Links 9/12/13

Man Wakes Up from Surgery, Realizes He’s Married to a Beautiful Woman Gawker

Anatomy of a Tragedy Texas Observer (Patient Safety Blog)

New satellite imagery indicates that North Korea may have restarted a plutonium reactor Gawker

Italian bank funding more fragile that it looks FT Alphaville

In Spain, simply doing nothing is not an option! Ed Hugh, Credit Writedowns

Catalonia independence rally draws more than 1 million McClatchy (Lambert)

Dispute with ECB: European Parliament Delays Banking Union Vote Der Spiegel

Romantic Germany risks economic decline as green dream spoils Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Some readers were dismissive of a Michael Klare piece yesterday in which he reported on a DoE forecast that anticipated the US would still be heavily dependent on fossil fuels in 2040. This piece discusses how the German effort to produce 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2035 is going off the rails.

Brussels probes multinationals’ tax deals Financial Times. This is gonna be FUN!

Scenes from a Crackdown: What Really Happened in Cairo? New York Review of Books


A Plea for Caution From Russia Vladimir Putin, New York Times. Google the article title if you need to get past the paywall. This is remarkable, potentially a historically important piece, and a striking contrast with Obama’s speech.

Obama Blinked Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

US struggles show hazards of chemical weapons destruction Guardian. Discusses the status of America’s chemical weapons stockpiles…or at least the ones we said we’d destroy by 2012.

Kerry and McCain’s Source for Moderate Syrian Rebel Claim Fired for Fraud DS Wright, Firedoglake. Wow, I thought everyone knew O’Bagy was a propagandist for the rebels.

Journalists Grope Blindly Around Syria CW Destruction Without Discovering Need for Ceasefire Marcy Wheeler. Read to the end. Marcy nails the real reason why the Administration has such antipathy for the Russian proposal.

Syria – Cui bono Part Three – Europe and the USA Golem XIV

I’m departing from my normal practice and am including a video as a link because it’s an important follow on to the post yesterday “Why Does John Kerry Still Have a Job?” It’s hard to appreciate how terrible a job Kerry is doing based on insider accounts. This clip from September 10 might give you more of a feel:

As Lambert wrote when I sent it to him:

Wow. That’s astonishing. Kerry’s acting like he’s a forty-something under-secretary of something-or-other, not an elder statesman of the party and a Constitutional officer. I’d use this to call Obama’s judgment into question; now that his political team has left to cash in, nobody’s protecting him from himself.

No wonder Kerry’s nomination sailed through; “When your enemy’s drowning, throw ’em an anvil.”

Congressional Vote on #Syria Whip Count, Sept 11 – Bombing for Peace Jane Hamsher. The place I saw the Kerry clip, plus get a load of the updated whip count. 14, count ’em, 14 Congresscritters becoming MORE negative in the wake of Obama’s speech and Kerry’s efforts at browbeating persuasion, and only one moving the other way. And Shelby saying he will “firmly oppose” the use of American military in Syria is a big deal. The only moves in Obama’s directions are Diane Feinstein walking back her statement in support of diplomacy a tad to now push the Administration fallback, that a resolution authorizing force if Assad doesn’t perform to the US’s (no doubt unreasonable) standards will put the strikes back on, along with Heidi Heitkamp shifting to support McCain’s AUMF finesse.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans’ data with Israel Guardian

Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Why I said ‘no’ to the Midway deal Chicago Tribune. Mirabile dictu, it appears the bad press about privatizations is impeding card-carrying members of the Hamilton Project from enriching Big Finance.

Yahoo CEO Mayer: we faced jail if we revealed NSA surveillance secrets Guardian. Oh, come on. All it would take is 3 big compnmay CEOs defying the NSA tout ensemble. All of Corporate America outside maybe the military industrial complex would rally to their defense, and more important, enough would threaten to withdraw campaign funding to force a climbdown.

Spitzer loss: Rich Manhattan Democrats vote their class interests against bank regulation Lambert Strether

The Import & Impact of Glaski v. Bank of America StopForeclosureFraud

Occupy Finance the book, coming out next Tuesday (#OWS) mathbabe

The Emerging Left in the “Emerging” World: Introduction Jayati Ghosh, Triple Crisis

Whistleblower sues Morgan Stanley over ‘harassment’ Financial Times

California city backs plan to seize negative equity mortgages Reuters (Lisa Epstein)

US mortgage rout deepens MacroBusiness

New York Regulator Sees Abuse Increasing Under New Insurance Rules New York Times. Go Lawsky!

Annals of ignoble cowardice, Second Circuit edition Felix Salmon. A very useful piece, particularly if you have gone into MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) on the Argentina default rulings and want to catch up and read something accessible.

Embracing Wynne Godley, an Economist Who Modeled the Crisis New York Times

Economists supporting Janet Yellen James Hamilton, Econbrowser. Sign the letter!

The economic ideas of Ronald Coase VoxEU

Antidote du jour (Scott):

Screen shot 2013-09-12 at 3.24.59 AM

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  1. kimyo

    heinberg on bartlett:

    Al Bartlett accomplished a lot in his 90 years—inspiring thousands of students, helping shape Boulder, Colorado’s development policies, and providing the word sustainability with a meaningful definition. But he was best known for The Lecture. In an hour, using simple arithmetic and irrefutable logic, he explained why steady, compound growth—the kind of growth that we have come to take for granted in populations and economies—is inherently unsustainable and must inevitably lead to a crash.

    more here:

    1. Screwball

      Thanks for posting this, I would have probably missed it.

      Dr. Bartlett’s “lecture” is great. Some have called it “corny” but I would call it a “must see.” Perhaps this news will enlighten a few more.

      RIP Mr. Bartlett, thanks for all you have done.

    2. Walter Map

      It takes no great insight to realize that infinite growth is impossible in a finite world. But thank you for the links on Dr. Bartlett.

      Humanity very much resembles a bacterial colony that is overgrowing its petri dish. Assuming it manages to avoid other forms of catastrophe, I expect that in less than 200 years civilization will get crowded off the planet by people named Duggars.

      And I will get no pleasure in saying I told you so.

      1. Screwball

        “It takes no great insight to realize that infinite growth is impossible in a finite world.”

        While I agree with your statement, quite a few living among us need a kickstart in that direction. Dr. Bartlett was one of the kickers. We need all the help we can get and I salute him in his attempt. If his death helps the message to reach a few more, we are all better off.

        Godspeed Dr. Bartlett.

        1. Eeyores enigma

          It was oil that fed the petridish allowing growth to go exponential.

          Now that we have come up against a wall of constraints TPTB are pumping in money instead and all it has done is create a false sense of growth keeping us from addressing the constraints guaranteeing an even greater collapse.

          It seems pretty certain we will get on of the other solutions that the great Dr. Bartlett mentions.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think we have to hear from the other side, the ‘go forth and multiply’ gang.

          Give them a chance to present their case.

          We don’t want to be fear-mongers.

      2. evodevo

        Any microbiologist (or, really, any biologist) is intimately familiar with the concepts of exponential growth and logistic growth curves. The average American man-on-the-street is definitely not. This lecture video should be required in every high school; good luck on that, with the creationists and economic right wingers striving constantly to undermine science education in the public schools.
        Reality has a liberal bias, I guess.

    3. Paul Tioxon

      All Honors to Professor Bartlett. All the greats I have learned from are leaving me and all of us with their lessons. In past posts here on NC, I have posted the compound growth lecture, as I’m sure others have. It is one of the parameters of any discussion about public policy along with: after all, we are all mortal.

    4. anon y'mouse

      well, i’m sad.

      Prof. Bartlett has been cast as a Malthusian, but he seemed more like a realist to me.

      farewell, Tiresias. we’re probably too feckless to heed your warnings.

        1. anon y'mouse

          it’s used in the same way, and by some of the same people, who use “luddite” as a term of aspersion.

          the typical argument is that someone who makes observations akin to Malthus, and later Bartlett has no faith in humankind’s ability to develop a solution (generally technological in nature). the “failure” of Malthus’ forecast (debateable, in my book. we still have hunger and starvation on the world stage even if we in the 1st world have managed to avoid most of it)due to things like the unanticipated Green Revolution in agriculture is nearly always used as an example of how blinkered people who make those sorts of models are.

          in some ways, I think that those very developments the critics point to prove the point even more.

          also, I think the tricky line is to be a Malthusian AND a humanitarian.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We members of S.O.U.L (Society Of United Luddites) believe in less consumption, and not great waste.

            We are sorry to hear that Malthus is currently at a low point in the idea cycle, for some people.

            But life is cyclical and there will be seasons in the sun again for Malthus and my old college notes will have some resale value in the great flea market of ideas.

          2. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

            Concerning the Green Revolution, partly due to increased use of fertilizers. There’s a small island off Chile, I think, that had a huge pile of guano. The guano was packaged and sold as natural fertilizer. This went on until guano extraction became too costly, and the island guano business pretty much disappeared. Later, around 1912, German chemists learnt how to produce synthetic ammonia on an industrial scale based on the Haber process: . I suppose there’s more to the “Green Revolution”, such as “breeding” good/resistant lines of rice, etc.

  2. dnm

    Re: In Spain, simply doing nothing is not an option! Ed Hugh

    The article is nonsense, and does not allow comments, so I’ll comment here.


    This is the so called “internal devaluation” that macroeconomists like Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrik and myself have been advocating for some 6 years now. It isn’t a perfect plan[…] but it is a damn sight better than doing nothing”

    Really? Let’s here from PK himself then:

    How can Spain restore normal employment? The current European strategy is “internal devaluation”, which means expecting Spain to cut wages and thereby restore competitiveness; […]

    The trouble with this strategy is twofold: it’s really, really hard to get wage cuts, and deflation in Spain makes the problem of debt overhang worse.

    What’s the alternative? Aggressively expansionary monetary policy […]

    I’d argue that this is a much better outcome.


    So no, not what Hugh is arguing. The exact opposite in fact.

    1. Butch in Waukegan

      Democratic liberals, when their hands are on the levers of power, adhere to the dictates of the bureaucracy.

      Yesterday, I read Chris Floyd’s Requiem for a Whistleblower . It relates how Reich, as a Clinton cabinet officer, had the chance to do the right thing. A small thing, but the right thing — support a whistle blower being punished by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

      He [Charles Varnadore] sought whistleblower protection under federal law — garnering an appearance on the national news — and took his concerns to the Labor Department. An administrative judge ruled in his favor, saying that ORNL had tried to shut Varnadore up by “intentionally [putting] him under stress with full knowledge that he was a cancer patient recovering from extensive surgery.” The judge sent the case on to Bill Clinton’s labor secretary, the liberal lion Robert Reich, to levy damages against the facility’s corporate overseer, Martin Marietta.

      Now all those of a dissident hue know Mr. Reich well. Today you can read his earnest pleas for hard-hit working folk and his jeremiads against elitist economics in any number of progressive media venues. So you can imagine what this stalwart champion of the people did next.

      That’s right: he flushed the whistleblower down the toilet. Reich dismissed Varnadore’s claims and had the judge’s ruling reversed. The corporate overseer got away clean, and the truth-teller, after years of lonely battle, working within the system like citizens are told to do, was crushed. But that’s no surprise: a little taste of state power can bend even the most liberal of lions to the agenda of elite domination.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        This shows that none of us is perfect and, because what we do is more important than what we preach or are able to quote at length, that we try hard to do what say, as often as humanly possible.

    2. Capo

      Why do people call Robert Reich “Dr. Reich”. He is a lawyer and a talking point shill. He is not a PhD or economist or even a political scientist. He never corrects people when they call him “Dr.” though….

      1. davidgmills

        Technically, he’s a juris doctor.

        It is just that lawyers never refer to themselves as doctors. I knew a judge one time who briefly tried to get all the lawyers in his court room to call each other doctor. Went over like a lead balloon.

        1. Emma

          Let’s just call a spade, a spade……..It simply reminds me about BSc – Bull Shit, MSc – More Shit, and PhD – Piled Higher and Deeper

      2. Walter Map

        Let’s talk about Robert Reich, shall we?

        Why do people call Robert Reich “Dr. Reich”.

        Because he holds a doctorate:

        “The Juris Doctor (J.D.) is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.”

        The Varnadore whistleblower case is so uncharacteristic of Reich and so contrary to the rest of his record that one should suspect that something else is going on, awaiting further revelation. Things are not always as they seem, and something smells about the story as received.

        69. In response to E-mail inquiries, Secretary Reich has admitted to me that he did not read and was not aware that he had signed a Secretary of Labor Order creating the Administrative Review Board.

        70. Apparently, a DOL political appointee used an Autopen to do the dirty deed, creating the Administrative Review Board in 1996. In this manner was an oppressive, secretive and unaccountable bureaucracy created.

        Since the incident involved mismanagement at a nuclear weapons facility, it can be conjectured rather reasonably that the Deep State was at work, and that Reich was not culpable and not in a position to right the wrong, if not actually prevented from doing so. Reich himself has avoided discussing it, in all likelihood because he unready for martyrdom.

        The problem with taking limited facts at face value, unquestioned, is the very real possibility of drawing false conclusions. I am persuaded that Varnadore was not the only victim in the scandal, insofar as the case has been used to try to discredit Reich, an otherwise worthy adversary of the plutocracy, which would be par for the course for TPTB and the sophisticated manufacture of propaganda smears. This interpretation puts Chris Floyd, and Reich’s detractors here, in the position of being useful idiots at best.

        Floyd is usually admirable, but only usually, and not nearly so usually or so often as Reich. The issue has been referred to Floyd, and to others, for clarification.

  3. JohnDT

    A Plea for Caution From Russia Vladimir Putin – remarkable, potentially a historically important piece?
    1. Putin is a brutal dictator, running a corrupt government that oppresses those who aspire for democracy
    2. Putin benefits directly from selling vast amounts of weapons, including long-range missiles to Syria and its allies and from facilitating non-conventional weapons proliferation
    3. The Assad regime is a considerable customer of Russia with a big unpaid debt that will be lost forever should Assad go away.
    4. Recently found gas fields near Turkey/Israel happen to be steps away from the only Russian navy base in the Mid East… in Syria. The same navy base is also positioned vis-a-vis NATO/US missile defense systems in Turkey and Israel.
    5. Of course, the conflict is ‘armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country’, only that the Sunni majority has been oppressed by the Alawite minority for many decades, including mass murder using chemical weapons
    6. Syria has been meddling in Lebanon, first by means of occupation then via Hezbollah
    7. Iran and North Korea have been in Syria for a few years, developing a broad non-conventional plan, including a nuclear program
    8. Of course, it is all about terrorists, just like in Chechnya- a symbol of human rights and democracy
    9. Of course, “Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored” – Putin knows exactly how to send a threatening (sorry, caring) message per his covert interventionism
    10. No doubt, this is a call by one enlightened democracy to save another open fair civil society, in the name of liberal progress, harmony and dislike of theocracies (except the Iranian one).
    NOTE: This is not to take away from ‘nobel’ ‘innocent’ US, Saudi and/or Israeli peace&democracy-promoting steps.

    1. Richard Kline

      Yves on Putin, you realize he stole his last election, right? Lost, but faked the numbers?

      You realize, Yves, that were you a blogger in RUS you would now be beginning a 5-10 year sentence for tax evasion and questioning public authority? No appeal; lock you up, and begin hard labor now?

      You realize what Syria really is for Russia, an ‘outer defense?’ That is, as long as Russia has Syria to keep the US busy in the Near East, the US has far less latitude to interfere in the Ukraine, or Georgia (which the US shouldn’t but would), or on human rights issues in the Ukraine and Russia (which the US should but isn’t)? Far from ‘an historic appeal to non-interventionism’ Putin’s position is straightforward Great Gaming _directly in support of Russia’s state interests_?

      You realize that Putin and his sock puppet Medvedev had no problem whatever in intervening in Ossetia—which I supported, but which action DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS WHAT HE IS SAYING _NOW_?

      Do you even keep score on this anymore, Yves? Or just grab for whatever scrap will float where you’re going?

      Now you’re applauding _Vladimir Putin_? Paragon of reason and democracy. I guess we can forget any fundraising for Pussy Riot’s children on this blog.

      1. Jackrabbit


        Why do you feel that you have to attack Yves to make these points? Its actually hilarious to me that you attack Yves, yet say nothing about the NYTimes publishing Putin’s Op-ed.

        What Yves says about Putin’s Op-ed is factual. I do not get the sense that she is lauding Putin and any NC reader should have no doubt that she understands who and what Putin is (I am recalling Yves remarks during the Snowden incident).

        Anyone here could easily make poignant arguments in the other direction: Did you know, Richard, that the Syrian opposition includes Al Queda? Did you know about the expanding US police state? and so on.

        You may as well have said: lets have WWIII and be done with it. Simply choosing sides will get us there in a hurry.

        1. Inverness

          You know the USA is in trouble when it can get schooled on international law and the dangers of exceptionalism by Vladimir Putin.

          Nobody here thinks Putin is a champion of human rights. Yet Obama is such a poor international actor that it isn’t hard to find flaws in his arguments for attacking Syria.

          1. Walter Map

            Do you believe Obama himself may not be fully culpable, but may actually be coerced? He’s only the president, after all.

            Things are not always as they seem. Sometimes they’re as bad as you could possibly imagine. Kafkaesque, one might say.

        2. Synopticist

          “Yves on Putin, you realize he stole his last election, right? Lost, but faked the numbers?”

          Nah. Sure, he faked the numbers, but he would still have won handily even if he didn’t.

      2. diptherio

        Moral puritanism makes me nauseous.

        No sh*t the Russians have interests in Syria beyond peace and democracy. We do too, which is the only reason anyone gives a sh*t about what’s going on there in the first place. Meanwhile, on-going mass slaughter in the Congo merits nary a whisper.

        When’s the last time a foreign military engagement turned out well for us, or for the people on the other end of our missiles, bullets, etc? Not in my lifetime…but this time it’ll be different? Puh-leeze.

        1. Montanamaven

          Yeh, pass the barf bag over here. Moral puritanism aka humanitarian imperialism is racist. It’s this dangerous idea that we must save the infidels or at least annihilate them for Murica. Didn’t Bush accidentally use the word “crusade”? And Obama repeats this kind of “crusade” idea of fighting the infidels (Muslims) for God and the exceptional U.S. of A. Yes, pass the barf bag.

          1. ambrit

            Dear Montanamaven;
            Pass that bag along.
            One of my brothers-in-law served in Kuwait City several years ago. He tells how he was almost reprimanded for dressing up as a Jedi Knight for a Halloween party. Seems he was considered to have been stirring up the locals by posing as a Crusader!
            Yet the folks in the nomenklatura forget what happened to Cecil B DeMille when he wanted to film one of his Biblical Epics in Egypt? The Egyptian Government and especially the army went wild to help! They remembered how he had portrayed Saladin as a noble figure in one of his earlier films. Crusaderism can cut both ways.

              1. Emma

                +10 to Diptherio today

                I will also add that I’m beginning to find it inappropriate and insensitive to the Syrian people, to continually bring up Hitler and the 2WW atrocities at the same time anyone mentions the children/families killed with chemical weapons in Syria.
                You know, this horrific shit has actually gone on elsewhere in the world and there are other just as numerous harrowing examples of it (the Congo/Belgians as Diptherio points out, Italians/Ethipians etc. etc.).
                It would not be a disservice to the Syrian people and their crumbling nation, if we could simply selflessly focus on their plight 100% and determine a humane solution most suited to their own uniquely tragic situation.

                1. Strangely Enough

                  “Humane solutions” to “tragic situations” are bereft of profitability, and therefore unSerious.

        2. LucyLulu

          Not meant to be directed at anybody in particular, but this intolerance for differing points of view is “nauseating”. Whether one agrees or not, Richard has made well-articulated arguments, expressing an opinion shared by many. Piling on in unison in a chorus of “Yves opinions”, as highly regarded as her opinions might be (including by me, but Yves has shown she is plenty articulate and secure enough to tolerate disagreement from me or others), lends the appearance of a lack of independent thinking, which I know is not the case, as those who comment here generally write intelligent, cogent posts. Though perhaps this should be expected when those who allow themselves to be exposed to media sources which are non-bias confirming are disparaged???

          If nothing else, it discourages the expression of opposing views. Surely I’m not alone in preferring a lively debate to doctrine.

          ducking for cover now…..

          1. ambrit

            Dear LucyLulu;
            I’ve just got home from the late shift at the DIY Boxxstore, had my eats and meds, washed down with a shandy, Guinness Extra Stout mixed with local Ginger Beer, and must sheepishly agree and disagree with you. (Cognitive dissonance with a vengeance.)
            Yes, Richard has made cogent points. Yes, he articulates a particular point of view well. No, many of us here do not agree with the underlying rationale. It is quite clear now that Obama is no more moral or ethical than Putin. The pot calls the kettle black. (Someone in the Kremlin has to have made that joke by now!) What, in my personal opinion, not binding of course, is the strength of this blog, is its’ very combativeness! Many of us ‘get into it’ with each other from time to time, and the ‘powers that be’ do not make those combats vanish down the ‘memory hole.’ There’s the strength, and the worth, of this particular bunch. So, yeah, we do sometimes sound like an ‘echo chamber.’ But you, and all we others, are here to push back, sound the tocsin, ring the bell.
            Love and kisses, ambrit.

      3. ohmyheck

        Well then welcome to the “15%-er’s”, JohnDT and Richard Kline.

        “The American Public’s Foreign-Policy Reawakening”

        “In a survey reported in Tuesday’s New York Times, the paper asked broader questions about American foreign policy, and the results were revealing….On a question whether the United States should intervene to turn dictatorships into democracies, 72 percent said no. Only 15 percent said yes.”

        Your political philosophy is headed for the cliff along with the rest of your interventionist lemmings. Not just Americans, but all human beings, are awakening to the reality that the only way to stop World War 3, which you and yours seem so keen on starting, is by standing up and saying “No.”

        So, good luck to you as you become increasingly marginalized. For the better, imho.

      4. ohmyheck

        If you and yours are so hell-bent on intervening in violent acts being carried out world-wide, against innocent civilian populations, why do you not advocate for a strong and functioning United Nations?

        If the UN functioned as it was meant to, it would be massively funded and more importantly, the would be fully equipped and available, with peacekeeping forces freely offered by all countries, to aid and assist in stopping violence everywhere it crops up.

        But the U.S. and others have been undermining the success of the U.N. for decades. The U.S. military would be better spent shoring up the U.N. forces, rather than being deployed as the global enforcer, by a Rogue State, that picks and chooses which fights best advance its corporate, neoliberal overlords.

        You are fighting the wrong fight.

        1. Glenn Condell


          The Earth is a ship sailing stormy seas and it has no global rudder to prevent one group or other, the hyperpower du jour, from dashing us all on the rocks. The UN should be recast as the peak body for global citizenry rather than nations. Massive global majorities, against wars of choice for example, would be formally expressed by the UN, judgements which must be tabled in parliament/congress/Diet/Duma etc.

      5. Vlad be my Dad

        Putin makes good sense compared to the psycho hitler nazis we’re allowed to vote for. In fact, if somebody’s going to surveil my ass, it might as well be Vlad. I’m looking into some of the Russian linux distributions because they ought to have fewer NSA assholes sneaking in cuckoo’s eggs. There’s lots of possibilities. Astra Linux is secure enough for the Russian government. There’s also AgiliaLinux, Simply Linux, ALT Linux, MOPSLinux, OpenMandriva, and Calculate Linux.

        Anybody tried these out?

    2. Joe

      From The Washington Post: History lesson: When the United States looked the other way on chemical weapons

      “Indeed, Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile results from a never-acknowledged gentleman’s agreement in the Middle East that as long as Israel had nuclear weapons, Syria’s pursuit of chemical weapons would not attract much public acknowledgement or criticism. (The Fact Checker, when serving as The Washington Post’s diplomatic correspondent, learned of this secret arrangement from Middle Eastern and Western diplomats, but it was never officially confirmed.) These are the sorts of trade-offs that happen often in diplomacy. After all, Israel’s nuclear stockpile has never been officially acknowledged, and Syria in the 1980s and 1990s was often supportive of U.S. interests in the region, even nearly reaching a peace deal with Israel.
      But there is an even more striking instance of the United States ignoring use of the chemical weapons that killed tens of thousands of people — during the grinding Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. As documented in 2002 by Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs, the Reagan administration knew full well it was selling materials to Iraq that was being used for the manufacture of chemical weapons, and that Iraq was using such weapons, but U.S. officials were more concerned about whether Iran would win rather than how Iraq might eke out a victory. Dobbs noted that Iraq’s chemical weapons’ use was “hardly a secret, with the Iraqi military issuing this warning in February 1984: ”The invaders should know that for every harmful insect, there is an insecticide capable of annihilating it . . . and Iraq possesses this annihilation insecticide.””

    3. Massinissa

      1. Change ‘Aspire for democracy’ to ‘aspire to Islamic Dictatorship’. Youre naive if you think otherwise. Why the fuck would Al Qaeda want democracy?

      7. North Korea developing Nukes in syria? You smoking some good stuff man.

      1. LucyLulu

        Allegations of involvement of N. Korea in helping Syria to develop a nuclear weapons program in 2007 has been widely reported. With the evidence destroyed by an Israeli air bombing and subsequently removed by Assad’s regime, the allegations were never proven or disproven.

        From Wikipedia wrt site in Syria bombed by Israel in 2007:

        Western press reports asserted that the Israeli air strike followed a shipment delivery to Syria by a North Korean freighter, and that North Korea was suspected to be supplying a reactor to Syria for a nuclear weapons program.[82] On October 24, 2007 the Institute for Science and International Security released a report which identified a site in eastern Syria’s Deir ez-Zor Governorate province as the suspected reactor. The report speculated about similarities between the Syrian building and North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, but said that it was too early to make a definitive comparison.[83] On October 25, 2007, Western media said the main building and any debris from it following the air strike had been completely dismantled and removed by the Syrians. [snip]

        On June 23, 2008, IAEA inspectors were allowed to visit the Dair Alzour site (also referred to as Al Kibar), and take samples of the debris. On November 19, 2008 an IAEA report stated that “a significant number of natural uranium particles” produced as a result of chemical processing were found at the Al Kibar site;[87] however, the IAEA did not find sufficient evidence to prove Syria is developing nuclear weapons.[88] Some American nuclear experts have speculated about similarities between the alleged Syrian reactor and North Korea’s Yongybon reactor[89]

      2. Walter Map

        Why the fuck would Al Qaeda want democracy?

        So all the vicious religious nutjobs can each have their say.

        Why not? The most bloodthirsty pirates have been known to hold votes so as to achieve an actionable consensus. Democracy is an amoral methodology.

    4. Joe

      From BDN Maine: Report: Maine company sold Syria vaccines stockpiled as chemical weapon precursor

      “AUGUSTA, Maine — A Winslow company’s illegal sale of vaccines used on birds in the early 1990s has been linked by the New York Times to past efforts by Syria to build up its chemical weapons program. Syria’s ruling regime is accused of using chemical weapons in deadly attacks in Damascus last month.

      Cases against the firm, Maine Biological Laboratories, Inc., were resolved in 2005. Since then the company has renamed itself Lohmann Animal Health and come under new management. But according to the New York Times piece published Saturday, Maine Biological Laboratories once illegally shipped biological agents that played a role in an international scheme by the Syrian government to stockpile vast amounts of precursor ingredients — often under the auspices of buying medicines — that can be used to make chemical weapons.”

    5. ad hominahominahomina

      “Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.”

      That’s what he said. Disprove it or shut the fck up. Nobody cares which great-power dictator you prefer.

    6. Joe

      From the Guardian U.K. dated, 09-11-2013 :
      US struggles show hazards of chemical weapons destruction

      “Since the late 1990s, the US has made great efforts to destroy its own chemical weapons caches, and facilitating the process in the handful of other so-called “possessor states” – in some cases helping fund the process through aid.

      However, technological and political challenges have resulted in lengthy delays. By missing its deadlines, the US and other countries have arguably breached a founding principle of the same treaty cited as a reason to justify an attack on Syria.”

    7. JL Furtif

      Weird. If you replace ‘Putin’ by ‘Obama’ and ‘Syria’ by ‘Israel’, you get almost the same results.

    8. Joe

      From the The Prospect Blog :
      Napalm’s death

      “America dropped 32,357 tons of napalm on Korea, twice as much as it dropped on Japan in 1945. But Vietnam took the heaviest hit: 388,000 tons of napalm between 1963 and 1973. And it was Vietnam that made the incendiary a byword for cruelty. Before then, napalm was accepted as a useful if brutal tool of war. By 1966, activists began a boycott against its maker, Dow Chemical. In 1967, articles in mainstream magazines informed Middle America that “napalm, far from the modern marvel described by earlier correspondents, was a diabolically cruel child seeking killer.” It was reading one of these articles that convinced Martin Luther King to campaign against the war in Vietnam.

      Napalm sticks to skin. Even a drop of it is unbearably painful. As an incendiary, it is imprecise and likely harm innocent civilians.”

        1. Joe

          Yeah, the world has a way to go to catch up to leaders in chemical weapons use. As Walt Kelly said via his Pogo comic strip We have met the enemy… and he is us.

        2. Bruno Marr

          Actually, Agent Orange had a different purpose than napalm. AO is actually another name for paraquat, a bio-chemical defoliant. It made it easier to find the peasants amongst the foliage.

          In any case, the holier-than-thou Kerry should be more circumspect with his language, since he saw it first-hand.

    9. Seb

      None of Putin’s many demerits listed above have anything to do with his arguments in the article. This is just ad hominem.

      It is entirely possible to agree with a disagreeable man.

      Maybe, instead of listing Putin’s faults, we should be asking why he makes sense while our leaders have lost touch with voters, common sense, and indeed reality.

      1. from Mexico

        Really. The pseudo-logic at work here seems to be that if we call sufficient attention to Putin’s many sins, that this somehow cleanses the American exceptionalists of their many sins.

          1. from Mexico

            The purpose of Obama’s “unilateral surgical boming” is to “give a free hand to Al Qaeda,” wrote Alfredo Jalife-Rahme in one of Mexico City’s major dailies yesterday. Obama wants to create a Levantine “Al Qaedistan” which will be “knocking at the doors” of Russia’s “soft belly” in the Caucas.

            Andreas von Bülow explains in more general terms the strategy and tactics of Obama and his fellow neocons:

            One of the thousand-year-old instruments used to destabilize the political system of countries or societies to make them follow or even break them up along the wishes of the Hegemon are ethnic minorities. What you have to do is: destroy the leaders of ethnic groups who keep the peace between minority and majority by daily compromising along the lines of common sense. Have them killed by members of organized crime or make them look silly or naïve or both. Support the craziest fundamentalist of both sides, not willing to compromise. And let terror kill the willingness of the majority and the minority to live in peace side by side. Then the radicals may divide the territory. Also in Iraq, I suspect the divide and rule slogan is at work at work. Terror in Iraq might lead to the division into three units. Project New American Century is arguing in this direction.

            Or you throw money and support into a kind of «orange revolution».


            On the spot you’ll never know, whether you are confronted with original organized criminality, real Muslim fundamentalists as terrorists or whether there is a CIA or Pentagon background. And you’ll never know whether the CIA drug-dollar or the pentagon tax-dollar are working for further hegemonic interests.


    10. dan

      If we’re going to remove murderous thugs from power in the region, bacause freedumb, can we at least go in alphabetical order?

      Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen

    11. Butch in Waukegan

      My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

      I believe that the primary audience for Putin’s last paragraph is not in the US. Obama, as a priest in the religion of the empire — the city upon a hill; the last, best hope — claims the right to drone, invade and spy on anyone, anywhere.

      The majority of Americans tacitly accept, if not agree, with this. Putin is speaking to everyone else. This is why it is “potentially a historically important piece.”

      1. Montanamaven

        I agree. I heard an absurd discussion a couple days ago on “Morning Joe” between Mica (sp?) and A. Scott Berg author of a new biography on Woodrow Wilson. “Is Barack Obama a modern day Wilson” she asked, referring to Murica’s god given moral responsibility to spread democracy throughout the world. The discussion became about whether Obama was or was not like Wilson, but never once questioned the premise that bringing isolationist peaceful U.S. into WWI was a terrible idea. Never once did she question Wilson’s idea of “making the world safe for democracy” through war. Disgusting.

      2. jrs

        On American Exceptionalism: who the @#$# openly says Americans are exceptional, ok Obama says the American nation is exception. And it grates on the ears!!

        I’ve always American Exceptionalism was a hidden unexamined assumption. And that was a good critique in the same vein as “check your priviledge”: could you reasoning be based on a priviledged position, could your reasoning be based on seeing America as not subject to the same forces and corruptions etc. as other nations.

        But to openly just say America is exceptional like Obama does: mouth agape. Unreal.

    12. curlydan

      Putin is playing the PR game versus the PR obsessed Obama camp, and basically Putin is pulling ahead. Yes, Putin is a world class a-hole and dictator, but he knows how to keep score, how to play the game, and how to make the White House look foolish (the latter ability not being very hard at the moment, it’s just that few people have the guts or leverage to try it).

    13. JEHR

      John, many of the descriptive words and deeds that you attribute to Putin can also be said of Obama, especially concerning the following:

      1. there is corruption in the US government too (money rules politics);
      2. oppression of those wishing democracty (Allende);
      3. selling armaments to Mujahideen in Afghanistan;
      4. many regimes rely on US as “customer;”
      5. US has bases all over the world;
      6. conflict you describre is a post-colonial hangover;
      7. US “meddles” too’
      8. US has helped countries with their nuclear programs (Israel);
      9. US creates new terrorists by its actions (Iraq);
      10. The US is known for its threats too (Iranian sanctions);
      11. US is no longer an “open fair civil society;” (NSA)
      12. Nobel?–Nobel Prize for Peace, maybe?

    14. Yonatan

      The only reason the US establishment regards Putin as evil is that he will not allow US oligarchs to loot Russian resources.

    15. Roland

      Putin made lucid, cogent arguments in favour of international consensus on the use of military force.

      That was what supposed to come about in the wake of the Cold War. Instead, the USA has engaged in a series of unilateral actions, often on specious pretexts.

      Liberal interventionism is an incoherent ideology, very dangerous to world peace if left unchecked. The people who framed the UN Covenant had a much deeper understanding of war and instability than is possessed by the typical Western liberal interventionist of today. Putin is correct to remind us of this.

  4. JL Furtif

    Re: Romantic Germany risks economic decline as green dream spoils

    A (french) analyst indicates (lots of charts) that all the German investments into renewables have an effect on nuclear production, but not on the coal-based baseline energy production.

    1. Brick

      Yes that is correct. The story in the Telegraph is sadly just a story. All the pieces are there though, so I don’t really understand why he went with that premise.

      For example, he claims that energy prices are crippling the chemical industry, which isn’t true for the electricity he mentions later at all.
      Electricity prices for these energy intensive firms have been falling, which the writer does mention later, he just sacrifices to put these facts together. Heck even golf courses are energy “intensive” in Germany.
      The demise of the solar energy was planned, and therefore expected. Solar energy is the primary reason for the power spikes. No large increase in solar power is needed nor wanted.
      The power plants aren’t being shut down, these are completely new natural gas plants. Most of them run way below capacity and some never went online. This actually seems to be politics. Merkel does not want to increase dependance on Russia. natural gas needs to remain expensive until we are finally able to build that pipeline through Syria.
      Günther Oettinger was probably the most incompetent German “ministerpresident” ever, he was one of the main causes why the CDU lost Baden Würthemberg which they had controlled for 50 years before that.

      The whole story about the levy is just bogus. It is simple. Renewable energy producers get a guaranteed price for the electricity they supply. The difference between market price and guaranteed price is that levy. The lower the market price for electricity the higher the levy. This basically only affects consumers though.

      Every day you see stories that either claim that consumer prices are going through the roof, or that electricity costs are falling fast on the exchange. Both is correct, but everbyody goes into this story with either the believe that it is working or not, so the writers just pick half of the story. Most of the recent increases in the levy are due to underestimating the growth of the renewable energy sector.

      Sorry, I put my rant under your comment, but I looked for the first one Re Germany.

  5. Mcmike

    [Taking the mayor at his word]… so in crafting an actually transparent and defensible deal, none of the banks were interested any more.

    Indeed. Putting the lie to privatization. Buyers are not interested in running public services, they are pirates looking to plunder.

    So when the public and press starts paying attention, the buyers scurry back into the dark, and no bona fide operators appear that are looking to take on a square deal.

  6. from Mexico

    @ “Romantic Germany risks economic decline as green dream spoils”

    Yves Smith says:

    Some readers were dismissive of a Michael Klare piece yesterday in which he reported on a DoE forecast that anticipated the US would still be heavily dependent on fossil fuels in 2040. This piece discusses how the German effort to produce 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2035 is going off the rails.

    I don’t know that the debate was so much about whether the US will still be heavily dependent on fossil fuels in 2040 as it was whether the rosy future painted by the DoE for fossil fuels will come true.

    The DoE has bet the farm on the invincibility of non-conventional fossil fuels, like shale gas and shale oil, and the ability of these non-conventional fossil fuels to fulfill its cheerful predictions. Klare in no way challenges the shale oil/gas and fracking Utopia being evangelized by the DoE, the IOCs (privately owned Internaitonal Oil Companies) and mainstream pundits, but instead joins the chorus.

    There are those, however, who disagree with Klare and other orthodox opinion leaders and believe that the non-conventional fossil fuel panacea amounts to little more than tilting at windmills. One such dissident voice is David Hughes of the Post Carbon Institute:

    Fracked Gas Won’t Solve Energy Crunch: Report

    Governments and financial analysts who think unconventional fossil fuels such as bitumen, shale gas and shale oil can usher in an era of prosperity and energy plenty are dangerously deluded, concludes a groundbreaking report by one of Canada’s top energy analysts.


    Moreover it is unlikely that difficult and challenging hydrocarbons such as shale oil can even replace the rate of depletion for conventional light oil and natural gas.


    The latest panaceas championed by industry and media talking heads are too expensive and will deplete too rapidly to provide either energy security or independence for the United States, concludes the 62-year-old geologist who worked for Natural Resources Canada for 32 years as a coal and gas specialist.

    To Hughes shale gas and shale oil represent a temporary bubble in production that will soon burst due to rapid depletion rates that have only recently been tallied.

    In the following interview, Huges discusses some of the sleights of hand used by government agencies like the DoE and thier partners in crime, the Wall Street gurus, to come up with their Alice in Wonderland preditions:

    Whither Shale Oil?—Interview with David Hughes

    It’s interesting that the EIA has changed their outlook. For example, if you look at the April 2012 Annual Energy Outlook, they projected close to 12,000 locations available to drill in the Bakken and Three Forks formations. In their April 2013 Outlook, they’ve projected 43,000 drilling locations, so they’ve almost quadrupled their estimate of the number. And in the Eagle Ford they’ve doubled their estimate of drilling locations to 22,000. As a result, they’ve doubled their estimate of recoverable oil.


    But when you look at any projections they critically depend on how many drillable locations you have. I looked at EIA’s estimates for the Bakken and compared them to maps of well productivity and distribution(figures 1 and 2), and I would say they have over-estimated the number of remaining drillable locations by about 60%. So if the EIA’s well density for the Bakken—two wells per section—is correct, there may be 26,000 locations total.


    In every shale play I’ve looked at there are always sweet spots. Those inevitably get drilled first. So as the sweet spots are drilled off, drilling has to move into lower quality parts of the reservoir. Therefore you need an ever-escalating number of wells drilled just to offset field decline. So if the Bakken were to hit a million barrels/day of production, which it probably will, it will then likely need about 2000 wells drilled per year just to offset decline.

    So play that out: there are 20,000 locations remaining—optimistically. So we’re basically looking at 10 yearsor less for the Bakken—certainly not the rosy forecast, in terms of longevity, that comes out of places like CitiGroup.


    [And] as soon as you run out of locations, then it’s a cliff, declining at 44% per year for the Bakken.


    A lot of what you hear in the press is people just filling column-inches, surveying opinions, repeating the new conventional wisdom. Not many of them have actually gone to the numbers and ground the data—that’s relatively rare.

    And a lot of the industry players have a vested interest in a certain point of view.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      There is a regular drum beat of negative news about solar energy that is the default position of the republican party Solyndra scandal shouters to tried and true hippie punching of all things natural, such as sun and wind energy. Even Trump gets press attention by his lawsuit against a wind farm in the shores off his precious Scottish golf course development, claiming it ruins his views. And there is some good analysis trying to counter the over all blaring triumphalist remarks of America having enough(fill in the blank)to last a century TV commercials paid for the Coal, Gas or Oil trade associations. Here is some news from the Marcellus Shale out of PA you should find heart warming.

      Shale criminal charges stun drilling industry

      Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s decision to prosecute a major Marcellus Shale natural-gas driller for a 2010 wastewater spill has sent shock waves through the industry. But environmentalists Wednesday hailed the prosecution of the Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary as a departure from the soft treatment they say the industry has received from Pennsylvania regulators. “We have been very concerned about enforcement in the Marcellus, and we welcome the attorney general’s taking an active role,” said Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director of Clean Water Action. Kane’s office announced charges Tuesday against XTO Energy Inc. for discharging more than 50,000 gallons of toxic wastewater from storage tanks at a gas-well site in Lycoming County. XTO in July settled federal civil charges over the incident by agreeing to pay a $100,000 fine and deploy a plan to improve wastewater-management practices. The consent decree included no admissions of liability.


      1. from Mexico

        I perceive three major camps.

        • In the first camp are those who believe the fossil fuel Shangri-la is sustainable.

        • In the second campe are those who believe a non-fossil fuel Shangri-la is not only possible but also sustainable.

        • In the third camp are those who don’t believe any sort of Shangri-la is sustainable.

        Shangri-la is of course American-style “democratic” capitalism.

        I would argue that the third camp includes more than just Malthusian doomsters. There are those, after all, who are not that enamored of American style “democratic” campitalism and who have a very different notion of what an ideal world might look like.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am one of those ‘fearful’ people who think we should ‘just consume less,’ and by that we mean not just you and me, but especially members of the 0.01%.

      2. craazyboy

        Technical note: (Hippies may not know this, but that’s ok)

        I thought the Ambrose article was good, but he fell into one common trap when he cites installed capacity of wind and solar. (usually in GW of MW)

        This figure is the maximum power rating available, and in the press they always quote these figures alongside conventional power plants – leading Hippies, and most everyone else, to believe they are comparable “energy” numbers. They are not.

        Power plants are rated by how much power they produce, in mega or gigawatts. But we purchase and use energy – in watt-hrs.

        So to determine how much energy is available from power sources, there is a thing called “capacity factor”. In the case of a coal power plant, which usually is running around the clock at maximum rated power, then has scheduled and perhaps unscheduled shutdowns for maintenance and repair, the actual capacity factor is .85. This means a 600MW coal power plant will produce 85% of the energy year over year of what its maximum power rating would indicate it could produce, if it had 100% up time.

        Since wind and solar are intermittent power, in the US actual capacity factors for these are around .2 for solar and .3 – .4 for wind.

        So the correct way to interpret the comparison between installed capacity of say coal vs. wind would be if a 600MW coal plant is retired, 5X the installed maximum rated power capacity of solar needs to be added to achieve the same amount of energy that the coal plant provided. ‘Course you don’t get it around the clock, which is another problem.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          Intermittent power production from solar and wind seems common sense, intuitive to the max. But, fortunately, real engineers design, build and install this stuff and they are very good at solving the most obvious problems first. As in low hanging fruit, first things first, always. From Germany comes a similar debate and response to the truisms offered up as analysis, seeds of doubt or even trenchant unblinking assessment of reality with the purpose of dismissing solar and wind energy. The following from DISSENT MAGAZINE:

          “Germany’s renewable energy project should be critically analyzed specifically because it is, as Will Boisvert points out, a “pioneering” effort. Germany’s status as the manufacturing powerhouse of Europe has made it the world’s fourth largest economy, a country heavily dependent on electricity. Boisvert, however, doesn’t provide a clear-eyed analysis. His article contains several factual errors and the American journalist is unaware of or ignores some elements essential of the Energiewende. Designers of the Germany energy transition understand better than Boisvert the complex problems of converting a twentieth-century energy economy into one that is sustainable, non-polluting, and affordable. But, fatally for his argument, Boisvert confuses “difficult” with “impossible.”

          “In this most critical area, Boisvert finds the Energiewende particularly lacking. The German program, he states flatly, “made no progress at all in…abating greenhouse emissions.” But, once again, his charge stems from taking a single year (2012) out of context. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the German per capita production of CO2 dropped 22.4 percent between 1990 and 2008 to 2.61 metric tons. That’s still too high, but it is progress. The United States, on the other hand, remains the worst greenhouse gas polluter in the industrialized world, just as it was in 1990. In 2008 the average American added 4.9 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere—nearly twice as much as the average German—a figure virtually unchanged in two decades.”

          Throughout the article, Boisvert characterizes the performance of wind and solar power as variously “terrible,” “unreliable,” and, in case you weren’t adequately alarmed, “of catastrophic unreliability.”

          In fact, the amount of solar irradiance and wind energy for a given date and location are fairly predictable. Boisvert bases his claim that solar power “varies wildly” largely on the uncontested fact that the sun sets at night. But this is why engineers use the adjective “intermittent” to describe solar (and wind) power, not “unreliable.” What Boisvert ignores is that peak power use occurs in the middle of the day, precisely when solar power is at its greatest.

          From this doom-and-gloom perspective, Boisvert asks, “how will a Germany run largely on wind and solar generators survive the long periods when they shut down completely in the dead of winter?” Part of the answer is that wind power actually peaks in “the dead of winter”—not in the summer as Boisvert apparently believes.

          Unaware of the complementary properties of wind and solar (wind energy is also highest at night when solar energy is at its nadir), Boisvert states that Germany is being forced to build what he calls a “second grid.” “To escape long blackouts many times a year,” Boisvert writes, “Germany is planning to back up every gigawatt of wind and solar average capacity with another gigawatt of gas or coal.”

          I asked Claudia Kemfert, one of Germany’s top energy economists, what she makes of this claim. “That is not true,” Kemfert responded in an e-mail. Kemfert, the head of the department of energy, transportation, and the environment at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, and an external expert to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, explained, “It is one of the myths conventional power companies argue to overestimate costs and to undermine the acceptance of the Energiewende.”


          Millions of average citizens have benefited from the changes, including, in particular, one of the most conservative populations in German society: farmers. Travel across the German countryside and you’ll see barns and houses covered with solar panels, particularly in the sunnier southern states. In the cloudier and windier north, farmers have banded together to invest in wind turbines. Today, farmers own 11 percent of all existing renewable energy (RE) capacity in Germany. Private individuals (including farmers) own 51 percent of RE capacity. The so-called Big Four utilities remain wedded to the old centralized system and account for just 6.5 percent of RE capacity.

          1. craazyboy

            Right. But the first step is to understand the difference between max power rating and energy demand.

            Looking at constant energy demand averaged over a year, to replace 600MW of coal power you need 3000MW of solar panels (adding up the nameplated power ratings)

            But demand is not constant over a 24 hour period, or over the year.

            Coal and nukes now are know as “base load” plants because they don’t switch on and off easily, and have only limited capability to vary output to match demand. One common way to meet variable demand is to bring NG plants on and off line as “peakers”, which they can do reasonably well.

            So grid management is something utilities do on a minute by minute bases. There are grid studies I’ve glanced at where they are trying to use better grid management in order to bring solar and wind in because netting these all together could tend to follow load somewhat. But it is difficult to manage with grids in their present shape. (as alluded to in the Ambrose article)

            So they are not rejecting solar and wind out of hand, just trying to figure how to get it worked into the system. But I have seen DOE opinion a couple years ago that solar and wind may only be practical to supply about 20% of demand.

            Course if there is a big tech breakthrough, that would be really cool.

              1. craazyboy

                Yup. We’ve had a few 1st generation solar thermal plants here since the 80s. Small demo units. They have a measured .2 capacity factor.

                This one you refer to here is the new generation where they are using the working fluid as a storage medium and are able to get 6 hours of storage time, which helps with the intermittent problem.

                S. Cal Edison is building one in the Imperial Valley area in CA too.

                They are small output – only 280 MW peak power. But it’s a start and in CA they have mandated 30% renewables by I forgot when. Irregardless of cost, so we’ll have to see where that takes us. But central solar thermal plants are supposed to be quite a bit cheaper than rooftop PV solar.

            1. Paul Tioxon

              Actually, I am more hopeful of a political break through, the tech stuff keeps coming on its own with global research into PV more like Moore’s law than not. Here is what I mean:

              Climate Change Deniers at War with Military Over Green Energy


              “Some legislators balked when reports surfaced that the Navy would use biofuels that might cost four times more than the petroleum they’re using now — or, by some iffy calculations, seven times more. In response to an article published by Wired’s Danger Room blog stating that “the Navy could spend as much as $1.76 billion annually for all the biofuel they’ve promised to use by 2020,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy Tom Hicks wrote an op-ed rebuttal saying that the math didn’t check out.

              We just don’t live in a world where oil prices never go up, technology doesn’t advance, and economies of scale don’t bring down cost; in fact, history tells us that the exact opposite is true. Eight years ago, the cost of petroleum was just under $40 per barrel and the annual volatility was plus or minus 10 percent. Today, the price of petroleum has more than doubled and the annual volatility is more than 30 percent. It is impossible to accurately predict where prices will be eight years from now, but with ever-increasing global demand and continued political unrest in oil-producing countries, nearly all experts agree that oil prices will increase, and we have seen the price of biofuel drop.

              Hicks’ argument drew on a larger, tactical plan for a more sustainable military that strategists have been advancing for years. Writing in The Hill, Retired Marine Corps Lt. General John Castellaw argues that “the military, like all consumers in the U.S., relies on oil from countries that do not align with our interests. This affects our foreign policy and undermines our national security.”

              The United States military is the single largest purchaser of petroleum fuel in the world, burning through about 325,000 barrels of fuel per day. Almost all of that fuel is derived from oil. This is important not because of the vast carbon footprint (or boot print) that the military has – a separate, and important problem. It is actually the dependence on oil that presents the military with a long-term strategic risk.

              At a demonstration of biofuel-powered helicopters and fighter jets last summer, Mabus explained that the Navy paid a billion dollars in some months for energy because of rising oil prices — and much of that oil was sourced from foreign countries. “We simply have to figure out a way to get American made homegrown fuel that is stable in price, that is competitive with oil that we can use to compete with oil. If we don’t we’re still too vulnerable,” he said.”

              1. skippy

                @Paul and craazyboy…

                Um… stop making rubbish tip filler would – really reduce – energy need.

                skippy… that’s just the tip of the positive feed back iceberg. Just saying~

              2. craazyboy

                Well, I’ve been following PV now and then for a long time and its been going way, way slower than Moore’s Law. We seem to make advances in small, low power stuff fast, but anything to do with tera watts at a affordable price seems to take time.

                As far as the military is concerned, I had stock in a coal-to-liquid fuel company that could make diesel (boats) or kerosene (jet fuel). Cost was $60/bbl. CO2 is a big problem with this process, but they estimated they could do carbon sequestering and be $100/bbl, if the US provided a site where underground carbon sequestering could be done. This was in the early 2000s and they and a couple of their competitors approached the military and proposed the concept and wanted the military to fund a captive plant. The military said “If you build it, we will come.”


                So now it looks like they are more amenable to alt fuels.

          1. psychohistorian

            Some of us are not quite old enough to be beatniks, man.

            I would much rather be a cool cat than a dude of any persuasion.

            1. Paul Tioxon

              Im a dude dad

              All the young dudes (hey dudes)
              Carry the news (where are ya)
              Boogaloo dudes (stand up)
              Carry the news
              All the young dudes (I want to hear ya)
              Carry the news (I want to see you)
              Boogaloo dudes (and I want to relate to you)
              Carry the news

              All the young dudes (what dudes)
              Carry the news (lets hear the news come on)
              Boogaloo dudes (I want to kick you)
              Carry the news
              All the young dudes (hey you there with the glasses)
              Carry the news (I want you)
              Boogaloo dudes (I want you at the front)
              Carry the news (now you all his friends)
              All the young dudes (now you bring him down cause I want him)
              Carry the news
              Boogaloo dudes (I want him right here bring him come on)
              Carry the news (bring him here you go)
              All the young dudes (I’ve wanted to do this for years)
              Carry the news (there you go)
              Boogaloo dudes (how do you feel)
              Carry the news


  7. diptherio

    Re: Kerry

    Jeebus, that is horrible. He sounds like a teenager getting all surly with his parents. Embarrassing to the max

    Fire Kerry, NOW, he’s an embarrassment to the country (which is really saying something at this point).

    1. Synopticist

      Goodness it made me cringe. The way he kept crossing out his notes on the paper to his right. The body language said it all.

    2. BondsOfSteel

      Wow… almost inconceivable that he was the Dem nomination for President less than a decade ago. He’s making Hillary look so good.

      Oh well, can’t fire him in the middle of a crisis.

      1. Montanamaven

        I have a friend who enjoys the theory that “the Clintons are behind everything” even if it’s a little far fetched. He likes their story of ordinary folks rising to power. He likes to picture them in their mahogany lined library sipping bourbon and chuckling a lot. Watching Kerry is making most of us reach for the barf bags however.

  8. petridish

    RE: Anatomy of a Tragedy

    Texas. Again.

    Wasn’t it just a few months ago that NC linked to a story about Texas “law enforcement” extorting cash and valuables from motorists with threats of bogus traffic violations to fund their departments?

    This place gives new meaning to the term “rogue state.”

    Luckily there’s a private sector solution to this lack of doctor oversight. Before you have any kind of surgery, check Angie’s List.

    1. Hugh

      Kerry has been an arrogant, empty, gasbag for decades. I think it doesn’t register with us until there is some watershed event, and then we realize that we can’t remember a time when he wasn’t that way.

      But then I get to thinking who among our political classes isn’t an arrogant, empty, gasbag? Some are more irritating than others or irritate in different ways, note the styles of Obama, McConnell, Pelosi, Boehner, and Reid, just to name a few.

      1. Alexa

        Spot on, Hugh. Most, if not all of our lawmakers strike me as arrogant (and gasbags).

        Some are simply better than others at hiding it, by striking a faux “folksy” demeanor.

        [Not that I disagree that Kerry is “insufferable.” I refused to vote for him, although I didn’t have “the nerve” to vote Third Party or Republican.

        For some reason, he doesn’t seem to have the capacity to “just talk.” He is always speechifying. Ugh!]

    2. Montanamaven

      On the other hand, Miller came off very well. “I say, I say, I say, this is not the Senate, Secretary Kerry.” Subtext: This is the place where we do all of the work while you aged satraps bloviate and filibuster and think your sh*t don’t stink as my daddy would say.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, it was fun watching him. I wish I could keep my cool like that. He managed to look simultaneously like he was restraining anger but also amused, as in: “Wow, I can’t believe this prick is digging a hole that deep right in front of me.”

      2. skippy

        Well Kerry is the first in a long time to have to justify butchery with out dropping the Gawd bomb.

        What a show… the Breathers in DC can’t throw the Gawdless meme at Russia anymore… that’s what really flummoxes them… it was their go to… always a home run with the fans… make them stand up and cheer for blood strategy…

        skippy…. lmmao… ahhh… a fight to see who is the most righteous…. author…. author!

  9. realguy

    Early schooling damaging children’s well being, say experts:guardian

    a tragic trend i observed..but then who cares?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It has been mentioned here before that most people are probably better of not going to college until they are at least 40.

          Apparently, it’s tied to one’s defense or resistance to empty, beautiful words.

          1. anon y'mouse

            one must have experienced a pretty unusual upbringing to be critically questioning everything at a young age. your task in school is generally to learn what they want you know, not to be “resistant” to it. this sounds counterintuitive–the youth are supposed to be rebellious. my theory is that most of this rebellion is really caused by the realization, during and post-adolescence, that all of the moral logic they taught you growing up is not practiced anywhere.

            thus, at least for myself, I saw hypocrisy everywhere (even in myself) and was disgusted. why foster these ideals if they are just a fairy story? if I had been more pragmatic growing up, I would have adjusted to this (gotten past) and instead focused on re-learning “how the world really works” and accommodating myself to it.

            most successful young people do learn this, it seems. to stifle the better instincts because “that’s not the way the world works”. they have to have the time to experience being beaten up by how it does work in order to start questioning why it is this way.

            some of us got that “beaten up” part out of the way VERY early. so, there wasn’t any interim between youthful angst and adult cynicism.

            in college now, practically middle-aged, I am glad to see many pointing out the problems of our current system (one discussion in Philosophy class on instrumental vs. intrinsic values had one guy going “oh, you mean like the capitalist system of jobs and employment!”) but the instructor’s attitude is generally just to pass over this without remark. it seems that if you want to be critical, you learn that you have to do that on your own time. even if you get the impression that the Prof. agrees somewhat.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Sad, isn’t it?

              Those satanic brainwashing mills, preparing yet another generation of completely replacable machine parts.

              ‘Congratulations, here is your diploma.’

              ‘Sorry, two diplomas. You were a double major. So sorry for the insult. Good luck with your future two-job career.’

            2. neo-realist

              You could be critically questioning at a young age, however, depending on the kind of parents and relatives, you may have to keep your questioning to yourself lest you be accused of being rude or get “beaten up”, particularly with the generations above 40.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


                But those generations over 70, most of them are too weak, too old or too sick to bother inquiring youths.

  10. Doug Terpstra

    How dare Putin question America’s exceptionalism and indispensability? That is an egregious violation of settled doctrine, guaranteed to unhinge rabid Neocons, who will now proceed to scatter foam and spittle in all directions—everywhere except of course on the actual substance of Putin’s message, notably, Kerry’s hollow casus belli:

    “No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.”

    That’s the cornerstone of Obama’s belligerence, unsubstantiated allegations that deny all contrary evidence. And, more ominously, the last point reaffirms what Glen Ford of The Black Agenda Report suspects in Obama’s Humiliating Defeat:

    “Obama will be back on the Syria warpath as soon as the proper false flag operations can be arranged.”

    An attack on Israel by US-sponsored rebels would be the ultimate pretext for war, especially on Israel’s primary target, Iran. Iraq taught us that this isn’t over by any stretch; the Neocons are relentless in pursuing aggressive war.

    Putin speaks softly and carries a big stick. His thoughtful caution stands in stark contrast with Obama’s kneejerk warmongering—thoughtful statesman vs. hair-trigger sociopath. I suspect Putin’s big stick—a large and expanding fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean may be more persuasive. Let’s hope Obama is not like the Dick, Cheney.

  11. pebird

    Since Germany has failed in their goal produce sufficient green energy, when does the Troika plan to impose austerity measures?

  12. mcgee

    All tech CEOs were given an object lesson about the consequences of not cooperating with the prosecution of Joseph Nacchio. Now imagine if you understand the full power of the NSA like tech CEOs most assuredly do. Would you buck that system? Plus you don’t get to be a CEO without some serious skeletons accumulating in the basement closet.

    I’d also hazard an observation that many of the uber tech companies were helped into their business success by a tacit/explicit support of the NSA.

    1. psychohistorian

      I was reminded today about Mr. Nacchio and his refusal as president of Qwest to not let the government tap into Qwest switches….for which he was prosecuted and jailed.

      Qwest was bought soon after that by a company headquartered in Mississippi called CenturyLink…..and I assume they allowed the government full access.

      My multi-year contact with them was up and they sent me notification of that via snail mail that said Order Confirmation on th eoutside and provided no real details about what my options were on the inside. I had to call them, find out about the recent price increases and pick the best of the bad options. As part of that conversation I asked about not having my interactions through their ISP world sucked up by the NSA. He thought I was talking about not getting any associated advertising and said, of course I could opt out of that. When I clarified my request he put me on hold as he completed my order and I have yet to receive the email confirmation of that transaction which he said would happen immediately.

      Gawd I love paying for being raped, don’t you?

  13. rich

    Audit: U.S. lacks anti-corruption plan for Afghan aid

    Report says comprehensive proposal to battle malfeasance was left unsigned by Hillary Clinton

    The U.S. is spending billions of dollars to shore up the Afghan government in advance of the December 2014 deadline for the withdrawal of most foreign troops, but a new audit says no coherent plan exists to reduce the rampant corruption that has undermined those efforts and alienated the Afghan public.

    John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, released a report Wednesday warning that absent aggressive anti-corruption measures, assistance funds could continue to help fuel one of the world’s worst kleptocracies.

    Without a clear strategy for curbing the culture of “baksheesh,” or bribes, he warned, the U.S. risks leaving behind a government that has little credibility at home and scant legitimacy abroad.

    “The ability of the Afghan government to deliver services to its citizens without the illicit diversion of resources is crucial to the country’s development and the government’s standing as a legitimate, sovereign authority,” Sopko wrote.

    Washington has already spent $96 billion on reconstruction projects as part of its effort to bolster the Afghan government’s control of the country. An August Congressional Research Service report says the U.S. will likely continue to shell out about $10 billion annually to keep the country running through at least 2017.

    i think malfeasance was the plan…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another evidence that we have enough money.

      There is no need to print more.

      We can go after stolen loot, we can go after offshore money and we can reallocate how we spend.

  14. Hugh

    An aspect of the Syrian affair, that I think has gotten very little discussion is that Obama has no legal authority to launch an attack, zero, zip, nada. I know in the current lawless times, nobody expects Obama to care about such things, but it is still surprising that none of his critics raise it as a serious issue.

    There are only a limited number of reasons that a President can legally engage in hostilities against a foreign nation:

    1. A declaration of war by the Congress
    2. Statutory authorization (an AUMF)
    3. An attack upon the US or its forces
    4. In accordance with treaty obligations or a UN resolution

    None of these apply with regard to Syria. When Bush invaded Iraq, he had an AUMF, specifically written for Iraq to rely upon. The invasion of Afghanistan, the drone wars, and the war on terror all use as their legal basis the 9/11 AUMF. When Obama bombed Libya, he had a UN resolution, albeit one which he totally distorted from its original purposes. But with Syria, he has nothing.

    It sort of flashed by in Obama’s most recent speech, but he admitted in it that Syria posed no “imminent” threat. “Imminent” in this context is a direct reference to the language of the War Powers Act, and the lack of imminence is an admission that an attack on Syria would fall outside the justificatory powers of that Act.

    So not only does Obama not have any substantive legal case for an attack on Syria, he doesn’t even have any figleaves to rely on.

    I know it is asking too much of a debased, courtier White House press corps, but if it were me, I would be asking Obama and his spokespeople everyday what specific legal authority they were using to justify an attack on Syria.

    I said Obama was lawless. Even so, I can’t help but note his angling to get some kind of UN resolution or an AUMF however contingent which he could then distort and use as a legal basis for an attack. But in the absence of these, as I said above, he has nothing. The question before us, and Obama, is will he move from the increasingly dubious legal justifications Presidents have been using for their wars to blatant illegality? and why is no one talking about this?

    1. Black & white

      UN Charter Chapter VIII on regional arrangements gives enforcement authority to the UNSC (in Article 53), so no other treaty can authorize use of force.

      Self-defense is subject to Article 51. The US cannot arbitrarily call self-defense, either: it tried to, in Operation Praying Mantis, its naval attack on Iran, and the ICJ ruled that the US response was not legal self defense. And the US complies with ICJ rulings.

      So your list should read:

      1. In accordance with UN Charter Chapter VII.

      2. There is no 2.

      Chapter VII is the sole authority for use of force. Any domestic authorization or declaration of war that does not comport with its provisions is aggression. That means any declaration of war that does not place US forces at the disposal of the Security Council is a crime.

      The AUMF was in breach of Chapter VII because the UNSC was seized of the matter and did not authorize use of force in Afghanistan or in Iraq (except after the fact, to get the occupation force under control.) When Obama took sides in Libya and bombed Sirte, he violated Article 46 of Chapter VII by overstepping the objectives of the authorizing resolution.

      So despite US government obfuscation, it’s very simple: RTFM.

  15. craazyboy

    “Romantic Germany risks economic decline as green dream spoils Ambrose Evans-Pritchard”

    This article tells quite a different story compared to the giddy “Green Germany” articles we’ve been treated to in recent years.

    Almost makes it sound like changing the big boat’s direction is difficult, or something.

  16. Benedict@Large

    It seems to me that these tech companies had a natural eminent domain case on their hands. They were selling secure (to a level) communications to their customers, and the NSA was foreclosing them out of that business. Why wouldn’t the NSA have to buy that ability away from them? It’s not like the NSA is pinching pennies these days.

  17. Hugh

    The site seems to be acting up today so sorry if this is a repeat.

    An aspect of the Syrian affair, that I think has gotten very little discussion is that Obama has no legal authority to launch an attack, zero, zip, nada. I know in the current lawless times, nobody expects Obama to care about such things, but it is still surprising that none of his critics raise it as a serious issue.

    There are only a limited number of reasons that a President can legally engage in hostilities against a foreign nation:

    1. A declaration of war by the Congress
    2. Statutory authorization (an AUMF)
    3. An attack upon the US or its forces
    4. In accordance with treaty obligations or a UN resolution

    None of these apply with regard to Syria. When Bush invaded Iraq, he had an AUMF, specifically written for Iraq to rely upon. The invasion of Afghanistan, the drone wars, and the war on terror all use as their legal basis the 9/11 AUMF. When Obama bombed Libya, he had a UN resolution, albeit one which he totally distorted from its original purposes. But with Syria, he has nothing.

    It sort of flashed by in Obama’s most recent speech, but he admitted in it that Syria posed no “imminent” threat. “Imminent” in this context is a direct reference to the language of the War Powers Act, and the lack of imminence is an admission that an attack on Syria would fall outside the justificatory powers of that Act.

    So not only does Obama not have any substantive legal case for an attack on Syria, he doesn’t even have any figleaves to rely on.

    I know it is asking too much of a debased, courtier White House press corps, but if it were me, I would be asking Obama and his spokespeople everyday what specific legal authority they were using to justify an attack on Syria.

    I said Obama was lawless. Even so, I can’t help but note his angling to get some kind of UN resolution or an AUMF however contingent which he could then distort and use as a legal basis for an attack. But in the absence of these, as I said above, he has nothing. The question before us, and Obama, is will he move from the increasingly dubious legal justifications Presidents have been using for their wars to blatant illegality? and why is no one talking about this?

    Also in reply to rich above,

    Corruption is the Afghan business model. The amount of corruption in Afghanistan is one of those issues suppressed by an obliging and self-censoring press. An even bigger one is the absence of discussion of the fact that Afghanistan throughout the American occupation has been and remains the world’s largest producer of opium and heroin. This studied silence about Afghanistan and drugs is all the more remarkable given the heavily pressed war on drugs prosecuted by both Democratic and Republican Administrations.

    But that’s the thing in our decadent, kleptocratic state, what is not discussed is often as telling as what is.

  18. ohmyheck

    Ha! Tell it… “This Is the Speech Obama Would Give on Syria if He Were Brutally Honest”

    “…But America now has a narrow opening to make a slight difference. This came about not through difficult negotiations or careful planning but because first myself, and then my secretary of state, made some inadvisably offhand comments about Syria that became official U.S. policy largely by accident.”

  19. barrisj

    On the non-Syrian news front, more b-a-a-a-a-ad news yet again from Fukushima (this courtesy of ZeroHedge):

    Tritium Levels At Fukushima Surge To New Highs
    As if the “developed” world did not have enough things to worry about, moments ago VOA’s Steve Herman reported that the radioactive problem in Japan, the country hosting the 2020 summer olympics, continues to deteriorate uncontrollably, and citing Jiji, said that Tepco revealed tritium levels in the Fukushima groundwater have just surged to a new high.

    From Jiji, google translated:

    A problem radioactive contamination water leaks in large quantities from a storage tank of TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the 12th, from underground water collected on the 11th in observation wells that were dug near the leak location, radioactive tritium TEPCO (triple It was announced today that it has been 97 000 becquerels per liter detection of hydrogen). Compared with values ??when measured groundwater same location on the 10th, then increased to about 1.5 times, and highs tritium concentration in groundwater was collected in this vicinity leakage after.

    Which perhaps may explain why a few hours ago, an official PR statement was released exonerating Japan of any evil, and promising that Fukushima is “Not a Threat” to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:

    Japan’s reputation as a ‘safe pair of hands’ gave it the edge to win the race to host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The decision immediately boosted investor confidence – despite the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis.

    A late colleague of ours once worked at a leading pharmaceutical company, where his chief assignment was to make tritiated analogues of drugs in order to perform metabolic studies on the radiolabelled drug in vitro and in vivo. After a few years on the job, he developed acute leukaemia and quickly succumbed. We all reckoned that despite precautions he had exposed himself over time to cumulatively lethal doses of the isotope, either as tritium gas or as tritiated water, despite the radioisotope being considered a “weak” beta-emitter compared to carbon-14, say. This stuff cannot be dismissed as a mere environmental “nuisance”, and Fukushima just keeps going from bad to worse, despite TEPCO/Abe PR to the contrary. Fukushima, the disaster that keeps on giving.

  20. rich

    The American Way of Poverty: As Inequality Hits Record High, Sasha Abramsky on the Forgotten Poor

    A new study shows that income inequality in America is at a record high. According to an analysis of tax filings, the income gap between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the other 99 percent widened to unprecedented levels in 2012. The top 1 percent of U.S. earners collected more than 19 percent of household income, breaking a record previously set in 1927. Income inequality in the United States has been growing for almost three decades. We speak to Sasha Abramsky, author of the new book, “The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives.” It is written in the spirit of Michael Harrington’s groundbreaking 1962 book, “The Other America,” in which he chronicled the lives of people excluded from the ‘age of affluence.’ Harrington’s book went on to inspire President Lyndon B. Johnson’s subsequent “war on poverty.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Printing more money – if all the new money goes to the 0.01%, that will only make the inequality worse.

      Government spending – What do you think the government of the 0.01%, by the 0.01% and for the 0.01% will do with that money?

      Will we finally look at stolen loot, offshore money and how we spend our money as far as money is concerned?

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US GDP: $15 trillion (appx)

    US population: 310 million (appx)

    GDP sharing = everyone gets $50,000 a year…even an infant.

    So, maybe we do adjust for age. A baby one year of age gets maybe 30% or something.

    Then, most middle age adults’ share could be $100,000 per adult person per year.

    If you are currently making less that that, you will benefit under the plan.

    If you make more, well, here is your chance to help out.

    That’s your share, under GDP sharing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s possible under GDP sharing, many hedge fund managers will discover they really are poets in the making and will not, unfortunately for us who depend on their might economic contributions to our economy, continue to work as hard.

      Maybe the GDP shrinks 25%. In that case, every middle age adult may get $75,000. For 2 adults in love with each and share a rental apartment, that’s $150,000.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When the GDP shrinks 25%, and a couple has to settle for $150,000/year, we might get a big ‘THANK YOU’ card from Nature.

        Who knows, maybe they will postpone the trial of ‘the Crimes Of Humanity.’

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A thousand apologies.

        I have learned, since posting, that many hedge fund managers’ first love is actually ballet dancing, with pole-dancing a close second (I believe. I could be mistaken here.)

        They are, indeed, multi-talented, great artistic souls.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      This is where it should go.


      Sometimes, I think a big government was shown to be able to help the 99.99% once or twice in a century so that they have the big imperial government they desire.

      ‘Let them have something to dream on.’

  22. Kim Kaufman

    re Kerry clip – that’s the one I referenced yesterday in my comment. Good to see the whole thing. It was like Kerry was saying “the dog ate my homework – even though I have no dog and there was no homework – that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.” The House isn’t as polite as the Senate and whoever his questioner was – I couldn’t read it on my screen – certainly was in no mood to display phony respect for an ex-Senator gasbag who was clearly in way over his head making a ridiculous – one can’t even call it an argument – push for war. Really makes GWB look good.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sometimes, I think a big government was shown to be able to help the 99.99% once or twice in a century so that they have the big imperial government they desire.

    ‘Let them have something to dream on.’

  24. Hugh

    A general heads up. The Census will be releasing its report on Income, Poverty, and Healthcare for 2012 on Tuesday the 17th.

    1. anon y'mouse

      well, we await your personally administered smackdown.

      thanks for doing all of that, by the way. making it accessible to some numbskulls (me) and all.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What happened to the New Left of Left or New Left Left?

      Were they wiped out by the New Right Left?

    2. Alexa

      Thanks for the link to the piece, “The Rise Of The New New Left.”

      Personally, I would take much of what Beinart says “with a major grain of salt.” (He beat the war drums in the lead-up to the war of Iraq with the best of the neocon nut-jobs. Former editor of the New Republic, etc.).

      At least a few of his sentiments are correct, however, such as:

      If the Millennials challenge Reaganite orthodoxy, they will likely challenge Clintonian orthodoxy, too. Over the past three decades, Democratic politicians have grown accustomed to campaigning and governing in the absence of a mobilized left.

      This absence has weakened them: Unlike Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama could never credibly threaten American conservatives that if they didn’t pass liberal reforms, left-wing radicals might disrupt social order.

      But Democrats of the Reagan-Clinton generation have also grown comfortable with that absence. From Tony Coelho, who during the Reagan years taught House Democrats to raise money from corporate lobbyists to Bill Clinton, who made Goldman Sachs co-chairman Robert Rubin his chief economic adviser, to Barack Obama, who gave the job to Rubin’s former deputy and alter ego, Larry Summers, Democrats have found it easier to forge relationships with the conservative worlds of big business and high finance because they have not faced much countervailing pressure from an independent movement of the left.

      But what’s with this BS?

      For a moment, Occupy shook the country. At one point in December 2011, Todd Gitlin points out in Occupy Nation, the movement had branches in one-third of the cities and towns in California.

      Then it collapsed.

      Is he serious?

      I certainly don’t have time to search the DKos website, but I distinctly remember seeing a diary there which published a “Homeland Security” memo referencing a teleconference between the Administration and the MANY DEM MAYORS in regard to how to dispense with the thousands of OWS protestors (in their respective cities). The plan was to unleashed militarized forces–via their local police departments–upon the unarmed and largely defenseless OWS protestors who occupied cities, all over the nation.

      After all, can’t afford to have our citizenry out in the streets “protesting inequality” when a sitting Democratic Party President is running for a second term, can we?

      But Beinart is right that:

      City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, despite her roots on the left as a housing and LGBT activist, became Bloomberg’s heir apparent by stymieing bills that would have required businesses to give their employees paid sick leave and mandated a higher minimum wage for companies that receive government subsidies. Early in the campaign, many commentators considered this a wise strategy and anticipated that as New York’s first lesbian mayor, Quinn would symbolize the city’s unprecedented cultural tolerance while continuing its Clintonian economic policies.

      Then strange things happened. First, Anthony Weiner entered the race and snatched support from Quinn before exploding in a blaze of late-night comedy. But when Weiner crashed, his support went not back to Quinn but to de Blasio, the candidate who most bluntly challenged Bloomberg’s economic philosophy.

      Calling it “an act of equalization in a city that is desperately falling into the habit of disparity,” de Blasio made his central proposal a tax on people making over $500,000 to fund universal childcare. He also called for requiring developers to build more affordable housing and ending the New York Police Department’s “stop and frisk” policies that had angered many African-Americans and Latinos. Bloomberg’s deputy mayor Howard Wolfson tweeted that de Blasio’s “agenda is clear: higher taxes, bigger govt, more biz mandates. A u-turn back to the 70s.” . . .

      Democrats in New York are more liberal than Democrats nationally. Still, the right presidential candidate, following de Blasio’s model, could seriously challenge Hillary Clinton. . . .

      Still, Hillary is vulnerable to a candidate who can inspire passion and embody fundamental change, especially on the subject of economic inequality and corporate power, a subject with deep resonance among Millennial Democrats.

      And the candidate who best fits that description is Elizabeth Warren.

      I certainly don’t agree with Beinart that Warren would be the “best fit” to challenge FS Clinton, or any corporatist Dem. IMO, his “recommendation” is most likely a deliberate attempt at “misdirection.”

      But Beinart is correct that the 2014 and 2016 election cycles will be ripe for “true populist” candidates.

      Because this Administration spent their entire two terms trying to destroy the Social Safety Net, many seniors will be leery that a DLC Dem will follow on the same path of so-called “reform.”

      And many younger voters will be inclined to vote for politicians who are looking to actually enact populist and redistributive policies again–for the most part, the only feasible way for them to climb out of student loan debt.

      And this description does not fit any of the DLC/Third Way/No Labels corporatist Dems.

      Bottom line, if the Democratic Party does not produce a convincing populist and progressive Presidential candidate, I expect that we may see a very strong showing from Rand Paul [not unlike that of Ross Perot’s, but for different reasons].

      Maybe the real prospect of this outcome, will finally wake up the Democratic Party base.

      We shall see . . .

  25. skippy

    Were they wiped out by the New Right Left? – MLTPB


    skippy… they were allowed Jr. membership rights… as most were only fighting for that distinction to start with.

  26. rich

    Harry Reid on the Senate Floor Proclaims: “The Anarchists Have Taken Over”

    We’re diverted totally from what this bill is about. Why? Because the anarchists have taken over. They’ve taken over the House and now they’ve taken over the Senate.

    People who don’t believe in government — and that’s what the Tea Party is all about — are winning, and that’s a shame.

    – Harry Reid on the Senate Floor earlier today
    The best thing about inept, crony, powerful politicians is that when they realize they are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the public they simply don’t know what to do.

    is he talking about the financial lobbyists?:)

    1. Lambert Strether

      Reid’s a dinosaur. And he has nobody to blame but himself for being ripped to pieces by nimbler and more feral predators. He and his party are not displaying adaptability, and so they will go the way of the Whigs.

      Also, comparing the TP to anarchists is ludicrous in the extreme, though I suppose he’s really sending a covert signal to the Stasi to infiltrate and arrest them.

    2. psychohistorian

      It is telling the Harry does not know the difference between anarchists and Koch bought dittoheads of America’s exceptionalist faith.

    1. skippy

      From link: “It’s not as easy [as full auto], but it’s fairly idiot proof,” he said.

      skippy… idiot proof, dang I smell a law suit brewing.

Comments are closed.