Links 5/26/14

In dogs’ play, researchers see honesty and deceit, perhaps something like morality WaPo

A glimpse into nature’s looking glass — to find the genetic code is reassigned: Stop codon varies widely Science Daily

Emotion Markup Language 1.0 (No Repeat of RDF Mistake) Another Word For It

Denied again by people he hated, gunman improvised AP (transcript).

Only Tool Left Eschaton

Barack Obama, Wall Street co-conspirator David Sirota, Salon

QE reduction in time for next speculative kickoff Michael Hudson

‘Unpacking the First Fundamental Law’ James Galbraith, Economist’s View (gordon). Must read.

Reviewing Lawrence H. Summers’s Review of Piketty II: The Post-1980 Rise of Extreme Inequality in America Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Fun post.

Why should tech people care about public pension scandals? I’m glad you asked… Pando Daily

Big Brother Is Watching You

The eBay hack, the loss of 140 million records, and the PR fiasco Kevin Townsend


The NSA is Not Made of Magic Bruce Schneier

A Google Glass Feast EV Grieve. Glassholes dump on restaurant for protecting its patrons privacy, aided by Google’s preferential treatment of Google+ in search.

Ukip storms European elections Telegraph

Eurosceptics storm Brussels FT

Front National wins European parliament elections in France Guardian

SYRIZA scores first election win but coalition stands firm after EU vote Ekathimerini

Europe’s brutal discipline Le Monde Diplomatique


Petro Poroshenko claims Ukraine presidency BBC. Chocolate tycoon.

The Irreversible Crisis of the Ukrainian Experiment Roberto Orsi, Euro Crisis in the Press (barrisj)

The State Department’s Ukraine Fiasco Consortium News (RS)

Ukraine: Major “Western” Think Tank Admits Defeat Moon of Alabama. Putin in the catbird seat, right where he always was. Can’t we just pay off all the neo-cons and ship them, together, to a faraway island?

Western intervention will turn Nigeria into an African Afghanistan Guardian

14 Ways of Looking at Thailand’s Military Coup Smoke and Mirrors

What the U.S. Can Learn From Brazil’s Healthcare Mess The Atlantic


The Legality of Delaying Key Elements of the ACA vs. Obama’s ACA Delays — Breaking the Law or Making It Work?NEJM

I.R.S. Bars Employers From Dumping Workers Into Health Exchanges Times. But dumping others is fine!

Treating veterans in private hospitals could ease pressure on VA facilities Guardian. No underpants gnomes, neo-liberals: 1) Starve public programs; 2) Run PR campaign; 3) Privatize and profit!!!

The party’s over LRB

How “tightness” vs “looseness” explains the U.S. political map WaPo. Pleased to see that Maine is #5 on the scale of looseness, right behind Nevada. State averages conceal, though. Pennsylvania is in the second quintile of tightness, but Philly is more than loose; it’s positively slack.

Class Warfare

An Anonymous Rich Person Is Hiding Money All Around San Francisco HuffPo. Flinging coins to the peasants and watching them scramble.

Always Low Wages, More Pollution: Why Barack & Michelle Obama Relentlessly Shill For Wal-Mart Black Agenda Report

These Housekeepers Asked Sheryl Sandberg to Lean In with Them. What Happened Next Will Not Amaze You Crooked Timber. I gotta tell ya, my jaw just dropped.

Equal Rights to Profit from Impoverishing People and Causing a Great Extinction Event Ian Welsh

But they’re too complicated! Pharyngula (Avedon)

The Trigger-Happy University The Baffler

How much have white Americans benefited from slavery and its legacy? Marginal Revolution

Can the Nervous System Be Hacked? Times

Taking Print from Print Culture & Leaving the Public Sphere Behind The Junto

Antidote du jour, Animals in War Memorial, London, UK (via):


Memorial Day bonus tune:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. scott

    It sure would be nice to see that Black Agenda Report editorial reprinted in the NYT, or maybe mentioned on MSNBC.

    1. Ned Ludd

      MSNBC cannot be improved. It is Fox News for the Democratic Party.

      MSNBC follows the lead of the party and politicians it has given its loyalty to. And it doesn’t just follow their lead. MSNBC has hired Robert Gibbs and David Axelrod, among others who can bring the Obama line straight to the viewers of a network that has more than once debated whether Obama should be added to Mount Rushmore. “My President Obama? Is he your President too?” Ed Schultz demanded of a guest while insisting that Libya be bombed as Obama desired.

      MSNBC serves the interests of the powerful. Any token criticisms of the establishment are there to sell a larger agenda of compliance.

      FBI agent, who killed a dude, has name revealed. Maddow reacts with instructional video on how to hide info better. – ­Michael Arria, author of Medium Blue: The Politics of MSNBC

      For more about the video: “Rachel @Maddow Teaches Redacting“.

      1. optimader

        America gets what it wants. Actually watching this evil crap is intellectual pornography.

        The level of hell that maddow resides in is lower that the FOX propagandists in so far as she misrepresents her political affiliation to the gullible audience that buys her soap.

        I can damn Obama with the faint praise that he never really misrepresented himself, but more like he allowed himself to be mischaracterized. He posed as a political Rorschach, offered platitudes to be interpreted by gullible liberals who wanted so very much for him to be something he never actually committed to being and they bought in.
        As well lunatic conservatives slandered him as being a Muslim cut out, a Nigerian National etc etc which he adroitly never addressed, rather he allowed the lunatic fringe to polarize itself and further discredit the conservatives in the perspective of an right-leaning unaffiliated voter that wasn’t completely insane..

        What we are left with is a mostly corrupted media which has taken its fake “party” lines to sell soap on a daily basis to a bobblehead public that consumes the POV it wants to self-reinforce. Then every election cycle an orgy of money is slugged through the organs of media to stovepipe political “choice”..

        It is all so blatant and the public is so gullible it disgusts me.

    2. Ulysses

      It won’t happen since MSNBC and NYT will never allow such powerful denunciations of our corrupt duopoly a platform.

      Bruce Dixon really does hit it out of the park in his concluding paragraph of the BAR piece:

      “The fiction that elected Democrats represent poor and working people and stand for safeguarding the environment is just that – a fiction. There is a new neoliberal paradigm that allows Democrats to mumble a few words about raising the minimum wage when the other party controls Congress, that claims the moment they took office was the day the oceans stopped rising. If these were curable bugs in the political system, votes and advocacy would wake enough people up to change them. But what if they’re not bugs in the system at all. What if these are its core and immutable features? What then? Isn’t it time to step outside their two-party, capitalist box, to dream and begin to build something else?”

    3. OIFVet

      The moment BAR materials appear in Pravda-on-the-Hudson and in MSFAUX I will know that Glen Ford at al. have sold out.

  2. MIWill

    re: The Tigger-Happy University

    ‘Some readers may be uncomfortable with certain words or phrases used in this comment describing the digestive end-game as the legacy food train leaves the station.’


    1. Eureka Springs

      Neoliberalcons. That’s an improvement. I’m going to use it. Although I still think war criminals and thieves or kleptocrats are the words nearly everyone is avoiding. In respect to Libya, Syria, Ukraine we are clearly monsters. It’s systemic, not partisan or factional.

      Even liberal/progressive darling Alan Grayson voted to send in another billion bucks after the U.S. led coup in Ukraine.

  3. Dikiaos Logos

    If you aren’t ill enough already, read this piece on proposed new penalties, more severe than those for child pornography, for revealing details of British Virgin Islands’ companies. The article came to me from Gabriel Zucman’s twitter feed (@gabriel_zucman). And the linked piece on the palm oil industry (a leading producer of GHG and IMO, contributor to the obesity epidemic) and its use of tax havens is also worth a read.

  4. financial matters

    Michael Hudson points out that QE was not/is not a benign asset swap. QE was a bank rescue and worse has led to an increasingly financial economy. The Fed is the one who creates money not the banks but the Fed backs the banks. Banks ‘create’ money by making loans but these are backed by the real money the Fed creates.

    The reserves at the Fed are obligations that can be seen as similar/identical to the Federal debt. Do we want to use the people’s money to bail out banks and fuel speculation or change focus and use it to enhance employment, clean up the environment, provide affordable education and medical care?

    QE reduction in time for next speculative kickoff Michael Hudson

    “So what the banks did with this $4 trillion is, largely, speculate. They bought foreign currency bonds that yield much higher than 0.1 percent. They bought foreign currencies.”

    “But the banks are making a huge margin. If they can borrow reserves from the Federal Reserve at 0.1 percent and lend to mortgage borrowers at 4 percent, that’s a arbitrage, a wider arbitrage difference than they’ve been able to make for a long time. So, essentially, the banks are borrowing short-term at a low rate, lending long-term at a high rate, and using the profits to be so high [sic] that at the last report, 40 percent of all corporate profits in the United States are bank profits. The banks have made a killing off quantitative easing”

    “And normally it’s the speculators who would have lost, but in this case it was the taxpayer who lost. That was basically the principle at work.”

    1. craazyboy

      The “Miracle of ZIRP” is that retail loan rates to the consumer and business don’t go down much – for instance the decline is about zero for credit cards.

      I’ve seen an estimate that ZIRP resulted in a transfer from savers to the banking system of about $3 trillion dollars so far, and ZIRP ain’t over yet. But we can afford it, if it helps the economy, of course.

      Not to mention dubious uses of the cheap money. Here’s one today – “Weather Reports Precede Food Prices”

    2. Jim Haygood

      Some biting commentary today from Dr. Hussman, who’s nursing a building rage that Bubble III refuses to pop on schedule. Hope that ain’t J-Yel and her peeps that he’s dissing in the punch line:

      Low volatility and suppressed short-term interest rates are a breeding ground for yield-seeking speculation. This reach for yield has now driven junk bond yields to about 5%, which is interesting given that yields are now near or below typical historical default rates.

      Meanwhile, the majority of new debt issuance today is taking the form of leveraged loans to already highly-indebted borrowers, with “covenant lite” features that provide little recourse in the event of default. This is the sort of behavior that should wake investors up like a triple Espresso. It doesn’t because they have been conditioned to focus on yield alone, without considering the minimal amount of capital loss that would wipe that yield out.

      This is not a new dynamic, and precisely because it is not a new dynamic, one can always find solace from the same Broadway kick-line of dancing clowns that reassured investors that credit was sound, subprime was contained, and stocks were still cheap in 2000 and 2007.

    3. fresno dan

      “Do we want to use the people’s money to bail out banks and fuel speculation or change focus and use it to enhance employment, clean up the environment, provide affordable education and medical care?”

      We want to use it to keep the corrupt rich … rich (they’ll stay corrupt of their own volition…). F*cking the poor is a feature, not a bug….

  5. kjboro

    The state-by-state tightness/looseness analysis exclusively relies on social indicators:

    “This process resulted in a composite index of nine items. Four items reflect strength of
    punishment: (i) the legality of corporal punishment in schools,(ii) the percentage of students hit/punished in schools, (iii)therate of executions from 1976 to 2011, and (iv) the severity of
    punishment for violating laws (i.e., selling, using, or possessingmarijuana). Two items reflect
    latitude/permissiveness: (i)access to alcohol (i.e., ratio of dry to total counties per state) and
    (ii) the legality of same-sex civil unions. Institutions that re-inforce moral order and constrain behavior were assessed withtwo items: (i) state-level religiosity and (ii) percentage of indi-
    viduals claiming no religious affiliation. The final indicator wasthe percentage of total population that is foreign.”

    Yet, it’s easy to hypothesize the exact opposite for economic/business/finance indicators (e.g. while no state was perfect with regard to mortgage crisis, California, e.g., was ‘tighter’).

  6. Furzy Mouse

    As an expat friend recently said about Thailand’s political mess, it is just like 2 warring mafia families….reason and fairness will seldom prevail….

  7. Banger

    RE: The State Department’s Ukraine Fiasco

    Consortium news offers us, in the above-mentioned article, one of the best overall views of the Ukraine crisis–basically a synopsis of what most of us already knew but with a question that I think we need to dwell on:

    It may be understandable at some level that the still-powerful neocons saw the Ukraine wedge as a useful tool in splintering the Putin-Obama cooperation that had eased tensions over Syria and Iran – two of the neocons’ top targets for “regime change” – but it remains a mystery how anyone could think that the Ukraine adventure has served U.S. national interests.

    We can approach the answer by understanding that the neocon faction that dominates, now, the Dept. of State and most of the mainstream media outlets and who were screaming with one voice for war in Syria has no interest in the “national interest” but only their own relative positions within the Washington pecking order. I know it is hard to believe but, from my observation of these types, that’s what it comes down to. On a personal level, of course, these people will deny this because of the American cultural propensity to be in perpetual denial of anything negative that comes with the religion of American Exceptionalism, i.e., whatever U.S. leaders do it is well-intentioned and when things go wrong well then it’s “mistakes were made” time.

    The fact is that almost every bit of American foreign policy in the past decade and a half (or even more depending on how you look at it) was made with the express intention of undermining what was left of international law and the post-WWII idealism that set up the project of internationalism as a reaction to the failure to institute it after WWI. With all its warts that system, despite severe crises from time to time provided a structure in which the world could recover from the major wars of the 20th century and build new structures and ways of life. For most developed countries this arrangement was fruitful materially for most of the post-WWII era and up until the late seventies this prosperity was shared by rich and poor and those in the middle. Many social movements from Civil Rights in the U.S. to feminism and gay rights and many other things significantly altered and relaxed Western culture for the better in my view.

    Imperialism since 2001 in particular has not “worked” out very well. Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya which were direct victims of U.S. imperialism are societies that have been torn to shreds how does this help the ambitions of the neocons? In Washington, it’s all about funding not just for various Departments and agencies but for the rich and growing stable of consultants and “NGOs” that do most of the dirty work these days, particularly the covert/black ops stuff that now appear to be coming out of not just the CIA but State and other parts of gov’t. These forces thrive on a constant crisis atmosphere–careers rapidly advance and plum jobs in the world of contractors glow as beacons in the night for these characters who live, like the Kagans, in a very slimy world that is completely ignored by the mainstream media because they are deeply involved in the same social/political networks. The link between hawkish foreign policy among most big shots in the media and the government started during the days when the CIA dominated Washington politics in the 50s and 60s and well beyond that when CIA nurtured and paid off journos (as did business groups) to spew official crap. The same system exists today but just more so as a result of 9/11 when covert ops bloomed as never before in Washington.

    The world of the Washington Byzantine swamp exists strictly to perpetuate itself and exists as field of play. The Tea Party has the right instinct–destroy it–but they don’t know what they have no idea they are playing into it by electing fascists and martinets to Congress. We’ll see how this goes.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Great diagnosis of the DC disease, a virulent plague. One concern I have about Consortium News tho is editor Robert Parry’s frequent Obama apologia. He supported him in 2012, usually omits him from “mistakes are made” analysis of foreign policy, often casts him as an unwitting victim of his own Neocon appointments, and generally portrays him as a passive lesser evil as in the paragraph you quote above. This pattern is quite consistent in Parry’s own pieces, to the point where he seems to be a propagandist, albeit more subtle than Krugman or Reich. May be the curse of fundraising.

    2. Jackrabbit

      ConsortiumNews flash:

      – Obama is blameless
      – Obama is a man of peace
      – Obama hoodwinked by neocons

      Anyone that has been paying attention can see that this article suffers from deliberate myopia and spin. Obama and the neolibs are knee-deep in the exceptional! neocon Imperial project.

      Obama set-up a casus belli in Syria with his ‘red line’. Qui bono? The American-backed rebels. Only Russia’s stubborn support for Assad prevented an attack. (The Obamabot view that Obama listened to the people is rubbish.) The Obama Administration then did everything it could to make the Olympics a failure – attacking Putin’s human rights record (Putin had cracked down on western-backed NGOs) and warning western spectators of possible terrorism.

      Obama has supported the neocon project in Ukraine in every possible way:

      > He has never expressed ANY doubt or concern
      > He has approved and implemented rounds of sanctions and urged American companies to stop doing business in/with Russia
      > He has been reported (NYTimes) to have said that he has ‘had it’ it Putin/Putinism and we can only glean from this that the US now seeks regime change in Russia
      > His VP’s son (and presumeably others in the Administration or their families) have established business relationships with Ukrainian oligarchs

      And the jury is still out regarding Obama’s Iran initiative. When he announced it, he made the KEY point (which has been mostly ignored) that it was a necessary step to unite allies before military action. The US and Iran have been involved in these (what could be called) ‘last ditch’ discussions for a full year now with little to show for it. When negotiations occur we see ‘news’ that depicts ‘frank discussions’ and ‘difficult negotiations’, etc. but no real hope for a final agreement. For the time being, both Iran and the US gain some advantage (e.g. propaganda) from “negotiations” but that doesn’t mean that either are ready or willing to ‘give’ what is necessary to obtain an agreement.

      Furthermore, anyone promoting Obama as a ‘man of peace’ needs to account for:
      – Guantanamo
      – the ‘surge’ in Irag and extending combat in Afghanistan
      – Drone-ing
      – Record on Civil Liberties: war on whistle-blowers, continued use of signing statements of secret directives, NDAA, support for NSA’s illegal spying, etc.
      – Benghazi
      – and more

      @Banger Your criticism and analysis of the ‘deep state’ is always interesting but don’t let your concerns in that regard blind you to the complicity of the Obama Administration and the neolibs.

      1. Banger

        JR, I agree with much of what you said It was an outrage to give Obama the Peace Prize and it is similarly bad that much of the left still supports him.

        On the other hand, if you believe the Sy Hersh piece a little while back on Syria then you know there was considerable pressure from military intel and others not to strike though I agree that the staunch refusal of Putin and Lavrov were very critical in the crisis. As of Obama, yes many believe he is a dove in all this and they may be right because Obama knows very well the lessons of the Bay of Pigs and the dangers from the institutional war mongers within the national security state so he is wary of all the plots going on around him which have multiplied since back in the day–but he also knows the fate of Kennedy and will go along to get along. However, Obama is still a member of the team and is a noxious and dishonest politician as opposed to those around him who are, a bit more demonic in character. Did he choose Nuland and the others to be part of his administration? I think the list was given to him–he could choose between various personalities but all the powerful factions had to be included. A weak President with no power base in Washington must do as he is told by his handlers. Carter, though no angel, had some sense of morality which is why official Washington went gunning for him and deliberately sabotaged most of what he tried to do even the rescue mission to free the hostages.

        1. Ulysses

          “he also knows the fate of Kennedy and will go along to get along.” This desperate excuse for Obama’s constant duplicity is really starting to annoy me.

          Yes, it is very risky to oppose the Deep State. So what? If President Obama wanted a cozy, comfortable life he should have used his political skills in the corporate world to become a well-paid shill for Walmart, or BP, or whatever.

          Instead, he pretended to show real concern for American people and ran a very slick campaign based largely on his supposed lack of connection to the Byzantine Swamp of D.C. Upon gaining the highest office, through dishonest means, he has enthusiastically sold out the American people at every opportunity.

          My Teamster brothers and sisters in Rhode Island, who recently reclaimed their local from a gang of corrupt sell-outs, have shown far more courage than any big-talking politician. The kids I tutor, here in the parts of town that most Upper East Siders would never willingly visit, routinely face challenges that fill me with admiration at their very physical survival, let alone academic success.

          Let’s not buy into this bullshit that our national politicians try to do good but are thwarted by dark, unseen forces. They, with very few exceptions, are enthusiastic co-conspirators with the MIC and the banksters, and serve the kleptocrats with zealous determination.

          They are also craven cowards– who hide behind a massive repressive apparatus of state violence because they know deep in their hearts that they richly deserve being strung up for their crimes against the people.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            Oh yeah! Thank you for this. The excuses for Obama will never end, no matter how galling his deceit and enthusiastic his betrayals. Is it reflex affirmative action? We so want our first half-black president to be a decent human being with integrity and courage, we simply refuse to accept that he’s a willing war criminal, uncommon thief, and slippery reptile, who sheds his scales after every speech. Basta!

          2. fresno dan

            Bringing up Kennedy is interesting, because the mythology that he (Kennedy) was a liberal is simply held with a religious belief….

            1. CB

              Belief is emotional. Kennedy, factually, was not a liberal.

              But he was so handsome, so charming. Putting aside the snark, he was an interesting case: he was an independent thinker in circumstances where going along, or being swept along, would have been easy. I don’t think he was emotionally attached to anything enough to be swept in that sense.

            2. Banger

              Kennedy has been much maligned. He was a politician that played many angles as he had to. Nevertheless, he faced up to Big Steel (very powerful in those days) and the CIA–he fired Allen Dulles. He, along with Khrushchev came very close to ending the Cold War both men, in one way or another were stopped by their own national security states. Read the letters between the two they are touching as well as articulate.

              1. CB

                Wrongly maligned, yes, much maligned, no. His failings were many but the media dwell on the salacious, which were the least of it.

          3. Banger

            Clearly you don’t want to know what is actually going on. You want to live in a world of comic book villains and heroes like most Americans–and you should be smart enough to see the result of that way of thinking.

            If you don’t care what motivates these people and are content not to know–fine. But they are human beings with mixed motivations and they are dealing with an incredibly complicated set of plots, conspiracies, hustles and so on. I make no apologies for political types but they are a product of their society and, frankly, reflect the general culture much more than most people think.

            1. Doug Terpstra

              I care about what motivates these people. I really do want to understand why they lie, cheat, steal, torture, falsely imprison people without trial, murder without trial, consistently break their solemn oaths and promises, wage aggressive wars, engineer coups, etc.

              Insatiable greed would be my first guess, followed by unbridled power lust and a taste for sadism. Somehow cowardice, ineptitude, ignorance, and most excuses afforded Obama just seem implausible after all these years and all the evidence.

              Are DC and Wall st just too labyrinthine and Byzantine for simple minds like mine? Why excuse rank evil and glaring criminality by saying it’s complicated, and after all, they’re just a reflection of society? I think it’s simple: they represent a very small, sick fraction of psychos and sociopathic predators who prey upon the vast majority of decent people.

        2. Jackrabbit

          Well, I don’t believe Sy Hersh on that point.

          I am with the skeptics that think it is all too convenient that an aging Hersh, who just loves a big scoop, got a line on some hush-hush story about lab findings that military brass use to prevail upon the beloved President who couldn’t back down because human rights are just sooo important to him (choke, cough). With the Hersh article, everyone ‘wins’: Obama is a human rights hero, and the US isn’t tarnished by the embarrassment of appearing to have backed down from a conflict with Russia. But there’s more: it also means that no one can say that US/West has a ‘grudge’ against Russia that would cause it to meddle in Ukraine, and it is comforting many to know that the US/West always do the right thing(tm).

          Also note:

          > While Hersh talks much about Turkey, he leaves out other bad actors like Israel and Saudia Arabia (both of whom support toppling Assad).

          > While Hersh describes Benghazi gun-running he is careful to: a) not talk about the ‘protest against an anti-muslim film’ cover-up; and b) leave out Paula Broadwell’s claim (at the time, mistress of CIA Director Gen. Petraeus) that the CIA was holding prisoners in Benghazi – which implies that rendition continued(/continues?). Any mention of these in his article might counter the depiction of a human rights-loving Obama.

          You can see Blackwell here (at a talk at her alma mater, University of Colorado, on Otober 26th) talking in a composed and candid way about Benghazi. She makes these important points:

          > “within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening”,
          > That the CIA annex was holding militia members prisoner,
          > that there was a “failure in the system” (of diplomatic protection).

          1. Banger

            I will agree with you about Hersh–he can’t be trusted to tell the unvarnished truth–he is the master of the limited hang-out and reflects the thinking of a certain faction within the national security state that, in exchange for giving him the information, Hersh agrees to lay off sensitive areas–this is, de rigeur for reporters. But I do believe the general report is accurate–though I didn’t get the impression he was lionizing Obama at all.

            In a way Hersh is kind of a bag man for a certain faction–the same faction that urged him to write about the plans for war with Iran–he was an important figure in keeping that war, which many desperately wanted in the media and the national security state, from happening.

            1. Jackrabbit

              Don’t you see how the criticism: that the punt to Congress was a ploy by Obama’s political team, is minor compared to portraying Obama as a heroic human rights defender?

              Without the lab story, Obama’s punt to Congress shows weakness, not strength.

                1. Jackrabbit

                  In Hersh’s story, Obama doesn’t punt to Congress as a political ‘out’ (knowing that with little public support and the British having voted ‘NO’, Congress would not approve of the bombing) but as a ploy to ‘set up’ Congress – which is never (apparently) told of the lab results.

                  This is a very hawkish depiction of Obama. Many have questioned the lab story because it relies on things like the military’s accepting sarin sample info from a Russian intelligence operative and believing sources that are unverifiable / difficult to corroborate.

                  Was someone trying to paint an unflattering picture of the nobel peace-prize winning President? Or (given that this info came from shadowy US-sources and would never see the light of MSM day) was a hawkish Obama – and righteous West – useful as the Ukraine situation developed into a confrontation with Russia?

                  PS Correction: Hersh did mention Saudia Arabia (and Qatar).

    3. CB

      It’s not hard to believe. Have for, well, decades, I guess: worked for MIC subcontractors for 30 plus yrs. IMO, if the American public got 30 or 40 cents worth of useable goods or services from every dollar paid to the MIC, that would be a lot.

  8. Paul Walker

    Beyond the traditional NeoLib/ConDem fare the Veterans Administration health system is a prime, made to order portion of the US health delivery services marketplace ready for a test run of universal healthcare. To many this seems the only outcome that will meet the general expectations of society as to availability, access and timely delivery of care options for the disabled veteran population.

  9. Kurt Sperry

    ‘In dogs’ play, researchers see honesty and deceit, perhaps something like morality’ links to ‘Karl Rove: I’m not questioning Hillary Clinton’s health; I’m questioning whether 2016 run is a ‘done deal’’

    1. craazyboy

      My deepest fear is 2016 will be Hillary vs. Paul Ryan.

      One of them will pick Michelle as running mate – but I’m not sure which one. In an attempt to balance the ticket and appeal to all voters, Paul may name Michelle as VP, and Hillary may counter with Sarah Palin – the ultimate “girl power” ticket.

      This will make it very difficult to make up our minds whom to vote for.

        1. craazyboy

          That’s why I think the R’s will recruit Michelle!

          The Robot ticket!!!!! It’s their only chance.

      1. Carla

        If you were able to vote for a Democrat or a Republican presidential candidate in 2012, I doubt you will find any 2016 major party ticket impossible to support.

      2. fresno dan

        I’ve read that they have recovered Stalin’s and Hitler’s dna, will be able to clone them, and they will run (in different parties – I leave it to your own imagination which will dun as a demopulican and which as a repubulicrat) for the office of US president 2016.
        I am quite perplexed as if I would prefer the choice of the Hitler/Stalin face off, or the Hilary Ryan face off….
        Of course, we could have a Hilary/Ryan ticket versus a Hitler/Stalin ticket. Of course, the choice would be obvious….

        1. craazyboy

          I was hoping Angelina Jolie and Jessica Simpson would run against whomever on the wardrobe malfunction platform – and it would be a landslide. But it looks like Angelina took herself out of the running.

          We are doomed.

          There were once happier days:
          MAD TV Wheel of Fortune starring Pamela Anderson

  10. down2long

    Apropos of nothing, other than perhaps the unsung here aspect of this day, this uplifting article. I always loved Andy Warhol during his “disaster period” because he said he wanted to give the fifteen minutes of fame to people whose opportunity for that had been robbed of them.

    Nice to see this guy get his more-than-15-minutes. The man with the dirtiest job at Hoover Dam Honored:

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Public pension scandals…

    Ask not what your government can do you, but what you can do for your government.
    Here is one idea – The Government Corps.

    Everyone is required to work for/serve in the government for a time, much like the Thai Buddhism idea that every man be a monk for a time in his life

    One additional benefit is this will get all of us into one united pension plan.

    But the main idea is based on ‘what you can do for your government.’

  12. down2long

    Also Lambert, thanks for the Waltzing Matilda link. My sister went to AnZac day in Turkey where Australians, New Zealanders visit Turkey on the anniversary of the rout at Gallipolli. (And its radically peaceful undertones.) So something good came out of this horrible disaster.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How much have we all benefitted from slavery?

    Slavery —> Empire
    Empire —> Imperial currency
    Imperial currency —-> only empires can assert that they can print as much money as they desire, or so it is claimed. Every little county must import with reserve currency money and/or borrow reserve currency money from the World Bank and therefore must export to earn it and its monetary policy dictated by empires.

    The lasting legacy is that people from former slave supply countries, previously colonized nations or other defeated empires are flocking to the empire, in a manifestation of some sort of Stockholm Syndrome. Many want to have imperial children, purposely time their pregnancies on their visits to the empire. The end result is we have many dual citizen imperial children around the globe. One may be consoled that the imperial citizenship offers a safe passage home in an ever more dangerous world. On the other hand, the concern is that this setup offers no incentive for people around the world to improve their mother- or hosting- countries, but to loot them with abandon, especially after they have acquired imperial know-how and some sort of imperial profit-sharing accord.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Animals in War Memorial, London

    I believe that ‘particular’ war is still on-going…War on Animals.

    There is still no hope for armistice.

    1. OIFVet

      I really like the subversiveness of today’s antidote. I just came back from a long walk on Wooded Island behind Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. It is a sliver of land set aside for birds, butterflies, and native prairie, and I couldn’t help but to think along the same line as you as I walked back into the uncivilized wilds of human civilization.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think one day, we will broaden the Slow Food Movement to become the Slow Economy Movement.

        Under Slow Economy Movement, everyday is a holiday for serfs – conscripts impressed/shanghaied into serving the mighty GDP Generation Division of the Nature Conquering Army – or at least, everyday feels like a holiday…like today.

        1. OIFVet

          “They had no choice.” Sadly true. And sadly there is the illusion that today’s professional armed forces have a choice due to their “volunteer” nature. One of the least discussed topics of what happened in Iraq was the toll the war took on its animals. One of the memories that stay with me even today and probably forever is the sights and sounds of animals who found themselves in a blast radius or crossfire. The sound of a wounded and dying donkey is in some ways far more disturbing than that of a human… And then there were the stray cats and dogs who found the plentiful food scraps of US bases irresistible. I hate to remember the orders coming down the chain to “deal” with them. To their credit many units refused, and instead adopted some of these. Far more effective doctors for the treatment of the invisible wounds then the two-legged kind and their reliance on big-pharma chemistry. Thanks for posting this on this day when we celebrate our hypocrisy.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    My suggestion for infrastructure project to stimulate the economy:

    Exclusively lanes (mainly on long haul interstate freeways) for driverless trucks.

    I don’t trust them enough. We need segregated lanes.

    Luckily, my idea to assuage my fears is beneficial to the economy.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think you’re right.

        Only if the developers of driverless trucks would just think through the process.

    1. Paul Niemi

      Actually, lanes reserved for commercial trucks (with drivers), especially in urban areas, would speed up traffic, save energy, reduce pollution, and improve safety. We are stuck, by law, with carpool lanes, but using those same lanes for trucks would be better. It has to do with physics. Trucks can not accelerate nor stop as quickly as cars. Braking distance is much farther for trucks, and accelerating through the gears is much slower and produces increased particulate emmissions in the diesel exhaust. When large trucks share the same lanes as cars, this exacerbates traffic backups, increasing stretches of stop and go during peak use times. This creates more opportunity for accidents and wastes fuel and time for all drivers. Given that large trucks pay much more in taxes to use the roadways, reserving separate lanes for trucks on the expressways would be justifiable from a public policy perspective. Some metropolitan area ought to try this approach as a demonstration. There are even some expressways where the carpool lanes have separate exits and onramps, and those would work well for a test.

  16. Yellowrose

    The “How Much have White Americans Benefited from Racism?” shows such a profound lack of understanding of how racism is built in to our legal, educational, economic and social systems and the resulting ongoing massive annual transfer of wealth to over privileged whites from those made poor (many groups here) that it is positively mind boggling. Not a useful article.

  17. CB

    I have two quibbles with the Brazil healthcare article: UK is not single payer; what’s laudatory about PA being able to pay $15 an hr to public healthcare workers? Another race to the bottom, it’s getting so it’s hard to keep track.

    1. hunkerdown

      When they share the same thrust toward the same end — replace every independent human relation with a dependent market-based relation — it’s easier to treat them as different tentacles of the same instrumentality.

  18. Murky

    Election results in Ukraine: A landslide for Poroshenko, the so called ‘chocolate king’, with 54 percent of the vote. My take: Good that he’s got a popular mandate, which brings unity to the country. Bad that he’s an oligarch, not experienced in bringing about reform or fighting corruption. Tymoshenko, the oligarch known as the ‘gas princess’, had a real bad result with only 13 percent of the vote. I think her days as a major political figure are probably over. The ultra right nationalist candidates had dismal results. Tyahnybok of the Svoboda party is pulling in about 1.3 percent of the vote. Dmitry Yarosh of the Right Sector has less than 1 percent. These results should help put an end to Russian propaganda that Ukraine is overun with nazis, fascists, and right-wing exremists. Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front in France just obtained 24 percent of the vote. That’s over 8 times more popularity of far-right nationalists in France than Ukraine. Anybody worried about fascism in France?

    About the Ukraine election results, editor of the Economist magazine shares his views:

    1. Doug Terpstra

      The left-right, “far right” labels are now hopelessly confused … by design of course. Apparently, I’m now far right, like Marine le Pen, who opposes rigged trade and uncontrolled immigration labor insourcing, favors nationalizing failing banks, proposes heavy regulation of banking including a new Glass-Steagall wall, opposes the privatization of the postal service and public pensions, promotes policies for full employment, labor and trade protectionism so on. On the otherhand, there’s neoliberal “Socialist” Hollande who’s wetting the sheets with Europe’s austerian banking elites and rigged-trade racketeers. It’s as Orwellian as calling Obama a Marxist.

      1. gordon

        The major political parties have only themselves to blame for the Euro Parlt. results. They have ignored issues important to the electorate and thereby left them to be picked up by any group of politically ambitious fringe-dwellers who want them. Now important issues like immigration and the others mentioned by Doug Terpstra are “owned” by these guys, and mainstream parties will have a hard job getting them back.

    2. OIFVet

      “Bad that he’s an oligarch, not experienced in bringing about reform or fighting corruption”

      I almost wet myself laughing. The entire purpose of this fiasco never was to fight corruption but to replace one corrupt oligarch with another who would be more amenable to selling out to the West. Congrats Maidanites, you succeeded brilliantly. Still, there is hope. Corruption benefits both the West and Russia so Poroshenko may yet serve as a useful bridge between the two, provided the US curbs its imperial gluttony and agrees to swallow only half the pie and leave the rest to Russia. As for the regular Ukrainians, they will lose either way but its not like this “revolution” was cooked up in the “democracy incubator” of the State Department to improve their lot anyway. Willy Wonka may have been testing Charlie by denying him the lifetime supply of chocolate, but with Poroshenko this denial will not be a test but a feature of Ukrainian life.

      1. Murky

        You can ridicule and mis-characterize Ukrainian elections as you please, but your words are not persuasive. Look how easy it is to overturn most of what you have just written:

        1. You claim: The Ukrainian election is about “selling out to the West”. Well, elections are an important and legitimate form of democratic institution in most countries on the planet. OSCE observers have verified that the election results in Ukraine are legitimate. Would you do away with elections, OIFVet? You think elections are not a legitimate voice of the people?

        2. You claim: The Maidan revolution was entirely concocked by the U.S. State Department. So, the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians that protested in Maidan Square for months were merely drones, mindlessly taking their orders from abroad? You think they were not an indiginous and legitimate voice of political protest? What would you have done, OIFVet? Ban the Maidan demonstrators? Yanukovych tried that and failed. Freedom of assembly is an important democratic institution, and I’m surprised that you seem to stand against it.

        3. You speak of: The ‘imperial gluttony’ of the United States. Yet you say nothing of Russia’s imperialist actions. So, when was the last time the USA annexed territory from another country? Take note, Russia just annexed all of Crimea. And now Putin is doing his best to annex eastern Ukraine, by providing arms and advisors to local separatists. This is the problem, OIFVet. You see the West as the singular evil, while completely ignoring the most eggregious predations of Putin’s imperial Russia.

        So, the legitimacy of elections, the legitimacy of public protests, and the obvious imperialism of Putin’s Russia are weak points in your argument.

        Why not be more substantive? Here is a link supporting your views of Ukrainian nationalism run amok. It’s titled, Why the Revival of National Myths in Ukraine Should Alarm Us. And it’s good quality academic writing, not propagandistic journalism. Yes, I completely agree with you that right wing extremism in Ukraine is alarming. But claims that Ukraine is swarming with fascists have been greatly exaggerated, and the current election results testify to this fact. Less than 3% voted for ultra-right nationalist candidates.

        By the way, the distinguished historian Timothy Snyder has another article in the New York Review of Books, and I’d love to hear why you think he is so wrong.

        1. OIFVet

          Don’t throw your back out overturning, it takes intellect far heftier than yours to prove that:
          1. Having “legitimate” elections actually results in the implementation of policies that reflect popular will (see Greece);
          2. That crowd manipulation is by necessity achieved exclusively through Vicky Nuland giving each and every Maidanite a cookie and a direct order rather than, say, buying off key leaders such as “our man Yats” whose job it is to hijack popular discontent and harness it to do their foreign master’s bidding just like all good compradors from time immemorial;
          3. Imperial control is expressed solely through territorial annexation as if means for control have not evolved since Roman times to include financial/economic control coupled with the co-option of local corrupt elites. Google neocolonialism and educate yourself.

          Last but not least, life’s too short to spend reading Snyder’s and Applebaum-Sikorska’s propaganda just because some murky characters with raging confirmation bias problem hold them in high esteem. And I truly did try but I couldn’t get past the first sentence of the second paragraph before my gag reflex sent me to the loo: “In the southeast, in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk where Russia sent troops and armed local criminals…” It is true that one man’s freedom writer is another man’s criminal, but this sentence came from the pen of an alleged “distinguished historian”. It is sad to see that crapification has infiltrated even the production of distinguished historians.

          1. Murky

            Well I did find some quality of argument in your post, after sorting through it.

            1. If elections in Ukraine are so seriously flawed, are you suggesting it would have been better to leave the provisional government in power with Yatsenyuk at its head? I hope not. I figure elections are better than no elections, and Poroshenko is a better deal than than the Yatsenyuk regime. We are in agreement on this point, right?

            2. I disagree with your claim that Yatsenyuk does a ‘”foreign master’s bidding”. Too heavy on conspiracy theory. Politics are mostly local to the boundaries of a nation state and its indigenous populace. To think that nations on the other side of the planet are totally manipulated from Washington gives way to much credit to some hidden genius and omnipotent power of the American intelligence establishment. The nation that truly has vast influence over Ukraine is Russia, based upon hundreds of years of political subjugation in both the Tsarist and the Soviet eras. You forget that Stalin’s Russia murdered over 3 million Ukrainians by state-planned famine in 1932-1933. When has the USA ever murdered millions of people at any time in its history? That’s why your notion of the USA as the singular focal point of world evil is misguided. There are a multiplicity of nations, including Russia and the USA, that have deep historical records of abusing other humanity. Evil is spread everywhere, not just in the USA.

            3. Your last point is good, and I agree with you. Your suggestion that the West (not just the American intelligence establishment) is trying to pry Ukraine into the European orbit using ‘neocolonial’ methods is accurate enough. No need for military, although the US intelligence establishment would just love to bring in NATO if they could. That’d be a foreign policy blunder of colossal magnitude. Russia will never allow NATO in Ukraine, and if the West pushes the issue there will be global military escalation not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis. More subtle is the Western attempt at control by financial and economic means, but this is also a foreign policy blunder. The idea of an instant realignment of Ukraine’s industry and economy to Western Europe is ludicrous, as the economy has very deep links to Russia, and will require many years to reorganize. For what it’s worth, Poland is an excellent example of a country which broke free of Soviet control, and has achieved excellent integration into the West. So it can be done, but not on a fast track like so many in the West and Ukraine now believe. The obvious solutions for Ukraine are 1) no NATO, and 2) retain most economic integration with Russia for the near future. On these points we probably agree. What we disagree about is Ukraine as a free nation. I’m for it. You are against it.

            About Timothy Snyder, you deserve some credit for trying to read through his material. I have the exact same reaction to RT and most other Russia news media; I gag on it and can’t continue. There are still a few independent Russian news sources which I like that are not controlled by the Putin regime: The Dozhd TV channel (, Ekho Moskvy (, and Novaia Gazeta (

            We disagree on many issues, but at least this conversation is civil. Thanks for that.

            1. OIFVet

              Good lord, how much sorting through did you have to do? I purposefully kept it short and sweet so did you also sort through commas and such to glean intent?

              1. Poroshenko has stated he will keep our man Yats as PM. Enough said.
              2. Yats brought in the IMF, one of the tools of US neocolonialism. No conspiracy theory, just a widely reported fact. As for US murdering millions, that’s also a fact. It does that through the various shock doctrines instituted by its Yatses worldwide. Much more sophisticated and refined form of mass murder, but true all the same. Millions were thus killed in Russia in the 1990’s as the US-planned economic shock warfare was unleashed upon Russia’s citizens.
              3. Ukraine’s serf mentality prevents it from being free. It replaced one master with another in the form of the IMF and the Yats/bizarro Willy Wonka cabal. “Democratically” of course, the Western masters care about appearances. Hence the coup d’etat of the elected government and its replacement with another elected one.
              4. I deserve some credit for lasting through a whole paragraph of Snyder’s propaganda? Look Murky, if you feel like patronizing someone go get a puppy, much as I can’t stand animal abuse. It won’t get you far with me though so drop it.

                1. OIFVet

                  Neoliberalism is murder, and it all began right here in the US. The millions of russian dead as result of US neoliberals’ economic warfare on the world are not even the first victims, millions were also murdered in South America and in Asia since the 1960s. Yes, Stalin was a monster who killed millions on regional scale. The US kills many more millions on a global scale as it pursues its imperial objectives. Not my fault you can’t wrap your brain around the mechanism by which these mass murders are carried out.

                  1. Murky

                    The US murdered millions in Russia in the 1990s? Wow, how you can twist the facts, OIFVet. But you are right about one thing. A privatization scheme was forcibly imposed on the Russian economy in the 1990s. Known as ‘economic shock therapy’ it did cause economic collapse and poverty for millions of Russians. But to blame it all on the USA is a beyond stupid. There were actually many agents involved in this privatization scheme, and most of them were Russian. The Russian economy was already in deep trouble by the late 80s and early 90s. Perhaps you should first spread blame to Gorbachev, as he was the guy who started the dismantling and reorganizing of the Soviet economy. But most of the privatization scheme actually occurred during the Yeltsin regime. So blame Yeltsin too. But it was Yeltsin’s lackey Chubais that came to the US seeking advice from US economists. So it’s Chubais that’s guilty. Yes indeed, the Americans got involved. Harvard University sent a team of their economists to Russia. So Harvard must at the root of this evil. Jeffrey Sachs headed Harvard’s team, so he must be the most prolific serial killer of all time. But wait, it was Milton Friedman who was the mastermind of shocking an economy into the market mold; first implemented in Chile 1975. Add Friedman to your list of murderers. But the actual implementation of the shock therapy was done by Russian economists, Yegor Gaidar and Boris Fyodorov. They are most responsible. Better yet, blame the early Bolsheviks for setting up a political and economic system that was doomed to fail.

                    Your problem, OIFVet, is that you blame America for all the world’s evils. There were many causes of the 1990s economic disaster known as ‘shock therapy’. Yes it caused a social catastophe, bringing poverty and and elevated mortality to millions of Russians. But it was not a scheme of deliberate mass murder. It was economic mismanagement during a troubled time in Russia’s history. Some Americans, but mostly Russians, are directly responsible for the implementation of ‘shock therapy’ in 1990s Russia.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Whatever happened to your earlier agreement about how neocolonialism works? I guess you agree with the concept when it fits your objective and disagree with it when it doesn’t. Your attempt to blame the compradors while absolving their Washington Consensus puppeteers of moral responsibility is noted and rejected. The demographic destruction of Russia was meant to facilitate its dismemberment into component republics as part of the grander strategy to ensure US global domination by controlling Eurasia. A broken up Russia makes that much easier objective to achieve; the cost of a few million Russian lives is rather cheap. This is straight from Brzezinski, in The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives (

                      BTW, in the future be sure to add a citation when you present barely disguised Wikipedia material as your own work. Your comment is a more disjointed copy of the article found in Respect for the work of others, etc.

                    2. Murky

                      Neocolonialism? I used the word only to designate control of a nation other than through military force. I didn’t sign up for a full program in Marxist brainwashing, where the USA is the singular world evil and Russia is the liberator of oppressed humanity. What a crock of shit! In fact it’s Russia that has been the colonial power over Ukraine for hundreds of years, treating the country as their colony, their property, their resources.

                      If you so hate the the USA, OIFVet, why don’t you leave and become a citizen of Russia?

                    3. OIFVet

                      “Neocolonialism? I used the word only to designate control of a nation other than through military force” Which is what was done in Russia in the 1990s.

                      ” I didn’t sign up for a full program in Marxist brainwashing, where the USA is the singular world evil and Russia is the liberator of oppressed humanity.” This entire thread you’ve been employing strawmen and I have been patiently ignoring them. Stop it, it makes you sound like an even bigger fool than your “honest” attempts at debate do.

                      “In fact it’s Russia that has been the colonial power over Ukraine for hundreds of years, treating the country as their colony, their property, their resources.” So has your motherland, Poland (don’t bother denying it, as a native Slavic speaker I can spot another one by the occasional lapse in proper English sentence structure). And Austria too. In fact Ukrainian is simply a regional Russian dialect, one that had to borrow a whole lot of Polish words after 1991 in a silly attempt to present itself as a real language.

                      “If you so hate the the USA, OIFVet, why don’t you leave and become a citizen of Russia?” Well, that’s an original argument, I hadn’t heard that one … since 2003. Except then the boogeyman was Old Europe as represented by France. Care for a Freedom Fry? Anyway, I’m afraid you will just have to accept my presence as a permanent fact of life. I have made it a very minor mission in life to annoy the hell out of other Slavic-Americans whose self-professed love for “freedom” and “democracy” is very incongruent with their ingrained servile fealty to the anti-human neolib-neocon sociopathy of the US Empire.

                    4. Murky

                      Well, there’s not much to debate in this last post of yours, OIFVet. You have spoken about a 1990s US genocide killing millions in Russia. But without substantiation or verification that it ever happened. You insist that I must be Polish, as if my ethnicity is relevant. It’s not. Then your on about how Ukrainian is not a real language. Damned if I can read it. Can you? Finally you state how glad you are to annoy me. Well, to be honest, I’ve enjoyed our conversaton, OIFVet, and I look forward to more. You get the last word if you want it.

                    5. OIFVet

                      “You get the last word if you want it.” Mighty generous of you kind Sah!. I shall avail myself of your generosity.

                      “You have spoken about a 1990s US genocide killing millions in Russia. But without substantiation or verification that it ever happened” You appear to have access to the intertubes and the google, use them. While Naomi Klein provided a very good bird’s eye view of shock therapy in Russia, Ames, Taibbi, et al. were reporting the dirty facts from the very middle of the mass murder in real time and naming names, both Russian and Western. I believe The Exile has an online archive, use it. It is crude, occasionally disgusting, always misogynistic, but brutally honest. Certainly a few leagues above the work of Wines and the co-conspirator McFaul.

                      “You insist that I must be Polish, as if my ethnicity is relevant. It’s not.” In Europe ethnicity always did matter and will continue to matter for the foreseeable future. There are millenia-worth of ethnic hatreds, the origins of which are long forgotten but whose existence is never allowed to fade with time by the local PTB. As such ethnicity speaks about motives, something you thought you could obfuscate without being called on it. Polish or not, you are obviously a native Slavic speaker. And inter-Slavic relations are…complicated.

                      “Then your on about how Ukrainian is not a real language. Damned if I can read it. Can you?” Mostly yes, with the exception of those post-1991 Polish words and the galician slang. Admittedly my russian is very rusty from more than two decades of disuse and I couldn’t hope to hold a good conversation in it right now, but reading comprehension is still very acceptable.

                      “Well, to be honest, I’ve enjoyed our conversaton” It helps to be a glutton for punishment. I do admit I am a passion-driven asshole at times. Southern Slav, it can’t always be helped.

    3. Jackrabbit

      The election’s legitimacy and Poroshenko’s ability to meet the many challenges are . . . murky.

      – The economist says there were problems in only 10% of the country but they don’t say what the turnout was overall (and how does that compare with previous elections?). The only concern seems to be that Russia not dispute the result.

      – The nationalists still have quite a lot of power. And Poroshenko talks of a unitary Ukraine that is very much in line with what US/West wants to see.

    4. hunkerdown

      54% of those *voting* is a mandate? My gods, consumer brainwashing really is irreversible, isn’t it? One really doesn’t exist if one isn’t johnny-on-the-spot when the oligarchs clap, do they?

      It’s sickening that people actually do believe that desperate peasants pledging fealty and lining up behind one or another oligarch who promises (typically emptily) to feed them is “democracy”, or even good.

  19. Abe, NYC

    Ukrainian exit polls show that Yarosh and Tyahnibok have together got 2.1% of the vote. So much for Russian propaganda of “Bandera takeover” of the Ukraine.

    In the meantime, for the first time in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history a president was elected in the first round. In other words, all regions of the Ukraine including the East (but excluding Donetsk and the few rebel-controlled towns) voted for Poroshenko. This is remarkable, as previous elections were largely run and won along “Europe vs Russia” lines.

    1. OIFVet

      Abe, control of the security apparatus of a state does constitute a takeover. Don’t celebrate just yet, it is far too early. And I will leave you with this: in the end all the Maidanites managed to accomplish is to replace one corrupt oligarch with another, their rhetoric notwithstanding.

  20. Jeff W

    The map in the “How “tightness” vs “looseness” explains the U.S. political map” is a perfect example of how not to use color when conveying information.

    The map shows the quintiles from the top ten tightest states to the top ten loosest. But instead of showing some color scheme based on progression, it plops a horrible brick red color in for the middle quintile with a dark blue/light blue progression on one side and a dark green/light green progression on the other. That color makes those states in the middle quintile look like they’re, well, something else. Instead of using color to help convey the information, the color is detracting from the information, a danger, I guess, of do-it-yourself maps.

  21. OIFVet

    Re: A Google Glass Feast. Shouldn’t glassholes be switching to Soylent as a way to save their valuable time and avoid the aggravation of dealing with lowly restaurant workers and patrons?

  22. David Petraitis

    Having read all of Ta-Nahisi Coates Atlantic essay I was dismayed by this amazing self revelation by Tyler Cowan’s article in Marginal Revolution in today’s Links. :

    I would suggest that most living white Americans would be wealthier had this nation not enslaved African-Americans and thus most whites have lost from slavery too, albeit much much less than blacks have lost. For instance it is generally recognized that freer and fairer polities tend to be wealthier for most of their citizens.

    That a white male economist at a Virginia based University would “suggest” that there is some equity in the wealth decrease of whites caused by slavery that somehow mitigates all the long, harsh, continuing depredations that race has had economically, politically, educationally and culturally caused in America makes me puke.
    His Addendum is his counterswipe at his readers (always a classy blog tactic!) and backhanded apologia:

    It is amazing how many of you cannot read and digest a simple sentence such as “There is still a moral case for reparations even if most American whites have lost from slavery rather than benefited.” Which by the way is far to the “left” of where the current debate stands in American politics and indeed in most other parts of the world.

    Tyler, a piece of advice, don’t break your arm patting yourself too hard on the back since you consider yourself such a good lefty…
    Full disclosure – I am also a white, older fart, very aware of what my privilege has brought me and humbled by Coates’ opening of this necessary dialogue on race.

    1. Banger

      I think the whole issue of reparations is a mistake and is unworkable. What if you are an African immigrant? What if you’re mixed race? What about Native Americans? There are endless troubles with the issue and pushing that sort of solution is foolish and divisive at best.

      The economic issues of the black underclass can be best served by giving everyone a guaranteed income, guaranteed health-care, guaranteed housing and education. And speaking of education shouldn’t we spend more time on American slavery than the European Holocaust? Shouldn’t every child know, intimately, the conditions of slaves and the routine rape of black women? And many more things as well.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      I think the descendants of slaves should stop calling for reparations and, instead, begin calling for restitution (plus compounded interest). The harm done to the generations of now-deceased slaves and their families cannot be repaired.

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