Links 6/4/14

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Something Is Seriously Wrong on the East Coast—and It’s Killing All the Baby Puffins Mother Jones (Ron A)

Meditation and the art of helping MBA students to become mindful Financial Times (David L)

How to erase a memory –- and restore it: Researchers reactivate memories in rats ScienceDaily (Chuck L). This gives me the creeps. It’s guaranteed to be put mainly to bad ends. At a minimum, memory wiping will allow for people like soldiers to be put even more casually in trauma-inducing situations.

Powering Your Cell Phone With Your Pants OilPrice

Who owns your email account? Reuters

Modern ocean acidification is outpacing ancient upheaval: Rate may be ten times faster ScienceDaily (Chuck L). We first wrote about ocean acidification shortly after the inception of this site. It deserves far more attention than it is getting.

Photos: Land Use Change Destruction to Grow Biofuels Big Picture Agriculture (km)

News Flash: Fukushima Is Still a Disaster TruthDig (RR)

US to raise tariffs on China solar panels Financial Times

Citi: China should panic about housing now MacroBusiness

China’s property bust: From Beijing to Bondi MacroBusiness

Paris trade talks threat over US BNP fine Financial Times. Oh, this is too delicious. Obama tried targeting a foreign bank for a tougher-than-usual sanction to boost the Dems flagging popularity on the assumption that there would be no/minimal fallout. Now the French are threatening to nuke the toxic trade deal known as the TTIP!

Blogs review: The economics of Scottish independence Bruegel


U.S. reaffirms: No weapons will go to Ukraine USA Today. If you believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

Ukraine Envoy: Kiev May Need More Financial Help, U.S. Military Support WSJ Economics

New Fighting Reported in Eastern Ukraine New York Times

1993-2013: is the twenty years long “pas de deux” of Russia and the USA coming to an end? Vineyard of the Saker (mundanomaniac)

Is Ukraine More Like Latvia or Greece? Foreign Policy

Economic Prospects of Ukraine Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

Aiming Financial Weapons From Treasury War Room New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA Use of Facial Recognition Stays Within Legal Boundary Bloomberg

Google Offers New Encryption Tool New York Times. Google wants us to trust them? Seriously?

Edward Snowden ‘Probably’ Not a Russian Spy, New NSA Chief Says NBC

Even the ARCHITECT of the Drone Assassination Program Saya Obama Has Gone Too Far … “Creating Terrorists Rather Than Eliminating Them” George Washington

Days Before Obama Announced CO2 Rule, Exxon Awarded Gulf Oil Leases DeSmogBlog

NPR Hypes the Job Loss Story on Restricting Carbon Dioxide Emissions Beat the Press

Obama’s Next Fed Fight: Why Michael Barr will be just as unacceptable to progressives as Larry Summers Dave Dayen, New Republic on Monday followed by Barr Takes Himself Out of the Running for the Fed. From Dayen’s Tumblr: “The financial reform coalition has definitely amassed some political power, if they can stop nominations in their tracks within 24 hours.”

FCC comment site breaks after comedian asks trolls to fight “fast lanes” ars technica

Paul Krugman: ‘I’m liking Obama more and more as he slogs through his second term’ Daily Kos

Federal Reserve

Fed Officials Growing Wary of Market Complacency Wall Street Journal. This is like killing your parents and then complaining about being an orphan.

Fed may shun global risk rules banks spent billions to meet Reuters. Richard Smith: “Fed still not keen on Basel III.”

The question of crowding out with the Fed’s reverse repo program Walter Kurtz

Jonathan Weil of Bloomberg has gone to work for Jim Chanos! Good for him but sad for us. He was their best columnist on finance.

Class Warfare

Ex-Bankers Upgrade the Good Life; Got to Have the Stradivarius-Shaped Pool Bloomberg (Scott)

Allure of Homeownership Slumps Amid Worries of Continued Crisis WSJ Economics

1 in 5 Children Live in Poverty in US CNS News

Growth Has Been Good for Decades. So Why Hasn’t Poverty Declined? New York Times

Antidote du jour. Ben S: “Duck at Lake Anza, Berkeley, California, July 2013.”

antidote_Duck en pointe

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. rich

    Chicago Skyscraper Needs Special Servicing

    The former Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower, requested loan modifications from its creditors before entering “imminent monetary default.” I take it this is code for bankruptcy, not having the cash to make principal and interest payments. Willis Tower’s owners flip commercial real estate for profit and include Middle East sovereign wealth funds as investors. Owners include Joe Chetrit and Joseph Moinian. Crain’s NY Business had this to say about the first Joe:

    “Never bet against Joe Chetrit,” said Robert Rosania, an executive at Stellar Management, which co-developed five residential rental towers called Columbus Square with Mr. Chetrit and sold off the complex last year for $630 million. “There are very few [real estate] investors in the city of New York who have made as much money as he has in the last decade.”

    Crain’s Chicago Business gave details on Willis Tower’s debts:

    The senior CMBS loan, which matures in 2017, has nearly $499 million remaining. Including other loans not rated by Fitch, Willis Tower’s owners have more than $774 million in total CMBS debt on the tower, according to Fitch.

    How much of any packaged debt, rated or unrated, on Willis Tower went to owners and investors via special fees or distributions?

    so special.

  2. Kokunani

    The Bloomberg article on the excesses of ex-bankers was so revolting I couldn’t even make it to the end.

    1. Vatch

      Aw, that means you missed the unintentional irony at the end of the article where one of the ex-bankers is quoted as saying:

      “Well, it’s all about balance.”

  3. Andrew Watts

    RE: Edward Snowden ‘Probably’ Not a Russian Spy, New NSA Chief Says

    One of the reasons why Snowden probably wanted the disclosures released in a staggered incomplete format was to keep American counter-intelligence guessing about the full extent of the breach. While more importantly denying Russian intelligence similar knowledge that could be potentially devastating in their hands. These are not the actions of a foreign spy.

    There is more than enough circumstantial evidence on the internet that Snowden was a self-trained and “gifted amateur” before he joined the CIA/NSA. His actions and tactics were not those of an ordinary spook but an extraordinary blackhat. The reported refusal of Snowden to join the NSA’s TAO division was a major tell. It should also be a source of grave concern for the US government.

  4. Banger

    Re: NPR and Coal

    Just briefly, if NPR was not, all along, a CIA/FBI disinformation covert operation it certainly is virtually one. There are some decent programs on various public radio stations but their flagship morning and afternoon shows are PR, propaganda, misinformation that benefits those in power.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Why public broadcasting was ever seen as some sort of liberal threat to conservatism is beyond belief. From its earliest days, Bill Buckley’s show was one its only nationally distributed news and opinion programs about national policy issues, it ran until 1999. Of course, in addition to already having his own, personal voice in his National Review magazine, he was also an employee of the CIA working with his lifelong friend, E. Howard Hunt. The layers of reinforcement misdirecting the public away from what is really going on in the country have always had more of a home, than views reflective of the voiceless, seldom heard outside of the confines of the arts. It was years and years before the nightly newscasts were offered, Frontline and Bill Moyers have a presence, but are overshadowed by the long standing one such as Buckley and his bookend, John Mclaughlin, who broadcasts to this day with the billionaire real estate mogul and owner of US News and World report and Patrick Buchanan, Nixon speech writer and fore runner of the contemporary Tea Party for extremist views. Somehow, Timothy Leary never not got his own show.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I’m pretty sure you meant Mort Zuckerman, who owns US News, not Pat Buchanan. Buchanan provides an amusing, right-ish populist/nationalist point of view that for all the differences that folks on the left can pick at him over, he’s certainly NOT a neo-liberal.

        Zuckerman’s got pretty much your standard billionaire perspective on things.

        In any case, your point on the McLaughlin show is well-taken. I used to like it when I was growing up, but later on, began to notice that the range of opinion on the left stopped cold at Eleanor Cliff(sp?), who’s bright and often interesting, but is ultimately a dyed-in-the-wool proponent and apologist for everything the Democratic Party does.

        John McLaughlin himself is absurdly conservative and structures the conversation as such. I still remember years ago, he implicitly portrayed Guantanamo Bay as a kind of pleasant vacation for the folks there (pointing out the enjoyable weather in Cuba). It was as if he wanted to distract us from the fact that it was a prison.

      2. scraping_by

        NPR as a liberal bastion is part of the distraction by redefinition mode. Ask the majority of people and liberal/conservative will be defined on issues like abortion, homosexuality, maybe drugs, and most of all, diversity/Affirmative Action. For most people, the liberal position is Political Correctness and nothing more.

        Nary a word about economics, civil liberties, foreign policy. NPR does a great job of presenting trickle-down, the WOT, and the American Empire as givens, not to be questioned any more than the weather. It’s a matter of technical details rather than deep, abiding divisions.

        Glenn Greenwald’s recent insight is a commonplace. NPR is one of the best promoters of the divide and conquer PC world view.

      3. MacCruiskeen

        Yeah, well what about Sesame Street!? Teaching kids about tolerance and sharing and other liberal hogwash. Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. Teaching people that American food wasn’t good enough. PBS introduced Americans to Monty Python and Doctor Who. Nova, Sagan, and all the non-Biblical science crap. Why, there’s plenty to hate about public broadcasting. Also, it has ‘public’ in the name, and that in itself means it’s bad.

      4. Mel

        Eliminating the middle class cut one of PBS’s natural donor bases off at the knees. I kind of feel sorry for them trying to keep the lights on with what they’ve got left.

          1. Mel

            But some of those foundations are a problem. Strings attached, and no longer replaceable by no-strings money from natural persons (as the legal term goes.)

    2. bruno marr

      …NPR has become nothing but “slick Radio”. Its content is nothing more than “smooth Jazz”.
      (Whatever THAT is.). Try Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! for real news.

    3. Ulysses

      Very true!! Just because they don’t often pander to fundamentalist fascists, and crude bigots, too many folks presume that they aren’t deliberately pushing the Goldman Sachs approved narrative at every turn.

  5. Eeyores enigma

    “Powering Your Cell Phone With Your Pants ”
    Yes, and this is just the beginning, soon your clothes will be able to generate an anti gravity field and we will all be able to fly.

    Just be careful not to pee your pants.

    There are too many reasons that this will never pan out to list but it serves its purpose of allowing every one to stop worrying and trust in the benevolent god of technology.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are infinite number of ways science and technology can progress, but invariably, they progress in ways Big Business/Big Money directs Big Science and Big Technology.

      Pretty soon, no one can be sure if he/she is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, because we doubt his/her memory.

      ‘Go to sleep. It never happened.’

      1. Eeyores enigma

        Oh yes science and technology is infinite in its wisdom and potential. BS!

        Thats the lie that keeps us from ever having to say enough is enough.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Eeyores, we can wonder why, we can wonder why we wonder why, and wonder why we wonder why we wonder why…

          And so, that particular brain science research project can go on forever, to give one example of the infinite number of ways Science can ‘go forward,’ without implying its infinite wisdom or its profit making potential.

          The problem is when Big Money/Big Business tries to make money off Science/Technology directly, or indirectly through domination enabled by breakthroughs in Sci/Tech.

          Curios about Nature is one thing.

          Making GM foods by manipulating Nature is quite another.

          Going to college to learn is one thing.

          Starting a career by getting a degree is another…

    2. flora

      The article is referring to a battery tech that will try to capture the static electricity (nanowhiskers on copper wire) generated by friction between fabric ( your pants pocket) and your cell phone housing. It’s a very interesting idea.

      1. craazyboy

        It needs a “one call left” indicator so you can do a quick booty call, hop between the sheets with an iPhone pal, and rapidly get to full charge again!

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Ex-Bankers Upgrade the Good Life; Got to Have the Stradivarius-Shaped Pool

    Kirchner, whose Beverly Hills, California-based Dot Luxury won an auction for rights to the domain, said her target audience spans “ultra-high net worth all the way into just your middle income.”

    Just out of curiosity, who auctioned off the “rights to the domain?” Whom did Ms. Kirchner pay and how did they come by what they sold?

    1. hunkerdown

      a. ICANN, a “public-private partnership”
      b. ICANN, a “public-private partnership”
      c. the creation of new ex nihilo property rights that consumers are ill-positioned to monetize helps keep r > g.

  7. Banger

    RE: 1993-2013: is the twenty years long “pas de deux” of Russia and the USA coming to an end? Vineyard of the Saker

    If you want help in understanding U.S./Russia relations this article (which predated the Ukraine coup) is de rigeur it is one of the best things I’ve read on the subject and accurately describes what I know to be the case from other sources both in his analysis of recent Russian and his understanding of power dynamics in Washington.

    Saker points out the fact there are two groups contending in Washington–the first he calls the Ziocons (neoconservatives) and the second “old Anglos” (realists). His analysis is excellent on this matter and, of course, while they are opposed within the context of Washington, in terms of the rest of the world both represent the oligarchs who we all hate. One thing he does not mention and I have downplayed is the emergence of a third force in Washington and that is the world of opportunists, hustlers, criminals who continually frustrate the neocons and realists. Those two groups have to continually cater to the hustlers and, fortunately for us, they tend to gum up the works–it is this group that will eventually bring down the imperialists by making Washington too expensive and too heavy to operate. Some people are beginning to suspect that even our vaunted military is falling behind as it is meeting budgetary restricitons and its own inertia and corruption.

    1. Jackrabbit

      Banger, you keep returning to this false narrative where realists can influence foreign policy.

      Did you forget that Saker also says that the last ‘old Anglo’ administration was Bush Sr? We have had Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama since then plus 911/GWOT. The neocons have consolidated their power. Even in academia, exceptional! indespensible! neocon group-think predominates. They were somewhat subdued from 2009-2013 only because Iraq was such a disaster.

      The neocon-realist debates of the eighties and nineties are over. Sure there are ‘realists’ on the sidelines that complain, but there is every indication and reason to believe that the neocons, now allied with the neolibs, have full control.

      The neolibs believe that they ARE ‘realists’ but that is only because they ask the ‘tough questions’ related to: economic costs and benefits. And benefits – to favored interests – is MUCH more important to them than the costs which will be born by mostly born by ‘the little people’.

      NC is a reality-based community. The fantasy blogs are over there =======>

      1. Jackrabbit

        A good example of the neocons grip is Obama’s West Point speech which was touted as a new direction / ‘push back’ to neocon and other critics that Obama was being too weak/timid in foreign policy.

        There was nothing new. Obama restated his aversion to Iraq/Afghanistan style interventions, followed that tough talk about how the US will not hesitate to use military force when ‘core interests’ (Obama’s answer to the deepening Russia-China alliance?) are threatened and then extolled American exceptionalism (the neocon self-licking ice cream cone).

        Meanwhile, Obama and the neocons double-down on Ukraine and Syria, and request $5 billion for more meddling. Go team.

      2. Banger

        So you disagree with Saker’s view of the Ziocons and old Anglo factions? Think there are even “progressive” factions within the old Anglos. I don’t think they have consolidated otherwise Syria would have been bombed to the Stone Age and Iran invaded long ago.

        1. Massinissa

          Sakers view was that the Old Anglo have been out of power for 20 years (H W Bush) and wont come in power again.

          Youre the one disagreeing with Sakers view. Its basically like Jackrabbits: There are still some Old Anglo Realists around, and they bitch, but they havnt had power for 20 years and theyre not coming back into power.

          1. Working Class Nero

            That’s not exactly what Saker said:

            There were also losers in this evolution, primarily what I call the “old Anglo camp” which basically lost control of most of its domestic political power and all of its foreign policy power: for the first time a new course in foreign policy gradually began to take shape under the leadership of a group of people which would in time be identified as “Israel Firsters”. For a short time the old Anglos seemed to have retaken the reigns of power – under George Bush Senior – only to immediately loose it again with the election of Bill Clinton. But the apogee of Ziocon power was only reached under the Presidency of George W. Bush who basically presided over a massive purge of Anglos from key positions in government (especially the Pentagon and the CIA). Predictably, having the folks which Bush Senior called “the crazies in the basement” actually in power rapidly brought the USA to the edge of a global collapse: externally the massive worldwide sympathy for the USA after 911 turned into a tsunami of loathing and resentment, while internally the country was faced with a massive banking crisis which almost resulted the imposition of martial law over the USA.


            Having said that, there is something which, to my absolute amazement, Obama’s election did achieve: the removal of (most, but not all) Neocons from (most, but not all) key positions of power and a re-orientation of (most, but not all) of US foreign policy in a more traditional “USA first” line, usually supported by the “old Anglo” interests. Sure, the Neocons are still firmly in control of Congress and the US corporate media, but the Executive Branch is, at least for the time being, back under Anglo control (this is, of course, a generalization: Dick Cheney was neither Jewish nor Zionist, while the Henry Kissinger can hardly be described as an “Anglo”). And even though Bibi Netanyahu got more standing ovations in Congress (29) than any US President, the attack on Iran he wanted so badly did not happen. Instead, Hillary and Petraeus got kicked out, and Chuck Hagel and John Kerry got in. That is hardly “change we can believe in”, but at least this shows that the Likud is not controlling the White House any more.

            Saker certainly allows that there is a slight difference in policy (at least towards Israel) between the Ziocons and the Anglos. And he also called the Bush II reign the “apogee” of Ziocon power, which means the Anglos have taken some power back. I think he is being optimistic there since if Hilary wins the next election, the Ziocons could reach even new heights of power.

            1. Jackrabbit

              The problem with Saker’s view is that under Obama there has been an apogee of propaganda and misdirection that covers neocon tracks.

              The lull in neocon action was more due to:

              – Obama’s political team did not want neocon foreign adventures that might derail his chances at a second term

              – neocons recognized that they needed a cooling-off period after the disastrous Iraq war

              than any ‘purging’. Those who were ‘purged’ went on to senior roles at think tanks and academia from whence they could influence and promote policy from the sidelines.

              In the interim, Obama continued and expanded: droning, covert actions, nsa spying, cracking down on civil liberties, using ‘soft power’ like trade agreements (“Obamatrade”) and NGOs, and otherwise laid the ground work for renewed neocon action. (Exceptional!)

              Now, that Obama is in his second term, we nearly bombed Syria and have overthrown Ukraine’s government.

              1. Doug Terpstra

                Saker has a defiant Ukraine update today at Information Clearinghouse. From the Untermenschen (subhuman) to Obama and his Zioneocons.

                “We, the
                Untermenschen, will fight
                them. Ukraine died in
                Odessa on 02 May 2014.
                Any chance of
                negotiations about
                Donbas died on 09 May
                2014 in Mariupol. After
                Lugansk yesterday it will
                be a fight to the death.
                We will win. We
                Untermenschen will
                defeat you. We have no
                choice. We will fight you
                to our last breath and die
                fighting before we kneel
                in subservience to a
                single one of you.

                “For you politicians
                behind the coup d’etat in
                Kiev and the war against
                the citizens of Ukraine,
                you disgust me. I have
                only this to say to Merkel,
                Torchinov, Poroshenko,
                Holland, Cameron. Swift
                Boat John, Nuland and
                Obama, whoever the
                ‘president’ of poland is,
                each and every one of
                you, your minions and
                hangers on, the west
                politicians, ALL of you.

                “Damn your eyes, damn
                your souls, damn you to
                Hell, back to where you
                came from. You are
                beneath contempt.”

                (Text flow a mobile artifact)

                (Link included graphic video links I did not view.)


                1. Banger

                  Very powerful stuff–thanks for posting it. As an aside, I don’t think Imperial officials want to go too far in this they are stirring up a hornets nest of problems in Ukraine if they continue to support the fascists in Kiev. The 24/7 lying machine that is the Western media is going to expose itself even more and earn the increasing contempt of the public which is tuning them out.

                  1. Doug Terpstra

                    Let’s hope. The empire is due a heapin’ helpin’ of humble pie … way overdue. It seems everyone else, at least non-Americans, are finally quite fed up with mass-murder for profit (that’s the essence of it). Perhaps when a sufficient number of Americans grow a conscience and backbone, we’ll reach a tipping point. Let this be Obama’s Waterloo for all our sakes. American misleadership is consumed by madness.

            2. Jackrabbit

              Bibi didn’t get an attack on Iran. He got a strategy for countering Iran that starts with the overthrow of Syria’s Assad.

              And for his patience, he got a Palestinian peace process that goes nowhere.

        2. susan the other

          I assume Ziocons are Zionist conservatives and the other faction is just old Anglo money. I apologize for not reading up before commenting. But it seems to me that little George Bush didn’t really fit either category and he willingly seemed to be a foolish pragmatist. When he dragged us kicking and screaming into Iraq instead of Afghanistan, he stated that he was simply unwilling to leave such a critical resource (oil) in the hands of a rogue like Saddam Hussein. And since that big plunge we have manipulated the price of oil and natural gas as well as the distribution and/or stockpiling. Russia is, as John McCain so bluntly puts it, a gas station. And behold! Russia has now sealed a deal with China to supply gas to that coal-choked country. And none too soon. My point is that the things that are happening are orchestrated. They are not hapless political blunders. And the focus is on the planet and the environment. Talk about pelicans and puffins. This planet is in deep shit. It is no longer a power trip between Russia and the US.

          1. susan the other

            And also one more thing. Fukushima is far from stable or resolved. It remains a disaster of critical proportions. No governments are releasing any information because it is simply devastating. The best case scenario, as they say, is the evacuation of eastern Japan to their northern Islands. I read one article (sorry no cite) that China offered Japan refuge because those Japanese could fill up all China’s ghost towns. Somehow that sounds like a pogrom in the making, but nevermind. Fukushima is so threatening to humanity and all life that no one can even discuss it. Why the Japanese would invest in an ice wall to prevent ground water from contaminating the Pacific is incomprehensible window dressing – unless there is some straw-grasping going on to cool the actual meltdown and prevent the greater and imminent disaster.

        3. Jackrabbit

          So you disagree. . . ?
          Saker gives a historical overview that explains how the neocons won out. You want to make it seem like the debate is ongoing – that realists have a chance to prevail on policy issues.

          Syria and Iran
          We came within a hair’s breath of bombing Syria. The real chance of conflict with Russia meant that political leaders needed ‘cover’ of a democratic vote. They failed to get that from the UK Parliament and the US Congress.

          When Obama announced talks with Iran, he noted that it was a necessary step before war (but MSM, of course, touted Obama’s “peace initiative”) because reluctant allies had to be convinced that every effort was made to achieve peace. Yet, while ‘talking’ with Iran, the US/West works to ovethrow Iran’s Syrian ally – no doubt preliminary to dealing with Iran-supported Hezbollah in Lebanon soon after.


          Today, ‘Realists’ have about as much chance to change the neocon agenda as clergy have to make CEOs act ethically toward consumers and workers. They can change things at the margin only, helping the real decision-makers to better ‘sell’ the policy that they have decided on.

    2. Eureka Springs

      Thanks I’ll check it out. Still looking for the names of these elusive realists. And whether these realists aren’t just more apologizing for the neoliberalcon death machine. Much more realists who know/insist war criminals must be imprisoned.

    3. Working Class Nero

      That was an excellent article.

      I think “realist” just means “not rabidly pro-Zionist”. Both Ziocons and the Anglo-realists support full spectrum dominance and a total US global empire, they just have slightly different ways of achieving it and see it having slightly different goals to carry out once in place.

      The Ziocon vs. Anglo foreign policy power struggle is a reflection of a larger Jewish vs WASP struggle in the US that the WASPs have been losing for forty years now. Normally this subject is strictly taboo; it is nice to see The Saker breaking these restrictions. It is also interesting that in foreign policy (where this battle is not strictly an ethnic battle as WASPs Cheney, Hilary = Ziocon and Jewish Kissenger = Realist) Obama tacked from the Ziocon Hilary to the Anglo-realists Kerry and Hagel, but for the economy he has stayed firmly in the Jewish camp (Yellen, Lew, Fischer, Sperling, etc.). Strangely, or not, the concepts of diversity and “looking like America” don’t apply to elite economic jobs in the US government.

      It will be interesting in the future as Asian-Americans are laying the ground work to make a run soon at elite power in the US, to see which strategies ascendant Jews and declining WASPs adapt towards these Asian upstarts in the struggle for dominance in the US.

      1. Banger

        Both factions believe in American Exceptionalism and believe that American institutions and culture ought to be the culture of all the world. But the neocons want to achieve that through force and the others want to achieve it through soft-power and diplomacy and avoid force. IMHO, the realists dominate the senior foreign policy leadership but the neocons dominate Congress and the media. People here that comment on this say that the two sides are the same–I say they aren’t. The neocons are classic fascists the “realists” or old Anglos believe in civilization. They both may want to dominate the world but the world they envision is very different.

        1. Jackrabbit

          “realists dominate the senior foreign policy leadership”

          Who are they? What have they done that leads you to believe that they are realists?

          Aren’t Kerry, Nuland, Susan Rice, and Samantha Powers neocons? And isn’t Obama also a neocon (or sympathizer), despite his propaganda, as he:

          – extolls “exceptionalism” at every opportunity;
          – Drones weddings and Americans;
          – Bombs Libya, pushes for bombing Syria, approves Ukraine gambit;
          – curtails American civil liberties (NDAA) in part to better enable foreign aggression;
          – cracks down on whistle-blowers;
          – downed a presidential plane to ‘get’ Snowden;
          – indefinitely detains ‘combatants’ at Bagram and Guantanimo

          1. Banger

            Look, if you don’t believe me that’s ok. Most senior military people and foreign service officers are not neocons. Obama, Kerry, Hegel, and most in the bureaucracy are not neocons but mainly what we can call realists for the sake of convenience. The frame a problem and attempt to come to a relatively reasonable solution. But they are faced with a minority of ambitious ideologues who are true believers and have the support of the Deep State, Congress, and, above all the mainstream media. That doesn’t mean Obama won’t do the bidding of the fascist cliques–if he has to he’ll act because they will make him offers he can’t refuse. Right now there appears to be a stalemate in Washington over FP. Nobody is bombing Iran or Syria, Russia holds the Crimea and Obama’s speech at West Point precisely stated the current deranged state of FP at this time.

            1. Jackrabbit

              Senior foreign service officers and senior military people are trained to do what they are told. The neocons have the initiative, the drive, and the power.

              I don’t define neocons as you do. You claim they are crazy facists that want ground wars and occupations. That is too simple a view. They are smart ideologues that are constantly pushing to advantage their cause and their interests. Soft power, hard power, solar power – they’ll use whatever they can.

              Obama’s political team weighs in on the political/PR side, and Obama is the ‘face’ that ‘sells’ policy to the American people (or misdirects, as required). Just because we aren’t bombing anyone doesn’t mean neocons aren’t planning secnarios where bombing would occur.

              1. Jackrabbit

                Note: Don’t mean to slight military or foreign service officers. They are very capable. But as the Nuland “F@#k the EU” tape showed, it is the neocons that often seem to be quarterbacking.

          2. neo-realist

            – curtails American civil liberties (NDAA) in part to better enable foreign aggression;

            and to better enable financial elite plunder.

          3. Working Class Nero

            There is a confusion over what these terms mean. A Ziocon and an Anglo-realist have very similar end goals: a total US global empire. Where they differ most is that while an Anglo-realist puts America first and is more oriented towards the energy sector while a Ziocon puts Israel’s interests first and is more concerned with finance, media, and academic domination.

            The difference is also in one of temperament; to exaggerate just a bit, a Ziocon is like having the Wolf Wall Street running the foreign policy show, while an Anglo-realist is more like putting Ward Cleaver in charge of things. The Ziocons drive US foreign policy as if it were a Ferrari and the Ango-realist as if it were a station wagon. They are both heading in the same direction though.

            In the long run an opponent of US foreign policy would probably prefer the Ziocons since they are more likely to wrap the US around a light pole. One of Obama’s missions as President (which he was pretty much succeeded in) was to rebuild the US’ reputation around the world. Despite what Americans may think of him; Obama is wildly popular in much of the rest of the world, particularly in Europe.

            So with that said, Nuland is obviously a Ziocon and Kerry an Anglo-realist. Power and Rice are simple apparatchiks who straddle the fence and try to make themselves acceptable to either camp.

            On Obama I would say he is not a Ziocon in the same way he is not a Republican. But since Democrats and Republicans are basically marching in the same direction but just to a slightly different beat this distinction is not all that important. So one of the great mysteries of his Presidency is whether the Israelis are actually really upset with him or perhaps this is all a bunch of Kabuki with the whacky Zionists playing the same role on the international front as the rabidly ignorant Republicans play in the domestic arena. That is, the Israelis are giving a reluctant Obama an excuse for not giving his supporters all the hopium and changium that he promised them while he secretly is giving the Zionists all they really want.

        2. hunkerdown

          Both factions believe in American Exceptionalism and believe that American institutions and culture ought to be the culture of all the world.

          A very helpful thing to ask your local PC twit about when they go on about “rape culture”.

    4. VietnamVet

      This is a very interesting discussion. The neocon verses the realists’ view of foreign policy is correct. There is also the deep state intent on milking taxes to line their pockets. A prime example is sole sourcing of military space launches using Russian rockets, for god’s sake. The Air Force will shortly to face launch delays since Russia now prohibits the use of their rocket engines for use by the U.S. military. The Third and most important influence are the Globalists (neo-liberals) who control the politicians with their purse strings. Since they all got a get out of jail free pass they have been on a looting spree.

      The threat of war with Russia prevented the Syrian bombing campaign but the full throated support of Jihadists continues. This set back energized the Globalists, neo-cons and the deep state and they opened a second front by pushing the Nazi revolt in Kiev. A bloody civil war is engulfing Russia’s borderlands and WWIII threatens. Wall Street and City of London applaud.

      1. Banger

        I don’t see the finance oligarchs supporting war. They nixed the whole Iran war thing that many in Washington were aiming at. I believe the war-mongers are opportunists, hustlers and criminals a step below the criminals of Wall Street in terms of rank but still troublesome. Remember that unless you are very suggestible it is overwhelmingly obvious that recent wars have been fought to enrich the military-industrial complex and somewhere far below that objective are the various claimed political and strategic objectives–in other words, it is a racket. Iraq is perhaps the most obvious case of an utterly wasteful war fought for the profit of various factions within the military industrial complex that had no purpose other than destroy what was once the most advanced society in the Arab world which also happened to be, to Washington’s chagrin, secular.

        The finance oligarchs see no need for further wars–tensions, yes but no shooting wars–a war with Russia would clearly be bad for bidness.

        1. VietnamVet

          Yes, Comcast would take a major hit if Philadelphia was eliminated. They are strictly in media and entertainment. Yet, NBC News, which they own, keeps reporting on the Russian Aggression in Ukraine. They are stirring the pot, repeating the propaganda, pushing civil war on Russia’s border. I think this is due their wealth being measured in dollars. The rise of a second economic power (BRICS) would mean less power for the Western Elite and Wall Street; “Let’s not let it happen”.

  8. roadrider

    Re: Krugman: I’m liking Obama more and more as he slogs through his second term

    And I’m thinking more and more that Paul Krugman is an insufferable dick.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Krugman ♥♥ Obama ever since Krugman started thinking he was an actuary and actually understood anything about health insurance. He’s not an actuary however, and his knowledge of how health insurance works would have trouble filling a thimble.

      1. Benedict@Large

        What was the point of putting up this link anyways? Like we all haven’t figured out Krugman ♥♥ Obama?They’re two peas in a pod. Upper middle class technocrats who are both guaranteed comfortable life incomes for publically not straying off from centrism; panting themselves as liberal, as they shove real liberalism outside of the Overton Window.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Because it was a twofer! You get to see what Kos and Kruggie are about at once. Plus the ludicrousness of Kruggie hearting Obama now.

          1. Jake Mudrosti

            Yes, wow… some jaw-dropping comments on the Kos site.
            The Onion doesn’t match that level of outrageousness, even in their classic “American Consumer Masses Agree: It Fish Time!”
            “…said typical American consumer Robert Smith….’The deliciousness cannot be contained,’ he added. ‘Fish Time is No. 1.’… Loyal wife and excited consumer Jill John Son agreed…’I am so glad there was no truth to the rumors.'”

        2. optimader

          wouldn’t it be boring you read only things you agree with? This is a convenience that allows you to sample and spit rather than have to drink what a scary % of the population think makes sense.

  9. Michael Hudson

    What absolute crap the Foreign Policy article is on “Is Ukraine like Latvia or Greece?” Its message: Neoliberal austerity works. It works best when countries hate Russia.
    What it does NOT point out is that BOTH Latvia and Greece have lost 20% of their population through austerity.
    So in any case, Here Come the Ukrainian Plumbers into Europe. So much for any thought of rising wages there.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It would be Europeans’ bigotry to not welcome the migrating Ukrainian Plumbers :(

      And if there are not more Ukrainian Plumbers in western corporate boardrooms, it’s not about ethnicity, but money…sorry, ability…because they do welcome migrating Ukrainian Plumbers. They (the rich) are open minded.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The neoliberal closed fist blows up barbarians all over for them to flee to the imperial core.

    2. Jackrabbit

      The Econobrowser article (“Economic Prospects of Ukraine”) is also crap.

      A commenter there called it “A perfect example of grey propaganda.”

  10. diptherio

    Re: Something is Seriously Wrong on the East Coast

    This is what bifurcation looks like in practice. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing rather more of it in the future than in the past. Welcome to the new normal (the animated gif on that link gives a pretty good idea of the basic dynamics involved):

    a bifurcation occurs when a small smooth change made to the parameter values (the bifurcation parameters) of a system causes a sudden ‘qualitative’ or topological change in its behaviour. ~wikipedia

    1. Brian

      It is not “Sudden” in any sense. Our oceans don’t support life in many places, and it is getting worse daily. The Gulf of Mexico is one example where the cause is recent enough to not have been purged from the short term memory. We have dumped the toxins we didn’t want on our shores into the ocean, and surprisingly, it all comes back for a visit when you least expect.
      This site brings some of these things to the fore by uncovering them. The birds (insert all other fauna and flora) are dying because we killed them. I hope you can all understand that when there is no more chance to clean up the mess we have embraced for the tradeoff we call civilization.
      Finance feeds on resources, extracting them kills the planet. There is no growth without extinction because no limit to growth is possible when people are allowed to gamble on the outcome of resource extraction.
      Your expiration date has passed.

  11. James Levy

    I’m still fuzzy on the topic, but I think that one of the key reasons that poverty exists despite much-vaunted “growth” is the structure of our tax system and our labor markets. Many people who could subsist happily as small farmers, artisans, factory workers, artists, even shepherds and ranch hands, have no means of doing so in a hyper-monetized economy where wage labor is the only option. This is reinforced by our taxing all “income” (FICA being the worst offender) while avoiding taxing wealth, and made worse by the fact that taxes extend down to the bottom of society rather than starting in the comfortable middle. If petty producers could sell their products tax-free, and taxes only kicked in if you held, say, more than six total acres of property or your property was worth more than $1 million dollars, many people could gain some independence and self-respect, those highly touted Republican virtues, and take care of themselves. Some tax revenue would be lost, but it would also reduce “welfare” expenditures and, I believe in the long run, prison costs. It would also have the added benefit of encouraging local webs of production and consumption.

    Criticism is welcome as the idea is far from properly formulated.

    1. Banger

      Great points! The Man wants us on the treadmill so we’re to busy and stressed to know what is going on.

  12. diptherio

    Hilary Abell has years of experience creating successful worker co-ops. Here’s her take on what we need to do now to create a new economy tomorrow:

    Seizing the Moment: Catalyzing Big Growth for Worker Cooperatives ~GEO

    Given the current groundswell of interest in cooperatives, organizers of worker cooperatives have a window of opportunity in the United States to propel our sector to the next level. Our national and regional organizations are increasing in their strength and dynamism. In several regions, diverse stakeholders are coming together to explore a variety of pathways to worker ownership, from small and medium-scale cooperative start-ups to conversions of existing businesses, many of which will be changing hands in the years ahead.

    The next step is to catalyze more investment in co-ops —both human and financial—and to build the infrastructure and capacity needed to create thriving worker-owned businesses in much greater numbers. If we do not act strategically to seize this opportunity, the model’s credibility and growth potential may be diminished.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Growth for decades, Poverty hasn’t declined?

    How about GDP sharing? Even with de-growth, it’s possible we make poverty go away.

  14. Jim Haygood

    ‘The U.S. National Security Agency complies with legal restrictions when it comes to using facial-recognition technology on citizens, according to the agency’s new director.’

    But of course. It also ‘fully complies with legal restrictions’ as it vacuums your email, photocopies your snail mail, and hoovers up your phone calls.

    In more serious cases, your constitutional rights are fully protected should you be detained without charges, renditioned, tortured, or terminated.

    Obama’s in his golf cart, and all’s well with the world.

    1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      All the things that would have been seen rightly as totally illegal 30 years ago are now routinely given a rubber stamp by activist judges, lazy legislators and mendacious bureaucrats.

    2. Mel

      It’s a different world out there now. A couple of years ago PBS Frontline aired a show which demonstrated that fingerprints aren’t unique any longer, according to results from a criminal investigation. What changed? A few years ago they would take fingerprints from a crime scene, then investigate the few dozen people who might have been at the scene, and the prints might connect one or two of those people to the scene.
      Now they run the prints into global fingerprint databases, looking for possible matches with, effectively, everybody on earth. Turns out that fingerprints were never that unique. I think seven billion portraits in a database will present the same effect. At a talk in Cory Doctorow’s book tour for Homeland somebody asked him what he thought about the risks of lie detectors at border crossings. He said he thought the real risk was for systems that weren’t lie detectors but were treated as though they were. It ought to be very important for users of these systems to screen out false positives.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One’s skin is flexible.

        I think it depends on how hard one pushes one’s finger, straight down or off the center of the finger’s gravity, that it would change or distort that fingerprint, ever so slightly, but enough to cast doubt on any matching with other similar prints.

        1. Mel

          ISTR Frontline wanted to blame the uncertainty associated with human interpretation. But I had kept thinking like you: even if two prints aren’t absolutely identical, once they’re similar to within some margin, then chance circumstances will be enough to bridge the gap.

  15. Peter Pan

    Is Ukraine More Like Latvia or Greece? Foreign Policy

    Ukraine is much more like Ukraine than any other country.

    Congratulations to the USA/EU/IMF for buying into one of the most infected bloody financial wounds in the world. I’m waiting for the moose to pull a rabbit out of the hat; risk and reward and all that (see Bullwinkle the moose, Rocky the flying squirrel, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale for “Fractured Fairy Tales”).

  16. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Re: “how to erase a memory”. Makes me wonder what else Philip K Dick was right about. One of the most prophetic writers since Jules Verne

    1. ambrit

      I was thinking about “We Can Build You” too. “Martian Time Slip” comes to mind for the next step.

      1. ambrit

        AAAARGH! The proper Phillip K Dick story was “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale!” (I need to avail myself of the services of REKAL.)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Your honor, Mr/Madam Supreme Court Justice, who owns your email account?”

      Justice: “Me, of course.”

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Financial Weapons From Treasury War Room.

    The article talks about sanctions, some of which sound like they are directed at disciplining local imperial proconsuls (indigenous billionaires).

    I think we have more powerful financial weapons, beyond teaching proconsuls lessons, than just sanctions or laying sieges….like hot imperial currency, neoliberal policy advisors, economic hit men, etc.

    1. Gareth

      The Treasury Department might want to exercise caution in escalating it’s financial warfare lest the derivatives market implodes as an unintended consequence. Could Russia and China respond in such a way as to cause an implosion to happen? That’s one of those unknown unknowns, but I bet they’ve war-gamed it.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US to raise tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels.

    I think Chinese import food stuff safety should be more of higher priority than that.

    By the way, if China’s one child policy is still in force, does it matter if the rich Chinese go overseas to have their babies? Will there be ‘maternity motels’ everywhere in the world?

    1. craazyboy

      They’re buying up CA now. Could be nanny jobs available. Plus the ones that are buying in the US aren’t the commie-pinko kind. More like Little Napoleans. Probably a good source of campaign financing and supportive of Randian ideals. Pull yourself up by your tong straps – that sort of thing.

      1. ambrit

        Given the Chinese penchant for fiendish tortures, shouldn’t that be; Pull yourself up by your thong straps? (Cheeky little buggers them.)

    1. craazyboy

      That’s why Botox is so popular among politicians – helps keep the face straight.

    2. ambrit

      Now, I say there, listen at me! Mcnuggets are the invention of the Devil! I always dealt in whole chickens son! Would the Colonel steer you wrong? As for little ol Hillary, well, she is another Southern delight, ain’t she now. (Tough ol bird.)

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s Property Bust, from Beijing to Bondi:

    “Whenever money is printed or there is growth in credit, there is the Cantillon Effect. Very simply, inflation is not evenly distributed; it works through the economy unevenly. Print money in the 1970s and it flows into energy and commodities. Print money at the end of the 1990s and it flows into a technology stock bubble. Print money in 2009-2010 in China and it flows into real estate. Where the money flows depends upon on demographics, tastes and preferences of those first receiving the money, or existing investment trends.

    Today, the Federal Reserve prints money and this is aimed squarely at financial markets and Wall Street banks. The result is rising wealth inequality. For people worried about wealth inequality, there is a simple solution: stop printing money. The wealth gap will close very quickly. Instead, there are proposals such as Piketty’s, to have global tax and redistribution schemes. Intervention for the intervention. And when that screws up the economy, there will be another intervention and then another…”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With respect to paragraph 1, let Money be created by the Little People spending it into existence and we will probably see a rush into sustenance. Still not evenly distributed, but the Little People will not complain.

      With respect to paragraph 2, stop printing money will not close the wealth gap very quickly. It merely freezes the status quo. You still need to tax the wealthy.

  20. rich

    Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs Problem

    She talks populism, but hobnobs with Wall Street
    A few weeks ago, Hillary Clinton delivered a much-touted policy speech at the New America Foundation in Washington, where she talked passionately about the financial plight of Americans who “are still barely getting by, barely holding on, not seeing the rewards that they believe their hard work should have merited.” She bemoaned the fact that the slice of the nation’s wealth collected by the top 1 percent—or 0.01 percent—has “risen sharply over the last generation,” and she denounced this “throwback to the Gilded Age of the robber barons.” Her speech, in which she cited the various projects of the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that address economic inequality, was widely compared to the rhetoric of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the unofficial torchbearer of the populist wing of the Democratic Party. Here was Hillary, test-driving a theme for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, sticking up for the little guy and trash-talking the economic elites. She decried the “shadow banking system that operated without accountability” and caused the financial crisis that wiped out millions of jobs and the nest eggs, retirement funds, and college savings of families across the land. Yet at the end of this week, when all three Clintons hold a daylong confab with donors to their foundation, the site for this gathering will be the Manhattan headquarters of Goldman Sachs.

    Goldman was a key participant in that “shadow banking system” that precipitated the housing market collapse and the consequent financial debacle that slammed America’s middle class. (A system that was unleashed in part due to deregulation supported by the Clinton administration in the 1990s.) This investment house might even be considered one of the robber barons of Wall Street. In its 2011 report, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a congressionally created panel set up to investigate the economic meltdown, approvingly cited a financial expert who concluded that Goldman practices had “multiplied the effects of the collapse in [the] subprime” mortgage market that set off the wider financial implosion that nearly threw the nation into a depression.

    1. Jim Haygood

      She denounced this “throwback to the Gilded Age of the robber barons.”

      Hundred-millionaires fiercely resent Billionaires with a capital ‘B,’ even more than po’ folks does.

      With $100M of pocket change, you can’t afford a full-floor penthouse in one of them classy new spires going up on 57th Street.

      “Two years ago, the Clintons looked at houses in nearby Bedford and Bedford Hills — part of the horsy environs for the seriously rich just to the north — and made repeat visits to a 7,000-square-foot, $10.9 million estate before deciding not to buy it.” NYT, 29 May 2012

      Poor Hillary: stuck inside of Bedford, with the midtown blues again.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    NPR hypes the job loss story on restricting carbon dioxide emissions?

    That’s always the artificially created dilemma.

    With GDP sharing, for all, working or not working, we can always do the right thing and will be free of their manipulation, once and for all.

  22. Officer Krupke

    OK, I have come to terms with this business of making sure your cops are not too bright. Dumbshits need jobs too. But what is this? Is this like a super-secret elite squadron selected and trained for six-sigma retardation? Like the Delta Moron Force?

    It’s as though they’ve put them through modified SERE training to withstand the derision and ridicule attendant on doing whatever shit they’re told, no matter how fucking stupid.

  23. OIFVet

    From the annals of the ongoing Obama-don’t-care Clusterfuck: Two Million Have Obamacare ‘Discrepancies’ Yeah, I bet that they do, it’s the result of the dysfunctional “Marketplace” website. Wanna bet a large chunk of these 2 million are naturalized citizens? I had and still have this documentation issue with my mother’s application. The “marketplace” lacked a workable way to check naturalization status with Immigration, so for those who checked the box for naturalized citizens the application could not be completed, period. Following the suggestion from the “marketplace’s” own discussion forum, the solution was to check off the box for natural born citizens and provide the proof of naturalization later. Which worked, and the “marketplace” requested that proof in its determination of eligibility notice. And here we come to problem number two: the online submission of requested documents. I did submit those for my mother immediately through the “marketplace” online submission tool. Lo and behold, she get’s a letter yesterday asking her to submit those same documents by mail as her naturalization status still needs to be proven. From the letter: “Previously, you may have sent us some materials to prove eligibility… but we need you to send them again.” Seriously. I have wasted well over 100 hours of my life dealing with this crappified parody of a “marketplace,” all for the privilege of signing my mother for a crappified and overpriced “insurance” plan, and this saga ain’t over yet!? Sometimes I think the online “marketplace” was crappified on purpose to distract people from the awesome crappiness of its “insurance” offerings.

  24. financial matters

    Music in the 60s and 70s seemed to have some social vibrancy. Lorde may be bringing this back..


    We live in cities you’ll never see on screen
    Not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things
    Living in ruins of a palace within my dreams
    And you know, we’re on each other’s team

    I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air, so there

  25. OIFVet

    The American Dream is alive and well according to Yahoo’s The Daily Ticker. Its not that there isn’t trouble in paradise, its just that the Americans are defining the concept of the American Dream all wrong and as result have become entitled whiners with unduly high expectations and addiction to easy living. Can’t afford to own a home? Well, that’s actually a good thing as it makes people mobile and agile, as the new economy requires. I feel very much better now that The Daily Ticker has made lemonade out of the lemons Americans have been handed. Oh Yahoo, what would we do without your daily dose of cheery hogwash?

    1. Doug Terpstra

      “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
      Nothin’, don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if it ain’t
      free, no no
      And, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when
      he sang the blues …”

      Busted flat in Baton Rouge, Janis would trade all of her tomorrows for a single yesterday. Imagine how encumbered you’d be with a 40-acre stake, or worse, a 160-acre homestead.

      1. OIFVet

        Perhaps that used to be true back in the day, before local governments criminalized homelessness and hobos. Must be freedom-envy. I doubt a modern day Huck Finn could freely drift down the Mississippi.

  26. OIFVet

    Rebels in Ukraine seize another border guard base:;_ylt=AwrBJR4cA5BT7XwASzHQtDMD. The insurgents have now secured their supply lines. The significance of this must not have yet dawned on the Kiev Puppets and their puppet masters judging by their escalation of force around Slavyansk. The East is gone, has been gone, and it is not coming back. The hapless Ukrainian army comprised of hungry, poorly trained conscripts is not in any way capable of fighting off a determined and well-supplied insurgency, not anymore than we did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama’s promises to train the Ukie army will prolong the conflict and shed more blood but will not change the outcome.

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