Links 4/13/14

Greenland ice cores show industrial record of acid rain, success of US Clean Air Act Science Daily

The Mental Life of Plants and Worms, Among Others NYRB

When You Say “It’s the Economy” You Are Buying Into Deregulation Observations on Credit and Surveillance. “The economy isn’t a real thing, it’s just a tally of all transactions counted by economists.”

Why Won’t Washington Take on Wall Street’s Biggest Crimes? James Kwak, The Atlantic

New York Prosecutors Open Another Front of Scrutiny for Port Authority Online WSJ

Current bout of dotcom fever appears less virulent FT

Healbe Hustle: The full story of how a failed Russian cake shop owner humiliated Indiegogo and took “the crowd” for over $1m Pando. I like “scampaign.” And it’s not like Yves didn’t warn people.

Bitcoin Mining Boom Sputters as Prospectors Face Losses Bloomberg

Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Vexed by Low Demand for Mortgages Bloomberg

ECB preparing to unleash unconventional monetary policy FT

Quebec Bonds Show Scottish Separatists Size Matters: U.K. Credit Bloomberg

Citing safety concerns, BLM calls off cattle roundup Las Vegas Sun (PT).

Campus Discontent: Washington University Students Sit-In Against Peabody, Harvard Faculty Call for Divestment DeSmogBlog

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Node.js team member cracks CloudFlare’s Heartbleed challenge, proving that the bug exposes SSL keys The Next Web. Oopsie!

Heartbleed is a Sucking Chest Wound in the NSA’s Reputation Mother Jones

Heartbleed Bug’s ‘Voluntary’ Origins Online WSJ

Obama Lets N.S.A. Exploit Some Internet Flaws, Officials Say Times. Film at 11.

CIA’s use of harsh interrogation went beyond legal authority, Senate report says McClatchy (PDF of report).


Spy planes: Millions of airline passengers using inflight WiFi are being tracked by the NSA… and it could be illegal Daily Mail

Chuck Grassley: Insider Threat Program Poses Threat to Whistleblowers emptywheel

How Google is transforming power and politics WaPo


A pro-single payer doctor’s concerns about Obamacare PNHP. Important post on out-of-pocket maximums.

Insurer Push on Obamacare Premiums Tops Burwell Challenge Bloomberg

The Missing Link to the Democratic Party’s Pivot to Wall Street Counterpunch

False Flags and Imperial Facades: Tales of ‘Progressives’ in Power Empire Burlesque


Uniformed men occupy Donetsk police HQ AP

Ukraine: Donetsk Moves Moon of Alabama

Ukraine prepares armed response as city seized by pro-Russia forces Reuters

Joe Biden to travel to Ukraine Politico


Beijing rejects IMF’s hard-landing warning for China’s economy Reuters

Oil leak and tap water outage shows China pipeline danger FT

Ohio Geologists Link Earthquake Activity To Fracking CBS Pittsburgh

What Can You Do With a Humanities Ph.D., Anyway? Atlantic

Looking For Tom Lehrer, Comedy’s Mysterious Genius Buzzfeed

Cambodia’s lost rock ’n’ roll Al Jazeera America

Rwanda, Remembrance and Research: Or, How Rwandan Violence Taught Me to Embrace Subnational/Disaggregated Conflict Studies and Integral Conflict Research Political Violence @ a Glance

Case 11-2014 — A Man with Traumatic Injuries after a Bomb Explosion at the Boston Marathon NEJM

The Causes of the Great War: An Autobiographic Take The Disorder of Things

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. craazyboy

    Yo, craazymon dude!

    Haven’t posted in a while. Been wasting time other ways lately. Every couple years or so I get the urge to program (then it wears off) and it happened again in January. Programming is the ultimate way to waste time, and I just noticed it’s April already!

    But I do have a new website to show for it. I call it NavigatorII. It has a cool links menu organizing my oft visited links to blogs, finance, econ or otherwise cool links. Then it also has some apps I’ve written.

    Wrote a Gym Workout app in MSFT Silverlight. Your browser needs the Silverlight plugin to be installed. It has a master list of exercises. You can add, delete and edit this list as you wish and your data is saved to your browser’s “local storage”, which is like a big cookie. Then the idea is you drag and drop from this master list to your workout list to create a particular workout. This list can be printed and taken to the gym. For instance, you may have 18 exercises on your master list and plan to do 6 exercises per workout 3 times a week. You enter weight, reps and sets in the master list, then create the workout list (say, by muscle group), and print it. There is space on the printout to hopefully jot down any increase in reps or weight acheived over the next month. Then you update the master list with your new reps and weight and print the next month’s workout list.

    Then there is a Calendar app. It can be used to track gym workouts, cardio workouts, etc… or appointments and events. Double click on a day box to open the input dialog. Double click on an event to open it’s dialog box. Uses jQuery, PHP and MySQL database. The default calendar is a demo, but the site has a button in the upper right that opens a registration/login form where you can create an account and have a personal calendar with your own data.

    Next is a living expense tracker where you can enter daily expenses and it will summarize the data various ways. Also uses jQuery, PHP and MySQL database. If you create an account, then this will also use your personal data.

    Then a Google map app that does the one thing that the standard google map doesn’t do – allow you to enter multiple addresses on a map, display the map markers, and print this out. Good for house hunting, maybe bar hopping, or something like that.

    Then the Code Ref app which has lots of links of interest to web developers. Wrote this a couple years ago and plan to update the links soon.

    The MyApps/Demo button goes to a “misc” page. So far I have a Silverlight video player with some full length Pink Floyd concerts (impressive productions) and a HTML5 player with a collection of live 60’s rock videos – great nostalgia thing!

    Then there is a collection of cool web cam sites. Just the PG rated kind – I’ve got a free hosting site and not sure what the policy is on the other kind. So I’m playing it safe.

    So this is one way to blow away 3 months of time. But it’s kinda fun, and you don’t even have to buy anything to do it.

  2. financial matters

    A pro-single payer doctor’s concerns about Obamacare PNHP. Important post on out-of-pocket maximums.

    Good article. The ACA (as a FIRE sector friendly program) has done a good job of encouraging people to dissect out the major extractive nature of health insurance companies and helps point the way forward toward single payer. There does seem to be more penalties for the ‘crime’ of being sick than in creating fraudulent financial products. (And while we’re at it we could deal with stagnating wages, soaring prices for higher education and unaffordable housing.)

    “Between stagnating wages, soaring prices for higher education, and (in many areas) unaffordable housing, we can safely assume that such families will be severely squeezed by sickness. It would be very hard to blame them for skipping appointments, missing pills, or even avoiding the Emergency Room when a worrisome symptom developed. If that’s not underinsurance, what is?
    I’m certainly not advocating going backwards, and the conservative “solution” would clearly only makes things much worse. As the Commonwealth Fund study emphasized, the expansion of Medicaid will, in particular, provide crucial assistance for millions. And the pre-ACA individual insurance market was by all accounts ugly, with no guarantee that you could even buy into it. “My deductible is nearly $3,000, which is ridiculously high, in my opinion,” one woman remarked to The New York Times. “But as someone with pre-existing conditions, I’m grateful to be able to buy insurance at all.”

    It’s clearly good news that she’s now covered. But should such an individual have to be grateful to buy insurance that makes her spend thousands every time she needs to use it, just for the crime of being sick?”

    1. diptherio

      And from the Bloomberg article, I see that Obamacare has succeeded in reducing the number of uninsured a whole 2.4%! Sweet success….

    2. diptherio

      Here’s the real important bit, imo, when it comes to out-of-pocket “maximums”:

      If someone needed health care, copays, deductibles and co-insurance could cost them an additional $10,400 every year. And if they made the mistake of (intentionally or not) going outside the narrow “high-value” network of doctors and hospitals that most of these plans provide, there would be no limit (or, generally speaking, coverage) at all.

      So the reality is that there aren’t any “maximums” on out-of-pocket expenses, unless you are conscientious of going only to in-network doctors and hospitals…and don’t have the misfortune of, for instance, having an ambulance taking you to the nearest hospital instead of the in-network one.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      So, welcome to bizarro world.

      The United States, the “richest” country in the world where it is a “crime” to be poor. The “bread-basket” of the world where it is a “crime” to be hungry.

      And the country with the “best ‘healthcare’ system” on the planet, where it is a “crime” to be sick.

      I guess that’s how we maintain our status of “best” in EVERYTHING. Declare it a crime not to be.

    4. Klassy

      Umm… why does he ignore one of the reasons those out of pocket costs are so high: Namely, the extortionary rates charged by doctors, hospitals, equipment makers, and pharmaceutical companies?

      1. financial matters

        I think a lot of this is enabled by the third party obfuscating nature of insurance companies and the power relationships that the above entities have with these insurance companies. Single payer would allow these costs to be more transparent and tied to value. The insurance companies are able to extract health care dollars from the system by this obfuscation and rewarding certain power figures in the entities you mentioned.

    5. McMike

      High deductible plans of course come along with a health savings account (I am not sure where ACA is on HSAs).

      HSAs are simply one more mechanism for Wall Street skimming: there are fees to open, maintain and use the account, there are debit cards with the account (more fees), there are low balance fees, and other fees I assume. Your money is put into a mutual fund of their choice (low return, high fees) etc.

  3. Banger

    Chris Floyd of Empire Burlesque re-tells the story that has come out of Sy Hersh’s story on what the WH had planned for us–big time war in the ME by sending Syria back to the stone age through massive bombing. The fundamentalist maniacs who are, in part, running the Air Force, were licking their chops, France and GB were ready to go but something stopped them. According to Hersh it seemed like the intel services found out that the gas used in Syria was not from the Syrian government and knew that sending Americans into a new, probably, wider regional war, was not a good idea.

    I am convinced by the Hersh revelations (which ordinary Americans will likely never know about since the power-elite banned Hersh from publishing in the U.S.) that there are responsible elements within the deep state which I have spoken about and they are our champions within the oligarchy. Now, the elements in favor of general war are now planning for an even more dangerous war over Ukraine. We have to do our best to persuade friends, family and anyone we come in contact with that we must resist the current government in Washington of both parties. I think we need to heed the words of Chris Hedges that urges us to revolt. If you are on the left and support the current administration you are either a fool or a fake.

    1. Jackrabbit

      . . . there are responsible elements within the deep state which I have spoken about and they are our champions within the oligarchy.”

      It seems clear that if such ‘champions’ exist, they are NOT getting a fair hearing or they wouldn’t have to resort to press leaks!!! Such a state of affairs is much less encouraging than you imply in your writing.

      In fact, you have continuously been over-optimistic, saying (in some cases repeatedly) that:
      – there is a “battle” between neocons and realists and ‘disunity’ in the Deep State;
      – you were confident that that Ukraine was on the way to being fixed (about 3 weeks ago); and
      – the Obama Administration punted to Congress because they listened to the ‘voice of the people’
      (Hersh’s reporting contradicts this rosy point of view: it was an expert determination that rebels were behind the attack that deterred the bombing.)

      Such happy talk (now: ‘champions’) makes it appear that there is a real debate and a chance that reasonable heads will prevail. Instead, all evidence points to policy being firmly controlled by neocons/neolib ideologues that are united in their determination to extend and deepen economic and political control, including: counter Russia, contain China, and confront Iran.

      This is exactly why Hedges calls for resistance/revolt. He recognizes that there has been a fundamental breakdown in democratic governance (confirmed by Jimmy Carter, among others). “We the People” can no longer rely on representatives, ‘realists’ or ‘champions’ within the Administration, or even checks and balances between branches of the government. These are paid lip service to, and talk of faux ‘debates’ and ‘champions’ only serve to stoke hope that the ‘system’ works somehow (despite the flaws).

      1. Ulysses

        I think maybe Banger is, as you say, over-optimistic, but I don’t think he is deliberately trying to fill us with false hopes. He seems to consistently point out that our current regime is to be resisted and not trusted. I think, rather, that Banger has a very human need to believe that there are at least a few decent people left within our power institutions.
        On this score he is probably right, since even institutions dominated by psychopaths may contain decent individuals among the nasties.

        What’s critical to remember is that we can’t rely on the decent ones to gain any sort of control over these thoroughly corrupted institutions. I’m sure there were a few decent aristocrats around old regime France as well, yet nobody from the Third Estate would have ever gained any meaningful rights by waiting for the nobles to oblige them.

        1. Jackrabbit

          I agree with your summary. I don’t think Banger has malicious intent.

          But I’ve asked him to substantiate his view of a ‘neocon-realist’ debate and ‘disunity’ before and he hasn’t (it seems to be something of a hunch of his based on the supposition that the neocon-realist debates of years ago are continuing). I also wonder about his belief that renewed spirituality will save us and that Americans gun ownership keeps the government in check (debunked by Yves). To me, these like examples of wishful “hope and change”-like thinking.

        2. Banger

          I have been in and around Washington and U.S. foreign policy most of my life and I can assure you that these people do exist and do take their duties to the country seriously. They are seldom listened to by the political elite and the lobbyists that run Washington with their hustles and willingness to commit any crime to further their evil conspiracies–but they are there in the bureaucracy.

          1. John Jones


            I forgot to ask. Among the realists is there people that you would call good? And is there any names you know of I can read up on of those if they exist?

          2. Jackrabbit

            They are seldom listened to by the political elite and the lobbyists that run Washington . . .

            Yes, but when you repeatedly talk about a “battle” and “champions” then you give a different impression. I think you have to be careful about that. In the same vein, I hope you can see the incongruence of impling that there are people going to bat for “We the people” and then citing Hedges.

            I believe there are good people out there. I believe that quite a few are in government in some capacity. But Hedges and others recognize that those who rise to a position of real power in the current system are almost always behoven to that very system. They may make a show of listening to others but will act as they are expected to act.

            Remember when Obama did his town hall after he was elected. He wanted to show America (and the world) that he was listening but he was challenged by the participants (and a bit embarrassed as a result). There was never another town hall.

  4. abynormal

    “MOUSE, n. An animal which strews its path with fainting women. As in Rome Christians were thrown to the lions, so centuries earlier in Otumwee, the most ancient and famous city of the world, female heretics were thrown to the mice. Jakak-Zotp, the historian, the only Otumwump whose writings have descended to us, says that these martyrs met their death with little dignity and much exertion. He even attempts to exculpate the mice (such is the malice of bigotry) by declaring that the unfortunate women perished, some from exhaustion, some of broken necks from falling over their own feet, and some from lack of restoratives. The mice, he avers, enjoyed the pleasures of the chase with composure. But if “Roman history is nine-tenths lying,” we can hardly expect a smaller proportion of that rhetorical figure in the annals of a people capable of so incredible cruelty to a lovely women; for a hard heart has a false tongue.”
    Ambrose Bierce
    (ah the places my mind roams from some these antidote du Jours’))

    1. carl

      FWIW, the kitten is sitting on an AC->DC power adapter. Since the conversion puts out heat, it’s a good napping spot.

  5. Eureka Springs

    A torture report penned and re-penned by the torturers, their funders and their cheerleaders which still makes it clear in the most redacted hidden “summary” fashion they could manage that they are barbaric madmen criminals… all of them and everyone who is indirectly related right down to you and me dear fellow citizen! Yet again, nothing will be done… and most will remain hidden.

    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Krishnamurti

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Citing safety concerns, BLM calls off cattle roundup

    Not a mention of Harry Reid and family’s involvement in the sale of the land, at well below its appraised value, to “privately-held” Chinese energy firm ENN Energy Group, whose “legal” representative is Rory Reid, son of Harry. Not a mention of the fact that Reid’s former chief of staff is now the head of the BLM. Of course.

    Snipers. Helicopters. Contractors. All this expense for the desert tortoise??? Sure.

    Google it. It’s an interesting, if not disgustingly familiar, story. And until the standoff, the BLM was very open about it on its web page. When the story came out, to the extent that it did, the info was scrubbed from the site and the operation shut down.

    Supposedly Reid isn’t all that popular in Nevada and only survived the last election because he had Sharon Angle as an opponent. I only hope that THIS time he’s gone too far.

    For the “safety” of the citizens. Barf.

    1. susan the other

      Thanks for this info. If Harry Reid arranged the sale of this land to ENN he might have sold them land the Federal Gov did not own, or could not prove title to. Since the whole argument between Bundy and the BLM centers on who owned the grazing land, Nevada or the BLM. Two separate courts have decided in favor of the BLM? So the hitch in favor of Bundy might be that in addition to owning a grandfathered homestead (usu @ 300 acres) his family might also have bought hundreds, even thousands, of acres of grazing land back in the days of pennies for acres. And paid Nevada. I think I remember a comment from my grandmother that they bought grazing land for 3 cents an acre and in fact in that very corner of the world, along the border between Utah and Nevada. That land stayed in our family until the late 70s when my mother and her sisters sold it to another rancher. So this grazing thing is more complicated that the quick review we are getting in the press – as you point out. And the item about selling this land to ENN is also very interesting because I think ENN does nuclear reactors and that little area is very close to a big aquifer, mostly on the Utah side. And one more thing I’m now curious about, What ever happened to Nevada’s geothermal future? Of course that would also need the aquifer in question to produce steam. Isn’t ENN the same company getting contracts for nuclear reactors in Britain?

      1. abynormal

        interesting indeed! (with 30k employees & counting)
        Canada: Westport, ENN to Partner on LNG Transportation 3/1/14
        Highlights of the agreement include:
        Global cooperation – the agreement covers the US, Canada, China/Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa
        Multiple transportation platforms – Westport and ENN look to partner for opportunities across trucks, rail, marine and mining applications
        Mutual acknowledgement of long-term commitment to LNG infrastructure – ENN is expecting to engage in building liquefaction plants in North America and fuel stations through the BLU station brand
        ENN to guarantee long term fuelling solutions and agreements for its customers
        Westport to facilitate collaboration between our OEM partners and ENN and provide proposals to ENN and its fleet customers
        Fleet optimization – ENN will look at operating its truck fleet on LNG as a way to optimize fuel cost savings and reduce harmful emissions

        i backed into this site for nuclear contracts

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I would have posted links, but I didn’t know if they would pass moderation muster. They’d have been to sites like Alex Jones and Drudge. And even though Yves has occasionally linked to Breitbart, I really, really wanted to get this info out there.

        According to the story, the energy in question is solar. I’d urge you to search for and read the material. Since it’s Harry Reid, I suspect this will not be picked up by the Ministry of Propaganda MSM, despite the fact they have dissected Christie/Bridgegate to within an inch of its life.

        There’s also an interesting link at Alex Jones about the desert tortoise, the unfortunate creature that supposedly put this whole thing in motion.

        1. susan the other

          my first question is why on earth is ENN the choice for solar development in Nevada? – is part of the contract a handover of suggested applied technology and solutions not yet implemented? … the second question is Who cares? since corporate/government contracts are above and beyond mere citizen level citizenship… but third questions deal with extended considerations like the aquifer in the next state (if contracts creep into geothermal), and if state sovereignty is busted can national sovereignty be far behind, and etc… so without a safety net below,nobody wants to jump; without a safety net above, nobody wants to fly… And the safety net has traditionally be a socialist political agreement…

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I’d imagine you’d have to ask Harry and Rory Reid. But I’d bet there’s a payoff involved.

        2. Jim S

          I’m glad you got this out. It needs coverage in places like this, because the mainstream news will never mention it.

          I posted a ‘tinfoil hat’ link a while back and it passed, but I will make a personal appeal to you to avoid Alex Jones links. There’s certainly plenty to be alarmed about in these times, but he is in the business of alarmism and that should not be encouraged. I think for a factually grounded story such as this, other–less sensational–sites are carrying the information.

          On a related note, I see that the citizenry of Albuquerque, NM is keeping the heat turned on its criminally trigger-happy PD, and it may be having an effect.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I agree with you, Alex Jones seems to be a crackpot.

            But sometimes I think that he is a useful crackpot. As in, if Alex Jones says it, then it must be nonsense. I get the distinct impression that he allows himself to be used like this, as a means of diverting attention from the truth.

            He plays the part really well. Like when he was interviewed by Piers Morgan. He just went off on a rant, seemingly for no reason.

            I don’t discount anything he says, but I don’t take it at face value either.

            This, however, is pretty well sourced. And lately I just can’t get the idea of fake Cuban twitter out of my head.

            1. nobody

              Is it?

              The facts don’t support it.

              Reid and his son, Rory, were both deeply involved in a deal with the Chinese-owned ENN Energy Group to build a $5 billion solar farm in Laughlin, Nevada. But that is roughly 177 miles away from Bundy’s 150-acre ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., and 213 miles from the federally owned Gold Butte area where Bundy‘s cattle graze, according to Google Maps.


    2. Wayne Reynolds

      The BLM has been selling leases in this area for exploratory oil wells and shale gas fracking in this area of Nevada. On Tuesday of last week they sold $1.27 million dollars of leases to six different companies. For the complete story you can go to Natural where the story is uncovered including maps of the proposed locations of the wells and fracking sites as released by the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology. Their is no mention of Harry Reid’s son’s involvement in the article, that tidbit just makes it so much more interesting. Corruption in the US at work at a faster pace than the tortoises they are claiming to be protecting.

  7. tongorad

    Thomas Frank on the scourge of McMansions:
    “This is not some absurdity at the fringe of our way of life. This is civilization’s very center, the only thing that really makes sense in “clusterfuck nation,” the tawdry telos at which all our economic policies aim. Everything we do seems designed to make this thing possible. Cities must sprawl to accommodate its bulk, eight-lane roads must be constructed, gasoline must be kept cheap, coal must be hauled in from Wyoming on mile-long trains. Middle-class taxes must be higher to make up for the deductions given to McMansion owners, lending standards must be diluted so more suckers can purchase them, banks must be propped up, bonuses must go out, stock prices must ascend. Every one of us must work ever longer hours so that this millionaire’s folly can remain viable, can be sold successfully to the next one on the list. This stupendous, staring banality is the final outcome for which we have sacrificed everything else.”

  8. rjs

    re: Ohio Geologists Link Earthquake Activity To Fracking
    this wasnt just any geologists…it was the industry friendly ODNR, the same ODNR who partnered with the oil & gas industry to run psych-ops against environmental groups, and included the Ohio Sierra Club and similar groups on its enemies list, so their moving against fracking operations so quickly after the Poland twsp quakes means they knew exactly what had happened…

    simply put, what they saw scared the crap out of them…

  9. Don't worry it will work, these are Red Sox fans

    Re nejm, stand by for lots of ick and weepy pluck. Lots of rueful musings on, ‘Where did he go wrong?’ Don’t look for, Did he do this? Meanwhile the court is working hard to choreograph a show trial that can paper over the gaping holes in the state’s case (reams of stuff at and associated comments.)

    Accused bomber Tsarnaev is represented by federal defenders Miriam Conrad, Timothy G. Watkins, and William W. Fick. Tsarnaev’s appointed learned counsel is Judy Clarke, who says, “The first step to losing a capital case is picking a jury.” She believes her primary responsibility in a capital case is to save the defendant’s life. Reinforcing Clark’s inclination to put the patsy quietly away, the judge set an ‘impossible’ November 3 trial date, rebuffing the defense’s request for a September 2015 date and forcing her to negotiate a plea. So much for Tsarnaev’s not guilty plea.

    The state’s objectives are limited here. The goal is to keep the defendant from showing that the bombing was an armed attack by US government officials on the domestic civilian population. The elder brother’s government handlers frog-marched Tam Tsarnaev through an incriminating minstrel show of cartoonish jihad, then blew him to bits, leaving his brother in the dark about the setup. CIA stooge George O’Toole is systematically crippling the kid’s defense by withholding government information about the elder Tsarnaev. In this way the US government hopes to cover up pee-poor OPSEC and the obvious hallmarks of a cold-war vintage strategy of tension.

    All so CIA-trained Boston cops can play GI Joe at home. That’s how stupid they think you are.

  10. optimader

    Sunday tomato planting music…
    Kevin Johansen + The Nada – Sur o no Sur

    From the album:
    Kevin Johansen – Sur o No Sur – [Album Completo]
    Published on Jan 5, 2014
    IMPORTANTE: Copyright © Todos los Derechos Reservados.
    [Sur o No Sur: 2002]
    1.- Sur o no Sur: 00:00
    2.- Star estrella: 04:52
    3.- Puerto Madero: 09: 29
    4.- La procesión: 12:40
    5.- Daisy: 16:56
    6.- Timing: 21:41
    7.- Down with my baby: 25:37
    8.- Chill out James: 29:32
    9.- Cumbiera intelectual: 31:58
    10.- No seas insegura: 36:12
    11.- Sur o no sur (reprise): 39:37
    12.- Acción!: 40:21
    13.- La chanson de prevert: 44:28
    14.- Hindue Blues: 47:24
    15.- Go on: 54:09
    16.- Hacele caso: 58:48
    17.- La tangómana: 59:17
    18.- Me fui pal monte: 1:01:39
    19.- Canbombito: 1:05:48
    20.- He andao: 1:10:34

  11. Jackrabbit

    Ukraine update

    The neocon/neolib ideologies in the Obama Administration and its Ukrainian allies are apparently determined to hold on to as much of Ukraine as possible. So they have been promoting DEVOLUTION instead of federation and have ignored the proposal that Ukraine be neutral (like Finland).

    It is in this context that we are seeing unrest in south and east Ukraine. Putin has also turned up the heat by simply explaining that European gas supplies to Europe would be affected if Ukraine doesn’t pay its bills.

    Note: I read on another blog that Poland required $150 billion of aid over 10 years and still needs more. Ukraine is in even worse shape. Assuming the south and east were to break away, Western Ukraine would need tens of billions and many years before they are ready to join the EU.

    There is a Ukrainian election on May 25th. The West hopes to legitimize the Ukraine government via this election. Russia/Russian Ukrainians will almost certainly act before this election. An important date is May 11 – the anniversary of WWII victory. This week there will be a summit between EU, US, and Russia – which may be the last chance for a diplomatic solution.

    1. OIFVet

      One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. When the US helps neo-fascist armed thugs to overthrow an elected government it is in the name of “freedom and democracy”; when ethnic Russians use the Maidan tactics to gain autonomy within a federalized Ukraine it is called “Russian aggression.” So naturally the western installed regime headed by our man Yats plans to launch “anti-terror operations” against ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine using the regular army since local and special police forces appear unwilling to fight the local populace. All these gems and more in the latest AP-sponsored atrocity against journalistic standards:

      1. Emma

        Mmm…..the nightmare of ‘hijockers’ hitting the ‘jockpot’ without waste. Goya showed ‘The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters’ and now in our world, the total effect today is close range cgi with an Uzi Tachpen full of point.
        It’s power over energy for Russia, chitchat over powwow for Europe, and muscle over all for America.
        Putin recognizes absolute authority has absolute benefits, so he’s jumped the gun to give the devil his due. With ambition beyond dreams in the blink of an eye, fortune changes hands, and ruin wrings hands.
        In this theatre of the absurd, democracy and freedom have no place. The world is still going nowhere but the global economy is. Just with a dowsing stick for gas, and that’s what hits the bullseye.

    2. Jackrabbit

      And now Syria is heating up again (surprise! – NOT). There is reported to be another chemical weapon attack. This comes after the revelation that Turkish leaders had discussed a false flag attack.

      The desire to overthrow Assad continues unabated despite an inability of the US/West to intervene. Perhaps its wasn’t really the ‘voice of the people’ that prevented an attack but Russia’s protection?!?!? And now that Russia is busy with Ukraine . . .

    3. Murky

      Hi Jackrabbit. I don’t dispute that the ‘neos’ in the West would love to gain as much control over Ukraine as they possibly can. A definite evil, for sure. But I don’t see any singularity of evil. Russia continues to break off large chunks of Ukraine in systematic fashion, not very neighborly. And Ukraine is swimming in a sea of black nationalism, extreme corruption, and rule by oligarchs. Overall, it seems Ukraine is engulfed by a multiplicity of evils – from the West, from Russia, and from within Ukraine itself. The link below (Mark Nuckols in the New York Post) characterizes Russia as a bad actor. Completely wrong? My take: no good actors in this conflict.

      1. Jackrabbit

        I agree. It is a total clusterf@#k. But it was very foreseeable that it would be. It is key to remember that a reasonable agreement by all sides was reached and discarded.

        Anyone that is interested in Ukraine has to review what has happened over the last year or two. Just listening to the propaganda from one side or the other is dangerous. To me, the huge economic and political costs (including possible war) of bringing Ukraine into the Western sphere just makes no sense absent the neocon agenda. (Recall that in the fall, Europe offered Ukraine a package of aid that was paltry compared to Ukraine’s need. Russia countered with a much more significant aid package.)

        My complaints are not anti-US or pro-Russia as much as anti-neocon. Stoking unrest in Ukraine seems to be favorable only to neocons. It is a way to push-back/sideline (and spank) Russia so that they can proceed with toppling Assad in Syria,and further isolating Iran. A new cold war also unites allies and makes citizenry more pliable.

    1. optimader

      Can add much to that assessment Jim

      Add a beard and a bit more hair on Hillary’s Hyman and you have:

      The simple fact is this slug that wants to run other peoples lives needs to get her fat ass off the Other People’s Money breakfast/lunch/dinner circuit and take a couple fking walks everyday in the Sunlight. Maybe she’ll spontaneously combust? One can only hope.

  12. Garrett Pace

    Tom Lehrer

    “It’s tempting to see such profound apathy to one’s own work — work that has managed to affect and influence three generations and counting, despite him — as a poignant mystery. ”

    Author doesn’t get it. Lehrer just has a better idea than most about what art is for. That disinterest in profit and copyright-mongering should be called apathetic is a statement about our world, not Lehrer’s.

  13. shinola

    Thanks for the link to the Tom Lehrer article. If you’re a regular reader of NC & you’ve never listened to Lehrer’s songs, you should check ’em out. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy his shtick.

    1. susan the other

      Thanx for this link. I always suspect anyone who appears at the right moment. I’d never make it to Zen Master level. Because I’d always stand up and say, Who the hell are you? Hersh is like a Deus ex Machine of information.

    2. Jackrabbit

      I think the comments to this article say a lot:

      “Can’t really rely on your opinion as your clearly not objective and your views are severely politicized. Is it possible that Assad is everything you say he is AND also that his enemies tried to create a casus belli?” – OAB

      “I read this and my eyes rolled.” – H.O

      “Conclusion: The Internet definitely did NOT defeat Seymour Hersh.” – Anita Heynes

      I don’t necessarily agree with Hirsh’s reporting but when I see efforts to discredit him, I have to wonder if he got it mostly right.

      1. PopeRatzo

        Most of the comments to that article say too much.

        And I believe there are more than a few agents provocateur at that website (and others, present company included).

        When you see people being rueful about their inability to link to Alex Jones, somebody’s pulling something. I want you to picture the person who reads Alex Jones and then decides they need to comment at Naked Capitalism. Now imagine their reasons.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          So, uh, what’s that supposed to mean?

          I’m interested to know what you “imagine” my “reasons” to be, your eminence.

      2. scraping_by

        The word ‘conspiracy’ is used as an ad hominem, especially when it fairly describes the actions of the elites.

    3. Jackrabbit

      I’ve seen the description of a ‘rat line’ from Libya to Syria at other places on the internet. On one of these, there was a claim that the CIA annex in Benghazi was holding prisoners. The claim is that the aim of the attack was to release those prisoners. If true it implies that Obama allowed rendition and torture to continue.

      Since the ‘rat line’ is now ‘confirmed’, perhaps this additional ‘detail’ is also correct? This seems all-the-more important at this time because Congress is at currently at odds with the Obama Administration over CIA torture documents.

      1. PopeRatzo

        I’m suspicious about stories that are only reported by one person. In a day and age when everyone within reach of free wi-fi is a ‘reporter’, it is unlikely that Hirsch is the only honest man alive.

        It has not been my experience that everyone is lying except one person. The math doesn’t work out.

        1. Jackrabbit

          The suspicions about rebels being behind the attack have been reported by many.

          Hirsh adds to that by describing how lab findings raised a red flag within the military and stymied Obama/neocon desire to attack – then Obama tried to suppress this evidence and cover up his true reason for not attacking.

          So Hirsh is basically adding to a story that is already out there. However, I’m not sure that I buy into his reporting 100% either as it fails to give much credit to Russia’s determination to back Syria. Hirsh’s story has a ring of “the system works!” But should we really trust that it does? – that when we _do_ to to war, it’ll only be for the right reasons?

          1. Jackrabbit

            Oh, and I’ve seen assertions of US-facilitating gun-running from Libya to Syria elsewhere also.

            I take Hirsh’s reporting a big grain of salt. Hirsh is controversal and seems to gravitate to the sensational. And the nature of his reporting leaves us wondering how well sourced it is. One has to compare what Hirsh reports against one’s own mental framework of events and think critically about how it all fits together. What is reliable, what is logical, what is speculative, what is the reaction of others (counter with facts, or just an attempt to discredit?), etc.

    4. JL Furtif

      Well, one can have doubts about Seymour Hersh’s reporting, but the errors Brown Moses made about that false flag attack are so numerous that neither he, his name nor his site should ever be used as a reference or comparison.

    5. VietnamVet

      Has the internet changed everything? I feel for Seymour Hersh. Like me, he’s so 20th Century. Today information is rapid, superficial and selfie. Clearly the corporate media is controlling the narrative by selective omission.

      Why did President Obama pull back from the red line? Perhaps, with twelve ships off shore, Vladimir Putin said “Nyet” to bombing Syria. This omission explains the brassiness of the neo-conservatives and NGO’s opening of a second front against Russia in Ukraine. Like the jihadists in Syria, neo-nazis are spearheading the turmoil which will end in a civil war unless a settlement is reached by NATO, EU, Russia and Ukraine soon. The other omission is that a right wing NATO country on their border is an existential threat to Russia. Did the CIA Director Brennen fly to Kiev to direct the putsch to crack down on the pro-Russian demonstrators in Eastern Ukraine as reported by RT?

      Risking nuclear war, to exploit a bankrupt people living on top of thick black soil covering shale gas; and not reporting it, is so 21st century

  14. susan the other

    From Counterpunch. Macavel. Democrats’ pivot to Wallstreet. Revisited – going all the way back to Carter. Carter was the first DINO, setting in motion the destruction of labor and labor unions which was carried forward by Reagan and Clinton. I remember those days because they were pivotal in an ideological sense. I remember thinking that America needed to get real, stop polluting, and start living rationally. I was dumb enough to assume there would not be any more war because Vietnam would always be remembered as a total debacle. But, as Paul Craig Roberts has said, Wallstreet hijacked the economy and instead of helping to create a sustainable nation, the thing we are still trying to do, it created a global free-for-all. Catch us if you can. Blaming Carter is accurate but not very important if taken out of context. The proof of the reality of the Carter years is front and center today.

    1. Lord Koos

      Looking for someone to blame for the state of things, Jimmy Carter would certainly not be on the top of my list. At least he was a strong advocate for conservation of energy, there has not been another in the white house since. Instead we saw tax breaks for SUV owners.

      1. PopeRatzo

        It’s interesting, within the range of political agendas in our ruling class, to look upon recent history and choose Jimmy Carter as the source of evil. It’s like people who survey the current political landscape and point out the “neoliberal agenda” of Barack Obama, without noting the Republican jackoffs who are lining up to take his place. There’s nobody in national elected office today who is not lying to us, but I find the targets for special criticism certain among us decide on to be suspect. Glenn Greenwald? Evil. Edward Snowden? Evil. Barack Obama? Evil cubed. Paul Ryan, Mike Lee, Jim DeMint, Jeb fucking Bush, affiant sayeth not.

        I’m pretty sure there are people commenting here that are doing it for a living. Probably a meager living, but a living nonetheless.

        1. McMike

          I have wondered if it part of the scorched earth agenda of annihilating anything associated with the left. It coincides with the bizarre obsession with connecting liberals/progressives to Obama’s clearly conservative policies.

          Since Carter refuses to sit down and shut up, he in particular needs to be neutralized.

      2. McMike

        I don’t think it was Carter per se, any Democratic President taking office in the years after the Powell memo was bound to encounter a very aggressive business lobby which by that time had begun to activate, spread the neoliberal rationales, and flex its muscle.

        The genius of the neolib appeal is its reasonable sounding platitudes designed to appeal to centrist business and establishment types, mainly sidestepping social issues in any direct sense, thus allowing them to continue and consider themselves left of center or not conservative overall. It is more like Rockefeller Republicans (as opposed to southern social conservative troglodytes), who after all, come from the same northeast establishment as the mainline Dems of the day.

    2. scraping_by

      The other aspect of the revolt of the elites that doesn’t get much discussion is the elite’s success in turning politics away from economics to lifestyle issues. Mostly because it makes many on the Left uncomfortable.

      Affirmative action was the best wedge between blue collar voters and the Democratic party. The inherent unfairness of quotas and preferential hiring struck at the heart of the New Deal promise of more equitable and less tyrannical relations between employer and employee. Race-baiting was given a new lease on life. Assholes had something real to point to.

      Abortion appealed to the heart-felt part of many of the working class. Taking a personal decision from the government and giving it to the person seems a no-brainer, but it struck at tenets of the Catholic Church and later, the Evangelicals took it over and ran with it. The blind passion was stoked and organized into voting blocs, fundraising, demonstrations, and other activism. The political invective was turned against those with a more democratic and freedom-oriented politicians who, no surprise, tended toward the Left.

      The drug war was being called off for lack of interest until it was made a law enforcement bonanza. Gay rights were just a blip on the horizon. Environmentalism was widely thought a good idea since the consequences were apparent to everyone. Their potential for getting large numbers of middle class workers to see enemies in their fellow citizens would be exploited later.

      Presenting wedge issues as the definition of ‘politics’ distracted the Democratic coalition from the main issues, and in that gap, Wall Street slithered in and began working its will. Now we have a president who’s one headfake after another and he still gets support from the people he’s robbing. Brother Jimmy was an important point in that decay, but it was a larger process. The only reason he’s in the news is his public expression of end-of-life regret.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    If, make that IF, the current bout of dotcom fever is fervent, the society, unfortunately, is in worse shape to handle it’s inevitable aftermath.

    So, I guess it’s irrelevant it’s less fervent (maybe or maybe not, now or later).

    1. psychohistorian

      Of course capitalism has failed the world. As a fig leaf of intellectual cover for accumulating private ownership of property and ongoing inheritance, it will hopefully hit the dustbin of history like geocentrism that mostly died in the Enlightenment period. It looks like Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty will get more talking about the economic rules of our social organization, nice.

      It is sad to read in the linked article so much negativity about the chances of neutering inheritance. IMO, it is a clear, simple and surgically effective cure for the Gawd of Mammon disease we are afflicted with as a species.

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