Links 5/2/14

Posted on by

California readers: Please come to our CalPERS hearing or encourage CalPERS retirees in the Bay Area to attend. It’s today, May 2, 2014, 9:30 a.m., Superior Court of California, Department 302. That’s on the third floor of 400 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 (map). The hearing is scheduled to last an hour and the judge has said all systems go. The notice:

Case Number: CPF14513523


Court Date: MAY-02-2014 09:30 AM

Calendar Matter: Notice Of Hearing For Writ Of Mandate Under The California Public Records Act

Rulings: Matter on calendar for Friday, May 2, 2014, Line 3, PETITIONER AURORA ADVISORS INCORPORATED’s Hearing For Writ Of Mandate Under The California Public Records Act. Hearing required. =(302/MJM)

Astounding Balt. street collapse video Washington Post

The love that led a couple to stand in front of a train Syracuse (bob)

Helping Papa in the Garden Urban Legends (lambert). An oldie but goodie.

How to win at rock-paper-scissors BBC

Automated-grading skeptic uses Babel to expose nonsense essay TechExplore (bob)

The most expensive lottery ticket in the world Felix Salmon (David L). One of his final posts that I somehow managed to miss. Still very much worth reading.

Whistleblower Claims Google Stole Money From Publishers Using Adsense Gawker

Super el Nino brewing MacroBusiness

Great Graphic: Asia’s Decline as an Export Machine Marc Chandler

Obama’s Secretive, Corporate-Run TPP Trade Deal Got Stuck Testosterone Pit

China tried to undermine economic data Financial Times

Dozens hurt in S Korea subway crash BBC

This month will decide Yingluck’s political future Nikkei

Kerry’s ‘Apartheid’ Gambit a Bigger Deal in U.S. Than in Israel American Prospect


Live blog on Ukraine DW

Ukraine forces launch new offensive Financial Times

SpaceX wins injunction to stop USAF buying Russian rocket engines Reuters. bob: “This has spook written all over it.”

Sanctions May Be Inflicting Only Limited Pain on Russia New York Times

Why the Russian sanctions don’t work Reuters

Why Hasn’t The U.S. Gone After Gazprom? OilPrice

IMF Warns Ukraine Bailout May Need “Significant Recalibration”; Separatists Storm More Buildings in Donetsk Michael Shedlock

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

U.S. and Germany Fail to Reach a Deal on Spying New York Times

FAA dragging its feet on releasing basic drone documents MuckRock

Guest Post: Terrorist Watchlists and the Myth of Individual Suspicion Just Security

U.S. Calls for Limits on Use of Web Data From Customers New York Times. Notice contrast with Financial Times story: White House study backs data-gathering and its first sentence:

US internet companies that collect masses of data about their users dodged a bullet on Thursday as a White House study commissioned in the wake of the Snowden surveillance scandal endorsed their main information-gathering practices.

Defying U.S., tech firms alert users to data demands Washington Post

Obamacare Launch

Once opposed to ACA, now a convert Philly. Lambert: “We should all be so lucky!”

Patients Fear Mt. Sinai Will Drop Low-Cost Insurance Plans New York Times. Karen P: “Headline is misleading – they ARE dropping patients in bronze and silver plans. I think Mt. Sinai is trying to balance their foolish acquisition of Continuum Partners’ bankrupt hospitals on the backs of the poorer Mt. Sinai patients.”

The Canadian health care system I disparaged Physicians for a National Health Care Program

Democratic Former Rep. Brad Miller: Citigroup’s Revolving Door With The Party Is Problematic Huffington Post

Treasury Creating Office of State and Local Finance Bond Buyer (Josh Rosner). You cannot make this up. After Jefferson County, a former JP Morgan managing director will head the unit.

Seattle Mayor Details Plan for $15 Minimum Wage New York Times

Tapering is set in stone MacroBusiness

Everyone’s Q1 GDP Estimates Turn Negative Business Insider

Jeremy Grantham Makes A Very Specific Call About When The Bubble Will Burst Business Insider. This is so far away, as far as most investors are concerned, as to be tantamount to never.

K.K.R. Seeks to Attract Investments as Small as $10,000 DealBook

GAO: Foreclosure Review Process ‘Without Adequate Investigation’ DSNews

Wasting One Life Away Angry Bear

EBay settles ‘no poach’ probe with Department of Justice Financial Times. The fines have been pathetic.

The Adjunct Revolt: How Poor Professors Are Fighting Back Atlantic

Corporate Oligarchy or People’s Democracy: Countering the Elite Agenda Black Agenda Report

A May Day 2014 Lament for American Labor Counterpunch (Carol B)

History of the British working class Financial Times. Lambert: “No mention either of E.P. Thompson’s ‘The Making of the English Working Class’ or (on enclosures) of ‘Whigs and Hunters’ (!)”

The Conspiracists London Review of Books

What Marx Really Meant Jacobin

Antidote du jour. From mark w, a zonkey!


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. YankeeFrank

    A zonkey? Horsefeathers! No, seriously, I didn’t know zebras could mate with other equines. That’s neat. I wonder how easy they are to train to be ridden? Its a wonder you don’t see Africans riding zebras.

    1. vidimi

      many animals can breed with other, closely related species: tigons/ligers and tiger muskies are a couple of examples. these offspring cannot reproduce, however.

  2. jjmacjohnson

    Sad story of suicide and love. But one must feel terrible for he train engineer who has it on his conscious that he killed some people.

    That is a bit unfair of the couple.

    1. BondsOfSteel

      It’s worse. I knew a train engineer.

      Apparently, it’s quite gory. Yes, the corner takes what remains of the body… but the engineer has to hose all the blood and tiny bits out/off the train themselves.

      1. F. Beard

        Kinda like cleaning out a Sherman after being hit by a German 88(or Panzerfaust?) – the tank was often salvageable but the crew wasn’t.

  3. JCC

    I first heard Wendall Potter speak on his Health Care experience with CIGNA about 9 years ago and have often stumbled on articles that he has written ever since. Few were listening then and, unfortunately, the few that need to listen aren’t listening now. I am very cynical regarding the odds that anything with regards to the ACA will change for the better in the U.S. during what’s left of my lifetime. Too bad.

  4. Eeyores enigma

    “On the flip side, the increased use of machines can increase the demand for labor. More factories means more labor demand, even if those factories are 90 percent robot.”

    To toss trot this sentence out as if it went without saying is a great example of why the “science” of economics and its practitioners should be banned from society.

    That sentence is false as anyone who lives in the real world can see. It would only be true if new factories were increasing exponentially. Why do we listen to these people?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The question is can increasing use of machines lead to a better world, not just more labor demand.

      In a true, sharing world, the answer is yes.

      Unfortunately, in our world, more science and more technology simply mean a more powerful ruling class.

      1. F. Beard

        But the sharing should be just – after a re-leveling cause surely you don’t think you’re as valuable a good welder, do you?

          1. F. Beard

            What did one Fortran subroutine say to another?

            “I don’t know why we have so many arguments when we have so much in common!”

    2. H. Alexander Ivey

      We shouldn’t. Mainstream economists have the silly idea (Walrus’s or Say’s Law) that supply will create the demand. It doesn’t. Demand for an item will create the supply. Marx said it 150 years ago, it was true then and its true now. The GFC is an example of it. Plenty to have (lots of supply) but most people don’t have the money to buy it (low demand).

      The Jacobin page has links to The New York Time debate page about “Was Marx Right?” ( Yves is a debater and, IMHO, beat the others hand down in clarity and being right about Marx.

  5. mellon

    I always thought he was part of the insurance company scheme that’s been selling Obamacare by various means. He certainly has never said a positive word about single payer. As long as we remain with his private insurance model we’re sunk.

    “Public option” was a scam designed by the insurance companies with full knowledge that it would have to fail, essentially the same as Obamacare. Its designed to fail spectacularly. Anybody can show why with only a high schooler’s level of math knowledge.

    Also only around 10% of all Americans can afford adequate nongroup insurance – the private insurance model.

    As shown by the similar state programs that have failed again and again and again. We need a complete house cleaning that removes the incumbent partiers from Washington.

    We need to withdraw from the FTAs which ban public services. And we need single payer. Before the FTAs shut the gate on that particular market irreversibly, which could happen any day.

    Then we’ll be stuck like South Africa is after the departing apartheid regime committed them into GATS as a parting shot.

    1. reslez

      Why should free trade agreements (FTAs) be regarded as irreversible? This seems to be a new concept that needs examination.

      For a thought exercise: FTAs are the first thing to go in a shooting war.

  6. dearieme

    The Reichstag Fire article is good stuff, but contains two odd remarks. First “The Communists, the Nazis’ most implacable opponents” was true by the time of the fire, but was often untrue earlier in the interwar years, when they had collaborated against democracy – as evidenced by various memoirs of the time. (And of course became untrue again in 1939.) Secondly “Wilhelm Bünger, a conservative but not a Nazi” is a remark so dim that it takes my breath away. It’s a bit like saying “Fred, a Christian but not a Hindu”.

    1. Binky Bear

      Nazis were strongly conservative and American Nazis and conservatives use the same ideological tools and arguments to support the elevation of a small group of aristocrats whose natural superiority illustrates their suitability for ruling their lessers. American wealth elites supported the Nazi movement for these reasons, including the Bush, Rockefeller, Ford and other wealthy families, some of whom invested directly in the Nazi regime and used slave laborers held under Nazi race and hygiene laws.
      The master race is here and they aren’t shy about what they want. Hail Hydra indeed.

      1. Binky Bear

        Key elements of the Nazi ideology:
        National Socialist Program
        Especially anti-Semitism, which eventually culminated in the Holocaust.
        The creation of a Herrenrasse (Master Race= by the Lebensborn (Fountain of Life; A department in the Third Reich)
        Belief in the superiority of the White, Germanic, Aryan or Nordic races.
        Euthanasia and Eugenics with respect to “Racial Hygiene”
        Anti-Marxism, Anti-Communism, Anti-Bolshevism
        The rejection of democracy, with as a consequence the ending the existence of political parties, labour unions, and free press.
        Führerprinzip (Leader Principle) /belief in the leader (Responsibility up the ranks, and authority down the ranks.)
        Strong show of local culture.
        Social Darwinism
        Defense of Blood and Soil (German: “Blut und Boden” – represented by the red and black colors in the Nazi flag)
        “Lebensraumpolitik”, “Lebensraum im Osten” (The creation of more living space for Germans)
        Related to Fascism

  7. alex morfesis

    say da magic woid

    the only marx that counts was groucho

    seriously, the great espouser of what is and therefore to be about the great battle against capital and das little people….

    at least groucho knew how to make a buck

    and why does not the great legions of genuflexor not share with the unwashed a few minor details about the great sage, the fearless leader…

    he never experienced electricity, his flowing hair moved a dramatic 4 miles an hour while at sea for most of his life, having experienced the grand speed of 15 miles per hour before he died. And that super fast bullet train, that just made his mind explode with visions of the future, with his face being driven across the globe at the super speed of 42 miles per hour…yup…grouchos great great great uncle sure knew how to live…off of other people…moocher that he was…

    but his family, now they were true believers in the workers paradise…his cousin…what was that company he started again…a tiny little, almost insignificant really, multi national enterprise…wait…ok….that’s right….Phillips….you know…that workers paradise…yup…same people he mooched off of in the family founded Phillips…that’s not on the inside sleave of the official 59th edition of das krapital…now is it..

  8. Goldstein

    There’s one jargony but invaluable link in that Black Agenda Report thing,

    The main thing keeping human rights irrelevant in this country is namby-pamby MisterRogers NGO careerists who are scared to admit that human rights is an ideology of revolution. Used as directed, human rights would kill this regime. The US government just keeps perseverating law-law-law-law but the treaty bodies are saying, stuff your law, you morons, you’ve fucked up your whole society. The Human Rights Committee Chair was just swingeing these government desk jockeys but they’re safe as long as Jane Sixpack isn’t reading them the riot act too. The idea is everybody grading US government performance by the minimal standards of the civilized world ( )

    – straight Fs. State failure made explicit.

    Occupy was close but no cigar. has the potential to become the NATO bloc’s Charta 77.

    1. Carla

      Occupy was close enough to be crushed like a gnat by the FBI, Homeland Security and local “Fusion Centers,” working with together with military precision.

      Of course, you are absolutely right, human rights is an ideology of revolution.

  9. rjs

    on 1st quarter GDP, March trade and inventory data have yet to be reported, and BEA assumed an increase in exports and a decrease in imports, and that wholesale and retail inventories and nondurable manufacturing inventories had also increased…any of those is wrong, the revision will show contraction for the quarter…

    here’s the technical note no one reported on:

  10. johnDT

    Kerry is putting the blame on the Israeli government, and to some extent on Abu-Mazen, yet it is the religious fanatics, on both sides, who are vetoing mutual compromise and coexistence.
    See for example this recent video:
    No superimposed de jure all-or-nothing solution has enough tangible benefits and actionable items to make the Israeli PM start a civil war against the religious settlers minority or the Palestinian President to launch a civil war in order to dismantle the refugee camps throughout the region, there are too many strong oppositions armed and backed by various countries, and the peoples of the region are just too tired to actively support an agenda of real change. Sad.

  11. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    I have commented on my own, anecdotal, survey of the Canadian healthcare system by questioning people while visiting there (which I do, frequently). I have yet to hear a Canadian citizen complain about it. Only one delayed surgery, and it was elective — so the person wasn’t indignant about the wait.

    I’m sure there are Canadians who hate their system, although I doubt they’d like the “free market” alternative.

    1. Skeptic

      I don’t think you are speaking to informed Canadians.

      I was once involved in pharmaceutical marketing in Canada. Most Canadian docs are pill pushers and hostage to the same Big Pharma crooks as in the USA. Look up PFIZER convicted of Racketeering. Should a public healtcare system be dealing with Racketeers? They do in Canada.

      In addition, there are the treatment protocols which are sold to Canadian docs. A perfect example is angioplasty, stenting, bypass for heart disease which have, in the main, been discredited. Here’s a link to 1% Bill Clinton’s poor experience with bypass:

      Most healthcare treatments in Canada are the same as in the USA where they are driven for profit by the Sickcare Industry.

      Next criticism is queuing, the Third Rail of Canadian Healthcare, wherein the well connected businessfolk, politicians, bureaucrats, relatives of medical staff, etc. jump the queue and get service while the hoi polloi get bumped out of line to wait, suffer and possibly die. To my knowedge, there is no Transparency or public oversight of Lineups for Medical Services.

      There are lots of problems with healthcare in Canada. Personally, I have a backup, alternative Doctor who practices integrative medicine which most Canadian doctors have never even heard of in their Mainstream, Industry controlled Medical Schools.

      My personal experience with Canadian healthcare is that 50% of it is beneficial and 50% wasted tax dollars that support a corrupt Sickcare Industry. A lot of uninformed Canadians are victims of this system and do not even know it.

    2. neo-realist

      The one minute that concerns me about their health care system is dental care in particular–I’ve seen quite a few Canadians with messed up teeth; not on the level of the brits, but quite a few. Is orthodonture discouraged or not covered well by their health care plan(s)?

      1. Synopticist

        Brits and Canadians don’t need as good teeth as Americans-we smile differently. Seriously, we don’t show our teeth when we smile. Americans do.

        1. dearieme

          It’s the excessive dental treatment that explains why Americans have slightly shorter lifespans than people in the other advanced countries.

    3. Propertius

      As Mrs. Propertius (a proud Canadian) says every year during “open enrollment”:

      Why are things so hard down here? Back home, if you get sick you go to the doctor and you get well. That’s it.

      Perhaps someday we’ll be a First World country with a functioning healthcare system.

  12. Banger

    The LRB article on conspiracies lost me in the first paragraph. I’m automatically bored when so-called intellectuals dismiss those of us who have studied Deep Politics as somehow deranged. Hundreds of books like, for example, of Russ Baker’s Family of Secrets, which is meticulously footnoted and has, as far as I know, not been reviewed in the mainstream or refuted by anyone. One of the reasons for the moribund nature of the left and the weakness of American intellectual culture is its fear of addressing not just Deep Politics but of anything very deep.

    For the sake of brevity I will give you the same smoking gun that I always give when the issue of this sort comes up that cannot be refuted and makes my point. There is an inconvenient fact (among many) that Thomas Noguchi, the highly experienced LA Coroner at the time, prepared a Coroner’s report that said RFK died as a result of a gunshot wound to the back of his head at nearly point-blank range (no more than 1.5 inches). So Sirhan, who was in front and no closer than two feet did not kill the man who would have easily been elected President. In all the 60’s assassinations there are similar inconvenient facts that have been combed over by generations of scholars who have all been labelled as mental cases and therefore been largely ignored by the media (understandable–it is their job to ignore facts) and 99% of intellectuals particularly on the left. So j’accuse the lot of them of cowardice and/or duplicity–and I challenge anyone to contradict what I’m saying. I submit to you that without digesting the assassinations of the 60’s you cannot possibly understand anything very substantial about U.S politics or U.S. foreign policy.

    1. TimR

      Yep.. I read the first paragraph, and it’s the same old Serious Person discouraging their audience from even going there; it’s just an elaborate edifice of paranoid fantasy, etc. No need to even address the arguments, many of which are, like Russ Baker’s, meticulous and lucidly constructed. And based often on public records.

      If you listen to some of the better indy, alternative media voices, there are a million smoking guns. But the fog of denial and happy thinking is so thick, that even for someone like me, who peruses the literature on the Deep State and kooky Conspiracy Theory, it’s sometimes hard to fully absorb into one’s worldview. Perforce, one is always dealing with people who live in the shallow surface world, and one must meet them where they live; which seeps into your own thinking, and makes you even doubt well documented facts, just because they’re so universally ignored.

      1. Lambert Strether

        1) If you only read the first paragraph, it’s not clear to me how you can know that the arguments are not “addressed.” As a matter of fact, they are; that’s what the body of this review is concerned to do.

        2) Had you read to the end, you would have encountered this: “Conspiracy theories aren’t necessarily wrong, and in some cases there is compelling evidence that conspiracies did lie behind major historical events. But not this one.”

        Discernment is not easy, but it has to be done.

      1. Banger

        Boring to me doesn’t mean it is boring to anyone else. I’ve read the alternative explanations to the RF before and I’m agnostics on that subject–I was merely commenting on the opening paragraph. I don’t get your allusion to litmus test other than it’s your way of insulting me because you can’t deal with what I said in my comment.

  13. Richard Graham

    To whom it may concern,

    I just read the above noted article. I find some small satisfaction in hearing some Yankee pontificate about our health care system after only two weeks in Canada.

    Frankly, most of us are glad Americans are, and hopefully will remain, completely ignorant of Canada. Any country America takes an interest in quickly turns into a nightmare. Take Cuba, or any other Central or Southern American country, where ignorant Americans are still trying to return the country to the Mafia.

    What specifically disgusts me about this writer, and so many other former members of the political elite, is that they do nothing while they had decision-making power. They wait until their pension kicks in, and the golden parachute has deployed, before discovering the ability to think for themselves. The writer’s admitted lack of courage, character, or in fact any sort of credible knowledge of health care at all, merely establishes him as just another corporate whore looking for absolution.

    Couldn’t you find someone who wasn’t a hopelessly compromised apparatchik, who had the character to see and speak of the truth, or even someone who was willing to look for the truth?

    With contempt, Richard Graham

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      To Richard Graham,

      Most of the people here agree with you.

      Maybe you could focus your bile a bit. Otherwise, you sound just like my dad*.

      The author of this blog post is Yves Smith, and she linked many articles. The one you are referring to was authored by Wendell Potter, a health insurance executive for over two decades.

      It is newsworthy to see someone from the other side come clean, whether that confession absolves them of their prior behavior or not. For instance, Lee Atwater.

      There have been many, many posts linked here from people who support single payer.

      * RAR! RAR! RAR! I just read something I don’t agree with. Therefore, I hate everybody here. RAR! RAR! RAR!

  14. Mike

    PUIBLIC – Gee, I wonder what that is. I guess proofreading is a thing of yesteryear. Hopefully the filing is actually correct.

    I enjoy this site, but am horrified at the number of grammatical and spelling errors.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please read more carefully before taking potshots.

      This misspelling you cited was a in a blockquote. That means it is an exact quotation from source material, in this case, the docket of the San Francisco Superior Court. We aren’t responsible for the court’s material.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: Seattle Mayor Details Plan for $15 Minimum Wage

    Any supporter of labor/socialist initiatives in this country would be wise to cut political deals with the business groups and Republican-aligned groups directly and leave the Democrats out of it. Otherwise they’ll just screw you and take credit for it later.

    That’s assuming that it’s even necessary… which it usually is. I’m not going to indulge in liberal bashing as much as they deserve it.

  16. dcb

    Krugman is at it again with economics
    my post:

    United States Personal Savings Rate

    Personal Savings in the United States increased to 4.30
    percent in February of 2014 from 4.20 percent in January of
    2014. Personal Savings in the United States is reported by
    the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal Savings in
    the United States averaged 6.83 Percent from 1959 until
    2014, reaching an all time high of 14.60 Percent in May of
    1975 and a record low of 0.80 Percent in April of 2005.

    Historic inflation United States – CPI inflation
    The average inflation of United States in 1975: 9.19 %

    if you graph actual data of inflation and savings
    longer term
    the personal savings rates go down as inflation goes down
    this is the exact opposite of krugman’s theories on
    inflation and spending to boost the economy

    a reply to my post

    peter. says
    Rational investors will vary their ratio of investment to consumption in response to real interest rates, not the rate of inflation. Your premise is faulty.

    You are probably reacting to discussions about deflation. Rational consumers in a deflationary period will postpone consumption in anticipation of lower prices in the future.

    except we know investors and consumer’s aren’t rational. See that’s what economist do. The entire initial premise that people are rational is false. and the things he says we know (economists have never actually measured , but they apply it in their policies
    This is why I’m a scietnist and you’re an economist.
    It shows in a simple illustration that economists don’t even understand the basics of science methodolgy, and don’t know enough to actually understand what they are getting wrong
    investors aren’t rational, consumers aren’t rational
    Have they gone out and found the few rational investors and consumers and measured their actual actions. NO, they assume that people they can’t actually find, behave in a certain way, and then project that assumption on a society that isn’t rational. Then they don’t see what’s wrong with it at all

    I said he must be an economist

    I really can’t make this stupidity up

  17. Andrea

    On: “Terrorist Watch lists and the Myth of individual suspicion.”
    A cover up piece imho, which obscures the larger scope by distracting with detail.
    Muslims in the US were called on to ‘register’ after 9/11 and some 80 thousand or far more (don’t recall exact nos.) – trusting – did and many were deported, imprisoned for a long time, and worse.

    Racial/ethnic/national/economic class targeting (Muslims, Blacks, and for a past ex. Japanese in camps in ww2) are standard.

    The belief that criminals or ‘bad people’, can be identified by personal characteristics is old as the ages. It has been a lucrative sport to identify criminals, in any society, even peaceful, by intrinsic signs: size and compo of the body, shape of the skull, of the nose, color of the hair, and slipping over to social, manners of speech…stuttering and so on. (Just dope out! the tell-tale secret signs.)

    So, No-Fly lists, Terrorist watch lists, aka curbs on travel, all the same thing, exactly like check points in Palestine, etc. meld all these criteria together.

    The Security State of course cares not about what criteria are used, doesn’t matter at all.

    With ‘modernity’, the suspicion alerts have become more ‘behavioral’ as ‘essentialist’ criteria are decried. So it is, you travelled to Lybia, you belong to an anarchist or consumer defense association, you have a bank account in Egypt, you have Arab relatives, you showed weird eye movements at the check point, etc. rather than the shape of the nose or the nationality, sex, age, etc.

    Below – TSA no fly list – one can search for a name. More than 3,000 pages of names.

    Today (1 – 2 May 2014), 13 names were added:

    Wright Ausbrooks, Atif Cuch, Charley Flint, Wright Fronabarger, Reza Gayhart, Maxwell Lumbatis, Wright Malay, Christopher Marcusson, Maxwell MCHARDY, Kobe Nortz, Pinkney Orser, Charley Stoneberg, Ambrosius Willkie.

    Names are passing strange and sound like inside jokes, it must be the Onion?

    Please, it has to be? I’m being fooled?

    Here, the TSA profile of Atif Cuch (most of it is redacted) – see the ‘abberrant behavior changes’ made up charts, ratings?

    “Atif Cuch” > google: zero hits, no that never happens, he does not exist in public or at all.

    So, following on, the invention of fictitious named-suspects is part of the biz.

  18. Jagger

    I wonder what would have happened if first the pro-Ukrainian, and then the pro-Russian protesters, had used the same passive, non-aggressive resistence tactics as our Occupy Wall Street protesters? Personally, I don’t think we would have heard a word about the Ukriane today and nothing would have it changed. It seems the tactics of those Ukrianian and Russian protesters actually produced concrete results relatively quickly in sharp contrast to absolutely nothing achieved by OWS.

    Of course, it looks like civil war is becoming more and more likely in the Ukraine and the body list is definitely adding up.

        1. Synopticist

          I dunno about occupy any longer, I’m more cynical than I was back then.
          I can’t help wondering if it wasn’t just some oligarchic planned controlled dissent, a pressure valve to steer all the anger into an piece of entirely unconstructive street theatre. Make sure it’s 100% non-violent, make sure there’s no genuine demands because no-one’s in charge, start it in autumn so the weathers against ’em, then slam it closed in a co-ordinated shutdown after you’ve painted them as dirty crusties and idiot hipsters.

          1. tongorad

            If you work for a living, then you know that the demands of our forced (death) march are very specific and not at all vague. You feel it and live it every day; every pinch and push, every asshole and elbow.
            The fact that Occupy demanded nothing specific or compelling is proof that it was nothing more than sentimental mush.

          2. alex morfesis

            ah weehopah…you hav learn much from wax on wax off

            notice the hygiene of many persons did not match the outfits they wore

            too much clean in wrong places…

            not that everyone at the occufried movement was some dia operative but many were…or so it seemed to be…

            so mee stay waay waay away….much safer on top of a mountain, but as famous ancient alien filo sopha bill murray say in some movie

            it is also very easy to be a holy man sitting on the top of a mountain…

          3. different clue

            I remember reading in one of Al Giordano’s semi-recent From The Field blogposts where he contrasted OWS with a student (and others) movement in Mexico. He noted that OWS was started by genuine young people but then
            Graeber and some other older anarchists swooped in to validate themselves by taking charge of it and turning it into a live-action diorama of all their older-anarchist notions and beliefs. He then described what the movement in Mexico did by contrast . . . as to demands and behavior and the prevention of the self-validation hijacking of their movement by Older Mentors.

        2. RanDomino

          Beside the argument that tactics and strategies can be independent of political philosophy, if there’s not a civil war in Ukraine- and I think there won’t be- then I have no problem with how things are going. 50 years ago this would have counted as a bloodless revolution. A thousand people were killed in Tahrir Square three years ago (many of them police and government thugs) and yet the liberal-pacifist conventional wisdom has painted that as nonviolent.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I think they can be. But that doesn’t mean I think they always are; FWIW, I think there’s a connection between violence advocacy and a “Meet the New Boss” dynamic. I think that the initial non-violence in Tahrir Square gave that movement credibility with the Egyptian people at large; having achieved that credibility, were seen as responding to violence, rather than initiating it. (I grant my TS-centric view here and it may be that in Alexandria things were very different.) IIRC, the movement reverted to non-violence after they won the battle of Tahrir Square (which they won against the baltigaya and not the Army). And so one of the pillars of the regime, the Army, went over to the insurgents, when they turned the guns of their tanks away from the marchers toward the palace. As to what happened after… It seems there was no plan for what to do when they won!

            1. RanDomino

              Ah, yes, that old fantasy of pacifists- that soldiers would refuse to shoot. It seems far more likely that the generals chose to give the Muslim Brotherhood enough rope to hang themselves with; the coup came when the MB civilian government tried to assert power over the military, so it can be concluded that they never had any intention of truly stepping down. Now all the anti-military opposition has been defeated in detail (the MB, the Ultras, the unions, and now April 6) and another figurehead is poised to sit in the big chair. Why bother with a big bloody mess that not even the Western press would be able to whitewash, especially since Egypt’s not as vital as China? No, there was no need for the order to go out for the soldiers to shoot three years ago- as they would have.
              As for what happened, after, of course, it was the same as in Wisconsin- we’re out of ideas, so let’s elect the OTHER assholes! Never mind what happens if we lose the elections, or even if “we” win them for that matter. The way out of the protest-elections-defeat trap is to prefiguratively organize a replacement system ready to enter the moment of power vacuum at the height of a good rupture, but of course that would require actual work and individual responsibility so that’s right out.
              Point being: Mass protest has time and time again proven useless at bringing about fundamental change. Neither the Egyptian military nor Wisconsin neoliberal regimes were ever really threatened, because neither of the respective crowds had any clue what it would take to oust the existing rulers and implement something new. It would appear that the answer is, “Storm government buildings, hoist flags, institute transitional government, repel counterrevolution”.

              1. allcoppedout

                You hardly hear the after time discussed. With all the changes in technology that could let us track money and make people’s law, we go back to electing dictatorships and puppets of the rich. The Athenian Democracy tried more stuff than we even talk about.

    1. JEHR

      Jagger, Occupy Movements did achieve something. See:
      and See:

      What Occupy mostly showed us was that the government was prepared and able to crush the non-violent protesters so that further actions by Occupy would be discouraged.

      See also: where letters have been written to the Federal Reserve, to the FDIC re TBTF, to the Financial Regulators, to Congress, to the SEC, to the Supreme Court, etc.

      There are important things being done in the name of Occupy.

      1. Propertius

        Well, to be fair it also showed the futility of impotent whinging as a political tactic.

    2. Andrea

      The USA Occupy movement squatted parks and the like, which by rights belonged to them anyway (public domain etc. laws, of course rigorous rules and regs for using the space.)

      As an ex. which applies to much of the OECD, in Switz. you can’t occupy a park, a forest, a beach, etc. or even a road, a bridge, a mountain pass, or a Gov. building! – as it is yours to begin with! Now, you might be arrested or what not for preventing others from using that public space, going about their biz. Or for being violent, threatening, or whatever: but not for occupying.

      The Ukrainians (anti Kiev-coup Gvmt. and/or pro-Russia in the East) at least understand what to Occupy.

      I’m surprised they don’t (afaik? right now?) have an independent radio station.

      Because “Occupy” as in ‘take-over‘ is one thing, but one needs to also develop extra alternative antennas. Specially media.

      Occupy Wall Street never had any serious intentions at all, imho. Death-spiral knee-jerk rumbles from 68. (Maybe I’m too harsh / not informed.)

      1. RanDomino

        Lots of people had serious intentions. They just neglected to organize in any kind of serious way beforehand, and the middle of a rupture is a terrible time to do it.

    3. Lambert Strether

      So the concept is that Occupy should have accepted Russian money and been backed by Russian troops? Wouldn’t the Atlantic Ocean have been a problem?

  19. Jackrabbit

    Why the Russian sanctions don’t work – Reuters

    The author’s call for diplomacy might be taken more seriously if he had not completely ignored the diplomatic settlement that was offered by the Russians: a Federated Ukraine with a neutral foreign policy. The Americans rejected this proposal because Russia’s proximity to, and extensive trade relations with, Ukraine would mean an unacceptably high level of Russian influence on a “neutral” Ukraine.

    In addition, while the analysis presented is dispassionate and appears reasonable, it contains assumptions are skewed by false ‘truisms’ like:
    1) Western ‘democracies’ can’t be wrong

    Modern democracies only consider military action in exceptional circumstances: in response to genuine threats or moral principles, after deep public debate and diplomatic efforts have been exhausted.

    But the US (and it’s clear that extends to other Western nations) is not a democracy. Our Constitution has been trashed and well-respected studies show political elites don’t listen to the people. Obama and Congress have abysmal popular support.

    Absent the ‘checks and balances’ of a democracy, special interests (like neocons) can implement bad policy. The travesty of the Iraq War is a glaring example – there was no genuine threat and public debate was corrupted by false intelligence.

    2) Cold War redux means inevitable defeat of Russia

    If economic sanctions were to force Russia onto a path of greater self-reliance and protectionism . . .

    The article makes silly claims like ‘going it alone’ would mean Russia consumers suffering inferior quality goods (as occurred during the Cold War) – but most Western consumer goods now come from China!
    I would also add that, the author generally presents a view that is context free, agency free, and consequence free. He conveniently ignores issues and facts that might burden the reader with serious questions and concerns related to US/Western foreign policy and leadership like:

    – past warnings about the advisability of pushing NATO borders east;

    – the utter failure of US/Western diplomacy to this point (not just sanctions);

    – the failure to foresee that sanctions would not be effective;

    – real or potential costs arising from US/West support for the Ukraine coup like: a) pushing Russia into the arms of China, b) the financial costs of Ukrainian support (at a time that the West has record debt levels and can’t provide jobs for their own people), and c) damage to US relations with other countries;

    – other irritants in the Russia – US/West relationship (Snowden, Syria, etc.)

    – why did Obama’s ‘reset’ fail? (and why was a ‘reset’ needed?)

    – the unhelpfulness to diplomacy of warmongering and anti-Putin propaganda;

    – what appears to be a new US policy of Russia regime change (to topple Putin);

    – and more.

    1. Synopticist

      And John “57 varieties of stupid” Kerry hasn’t figured out Europe isn’t going to cut it’s own economic throat so he gets to look good.

    2. VietnamVet

      Old fogy’s, Kissinger and Brzezinski, are calling for a federated neutral Ukraine. This is a sensible way to avoid a hot war between NATO and Russia which will inevitable end in a nuclear holocaust. If expert advice from old Russophobes to ratchet down the chaos is ignored by the Western Elite, this is the proof that the Plutocrats want regime change and a destabilized Russia regardless of the risks to mankind.

  20. Skeptic

    The most expensive lottery ticket in the world Felix Salmon (David L).

    “Founding a Silicon Valley startup, then, is a deeply irrational thing to do: it’s a decision to throw away a large chunk of your precious youth at a venture which is almost certain to fail.”

    I suspect this also applies to most American business ventures.

    It also sounds very similar to how Professional Sportz works. Tens of thousands of wannabes toil away for nothing at the lower sportz levels hoping to cash in at the Pro level (working for billionaire creeps like Sterling). Along the way, thousands of them incur crippling injuries. For every pro player, how many losers along the way?

    A sucker born every minute for the elusive American Dream.

  21. The Abe Bolden wing of St. Elizabeth's

    Evans! Golf-clap for the sneaky sideswipe at people who denounce crimes by US government officials. The key to the new Big Lie is “evidential edifices of such staggering detail and complexity that they are often almost impossible for a lay reader to navigate.”

    In fact, this stuff is blindingly obvious.

    – JFK. The only evidential edifice of staggering detail is the one that the national archives refuses to release, even after the prescribed 50 years, under its new boss, who’s straight from CIA. You lose. The population knows CIA did it. Good luck calling them all nuts.

    – King Family v. Jowers. The jury deliberated for one (1) hour.

    – RFK. Watch what Pepper does to THAT woeful hairball of a case. He’s gonna take Occam’s razor and cut off the LAPD’s CIA-issued balls.

    – Amerithrax. How stupid do you have to be to look at illegal biological weapons under the secure control of the US government, and say, Oooh, terrorists! If somebody nuked Washington with a B-2, would you say, O shit, jihadis must of stormed Whiteman AFB with their boxcutters and beat up all the MPs and taught themselves to fly the plane and eluded NORAD and stole the football and guessed the code and nuked us!

    – 9/11. Paul Craig Roberts, master of the obvious, jeers to great effect how the entire massive US military industrial complex just sat on its thumb and did shit though they really tried their best, yeah right.

    1. Lambert Strether

      What is “golf clap”? I’ve been seeing that here and here lately. (Personally, I think knowledge of golf should be a disqualifier for public office, but a case of the golf clap would seem even more dispositive.)

    1. allcoppedout

      The continued use of offshore tax dodging seems like a classic fraud against the people and to see it aligned to energy price boosting makes one wonder what the private sector can do successfully other than run restaurants on a massive rate of start-up failure. Even these are running double-Irish-Amsterdam scams. The classic private sector protest on nationalised competition was ‘subsidy’. What then are these tax scams and price-fixing auctions?

  22. bob

    “EBay settles ‘no poach’ probe with Department of Justice Financial Times. The fines have been pathetic.”

    And the lawyers still get their multi-million dollar payoff.

  23. Alfred

    I must confess. The link, Super el Nino Brewing, had me all excited about what might be the very best brewery on a nano scale. I thought I would be enlightened about speciality brews from an ultra small producer.

    I guess it must be Friday.

Comments are closed.