Links 6/15/12

Wine dress takes to catwalk iAfrica (Chuck L)

Red dot becomes ‘oldest cave art’ BBC

Antibody cocktail cures monkeys of Ebola Nature

Gene may link diabetes and Alzheimer’s, researchers find MedicalXpress (Chuck L)

Communications Privacy Folly Cryptome (Lambert)

Irish Tell Spain To Imagine The Worst In Banking Bailout Bloomberg (Swedish Lex)

Debt crisis: ECB last hope as dam breaks in Spain Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Germany versus Greece MacroBusiness

Long-term jobless figure hits 600,000 ekathimerini. Holy shit.

Greece’s Choice: Bargaining versus pleading Yanis Varoufakis

The End of the World as We Know It Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate (Scott)

Central bankers brace for euro break-up Financial Times

Amerkelca Who is IOZ

ECB Tells Court Releasing Greek Swap Files Would Inflame Markets Bloomberg

U.K. Aims to Mute Impact of European Debt Crisis Wall Street Journal versus King hits panic button Independent and £100BN GAMBLE TO SAVE UK ECONOMY CityAM

New life in China’s property bubble MacroBusiness

Egyptian court rulings seen as reversal of last year’s ‘revolution’ McClatchy

Houla massacre carried out by Free Syrian Army, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung WSWS and a Google translation of the FAZ article (Ilja)

Egypt Court Dissolves Parliament in Soft Coup Bloomberg

The Changing Face of Empire Nick Turse, TomDispatch

Influx of Unaccompanied Migrant Children a Tragedy that Requires Congressional Attention Texas Observer

Sombre Spanish lessons on fighting credit bubbles Sebastian Mallaby, Financial Times. Puts a serious dent in the Geithner “more capital will fix everything” argument.

Stanford Sentenced to 110 Years for Ponzi Scheme Wall Street Journal. If you steal from rich people, you go to jail for a really long time. If you steal from normal people, you get hauled before Congress and called bad names for ten minutes.

To Save Money-Market Mutual Funds, Scrap Them Amar Bhide and Christopher Papagianis, Bloomberg

US groups face $3tn debt refinance crisis Financial Times


Jamie Dimon Redefines Hedging as a Studious Senate Takes Notes Alexis Goldstein, Nation (Michael C)

An Institutional Flaw at the Heart of the Federal Reserve Simon Johnson, New York Times

* * *

Lambert here:

D – 85 and counting*

“More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.” — Woody Allen

Montreal. Happiness: “In my opinion, what we’re experiencing is what philosopher Hannah Arendt, writing on the American Revolution, called “public happiness.” This “public happiness”, this joy that comes from feeling that one is participating in public life, that one is having, perhaps for the first time, an influence on public affairs is both addictive and contagious.” The same was noted by participants in Tahrir Square, Madrid, Zucotti Park, though AFAIK not contextualized with Arendt. Burn-out: If “all of your organizing friends have been MIA for weeks, scrap that forum and have a potluck dinner and reflection session instead.” Hmm…. “Quebec solidaire is also convinced that only a social project can henceforth carry the national project.” Hmm…. “Since the 60s, the dividing line was always that sovreigntist-federalist axis, Quebec vs. Canada, YES or NO. This spring, [t]he Canada-Quebec axis is being erased, a new one, a left-right axis, is taking its place.” FEUQ, after Marois shows the smoking PowerPoint: “All this time, when we were trying to negotiate an end to the crisis in good faith, the Premier was basing his next electoral campaign on the failure of these discussions.” Silent majority: “[CHAREST:] There’s new tolerance for violence, intimidation, civil disobedience [nice blurring]. Some people justify this because for them anything is justified for the cause. Well, that is not what our society is about.” “Thousands of citizens have denounced violence and intimidation — from the government and the police as well as from vandals. And they wear the red square: not to keep people from studying, like Minister St-Pierre suggests, but so that everyone will have access to education.” Police: “One hears all kinds of things, notably of police officers who are hiding their badge numbers. I fear that there might be an excess of confidence, and a feeling that they can act with impunity, among the police — to whom the government have given extraordinary powers — and this will lead to things getting out of control. Already, we have seen flagrant violations of fundamental rights.” “What makes me want to vomit is the fact that access to any site associated with F1 for the weekend was forbidden to anyone wearing the red square. To privatize a public space and treat inoffensive people like potential terrorists shouldn’t have its place in 2012.” Red square: ‘Tattoo artists so far tattooed red square on 88 people. Will get to 100 and call it a night. Will organize a 2nd night. #ggi #manifencours”

CO. D pollster Peter Hart: “[Obama] needs to be out there feeling what they are feeling, a lot of pain, a lot of hurt, a lot of uncertainty.”

FL. Voting: “FL’s latest elections controversy began in the smallest of ways: a five-minute chat a year ago between Gov. Rick Scott and his top election official.” Good history. Environment: “[Environmental regulators and the state] hailed the agreement as a milestone in a decades-long dispute over cleaning up the River of Grass. If approved by two federal judges, it would commit FL to a major expansion of projects intended to clean up storm run-off before it flows into the Everglades.”

IA. Corruption: “Speaking of mixing Regents work with business interests, I am seeking information on why the Board of Regents had its lobbyists register against a bill legalizing raw milk sales.” Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement: “Iowans shouldn’t have to wonder about who [Bruce Rastetter] was representing during these discussions — the Board of Regents or AgriSol. This looks pretty bad.”

LA. Times-Picayune gutting: “What Advance looks like it’s doing here is disinvesting in journalism behind a digital smokescreen.”

MI. “If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?” Emergency Manager Referendum: “[T]he 3-judge panel had stayed its own decision, while all the judges considered whether to rehear the case. On June 14, the other judges said they [did not]. The June 8 opinion says that the petition font really was too small, but that the panel is bound by a 2002 decision that says substantial compliance is good enough.” What is it with the right and fonts, anyhow?

MN. Marriage: “Minnesota-based Fortune 500 company General Mills came out today against the marriage amendment [which] would prohibit LGBT couples from marrying and deny them other rights. General Mills believes this amendment negatively affects their employees.”

MT. Columnist George Ochenski has re-appeared at the Missoula Independent, albeit with a smaller word count.

NY. Fracking: “We’re losing it,” said Sandy Rogers of her community, Bradford. ” … Gas well drilling is the way for us to go.” New York State Breast Cancer Network: “[Carcinogens] are used in the process and so those of us … who have had a cancer diagnosis … do not want to see these substances unleashed in any place in NY. Nobody’s doing the health impact study. Where is the health impact study? [T]he burden of proof is on the industry.”

PA. Fracking: “We thought it might be a good idea to illustrate what 133 tons of chemicals (including 65 tons of unknown chemicals) looks like.” Keen graphics. Fracking and Susquehanna: “In February, Aqua–PVR … bought the 12-acre trailer park. It plans to build a pumping station to withdraw up to three million gallons of water a day from the Susquehanna River, and send that water [to frackers]. … On Friday, June 1, the final day of eviction and the day Aqua–PVR said it would start construction, about 50 persons showed up to blockade the entrance to the park.” Police: “[The wiretapping bill], which was sent to the Senate by a 145-52 vote, would ease restrictions on civilians secretly recording other citizens and expand the government’s ability to tap cell-phone technology.”

RI. “[O]ur town’s state representative [Dan Gordon ] won’t let me see his tweets. Twitter indicates that he has specifically blocked me.”

VA. “If Obama took VA again, he could afford to lose OH and FL, larger swing states he also won last time. Romney will find it very hard to get to 270 electoral votes if he can’t claim VA.”

WI. “[T]he whole “Thomas Frank” line about how Wisconsin workers betrayed their own interests is absurd precisely because it assumes that the Democrats stand for advancing those interests.”

Inside Baseball. Geither sounds out Hillary about replacing him at Treasury: “She listened respectfully and politely.” No doubt.

Policy. Suffering, CDC study: “[G]oing through multiple childhood traumas can reduce a person’s life expectancy by as much as 20 years. Protecting even one child could spare an adult decades of misery, expensive chronic health problems, and premature death. A sidebar … lists ten examples of traumatic childhood events.” Austerity causes or aggravates all ten. Marijuana: “David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps [good stuff!], was arrested after locking himself and twelve hemp plants in a steel cage in front of the White House [to protest] policies preventing the cultivation of industrial hemp plants. [In a] peaceful arrest, police used a chainsaw to open the enclosure.” “COG”: “Continuity of Government planning has arguably already superseded the Constitution as a higher authority.” A trend.

The economy. TNR: “[T]he only way to get more stimulus in the spring of 2010 is if Obama had been laying the political groundwork for several months beforehand—that is, defending the first stimulus and making the case for more. And that clearly wasn’t possible during the all-consuming health care fight.” Walk, chew gum?

The trail. Census data: “[T]wo swing states – IA and NH – have 50 percent or more of their population living in rural areas or small towns. And another six – MI, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI – have [above average] percentages of population living in rural areas or small towns.”

Robama vs. Obomey watch. Thrilloga in Cuyahoga: Both Obama and Romney give speeches on the economy in Cuyahoga, OH. Romney: 18 minutes. Obama: 48. “Reporters were kicked out of Mitt Romney’s talk at the Newseum in DC on Wednesday night. The Los Angeles Times noted that the same thing happened when President Obama spoke to the group at the Newseum in March — making such actions part of a pattern for the Business Roundtable.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood watch. Andrew Sullivan live blog of Obama in Cuyahoga: “2.56 pm. He insists that the only reason we have not made a Grand Bargain is the GOP insistence on protecting the very rich from any tax increases: “the biggest source of gridlock in Washington today.” The 1% can afford a little bit more. The 99% can’t afford any less. So why is trading tax cuts for the rich for social insurance cuts a good idea?

Romney. Money: “Mitt Romney’s official schedule has only one item on for Thursday—a speech in Cincinnati. The Boston-based campaign refuses to put on his schedule any information about where Romney goes to raise money–not even a vague hint, like the name of a state.” Adelson: “A well-placed source in the Adelson camp with direct knowledge of the casino billionaire’s thinking says that further donations will be ‘limitless.’” Worked for Newtie! “A $100 million donation from Adelson is like you giving about $300.” “This is about Likud trying to decide the American elections.” For Israel, it would be “very very very easy to create an October Surprise that would make it a lot harder for Obama to get reelected.” Thrilloga in Cuyahoga, Guardian live blog: “Go and ask a bank owner how Dodd-Frank regulations has hurt lending, says Romney. What do you mean, you don’t know any bank owners?” Not white: Republican Latino site features stock photo of Asian kids in header. Who said it? Mitt Romney or Mr. Burns?

Obama. Barber shops: “Obama had lunch with … two local barbers who are participating in an administration program promoting fatherhood.” Tomasky links, mocks, says “I wish I were kidding.” But IIRC, barbershops are important to black communities (mention). So if Obama’s reaching out to the previously ignored black base (“they have no place to go”) that’s interesting. Obama’s campaign manager: “Messina helped cut the deal with the pharmaceutical industry that cleared the way for the health-care reform law.” Nice. Thrilloga in Cuyahoga: Transcript of the greatest speech on the economy given in the history of the world. Thrilloga, Guardian: “The president did not offer a fresh vision of how he would break through the political logjam in Washington. He simply blamed the Republicans.” Thrilloga, National Journal: “They mostly just ripped on each other’s fixes, and repeated a few old ideas of their own.” Questions unasked by both sides: “Which safety-net [sic. Social insurance!] programs is Obama willing to cut, and how, as part of a long-term debt-reduction deal?” and “What would Romney – who supported the concept of fiscal stimulus in the face of plunging employment in early 2009, though not the stimulus Obama eventually signed – have done differently to pull the country out of recession?” Thrilloga, Pierce: “[Obama] kept coming back to The Deficit. [P]eople out in the country really don’t care about The Deficit. … Why A D president, facing the worst economy since the Great Depression, has wasted so much of his time publicly talking about it … is going to be an subject for historians to chew over for a long time.” Could be sooner! Like when Pierce’s elders start chowing down on Grand Bargain™-brand cat food.

* 85 days ’til the Democratic National Convention feasts on New York System hot dogs on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. In cricket, Agent 85 was played by the great Don Adams.

* * *

Columnist George Ochenski Missoula Independentopinion won’t have to wait much longer to find out.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Richard Kline

    Regarding the cave ‘up-dating’ of cave art in the North of Spain, we can expect such dates to continue to rise as that has been the evidentiary trajectory of the last two generations. The hypothesis that such dates ‘cross the line into Neanderthal times,’ and more tenuously that the earliest art ‘could have been emplaced by Neanderthals’ are sought by some but in my view will in time be disproven. Zilhao, the archaeologist quoted on that, is certainly well-versed in the minituae, and has been the leading proponent of ‘intellectually advanced’ end-stage Neanderthal behavior. I would say that the evidence for earlier arrival of anatomically modern humans in Europe is much under-weighted in present scholarly argument. Dates of 47k years before the present strike me as a better reading of the evidence, but the argument’s a real dogfight. Arrival of modern humans as far west as the North of Spain by 40k BP is a stretch, but not a large one, particularly since the dating of evidence further east has the potential to rise in date as well, just as we see here.

    One man’s view . . . .

    1. tyaresun

      Yes, the white man owns all the oil, all the religions, all the history.

      Yes, anatomically modern humans were roaming the world like savages until they entered Europe and magically became civilized.

      1. Richard Kline

        So tyaresun, if you actually knew what you were talking about, you might have a point. Patently you don’t.

        There is a extensive physical history of rock art in S. Africa, for instance, which predates these finds by c. 50k years. These ae the subject of considerable debate in the relevant fields regarding the cognitie capacity of early modern humans and/or other anthropoids as the source population is not certain. It is a certainty that art and artifacts which would qualify as such were produced continuously between the two time points, and certainly by multiple populations over large areas of the earth. But most of those productions were on plastic and organic matter which doesn’t survive. There are extensive lithic finds and horizons located everywhere outside the Americas which show complex changes over time, and the current hottest dispute in palaeo-archaeology is not what ‘race’ [a pseudo concept if ever there was] to assign such productions to but what genus of anthropoid, a difficult though intellecutally significant issue. The fulcrum of dispute I would raise with the particular finds in question is exactly that, where these produced by Neandertal or modern humans.

        What distinguishes these particular finds is just their survival. Most of the cave art in N. Spain and France survived because it was in caves which became sealed by external subsidence. One can only infer from what materials survive, with obviously the vast bulk of what was generated long since lost. There are strong reason to believe that _cultural_ horizons do, in many cases, spread from point centers. There have been, as I would identify them, at least two vectors of cultural out of Paleolithic Europe into other regions. There were certainly at least two such vectors BACK into Europe: 1] of population and the practice of animal domestication from the Near East into East and South Europe, and 2) of pottery production from NE coastal Asia across Siberia into Eurasia. The ‘whiteness’ of any of those involved in many of these vectors is debatable, supposing one wished to pursue the studies in such matters.

        Seriously, bro, the only ‘latent racism’ in the debate mentioned is in _your_ attitude.

    2. Susan the other

      But you would think that if it was modern human art that the modern humans would have left a trail of art coming out of Africa and into the Middle East and up into Europe. This cave art appears out of the blue in the heart of Neanderthal territory. And the Neanderthals were hunters of those animals. To my thinking the dots and the hands show abstract symbolic thinking, counting etc. Whereas the exquisite animals are direct representations from memory and familiarity. Whoever painted them had amazing talent. Also, those left hands. Like signatures. But they look too fine-boned to be Neanderthal. Or maybe not. Has anyone compared the hand bones? And then poof – this genre of cave art just disappears, simultaneously with the demise of the Neanderthals.

  2. Richard Kline

    It is in no way too strong to describe the actions of the Army junta in Egypt of the last three days as a coup. The implications are major, for that country, the region, and the rest of us. Here is what has happened over the last three days. 1) With the long-time emergency laws expired that had given legal cover to arrest powers and internal governance by the military, the junta simply issued a decree that they would continue to act however they decided to, in effect putting the country under martial law without formaly declaring it as that. 2) The recently elected Parliament had finally, after much difficulty, named a commission to write the country’s new Constitution. The junta dissolved that commission, and has announced it will appoint it’s own commission to draft a ‘new’ constitution. 3) The Parliament recently elected in the first largely free and fair vote in modern Egyptian history has just been declared invalid and hence disbanded by the country’s highest court. While there were longstanding questions about the fairness of the electoral structure (and how not since the process of the election had to be invented largely from the ground up), no one doubts that the outcome was fundamentally fair and representative of the votes cast: this Parliament is what the electorate voted for, by an large. Worse, the Parliament was dissolved suspiciously just two days before a highly disputed Presidentail election is to take place. 4) A majority of the population has been firm that no highly placed members of the former regime should be allowed to stand for high office, and certainly not for the impending Presidency. No matter how many times such individuals have been removed fromt eh process, the regime-appointed courts have managed to shoehorn said apparatchiks back onto the election cards. The do have a considerable electorate, be it said, though clearly not a majority. One such apparatchik is in the runoff for the Presidency, despite that the recent Parliament had specifically passed a law to ban him and his like. No one in their right mind should doubt the fix is in at this point to get the guy in as President, to take the hand off from the junta for business as usual.

    Don’t think that this is going to go over, well, and perhaps at all. We are likely heading for real bloodshed, is my view. While the military aristocracy in Egypt certainly has their own agenda, I don’t doubt that the US has signed off on all of this. Exactly the same thimblerig counter-revolution has already been pulled off in Yemen, with the US going promptly all boots-on-the-ground to murder as many (admittedly crackpot) Islamists there as can be done quickly.

    None of this in Egypt should surprise. Counter-revolution is something that is inevitably tried. Yes, the Egyptian counter-revolution _does_ have a real constituency in Egyptian society, perhaps as much as a third of the population, but even if under 20% still including most of the country’s wealth and nearly all of it’s officer corps. Whether the guys in boots follow that line is something we may well find out. The ‘stolen election’ of Algeria has been cited as the scenario being followed . . . which led to a dirty civil war with over 100k dead, won by ‘the badder guys’ most would say, who are still, rottenly, in power there. The fears of the liberals that no elections could be fairly implemented under military rule are now completely validated. I won’t place any bet on who wins this tussle, but neither do I expect the issue to be settle soon; this is going to play out over years. I don’t think Egypt is going back, but how many people are going to get dead on the way forward is unclear by four or five orders of magnitude. Bad, but historically all too typical . . . .

    1. Roland

      Good comment, Richard. Thank you for writing it–especially for remembering Algeria.

      The parliamentary election in Egypt was more orderly than anyone expected. The overall fairness of the outcome was never in doubt.

      Now a court, full of old regime appointees, invalidates the parliament.

      If you are an Egyptian and you wanted a change of government, what do you do? You tried to vote, then the rearguards of the old regime invalidate your vote. So I guess it’s back to the streets.

      I sure don’t want to hear anybody in the West blaming Muslim fundamentalists if a civil war breaks out in Egypt.

    2. Synopticist

      ” The ‘stolen election’ of Algeria has been cited as the scenario being followed . . . which led to a dirty civil war with over 100k dead, won by ‘the badder guys’ most would say, who are still, rottenly, in power there.”

      Actually, most people would say “the badder guys” were the losers in Algerias civil war, including most Algerians.
      Thats precisielly why there’s been no real Arab spring in Algeria. They know what the Salafists are like when let off their leash.

      1. Richard Kline

        Synopticist, your remarks don’t really have traction on the Algerian Dirty War—because no one does. Radical Islamists went underground, and resorted to terrorism; that is clear, indefensible, and something they have to answer for. Much of the subsequent killing was done by ‘parties unknown.’ The regime certainly ran extensive death squads, also well proven. There are reasons to believe that many of the most odious massacres of the latter stages of that conflict were perpetrated by either regime-connected clandestine militias or regime forces under false flag—because those massacres were inflicted on Islamist-sympathetic communities. I would say you bought the propaganda and false flag fog rather than have a grasp on the bitter complexities of that conflict.

        I’m not defending the insurgent groups which resorted to terrorism in Algeria. That was a terrible and costly decision. The point is that the grotesque regime there left no space for reform, politics, legitimate resistance, and itself killed the majority of those slain in the conflict. The Algerian regime IS THE PROBLEM, everything that has resulted there flows from their corruption. One could argue with regard to the hesitancty of demonstration in Algeria in 2011 the civil war wasn’t the greater fear. The larger fear was that the regime would simply slaughter genuine resistance. The secondary fear was that some factions out front in the Algerian demonstrations were actually running dogs in cahoots with the regime rather than in any way standard bearers for change. Both of these concerns were well-reported in the media out of reform sympathizers in Algeria, so you might bother to cite them with the rest.

        I’ll reiterate the main point: if the Egyptian military moves to implement an ‘Algeian solution’ to popular reform sentiment, the responsibility for what follows rests ENTIRELY WITH THE MILITARY.

      1. Ed

        Its not just Algeria that is a precedent for the counterrevolution in Egypt, there is Burma as well.

        I have to admit that I am becoming increasingly pessimistic about these things. Advances in information technology seem to be helping the despots much more than they are helping the revolutionaries/ reformers.

        There may be some benefit in getting the velvet glove off and the real nature of the regimes out in the open.

          1. Ed

            Take a look at the other comments here re propeganda. But I was mainly thinking about data mining. A dictator can keep tabs on dissidents and potential dissidents while ensuring that the Deep State remains, well, deep. This applies everywhere. Also automation means less reliance on actual people who have to be kept happy or who might defect.

            Tech in some eras shifts the balance of power more to the ordinary public, in others to the despots. This is an era where it is shifting the balance to the despots.

          2. Lambert Strether

            @Ed What I had in mind was that the original Egyptian uprising switched seamlessly between communications technologies and when Mubarak would shut one down they would more to another. That’s why I was looking for examples, because that seems to be a serious model (as opposed to, say, treating Facebook or twitter as an archive or thinking of them as a public utility).

          3. Greg Marquez

            Don’t know about dictators but I suspect that the increase in the ease of manipulating data has made it a lot easier for large companies to steal small amounts of money from large numbers of people. I imagine some bookeeper in some office somewhere manipulating his databases to determine who’ll complain about the “errors” and who wont and target the mistakes accordingly.

            I assume dictators can use that same type of manipulation not just to determine who their enemies are but what areas they live in, turning off electricity or causing traffic jams in strategic areas as necessary.

            The great power of computing and information technology can be used for good or ill…unfortunately, the bad guys usually own better computers.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Pro U.S. propaganda site.

        Simply look down to one of the first places where the author expresses his opinion:

        “The massacres at Houla and Mazraat al Kabir reveal the sectarian logic of the regime stripped down to its elemental barbarity.”

        As we knew even when he wrote that, the U.S./NATO forces engaged in that barbarity, yet this jackass is blaming the regime.

        He’s a propagandist. They are coming out of the woodwork because the killing machine is revving up.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Looking once again I see this guy is using the Juan Cole (confirmed CIA stooge) method of propaganda.

          He’s got the university credentials and the studious tone. And just like Juan Cole, he’s got all these “friends” in the region where the professor gets the inside dope. Bullshit. The professor reads like he’s part of the propaganda team. It’s the same bullshit Juan Cole does all the time.

          The professor loves the fake equivalency tactic. Cole does this all the time on Iran and Syria. He casually states U.S. propaganda, that both sides are equally to blame, (like, “of course Assad/Qadaffy/Ahmenidinajad are evil dictators) and then will quote someone he knows that lives there to make it seem like conventional wisdom. He casually calls the governments of Iran, Syria, and Libya dicatorships or “regimes”, etc., but doesn’t say the same about the U.S. or Israel. Their role is to justify these basic and elemental propaganda memes.

          But Juan Cole pretends to be liberal on other issues and he criticizes the empire a little bit so people give him a pass.

          The professor cited above is probably a fake liberal like Cole too, to further sucker people.

          Fucking lies.

          These are massive war crimes being committed here. This professor is contributing to the violence. The professor’s role is to support the “activist” (i.e. terrorists) claims with a professor’s credentials. There are probably war crimes going on right now with propagandists taking part in ethnic cleansing and murder. These people are aiming propaganda at the American public. Fuck.

          The only question is if the professor is getting duped . . . maybe the *CIA*. “activists” are faking emails to him to lure him to write these things . . . but it reads as being much more intentional.

      3. Walter Wit Man

        And Joshua Landis, from the 5 minutes it has taken me to look at his site, is a hack.

        He’s trying to put on an act of being super informed and citing a number of different sources, but he draws crazy conclusions from these sources or doesn’t even analyze them. Here’s Sharmine Narwani (one of the best reporters on Syria) calling him out, and he even quotes her, but he doesn’t respond to her:

        Sharmine Narwani writes on Facebook:

        “Joshua Landis, please explain yourself: “Syrians have abandoned the regime in spirit, even if they have yet to defect in body. Sunni Syrians continue to go to work and turn up in their offices in the morning, but they hate the Assad regime in their hearts. Assad’s army is being taken over by shabiha and security forces manned by Alawites. The massacres leave no doubt about that.” That’s a HUGE paintbrush you use here – with no evidence whatsoever. Would genuinely like to know how you arrived at this conclusion, when most of my information indicates a massive escalation on the part of armed groups provoking confrontation w/ the army and pro-regime civilians, including expulsion, kidnappings, killings. In May there were more Syrian soldiers killed than “civilians.” I place the word civilians in quotes because we know them to also include armed opposition individuals and pro-regime civilians. Looking forward to your response.”

    3. Walter Wit Man

      Good post.

      But it’s not simply an Egyptian junta, it’s a Western-backed coup.

      Funny we haven’t heard much about the American NGO workers that were arrested for spying. Funny that there were CIA-type training exercises in Egypt for citizen “activists.” [like the liberal AVAAZ/MOVEON groups that may be supporting terrorism]

      This is a U.S. run production. Obama is attacking large parts of the world.

      1. Richard Kline

        So Walter, while my suspicions align with yours, the extent of US involvement doesn’t have evidence in view yet. I don’t doubt for a second that the Egyptian military sounded out the US Administration on this and got a total green light. Just keep in mind that the Egypitan military is a military aristocracy with substantial business interests and its own consituency in that society. They have a real slice of the popultion and their own interests to pursue. Much of this could have been cooked up domestically in Egypt. The real tragedy is exactly that in a free election the regime stooge pulled better than a third of the vote, that is the reality. This is why I hope it doesn’t bleed into violence, it isn’t a corrupt few or a privileged 10% as in Syria but a strata of Egyptian society threatened by change who can be backed into a corner for a genuinely nasty fight perhaps.

        —But we can be sure that whatever the US does in Egypt we well _definitely_ make things much worse; we break everything we touch, the moreso the more we mean to.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          I am coming off more sure of myself than I am. There is a chance this is domestic. Right now, for me, it’s about 10% for this option.

          But the problem is we will never get the all the evidence. The suspects control the evidence. Even the incriminating evidence come from the suspects.

          But I have loosened the standard of judgment here, because of the history of the U.S. conducting these operations and that the U.S. has the ability to control the evidence. I am also bringing in other crimes–something one doesn’t do in court. I am bringing the history with Libya and Syria into account and therefore find it much more likely the U.S. is “guilty” of interfering in Egypt.

          All of this added up gives me a strong hunch the U.S. created last year’s revolution and is also trying to control the counter-revolution. Of course this is very difficult to prove by it’s nature.

        2. Walter Wit Man

          I don’t think that’s true to say Syria is run by a 10% elite (or maybe you were referring to the Christian/Alawite minority?).

          They have a huge civil service (it is more socialistic), but I don’t get the sense that the society is split along these lines . . . until now that is. The West/FSA are trying to split Syrian society and are spreading religious hatred, etc.

    4. Paul Tioxon

      “Blowback, or Impossible Dilemmas of Declining Powers”

      “Blowback is a term coined by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that originally meant the unintended negative consequences to a country of its own espionage operations. For example, if a secret CIA operation led to a revenge attack on U.S. individuals who were unaware of the CIA’s operation, this was considered “blowback.” But these days, many of the operations are not all that secret (for example, the U.S. use of drones in Pakistan or Yemen). And the “revenge” attacks are often publicly avowed. Nevertheless, countries don’t seem to cease engaging in such operations.”


      Diplomacy in the shadow of The AMerican Military Establishment, as per The National Security Act of 1947, and its amended forms, secured the commitment of nation-state allies and clients was the hallmark of American Hegemony. The power of America used to lay in the threat of the use of its military. But in decline, it is the use of the military that appears more often, not that our military is any less powerful in its overwhelming superiority to any number of nations combined, than the previous state of affairs. It is just that it could be counted on to resolve issues without the need for that tactic being summoned, by coming to a meeting of the minds based upon common interests mutually if unequally served.

      Around the planet, the riotous disarray in cities from East and South Asia to the Eurozone to N and S American street protests, student strikes, and direct action initiatives OWS style have roused reactionary politics to force a return to civil order and the quieting of active, loud public dissent. This is due to a decline in power, not only of the USA, but as the core of the core of the global economy, the loss of legitimacy and the loss of a compliant populace to go along with the state of affairs. Not only does the economy falter, and not only does society suffer, but the self organizing principle of working through the conflicting sets of failures to an equitable new state of affairs, where we don’t suffer a loss of decent and humane everyday life is being destroyed by a fallback to the most unstable solution imaginable, the use of police power, military force and fear and intimidation. None of those responses pay the rent, fill the belly or allow people to go asleep at night anything but miserable, anxious and very, very angry. The blowback of violent repression is more social instability, more delegitimization of authority and more dissent fueled by people with less to lose in mindless activism.

  3. fresno dan

    An Institutional Flaw at the Heart of the Federal Reserve Simon Johnson, New York Times

    From the article:

    Mr. Dimon has been an effective opponent of financial reform over the past four years. He remains an outspoken advocate of the view that global megabanks can manage their own risks, and he has stated publicly that the new international rules on capital requirements are “anti-American.”
    But it is also an all-too-accurate reflection of where we stand today with regard to global megabanks and the large, nontransparent and highly dangerous subsidies they extract from the rest of society by being too big to fail.

    The problem is that sensible liquidity support can easily become inappropriate subsidies, particularly when some financial institutions are considered too big to fail. Outsiders will never observe the real-time information on which central banks make decisions, so we need to be able to trust the people running our central bank; otherwise the system will go badly wrong — again.

    The people who run global megabanks get the upside when things go well – they are paid based on their return on equity unadjusted for risk, so they prefer a lot of debt piled on top of very little equity. When things go badly, the downside is someone else’s problem – in the first instance, typically, the Federal Reserve’s.

    As James Kwak and I noted in our book “13 Bankers,” the complacency of the entire Fed system leading up to the financial crisis can be traced in part to the cozy relationship between the New York Fed (headed then by Mr. Geithner) and the Wall Street elite.

    Gee, I would conclude that it is more than a mere governance flaw. I would say the people chosen to run the FED are making the wrong decisions and believe too much that what is good for the banks is good for America…

    1. Lambert Strether

      It’s not “complacency” or “coziness.” It’s looting by criminals (assuming, arguendo, that they have not destroyed the rule of law in furtherance of their greed and lusts). As Hugh would say, they’re kleptocrats.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Here is Syrian Cleric Sheikh Muhammad Badi’ Moussa on television before the massacre:
      “We Ruled It Is Permissible to Kill ‘Alawite Women and Children, but Advised the Free Syrian Army to Warn ‘Alawites before Raiding Their Villages”.

      These are Obama’s terrorists. They are terrorizing the population. The CIA has taken over the airwaves and is beaming in this sick terrorism, sending messages to the people they will be slaughtered. Obama’s terrorist pals are ethnically cleansing Syria and in one case a village of 26,000 has been cleared of Alawite/Christians:

      Obama is engaging in massive terrorism and ethnic cleansing, but is engaging in a psy operation to blame his crimes on others.

      It’s sick.

      1. BondsOfSteel

        Please explain how and why Obama is doing this… these accusations don’t see credible.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Which accusations aren’t credible? That the U.S. is orchestrating it and paying terrorist that are ethnically cleansing neibhorhoods and slaughtering civilisans?

          Did you watch the crazed religious leader given cable access to spread his hate? Huh? Did you watch it? These channels are getting promoted by the U.S. and spreaqd into Syria (Penny for your Thoughts has a nice post on this).

          The accusations that the “regime” conducted the atrocities aren’t credible. That was obvious to people who have been following the details closely. The FSA has been conducting its own “atrocities” from the beginning and blaming it on the rebels. Again, check out Moon of Alabama or a Penny for your Thought. Ten minutes checking these claims will tell you everything you need to know.

          These accusations don’t seem credible to Americans because Americans are victims of propaganda.

          For instance, here’s Wikileaks realeasing purported diplomatic cables that evidently show U.S. support for these terrorists going back to 2006 or so:

          Other reporting also shows U.S. support for these terrorists. Plus, simply look into the video evidence. It’s overwhelming. It shows the U.S. and its media, like CNN, involved in creating propaganda. CNN was literally caught engaging in terrorism–they worked with terrorist to blow up an oil pipeline and then filmed it and then blamed it on the Syrian government.

          No doubt this is a U.S. operation and as such these internet sites (like this one) are filled with scoundrels running interference for terrorists. Your government is committing more massive war crimes.

          You paid for that crazy cleric to terrorize people.

        2. Walter Wit Man

          Here’s a quote from the WaPo story I cite above:

          “The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables.

          The London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria as part of a long-standing campaign to overthrow the country’s autocratic leader, Bashar al-Assad. Human rights groups say scores of people have been killed by Assad’s security forces since the demonstrations began March 18; Syria has blamed the violence on “armed gangs.”

          Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified U.S. diplomatic cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria. . . .”

          1. Walter Wit Man

            And here is an example of involvement by a liberal group, Avaaz:


            Instead of giving money to Avaaz or MoveOn (or the Democrats for that matter), you might as well save yourself the trouble and put a bullet directly through the head of some Middle Eastern kid. Might as well be honest.

            Fucking murderous Democrats.

            Same goes for the media that is bringing about another war.

            And fuck you online goons running interference. I hope the money is worth it–to spend your days as an online warrior as your finks terrorist brothers slaughter innocent people in Syria.

          2. BondsOfSteel

            My finks? Peace brother… I’m only interested in facts, not some online campaign or whatever.

            I think you’ve shown that the US has secretly been backing Syrian opposition groups since 2006. You haven’t shown that all the violence is tied to these groups. The regime is doing a lot of shooting too. Personally, I don’t know a lot of what’s going on in the country and I’m concerned over the lack of access for the press and UN monitors.

            Most importantly, you haven’t shown this is an Obama specific thing, or something that’s specific to ‘F**king Democrats’. What bothers me is the attempt to make terrorism a partisan issue. We’re better than that.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            I’m sorry BondOfSteel for saying they are “your” finks. I shouldn’t have personalized it.

            But Obama is the president and runs the executive branch it is responsible for these secret wars.

            I’m convinced Obama is waging war against Syria. It is not credible to argue that domestic ‘activits’ put down protest signs and picked up RPGs, sniper rifles, and advanced weaponry and successfully killed thousands of police and army troops and waged a widespread media war and terror war. The U.S. runs the show. There is no funded opposition without U.S. approval. And Israel. The Gulf states or Turkey would not do this without U.S. approval.

            The controlled press will hide the truth, of course. This has long been the case. Like with Iran back in the 1950s. Or Guatemala. The U.S. has a long history of secretly meddling and lying to its people. Hell, the WaPo reported there are over 100 secret wars the U.S. is waging. Obama increased these more than Bush.

            All the circumstantial evidence points to the U.S. attacking Syria (and Iran, but less brazenly so far), but it’s almost impossible for its citizens to ‘prove’ this conclusively.

            If there is smoke here there is most likely fire here. The U.S. has lost the presumption of innocence and the burden should shift.

  4. p78

    “Renegotiation of Greek bailout would be dangerous, says Weidmann”
    Friday June 15, 2012 (09:06)

    “The new Greek government that will be elected on Sunday is bound by existing agreements and if it decides to unilaterally opt out of the program, that would mean the end of further financial help to Athens, says Bundesbank President, Jens Weidmann, in an interview with Kathimerini. He calls a one year extension of the program a “political decision” that would have detrimental consequences for the EU, and adds that one must not be blackmailed by a country because of the contagion effects.
    In the interview jointly conducted with Corriere della Sera, El Pais and Publico, Dr. Weidmann dismisses the Obama administration’s pressure on Berlin to follow a more expansive policy in order to boost growth.”

  5. Lloyd C. Bankster

    Re: Jamie Dimon redefines hedging

    Yeah, we’ve found a new and improved version of proprietary trading. It’s called portfolio hedging.

    A few cynics, like Alexis Goldstein (notice none of them are US Senators and none work for MSM), anyway, one or two Cassandras say this allows banks to gamble and keep all the money if they bet right, however get a taxpayer bailout if they bet wrong.

    What these idiots fail to understand is WE ARE THE JOB CREATORS!

    Portfolio hedging is hard work and all gains go to the Job Creator Fund, creating millions of jobs for Main Street.

    Which reminds me, if you haven’t donated yet to the Job Creator Fund, make your check out to:

    “Blankfein/Dimon Job Creator Fund”, Goldman Sachs c/o Lloyd Blankfein, 200 West Street New York, NY 10282.

    Or you could mail your check to my assistant: Senator Crap, 239 Dirksen Senate Building Washington, DC 20510, but don’t make it payable to that shithead, make it payable to “Blankfein/Dimon Job Creator Fund”.

    (Er, I meant Senator Crapo, dammit, I’m so used to calling him “hey shithead” on the phone, sometimes I forget)

    Also, if you haven’t donated by July 1st, 2012, expect a visit from Homeland Security, just as a friendly reminder.

  6. Jim S

    I caught a wiff that Houla was an FSA propoganda operation a little while ago, but couldn’t find anything substantial, so the FZA article is particularly interesting to me. If you were to search for “Fake Free Syrian Army” you would run across claims that the FSA is clearly engaged in false propoganda (be warned that one of the sites the search will lead you to is not very pleasant). Conducting a real massacre for false propoganda purposes is another matter, but, if Al Qaeda is involved, not at all out of the question.

    Maybe I missed it in links, but the Russian Army seems to be preparing to match US Army deployments into the region as per a story on the 12th (also noted on

    1. Walter Wit Man

      “Match” is not the right word.

      The U.S. has regular military advisors in Jordan preparing for war (in addition to it terrorist forces already operating). They also have ships in the Med.

      Russia has done a few routine things, being that Syria is an ally and they have a contract to house their naval base there. But it is not preparing to defend Syria.

      In fact, the West refused to report this, but it said it will not honor the treaty it has with Syria and it will not defend Syria militarily.

      I too recommend a search for “fake FSA” but one is better off starting at b’s site, Moon of Alabama, or Penny for your Thoughts, and the sites they discuss.

      1. Jim S

        I would not be surprised in the near future to read of a more substantial US deployment, beyond the hundreds already in Jordan, to participate in peacekeeping operations after Assad is removed from power. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine Russia also participating in peacekeeping whether it’s invited to or not, much as it did in the Balkans. Movement of forces into the region need not be interpreted as preparation for all-out war…

        1. Walter Wit Man


          I get the sense Russia is positioning for after the government falls.

          Most stories exaggerate Russia’s military maneuvers as if they are threatening to defend Syria from attack. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was simply putting a few extra troops there to guard their naval base and any other assets there.

          Don’t know about the Peacekeepers . . . forgot that was part of the first version of the New Democrats New Wars (the Balkans) . . . wonder if they keep that around this time or go for an Iraq or Afghanistan style occupation.

  7. MontanaMaven

    Thanks for the link to Manuel Johnson’s piece on Quebec.

    This “public happiness”, this joy that comes from feeling that one is participating in public life, that one is having, perhaps for the first time, an influence on public affairs is both addictive and contagious.”

    This is what they, the Party Poopers, tried to snuff out in Madison. This is what they shut down in Zucotti, Boston, Denver, etc. But it has not been put down yet in Quebec. It is what David Graeber calls “Festivals of Resistance”. Bang those pots.

    1. Hugh

      Each individual is the judge of their own happiness. Basically, our elites have ceaselessly propagandized and indoctrinated that consumption is happiness. What they seek to snuff out in us whenever it arises is the happiness that comes from being politically active and productive. That promotes an independence and autonomy among the masses that is anathema to the elite and their power.

  8. Hugh

    Re Egypt, some of us at the time caught heat because in the jubilation with the Tahrir Square movement and at the end of the Mubarak regime, we were warning that the military with its Mubarak appointed leadership were not the saviors of the revolution, that their abandonment of Mubarak was to preserve their own positions, and that the likelihood was that they would hijack the revolution. The coup as it were took place when the general corps was kept intact and left to manage the “transition”. What we see today is the coup being finalized and made public.

    The Egyptian people put their faith in their military. A free people should never put their faith in their army, but in themselves.

    1. Lambert Strether

      The Egyptians achieved their goal, which was, exactly, that Mubarak leave and be replaced by the military. We’ll see what goal they set this time; “We know the way to Tahrir Square.”

      (However, IIRC, there has been a change in the editorship at Al Jazeera, so the sourcing for whatever is to come might be quite different…)

      1. Hugh

        I think the Egyptians wanted an end to Mubarakism, and they had a romantic view of the military and its role in the Egyptian state. They thought the military were the defenders of the Egyptian people in all senses and not the clique riddled with corruption and Mubarak cronies it, in fact, was and is.

        On another note, I had trouble accessing corrente yesterday but had seen that you were asking about the name of a Pakistani youth killed in a drone attack who had talked with reporters shortly before this happened. I think you were looking for Tariq Aziz sometimes referred to as Tariq Khan:

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A new life in China’s property bubble.

    Are we talking about one of those ‘vampire bubbles’ here?

  10. Neo-Realist

    Re: Greece’s Long Term Unemployment.

    At least TPTB should be grateful that the citizens have not taken it upon themselves to hang the politicians and bankers the way the Italians did to Mussolini.

  11. bmeisen

    Steal from rich people…

    Listening to Dimon recently taking questions from analysts I asked myself if the chatty tone, inlcuding Dimon’s gritty apology, could have occured in any other culture. My answer: no. It’s American, above all its effortless presumption that even if the tone were different elsewhere it should be like ours because our way of talking is friendly, it’s democratic, is market-oriented, and the money that is spilling out of our pockets is spilling just a tick slower than the money we’re stealing out of yours.

    The notion that any of these guys earned their gazillions is laughable. Consider the current gov’t: the defense budget is 700 billion. A couple hundred thousand grunts get diddly. Where does the rest go?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      re those cannon-fodder “grunts” — see: on You Tube:

      “Anthem For Doomed Youth – Wilfred Owen – Kenneth Branagh” (by tediousoldfools 3 years ago) — AND other “war” poems by Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, MC (18 March 1898 4 November 1918), the finest poet of his time, who died very young in the “war to end all wars” for the .01% “Nobility” old geezer vanity.

      Jesse’s Cafe Americain was kind enough to lead us to this treasure trove of lyric beauty, by posting a Wilfred Own poem in print at his site on 13 June 2012, together with the YouTube frame showing Branagh reading Owen’s “The Parable of the Old Men and the Young.”

      When will young men and women wise up to their folly, enlisting in wars military and financial, in order to be “sacrificed” on the bloody altars of their treacherous “fathers?” This is the Longest Con on the face of the earth.

      1. Lambert Strether

        If enough young people in our own country hadn’t wised up, there’d still be a draft. I don’t think having a Praetorian Guard in embryo is an unalloyed good, but it’s better, I think, than military service for millions.

    2. Synopticist

      Even in The UK, DOMINATED by the City, Jamie Dimon wouldn’t have had his ass licked as clean as he did in Washington the other day.

  12. Jeffred

    600,000 unemployed in Greece? Here’s an idea.
    Why not
    import millions of uneducated Turks into
    Greece who are willing to work for next to nothing.
    Why not give them amnesty and Greek Citizenship?
    Wouldn’t that help the average Greek? Would that
    help the unemployed and underemployed Greeks? Would that
    help the Greek healthcare system? Make rents more affordable in Greece?

    Of course not. It would help destroy Greece.

    So why in hell does importing millions of Central Americans, [Mexico may be geographically in North America, but culturally it is not], into the U.S. help the average American, especially the unemployed, underemployed and those who cannot afford to rent a home?

    The open borders advocates and handwringing multiculturalistas are the enemy of the average Working American.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      But, but that helps the Vatican + Bush Dynasty Global .01%+ their .99% Agency to Occupy America for the Global 1% Holy Roman Reich IV “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII.”

    2. F. Beard

      The question you should be asking is why inexpensive foreign labor does not help ALL Americans? Why automation does not help ALL Americans?

      The answer is that the real capital in the US is narrowly owned and the reason for that is banking which allows the few, the banks and the so-called “credit-worthy”, to steal purchasing power from the rest of the population.

      “The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.” Lord Acton from

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Wealth inequality was here before modern banking.

        Wealth inequality will be here after modern banking is gone.

        If you think the deeper problem is spiritual in nature, you are closer to a fundamental solution.

        1. F. Beard

          The problem is not wealth inequality but UNJUST wealth inequality.

          At the very least, banks should be completely private businesses with NO government privileges and vigorously prosecuted for fraud and insolvency.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In any case, the spiritually inclined see the problem as one spiritual in nature.

          2. enouf

            Doesn’t “Inequality” imply “Injustice” ?

            I fear you might’ve read his comments as;
            Unequal Wealth Accumulation was here before modern banking. ….

            So allow me to fix this for all concerned…

            [Unjust] Wealth Accumulation was here before modern banking. …

            Wudda-ya-think? You guys decide ;-)


          3. enouf

            @ MLTPB

            I concur; however .. we’re a long way off yet from solving it that way, IMHO…. that’s not to say it ain’t worth trying ;-)


      2. Devon

        Nicely put and I can’t disagree with you. However, the lever is being manulated by the .01% against the 99%. The “immigrants” are the fulcrum. Why are some of the 99% clamoring for more fulcrum?

    3. Devon

      Newsflash: Obama has just added 800,000 new competitors to the legal job pool to compete against unemployed Americans, to apply for welfare, food stamps,
      college scholarships and other public benefits to and including earned income tax credits and per child payments.

      What a fraud this guy is.

      1. lambert strether

        The country is more than rich enough to handle that and turn it to advantage (“nation of immigrants”). With the caveat that sane people are in charge. Oh, wait…

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Fraud is right, Devon. Obama’s ‘not-amnesty’ order is a thinly veiled recruitment method for military cannon fodder.

        From NYT: “It bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the ‘DREAM Act,’ congressional legislation that would establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who attend college or join the military.”

        Hey, undocumented aliens who for some strange reason can’t afford college or can’t get usurious loans, can always join up. It’s almost always sunny in Afghanistan.

        1. Lambert Strether

          With Obama, the question is no longer “Is it fraud?” The question is “What kind of fraud?” Romney answers “What kind” in a different way, of course.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Oldest cave art.

    There are some who believe in everyday objects as art. In that case, there must be stone tools in caves that are older than that red dot.

    The elite, the 1% want you to believe that everyday objects are not art.

    If that’s what you think, then you won’t see the million year old art objects that are right there in front of you.

    1. Valissa

      So true! And of course it’s common to project modern values back on the past.

      It’s all a matter of perspective

      Modern trends

      Some things never change, Part 1

      Some things never change, Part 2

  14. Lambert Strether

    If someone from Quebec would correct me, that would be great, but am I the only one who thinks reviving/reheating the separatist project under the leadership of the PQ is suspiciously similar to the WI recall? (That is, is the PQ a “roach motel” for progressive energy?)

    Heavily, heavily caveating that projecting US political narratives onto other countries can #FAIL an awful lot of the time.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Is there an election coming? When Obama says “this is the right thing to do”, he now sounds like a fox talking up the welfare of the poultry.

      Like the Nightmare Act this is even more tightly aimed at military cannon fodder, because of the explicit age targets.

      From NYT: “It bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the “DREAM Act,” congressional legislation that would establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who attend college or join the military.”

      Do you suppose O is offering grants for college for recruitment-age aliens who can’t get usurious loans? No? Well, at least it’s sunny in Afghanistan.

  15. Economystic

    NOMI PRINS was a guest on DNow yesterday:
    But on a wider point, JPMorgan Chase benefited from two very big things that Senator Merkley didn’t even mention, which was that they achieved an acquisition of Bear Stearns, for which the government is still backing to the tune of $29 billion of guarantees for the assets in that acquisition, and it received some very favorable terms, and in negotiations, to acquire Washington Mutual. So, the result of that entire period was for JPMorgan to have emerged, by the help of so many things that Merkley mentioned as well as the two things I have just mentioned, to become the largest bank in the United States. So for him to sit there and say, “You know what? No, this was all just because I was really good, and it was—I was taking one for the team on Wall Street; otherwise—you know, they arm-twisted me. You know, they had a gun to my head. I couldn’t help it; I had to take the money,” is absolutely ridiculous.

  16. anon48

    Re: Debt crisis: ECB last hope as dam breaks in Spain

    I’ll take issue with one point, that most economists seem to support, regarding the level of firepower the ECB still has in reserve.

    “There are no such constraints on outright QE or money printing by the ECB, in extremis. Monetarists say the bank should buy the bonds of all EMU states to lift the entire region and prevent debt-deflation taking hold in the South.”

    So they can print to an infinite sum of currency, inhibited only by potential inflation expectations? I’m not convinced. Maybe more true for the central bank of an actual nation state. But doubt the same holds for an ECB not supported by the legal, regulatory and enforcement arms of strong national government. The comparison is obviously flawed because the ECB DOES NOT have the credibility of having weathered a prior crisis where the people pulled together or were forced to suffer the consequences until national financial stability was restored.

    To me history has shown that people of a nation are usually stuck together when economic calamity strikes, because its perceived that there’s no other viable option short of revolution…unless the state in question is not really a single state more akin to a federation , such as the Soviet Union, CSA, etc.

    I seem to recall that while that many of the debts of the old Soviet Union were assumed by Russia that may have had something to do with the fact that Russia was the master of that Union. On the other hand, my recollection is that the CSA debts outstanding at war’s end were not honored. In the end, the currency of the CSA didn’t just inflate but instead, totally disappeared, and the value of its debts just evaporated.

    So it seems to me, that when international financial traders ( currency, securities, commodities, whatever) whom have the best big picture view of all possible political, economic and financial variables that can be analyzed, begin to see serious indications that call into question the level of debt the ECB has taken on or the EU’s continuing existence, they will connect the dots and immediately pull the trigger on trades creating a stunning crash in the EURO. What EU member state would be willing to make an all-in bet with their nation’s financial life’s blood? Consequently, isn’t the real risk during an uncontrolled unwinding of the EU, not of just of currency inflation but of total currency evaporation? With no credible backing , the EU’s decline in value could occur more quickly and precipitously than Wile E Coyote dropping over the edge of a cliff after being fooled again by the Road-Runner.

    I don’t believe it’s possible to know the ECB’s actual tipping point, especially with all of the political uncertainty. It clearly doesn’t have the history or staying power of the FED. But for economists to assume that it does and recommend that the ECB print to its heart’s delight, is totally irresponsible. And the so called German intransigence that prevents a “lend or print at all costs” ECB strategy from actually springing into action, may not be so evil after all.

    1. Jim

      anon, I agree with you.

      But I also understand why a Europhile would argue that the ECB could save the Eurozone. And he says this because that’s the only, remote though it is, way out.

      Clearly, Germans don’t want fiscal transfers to southern states. And it’s obvious that austerity won’t restore access to the bond markets for the peripheral nations.

      So you’ve got to play the card you’ve been dealt.

  17. virgin meet volcano

    In cheery news: The next Universal Periodic Review cycle will be pushing for Rome Statute accession in all reviews. The next ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, stands for universal adoption of the Rome Statute – for equal justice under law – and till that happens, for UNSC referrals for crimes of concern. So when cowardly posturing BMD commanders like Bush and Obama try to weeweewee all the way home to get criminal impunity, their successors might just have to cast a veto, exposing the CIA as a bunch of chickenshit weasels, the troops as a travesty of bullshit honor, and the president as a pathetic puppet. Or else our future president can just sell perfidious condescending snool Barack Obama down the river. Hmm. That above-it-all act, that contempt for anybody with integrity: Obama’s a born scapegoat. Cmon President Jeb, you know you want to.

  18. TMC

    Sen. McCain gets it:

    McCain: Adelson funding Romney Super PAC with ‘foreign money’

    “Senator and Romney presidential campaign surrogate John McCain (R-AZ) said Thursday that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is indirectly injecting millions of dollar in Chinese “foreign money” into Mitt Romney’s presidential election effort.

    “Much of Mr. Adelson’s casino profits that go to him come from his casino in Macau, which says that obviously, maybe in a roundabout way foreign money is coming into an American political campaign,” McCain said in an interview on PBS’s News Hour. “

      1. TMC

        I would suspect both. Which makes me wonder whatever happened to the FBI investigation of Rep. Michael Grimm’s campaign finance violations and possible bribery charges

    1. enouf

      again usual – the missing operative word(s) are missing – you know, ones like;

      – Illegal
      – Unlawful

      … we get it pundit-pumpkin-heads …

      But hey, we can’t even get pundits, or politicians to call each other outright LIARS … Rule of Law is not only drowned in the bathtub, it’s already in the septic tank.


  19. TMC

    Blocked from viewing Tweets? Simple solution, create another account. I have several so I can view the Obama Lovers who block me when I tell them the truth about the president. I Love Twitter

    1. TMC

      Of course, the Court is packed with Mubarak appointees who want the status quo and are scared to death of the Islamic Brotherhood. That said, the Egyptians, like Americans, face little choice for president: a fascist with guns or a fascisat with god. ugh

  20. Walter Wit Man

    Are Westlaw and Lexis Nexis a monopoly? Why aren’t legal decisions a public good available to all over the internet?

    My local law library shuttered its doors and Lexis Nexis just sent out an email to interested parties offering its services instead.

    How much would it cost for the government to run this? Much less than these firms are making, that’s for sure. They have to be making a killing.

    Yet another example of how capitalism is failing us. Only a few wealthy people can access this public information.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      The Lexis-Nexus Monopoly putsch for private profiteers began in – when else? – the 1970’s. Just one more “barrier to entry” so the People remain ignorant. Same with many “professional journals” — only those on the Corporate/Academic payroll have access to the info. Nice that the Corporate/Academic subscription is “tax deductible.” They have “information fascism” worked out to perfection, and it has been going on for a long, long time.

    2. enouf

      The massive Databases; LexisNexis, ChoicePoint, Acxiom either would put the older NSA DBs to shame, or are still working in conjunction with them — they were put in place (ofcourse listed as Private Institutions when really they are funded and accessed via Gov’t (surreptitiously) which steals our money to spy, track our every movement/transactions, surveill us, to keep us nice compliant consumers) that Gov’t, as they do so often can go and access OUR “private” info, because it’s illegal for them to have such DBs of its “Subjects”.


  21. Susan the other

    An Institutional Flaw at the Heart of the Federal Reserve. Simon Johnson. The appearance of conflicts of interest. Is that all? What about the complete refusal of anyone associated with the Fed or its regulators to open up meaningful investigations into securities fraud? Also what do all the erudite experts think about the public? Do they agree with the TPP clause preventing any national government (i.e. the application of any public law) from sanctioning dangerous financial transactions and services? I mean really. The Fed and everyone associated with it are dedicated to the socialization of losses. It is true that if it weren’t for the Fed and Bernanke, we would all be much worse off. Maybe the best adjustment would be to abolish congress and put representational democracy under a branch of the Fed. All anyone expects is accountability and fairness as opposed to fraud, secrecy and exploitation.

  22. ambrit

    Mr. Strether;
    Sorry, but sane people ARE in charge. They just don’t happen to be well endowed with Ethics or Morals.

  23. Walter Wit Man

    Meet, Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the main source of information about events in Syria for the Western media.

    Wait, he’s not just the head of the Syria Observatory for Human Rights, he’s the only member, and runs its operations out of his apartment in London. He gets all his “scoops” from unverified telephone calls from activists 3,000 miles away. He says he will not leave his London apartment and return to Syria until Assad is gone.

    How brazen can they get?

  24. fucking yourself

    Wonderful website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get suggestions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Kudos!

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