Links 5/3/14

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Sarah Palin: ‘Jesus Fought For Death Penalty Until Day He Died’ Daily Currant

The Kentucky Derby tax break Politico

From Kentucky Derby to dinner plate: how to end the horsemeat pipeline Guardian

Buildings collapse in downtown D.C. Washington Post. A road collapse in Baltimore yesterday, and now this?

First MERS Virus Case Identified in U.S. Wall Street Journal

Concerns grow over deadly pig virus BBC

Bitter pills to swallow Economist. This article is worth reading, but I call your attention to the header: “Drug resistant antibiotics”. Remember, unlike this lean and mean website, the Economist has copy editors.

UCLA Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit Over Conflict of Interest Patient Safety Blog

Jury Orders Samsung to Pay $119 Million to Apple in Patent Case Wall Street Journal

No, Sandy Pentland, let’s not optimize the status quo Cathy O’Neil

South-South trade: It’s mostly China VoxEU

A day in the life of Pyongyang – how North Korea’s capital goes to work Guardian

In Colombia, Free Trade Brings More Poverty and More Killings Truthout

Hundreds of Afghans Are Killed in Landslides New York Times

Mountain for sale, yours for £1.75 million Telegraph


Violence in Odessa leaves dozens dead Financial Times

Army action resumes in east Ukraine BBC

Ukraine: IMF – Lose The East And Get More Money Moon of Alabama

If Russia goes over the economic cliff, it won’t go alone Fiscal Times

Will new U.S. sanctions hit Russia harder? CNN

Together against Putin – for the moment DW

Obama’s New Ukraine CounterPunch

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

We’re all being spied on – Snowden Guardian

At Obama’s Side, Merkel Cites Ongoing Rift on Spying New York Times

Snooping reports’ pileup problem Politico

Apple iOS 7 Updates Silently Remove Encryption for Email Attachments Hacker News

Drone Operator Fined After Almost Hitting NYC Pedestrian Bloomberg

What would America fight for? Economist

Threats against Maryland gun dealer raise doubts about future of smart guns Washington Post

It’s a Mistake to Pretend This Jobs Report Tells a Consistent Story New York Times

Jobs Report: Second Impressions Jared Bernstein

Fed seen hiking rates earlier in 2015 as US job creation surges Reuters v. THE FED IS CAPPING GROWTH (AND SLOWLY BUT SURELY LEADING THE WAY TO THE “GREAT STAGNATION”) Historinhas

Undelivered Kickstarter project meets Washington’s wrath arstechnica

Banksters Pretend that Prosecuting Wall Street Crime Will Blow Up the Economy George Washington

Banks Get Break on New Tax-Evasion Enforcement Wall Street Journal

Citigroup says prosecutors probing Mexico unit MarketWatch

Important Economist Piketty’s Important Book “Capital” Is Important Matt Stoller

Economics, Finance and Crisis CounterPunch

Antidote du jour:


And a bonus, although some might deem this to be an anti-antidote. It’s a Phyllodes imperials caterpillar (mark w):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. YankeeFrank

    Buildings collapse on K street — God finally doing his job.

    Samsung has to pay Apple one hour’s worth of revenue.

    Drone operator fined for almost hitting pedestrian — why do I think this is the first of many such fines ((hopefully they don’t become murder prosecutions).

    US job creation surges? Really?
    And fed capping growth ‘starting’ the great stagnation — um, that started five years ago.

    And finally, that caterpillar is amazing, but that bird has clearly been caught red-handed.

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘Americans understandably chafe at the ingratitude of a world that freeloads on the economic, diplomatic and military might of the United States. But Americans themselves also enjoy the exorbitant privilege of operating in a system that, broadly, suits them.’ — The Economist

    So slick, so suave! This from the ‘newspaper’ that wholeheartedly supported the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses by George W. Bush and ‘Tony the Spiv’ BLiar.

    Europeans are masters at self-serving, unctuous flattery. And the terminally adolescent, insecure U.S. laps it up.

    Pat Buchanan provides a welcome riposte to this bad advice from a failed empire, pointing out that ‘as Clyde Prestowitz writes in the Financial Times, while we are committed to go to war to defend Japan, Korea and the Philippines if attacked, none of them is obligated to go to war if we are attacked.’

    Perfidious Albion is not our friend.

    1. Banger

      Well put! I didn’t see your comment as I was writing mine. The Europeans want a brutal and despotic regime in Washington to keep the world in harness, frankly. They want the U.S. to be the New Rome and they are willing to ignore corruption, massive crimes, a Gulag regime and the NSA keeping track of every keystroke they make, every conversations they have to the degree the technology allows it. I’m intrigued to see how Merkel plays all this–she is the key world leader at this point. How Germany goes on Ukraine, NSA will be an important indicator of where we go from here in world politics.

      1. Sebastian

        I’m European, and I want no such thing. Fuck your infantile nationalist labels.

        1. craazyman

          Well at least you’re not an insecure terminal adolescent!

          you should be happy, but it sound like yer pissed off??? WTF??

          do you want flattery? OK, you guys have nice long vacations. Makes me feel like moving to Paris and smoking pot until I pass out. I’m not kidding by the way so don’t get pissed off. All we need is a 5 bagger and we’re there.

          1. ambrit

            Dear Prof Tremens;
            Why do you have to go to Paris to top out? (The Louvre is groovy to wander through when high, I’ll admit. So is the Met though, and that’s within walking distance of your pad!) My experience has been that those in the Elites and their enablers can pretty much flout any drugs laws they want and get away with it. [The Best Justice Money Can Buy. (TM)] As for the poor, well, they have to pay for their own drug tests when applying for Public Assistance in some States now. {OK, they do get the money back if they pass. Over 95% do pass, but that money is still a free loan to the State.} The real reason for these tests? Deterrence. Can’t have whiney stoners swilling from the Public Trough, can we? |All right. Whiney poor stoners. Whiney rich stoners are another matter. (Bill Buckley, are you out on the yacht again? That wasn’t fair, I’ll admit. At least Bill admitted that the War on Drugs was a big f— up, and impossible to win, all in the pages of the National Review to boot!)
            So, Professor, next time I’m in Noo Yawk I’ll give you a buzz and we can meet up at the Met. You bring some of your famous Cocktails, and I’ll bring some Girl Scout Cookies and the Zig Zags, and we can trip out in the Modern wing in front of that humongous Pollack thing.
            BTW, why do all letters to Magonia have to go ‘Par Avion?’
            Peace and Love,

        2. Banger

          WTF????? Are you kidding? Like are you autistic? I am a an American and we have done incredible damage, been responsible for millions of casualties around the world over the decades following WWII and I never supported these acts. When I say “Europeans” I mean as a group represented by their ruling elites and why, pray tell, do I have to even spell that out?

          1. allcoppedout

            You don’t need to point that out mate. Craazy’s idea sounds good, but the cost of a cup of coffee in Paris in the recovery phase is exorbitant.

          2. Sebastian

            Ridiculous ad hominem, calling me autistic. Pathologizing criticism in general is the sure sign of a bigot.

            Maybe you should consider writing what you mean, i.e. the European ruling elite or whatever, instead of ‘Europeans’ as a weird inverted kind of pars pro toto.

            Your thinking is always only as clear as your terminology can make it, you know. Hell, what am I trying. Stupid ‘Mericans.

    2. Eeyores enigma

      “What would America fight for? ”

      The God given right to get RICH!!!!

    3. susan the other

      No offense to allcoppedout either – but “Perfidious Albion is not our friend” (sounds like Pat Buchanan) rings true to me too. We became our own worst enemy when we became imperialist ideologues and relied almost completely on our perpetual war economy to see us through. But nobody ever looked at Through to what end? It was imperative that the new engine of old European imperialism – that’s us – not compromise with socialism except insofar as it could be paid for by churning our industrial economy with war as the engine so everything could be paid for in an archaic sense. What a lousy economic model. I’m perennially puzzled by just exactly what the end goal was thought to be. A giant environmental mess and enormous income inequality. And complete high tech incompetence? Well done America. I’m so not proud.

      1. Synapsid

        Was it a British prime minister who said “Nations do not have friends, only interests”?

        1. susan the other

          It was prolly FDR. I dunno. But it is now time to analyze “interests.”

      2. allcoppedout

        Perfidious Albion probably first came in some form from a Frenchman. No offence could be given this way by most writing in here. USUKEU can be remarkably homogeneous, though are abilities in violent fall out and genocide are shameful. One can only wonder who might not be tarred with that brush; even so-called primitive societies are more murderous than ours. What we need is so kind of re-coupling of our best thinking with practice. I doubt there is any need for War Plan Red these days. A development pact very different from the corporate colonialism of trade agreements might be a way forward. We’d have to get rid of the free-trade jive.

  3. Banger

    RE: What would America fight for? Economist

    Reading the Economist is always interesting because it represents “smart” thinking in the UKUS about the issues before us–it really states them rather well in this article and gives us a view of the important issue, i.e., “credibility.” After snidely implying that the U.S. did not go far enough in Libya and Syria and seems not to be reacting strongly enough in Ukraine the money shot:

    Such mind games in the badlands of eastern Ukraine and the South China Sea may feel far away from Toledo or Turin. But the West will also end up paying dearly for the fraying of the global order. International norms, such as freedom of navigation, will be weakened. Majorities will feel freer to abuse minorities, who in turn may flee. Global public goods, such as free trade and lower cross-border pollution, will be harder to sustain. Global institutions will be less pliable. Americans understandably chafe at the ingratitude of a world that freeloads on the economic, diplomatic and military might of the United States. But Americans themselves also enjoy the exorbitant privilege of operating in a system that, broadly, suits them.

    The problem with all this is that the actual facts don’t accord with the above paragraph. While the U.S. once was serious about establishing a regime of international law after WWII the mission creep moved in a very different direction over the decades. The Geneva Conventions on war have all been violated by the USG and they were violated deliberately and knowingly. Today, particularly after the illegal and uncalled for invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq the U.S. has no moral right to tell the Russians to leave Ukraine alone and it may have no legal right to do so either since, in fact, there is no international law left at this point–there is only the law of the strongest.

    Actually, this is what The Economist advocates and has advocated for a long time–it, like most of the elites in the world, want a strong U.S. to be the New Rome. They are willing to tolerate wasteful and fraudulent “wars” like Iraq which was, ultimately, fought to enrich people close to Bush, Cheney and their hangers-on as well as other rather sordid reasons and for nothing else. If you analyze and observe the invasion of Iraq closely you see a lot of ego-tripping, to be sure, (Rumsfeld and the neocons), the pleasures of war (see Hedges book War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning–these pleasures related to me by those who have been in combat at all levels should not be ignored), and mainly the deep corruption that now engulfs the USG at all levels particularly the world of contracting–the Iraq War built many McMansions in the Washington DC suburbs. The Europeans, for example, tolerated that obscenity, that meatgrinder of a war that brought only misery and chaos to the region. All this The Economist and the mainstream media ignore and pretend never happened.

    1. Eeyores enigma

      All this article does is restate what has been going on for a very long time as Smedley Butler described.
      This is the real story behind American exceptionalism and yes every American benefits so we turn a blind eye for the most part. Even people who somewhat understand this will not admit that a good part of their success is due to this fact. Which is why we have such a huge and confrontational generation gap brewing.

      1. allcoppedout

        I think the Economist knows very well what happened. I loved a piece it did on Rwanda as the new Singapore a couple of years back. It is, of course, a land-locked country nowhere near China. The dictator, Kagame, is just the kind of chap who does the work we need while we aren’t looking, though provide ‘aid’ with no reasonable accounting to get done.

        A huge part of our problem is Freudian, in the sense what we have done is so horrible we want to push it away.

        1. Banger

          Absolutely, we consistently underestimate the role of the unconscious in the Anglo-American cultural sphere and thus believe, as Churchill quipped that history is ” simply one damn thing after another” which is complete idiocy–there are deep patterns that are easily discerned if you have any reasonable grasp of what it is to be human.

          1. allcoppedout

            Actually, if we look at economics from the Cone of Cyrus on, we see lists of slavery, serfdom, genocides, enclosures, wars, piracy, looting and various traps of protector tyrants. The good life is rare and promoted usually by the rich writing about themselves. Jane Austen ought to make our bellies retch, but we think it is literature. The participants should be shown doing their dances on slaves.

            1. Banger

              I don’t know about that. I think recorded history gives a misleading view of what life was like. The labels we use today may not match up very well with the existential lives of the people involved. How people actually lived is hard to measure–things like meaning and a convivial life are hard to measure from the POV of a society that demeans meaning and conviviality or, in fact, anything that can’t be reduced to “data.”

              1. allcoppedout

                There’s a lot to agree there Banger. How, say, could you, me and Craazy even imagine a life in which we went looking for lions at breakfast to slice off a hunk of their last kill for us? Quality or what! I’m on my third set of teeth now and know I’ve lived too long. The affluence in privacy if you’re lucky stuff completely puts me off.

                Yet social history is generally worse than we know and is dominated by upper class gloss. We have the wrong enchantment now and I think part of that is we ever had it good in the past, at least after the time when we negotiated breakfast with the lions and women scurried about for the red currant sauce.

            1. allcoppedout

              I wonder if they use blinkers in llama racing? I’d proll reserve the Oedipal myth for description of courtrooms. A straight reading of real history remains beyond most, even though one only has to hold a corner of the carpet up.

    2. Jim Haygood

      The Eclownomist is just another plutocrat-owned neocon rag, spewing the Kultursmog needed to egg on the next war.

      Today there’s a small ray of light, though. Bush’s neocon skank, Condosleaza Lice, bailed on taking $35K of blood money to speak at Rutgers:

      ‘Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Saturday that she would not give the commencement address at Rutgers University in New Jersey this month. Her announcement came after weeks of protests by some students over her role as speaker.’

  4. craazyman

    Faaak it sounds like Matt needs to read all 600 pages before he starts fuming like a New Yawk steampipe vent on a January morning. At least post a book report! Some of us are never gonna read this doorjam or even check it out of the library and lay it on a shelf for 3 weeks, eyeing it every few days with a determined procrastination until it’s time to take it back. Can’t somebody perform a public service and read all 600 pages and then summarize it in less than 2000 words?

    How could somebody write a book like this? And survive! I could see starting out and then expiring around page 497, falling face-first onto the keyboard with your head pushing your computer monitor back about 2 feet across the desk into the wall. If it’s a laptop, it might just be the final pillow. I hear there are graphs in the book. that’s almost like pictures. Maybe that helped.

    C’mon, let’s see some book reports. Sorry in advance that I won’t be posting one, since I already have my mind made up about the topic and don’t need to read anything. But it would be amusing to anyway. hahahaha

    1. allcoppedout

      I have a feeling its 793 pages Craazy. Stoller has it mostly right. We already knew. I once worked for a US outfit that produced tomes of this size on pub management. I once wrote 100,000 words on knowledge justification before realising I had said nothing. Only the combination of five-and-a-quarter floppy and misplaced workman’s boot saved the world from that one. ‘Once’ was strangely a better time.

      I wonder when we will realise economics is not Newton modified by answers to the three body problem for a trip to the outer planets. Rather, it’s crap that can’t work owning to politics and international competition to live like over-worked serfs blessed by our cherished leaders. So you can say what you like really. How many of these books are going to the bookcase uncut? I can already hear the laughter of what comes after us on the human discovery of inequality. The archaeologists beat us all to it when they discovered farming made life worse for those doing the work.

  5. The Next to Last Samurai

    With that mask, the caterpillar looks like it’s heading out for trick-or-treating!

  6. TarheelDem

    Shorter Palin: “Crucify, baby, crucify.”

    Hey, it’s a job. And it seems to pay very well. But what a sick shtick.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The Daily Currant again. Some of the commenters at the site are cautioning that this is SATIRE.

      The truly twisted thing is, especially where Sarah Palin and Fox and Friends are concerned, it really is impossible to know. Or, to put it another way, tremendously easy to believe.

  7. dcb

    the last article is excellent
    he leaves out how inflation targeting and deflation fears fit in to the picture

  8. GuyFawkes

    I find it hilarious and ironic that MERS has finally been identified as a deadly virus! Finally, we are getting the real info and through the medical community, no less. Those of us fighting the banks have known for years that this evil entity is a VERY DEADLY VIRUS that has infected the nation’s land records causing the death to certainty of ownership.

  9. allcoppedout

    The super-irony is none of this stuff would make Palin unelectable if true. It was the slip she made under a black basketball player as a kid at college. The Currant engages caricature of caricature, but when did we last vote for something other than cardboard cut out?

    1. neo-realist

      On the other hand, I tend to think that exposure of Palin’s vacuity on geo-political and military affairs scared the daylights out of a lot of middle “Merikans” and made the McCain ticket unelectable. If Palin’s only problem was banging a black basketball player, she would have been just fine……..on the Dem ticket.

  10. susan the other

    Counterpunch. Urie. Inequality since 1990? Not. It has been on a rampage since 1970 and before that there was no such thing as equality. And no chance to establish it.

  11. susan the other

    Not to feel confused aco. I can’t make a coherent argument for it either. But I did live through it. Questions of quality v. quantity were ignored, I can say that.

    1. allcoppedout

      Makes sense reading it a couple of hours after first glance. One might, in my old experience, follow a few cases through investigation to court and sentence to know inequality. The difference in outlook towards poor people struggling with vile antisocials and ‘Lord Stamford’s Deer’ is telling and shows how ready we can be to inflict inequality on our own. You don’t find this in ‘tax returns’.

      1. allcoppedout

        There is something very odd about waiting for various authorities to tell us about inequality when we already know about it. How did we become so dependant on the economic stuff no one really understands, at least no more than some people argue about great literature. The con seems in very deep, like biological messaging in animal groups. I wait for anyone to say if we can support 7 billion in non-poverty, go sensibly green on a big scale, stop war, let people have more fun and pleasure, advance knowledge or even explain how we ended-up stuck in weird situations of money investing in itself as an eventual ‘answer’ to a better life through competitive neurosis and a money system designed to hide criminality.

  12. F. Beard

    re: Banksters Pretend that Prosecuting Wall Street Crime Will Blow Up the Economy George Washington

    It’s plausible and if so the blame is on the silly Progressives who think you can give banks a license to steal and then regulate them with laws equivalent to “Be good now! Don’t be too greedy! Engage in only prudent looting!”

    I suspect engineers are rarely Progressives because the systems engineers design MUST work properly.

  13. Don Levit

    I cannot comment on Jesus’ belief in the death penalty, but I would presume he would agree in its existence, according to Jewish law.
    We certainly would not execute people for “trivial” crimes today.
    I can say that the Sanhedrin rarely “executed” the death penalty, something like once every 70 years.
    One disturbing fact to me, as a Jew, is that the Sanhedrin decided to kill Jesus.
    The only redeeming part of this scenario is that it was God’s plan, not the Jews plan, for Jesus to be crucified.
    Don Levit

  14. gordon

    Remember the Alamo!
    Maybe the separatists in the East of Ukraine will remember the Odessa trades union building in much the same way. And maybe they’ll come to think of the commanders of the Kievite forces with the same hatred that Texas separatists once displayed for Santa Anna.

  15. ewmayer

    While we’re on the subject of “Palin drones”, time for a look back to what an obscure religious film once had to say on the issue of “don’t be cross with your executioners, as they are just making the best of a bad job”:

    [a line of prisoners files past a jailer]

    Coordinator: Crucifixion?

    Prisoner: Yes.

    Coordinator: Good. Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.

    [Next prisoner]

    Coordinator: Crucifixion?

    Mr. Cheeky: Er, no, freedom actually.

    Coordinator: What?

    Mr. Cheeky: Yeah, they said I hadn’t done anything and I could go and live on an island somewhere.

    Coordinator: Oh I say, that’s very nice. Well, off you go then.

    Mr. Cheeky: No, I’m just pulling your leg, it’s crucifixion really.

    Coordinator: [laughing] Oh yes, very good. Well…

    Mr. Cheeky: Yes I know, out of the door, one cross each, line on the left.

  16. E.L. Beck

    Re: “From Kentucky Derby to dinner plate: how to end the horsemeat pipeline”

    The problem with this column is that it looks solely at the supply side of the issue, but the demand side is where the trouble started.

    When the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 hit, a large number of horse owners in the U.S. – and not only thoroughbred owners – were hit hard. Raising and competing with horses – whether racing, equestrian or western events – is funded largely from discretionary income. As discretionary income plummeted, so did the ability to fund horse-related activities. And my focus here is largely on U.S. middle-income discretionary spending, which felt the pinch, severely.

    As these owners were forced to bail out of horse ownership, the horse market became flooded with unwanted horses, driving prices downwards. Horse-rescue farms were able to absorb a few horses, but most of these operations were quickly overwhelmed. Many were forced to close as operation costs rose precipitously when horses were added beyond budget capabilties, yet private donations went down due to the economic crisis at large.

    It was painfully obvious that the only outlet for this glut of horses would be the auction.

    Well-meaning but ignorant animal activists fought to ban slaughterhouses here in the U.S., but the glut of horses remained at the auctions. The lack of slaughterhouses in the U.S. meant the horses sold for meat would be forced to endure (and some don’t) a brutal trip to Canada or Mexico, only increasing the suffering – not lessening – of these poor animals.

    The contraction in the U.S. horse market continues, at all levels of engagement, not just with racing horses from high-income operations. While breeding solely for racing purposes creates its own set of undesirable problems, the horse population in general has to find a means by which it can be reduced.

    I work with horses on a regular basis, and have a deep respect for them. The slaughterhouse is not a fitting end for these magnificent animals, but there simply isn’t enough money flowing in to horse-rescue operations to save all of them. And sporadic $20 donations here and there will not cover the bill. Anyone who has ever owned a horse knows ownership costs are as bottomless as the appetite of a horse. Large amounts of money are required to properly fund rescue operations.

    Until a better solution can be found, legislating the supply end of the horse market will only increase the suffering horses meet at the end. With the lack of better alternatives, slaughterhouses need to be returned to the U.S., and in greater numbers so that the final trip for a horse is not a brutal one. If regulatory control is needed, the horses would be better served by having their treatment and euthanasia at the slaughterhouse closely regulated for a more dignified end to their lives.

    The best we can hope for is that the horse population supply in the U.S. quickly readjusts to ownership demand which, at the middle to low-ends of the market, will eventually find its equilibrium.

    Horses continually bred for competitive purposes at the high-end of the market could be brought under control by increasing the patience of horse owners, and training/hiring trainers to undertake better approaches to the training of a horse. Many “marginal” horses are quickly turned out if they prove too “stubborn” or “slow” to learn. Some of the best competitive horses in history proved not to be the push-button horses, but those who found a patient trainer who had the deep-seated intelligence and intuition to recognize the potential in a given horse.

    Of course, that last wish ranks right up there with hoping the Easter Bunny will eventually reveal himself, but it needed to be stated.

  17. Jackrabbit

    Ukraine: The IMF Report

    Last week some critics of US/West-backed Ukrainian coup misinterpreted an IMF Report on Ukraine that was released when the IMF’s $17billion Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) for Ukraine was announced. Interpretations of this passage:

    A long-lasting disruption of relations with Russia that depresses exports, investment, and growth, or a loss of economic control over the East that reduces budget revenue would require a significant recalibration of the program and additional financing, including from Ukraine’s bilateral partners.

    varied widely:

    IMF Warns Ukraine: Fight for the East or No Money
    Which, roughly translated, appears to mean go to war with pro-Russian forces (and thus Russia itself if Putin sees his apparent countrymen in trouble) or you don’t get your money!

    Ukraine: IMF – Lose the East, Get more money
    Translation: “Dear oligarchs, screw up the relations with Russia and lose the east and you will get more free money.”

    Such sensationalism and distortions are simply not helpful, especially when a reasonably accurate interpretation of the IMF passage (paragraph 66 under the heading “Staff Appraisal”) highlights what a mess the neocons have got us into. The IMF is simply telling us that the cost of supporting Ukraine will skyrocket if – as seems likely – the more industrial and prosperous East is lost.

    Most independent observers, I believe, think it likely that the Eastern regions (and probably the south) will vote to join Russia like Crimea did (why live under IMF austerity, face much higher energy prices, and an anti-Russian govt?). That would result in a “Ukraine” that consists of only the agrarian Western part of the country – which is dirt poor. (For some perspective: I’ve seen estimates that it cost more than $150 billion over 10 years to get Poland ready for EU membership – and Western Ukraine is in worse shape.) Western support this “Ukraine” comes at a huge price AND at a time when the US and EU countries are not well positioned to bear this burden (due to already high deficits/debt loads and high unemployment). Ukraine seems likely to join Greece as an economic basket case and embarrassment.
    This raises many important questions like:
    – Couldn’t the Russian advantage and the resulting burden on the West have been foreseen? (I believe the answer is: Yes)
    – Did the neocons simple under-estimate Putin? Ideologues don’t care about the costs to others(!) and the neocons arranged to “win” whatever Putin’s response would be: the more of Ukraine that could be captured, the greater the resulting headache for Russia (pushback/payback for opposing neocon objectives) and, to the extent that Russia interferes with, or attempts to retain influence in, Ukraine, the more that Russia would be demonized. A new Cold War that makes it easier to manipulate people/govts to achieve objectives like bombing Syria.
    – Why was it so important for Ukraine to be in the Western orbit? We have heard many commentators bash the prospect of a stronger Russia (“Russian imperialism!”) but does a stronger Russia really challenge the West? I haven’t seen any analysis that demonstrates that that alone is a real problem. HOWEVER, It seems to me that antagonizing Russia and China – driving them together – unnecessarily creates a challenge.

    Besides the obvious ‘costs’ of economically supporting Ukraine, there are a whole set of other costs that are incurred by the Ukrainian adventure such as:
    – pushing Russia and China into a closer relationship;
    – more difficult relations with the rest of the world (especially as Ukraine comes after the NSA spying fiasco);
    – reduced focus, interest, and resources to tackle other problems
    – and more

    PS I am not opposed to all or part of Ukraine joining the Western orbit. And I am not pro-Russia. I am opposed to consequence free adventurism and public manipulation that are hallmarks of neocon action (Iraq redux). And I object to the loss of democracy that allows special interests like neocons to have undue influence and thereby use the US/EU to inflict harm and costs on others.

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