back now and have some of the county and the mayor being here kind of undoes some of the things that have been done in the past,’ said [Onondaga] Tadodaho Sid Hill.” Fracking: “A group of residents including women from the job-hungry Southern Tier as well as Central NY are speaking out in favor of natural gas development in their region. ‘The people in this group have really felt disenfranchised by the past four years,’ said Karen Moreau, of the state Petroleum Council. Members of the group donned sashes saying they will be ‘Silent No More.'”

PA. Fracking: “A new proposal by Gov. Tom Corbett to give a long-term $1.7 billion state tax break for a planned Marcellus Shale gas petrochemical refinery in southwestern PA is a late-emerging issue in the state budget debate.” “A powerful Republican state representative who is a strong supporter of Marcellus Shale gas development is threatening to punish SEPTA for buying buses that are fueled with diesel rather than natural gas.” (PT) “[Governor Corbett] opposes a minor fix to Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards act which would help the solar industry over a rough spot. He removed his name from a letter from the Governor’s Wind Energy Coalition supporting the extension of the production tax credit for wind power. The wind industry currently employs about 4,000 people in PA.” Sandusky case: “[D]ocuments filed by the Attorney General’s office late Monday indicate [former Penn State VP Gary] Schultz told so many lies in his Grand Jury testimony that it was impossible to respond to each and every one of them.”

TX. San Antonio: “But what electrified the solar industry was when CPS Energy, in July, abruptly increased its solicitation for a 50-megawatt solar plant to 400 megawatts, enough to power 80,000 homes. The response to the 50-megawatt proposal was so positive and the offers so low that CPS simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do something really big. ”

WI. “Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has joined the board of directors of Smart Sand, a PA company that is building a large frac sand plant in Oakdale, WI.” Union worker: “The messages shouldn’t be ‘Look at what they’ve got that I don’t have.’ It should be, ‘This is what we all should have.’” Citizen Dave: “We live in a world of well-funded special interests and lots of people who are not liberals. The best we can hope for is to get to know and understand our rivals as human beings rather than as political caricatures.” The Ds should never have made it about Walker.

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood watch. Sen. Graham: GOP should break with Norquist tax pledge for grand bargain.

Inside Baseball. Brooks: “I don’t know if America has a leadership problem; it certainly has a followership problem.” Wowsers. Carville/Greenberg focus group report: “Many have found new ways to make extra money, engaging in a kind of creative economy of necessity. One non-college-educated woman in Columbus, Ohio noted, ‘I make and earn extra money, like yard sales.’ They talk about the ingenuity required to make or save money—like collecting bottles or scrapping unwanted metal.” “Creative” like System D, not creative like “We’ll all be knowledge workers!” and not creative like “creative class.” Trudy Lieberman interviews voter on voters: “They are very angry. They believe that if you throw out the people you are unhappy with, someone else will come in and change things. But it never happens. Their frustration becomes anger. They don’t vote as an active way of expressing their frustrations. If they do vote, it’s like they sold out.” Recovering R: “Ultimately, leaving the GOP was necessary in order to maintain my own integrity. Leaving is also a public act of personal protest. I am under no illusions about its broader significance– it will have no impact on the trajectory of the political narrative in this nation. But that does not make it futile. On the contrary, as the shadows lengthen, such minor individual acts of defiance and dissent are more critical now than ever before.” The racist narrative: “The state with the highest racially charged [Google] search rate in the country was WV. Other areas with high percentages included western PA, eastern OH, upstate NY and southern MI.” Beltway insider Karen Feld’s tan teacup poodle, Campari, has its own business card.

Policy. ObamaCare: “Every state is going to have a health exchange in 2014.” Back in the HCR debacle, ObamaCare proponents called for “health insurance exchanges.” I shortened that to “health exchange,” since that’s what they are. Somehow a single payer advocate’s polemic emerges as official jargon. “Romney said he wants to make the nation’s health-care system more like a consumer market, likening it to the tire, automobile and air-filter markets that he said keep costs down and quality up.” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.): “Clearly, the Supreme Court overturning Obamacare is the best thing for the country, but it’s an open question what’s better for November’s election.” Petrostate: “In 2011, the United States registered the largest increase in oil production of any country outside of OPEC.”

Jawbs. “To save money, families are increasingly choosing cremation over burial…. Others are forgoing memorial services for simple graveside ceremonies. Rather than flowers or donations to a charity, 15 to 20 families a year now ask that newspaper obituaries include a plea for contributions toward funeral expenses.” “Privately, senior Obama advisers say they are no longer expecting much economic improvement before the election.” Yglesias: “But liberal inattention to monetary policy is baffling. If liberals can’t get monetary policy right, they can’t fix the economy and if they can’t fix the economy, the rest of their agenda will go down with it.”

The trail. “The AFL-CIO has launched an ‘unprecedented’ campaign to register 500,000 new union voters in the key states of PA, FL, OH, MI, WI and NV [The goal] is to raise union member turnout from 70 percent to 75 percent in November.” Too late for the recall.

Greens. 17 day countdown to matching funds for Greens; handy map. Interview with Jill Stein; from May, but there are few enough. “TX Senate candidate David B. Collins ran on a two-part platform: ‘making our planet habitable for 7 billion humans,’ and ‘making our nation live up to the challenge of its founders, with liberty and justice for all not mere words mumbled by school children who know better.'” Compare messasging with libertarians below.

Libertarian Party. “TX Senate candidate John J. Myers, of Dallas, whose campaign motto is ‘end the wars, end corporate welfare, live as you see fit.'”

Romney. “Mr Romney’s staff turned up the rock music to deafening levels, as they always do, [to] preventing reporters overhearing or recording comments to supporters that could prove embarrassing.” Same reason Obama campaign confiscates cell phones at fundraisers.

Obama. “We signed two trillion dollars in spending cuts into law,” Obama said. “Spending under my administration has grown more slowly than under any president in 60 years.” Will Warren Mosler please pick up the white courtesy phone?

* 87 days ’til the Democratic National Convention feasts in a Petit Trianon-styled soup kitchen on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. In cricket, 87 is 13 runs short of a century, hence unlucky.

* * *

Antidote du jour. For a change, a plantidote (Dr. Kevin):

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  1. psychohistorian

    I will just note that in early 2008, I was screaming about a coming correction and in the past week multiple friends have spoken to me or emailed me about the coming correction.

    So is it baked in already?

    Things aren’t really broke, they are fixed.

    Everyone look for a chair before the music stops. It is kinda like war in the sense of wondering who the last suckers are that signs for the highly priced, oversold, immorally financed anything right before the bottom drops out.

    1. psychohistorian

      I read the Fukushima posting over at George Washington’s and sure hope for the sake of humanity that some focus is brought to this situation.

      A radiological fire fed by 10 times the payload of Chernobyl does not sound like a possibility that greed should be able to cover up.

      Are all the responsible adults of our species deluded into thinking or having faith that Fukushima is under control?

      What do you tell the children?

      1. Bev

        Let’s fix this fast with NO DEBT Public Money.

        I just posted the following under the Occupy SEC questions to JPMorgan. There is a Great Question about Kucinich’s H.R. 2990 to nationalize our currency, not banking. Money is the only thing stopping our fixing Fukushima. This is the way to get money without debt…fast…to fix Fukushima and save ourselves and other species from extinction.


        And, if nations took over the creation of their own currency without incurring DEBT, then terrible problems can be fixed, like unemployment, new energy, and most immediately, like the danger to us all of Fukushima which is not being addressed.

        And, quick is needed, as George Washington’s blog posted, that a 7.0 earthquake in Japan near the site (95% probability in two years) would topple fuel rods that would equal the radiation from all the above ground testing combined. We need to solve our problems in the best way and in the quickest time. Kucinich’s 2990 is the solution to the national and international scope of the problem of Fukushima that the scale of state banks which keeps currency as privatized debt, cannot begin to address.

        quoting from document:

        X. H.R. 2990

        Suggested Question: Do you support Dennis Kucinich’s Bill H.R. 2990 to support a secure economy by giving up the private bank’s privilege of creating the country’s money by lending it with interest to persons, corporations and the U.S. government?


        Call and ask…demand politicians to help Dennis Kucinich get this done fast.

        6) Well then, should we nationalize all the banking business?

        What kind of “Kool Aid” are you drinking and who gave it to you? The banking business is obviously not a proper function of government; but providing, controlling and overseeing the monetary system is definitely a function of government. No private party can do that properly. Markets have utterly failed to do that. They have concentrated wealth, have harmed the average American and now broken down entirely, except for assistance from our government. Who would keep money in banks today, except for the FDIC guarantees?

        But banks should remain privately owned, because when reasonably structured, they perform very necessary functions, and can do it professionally and conveniently. Who within government would run the banking business? Bankers however, have nothing in their training, experience or their souls that qualifies them as masters of the universe – to control our society as the money power confers upon them.

        Banks should act as intermediaries for their clients who want to get a return on a deposit or similar investment; and their clients who are willing to pay for the use of that money. But banks must not create the money. The money system belongs to the Nation and our Federal Government must be the only entity with the power to issue and regulate our money as the U.S. Constitution already mandates. We nationalize the monetary system, but don’t nationalize the individual banks. That would be a dangerous step towards fascism. Private enterprise is a powerful mechanism that can produce excellent results when properly structured and regulated. That is an important American “theme!” The AMA does not throw out the baby with the bathwater! But it most certainly gets rid of the bathwater, which is private money creation. That acts like a private tax on the rest of us!

        We regard such nationalization proposals (nationalize all banking) either as an inability to understand the difference between nationalizing the money system and nationalizing the private banking business, OR as possibly attempts to actually block proper monetary reform, because you’d have to change the essence of America in order to do it. So it distracts from real reform. The AMA reform that we advocate actually puts into place the system that most people think we have now! People think our money is provided by government. They erroneously believe that the Federal Reserve is already a part of our government. They think the banks are lending money which has been deposited with them, not that they are creating that money when they make loans. Under the AMA many of those things people already believe about money and banking actually become true! It’s a natural fit with already existing attitudes.

        7) Doesn’t your AMA proposal merely continue with a fiat money system?

        Shouldn’t we be using gold and silver instead? Wouldn’t that provide a more stable money?

        Our system is absolutely a fiat money system. But that’s a good thing, not a bad one. In reaction to the many problems caused by our privatized fiat money system over the decades, many Americans have blamed fiat money for our troubles, and they support using valuable commodities for money.

        But Folks! The problem is not fiat money, because all advanced money is a fiat of the Law! The problem is privately issued fiat money. Then that is like a private tax on all of us imposed by those with the privilege to privately issue fiat money. Private fiat money must now stop forever!

        Aristotle gave us the science of money in the 4th century B.C. which he summarized as: “Money exists not by nature but by law!” So Aristotle accurately defines money as a legal fiat.

        As for gold, most systems pretending to be gold systems have been frauds which never had the gold to back up their promises. And remember if you are still in a stage of trading things (such as gold) for other things, you are still operating in some form of barter system, not a real money system, and therefore not having the potential advantages as are available through the American Monetary Act!

        And finally as regards gold and silver: Please do not confuse a good investment with a good money system. From time to time gold and silver are good investments. However you want very different results from an investment than you want from a money. Obviously you want an investment to go up and keep going up. But you want money to remain fairly stable. Rising money would mean that you’d end up paying your debts in much more valuable money. For example the mortgage on your house would keep rising if the value of money kept rising.

        Also, contrary to prevailing prejudice, gold and silver have both been very volatile and not stable at all. Just check out the long term gold chart.


        19) Should we have the individual 50 states own banks? Like North Dakota?

        More Kool-Aid and distractions…Look folks the objective is to get the banks out of the Money creation field, not to get the government into banking!! A highly distracting idea that does not in any way accomplish any necessary reform! Instead it gives our fraudulent banking system a moral free pass! It is mind boggling that progressive people fall for this. (see the home page for an in depth article by Jamie Walton on this)

        20) How about local currencies?

        Local currency movements can help people to understand the money problem but it would be an illusion to think that local currencies would stop a mismanaged, unjust national system from unfairly concentrating wealth; from being a motivating factor for warfare; from financing harmful polluting activities even when saner alternatives exist. Understand also that a national currency properly placed under governmental control gives much greater local control than the present national currency under private control, because locally, our voting power can exert influence on national policy.

        And remember the principle of subsidiarity put forward by E.F. Schumacher. His slogan was not “small is beautiful.” What E.F. Shumacher actually said is what the AMI is saying: Use an “Appropriate scale”- do things on an appropriate scale. That dominant scale in the currency area is national and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. The appropriateness of acting on the national level must be recognized.


        H.R. 2990 to fix Fukushima. NOW.

        1. Bev


          The Top Short-Term Threat to Humanity: The Fuel Pools of Fukushima

          Posted on April 7, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog

          The Greatest Single Threat to Humanity: Fuel Pool Number 4

          We noted days after the Japanese earthquake that the biggest threat was from the spent fuel rods in the fuel pool at Fukushima unit number 4, and not from the reactors themselves. See this and this.

          We noted in February:

          Scientists say that there is a 70% chance of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hitting Fukushima this year, and a 98% chance within the next 3 years.

        2. Bev

          Or, is the U.S. international debt balance sheet always settled in gold (settled on the books without moving the gold), as Jim Sinclair states.

          Is this the only mechanism to fix Fukushima?

          In which case, add the costs to fix Fukushima to the balance due. Currently, the balance sheet and therefore, the price of gold if it were settled today would be sky high. Why not higher? For what you would get–stopping more radiation to us–in return for the money would be priceless.


          Chart: Federal Debt Held by Foreign & International Investors (FDHBFIN) and the Equilibrium Price (FDHBFIN/OZ)

          Federal debt held by foreign and international investors topped $5.17 trillion in Q12012. $5.17 trillion divided by 262 million ounces (assumed gold reserves of the United States) equals an “equilibrium price” of $19,091/oz (for gold).


    1. PhilK

      I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for a few months, too. It’s like Google used to be, back in the days when you first heard about Google.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Thanks. I just looked at Duck Duck Go. The privacy policy and “no bubble” look really, really good.

      The “no bubble” is especially important to me, because I want exactly information that does not reinforce what I already think I know. See this cheerfully low tech page for examples and an explanation.

      I didn’t realize how much I had come to dislike not just Google as a corporation, but the Google user experience, until I started playing with DDG. No Web 2.0 eye candy or a million shiny apps: Just a clean page with results. Joy!

      1. enouf

        Hi Lambert;

        I’ve been using DDG for atleast a year now, prior, i also used (now defunct), but i did NOT know about the ‘bubble’, but yet, i knew *something* was wrong; as my searches started turning up false-positives, and i’d delve many pages deep to try to locate even (personal) prior search results (yes, from same IP addy)

        — Thanks for the DDG info
        — I seem to be getting Bubble-Wrapped when i post here using certain terminology — IOW, some posts won’t even go through. Would you consider doing a piece about ‘Flagging v. Bubble-wrapping’, since i feel i’m being flagged moreso… Thing is, while i agree for Mods to exist on a site-by-site basis, *Flagging* seems to be more of a TPTB tool ..ya know, of the Utah NSA kind ;-)

        Didn’t mean to get totally off-topic.


      2. enouf

        Here’s something totally On-Topic as it relates to Finances;

        Think about how Google has changed since its IPO
        (though it started sucking prior to even that — but atleast i could talk on IRC to a techie whom worked there who would atleast give my pet-peeves a look)


    3. Waking Up

      I also started using DuckDuckGo as a search engine months ago since they say they are not tracking. Once Google became blatant about their disregard for our privacy rights, I eliminated using their services as much as possible. Facebook has so many privacy issues that I refused to join in the first place. Perhaps others are beginning to feel the same.

      1. enouf

        but ofcourse, Facebook is the epitome of benevolent datamining; ..the sheeple blatantly and willfully share/espouse their consumerism nature .. and are targetted via the predators for their gleeful adherence; the culture they’ve been taught to *believe* in, accept, ..offered as a Service, free-of-charge .. duh!

        It’s like the Lionesses asking the antelopes downwind to shoot roman candles into the air, and the antelope gleefully complying.


      1. Rex

        Start Page is a front end that blocks your IP (net identity) then passes the search on to Google, mostly. You still get the decreasing useful Google stacked results, but at least they can’t easily track your every whim.

        Duck Duck Go has been around a long time. I first used it years ago. I think it is good but, if I remember right, not as good finding things techie or science related. YMMV.

        1. enouf

          DDG supports the F/LOSS platforms, so it says .. just for that i started using it moreso than (defunct) about a year ago.

          F/LOSS == Free/Libre Open Source Software (think Penguins) ;-)


  2. lidia

    From the Open Source article: this is supposed to “promote transparency” and “improve citizen engagement”.

    Apropros of that, I wonder how the “Do Not Kill” petition of the other day is doing!!/petition/create-do-not-kill-list/HwqFwRtG

    Only 4958 as of now… and we need 20,042 more JUST TO MAKE IT INTO THE WHITE HOUSE’s IN-BOX.

    On a national level, this mimicks “your call is important to us” mechanisms. Beyond that, you would have to trust that the data on offer was real.

    1. albrt

      The petition got some attention. That was probably the best that could be hoped for. It’s not like there was any chance of Obama deciding to stop the extrajudicial killings.

      Anyone who really wants to get the White House’s attention, consider donating to the Greens matching funds campaign, linked in Lambert’s post. The amount they need to qualify for federal primary matching funds is astonishingly small.

  3. tom allen

    From the WaPo “rough patch” article: –By November, “it’s going to be about: Who do I trust more in [his] approach to the debt? Who do I trust more to create middle-class jobs? Who do I trust more to create an energy future? Who do I trust more as it relates to Afghanistan?” said David Plouffe, who served as Obama’s campaign manager four years ago and is managing political strategy in the White House this time around.–

    The Obama White House — still focused primarily on the debt.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Yes Chuck, it was fantastic. Pierce really nails the mushy-headed fool quite well generally, but this one is priceless. It amazes me how much time Brooks gets on PBS, NPR, etc., etc. The man is an outright village idiot and yet he is ubiquitous. A failing media wonders at its own impotence and irrelevance and yet insists on throwing Brooks at us constantly. Vast spaces for entertaining perhaps — vast spaces where Brooks’ brain should be is more like it. I have a daydream that I meet him on the street someday and beat the tar out of him. I have that daydream about many media douche bags but Brooks is special.

    2. JTFaraday

      “Thousands of peasants willingly bound themselves to their sovereigns to the point of haring off on Crusades for them. To paraphrase Mae West, “legitimacy” has got nothing to do with it.”

      Actually, they were promised indulgences.

  4. craazyman

    Jesus I thought those flowers were little monkeys, and then it was like “how can they survive with those long thin arms?”

    Wow. Everything’s an illusion unless you have the right analytical framework. Whoa. Deep thoughts.

    Glad to get the euro debrief from Yves on the other post. Yes, that conforms with my research (my one conversation with the organic cigarette smoking anarchist at the Spanish cultural institute next to my office). It’s not like going there, I admit, but it’s closer.

    This guy Tsipras is making alot of sense to me and if he can make it work . . . “Katie bar the door” . . . hahahah.

    1. YesMaybe

      Yeah, those flowers got me at first, too. On Tsipras, I think he’s full of it, like the others. Granted, the stuff he’s selling is not as bad. But he talks as if Merkel is just confused (which might be the case, though I’d think the reality is more sinister than that) and when they have a sit-down together he’ll explain to her how what he proposes is rational and what she’s been doing is irrational, and she’ll come around (which is 100% not the case). The truth is that he’d most likely get laughed at or offered a fig leaf, leading to either more of the same or another (but more disorderly) greek default and likely euro exit. And in the unlikely the case that he did get his way, it would not be through rational discourse but through threats in a game of chicken. Anyway, that’s my perception of things. Obviously, much of what I’m saying is uncertain and I have no proof.

      Now, don’t get me wrong, I think a Tsipras win would be far better than ND-PASOK. Unfortunately, though, all the polls have ND-PASOK getting enough votes that if ND gets first place (and the extra 50 MPs that come with that) they’ll have a majority in parliament. And that seems pretty likely. PASOK has been saying they wouldn’t form a coalition that didn’t have the support of more than half of the voters, but I’m sure that’s a lie and they’d form a narrow ND-PASOK coalition if they have the seats for it.

      1. anon48

        “But he talks as if Merkel is just confused (which might be the case, though I’d think the reality is more sinister than that)…”

        Merkel is not confused. She is trapped. She, along with the other EU leaders, is stuck in a predicament not of her own making. She inherited a situation whereby her country is committed to an economic union that was oversold as a beautiful magnificently built grand palace, when in reality the foundation was not set deep enough and is now cracking, the framing was not plum, the plumbing, HVAC systems and electrical were also poorly designed and installed . Those things, just like the current EU structure, are hard to fix without ripping everything apart so that underlying problems can be accessed.

        Merkel was a democratically elected leader of Germany. Bottom line – if push comes to shove, that’s where her allegiance must lie(both legally and morally). But her country also knows it has a moral obligation to the EU. Her quandary- she can’t say out loud that Germany will be willing to absorb the losses arising from other member states because she hasn’t had the legal authority granted to her to make that claim. Nor can she say the opposite, without creating tremendous (possibly terminal) stress within the EU. What could anyone do?

        So I would not say her motives are sinister, rather I think you’re seeing the actions of a politician who believes she’s slowly being checkmated by the financial markets.

        1. Lambert Strether

          “rather I think you’re seeing the actions of a politician who believes she’s slowly being checkmated by the financial markets.”

          Rather, by the collective actions of few extremely wealthy individuals who game the financial markets (“emergent conspiracy”). Eh? I mean, it’s not like we’re talking a “free market” here, right?

          1. anon48

            I choose not to invest in the markets because I agree its rigged, not because of a coordinated conspiracy, but because certain gatekeepers will do whatever they can for a buck. So I guess I also agree that those without ethics, who also have the most bucks, will usually win in the end.

        2. Jim

          Kohl is responsible for Germany’s predicament. Based on what he has said, I believe that Kohl envisioned the current crisis, but hoped that it would convince Germany to cede its fiscal sovereignty for a US of Europe.

          Quite reprehensible, actually.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is this a first – a flower antidote?

      But what are they? Are they called monkey flowers?

    3. enouf

      …I thought those flowers were little monkeys, ….

      hahaha – You too!?
      Just call me craazy, mmmk? heh


  5. Claire

    Re: Charles Ferguson

    Excerpt from a Counterpunch article:

    “Does Ferguson still support Obama?

    “I’m now very troubled,” Ferguson said. “I’m going to vote for him because we face only two realistic choices, him and Mitt Romney, and between the two, I still think that, for various reasons, he is by far the better choice. He is the lesser of two evils and I can’t say that I will vote with any happiness.”

    Are you going to donate the legal maximum this time?

    “I haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” Ferguson said. “I certainly would find it emotionally difficult to donate money to his campaign given my feelings about the situation and his conduct.”

    And what about the 174 children (according to the latest count) killed by Obama’s drone attacks. Any chance that would help him decide what to do?

    For instance, if despite reservations, Ferguson was planning to go ahead and donate the legal limit of $38,500, perhaps he could ease his troubled conscience by subtracting $1 for each confirmed kill by drone attack of a child under 18, and only donate $38,326.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Re the Revolving Door for Big Bucks in Crime supports “TINA”–this is what comes of the “criminogenic environment” and Gresham’s Law in Economics + Politics. As in Third Reich German, “TINA” (see the books: “HITLER’S BENEFICIARIES” (the Elite at the top), “HITLER’S WILLING EXECUTIONERS” (the chumps in the “middle” who became proprietor’s of ex-Jewish businesses and “Lebensraum” high and low, including farms for peasants in the New Feudal System, the proles profiting from the largesse of National Socialism, including American “eugenics” programs for culling the Aryan Teutons).

      This is what we have come to in Amurka. Who said: “It Can’t Happen Here.”

    2. TK421

      That jumped out at me, too. People like Ferguson are what’s wrong with this country. With his money and his visibility, he could really help make a difference. Instead he’s going to shrug and support same-old-same-old. What a shmuck.

      1. Klassy!

        I read some of the book– mostly just the stuff on how thorougly corrupt university economics departments are. That was probably the most useful point to be made in Inside Job.
        Still, he does come across as something of a schmuck. A bit too much of the “heroic tech billionaire” in the book– as if they engage in no predatory practices.

    3. Walter Wit Man

      “Given what we now know, it’s very difficult for me to believe that President Obama actually believes that there was no significant criminality in the housing bubble and the financial crisis.”

      So according to Fergusan, he thinks it is more likely than not that the president’s administration is covering up, or is part of, a criminal conspiracy. I mean what he describes goes beyond a simple failure of leadership by use of prosecutorial discretion. These guys were participants in coming up with the securitizaion/MERS scheme, yet they are simply wimpy for not prosecuting? No, it’s called being complicit. Yet he’s going to vote for Obama anyway.

      Furthermore, Fergusan alludes to how incredibly improper it is for Holder and Breuer to lead the investigation into the securitization of mortgages and mortgage abuses. One could hardly think of lawyers with more conflicts of interest on the subject. They won’t even tell us if they were involved in MERS cases while at the firm, for instance. But Fergusan seems to wave away these concerns, saying they all do it and imploring Obama to live up to Rudy Guiliani’s administration, or something . . .

      Yeah. A wasted opportunity indeed.

    4. Walter Wit Man

      Fergusan fits the profile of an intelligence asset. He made millions in the 90s and he’s set up to play the neoliberal hero. He went to good schools, has the tech chops, is branching out into movies and writing and being a guru. He is being promoted in the culture. . . .

      I know people get uncomfortable with this speculation. I would have been in the past. But it is becoming apparant to me that huge amounts of resources are spent to control our culture. And what is the defining change in our culture the last 30 or 40 years?

      Subtle neoliberal programming has been slipped into our daily media diet. We are a nation bred to consume Yahoo “news” updates with a neoliberal slant.

      This is a huge deal.

      Anyway, was doing some perp research in another area and I think this is a common cover . . . teck geek cum millionaire during 90s . . . now neoliberal guru proficient in media with varied interests.

      I recognize that an economy that rewarded a number of tech geeks in the 90s with lottery winnings will create some annoying jerkoffs running around.

      But maybe these guys weren’t the engineering geniuses that finally figured out how to grab more of the economic pie from the financiers in the 90s, as someone like Michael Lewis may argue. Maybe many of the millionaires were not random winners, but were selectively chosen to serve the empire. It’s like the Empire sold off it’s secret tech operations and minted private millionaires that were their assets. And as Ferguson notes in the context of white collar criminal regulators, this was probably done in subtle ways :) He may not even be fully aware of his own complicity ;) Or maybe he did sign some document giving his soul away . . .

  6. jsmith

    Regarding golf ball drones:

    I for one look forward to swimming in the grey goo.

    Regarding Syria:

    This came about late in the day yesterday and just thought it important to mention again.

    Houla massacre attributed to Syrian rebels NOT government forces as originally claimed.

    From the article:

    “Clearly, given its own extensive contacts with the Free Syrian Army, and the political, financial and military backing for the FSA by Washington’s regional allies—Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey—the Obama administration will have been well aware that the massacre was the work of anti-regime insurgents and not the Syrian army, even as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others called for additional action to be taken to depose Assad.”

    Note: Gee, I also wonder why in the “reporting” on Houla no one thought fit to mention that Houla is 90% Sunni area with a smattering of Shia and Alawite villages surrounding the main town.

    When does someone initiate war crimes tribunals against the leaders of the United States government?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      js, thanks for the Grey goo link. Very scary, and if the “Destroyers of Worlds” can do it, what’s to stop these Robot Idolators, such as the mad Kurzweil et al. who would be “Creator God?” They lust for dominion uber alles, for omnipotence which they are “certain” will bring them immortality. These guys love and facilitate human death, as much as they fear their own. Very SS Totenkopf of them. They carry forward the demonic dreams of Hitler, “The Psycopathic God.” By “eating” the Earth and its inhabitants, by destroying/annihilating life, they delude themselves that, by a “Triumph of the Will” they personally will “conquer” Death or “transcend” Death, in a mad embrace with Death unto orgasmic delerium and “deliverance”–the “world” be damned. “D-Death Uber Alles.”

      1. Walter Wit Man

        The police and military of Syria have behaved much more professionally and compassionately than their counterparts in the U.S. would have.

        Thousands of police have been shot dead by snipers, RPGs, bombs, etc. Many of these attacks also targeted civilians. Syria has responded with amazing restraint, partly because the U.S. and the West is claiming they are “abusing” the “protesters.”

        It’s complete bullshit. Complete propaganda. The U.S. and it’s psy warriors have completely made this shit up. It’s a straight up Made-in-U.S.A. attack on yet another country. They sent Tyler Hicks and CNN and Al Jazeera in to create fantasies. They are cutting off the information to Syrian civilians and engaging in massive psychological operations.

        Did you see the cleric ranting away on tevee about how the FSA had permission to kill women and children? This was being beamed into Syrian homes. Syria homes were given leaflets warning them of the coming slaughter. And what happens?

        The U.S. has its terrorists slit childrens throats and blames it on Assad so it can attack.

        One side started this war. The Syrian government is not evil. Compared to most allies, they are downright humanitarians.

        The “both sides do it” is propaganda. This is why I thought the reporter’s blog post we discussed yesterday was propaganda. The post, and the news station, both implied both sides were to blame when all the evidence points to the U.S. and its terrorist pals as being responsible for slitting childrens throats.

        1. Susan the other

          Strange tactics. The map of the middle east shows Iran besieged on all sides. And every country around has been devastated. Wouldn’t it have been more efficient to just take Iran? Especially in view of the murderous guerilla warfare we are willing to engage in. Are we still afraid of Russia? THey haven’t done much of anything to ally with Iran and now Syria. So it must be that we do not trust the Russians or we have a secret agreement with them. That we understand we have to operate within certain boundaries so as not to force Russia to come in. It doesn’t make any sense otherwise. Will WW2 ever end?

          1. Walter Wit Man

            It’s still largely a mystery to me why they engage in such utter brutality.

            Look at the rampage the U.S. soldiers went on in Afghanistan, for instance. I know people claim this is a natural byproduct of war . . . and I think they’re right, but not in the way they mean.

            It’s like they are intentionally staging horror shows to shock us into submission. I’m sure these sick fucks even study the psychological effects it has on us and ramp up the dosage when needed . . . .

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Susan wrote:

            “They [Russia] haven’t done much of anything to ally with Iran and now Syria. So it must be that we do not trust the Russians or we have a secret agreement with them.”

            Spot on. I too agree that Russia hasn’t done much of anything to stop this attack (other than posturing), so there must be some sort of agreement.

            If Russia were seriously opposed to Western neoliberal hegemony it would be behaving much differently to the imminent attack of Syria, Iran and Lebanon by the U.S./Israel/NATO forces. This will dramatically change the balance of power in a resource rich region.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            The New York Times is not to be trusted so I would not start with that source.

            But Russia has long had military contracts with Syria. Last year, or thereabouts, Russia said it would honor its existing contracts with Syria, and I assume the tanks are one of those contracts. Even if they are continuing to contract with Syria, why shouldn’t they give them tanks? Why should the Syrian army be denied tanks when all the other world powers get tanks?

            Plus, how extremely hypocritical for the West to complain about these weapons! The West is giving these terrorists sophisticated weaponry like anti tank weapons. The Syrian government is within its rights to defend the people against terrorist and foreign attackers.

          4. Walter Wit Man

            I guess these are helicopters not tanks.

            Shouldn’t matter anyway because NATO will probably be destroying these shortly.

      2. Valissa

        Yeah, the Good vs Evil boxes must be applied so people will know which side to root for, just like in sports. That is is how the MSM operates and also how almost all blogs operate. It is the familiar paradigm and seems ‘natural’ to most. The concept of multidimensional reality with shades of grey AND the concept that many complex problems in the world have NO (ideal) solution requires the realization that many things in life are morally complex and morally ambiguous.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          But isn’t simply throwing your hands in the air and saying “both sides do it” just as intellectually lazy as someone that automatically assumes one side is good or bad?

          Both are knee-jerk assumptions.

          I, for instance, did not come to this issue expecting to “support” the Syrian government side. I simply think the facts support their side while the other side is lying.

          It’s not even a close call. The West and their terrorist pals have been caught red handed time after time. The media is almost completely controlled so we don’t hear this information and instead we get a bunch of propaganda and group-think telling us this is yet another icident of crazy Muslims tearing each other up and the ‘good guys’, the U.S., will have to come in and save the day.

          1. Valissa

            But isn’t simply throwing your hands in the air and saying “both sides do it” just as intellectually lazy as someone that automatically assumes one side is good or bad?

            Simple answer, yes… but I wasn’t suggesting that. Longer answer… one doesn’t have to take sides, one can observe, reflect and attempt to understand. I rather like this quote from Marcus Aurelius, because it reflects my own attitude these days. I do not expect agreement on this, btw ;)

            You always have the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone. – Marcus Aurelius

      3. jsmith

        As an American citizen I can most definitely say that our government’s involvement constitutes the “evil” side of the equation here.

        All of the wishy-washy hangwringing – e.g., Valissa’s post – is only meant to breed situations where the neoliberals profit through the presentation of conflicts as morally ambiguous and too complex for the “little people” – aka US – to understand.

        Again, if you are an Amerian citizen whose government is ACTIVELY AND FULLY supporting the overthrow of yet another sovereign nation through the creation and arming of rebel parties, then I believe you should think that there is a right or wrong side.

        It is MY country after all.

        This “uprising” has been horseshit from the beginning and to think that I’m choosing sides – thanks, Valissa for your inanity, really much appreciated!! – because of some sort of compulsion to see things in black and white is insulting, infantile and the hallmarks of a neoliberally brainwashed mind.

        Yeah, well…the world is so confusing and grey and complicated and stuff so I guess we’d better let the “grown-ups” take care of such a messy situation, right?

        Oh, you mean the grownups like the Clintons and Obama, Wolfowitz and Bush, Perle and Rumsfeld?


        I am against the expansion of the fascist American empire and the machinations of its fascist allies – I’m looking at you, Israel – as they seek to engulf the entire world in the further unnecessary loss of innocent life.


        If that means Assad crushing the “uprising” in the country he was recently voted to rule in – then so be it.

        Grow up, realize that you live in a fascist empire that is aggressively waging war around the world and come to the conclusion that any setback to said U.S. warmongering is an overall plus for humanity.

        With Syria gone, the clock starts ticking for Iran, with Iran gone the clock starts ticking on the Central Asian republics and on and on and on.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          I thought a full invasion of Syria would have happened by now. They probably hoped to topple the government on the cheap by reusing the Libya playbook and the same terrorist fighters.

          But now I think they plan on doing Syria, Iran, and maybe Lebanon at the same time–probably next spring as they build up the low level fighting and diplomatic effort this fall.

          More precisely, I would imagine an invasion of Syria will provoke an Iranian and Hizbullah response . . . and they are probably within their right to do so. Do Iran and Syria have a mutual defense treaty?

          I also expect China and Russia to go along.

          I imagine the attack will probably come from Turkish forces supported by U.S./British/French air and naval power. Of course the FSA/terrorists/NATO secret ops will also be involved. Iran would get involved (and may even come under separate attack from Israel) to defend against Turkey along the border, and then all the powers will have an excuse to do what they clearly want to do right now.

          And oil will spike again. And then the Middle East will almost entirely be under Western control (as if it wasn’t before).

          Then on to Africa . . . while of course tightening control over the American citizen debt slaves.

          1. jsmith

            Whatever the exact playbook, one can only come to the conclusion that the warmongers in our country have a plan which they will not stop trying to implement no matter the cost in lives or dollars and no matter the potential global catastrophes their actions may unleash.

            I think Russia and China – like the rest of the West – may have thought that the neoliberal empire sh*t was cute and funny at first but I think they are quickly waking up to the fact that the sociopaths that inhabit the highest echelons of American society ACTUALLY believed all the horsesh*t they typed up in documents like PNAC and others.

            I mean Russia and China probably thought – ah, we’ll just wait the U.S. out. Sooner or later they’re going to run out of money and/or resources and then we won’t have to worry about the yanks. They’d never attempt to invade and conquer the entire Middle East aka our backyard.

            Now, I think they might be singing a different tune.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            My comment got eaten b/c of the diapproved links, I’m assuming (it’s hard finding MSM info on this), but the gist of it is:

            1. There is indeed a mutual defense treaty between Syria and Iran signed in 2006.

            2. The revolutionary guard of Iran recently reiterated this year that it supports the mutual defense treaty and will defend Syria if it is attacked. Although I am unable to find a direct link to an Iranian official or an Iranian statement, just an anonymous source. One sees this with news on Syria as well. The media literally doesn’t even allow these countries to respond to accusations. It literally hides their communications with the world.

          3. Valissa

            U.S. buying more helicopters from firm supplying Syria

            War is profitable!

            An interesting theory…
            Why Putin is being so helpful to the US

            Putin is being helpful to the US in regards to Afghanistan because that benefits Russia, and then being obstructive to the US in Syria because that benefits Russia. All the countries do this to each other to some extant on various issues of money and power. It gets complicated trying to unwind these games, with Syria being one of the most complicated cases. There are so many players with differing motives in the Syria wargames.

            How meaningful is that treaty between Iran and Syria I wonder? Treaties are broken all the time when advantage is to be had.

          4. Walter Wit Man

            Russia just repudiated the logical reading of its treaty with Syria, its historical ally; Russia claims it is not obligated to defend Syria militarily.

            Many people do not appreciate that Russia has already gave the entire game away with that concession. Russia is not sincere in stopping an attack and right now the only question is whether Russia vetoes a UN resolution or not (and whether NATO is used instead–which would give Putin cover).

            I disagree with the rationale provided in the Asia Times article–that Russia is cooperating with the West because it shares an anti-terrorism agenda with them and is using Judo on them by suckering them into developing Central Asia. That’s the cover story for Putin. In reality, I suspect Russia has a deal with the West to share resources in the region and is only pretending to support Syria.

            Who knows, maybe Iran will do the same. But Iran seems to have a stronger relationship and treaty . . . and motive to ally with Syria. They won’t make the treaty public, but they signed another version in 2008 or so and I’m assuming it requires military defense in the case of attack. Plus, strategically, Iran and Syria must realize they are stronger if they put up a united front (along with Lebanon). So they have an incentive to go all in at the same time and as soon as the West attacks one of them they would probably benefit from counter attacking as strong as they could.

            Plus, Iran has recently reiterated it is committed to defend Syria if it comes under attack, evidently. I found very few sources for this though, even though I assume it was an official statement. Almost no sources in the West reported it, and the Al Arabiya article didn’t get through the filter here, but it quoted an anonymous source from within the Revolutionary Guard. I was suspicious because the source evidently said Iran does not consider Syria to be under attack by foreign powers as of January 2012. It could have been a bullshit quote to try to drive a wedge between Syria and Iran. Or maybe Iran is getting ready to throw Syria under the bus, like Russia did.

            But interesting to me this most basic information about defense treaties and the state’s official positions is relegated to the back corners of the internet.

        2. Valissa

          “All of the wishy-washy hangwringing – e.g., Valissa’s post”

          I completely understand that many view NOT taking a side as wishy-washy. It is a typical accusation that I am quite used to. Personally I view getting emotionally worked up about something I have no control over as a waste of my time and energy whereas trying to undertand the historical context and current power games quite fascinating. I get that it’s more exciting and righteous feeling for some people to take a side in the drama of good and evil. To each their own, vive la difference!

        3. Claire

          Right, it will be neverending.

          Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya…. now Syria, next it will be Iran. After so many lies, is there any reason to believe a single word spoken by the Western media or any Western politician ever?

          The Western narrative is to portray Assad as a bloodthirsty tyrant and the rebels as heroic freedom-fighters trying to liberate Syria from oppression.

          Isn’t it more likely that we’re seeing the same kind of manipulative propaganda we saw in Libya, aimed at a gullible Western audience, in order to justify another “humanitarian intervention” against the Syrian government, similar to the one we saw against Gaddafi?

          Setting the stage to for regime change in Iran next, and then they’ll no doubt find some other bloodthirsty tyrant to give the “humanitarian” treatment to….

        4. ctcnt

          a. cockburn had percepient article recently about obama’s bedside reading material.. marcus aurelius

    2. citalopram

      The level of paranoia by the oligarchy certainly is interesting. It’s seems to be the clothes are slipping off the emperor.

      All this technology that is at the disposal of the Federal Government is the former East Germany’s wet dream.

  7. Aquifer

    “…drones also have more peaceful applications. Farmers in Japan already use small unmanned craft to spray crops with pesticides.”

    Yep – can’t get much more peaceful than that – unmanned Agent Orange spreaders – gosh, it’s enough to unman you …

    But seriously folks – guess we’ll have to take up golf, what’s the best iron to whack a golf ball with?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      But NOT “unmanned.” They are “manned” in Colorado, n’est-ce pas? The delusion is that if the “manning” is by remote control, then “Man” is not responsible. The Fourth Reich is madder than the Third, because “perfected.”

      1. Up the Ante

        “They are “manned” in Colorado, n’est-ce pas? ”

        That’s an interesting question. Take military pilots, for instance. They go on a combat mission, pop some meth produced for combat missions .. are they now manned airships .. or super-manned ??!

        “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”


        1. enouf


          Go to TedTalkDirector channel on the YouBoob

          View the micro-robotic mindset presented by the individuals ..and their latest “innovations” .. Oh, the Humanity!


  8. Eureka Springs

    A surveillance drone over another countries airspace is equal to an act of war. So why shouldn’t American citizens consider the same act by its own government (without cause and warrant) to be the same?

    The last thing it should ever be called without contempt, scorn and ridicule is “peaceful”.

    1. citalopram

      Yeah sure, but what are we going to do about it? I don’t think guns could reach that far. Maybe we can build our own anti-drone drones to kill them with?

      Imagine what the sentence for that little stunt is. No matter: as long as we’re not willing to risk life and limb it will only get worse.

      1. propertius

        Yeah sure, but what are we going to do about it? I don’t think guns could reach that far.

        Depends on the drone. The “law enforcement” helicopter drone mentioned in the mail article should be fairly easy prey for any competent duck hunter with a shotgun.

  9. Lambert Strether

    On the “rough patch,” yes, this story is still listed in “Most Popular,” but the headline is still “Obama campaign’s erratic behavior concerns some Democrats.”

    Actually, that’s a classic Rovian ploy, since “erratic behavior” plays against the enemy’s strength, in this case Obama’s reputation for being methodical, thoughtful, disciplined, “no drama,” and so forth.

    And let’s remember that headlines are written by editors, not reporters…

    1. TK421

      A bad commercial or a poorly-planned campaign stop concern some Democrats, but assassination of Americans without trial does not. What a party!

  10. Montanamaven

    Re: WV man shot in Montana while writing a book on kindness. Local sheriff said

    “We’re still the wonderful people in Montana we’ve always been, and we’ll get through this,” Meier said. “Things are going to happen whether there’s the Bakken or not.”

    This is what passes for wisdom in these parts and all over ‘Murica. Yup, bad things happen but we are mostly wonderful . Bwahaaaaahaaaa!

    Note: a person writing a book on kindness might irritate me too much like mimes do. But doesn’t warrant a gun shot wound.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      The whole incident sounds a bit strange . . . I wonder if they knew each other or had a dispute of some sort that they don’t want to talk about now.

      Mabye I’m watching too much Breaking Bad . . .

  11. Phil

    Regarding non college educated people working for next to nothing. What do you exepect when millions of ilegals are imported to work for next to nothing? The jobs once done by teenagers are now done by “immigrants”. The jobs once done by undereducated Black and White Americans are not done by immigrants.

    Nobody can demand higher wages and better working conditions when “an endless stream of human ants from Central America”, quoting another poster here, is brought into the country by omission and helped along by political activism.

    The open borders, “immigrant rights” and multicultural apologists are the in-house enemy of the Working Class American.

    1. F. Beard

      The bust brings out the worst in people as it forces us to scramble for a inadequate money supply (including velocity) relative to debt. The solution then is to shrink the debt (a debt Jubilee) or to increase the money supply (a universal bailout of the population).

      There is thus no reason to drag in immigrants, CO2, austerity or the kitchen sink to solve this problem which is excessive debt.

      And it’s no wonder that the problem is excessive debt either when one considers that if one does not borrow then he/she is likely to be left behind by those who do borrow. That’s the logic of a system whereby savers are bypassed by money creation – why borrow from savers when a bank can create money via double entry bookkeeping and government privilege?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Usury was there before modern banking.

        Usury will there after modern banking is gone.

        This clues to some problems deeper, more fundamental.

        1. F. Beard

          Way to miss the point! (But no surprise.)

          I wasn’t speaking of usury but money creation – so-called “credit” – from thin air for the sake of the so-called “credit-worthy” and the banks.

          1. enouf

            let me try;

            MyLessThanPrimeBeef = Man’s heart is at the root of usury (as it fosters/promotes/entices/thrives on power/land/wealth grabbing and self-aggrandizement),

            F. Beard (whilst not in disagreement) = The counterfeiting monetary system in place causes all these extraneous distortions – especially as it pertains to (available) labor forces (no matter where they exist).


      2. Up the Ante

        “And it’s no wonder that the problem is excessive debt either when one considers that if one does not borrow then he/she is likely to be left behind by those who do borrow. ”

        That reads like the theme song to Ambrose Pritchard’s recent piece where the f-word [FRAUD] is studiously avoided While decrying the ‘lack of lending’.

        Part of that is not specifying what type of lending he is referring to. As you prepare to ask Ambrose to be more specific, he has vacated the moment where asking him why the f-word is avoided, every time ..

    2. Walter Wit Man

      It’s the lack of working rights that is harming American workers–not immigrant rights. In fact, we’ve probably taken rights away from immigrants, or made their life more difficult, over the last few decades (although they’ve always been able to get jobs in big business America).

      I agree that there is increased competition for all workers and immigrants are usually willing to be strong competitors at the bottom wages. But immigration would be almost a non-issue, and in fact could be beneficial to America, as long as we had adequate worker rights.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Humans should be allowed freedom of movement subject to reasonable checks.

        You don’t want to see mass migrations though, as they usually happen when something is terrible wrong back where they come from. The solutions should always address the root causes.; otherwise they compound the problems of their hosts. In fact not dressing the root causes, you might make it easier for the looters.

        1. enouf

          … Humans should be allowed freedom of movement subject to reasonable checks. …

          Sorry, but Humans are allowed the freedom of movement (Mobility) and is the true Essence of Liberty and Sovereignty endowed by Our Creator

          is how that should be stated

          Don’t even think about getting me started on Religious Dogmatic adherence and acceptance of Unlawful and Unconstitutional Motor Vehicle Acts and such


      2. citalopram

        And some of these American workers can’t get enough of slaving away for their boss. I can’t count the number of pro-boss sycophants I’ve had the pleasure to work with.

  12. Valissa

    FEC allows campaign contributions via text message,0,7537188.story
    The Federal Election Commission gave the go-ahead Monday evening to using text messages to donate money to federal candidates and committees, a move advocates hope will boost the participation of small contributors and counterbalance the influx of massive donations. [bwahahahahahaha… yeah… right… who believes this shit?]

    In a rare instance of bipartisan agreement, the six-member panel unanimously approved a proposal by two political consulting companies – one Republican and one Democratic – to work with a third-party aggregator to collect donations by text. The decision means that campaigns can begin accepting donations via text messages on cellphones, a potentially lucrative new avenue. …

    “By permitting citizens to make small-dollar contributions to political candidates via text-messaging, the commissioners have greatly enhanced the ability of millions of Americans to make their voices heard in the electoral process,” Engle said. …

    Under the plan approved Monday, cellphone numbers will be capped at giving $50 a month per candidate or political committee – the maximum an individual can give anonymously. Once a mobile number reaches $200 cumulatively for a particular committee – the threshold at which donor information must be reported to the FEC – a campaign can block the donation or request information from the contributor in order to accept it.

    Both m-Qube and the wireless carriers will collect a portion of the donation in fees. [translation=corporations win again]

    What a fucking scam… between the Supremes giving their Citizens United decision affirming the trend of corporate domination of politics and all the super PACs that have ensued, I think/hope most people have wised up about donating to federal candidates (local politics is a different matter).

    For context, I’m reposting this link from the other day…
    What $40,000 gets you in presidential fundraising – High-dollar donations to Obama, Romney bring an array of perks to presidential supporters

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I heard an amazing case yesterday.

      A person was a victim of fraud because he claims a friend used his information to take out a student loan and used him as a co-singer. Well, the servicer doesn’t even have a signature on the document! They evidently conducted a phone interview and there may have been a document with an electronic signature submitted.

      I couldn’t believe this appears to be the servicers typical practice. I would think a notary public would be required to take out that amount of debt as a non-related co-signer. Education debt collectors are allowed to harrass their victims and it seems really easy to entagle someone in this hell.

      1. Valissa

        Some friend! Once upon a time I would have been shocked by a story like this. Sadly, this kind of crap has become all too normal. I try to take heart from the historical fact that all trends eventually crash or die off and new trends eventually arise to counteract them. But that can take a frustratingly long time.

        However, I am surprised about the lack of a notary to verify the co-signers signature. Examples like this show just how dangerous the campaign donation texting idea is. I’m guessing it’s not that hard to fake who a text is from if you got the computer knowhow, and since the dollar amount is not large most folks probably wouldn’t waste time trying to dispute it. Many tiny frauds adding up to very big dollars.

  13. dearieme

    “real haggis”: delicious (McSween’s of Edinburgh is the best one that’s widely available). But a bit spicy for many American palates – like English mustard or British horseradish sauce.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks! I eat pommery mustard on celery and really like horseradish, so this might work for me.

  14. Susan the other

    And speaking of WW2. “Wall Street’s Love Affair with Europe Continues” Christian Science Monitor. The Megas (GS JPM MS et al) are busy buying up Italian and French,etc. bonds still. They will no doubt write CDSs on them until the EU forms a political constitution in self defense – because we aren’t going to make them illegal. Because derivatives take a first position over senior bonds? Love Affair? More like dance of death. Similar to our going to war in Southeast Asia so that the French, British and Dutch could continue to be second-rate imperialists and actually pay us back for helping them out against the Nazis.

  15. Hugh

    Yglesias still shilling for the looters (More QE!) and covering for the Democrats.

    Typed duckduckgo into google to look for its address and nothing happened. Typed in something else and google came right up with its usual listings. The evil google? You decide.

    Brooks isn’t a goof. He plays one in the media. He is a talkingpoints machine. If Brooks is lamenting the ordinary American (the followership) that he always purports to know and speak for, it is because those who feed Brooks his talkingpoints are telling him to. I would surmise that the 1% are feeling insufficiently loved. And their response was to direct Brooks, their everyman propagandist, to chastise the peons for gosh darn it just not being appreciative enough of all the work the 1% put in looting them.

    The thing that scares the Democratic apparatus about Obama’s bad week is the impression of vulnerability it creates. They want to keep the façade of inevitability intact. They think that once the idea that once people get used to the idea that Obama can lose, he will lose.

    Re Charest in Québec, I wonder what his power base is, whom he thinks he is playing to. I have to think that he is playing to some audience. Maybe he is like Nixon going after all the dirty, entitled hippies, or maybe he has retreated to a bunker mentality. I don’t know enough about the politics there to guage who would be attracted by his creepy dictatorialism.

    1. Lambert Strether

      On Charest, I’m probably projecting (Quebec residents correct me) but the situation reminds me of two things:

      1. Madison is not Wisconsin and

      2. Nixon’s great silent majority.

      I think that the rest of the province likes Bill 78 at all. But that’s not to say they support the red square movement. And did you notice that Charest linked the protesters to the separatists? Man, is that ripping open some wounds.

  16. Daily Kos commenter

    A Love Song to Obama

    (Sixteen reasons)

    Why I (why I) love you

    (One) the way you calibrate the kill ratio

    (Two) your laughing eyes

    (Three) the way you bag up body parts

    (Four) your secret sighs

    They’re all part of sixteen reasons why I (why I) love you

    (Five) the way you torture with electric shock

    (Six) your voice so sweet

    (Seven) the way you crush the enemy into rock

    (Eight) your clothes so neat

    That’s just half of sixteen reasons why I (why I) love you

    (Nine) the way you inflict open head wounds

    (Ten) your army of goons

    (Eleven) the way you dispatch the enemy with truncheons and phosphorescent hose

    (Twelve) your freckled nose

    (Thirteen) the way you execute by PowerPoint

    (Fourteen) your tender heart

    (Fourteen) the way your drone strikes splatter the bugs

    (Fifteen) your tender hugs

    (Sixteen) the way you splatter body parts over the street.

    Our love’s complete.

    Those are all of sixteen reasons why I (why I) love you

  17. Cap'n Magic

    CATO’s Mark Calabria:

    Earlier this week University of Chicago Professor Luigi Zingales offered an interesting, although I suspect commonly held, reason for his conversion to supporting a new “Glass-Steagall.” For those who don’t follow banking, Glass-Steagall, passed as part of the New Deal, mandated the separation of investment and commercial banking. This reason? Professor Zingales asserts that Glass-Steagall “helped restrain the political power of banks.” More fully, he argues:

    Under the old regime, commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies had different agendas, so their lobbying efforts tended to offset one another. But after the restrictions ended, the interests of all the major players were aligned. This gave the industry disproportionate power in shaping the political agenda.

    Perhaps I’m just a little slower than the good Professor, but that seems far from obvious to me. Unfortunately he offers no evidence. Recall Glass-Steagall was finally repealed in 1999. I served on the Banking Committee staff from 2001 to 2009, with a year’s break. While I don’t have the best memory, I can recall no major legislation between 1999 and 2009 that either deregulated or gave massive benefits to the largest banks. There were, however, several pieces of legislation that hurt the banks. Highlights include Sarbanes-Oxley, financial reporting requirements under the Patriot Act, and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. None of those were favorable towards banks. You could argue bankruptcy reform in 2005, but its hard to imagine anything beyond that.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      He really is dishonest. First, the formal dismantling of Glass Steagall was not what mattered, it was its dismemberinb before that. You can read Frank Partoy’s Infectious Greed on how regulations were gutted in the 1990s.

      And even if you accept his misleading framing, what about the Commodity Futures Modernization Act? The 2004 SEC waiver that allowed investment banks to attain higher leverage levels? The gutting of SEC enforcement under Bush? Bank of American, JPM, and Wells all getting waivers to exceed 10% of US deposits? I’m not even thinking hard, just doing this from the top of my head.

      And most important, how nothing meaningful was done after the crisis.

  18. Claire

    It’s been said many times before, but apparently we just have to keep repeating the same things, over and over.

    Gore Vidal in an interview from 2006:

    Q: Talk about the role of the opposition party, the Democrats.

    Vidal: It isn’t an opposition party. I have been saying for the last thousand years that the United States has only one party — the property party. It’s the party of big corporations, the party of money. It has two right wings; one is Democrat and the other is Republican.

    1. Claire

      PS –

      It’s interesting to compare this brief interview from six years ago, with the Ferguson interview above, given a few days or weeks ago.

  19. Walter Wit Man

    Another couple busloads of civilians have been taken hostage in Syria. It seems like there is an imminent false flag event on the horizen where these people will be murdered, and then filmed by their murderers, and the film given to CNN and the like while Hillary Clinton goes on television to blame the Syrian “regime.”

    Via this comment at Penny for your Thoughts: The blog has good coverage of Syria.

    It’s also *interesting* to note the way war is being waged now–on youtube. This is about the only place to get the Syrian position and of course right next to the Syrian news video is a link to this rancid propaganda:

  20. Up the Ante

    “While the many anecdotal radiation measurements and reports by members of the public may very well be accurate and important ..”

    Perhaps someone from GlobalDIRT could explain why they hold such a pale candle to the reporting of, say, and ex-SKF ?

    “This data was taken by a Global DIRT assessment team of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. ”

    Japan Nuclear Power Plant Update Page

    “Extreme Humanitarianism” as per Vanity Fair, fallen flat on its face ???

  21. YY

    Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool item is more agitprop with a science disguise. The recommendations 1-4 do not constitute any solution to the problem as presented if the risks are real. It assumes the structure is at great risk of damage/spillage and a seismic event that can cause it will occur. Aside from the general frequency of quakes, a quake strong enough to compromise the pool and the pool structure being such that it would be compromised are givens, without any substantiation.

    1)Assumes total neglect of the issue by those charged with dealing with what is a engineering/technical issue and not an issue of politics. The public actually has not real choice except to witness confusing technical arguments with no clue as to who is being genuine.

    2)Aside from the key word being “If”, what is an international resource? By what magic does an international status give credibility and skills that are required? The last thing we need is a international team of scientists or soldiers who are useless when the issue is construction work.

    3)Contingency plans should be on basis of realistic scenarios. SFP#4 catching fire is not, and should not be, a contingency for which society at large should specifically be prepared. This is plain stupid.

    4)Is the agitprop. This is the switch and bait using SFP#4 danger scenario as bait to activate anti-nuclear politics.
    While entirely sympathetic to leaving nukes to history, this alarmist bullshit is not helpful, particularly if the issue is as specific as SFP#4. I really wish those riding the end of the world wave begin to assess the situation with a little more honesty.

    1. Up the Ante

      “Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool item [as is this comment by myself, YY, and is the agreed upon settings signal of a recent series like the MIT paradigm-flipper that low-level radiation is OK, and of course the recent piece on Israel/Iran signalling that nukes will have to be used like battering rams to disrupt the facilities buried in the mountains] is more agitprop with a science disguise.

      This ‘signalling’ plays like the ad skippy mentions, in this case ‘we’re gonna have to use nukes, we’re gonna have to use nukes ..’ plays over & over, faster & faster ..

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