Links 5/18/14

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Dear readers,

Thanks for the great responses to our request for contacts with activists in Greece and Spain. The ideas and leads were very helpful.

I can decline to renew our agreement with Onswipe, which provides the mobile version of our site. The overwhelming majority of those who use mobile devices opt out and view the desktop version. If any of you would really miss the mobile offering, speak up in comments. Otherwise, I’ve gotten enough complaints that it probably should go.

Most Lethal Actors of All Time, by # of On-Screen Kills Barry Ritholtz

Third case of MERS confirmed in Illinois resident Daily News

Static Electricity Defies Simple Explanation Science

Excess heat from air conditioners causes higher nighttime temperatures PhysOrg (Chuck L)

New plastics created ‘by accident’ BBC

Top Arbitration Lawyer Says Corporate Sovereignty System Needs ‘Complete Overhaul’ Techdirt (Chuck L)

Lufthansa Halts Caracas Ticket Sales, Joining Other Carriers Bloomberg

Ken Rogoff warns China is next bubble to burst Telegraph

On high seas, Vietnam and China play tense game Associated Press

China evacuating nationals from Vietnam after wave of anti-China riots leaves two dead Agence France-Presse

‘The Regime Could Collapse Quickly’ Foreign Policy (Lambert)

A democratic anti-corruption discourse for Thailand New Mandala (Lambert)

Thaksin’s real war Bangkok Post (Lambert)

Serbian city #Obrenovac nr. Belgrade to be completely evacuated #floods Water level still rising! @ Save Janjic

Greeks Head to Election Polls Discontent and Disillusioned Wall Street Journal

More than meets the eye in Nigeria… Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

The touching, eternal optimism of liberal hawks Dan Fejes

This spread of ‘holy fascism’ is a disaster Patrick Cockburn, Independent (Chuck L)


Ukraine ‘sliding towards chaos’ – UN BBC

Failing Ukraine state plays in to Russia’s hands Reuters

Ukraine Rebels Ask to Join Russia as Fighters Free Leader Bloomberg

In Taking Crimea, Putin Gains a Sea of Fuel Reserves New York Times. Not news, so wonder why this is being flagged now.

Is the West DIRECTLY Responsible for the Massacres In Ukraine? George Washington

Ukraine: Recommended Reading Moon of Alabama

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Six Reasons to Be Afraid of the Private Sector/Government Security State Truthout (Nikki)

DOJ Still Trying To Hide The Fact It Flat Out Lied To The Supreme Court About Domestic Surveillance Techdirt (Chuck L)

Looks Like Sprint Did Challenge FISC Order For Call Data, Asked If It Was Serious Techdirt (Chuck L)

Why the death of net neutrality would be a disaster for libraries Washington Post

Social Security under ‘Sustainable Solvency’: Debt & Deficit Revisited Angry Bear

This 25-Year-Old Occupy Protester Could Be Sentenced To Seven Years In Prison Monday Mother Jones

New questions in FBI Boston bombing witness killing CounterPunch (Chuck L)

I Have Seen the Future, and It’s ‘Wisdom Journalism’ American Prospect. I find the coinage jarring. “Wisdom” connotes old sages loftily offering their views while “journalism” is (or should be) gumshoe types ferreting out breaking stories, scandals, and improprieties.

Warning: The Reading Could Make Students Squirm New York Times. So please tell me how we can have wise anything if students demand not to be made upset? Any good Buddhist will tell you that the human condition is about suffering and learning how to deal with that fact. As for being educated, the whole point of pretty much everything Kafka wrote is to upset readers. And the dentistry scenes in Thomas Mann are painful by design. How about great literature horrors like Medea or (not as revered) Titus Andronicus? And how many of these students who are asking for psychological protection in class are reading or watching Game of Thrones?

Geithner Pants on Fire

Geithner, Staying on Script Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Tim Geithner, unreliable narrator Felix Salmon. Felix flags a misrepresentation by Geithner of a 2004 speech at the NY Fed. Morgenson mentions a March 2007 speech by Geithner that he mentions in a presentation that she attended as sounding a warning. It didn’t. I wrote it up at the time and it was clearly intended to be reassuring while throwing in all the right caveats.

Tim Geithner on Alexander Hamilton: “America’s Original Mr. Bailout” Matt Stoller

The Hot Seat: ‘Stress Test,’ by Timothy F. Geithner Michael Lewis. This isn’t a review. It’s a book report. What sexual favors were exchanged for this to happen? Oh, and the “I was just an ordinary guy” posture is pure Bob Rubin, who made the appearance of modesty a big part of his persona (too bad that never rubbed off on Larry Summers)

The record amount being borrowed by investors is a worrying sign for markets Pieria

The Right Way to Control the Banks New York Review of Books

Antidote du jour (Tracey). A selfie!


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Allan gibb

    I just wanted to add my voice to those who will not miss the mobile website. If it’s saves you a nickel, I say scrap it.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It won’t save me a nickel. We might make a smidge less, but it seems to annoy readers, so it may be costing us in unseen ways.

  2. Ulysses

    From the Truthout piece linked above: “people who are afraid of attack readily surrender their rights – the same rights the government purports to defend by violating them. So the intelligence community tells the public that we must surrender our right to free speech in order to defend our right to free speech. We were never encouraged to debate this contradiction and examine the logic behind it. If we had, we would have realized that the government’s position was senseless.”

    The government/corporate surveillance regime does make senseless arguments to justify routinely violating our Bill of Rights. Yet what they are doing isn’t “senseless” from their perspective.

    The kleptocrats know better than anyone just how much they’re screwing us over, and they’ve seized on the 9/11 attacks as a pretext for constructing the most repressive, unfree surveillance state ever known to human history.

    It is actually quite encouraging just how much free thought still goes on in this land, although it is also clear that there is already much self-censorship among the cowed citizenry. The MSM narrative is now so patently false, that even fairly uninterested and unaware folks have begun to instinctively distrust it. The danger is that people are afraid to stick their necks out and work for positive change, and are vulnerable to crazy misinformation.

    1. Banger

      It’s a scam–the whole national security state–it’s a scam from start to finish. There is practically no rational reason for either the huge military establishment and the secret-police state. While some threats exist they are minor and largely irrelevant, at this point in history. The Cold War itself was mainly a fraud and existed primarily to support the military/security establishment particularly after the Cuban Missile Crisis where the leaders of both countries agreed to take solid steps to end it. After all, if you really think about it, there really was very little reason to continue the Cold War after that period.

      As for the “War on Terror” it was even more solidly based on fraud. Conflict was a requirement after the fall of the Soviet Empire–the national security state had to have a real threat to insure its existence. The existence of that state was always predicated on a mutual aid society between large corporations and that security state. From the beginning the CIA was created from and by Wall Street operatives who themselves overthrew governments for the benefit of big banks or United Fruit Company. We need to connect the dots and see the pattern here.

      9/11 was a mysterious event which all political sides in the U.S. have refused to look at in a rational way based on evidence in the same way all sides have refused to look at the assassinations of two Kennedy brothers and one of the 20th Century’s great moral giants, Martin Luther King. Americans, left and right, have obediently gone along with the fraudulent official explanations of all these events with dissidents not allowed to publish in either the mainstream media or intellectual journals. The worst aspect of all this has been the reaction of the American left to these events which has been to consistently demonize dissidents as mentally unbalanced.

      If the citizenry decides it prefers “security” to dignity what can any of us do? It is inevitable that we will live in an authoritarian regime of some kind unless some opposition to the narrative can emerge. There are stirrings, certainly, the media and the politicians are no longer automatically believed and perhaps this will move on to a larger skepticism about the system as a whole.

      1. allcoppedout

        There is an alternative here. It involves the democratisation of the police, judiciary and military through our participation. I don’t know what we can do on the conspiracy issues, as virtually all public enquiries either don’t start or look entirely hopeless. This is across the board from health, care and finance to being taken into illegal wars and dead presidents. Miscarriages of justice are more common than we think and courtrooms believe all kinds of rot. In my experience there was little rationality in them.

        A huge problem is that people make many false allegations and hard evidence is tough to get hold of. Sorting gossip is very difficult, and we can see in here that some people can’t take a joke and project what we might call ‘politically correct spleen’ on others. Lying is routine and, of course, taught. Plausible denial is always enough for the Establishment, making the need for hard evidence even more necessary. And one has to ask what NSA and GCHQ are doing when it isn’t producing evidence from financial chat rooms.

        1. Banger

          One of the great problems we face is the belief that totalitarianism died out with the totalitarian regimes of the 1930’s and the fall of the Soviet empire. The impulse for absolute power never died–in fact, many ex-Nazis came to the U.S. with Operation Paperclip and other related programs and Nazi agents were turned to work against the Russians.

          Since WWII the “major leagues” for the game of power occurred at the new centers of power in Washington and New York with the City of London catching up quickly. The CIA and other agencies that operated under secrecy were the logical forcus of much of this new power. Authoritarian/totalitarian regimes could only have a lock on power if they dominated the people who had the maximum ability to use force. Nothing about the growth of power in the area of security whether the military, secret police, intel or whatever seems odd or particularly malevolent–it is all eminently predictable and normal. You would expect, using systems analysis, that a community that could operate in secret would be at a competitive advantage compared to ones operating in a more public way and eventually dominate the landscape as, I believe, the “secret” community does in Washington. The weird thing is that those communities have not done even worse things which attests to some minimal standards of decency still being present.

          1. allcoppedout

            I’ve sat in secret cabals though never on world domination. I think many of us have. The language on the inside is very different from that for public Goffman pointed out. I can think of some particularly disgusting plotting in police and academic circles. Once inside, it is extremely difficult to keep any shield of honesty intact and not give in to groupthink.

            Open public scrutiny is the ‘answer’, but comes wrapped in barbed-wire. The CEO of the Premier League will probably lose his job tomorrow over sexist, but private emails. Yet we aren’t seeing the bankers in jail. We want privacy, but we don’t want the cabals. Give and take we might think, yet it gets very tough in practice.

            We could get round a lot of the problems, but a massive re-organisational effort is needed. We have managed these in manufacturing and do in war – but the barbed-wire is there again. We have the technical capacity, but this brings its own problems.

            I would want people secure in homes, but I have no time for the mansion-dweller nor the anti-social noise and crime terrorists. One wants to stop child abuse, but where do we stop? Giving information to the Gestapo on female visits to a single woman’s house could be a death sentence. Much information given to me as a cop (not least by other cops) was not only wrong, but intentionally misleading. And in court cases and the newspapers we see words taken as though hey have some direct, connected meaning with what was said. This, more often than not, isn’t true. We can say pretty much anything without meaning it, in jest, in speculation, to try to beat the barriers of language preventing decent action.

            There are many moral puzzles we can’t solve. Who would we first throw out of the balloon? I can think of some people who deserve to go before the sandbags! What I haven’t found is much practical discussion, only stuff that rings of holy text.

      2. F. Beard

        But, but, but jawbs!

        A police and surveillance State is what we get when productivity gains are not justly shared as they should have been all along, Otherwise, so many people would not be so desperate for a jawb that they are willing to kill and spy for a living.

        It’s all connected and it all goes back to government-backing for the banks – the root of all sorts of evil.

  3. gonzomarx

    ObamaCare Clusterfuck at link is going to Go Daddy domain site for sale!

    everything ok Lambert? or is it me?

    1. Lambert Strether

      Just the classic “Left renewing the domain ’til the last possible moment, except the moment was later than possible” routine. Thanks. Not to worry more than usual.

  4. Jackrabbit

    “Third Case of MERS in Illinois resident – Daily News

    That is one unlucky guy!

    : )

    1. GuyFawkesLives

      MERS has infected 60 million Americans, apparently they still haven’t a clue.

        1. janie

          My guess is that he is referring to mortgage MERS. You know, the robo signing frauds which are being prosecuted so assiduously.

            1. just me

              Isn’t it too sweet? That terrible mortgage disease MERS in the news… shapeshifted, all gone. No, look at that terrible disease MERS in its place. Life-threatening urgency? News think drugs, not law now. Homeland security, watch out for killer Middle East infection, rally round authority and pharma.

              (think Frank Luntz?)

              And look, Mi comes before Mo, it even rises to top of wikipedia disambiguation:

              Mighty sweet. MERS who?

  5. ambrit

    Concerning Barry Ritholzs’ “Most Lethal Actors of All Time” I liked Expats’ comment on Ritholzs’ site about why no Bush or Obama on the list. However, that got me thinking, since Reagan actually was an actor in Hollywood before he became one in D.C., and he had a penchant for starting and running “small” wars, legal and otherwise, why he wasn’t on the list. He’d win by a mile.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      It does not surprise me at all. The governator’s first big hit was Terminator. At the time it came out, it was a sci-fi gem. Robots, from the future, come back to kill the as yet mother of the leader of human resistance against robots from the future, SKYNET! How cool was that movie? Missing in this widely seen flick, was the small incident in the police station, where he murders an entire local precinct building full of cops. He shoots them in the face with a shot gun, he crushes them to death with a car he rams into the front entrance of the police station. He walks through the office, level by level, hunting down and murdering every single cop and civilian that he can, of course, Sarah Connor escapes. Normally, killing that many police officers would be the reason for a national campaign for revenge over the fictional, celluoid massacre.

      Well, there was a national vendetta waged against the rap singers who sang about cop killers! In 1992, Ice T, who has since gone on to become a regular on the TV show,”Law and Order” a cop no less, was singled out in a national boycott which had his record company pulling the album off the shelves and re-releasing it without the offending song.
      The rest of the album, with songs equally as violent, were not the focus of much discussion as the killing of a cop, which Arnold does with such graphic ferocity, and in as many numbers as more recent mass shootings on colleges, schools and movie theaters. At the time, only the murder of a single cop by shotgun in a song, without any visuals as in the movies, provided a tidal wave of fear and loathing all up to the level of the Bush I administration.

      The lesson is clear, murder hundreds of people on screen, murder cops in one long massacre scene as graphically as the magic of Hollywood can provide, but don’t sing one song about a rampaging killer who kills one cop, or you will studied by criminologists for the link between your song and violence in the streets. You will also be boycotted, forced to remove your song from the record. Arnold on the other hand, becomes Gov of CA. Hmmm?

      The Music of Murder

      by Dennis R Martin,

      Former President, National Association of Chiefs of Police

      Would Thomas Jefferson have advocated using the First Amendment as a shield to publish a step-by-step guide on how to ambush and murder the police? The Body Count album also contains Smoked Pork, a song describing how Ice-T murders two police officers, with dialogue so graphic the lyrics were not printed with the album. Freedom of speech ought to end short of advocating violent physical harm to fellow members of society. If Ice-T had, instead, produced a song describing how to sexually abuse and torture young children, perhaps there would be an appropriate public outcry. A full measure of consideration ought to be given to the lives and welfare of our nation’s police officers and their families.

      Safety and order in any community requires a partnership of a type that can exist only in a functioning democracy. Public attitudes toward the police may play a part in the frightening rise in crime rates. Disrespect for the law enforcement officer breeds disrespect for the law. A child who is raised to laugh at cops is not likely to grow up with any great respect for the laws that the police enforce. Youthful experimenters, confused by adolescent anxiety, look up to Ice-T as a powerful role model who supports hatred, racism, sexual abuse, and vile crimes that he depicts through dialogue in his lyrics.

      Decades of misrepresentation and abuse of law enforcement in entertainment and education have left their mark. Society is now finding that it cannot ridicule the enforcers of the law on one hand and build respect for the law on the other. You cannot separate the two, any more than you can separate education from teachers, justice from judges, and religion from the ministry.

      It is a sad irony that, in our society, scandal breeds financial gain. Sales of Cop Killer, and the Body Count album on which it appears, have soared since law enforcement officers from around the country rallied behind police organizations like the National Association of Chiefs of Police, CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Officers of Texas), and the American Federation of Police.

      Oh yeah, more racist bullshit that we all have to live with.

      1. ambrit

        Yes, the racialist aspect of this is a clear subtext. However, the ‘Bread and Circuses’ aspect of this is equally great. Films like the Terminator series are, at root, popular entertainment. As such, they rely to a certain degree on pandering to the tastes of the public. Why did the crowd in the Cineplex roar with approval when Arnie killed all those cops? Because they have always feared the cops, and would like to do exactly what the Terminator did. This way, they can unconsciously tell themselves that they’re not so small and insignificant after all. The same motivation leads myriads of otherwise decent people to join ‘militant’ and ‘extremist’ groups. In Groups of all stripes rely on this set of motivations to grow and prosper. Indeed, racism itself is just another tool for the elites strategy of “Divide and Conquer.” Repeat after me; “It’s not Race, it’s Class.”
        See you on the Street.

        1. craazyboy

          umm, in the movie, the Terminator was the bad guy. The bad guy was killing cops. And the cops fell in the general category of good people, because they were trying to protect Ms. Sara Conner, heroiness of the whole movie.

          These things are supposed to be taken into account when determining what sort of “message” is being projected to the audience.

          Then we are supposed to say “it’s only a movie” and we elected Arnold for governor. Not the least reason being because CA Democrats.

                1. craazyboy

                  They may do a re-make – Hugh Jackman comes back from the future as Arnold – balances the CA budget, annexes Mexico for more living space, and passes Gay Morman marriage, or something like that.

              1. Lambert Strether

                Context and source, from TV Tropes:

                Lt Tirebiter: I mean, in whose movie?

                Judge: This is no movie. This is real.
                Lt Tirebiter: Which reel?
                Judge: The last reel of this vintage motion picture, Highschool Madness. Lot Number M dash 25. Black and White. 35 millimeter…

                —The fictional movie Highschool Madness, from the audio production Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers, by The Firesign Theatre, as recorded in The Firesign Theatre’s Big Book Of Plays

                Clearly, you are more confident in your ability to “spot the difference” than some.

                I’d supply a link to the entire script, but it doesn’t seem to exist online. If I can dig up the video, I’ll add it.

        2. neo-realist

          Much more so race than class for black people of intellect and money get f*cked over by the cops more so than white people of any class.

          1. ambrit

            As I live in the Deep South, I can’t argue with you there. However, what about Black Policemen? We have a big percentage of that here nowadays. A big portion of the security forces in the old apartheid South Africa were Black men. They usually ‘followed orders’ more or less. I contend that their being fooled into thinking themselves as ‘special’ due to their association with the Ol Massas supports my class versus race hypothesis. One of the reasons Hannah Arendt was so reviled in Zionist circles was because she showed in “Eichmann in Jerusalem” that a big part of the success of the Final Solution stemmed from the Reichs’ suborning and coopting of the elders of many of the eastern jewish populations.

  6. William C

    Interesting that you mention Titus Andronicus. I came across an interesting reading a while back (Asquith). Supposedly Walsingham (Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster) was nicknamed ‘the Moor’ and William Cecil was called ‘old Saturnus’. If true, then are Aaron the Moor and Saturninus really Walsingham and Cecil? Is the bloodthirsty Queen Tamora ‘Good Queen Bess’ of legend? The hero Lucius is accused of ‘popish tricks’. Is the whole play therefore a coded discussion of the violence and brutality of Reformation and Counter-Reformation England?

    Food for thought for those who argued, as they did when I was at school, that Shakespeare avoided discussion of contemporary affairs.

  7. ambrit

    Re the China vs. Vietnam piece; The winner for diplomatic understatement of the week goes to Vietnamese Coast guard officer Dinh Quoc Ruan; “Being friends with China is not so easy.”

    1. allcoppedout

      Any news yet on American agents provocateur in the China seas yet? The Vietnamese, Koreans and Japanese all hate the Chinese and have fought successful wars against them in deep history – seems odd to neglect this ‘Ukrainian’ opportunity.

        1. allcoppedout

          It was going well until our cops got bribed. When I did a corruption investigation over there they gave me a hotel suite, a female tour guide and a litre of imitation Japanese malt. I stood firm …

  8. David

    Re: Warning: The Reading Could Make Students Squirm..
    I do understand the need to consider sensitivities of individual students. During my undergrad days, a course on Death included a film of an autopsy; we were warned and not required to see it. But to take content of various works and ‘warn’ students about the sensitive nature of said work? Where does one stop…
    One more thing, I suffer from pomposityism — I should have been warned in many of my university courses due to the presence of the professor…

  9. Jim Haygood

    ‘Under current law the Social Security Trust Funds are considered ‘solvent’ if they have a Trust Fund balance equaling 100% of the next years cost at the end of a given actuarial period.’ — Angry Bear, quoting the Social Security Trustees Report.

    Never does it occur to Ursus iratus that ‘100% of next years cost’ is an absolutely minimal standard — just as having enough cash in your checking account to pay next month’s bills don’t mean you’re solvent.

    In fact, the trustees report states that ‘the combined assets of the OASI and DI Trust Funds will soon peak at over 350 percent of the annual cost of the program, but will then decline, reaching exhaustion in 2037.’

    Even with reserves of about three years’ expenditures, Soc Sec’s underfunding amounts to $12.294 trillion (2013 Financial Report of the U.S. Government, page 172, Table 2). This result isn’t surprising. Discount a 20-year payment obligation at today’s low interest rate of 2.5% on 10-year T-notes, and you need over 15 years worth of the payments on hand for full funding.

    Angry Bear takes us on an elaborate semantic excursion through the weeds, while completely missing the forest for the trees. Subjecting Soc Sec to Erisa could fix its underfunding, and free some of its maff-deficient commentators for better uses of their time.

    1. Brian

      Alas, a short memory for Jim Hay. The money in the fund was stolen, and the thieves haven’t put any back. No one has asked them to. Sometimes simple solutions work.

      1. Trinity River

        So glad you remember the theft, Brian. I find that most people have forgotten (even those who lived through that time).

      1. ambrit

        Get moving! You’re wasting a golden opportunity! Start a millenialist cult, open a printing plant in Flushing, and live off of the proceeds forever! (Or until the world actually does end.)

      2. lolcar

        I’m hoping for 2036 so there’s just enough left over to hold a world’s end hootenanny.

    2. Gerard Pierce

      So what happened to the approximately $3 Trillion in Special Interest Bearing T-Bills? This would guarantee the solvency of the trust fund — except for the fact that the money has to be repaid from the General Fund and the repayment is guaranteed by the best deadbeat Congress that money can buy.

      If YOUR numbers have any connection to reality, could you explain how it works?

        1. allcoppedout

          That should have been ’empirical’? Clarify. If the Sheriff of Nottingham takes your groats and spends them on swords to kill Frenchmen or tax defaulters, that looks empirically like tax funding spending to me. So the case isn’t 100% secure. Now we might do some complex accounting, but might that not mask the actual process?

    3. Benedict@Large

      Whether or not a Social Security trust fund exists and whether or not there is “enough” or even anything in it is irrelevant. The US issues a sovereign fiat, and as such can issue as much money as needed at any time to meet whatever obligations it places or has previously placed upon itself. To say at some point in time that the fund is bankrupt is the same as saying the US has run out of ink and paper. It’s complete nonsense.

      1. financial matters

        Yes. More important is to have an underlying real economy so that money will have something to buy.

      2. Propertius

        To say at some point in time that the fund is bankrupt is the same as saying the US has run out of ink and paper. It’s complete nonsense.

        Actually, it’s the same as saying the US has run out of bits and electrons, which is even more preposterous.

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    More evidence that most of the crumbling and pot-holed roads on which America now finds itself lead back to William Jefferson Clinton.

    Clinton made what quintessential Russian specialist Ambassador George Kennan called a “fateful error.” Writing in the New York Times on Feb. 5, 1997, Kennan asserted: “Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era.”

    “Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”

    Just add this to the “fateful errors” of repealing Glass-Steagall, globalized trade policies and media consolidation (to name a few) and it’s hard not to see him as a one-man wrecking ball.

    Makes you wonder why Karl Rove resorts to crazy sounding stuff like calling Hillary “brain damaged.” The simple truth should be enough to make sure both Clintons get put in a rowboat without a paddle and dropped in the ocean far from shore.

    1. Carla

      Re: “Just add this to the “fateful errors” of repealing Glass-Steagall, globalized trade policies and media consolidation (to name a few) and it’s hard not to see him as a one-man wrecking ball.

      Makes you wonder why Karl Rove resorts to crazy sounding stuff like calling Hillary “brain damaged.” The simple truth should be enough to make sure both Clintons get put in a rowboat without a paddle and dropped in the ocean far from shore.”

      Maybe it’s because repealing Glass-Steagall, globalizing trade, and consolidating the media would be Rovian ideas. You could put the entire Republican party and almost all of the Democrats in that rowboat and the country would have a shot at being a better place.

      1. Benedict@Large

        Repeal of Glass-Steagall was a lousy idea, and its reinstatement would probably be a good one, but other than the repeal being symbolic of the zeitgeist of the time, it had almost nothing to do with the 2008 Crash. Glass-Steagall was meant to protect depositor funds, and at no time during or after the Crash were these funds in any real jeopardy.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          So how do you explain the loss of over a $1 Billion of MF Global funds “deposited” at JPM?

          1. allcoppedout

            One might wonder how they can use that as a public excuse. Like I’ve just lost your life savings Kat. ‘Never mind ACO, happens all the time’.

      2. Propertius

        Given that the final version of the Gramm-Leach-Bailey Act passed the Senate with a veto-proof 90-8 margin, and the House with an equally veto-proof 362-57 margin, it’s hard to see what any President (particularly a lame duck) could have done to stop it. Yes, the repeal of Glass-Steagall happened under Clinton’s watch but it’s silly to say this was somehow his “error”. One might as well blame Ted Kennedy for it (since he actually did vote to pass it).

        “Free trade” agreements? Sure. Welfare “reform”? Absolutely. Glass-Steagall repeal? Sorry, not buying it.

    2. montanamaven

      That’s the most important question. Why is Rove resorting to calling Hilary “brain damaged” ? Since that will drive women and Dems to defend her, maybe he wants her as president since her policies are his policies. Briar patch anyone?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        ” Since that will drive women and Dems to defend her, maybe he wants her as president since her policies are his policies.”

        As Lambert might say, “Ding ding ding.”

  11. Gladio USA

    Re Counterpunch, Elena Teyer has got it exactly right. McFarlane is the classic example of the kind of loser that the Clandestine Service plants in FBI. You’ve really got to be an asshole to embarrass the Oakland PD, Oakland is a favorite source of CIA cutouts for illegal operations. Career in shreds, with nothing going for him but a fraudulent disability check, you know McFarlane continued his criminal activity after Oakland crapped him out. How else can he survive? A guy like that, there’s nothing you can’t make him do.

    The beauty of using a demonstrably violent cop is, when you’re done with him you just make him look like a bad apple. The press morons get decoyed into “Tsk, tsk, such bad vetting,” when this is a job well done. This guy’s the most reliable employee in the world.

    The US government executed a strategy-of-tension attack on the people of Boston as a pretext for new repressive measures – in this case domestic rollout of military counterinsurgency tactics and incremental COOP.

    The grand plan is unraveling before our eyes because people are on to them – not least Russia. The FSB has not forgotten that Lee Harvey Oswald was also pinned to Russia. (That allowed LBJ to tell Earl Warren, “Don’t look past Oswald, if you dig up too much stuff there will be WAR!!!!” So Warren played Mister Magoo with all the facts that show a coup d’état.)

    FSB, seeing this coming again, paid close attention and now they are privy to some very awkward info. is the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Sibel Edmonds predicts that Russia will use it to drive hard bargains going forward. Or, if Putin gets fed up, he could disclose it all and shred the legitimacy of the USG.

  12. allcoppedout

    Now then, children, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin Business and Organisation 101. Campus rules now dictate by suggestion that I must forewarn students on any explicit and distressing content. One suspects from the packed room you must be expecting plenty and I promise not to disappoint and cause explicit distress in your anticipations. Lambert Junior? I’m afraid I have a note from your father concerning your reactions to criticism of MMT, so you’ll have to leave. Craazyman, projecting the 15 minutes of sex scenes from Game of Thrones on the wall behind me is entirely inappropriate to the 22% of those who will leave the university as virgins, so we will have to discontinue despite the warming reassurance I get from the illusion people are actually paying attention to me. Viper, Bugloss, Patel and Smithers – you girls will have to leave now, as my warnings on module content are likely to be too explicit and disturbing for you in-themselves.

    Now, I draw your attention to page 513 of the student handbook, just after that useful information on removing the plastic covering from pizza before you grill and eat the muck. This is to be read in conjunction with the handout on ‘Reading makes students squirm’ and Greg Mankiw’s excellent ‘Economics with all the nasty reality taken out’ and Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Beowulf and the seven happy workers of restricted growth’. If you want to stay after that you’ll have to sign the legal waiver on not wanting your lives ruled by a spinster who lives with her mother. My assistant will now go through the safety protocols on allowable seat squirming and putting your life-jackets on in the event of a plumbing disaster on the floor above.

    Craazy, put that picture of a room full of contented Mother Theresas up in front of the surveillance camera …

    1. ambrit

      “Uh Prof? I am a plumber. Can I go upstairs and keep an eye on the loos? I’ll get the class notes from craazy and Snow White later. That way I can get class credit for proactive loss mitigation and do something actually useful too. Deal?”

    2. ambrit

      “Prof! It’s me again. Can I get special credit if I work out the opportunity cost of my loo scheme?”

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Your Mileage May Vary–obligatory weasel words once/still? added to estimated fuel mileage ratings in ad copy within the US.

          1. ambrit

            Thanks Lambert, I should have guessed there’d be one. (Weasel/English dictionary. I’ll bet every law school student has one.)

      1. flora

        Lambert, apologies for a jejune off-topic comment but not sure how else to get the info to you. Tried pulling up CorrenteWire at 12:30 p.m. on 5/18 and got the following from GoDaddy:
        “NOTICE: This domain name expired on 5/17/2014 and is pending renewal or deletion.”
        Not sure if Corrente is suspended or my browser is in error. fyi.

      2. allcoppedout

        This from David above
        Re: Warning: The Reading Could Make Students Squirm..
        I do understand the need to consider sensitivities of individual students. During my undergrad days, a course on Death included a film of an autopsy; we were warned and not required to see it. But to take content of various works and ‘warn’ students about the sensitive nature of said work? Where does one stop…
        One more thing, I suffer from pomposityism — I should have been warned in many of my university courses due to the presence of the professor…

        The link has disappeared. We aren’t off topic the blog is vapourising its own connections.

        All that’s necessary with Lambert is to refer him to ‘catch up’. Unless I’m wrong and he really needs a lot more help. Jejune, more like protected jaundice. He called a guy a depressive last night – how juvenile and possibly cruel is that?

    3. craazyman

      I can’t. I’m in the narrative hospital, rescued by medivac helicopter after summiting last night Mr. Andersen’s review of Italian Politics in the LBR. There should be no confusion about the highest peak in the Italian Alps. One wonders if the Italians will be jealous to find it was built by someone I take to be British. I guess I could look it up, but I have an IV in my arm — being fed liquid sonnets and haikus until I can read paragraphs

      It was stunning and memory is dim from the trauma. But I remember moments of hilarity and pathos, mostly hilarity, like this one:

      “when the ring of prosecutions started to close around him, Berlusconi’s political judgment had become increasingly erratic. Removed from power by Napolitano without ever becoming fully aware of what had happened to him, he became increasingly distant from his most experienced advisers, surrounding himself with a couple of semi-literate showgirls from the south, one of them his current companion, who began to call the shots in his party, plus his poodle and a nondescript journalist from television.”

      Then there was the one about the young dude, I think Rienzi, using his office as “a trampoline” for national attention while staging “factitious” art events linking Michaelangelo to Jackson Pollock curated by some financier’s 26 year old girlfriend on the public purse. Holy Smokes! That’s connecting dots!

      I had no idea it was this much of a lunatic asylum over there. Not that I ever thought about it, I frankly never did think about it. But if I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have thought it could ever be this ridiculous. But frankly, and I have to be completely honest, I found these characters all kind of likeable. Even Berlusconi himself, especially Berlusconi. Almost Napolitano, but not quite. He, or at least the description of him, called to my mind the head of Constantine that sits like a granite boulder in the Roman sculpture wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, staring for eternity across the room, at a wall. I guess he got what he wanted, but it’s hard to say.

      Ecce Homo. Human All too Human, etc. etc. etc. The Italians, in general, don’t have much to answer for to history. No holocaust. No genocides. No, or not many anyway, invasions. No army encamped in someone’s back yard, or front yard. No finger-wagging lectures in the world’s face, telling it how it should behave. At least not for a couple thousand years anyway. No belligerent macho posturing, no Great Game, no Shadow to project onto the Other as an object to assault and shape like bronze into something else beside itself, making it finally into something it never was and never would have been without the pounding. They seem to be content to keep to themselves, and if they worry about anything beyond themselves, enough to make themselves fools and children, it seems to be love and beauty. If that’s their sin, it’s not so bad.

      1. craazyboy

        holy brain sprain, cm. owee that must hurt. hope the haiku IV helps. my condols.

        1. allcoppedout

          Perhaps the Italians, as Romans, caught a glimpse of the American Empire yet to be, saw what they were doing and thought they didn’t want to go down as the worst bunch of tossers in history? So they slouched off thinking those exotic British women weren’t so hot after all and not worth the rheumatic weather. They did try the empire and revolting brutality thingy again, but found nothing worth having in Ethiopia once they killed the people and their revolutionary tank design with 14 reverse gears failed. Taking up soccer was the obvious next move, but the economy took a knock when Berlusconi kidnapped Tony Blair and found we weren’t willing to pat his board and lodging, let alone ransom.

          Severe condolences obviosly, but ti is my sad duty to tell you Perry Anderson’s best frock died last night, after a prolonged grammatical attack.

          1. craazyboy

            IMO England was damn lucky the Romans never discovered Sweden, otherwise they would have hung around much longer than they did. But if IIRC, they didn’t seem too interested in Ireland or Scotland either, and weren’t Welsh women kinda like punk rockers back in 0 BC? (Catherine Zeta-Jones coming much later in history, of course.)

            Too bad about Mr. Anderson’s assistant, but you have to realize the risks in taking a position like that.

            1. allcoppedout

              Substantial police investigations and high-level intelligence gathering operations involving buying a pint for someone in a sleazy pub, have revealed the deceased frock actually belonged to the great British cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry. Our hunt for the grammatical correctivist are now focused on Northern Spain. It seems the frock’s interminable knowledge of Italian politics was gleaned there from a travelling stand up comedian known as Beppe Barbecuo, fallen on hard times now all an Italian has to do for a laugh is tune to the Parliament channel. I have arranged for Craazy senior and yourself to be deputised as Europol special agents. Follow the instructions on the attached map recovered from the crime scene to the letter.

      2. megamike

        No genocide? Mussolini’s systematic genocide of the Ethiopian people from 1935-1941

      3. ambrit

        The link between Pollock and Michaelangelo was Thomas Hart Benton. Benton studied in Paris for two and a half years, with side trips about before WW1. Pollock was one of Bentons’ students and was the model for several of Bentons’ figures in paintings. Pollock said; “I’m d— grateful to Tom (Benton.) He drove his kind of realism at me so hard I bounced into non-objective painting.”

      4. Kurt Sperry

        OK, you’ve stumbled onto my personal deerpath in the woods–Italian politics. Haven’t read the LRB piece (I didn’t really have to add that did I?), but (nor that. Right?)–

        I just happen to have today’s Repubblica on the table here, things are heating up for the coming election at the end of this month. It’s complicated. There’s currently Renzi, unelected head of the government, a 30 something I think, smooth talking ex-mayor of Florence with a gift for syrupy extemporaneous political boilerplate facing off in a very public way with Beppe Grillo, sort of a George Carlin stand-up type with an axe to grind and a huge following. Grillo can’t hold office because of the rules of his M5S non-party (see notes) he helped write that stipulate that no M5S office holder can have a serious criminal offense in their history and Grillo has an old involuntary manslaughter (or such) conviction from a car accident on a snowy mountain road in the 80s. These two are trading heated rhetoric complete with ad hom body shots–Grillo’s fighting style–on Grillo’s homefield, the sweaty, loud, piazze of Italy. I think Grillo has lured Renzi into a trap, and even if it doesn’t mean that the M5S supplants Renzi’s Democrats electorally it will have played in his favor. Silvio has been forced onto the same side as Renzi (natural enemies) by Grillo and Silvio, who is desperately evading having to do community service as a result of illegal (and superlatively lurid) hanky-panky, has even gone lefty populist promising retirement benefits for housewives and free dental coverage for Italian seniors in a bid to remain relevant. If Silvio goes–and the ground he stands on has never been shakier–it’s hard to imagine his vanity Forza Italia personality cult/party lasting long.

        On top of all this there is a scandal exploding in Milan being referred to as ‘la nuova tangentopoli’ where the administration of huge planned Expo 2015 has been connected to massive corruption with mud splattered on all nearby (except the M5S). There are even ‘ndrangheta tie ins and Forza Italia bigshots on the lam in Beirut protected by the Christian Phalangists who have long standing and one assumes profitable ties with the Italian mobs. Add in just for fun that the calcio (soccer) ultras fresh off a shooting incident at Rome’s Olympic stadium have publicly sided with the Forza Italia fugitive.

        Jesus, this makes no sense at all. Sorry. It’s complicated.

          1. allcoppedout

            You could have done the decent thing Kurt, and told us all this before any of us read Perry’s missive extremis. So the Italian job’s gone to ratchet. Here in the UK we will be voting fascist next week, in elections that don’t matter other than guaranteeing massive coverage of the buffoons UKIP send to Brussels (actually its Strasbourg but we don’t know that) when they start up sexist behaviour and challenge Eurocrats to duels. The vote is our way of bringing back Jeu Sans Frontiers without raising the BBC licence fee.

      5. Lambert Strether

        Love the “narrative hospital,” and I hope the narrators are reliable.

        And the nerve of that guy, Anderson! Writing about Italian politics as if it weren’t simple!

  13. fresno dan

    “We’re more interested in a nugget in which Geithner demonstrates that he didn’t actually understand how Social Security works or its paramount importance to the way most Americans — those who aren’t rich bankers — live. This is especially shocking because as Treasury secretary, Geithner served as an ex officio Social Security trustee.”

    Is it shocking that Geithner didn’t read a report he signs, or is it shocking that he doesn’t understand a report he signs (or both?).

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    New Plastic discovered by accident.

    One day, we will run out of useful scientific accidental finds and start facing really deadly scientific accidental discoveries.

  15. Jake Mudrosti

    Here’s a link to an article that some may find worth reading, from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS):
    “Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws”

    From the abstract:
    “The long-held but erroneous assumption of never-ending rapid growth in biomedical science has created an unsustainable hypercompetitive system that is discouraging even the most outstanding prospective students from entering our profession—and making it difficult for seasoned investigators to produce their best work. ”

    I liked this line:
    “In retrospect, the strains have been building for some time, but it has been difficult to recognize them in the midst of so much success. “

    1. allcoppedout

      The Chinese take a similar biscuit Vet. Family day trip to watch tigers slaughter cows from the car.

  16. Denis

    Yes! Yes! Please get rid of this OnSwipe aberration on your site.

    Its creators should get shot — no less — for having ushered the mobile web UX in an era of unintuitive uselessness and constant browser crashing.

    Good riddance if you *finally* make it go away.

  17. K

    Yves, the way that hurts with this reader is that it’s common for me to take a look at the site via my iPhone when I have a few minutes on the train, before dinner, etc. and I can navigate the entire post without a lot of hassle — I just stop reading or in some cases don’t even start. And because it is NC, I usually try several times before giving up. So I thank you for getting rid of it.

  18. ChrisPacific

    Re: Lewis and sexual favors, remember the multi-page exclusive with Obama in Vanity Fair. Until proven otherwise I’ve been assuming that Lewis has been bought and paid for by the Obama administration, and will never again write anything critical of Obama or his appointments. The Geithner piece fits that theory exactly.

Comments are closed.