Links 3/31/14

Foreseeing the Dangers but Not the Response Yves Smith, Times Room for Debate, “Was Marx Right?”

* * *
Earl Grey, the brew that could tackle heart disease: Scientists say bergamot found in the tea could be as effective as statins in controlling cholesterol Daily Mail

Capital is home to 67 billionaires: London now top European destination for super-rich whose average London home will cost more than £10m Daily Mail. 2,170, world-wide. There are not very many of the Shing.

Banking Union Time Bomb: Eurocrats Authorize Bailouts AND Bail-Ins Ellen Brown, Common Dreams (Deontos)

Swiss Antitrust Regulator Probes Eight Banks Over FX-Rigging Bloomberg

Prosecuting mortgage fraud not a priority The News Journal. Film at 11.

Regulators Twice Failed to Open GM Probes WSJ (SW)

$20 million fund linked to increased pay for former Upstate president Post-Standard (bob). Yet another corrupt President.

Israel’s Olmert convicted of bribery BBC. Yet another corrupt President.

Con men stopped entering Vatican bank with €3 trillion of fake bonds Daily Telegraph

Ivy League Sailors Go From Scratch to Race Billionaires Bloomberg. “That’s how he met Roy E. Disney….”

Plutocracy without end: Why the 1 percent always defeats the middle class Thomas Frank, Salon

America’s democracy is fit for the 1% FT


Was Obamacare Worth It? How Many of the Previously Uninsured Have Really Signed Up? Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review. If the numbers were good, the administration PR machine would be in full triumphalist mode.

Insurers already calculating 2015 premiums as Obamacare kicks in LA TImes 

A family left out of Obamacare CJR

80 percent of U.S. adults face near-poverty, unemployment, survey finds CBS

What It’s Like to Be a Professional Line Sitter Racked

Sweet Smell of Money for Plumbers Times

Court docs: Google hiked wages to combat “hot, young” Facebook after Sandberg refused to join hiring cartel Pando Daily

Video: Protesters Shower Guggenheim Visitors With Cruel Labor Confetti Gothamist

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

42 Years for Snowden Docs Release, Free All Now Cryptome (Deontos)

Police use more tear gas on Downtown protesters Albuquerque Journal. Memo to APD: If you’re going to whack a homeless guy, don’t do it on video!

Peaceful Indignation Turns to Violent Rage in Rajoy’s Spain Testosterone Pit

France elections: Far right on the move as Marine Le Pen’s National Front wins at least eight town halls in miserable night for President Hollande Independent


Ukraine crisis: US-Russia deadlock despite ‘frank’ talks BBC

Top NATO commander cuts short U.S. visit, eyes on Russian troops Reuters

President Putin’s economic Achilles heel FT

Forget Russian Gas, Just Frack Europe: Obama Common Dreams

New deal, same players Le Monde Diplomatique

Turkish PM Erdogan tells enemies they will pay price after poll Reuters

Hands Over Istanbul Harper’s

Suspects into Collaborators LRB. Syria.

Stephen Roach: Forget China’s growth target Macrobusiness

China’s debts do not signal imminent implosion FT

‘Cement Shen’ Detained Spurs Scavenging as China Developer Fails Bloomberg

How China and America See Each Other Foreign Affairs

Africa’s digital money heads to Europe FT

Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come Times (IPCC report)

Climate impacts ‘overwhelming’ – UN BBC

Journalism and Astroturfing Crooked Timber. And Josh Marshall once had such promise.

For the WSJ, access doesn’t pay off CJR. “Access” as in “access journalism.”

He Remade Our World NYRB. Bush. Man, wasn’t that Bush economy something?

A Mudslide, Foretold Times. Nobody could have predicted…

Voting For Neoliberal Democrats As The Lesser Of Two Evils Massochio, FDL (DM)

Antidote du jour:

Links Antidote du Jour

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Skeptic

    Ivy League Sailors Go From Scratch to Race Billionaires Bloomberg. “That’s how he met Roy E. Disney….”

    Sailing, another fine human activity poisoned by wealth and greed. Poor Joshua Slocum, the most famous singlehanded sailor and author of Sailing Alone Around The World, rolls in his grave. He sailed around the world in a $50 boat with a $1 clock as his chronometer.

    1. subgenius

      +1 read about Lin and Larry Pardey and Pete and Annie Hall for sailing tales for real people.

        1. subgenius

          I always admired the English equivalent…Blondie Haslar – repeatedly crossed the Atlantic in a 26 foot junk rigged folkboat, wrote the book on the chinese lugsail and invented vane gears for self steering…But your boy might beat him on the ‘tache…its a close race…

    2. optimader

      You can still enjoy sailing on a budget, your just not going to be competing in a LA to Honolulu TransPac Race w/ ding-dongs like Larry Page, but so what?
      Guys like Page flush large amounts of $$ into the trades building and maintaining sailboats that have very brief competitive lives, which then are sold for dimes on the dollar to mere millionaires who continue to support the care and feeding.
      There is a follow on food chain that is supported by these guys in spite of the actual irrelevance to most people of there recreational pursuits.

  2. rjs

    Sylvia Kronstadt again, talking about where our generation is heading:
    Nursing-Home Netherworld: Putrefaction, pain and poop:
    I wretched. I couldn’t help it. I wretched again. David, I’m sorry! He had asked me to remove his diaper and clean up the mess in his nursing-home bed. Feces extended from his mid-back, down his buttocks, to his knees. It was still pouring out and piling up, surge after steaming surge of porridge-textured poop. It was a nightmare, like “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
    “Don’t call anyone,” David said. “I think they’re mad that I keep doing this.”
    I was up to my wrists in it, but it was all so slippery, and he is so massive, that I couldn’t get the soiled diaper or drenched mattress protector moved, in order to wash him.
    I said, “David, I’ll be right back.”
    Then I went into the bathroom and vomited. I puked my brains out, but I did it quietly. He never knew. I felt ashamed, but there was no holding it back.

    1. katiebird

      This is stunning. A wonderful writer, she made me feel like I was there with her. She made it VERY clear that whatever care our relatives and friends have received in the past, we must visit them regularly to make sure they continue to get that care. And a checklist of sorts. 1) Examine & review drug list 2) Interview therapists on their training 3) Review therapy orders

      It goes on and on. And seems hopeless.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We little people should all be grateful for being healthy and being able to age and move on with dignity…under whatever system we are in, capitalism, socialism, feudalism, etc.

    3. neo-realist

      If I get to such a state, I hope I’m of sound enough mind to request a morphine drip at full blast or the neccessary pills cocktail to put an end to the indignity.

  3. Ned Ludd

    For a good cup of tea:

    • Use one teaspoon (or one tea bag) per cup of water. Most mugs hold more than a cup, so use twice as much if you want your mug filled to the brim.
    • Steep 2 minutes for black tea, 3 minutes for green. If this is too weak, use more tea (or tea bags).

    I typically use loose leaf tea, but “Choice’ organic makes good tea bags.

    1. Synopticist

      Look dude, there’s lots of Brits who read this comments section.
      We’re not about to take lessons in making a cup of tea from a yank, OK?

      1. Ned Ludd

        According to Orwell, “the best manner of making [tea] is the subject of violent disputes.” See also: the American Revolutionary War.

        For what it’s worth, I strongly disagree that, “The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact”. No wonder Orwell thinks, “Tea is meant to be bitter.” A good cup of tea does not have to be extraordinarily bitter. After the water boils, let it set a few minutes before pouring it over the tea leaves or the tea bag, so it can drop a bit below the boiling point. For green tea, it is best to let the water cool even more, maybe 5-10 minutes.

    2. JerseyJeffersonian

      Very good on quantity of tea, but I encourage experimentation with a longer steep for black tea (some like Darjeeling, less so, perhaps), maybe shorter for green. I like about 4 minutes for heartier blacks, no more than 2 minutes for greens like Jasmine. It’s a balancing act between getting a good infusion, but without too much leaching of tannic acid. Some folks are particular on the temperature of the water as well; at the full boil for black, off the boil for oolong or green, and even more so for white (with a very short steep).

      I love me some Earl Grey (and so many other teas…). Over here in the colonies, you can get a good house brand loose Scottish Breakfast from English Tea Store along with other special blends. Favorites: Twinings English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lady Grey (and more), Taylor’s of Harrowgate’s Red Label and Gold Label (and others). The T-Sac line of variously-sized fillable tea bags have changed my relationship with loose teas: proper infusion – the tea can unfurl properly, and be optimally exposed to the water; easy to handle, and compostable; no more loose tea bits lurking at the bottom of the cup or mug to vex you at the last sip (ptooey).

      About that Boston Tea party. Unfortunately necessary, but oh such a waste.

      1. Cal

        Love that tea.
        Years ago in our high school, it was very chic to drink it out of a styrofoam cup with a slice of lemon skewered on the edge of the cup. Turns out that the combination of hot water, the styrene monomers in the cups along with citric acid formed a carcinogen. Horrible stuff, Styrofoam. Avoid eating anything that has been in contact with it, to and including eggs in plastic cartons that can absorb the nasties.

        Hot buttered sourdough with creamery butter and a porcelain cuppa coming up.

      2. Ned Ludd

        After reading Orwell’s essay on tea, I might try using more tea per cup. “For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right.” Since a quart is four cups, his recommendation comes to 1½ teaspoons per cup.

        I only add milk to tea when making a drink like masala chai. Then, I steep a full-bodied, robust blend like English breakfast for a full five minutes, before adding the milk & honey (I steep the other spices first, before the tea). For Earl Grey and Darjeeling, I drink these without milk or sugar and prefer a quick steep so they are not too astringent.

        Thanks for mentioning the disposable T-Sac filters. They look like a nice alternative to tea bags at the office.

  4. Jackrabbit


    Going into this meeting, it was clear what Russia wanted:
    – A federated Ukraine with autonomy for states in the federation
    – A neutral foreign policy for Ukraine

    Kerry pushed back on this saying:
    – Ukraine must be involved in talks
    – Russian troop buildup creates atmosphere of “fear and intimidation”

    Its not surprising or newsworthy that two diplomats stressed diplomacy and agreed to continue to talk. But talking with the Ukrainians seems like a non-starter for the Russians (who see the Ukrainian govt as illegitimate). And Putin probably seeks a satisfactory resolution well before the upcoming elections (scheduled for May 25th, I believe).

    The result is mostly indeterminate right now because we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. The US would lose credibility with the Ukrainians if they were to overtly agree to Russian demands. But unless Kerry assured Lavrov that the US would push (hard) for federated and non-NATO Ukraine, it seems likely that Putin will take some action (a virulently anti-Russian Ukraine is anathema to Russia). At a minimum that would likely involve orchestrating a Crimean-like outcome in the East and South Ukraine. And that would likely mean a new round of sanctions and a deepening crisis/Cold War.

    So far, the media response is somewhat encouraging – reporting on Kerry’s tough talk but not engaging in blatent anti-Putinism – suggesting that the US will work with Russia. Here is the ft:

    Kerry Warns on ‘Intimidation’ of Ukraine

      1. OIFVet

        Why should we learn from the past? It’s so un-American. This one gave me a bad Rumsfeld and Tom Clancy flashback: Leslie Gelb: “The boldest and riskiest course would be to dispatch 50 or 60 of the incredibly potent F-22s to Poland plus Patriot batteries and appropriate ground support and protection. Russian generals and even Putin surely know that the F-22s could smash the far inferior Russian air force and then punish Russian armies invading eastern Ukraine or elsewhere in the region.”

        This from a guy who thought the Iraq war was a great idea. 50-60 F-22’s, a third of the total number we have, will be enough apparently. Really? I thought Tom Clancy died some time ago. I remember Rumsfeld arguing that a force of 20-30,000 was all we needed to subdue Iraq, and we all remember how that turned out. Now its a few dozen planes and a battery of Patriot missiles that will do the job against a well-armed Russia. Good lord!

        1. James Levy

          50-60 planes are going to “crush” the Russian Air Force? Has he ever heard of damage, maintenance, and losses? This is a bigshot in “national security studies”? And how much ordnance does he think these planes can schlepp from bases in Poland to the Russian-Ukrainian border along with their air-to-air missiles and jamming packs and flare dispensers? Anyone who believes this is not delusional, they are idiots or insane.

          I’m going out on a limb here the other way. The United States last fought a major power (which it badly outgunned and had significant technological superiority over) in Korea, and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, it went badly and but for complete naval and air supremacy, would likely have resulted in a Dunkirk. Just how good the vaunted US military is happens to be a matter of conjecture. I’d give the USAF with its supremely and incredibly thoroughly trained pilots and ridiculously expensive F-22s the edge in air-to-air fighting vis-à-vis the Russians. But even if they could maintain a 4-1 kill ratio (which you can’t once your numbers sink below a critical point) in a few days the Americans would be out of planes and the Russians would be in Kiev. I’m sure Gelb would then be screaming for the tactical nukes. Why not just destroy multicellular life on Earth to show them dirty Russkies who’s boss!

        2. skippy

          Fights between the F-22A and the PAK-FA will be close, high, fast and lethal. The F-22A may get ‘first look’ with the APG-77, the Advanced Infra Red Search and Track (AIRST) sensor having been deleted to save money, but the PAK-FA may get ‘first look’ using its advanced infrared sensor. Then, the engagement becomes a supersonic equivalent of the Battle of Britain or air combat over North Korea. The outcome will be difficult to predict as it will depend a lot on the combat skills of the pilots and the capabilities of the missiles for end-game kills. There is no guarantee that the F-22 will prevail every time.

          The fate of the F-35 Lightning II would be far worse in an air combat environment challenged by the PAK-FA. If the Mach 1.5 PAK-FA is using its infrared sensor as the primary sensor and observes radio frequency emission control (EMCON), then the first detection by the F-35’s APG-81 radar could be at ~20 nautical miles or less with a missile launched by the PAK-FA’s infrared sensors already inbound from 60 to 70 nautical miles away. The PAK-FA could easily break to a direction outside the F-35’s AIM-120 engagement zone.

          The sustained turning performance of the F-35A Lightning II was recently disclosed as 4.95 G at Mach 0.8 and 15,000 ft. A 1969 F-4E Phantom II could sustain 5.5 Gs at 0.8 Mach with 40 percent internal fuel at 20,000 feet. The F-35 is also much slower than the 1960s F-4E or F-105D. So the F-35A’s aerodynamic performance is ‘retrograde’ when compared with 1960s legacy fighters. The consequence of such inferior JSF performance is that its DAS might detect an incoming missile, but the aircraft lacks the turn-rate to out-fly it. As the F-35 also lacks the performance to engage or escape, repeated ‘freebie’ shots from the PAK-FA could inflict high losses. Expect the exchange rate to be of the order of 4:1 in favour of the PAK-FA, possibly much higher[3].

          Russian aerospace companies have demonstrated an ability to outpace US aerospace manufacturers in terms of delivery of an operational capability and also the diversity of the capabilities of their weapons systems. The cumbersome US acquisition system, and marketing rather than technology driven aerospace industry, put the US at a distinct competitive disadvantage in rapidly adapting to an evolving threat environment.
          The most dangerous situation the US could face, is where the high and upwardly spiralling development and production costs of the JSF ‘cuckoo’ the available resources, which are needed to develop the advanced capabilities necessary to counter the new Russian PAK-FA, and the generation of new weapons which the PAK-FA will inevitably be armed with.
          Complacency is not an option. Having ruled the roost for the decade out to 2015, the F-22A may be knocked off its perch by a newcomer, unless the US invests in new sensors, especially, and advanced technology Infra-Red Search and Track, stealth improvements and a new generation of missiles for the F-22 – assuming it even builds more than the token number of F-22s currently planned. The F-35 has already been neutralised and negated by the Su-35-1/35BM and will be substantively overmatched by the PAK-FA. The West needs to think long, hard and fast about the PAK-FA, as the current and retrograde “F-35 centric” future fighter fleet model guarantees certain defeat in future combat.

          That last assertion is true. On the other hand, DID managed to obtain a copy of the RAND Power Point briefing external link. When the full briefing is read, RAND’s study does have implications for the F-35. They are decidedly mixed.
          F-35A JSF & F-22A Raptor
          F-35A & F-22A,
          Eglin AFB


          RAND is correct that their study did not attempt any adjudication of air combat. Indeed, its assumptions of perfect missile attack by American F-22 fighters, and similarly perfect missile defense by F-22s, were designed to remove this very issue from the equation. When F-35s did participate in the analysis, the full range of “missile kill probability” figures from 1% to 100% were offered as “what if” tools, without making predictions or distinctions based on either side’s aircraft.

          The core problem in Pacific Vision 2008 was that even an invulnerable American fighter force ran out of missiles before it ran out of targets, at any number below 50% of missile firings resulting in kills. Whereupon the remaining Chinese fighters would destroy the American tankers and AWACS aircraft, guaranteeing that the USAF’s F-22As would run out of fuel and crash before they could return to Guam.

          To reiterate: RAND’s core conclusion is not about specific fighter performance. It’s about the theoretical limits of better performance under adverse basing and logistics conditions. RAND’s Project Air Force argues, persuasively, that based on history and current trends, numbers still matter – and so does the “Lanchester square.” That’s the theory under which the combat performance of an outnumbered combatant must be the square of the outnumbering ratio (outnumbered 3:1 must be 9x better, etc.) just to stay even.

          Or, as the oft-repeated Cold War era saying goes, “quantity has a quality all its own.”

          skippy…. mommy~~~

          1. bob

            Didn’t ‘we’ win in WWII by realizing that more = better?
            If you’re fighting china, more has got to be the starting point. Not that I think we are “fighting” china, but “pacific theater” has become euphemism for China.

            The Chinese freaked out the navy good by popping a WWI tech diesel electric sub in the middle of a US exercise a few years ago.
            No fair!

            If china really wanted to go to “war” with the US, the cargo container would be the obvious weapon of choice. Tainted pet treats? Bad chicken (bio-warfare), or if it came down to it, load them up with people, north koreans would line up for duty, and send them our way. “2 weeks in a cargo container? Hell yes!”

            1. skippy

              Maybe that was the problem to start with “declaration of victory” against foreign oppressors, only to have the ones at home go “bannanas… cough republic”.

              skippy… don’t think many would attack America at home, seems that job description is taken already.

    1. Murky

      It’d be no walk-in for Russia to annex East Ukraine. Dr Rory Finnin is a lecturer in Ukrainian Studies at Cambridge University, and he writes:

      “Labelling its eastern regions ‘pro-Russian’ – ontologically disposed to a neighbouring state and culture – is not only inaccurate as an historical matter but perilous as an analytical one. We need to appreciate the gravity of this likely scenario: if the Russian Federation invades the east of Ukraine, most residents of such eastern cities as Kharkiv and Donetsk will not open their arms or shrug their shoulders. There will not be a repeat of the Crimean affair, which saw little violence thanks to a Ukrainian military determined not to legitimate Russian provocation with compensatory force. If Russia invades beyond Crimea, Ukrainians will defend themselves. And Europe will be witness to a war between its largest countries, with dire economic and human costs for us all.”

      For the full text of his remarks, here’s the link:

      1. James Levy

        “…not to legitimate Russian provocations with compensatory force.” What a load of horseshit! That sentence makes no sense. The fact of the matter is that the Ukrainians didn’t want to fight because they would have gotten their heads handed to them. This guy sounds like a partisan or an MI6 operative. I’m absolutely opposed to a Russian invasion, which would be criminal and idiotic, but this guy is blowing smoke out is Cambridge don’s arse.

        1. Murky

          Well, I’ll trust professor Finnin’s judgement over yours. Why? He teaches at Cambridge. You blab at NC. His approach is academic. Your approach includes abusive language, such as “load of horseshit”, and “blowing smoke out is [sic] Cambridge don’s arse.”

          I don’t get it. You make many excellent posts here at NC, and now you attempt to discredit someone with mere abuse. If the guy is wrong, make your case with some quality of argument. I’d be delighted to see you upend professor Finnin. Show me just how he is wrong. Please.

          1. James Levy

            The sentence whose conclusion I quoted makes no demonstrable sense. Rephrased so as to make at least a coherent point, it states that the Ukrainians didn’t fight because the Russians were acting egregiously, and therefore to show just how egregiously the Russians were acting, the Ukrainians did nothing to defend themselves or enforce their property claims. That is sophistry of the worst kind. It asserts that the Ukrainian surrender to force majeure was some kind of noble self-denying act with no evidence to back up such a claim. Occam’s razor, applied by me, more likely attests to why the Ukrainians did not fight for what they claim is an indivisible part of their country.

            Besides, the entire quote you give lacks one key element: facts. It is a series of assertions backed by nothing. And highly dubious assertions to boot. It gives no poll results, no breakdowns of language and religious affiliations in the various cities and regions, no statements from leaders in the areas mentioned, nothing. I treated it with the scorn it earned.

            1. Roland

              I’m really surprised that the Ukrainians didn’t fight back. Their country got invaded and nobody fired a shot?

              What sort of new “revolutionary” regime is it, that can’t muster any reaction against a foreign invasion?

              The Ukrainians’ failure to fight for their country is a major story, but it seems like nobody’s talking about it.

              1. notexactlyhuman

                The degree to which a country is liberated is now assessed by the number of bombs dropped, buildings destroyed, and collateral damage inflicted. The higher the cost in both property destruction and human deaths, the more liberated a country has become. Russia, therefore, is a violent offender of this fuzzy reasoning and thus must be endlessly vilified. America, on the other hand, is the greatest liberator of all time.

            2. Murky

              I think the core concept in the sentence you dispute is ‘provocation’. You don’t discuss this, but I will. Imagine for a moment a scenario in which Ukraine has killed a number of Russians in a skirmish in Crimea. Do ya think, just maybe, the Russian government would let that rest? No way. The incident would be plastered all over Russian mass media, condemned as ‘unprovoked’ Ukrainian aggression, and then used as a pretext for reciprocal aggression, if not full scale invasion. Ukraine loses in any scenario where it confronts Russian provocation, as its military is much weaker.

              ‘Provocation’ and ‘false flag operations’ should be familiar to you. The Mukden incident in 1931, the 1933 Reichstag fire, and the 1939 invasion of Poland are glaring examples, all based upon ‘provocations’ that were lies and staged events.

              The Russian government is no stranger to the lie. One only has to mention the Katyn massacre. A current example of a staged event is the bussing in of pro-Russian agitators to Donetsk. They seized government buildings, and aggressively harrassed pro-Maidan Ukrainians. Yes, there was some chance that the Donetsk public could have rallied behind these agitators, but they did not. If you read the full text of professor Finnin’s essay, he explains why the pro-Russian agitation failed in Donetsk. People in Donetsk have Ukrainian and not Russian identity.

              I spoke at length today with a woman today from Kharkiv, now in the USA, who keeps in constant touch with her Kharkiv relatives and friends. She told me emphatically that Kharkovites feel a strong Ukrainian and not a Russian identity. Exactly professor Finnan’s point.

              I think Ukraine has made the right moves by not responding to Russian provocation. That’s what professor Finnan is arguing. Ukraine’s backing down from a fight with Russia was the smartest thing to do, and not a weakness as you suggest.

        2. Jess

          I have friends in the Ukrainian community in NYC who have friends and relatives living all over Ukraine. They tell me that people are already practicing with weapons, stockpiling food and supplies, planning which bridges to sabotage, etc. Anybody who doesn’t think a Russian invasion of Ukraine isn’t going to result in Chechen/Iraq/Vietnam type guerrilla war — times ten — is dreaming. And the Ukrainian community here will take a page from the IRA playbook in terms of fundraising. much of which will come from happy neocons. And, of course, somehow our authorities will be too busy and distracted with other things to intercept the shipments. (That they only do on stuff bound for Palestine and Iran.)

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Thank you for mentioning this.

      I’m having the EXACT SAME PROBLEM. It’s making the site almost unreadable.

      It hasn’t always been this way. I want to say it started about the time that those video ads on the right which just play without being clicked started.

      Something to do with something called Shockwave Flash which is a plug-in, whatever that is. It’s always crashing.

      I’m no computer genius, and I am just about at my wit’s end. What’s to be done to fix this????

    2. ftm

      I’ve had the same problem for a few days. I’m using firefox and the problem is the adobe flash plug-in required by the advertisements. I haven’t explored updating my plugin yet but this issue significantly reducing my use of the site.

    3. katiebird

      It started freezing on me sometime around Thanksgiving. I use Safari and if I switch to Firefox, that usually works.

      My symptom is that about 1/2 the page loads — as if it’s finished the “loading” indicators stop — and I have no links at all. It’s like the HTML is disconnected.

    4. OIFVet

      I don’t have problems when viewing with IE, but at some point last week Chrome has become almost unusable when I have NC open in a tab.

      1. Wells Fargo Must Die

        At least I know it is not just me. I tried updating the plug ins to no avail. Chrome is a basketcase. It took me 10 mintues to try to type this comment one letter at a time. I got 5 page is unresponsive messages and two Shockwave crashes and finally had to abort the mission because it could not submit the comment. This site has become a real SOB.

    5. Ronald Pires

      Not so bad as you, but the site is DRAGGING on scrolling and such, and other sites also drag if an NC page is open in the same IE window. Usually this stuff is caused by bad Flash programming (the stuff that comes with ads). Apparently you can really F#$K up Flash programming, and make it eat up the CPU, but I’ve only seen this happening when Flash is used for ads. No doubt buck/hour programmers who don’t know what they’re doing.

  5. taunger

    event in the boston area that NC readers might like –


    Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left invites you to a conference on Saturday, April 5 2014 from 10am-5:30pm called This Land is Your Land: Remaking Property After Neoliberalism. The conference will be held in the Austin North room of Austin Hall at Harvard Law School.

    Our goal is to critique the property regime that enables the neoliberal order and to explore collectively how property law can be re-oriented to promote social flourishing over the needs of capital. The conference will consist of three panels featuring spontaneous dialogue between the participants and the audience.

    Breakfast, lunch and tea will be provided. Attendance is open to the public and no registration is required. Law students and other graduate students are especially encouraged to attend. Please forward this announcement widely.

    10-10:30am – Continental Breakfast

    10:30-11am – Opening Remarks, Duncan Kennedy

    11am-12.30pm – From Homo Economicus to the Commoner: Beyond the Neoliberal Subject

    Ezra Rosser, American University Washington College of Law
    David Bollier Author, Activist, Blogger and Consultant
    Erum Sattar, Harvard Law School

    12:30-1:30pm Lunch

    1:30-3pm – Taking Back What is Ours: Law, Space, and the People

    Michael Hardt, Duke Program in Literature
    Mark Purcell, University of Washington Department of Urban Design and Planning
    Asad Farooq, LUMS, Shaikh Ahmad Hassan School of Law

    3-3:30pm Tea
    3:30-5pm Waking Up from the Neoliberal Nightmare: New Property Relations

    Eduardo Penalver, University of Chicago Law School
    Rashmi Dyal-Chand, Northeastern University School of Law
    Audrey McFarlane, University of Baltimore School of Law
    5-5:30pm Closing remarks

  6. James Levy

    The commentary on Tom Frank’s article is extensive and revealing (in the most frightening way possible). Discourse, that nice academic word, has been left in the dust by internet vitriol and sloganeering. It’s startling how much work there is to do, and if the UN scientists are right, how little time we have to do it.

  7. rich

    Professor William Black-Epic Epidemic of Fraud

    Fraud expert and former regulator Professor William Black says, “Even today, we are well into 2014, and the Department of Justice record is intact. There have been zero prosecutions of the elite officers who led the epic epidemic of fraud. It was the most destructive in world history, zero of them even unsuccessfully prosecuted, much less prosecuted.”

    What is the result of massive rampant unprosecuted fraud? Professor Black says, “If you don’t have any accountability, you not only make certain that there is going to be a next blow-up, but it will be worse. . . . We have effectively removed the criminal laws for a particular elite class of frauds.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “If you don’t have any accountability…”

      Accountability means wealth tax instead of progressive income tax.

      It also means taxing the wealthy instead of more growth.

      In the meantime, we need more links on corrupt politicians, corrupt government officials, corrupt banksters, corrupt CEOs, corrupt professors, corrupt reporters, etc.

      1. Punchnrun

        In Soviet Russia accountability means a bullet to the head. What a country!

        Apologies to Yakof Smirnoff, wherever you are.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was watching the Polish movie Katyn and there, even when there was not accountability, when you were innocent, you still got a bullet in the head under Soviet Russia.

          1. Punchnrun

            Reigns of Terror generally end up going that way, don’t they? There just ain’t no justice.

    2. Benedict@Large

      A slight correction. There hasn’t even been an indictment. Obama should be impeached for his criminal complicity, and Holder should just be dropped off in general population and forgotten.

      1. Vatch

        Maybe I’m just eccentric, but instead of letting Holder off the hook, shouldn’t he be indicted for obstruction of justice?

  8. fresno dan
    The top 0.01% (based on tax return analysis)
    In each year, 4 (or 1.0 percent) of the returns (i.e., the 400 returns reporting the most income) are for taxpayers who can be found in all 17 years.

    Tel the truth – you would give one of your gonads to learn who the four are!!! I would bet that at least 50% of them most people have never heard of…..

    1. James Levy

      And that’s reported income. Imagine what slips through the cracks or is “realized” in other tax districts. If these hedge funds and wealth funds are to be taken as having the assets they claim, then the rich are a lot richer than they pretend to be. I’d like to know what the total invested capital of the 25 biggest private equity funds are, and how many actual clients that money was ponies up by.

      1. bob

        Anytime I see “he or she is worth X” I think- that’s what they can pin to them. Part of the business of money laundering and tax evasion is moving the money out of your name, but not out of your control.

        “He’s worth 200 million.” That’s a minimum, not a measure.

  9. Jim S

    re: Albuquerque, some older links:

    APD offers details on latest officer-involved shooting (Albuquerque Journal)
    Homeless man shot to death by police while “illegally camping” in the foothills of NM (Police State USA)
    New police training puts fewer limits on use of force (Santa Fe New Mexican)
    I read that many police departments won’t hire officers coming from the APD because of its record of abuse and brutality. In this respect I’m unreservedly for gun control–let’s keep guns out of the hands of criminals wearing badges.

  10. Hugh

    We often talk about the 1% and the 99%, but it is important to realize that the top 20% are by and large doing OK. They have enough disposable income to actually accumulate not just house wealth but non-house wealth. The wealth of the bottom 80% is mostly tied up in house wealth. They have little or no financial wealth and are far more vulnerable to financial ruin if anything disturbs their precarious existence, loss of a job, a major medical problem, or a general economic downturn. The bottom 80% have never exited the recession which the rich and elites thrust them into in December 2007.

    As for the Snowden documents, Cryptome’s estimate of 42 years for complete release simply underscores that the dribbling out strategy Greenwald and Poitras chose to keep the NSA story alive has run its course. Now the biggest hindrance to disclosure is their continued gatekeeping of the information. At some point, we have to ask what’s the difference between the NSA keeping secrets from us and Greenwald and Poitras keeping secrets from us?

    1. James Levy

      My guess has been the top 7% really own and control everything and the next 8% make their money mostly servicing the 7%. You may be right with your 20% figure, but it strikes me as too high–too many of those people are in a paycheck-to-paycheck existence.

      Greenwald seems to have fallen into the trap of assuming the role the NSA et al. assume for themselves–objective, “serious”, “responsible” gatekeeper. Greenwald seems to think that they can’t be trusted, but he can, so we should all just “trust him” (an attitude which, when copped by governments, he is contemptuous of). I guess that’s a prime example of the rampant narcissism that Banger often brings up. That, or a staggering lack of self-awareness on Greenwald’s part. Or it could be he’s scared shitless but trying to act out the role of the big, tough, dedicated reporter to his fans. Who can tell.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Climate impacts ‘overwhelming’ – UN

    “Climate change is really important but we have a lot of the tools for dealing effectively with it – we just need to be smart about it.”

    There is far greater emphasis to adapting to the impacts of climate in this new summary. The problem, as ever, is who foots the bill?

    A). A lot of tools for dealing effectively with it —- so, no end of the world.

    B). Who foots the bill?

    Now we know why the 0.01% are not too worried about global warming.

    They ‘know’ how to deal with it effectively…phew, the rich will survive.

    As for the money to pay for it – as long as the current looting system stays in place, and there is hope the rich can further improve it to extract more efficiently, that’s not an issue.

    Thus, they, like Noah, are ‘prepared.’

    Let Global Warming come*!

    *But it requires further wealth accumulation ruthlessly.

    1. HotFlash

      The idea that Old Money does not plan is preposterous. And New Money is savvy and aggressive. They are elbowing for the best spots.

      How long does it take to starve to death, something like 14 days? Once all us pesky plebes are out of the way they can feast on drone-herded free range steaks.

  12. Synopticist

    The article…
    is surprisingly fair and honest for a report on Syria in the western press, although it blankly fails to point out the obvious lesson. Assad helped facilitate al qeada in Iraq between 2003 and 2007, when he was scared of US invasion. That was dumb. DON’T ALLY WITH AL QEADA. Because BLOWBACK.
    But it’s quite good, and propaganda free, at least right up to the final paragraph

    “Nor is there any question that the Syrian government, which is fighting large numbers of secular defectors from its own forces,”… Well, no. Not any longer. In 2011-12, there were secular defectors fighting for the FSA, but those guys are long gone. They’ve either quietly rejoined the government, died, become extremists themselves, or live in exile, having fled in fear of the hardline islamists.
    And likewise…”(Assad) has an interest in portraying the opposition as crazy fanatics,…” Which they are of course. Perhaps half, maybe 45%, of the armed opposition belong to groups which are either al qeada off-shoots or share their ideology of fighting til a global caliphate is established.
    “…or that some of its actions – such as releasing more Islamists from Sednaya prison, or sparing ISIS-controlled areas from attack – ” Hmmm, Islamists were released as part of a misguided attempt at reconciliation, back in 2011, and ISIS areas have only been spared in that they captured rebel areas far from the frontline with regime forces. The frequently encountered claim that ISIS never fights the government, or that it’s bases are never attacked, just isn’t true.

    And of course, the author…”Peter Neumann is professor of security studies at King’s College London. He currently leads a research project on the Syrian conflict and the future of the global jihadist movement” knows this full well. He understands the nature of the Syrian armed opposition in spring of 2014. But he’s part of the well-padded foreign policy establishment, safely ensconced in a tenured position, and perhaps eyeing up potential cushy consultancies or opportunities in the free spending Oil money/MIC/GWOT/national security grifter network. Of which there are many.
    So the bias is always there, which makes a honest appraisal of the war in Syria impossible.

  13. notexactlyhuman

    When I think about the American brand of libertarian nonsense, I see Pinkertons descending on striking workers with machine guns on behalf of Rockefeller. But here’s another amusing take:

    “Home Depot™ presents The Police!®” I said, flashing my badge and my gun and a small picture of Ron Paul. “Nobody move unless you want to!” They didn’t.

    “Now, which one of you punks is going to pay me to investigate this crime?” No one spoke up.

    “Come on,” I said. “Don’t you all understand that the protection of private property is the foundation of all personal liberty?”

    It didn’t seem like they did.

    “Seriously, guys. Without a strong economic motivator, I’m just going to stand here and not solve this case. Cash is fine, but I prefer being paid in gold bullion or autographed Penn Jillette posters.”

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