Links 6/7/14

Game of Thrones writer George RR Martin offers to ‘kill off’ one of his fans for $20,000 Daily Mail. If that’s what it takes to finish the damn thing…

World War II Skeletons Washed From Graves by Rising Seas Bloomberg

Sperm-Inspired Robots Controlled by Magnetic Fields Scientific Computing (optimader)

Billionaire Johnson heir gets brief jail term in sex assault case Journal-Sentinel. “Brief” like a misdemeanor, not a felony.

Barclays Fine Spurs U.K. Scrutiny of Derivatives Conflict Bloomberg. Richard Smith comments: “FCA will never get to the bottom of this. Any structured product is pretty likely to have a barrier option embedded in it, and there have been an awful lot of structured products. They were Bob Diamond’s Big Idea.”

Pope sacks whole board of Vatican bank watchdog The Tablet (savedbyirony)

REVEALED: Gates Foundation financed PBS education programming which promoted Microsoft’s interests Pando Daily

Corporate gnomes become kings of the cash mountain Gillian Tett, FT

New VA secretary plans more ‘purchased care’ to relieve backlogs  Bloomberg

Uber Gets an Uber-Valuation Online WSJ. Yves: Deep pockets for the trial lawyers.

Airbnb testing group dinners for strangers Reuters. Can libertarians regulate for salmonella with “likes” and online reviews?

The Case Against Sharing Susie Cagle, Medium

Crypto-currencies go mainstream with new Facebook tipping apps Pando Daily

World’s most delayed software released after 54 years of development Guardian

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Vodafone reveals how governments around the world intercept calls and messages Independent (CL)

Mark Warner Lays Out How USA Freedumber Will Put the NSA in Your Smartphone empty wheel

Cops In Texas Seize Millions By ‘Policing for Profit’ Forbes

Historic Federal Decision Finds West Virginia Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Companies Guilty of Damaging Streams EcoWatch

IEA Says the Party’s Over Post-Carbon Institute


Vladimir Putin in D-day peace talks with Ukraine president Guardian

U.S. sending advisers, gear to Ukraine USA Today

Ukraine’s information war looks very different in its east and west McClatchy

Yanukovich’s palace and the essence of ‘tyrannical taste’ FT. “Those of us who have a sense of architecture can see that’s where fascism got their visuals wrong.”

Spain’s Game of Thrones Foreign Policy

Thailand’s Déjà-Coup The Diplomat and Come on, get happy Economist

India state minister on rape: ‘Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong’ Guardian

What Are the Brazil World Cup Protests All About? Boston Globe

Qatar World Cup corruption, worker deaths a criminal combination CBS Sports

Class Warfare

Americans fared better after Great Depression than today Al Jazeera America

How the Recession Reshaped the Economy, in 255 Charts Times

The Biggest Policy Mistake of the Great Recession David Dayen, Fiscal Times. Review of Mian and Sufi’s House of Debt. Fun fact: “During the Panic of 1819, when falling commodity prices squeezed indebted farmers, state governments immediately put a moratorium on foreclosures, and Congress easily passed a debt-forgiveness law for farmers who had credit with the federal government.”

Summers: Helping Homeowners Would Have Hurt Banks David Dayen. Summers reviews Mian and Sufi.

Educating Brad DeLong Econbrowser. On Piketty.

The Scariest Chart Ever Is Dead Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider

No, the Jobs Market Isn’t Back to Normal Bloomberg. Employment-to-population ratio.

What Happens When the Economy Baffles Economists? Bloomberg

Polanyi’s substantive theory of a decent society Understanding Society

If the Left Had a Tea Party… Politico

Do Liberals Believe in Liberalism Anymore? Matt Stoller. “The identity politics of the Democratic Party has been utterly inverted, turned into mechanism to crush unionism and economic justice.” Simple answers to simple questions: No. 

Bet the Slow Horse Against Chrome: David Papadopoulos Bloomberg

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. DakotabornKansan

    “The identity politics of the Democratic Party has been utterly inverted, turned into mechanism to crush unionism and economic justice,” writes Matt Stoller.

    Of course, liberals don’t believe in Liberalism anymore.

    “Once the technical means of control have reached a certain size, a certain degree of being connected one to another, the chances for freedom are over for good. The word has ceased to have meaning…All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few, who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all.” – Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

    The Surveillance State and the Corporate State as one big entity…Isn’t there a word for that?

    Yes, inverted totalitarianism.

    Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism:

    “Inverted totalitarianism has emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation’s political traditions. The genius of our inverted totalitarian system lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. A demotion in the status and stature of the ‘sovereign people’ to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of ‘popularizing’ power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.”

    In Olmstead v. United States, Justice Brandeis wrote, “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning, but without understanding.”

    “In elections parties set out to mobilize the citizen-as-voter, to define political obligation as fulfilled by the casting of a vote. Afterwards, post-election politics of lobbying, repaying donors, and promoting corporate interests – the real players – takes over. The effect is to demobilize the citizenry, to teach them not to be involved or to ponder matters that are either settled or beyond their efficacy” – Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

    I fear that we are a nation of contented sheep, lulled to pastures by the plutocracy, where we are being fleeced and will eventually end up as lamb chops for the one percent. We live in the worst of times – public passivity in a perpetual state of cognitive dissonance. People lead lives of quiet desperation addicted to the comforts, no matter how useless or shallow, that others sell them to calm their anger and make them patient and long-suffering, and devoid of humanity and any desire for real freedom.

    “We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds; we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretence; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; intolerable conflicts have worn us down and even made us cynical.

    Are we still of any use? What we shall need is not geniuses, or cynics, or misanthropes, or clever tacticians, but plain, honest, and straightforward men. Will our inward power of resistance be strong enough, and our honesty with ourselves remorseless enough, for us to find our way back to simplicity and straightforwardness?” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

  2. Ned Ludd

    I think, after years of watching this, that liberals have just been convinced that liberalism doesn’t work. They think that liberals can’t govern. Even though they dislike Cuomo, they don’t actually think Zephyr could be Governor. They want mythic conservative figures, like Cuomo, and Obama, and so forth, and they don’t really believe that government can make their lives better in any fundamental way.

    Or, maybe, liberals like power and status, and want to be aligned with someone with power. “Liberalism” is nothing more than a marketing ploy. It allows liberals to raise money from rubes, increase their social status, and build a brand that they can sell out by filing people back into the Democratic veal pen.

    1. diptherio

      I think it’s important to make a distinction between political operatives, whether politicians or behind-the-scenes personnel, and the rank-and-file of the party (for Dems, Repubs, WFP, etc).

      Many of the individuals in leadership positions in both parties (maybe all three) are indeed power-mongers. You probably don’t need to know much more than that to understand much of politics. I think the key section of Stoller’s piece, though, is this:

      We need to start asking ourselves why we dare not work for a better world, why when faced with a choice of the good versus the evil, the courageous versus the cowardly, the hope versus the fear, we pick fear. Because that’s what happened. There was no structural blah blah blah this time. It was a group of liberals picking fear, fighting for fear, and making fear the guiding point of politics, one more time.

      The leadership is filled with power-mongers and the rank-and-file are kept in line through fear. Fear that the other side will be even worse, fear that they’ll have their livelihoods interfered with (see the article on WFP and SEIU1199 from last week). Fear. So long as fear remains our overriding political emotion, we are well and truly f*cked.

      1. Ned Ludd

        An individual liberal may betray liberalism because they are adversarial and assertive, but also a social climber. Or they may be a courageous person of principle, but credulous. Or they may be fearful. Regardless of their personality or personal motivations, they will promoted if they are beneficial to the elites and marginalized if they are disruptive.

        As Chris Floyd writes:

        You can root out the entire “corrupted political class in DC” today, and you will still end up with another corrupted political class to take its place — because that’s the only kind of political class that will be produced by the wider system of power, which is dominated not by politicians but by corporate interests and oligarchs.

      2. Luke Nolan

        And where does the broad liberal support for “humanitarian intervention” in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine slot into this victim narrative about put-upon proles? How about their willingness to lay all their chips on the unmitigated disaster that is the Affordable Care Act?

        Fear, ignorance, false-consciousness, it makes no difference; the rank-and-file chose their side and deserve no special consideration.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Generally agree with Matt Stoller, but in this case, he seems to have overlooked something. As recently as 2008, “liberals” came out in force, electing a black man, with sterling “liberal” credentials and full of “liberal” promises, to the presidency. Trouble is, he wasn’t what they thought he was, what he CLAIMED to be.

      The results of this profound betrayal are difficult to quantify or even identify, but they are likely significant. It’s entirely possible that “liberals” are as committed and principled as they always were, but now they are confused about their ability to adequately evaluate “liberal” candidates. This confusion may render them more easily swayed by slick, polished, professional politicians promising “half a loaf,” and less amenable to idealistic newcomers bearing abundant gifts. “Fool me once” and all that.

      Stoller writes: “After a resurgence under Bush from 2005-2008, liberals have been losing consistently for six years now.” Unfortunately, this statement may hold the key to “what to do about this.”

      Elect the elephant. It’s pretty much what happened in 2008 and 2012 anyway. But “liberals” only seem to be able to unite against the elephant, despite the similarities in governance. And then start again.

      But this time, vet the donkey to within an inch of his or HER life. And make it very clear that betrayal will not be tolerated, regardless of “pedigree” or special status like, say, GENDER. Oh, and a third party candidate might help too.

      1. Cb

        He not only didn’t have “sterling” liberal credentials, he had no principled credentials of any description. I did the background thing before the 2008 election and obama was a dem bc that’s what his political environment dictated, Chicago, Daley machine. His sojourn in the IL senate was an education in politics, not, in any way, principles. And an education in power, who has it, how you get it, what you can do with it. THE END. There wasn’t anything more to him then and there isn’t anything more to him now. obama is about obama and looking forward to his clintonesque payoff après president.

        1. cwaltz

          Yep. I didn’t vote for him in 2008 because I saw enough doubt in his credentials. I also didn’t like how essentially it felt like the Democratic elite pulled him across the finish line rather than allow a real democratic floor fight to happen. It was at that point I really started to realize how completely undemocratic the process was and was appalled that the “winning” half seemed perfectly okay with rigging the game and stepping all over half their party rather than telling the Democratic elite that their guy should have to “fight” for his nomination. The whole situation made me start looking at how quite often the Democratic elite make a decision and than manipulate the pragmatists into thinking that the decision they made was the only “reasonable” and politically viable option. It lets them off the hook for even fighting for the left flank policies. That’s how we end up going from being a pro choice party to being a party that helped codify Hyde into law. It’s how we end up with single payer “off the table.”

        2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

          Obama ran against Hillary on NAFTA.

          And on the Consumer Credit Act of 2005.

          And on mortgage cramdown for underwater homeowners.

          I voted for him in 2008, because seemed to be the best of the crappy deal we had.

          He reneged on ALL OF IT.

          When one of you holier than thou warriors get his rocket launcher out and starts the revolution, maybe I’ll pay attention. Right now, tell me: How the fuck does “I TOLD YOU SO!” help anyone now?

          1. Ned Ludd

            Looking back on the Obama campaign can be instructive since, if Elizabeth Warren runs for president, she is going to follow the same playbook. Feint left on some issues, while serving the interests of corporations, imperialism, and the surveillance state on the most fundamental policies.

            And then pretend you never feinted left.

      2. Yves Smith

        Stoller was on to Obama early, as of his famed 2004 convention speech. He was almost thrown out of the convention as a result of merely raising doubts about it. I was too busy watching the crisis to pay much attention to the campaign, but in fact Obama signaled a lot of what he did, via carefully crafted statements that were easy to misconstrue if you didn’t listen carefully or bought into the hopium.

        1. CB

          And the reports at the time of Goolsbee hot footing it to Canada to assure harper that obama didn’t really intend to amend NAFTA. Not one little bit. Just campaign fluff, harps, for the rubes.

        2. Ned Ludd

          I read Stoller back when he wrote at MyDD and OpenLeft. He was one of my favorite writers, but he sometimes wrings his hands over craven decisions while making excuses for the decision.

          As I said before, Donna Edwards trusts Barack Obama, and it looks like her ‘yes’ vote was a result of a conversation with him. She secured a pledge from him that he would “work to provide direct relief to homeowners facing foreclosure by enabling home mortgages to be dealt with in the context of personal bankruptcy and looking at a program such as one that existed in the 1930’s to 1950’s to work directly with homeowners to mitigate foreclosures.”

          She used leverage to extract a pledge from him. I still think that her vote was wrong, but note that she got something for homeowners for her yes vote, unlike the yes votes on Monday.

          I never made excuses for conservatives who supported Bush. I see no point in making excuses for liberals who support Obama or Cuomo. “I hope people take away from what happened last night a real sense that we need some soul-searching.” Soul-searching? People who act cravenly need to be called out and ostracized. Unprincipled people respond to a loss of status, not to entreaties for self-improvement of their psyche.

  3. Ned Ludd

    Paula Slier of RT reports on Poroshenko’s inaugural speech: “federalization is not an option. The only official language in Ukraine will be Ukrainian.”

    Alec Luhn, a writer for The Guardian and The Nation, adds: “Poroshenko declares Russia an enemy & aims to join the EU.”

    1. Banger

      Saker (The Vineyard of Saker) said today “He could not have been any clearer: that is basically a declaration of war and an ultimatum.” Yesterday Saker also said that he sees a Russian intervention as being inevitable within the next couple of weeks.

      For awhile I’ve been saying that there is no chance of a major conflict here and that there will be an effort to de-tense the situation and that the neocon project for war and disorder everywhere is opposed by “realists” in Washington who are, in turn, supported by Wall Street. The way I see it is that a new Cold War will put a crimp in the world economy at a very sensitive time. But maybe I’m wrong–maybe Wall Street feels the bubble economy and their lock on power isn’t so solid and that some stricter controls on internal dissent might be in order coming from a common enemy the old standby, Russia.

      I believe the balance of power in American FP has always been towards the realists (except after 9/11). Johnson and his circle, for example, agreed to an expanded Vietnam War but did not go where the fanatics wanted them to go, i.e., he adopted a course that would not lead to general war–and we have to remember that there was a strong constituency within the military that wanted any excuse to expand the Vietnam war through the use of nuclear weapons or invasion of the North but Johnson and the State Department nixed those ideas as Kissinger did during the Nixon administration.

      Perhaps that balance has changed. The U.S. did not invade or bomb Iran and did not bomb Syria which I saw last year as a solid defeat for the neocon ideologues. I still believe, at the end of the day, that Obama will not urge the Ukranian government to crack down completely on the rebels in the East. I’m sure they will support limited operations that Ukraine is carrying out right now in the hopes that the rebellion will run out of steam and de facto rather than de jure federalization will end up to be the result. If Obama insists on an all out repression of the revolt in the East then war is the result.

      The curious thing is, as I said yesterday, the American media is studiously ignoring Ukraine at the moment. Since nearly all the mainstream is under control of the oligarchy and the Putin=Hitler rhetoric has disappeared I’m assuming that the second Cold War is not arriving any time soon. I must admit though the eerie silence in the press actually makes me uneasy. Let’s assume for a moment that Obama orders the Ukrainian military to really step up their repression of the rebellion and that Russia has to act as refugees come streaming across the border then the MSM will say that the action was unprovoked and so on and thus the American people will be “shocked” into supporting a military response since Americans generally respond to “unprovoked” acts of aggression rather than gradual build-ups of tension.

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        Russia is about to assume the rotating chair of the Security Council, & I should expect them to use this situation to introduce evidence of the ongoing war crimes being perpetrated by the Ukrainian Army, National Guard, & Pravy Sektor. Any motion on their part to invoke UN peacekeeping forces will of course be vetoed by Amerika, & the castrated EuroSheep, Britain & France. But given the precedents so thoughtfully supplied by Amerika in the past, where they ignored the Security Council, & did what they pleased in military interventions, Amerika & the balless EuroSheep will be hoist on their own petard if Russia finally has enough , & feels it must intervene. You know, R2P?

      2. Jackrabbit

        Yes, you have been too optimistic. And I am not the only one that has pointed this out (although I have probably been the most vocal.) Even now, you just can’t bring yourself to deal with the reality of the neocon return. Not bombing Syria was a calculated retreat in the face of determined Russian resistance. It is a mistake to see that as a ‘win’ for Realists or as a triumph of democracy (as you’ve said previously).

        These ideologues are very determined and their willingness to challenge Russia has been heightened due to the budding alliance with China and possibly Iran. It is a scary situation. The news black out is even more scary as it is like the calm before the storm. If Russia doesn’t ‘back down’ things could get ugly in a hurry.

        > You should stop strawmaning neocons as crazies or fac!sts that want “war and disorder everywhere.” They are crazy like a fox. They are smart coalition builders and they have been strengthened by their close association with neolibs.

        > I think Wall Street supports the neolibs in a big way, and as a result, I think many on Wall Street have been carried over to the neocon side. Wall Street sees overseas markets as an opportunity for expansion.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Right on re: Syria. That was pure deterence, not democracy or internal reason/deliberation. Which makes Ukraine an alarming Zioneocon escalation. Consider the multiple new reports about nuclear first-strike planning and the increasingly cartoonish jingoism from the POTUS teleprompter (new second-string speechwriter?). Media silence could well be the calm before the false-flag pretext.

          Let’s hope Putin is the better chessman than the strutting/squatting pigeon.

  4. cwaltz

    It’s way too early to determine whether the WFP made a decent political move or not. The Democratic Party tends to be really good at lip service and less good at actually walking the walk when it comes to progressive values.

    What this does prove though is that if enough people embrace a particular policy outside of the party that you can force the party to adopt narratives and make your viewpoint part of the political discussion. All it takes is the political will of the left to say starting at the center isn’t good enough and forcing the party to adopt leftward policies instead in order to get your votes. Pragmatic is only going to keep us in the center. We(both people who choose to work within the system and those that are trying to push from the outside) need to embrace idealism if we want to pivot back to the left. Some of the left need to recognize that third party members aren’t the enemy, wishy washy centrist candidates are. In a healthy democracy it isn’t the electorate’s fault if your candidate can’t appeal to enough voters, it’s your candidate’s fault. It’s their responsibility to appeal to enough people that they get votes to REPRESENT that electorate. It’s not the electorate’s responsibility to change their views on how they want to be represented to suit your candidate. It’s his responsibility to represent what THEY want, not the other way around. It’s one of my pet peeves that Nader voters get blamed for Gore. The voters voted for Nader because they felt Nader was the better candidate. That’s how democracy is supposed to work. Blame Gore. He was the one who didn’t adopt enough policies that would have captured the electorate who chose Nader.

    1. James Levy

      I hate to say this, but what they say, the “discourse”, is meaningless horseshit. It’s how they govern that counts. The WFP can endorse Cuomo till the cows come home–he’s still a neoliberal shill for moneyed interests and nothing more. And he will act accordingly. Every election since 1984 (that’d be 30 years, my friend) proves that the Dems would rather lose than tack to the Left. So long as they keep their donors on board, they can always try again. And the Republicans really are scary bigoted morons who would like to squash blacks, gays, and women, so given enough time most people who are sincerely liberal are going to want to replace a guy like Dubya or a senator like Brown with someone a bit less deranged. It’s a terrible place to be, and we can’t stay here and survive, but the system is wholly owned and gamed by the legacy parties, and they ain’t going anywhere. It will take a disjuncture, a national disaster, to shake things up. Traditionally, this has been a lost war or an economic collapse. We’ll have to see.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      ” It’s not the electorate’s responsibility to change their views on how they want to be represented to suit your candidate.”

      Well, actually, that’s how it’s worked lately. It’s called the “lesser of two evils” voting strategy and, especially in the last election, it was considered quite legitimate. Regrettably, a vote’s a vote, regardless of how mindlessly it’s cast.

      And BTW, regardless of Nader’s ballot presence, Gore WON that election. So I guess I’d have to amend my statement above. A vote’s a vote if the supreme court likes the outcome.

      1. optimader

        “Regrettably, a vote’s a vote, regardless of how mindlessly it’s cast.”

        Or how cynically.

        An unfortunate dynamic of the voting for lesser evil strategy is that the anointed victor will ALWAYS settle into the delusional behavior of having received a mandate.

        “Gore WON that election.”
        yes he did. In a real representative Democracy there would have been a runoff vote, no big deal. In this country the lion’s share of the electoral resources consumed are stove-piped into feeding MSM presentation of the beauty contest, like it is a professional sports presentation, rather than the backroom infrastructure of the election process. Those election process administration resources I suspect have largely been corrupted ala special interests acting through entities like Diebold that control the nuts & bolts of the charade.

        “Gore WON that election.”

        Yes he did. In a real representative democracy there would have been a runoff election regardless of the FL controversy The lion’s share of election resources are stovepiped into feeding MSM’s beauty contest rather than into the backroom infrastructure to ensure fidelity of the process.

        1. gepay

          Gore did win that election in 2000 but lost it in the Supreme Court (or before by not making the Democratic party do a better job of keeping the election in Florida honest – see Greg Palast’s reporting). If he had run a better campaign – such as bringing out how Bush’s daddy got Dubya into the National Guard to keep him out to the Vietnam war and then not even showing up he could have easily won. If he had projected the personality he did with “An Inconvenient Truth” it would have made a big difference. How effective a President would he have been if he couldn’t keep Jeb Bush from stealing it from him for his brother?
          Then again – what difference would it really have made? Remember who Gore’s Vice Presidential running mate was – Joseph Leiberman – ok on some domestic issues but a hawk for the war on terrorism who helped bring the Department of Homeland Security about – He also came out for McCain in 2008. Lieberman would have been a heartbeat away from the Presidency.
          Then again would Gore have gotten Greenspan out of the Fed Chairmanship? Would he have repudiated NAFTA and the globalization of American jobs? Would he have brought back Glass-Steagall and repudiated the Robert Rubin wing of the party? Would he have stopped the US from invading countries that hadn’t attacked us? Would he have reined in the CIA and NASA and the military -industrial – security complex? Would he have stopped the “Great Recession” or 911. The only real difference would have been on women’s rights – possibly the environment.

          1. skippy

            If memory serves Bush was flitting all over the place on Enrons private corporate jet to stitch up political and judicial support as leverage on Florida political – judicial system.

            Gore rang a few people… en fin.

            skippy… now who was that executive that gave the bushes that nice x-mas card w/ the see you in the White house at x-mass soon dude. What a bummer that must have been in hindsight… probably the basis of an appeal… suffered enough already thingy.

    3. optimader

      “…is only going to keep us in the center…”
      You’re kidding right? The center is good, unfortunately we’re no where near it. Boiling Frog syndrome in play. BHO is very much right of Richard Nixon.

      1. cwaltz

        We’re not in the center because the left STARTS from the center. Once you give up the left flank in the beginning, it’s practically impossible to pivot back. While the center may be a desirable stopping point, it’s a horrible starting point. Unfortunately, the “pragmatic” of the party pretty much insist that it always has to be where we start. Instead of embracing the idealistic left they deride them for being unrealistic simpletons who don’t understand politics. It isn’t true, of course. However, it is a narrative that the Democratic elite love. Why? It allows them to stay exactly where the money is. You see, to them the “electable” position isn’t siding with Joe Average, it’s siding with big corporate interests just like the GOP. This way they always get the benefit of excuse making from those pragmatists who over and over again insist that we could never pass programs like single payer without even forcing the Democratic elite to try.

        1. OIFVet

          Well, its all true. Looks like being a “pragmatic” pretend liberal might have made Rahm Emanuel un-reelectable in Chicago though. Still 9 months to go and there is no credible challenger yet, but Rahm’s welcome wore out really fast. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of a trend.

        2. optimader

          “We’re not in the center because the left STARTS from the center.”
          True ideologues populate both ends of the spectrum are for the most part either naïve or insane. The difference is the left is easier to coopt because they dearly want to believe a music man shilling platitudes. Whereas the right dearly wants to buy into an ” agenda” that serves the elite because they think it will benefit them as well. Consequently latters political agenda really doesn’t have to be misrepresented because rightwing ideologues will eat it up like a dog eating vomit. Leftwing ideologues merely have to be bamboozled. That’s why BHO has no respect for the “left”, because it was so easy for him.

          BHO took a page out of Groundhog Day and converted it into a political strategy. “Are you going to believe you lying eyes or what I tell you?”… “What I tell you?”…”Good, you’re a dumbshit, Have I ever told you that? Yes, I think I have” [Smile, exit stage “right”]

          No the left starts on the left, and candidates co-opting the left start on the right and suck them in.

  5. diptherio

    Reflections on Moving Beyond Capitalism ~Cliff DuRand

    Fundamentally, the ruling class rules because the interests of the ruling class rule over the society as a whole, because the interests of the subject classes are dependent on them. They rule because we are all dependent on them, workers and consumers alike. The system works only if their interests are served. When there is a crisis, as in 2007-2008, they must be rescued lest the whole system collapse. It is because we are all dependent on them that they have the power to hold the rest of society, the 99%, hostage. That’s what it means to be a ruling class. It is their interests that rule. [snip]

    What then is the solution? The beginning lies in overcoming that dependence on the ruling class, step by step . As I have argued, that can be done even in a class divided society by building alternative institutions that empower people in their lives. That is most easily done at the local level with public banks, cooperatives, communal councils, participatory budgeting, local currencies, eminent domain, etc.

  6. fresno dan

    “Fusion’s analysis of more than 30,000 pages of field contact reports, shows how aggressive and far-reaching the police actions were. Some residents were stopped, questioned and written up multiple times within minutes of each other, by different officers. Children were stopped by police in playgrounds. Senior citizens were stopped and questioned near their retirement home, including a 99-year-old man deemed to be “suspicious.” Officers even wrote a report identifying a FIVE-year-old child as a “suspicious person.”

    The 4th amendment to the constitution. Like all US laws, the rule of thumb for enforcement is whether it advantages the 0.01%
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    1. Banger

      Amazing story–I didn’t know about this. Decades of demonizing so-called criminal elements in the media have the results that were intended by the controlled media both in the “new” business and the entertainment media. If you watch, for the most part, American TV shows and movies you get a very warped view of the world–it is consciously engineered to provide misinformation at least at the highest level.

  7. JohnL

    The Case Against Sharing is excellent. Too bad that AirBnB and the like have hijacked the word “sharing” for what they do, and are dragging decent initiatives like peer-to-peer lending into the mire with them.

    I’m saying this a member of a peer-to-peer lending group that has lent almost half a million dollars to small businesses in two years while remaining on the good side of securities regulations and with no defaults.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A little profit motivated sharing is a dangerous thing.

      Share and share deeply or taste not the Utopian Spring.

  8. JCC

    “Johnson was sentenced to four months in jail with Huber privileges after 60 days and fined $6,000. He will not have to register as a sex offender.”

    I read the “Billionaire Johnson heir…” article expecting to see the above line… I was not disappointed.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Johnson’s therapist … was required by law to report any potential child abuse to authorities.’

      Not only your banker, but also your attorney, your accountant and now your therapist, are stool pigeons for the government. Lying to a law enforcement officer is a crime, though they are free to lie to you.

      We’ve gone full Stasi. Are you in compliance, comrade?

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        Meine Herren und Damen, alles steht auf Ordnung! Democratie? Es macht keine Zweiful.

      2. diptherio

        Therapist or not, Jim, if you know about child abuse happening and you don’t do anything to stop it, you are a POS human being, imnsho.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Totally agree about the human thing to do.

          Ive always wondered what a lawyer is to do upon learning a clients serial murders in the course of defending him/her for, say, speeding.

          1. optimader

            thats easy, solicits for a larger defense retainer or sniffs around for a referral fee

  9. Carolinian

    Interesting dueling perspectives on the Working Families Party. Didn’t Stoller and Sirota once write for the same blog?

    As a proud non Obama voter last two cycles think I have to weigh in with Stoller. To quote from the Politico story

    “Purity is for people with no power,” Cantor tells me. “If you have even a modest amount of power, you have to make compromises.”

    Those words might have come straight out of Obama’s mouth.

    The question going forward is whether the Left is going confront power or to appease it. To paraphrase J.K. Galbraith, speaking about M. Friedman, the problem with Cantor’s ideas is that they’ve been tried…

  10. Eureka Springs

    Oh for stoller sakes. I first looked into WFP as soon as I heard about it. Jason Rosenbaum (or whatever his name is) popped up as head of the diary (kos like) section of FDL in the summer of ’09 to pimp for Obamney-NOT-care passage. He was a WFPer. If WFP is liberal then we might as well sell beef as a vegitarian replacement for tofu… because all discussion will be as meaningless… and they keep wining.

    I really think all of these words means so little anymore. Is there a dimes worth of difference between WFP and Democrat or liberal and neoliberal? If so, clear definitions/distinctions must constantly be made… for even folks like myself who try to keep up are left constantly wondering.

    It took far to long for me to admit it but Liberal to me means: Violence. Lawless. Arrogance. Duplicitous. Insincere. Class war. Police State, MIC, Private for profit everything from schools, prisons, and health. Stockholm Syndrome. NPR and Nova and Frontline, brought to you by Koch Brothers. All your elections too. Free credit report dot con. Fraudclosure. Derivatives of nothingness…. which can blow up the planet faster and possibly more completely than nuclear war. The best liberal followers these days really stand for nothing, thus fall for everything. Meet me at a protest on the steps of a capitol on a Saturday… when nobody is there to see us. We can’t make someone uncomfortable, no no. Sign another petition…. because the last time signing a petition (which was really challenging the status quo) worked was when? Classic!

    If one thing separates liberal from neoliberals – liberals are in denial as much as any deeply religious person I ever met. Neoliberals are religious about all the definitions mentioned above.

    And yes, Unions are (neo)liberal too… which is a disaster. A friend of mine belongs to a union…and pays 20k a year for health insurance. She has to do so! No choice, no ability to buy insurance on her own. Her story gets much worse but I will stop there. Unions are putting their pensions, and their dues to work investments in the worst (neo)liberal ways. They pimped for O, then O not care, then O again…. and could care less about society at large or anyone beyond the few who share top looting, I mean leadership positions. Unions simply cannot be this incompetent unless they want to be…. even, perhaps especially, in an entirely corrupt society such as we have. Unions refuse to gather hundreds of millions of American rosebuds in a time when disparity is at its worst… amazing. Look for the union label was a swan song… before NAFTA.

    But hey, why be liberal? The US Gov loves to kill liberals at home and abroad. If you aren’t a jihadist or a nazi working for those liberal democrats endorsed by the likes of WFP, you are potentially a liberal with a target on your back…. Just ask a Syrian or Ukrainian today… or go read those released OWS files.

    I think it’s time for the smart people in places like this to quit analyzing certain failure (WFPDems vs TeaReps, libs vs. neolibcons, corruption vs. corruption) Let us prepare for the aftermath of the worst. let’s produce our own reply to the next big shocks. A new constitution. New economic models which include things like GDP sharing. The abolition of free trade, the war machine, ponzi finance etc.. Health care as a human right. That we produce as much of what we need/want/consume as we possibly can, etc. Otherwise the lawless class warriors will always have us by the neck. Plan how this will go into effect so, unlike Egyptians, we can implement it when the time is ripe. Perhaps before such a time… but watching WFP kiss democrats is really bland rubbernecking.

    1. Mel

      Who is this “we”, though? Rereading Lenin in Zurich. I can’t remember how it ends, but right now I’m convinced that if the German General Staff hadn’t handed him his revolution on a platter, then he would have died in a restaurant in Zurich, wondering which six of the dozen at the table would have to be purged for the sake of the Party.

    2. Banger

      I would urge people to read Chris Hedges’ book Death of the Liberal Class to get well grounded view of liberalism in recent years. For me, self-proclaimed liberals have no ground to stand on. As I wrote below (may or may not show up) liberalism is a civilizing force for capitalism. Today, with the increase in corruption in all major social institutions reform is not possible. If there is a logical path towards some kind of major reform which I would call creating a humanistic and sustainable society dedicated to human well-being (which I believe is possible) rather than just fulfilling the needs of the oligarchy (today’s system) I’d like to hear about it. Most of us have a general idea of what sort of world we want but we have no path towards it–as you say and increasing number of commentators here say, the only alternative is creating an alternative society from the ground up and stop supporting the current system and stop chasing imaginary reforms that will not and cannot come into being.

  11. Jim Haygood

    From ETF Issuer Solutions Inc:

    We have operational infrastructure, regulatory permissions, and ETF product expertise to build, list, and manage funds of all shapes and sizes, including derivatives-based strategies. Using our technology and intellectual property, you can have your own ETF without the burden of building and operating it on your own. We will customize a bespoke ETF solution tailored for your needs.

    The ownership society is complete: now every consumer-depositor can be traded, with their own trading symbol.

    One little maff problem, though: when it comes to unique four-letter trading symbols, P(26,4) = 358,800 — not enough to go around.

    Launch your personal ETF today, while there’s still time (and the Yellebubble is still inflating).

  12. HopeLB

    Isn’t the solution thensimply a third party?Many old school conservatives are just as fed up with our political/economic system.Nader makes this point, a coalition of the majority, in his book “Unstoppable” .

    1. OIFVet

      Pretty good overall, except for the Saxo Bank drone. I could barely stomach his BS about nuclear energy, groff, and the supposed price advantage of fossil fuels over renewables. Would fossil fuel-based energy be cheaper without the massive military subsidies to secure the supply, and the passing off of the environmental costs on the society at large? I doubt it.

  13. flora

    re: “What Happens When the Economy Baffles Economists? Bloomberg”
    Hilarious. No where to be found in the article are the phrases like “household purchasing power”, “household debt”, “well regulated markets/businesses”, etc. The article then complains the reason economists don’t understand recessions is because of insufficient data. As long as their models ignore significant factors they will, of course, not understand what’s happening.
    I do give the author credit for alluding to the need for economists to expand the type of data they consider in order to better understand what’s happening.

    1. craazyboy

      Answer: Economists then try and baffle the economy. And clueless media writers write around it.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In this case, economists aren’t alone.

      Brain baffles brain scientists.

      Human nature baffles humans

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sperm inspired robots…

    That’s not as impressive as air-born sperms and skin penetrating sperms.

    Go forth and multiply!

  15. susan the other

    The Party’s Over. The IEA. The International Energy Agency. Not to be confused with the IAEA, or nukes. The IEA is looking at peak oil and peak prices and the problem they see is that peak prices cannot provide enough ROI for the oil industry to survive. This is pretty old news. We are all conscious of the fact that we are looking at a deadline (aka no more time left) around 2030. Less than 20, maybe 30 years. The implication is that if investors are willing to take a negative return we could go longer. Electricity is actually mentioned. Amazing. Because electricity can be produced everywhere. Where is that technology? Oh, I forgot, we have to wait and be intimidated and so publicly fund projects that get nowhere… and then at the last minute the technology will appear to make sufficient decentralized electricity from rooftops alone to keep us living well. Not just here but globally.

    1. heresy101

      Doom and Gloom from the Peak Oil and Global Warming crowd is so tiring. Yes, we will reach peak oil if we haven’t already, but there are plenty of renewable resources, even if we don’t count the liquid thorium reactors that we will get from Hyundai (or Flibe if we are lucky) in about 20 years.

      China’s non market economy with Stalinist bureaucrats still influencing the direction of the economy is very likely to move away from coal in the next few years. Even a couple of years ago near the caves Chairman Mao hid north of Beijing, there were wind turbines in the distance. Solar is reaching grid parity; probably in the next few years, and China will move massively in that direction.

      This sounds like hype but one of our commercial customer’s put 800 kW of solar on roofs and carports at $0.11/kWh when taking into account the 30% ITC and about $0.08/kWh after counting our solar rebates. These costs will be locked in for the next 25 years. These costs may seem very high in other parts of the country besides California.

      As Germany is dropping their Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) to $0.134/kWh and Minnesota’s FIT is $0.137/kWh, I’m coming up with a Value of Solar (VOS) of about $0.115/kWh. To put these costs in context, our resource and transmission costs average $0.085/kWh and this includes geothermal, wind, small and large hydro, and biomass.

      The problem with renewables is that developers and financiers want what the market will bear and not what it costs. An example is that landfill gas that cost us $50/MWh 10 years ago and we now are quoted at $105/MWh and costs have likely gone down rather than up.

      There are enough renewables in the US and Canada to replace coal (very little oil is used for generating electricity, except Hawaii) for the generation of electricity. Given that most drivers only travel less than 40 miles per day, electric vehicles could replace petroleum for travel. If Obama weren’t such a fraud, the Government could buy bankrupt Better Place’s battery swapping technology and mandate that a car companies use that 10 minute swapping ability.

      Usually the Onion is right on most issues, but they are missing the meat on this issue.

      1. craazyboy

        Like missing the published independent scientific studies on actual installations?

        BTW: When you toss out the kw-hour cost, is this at noon or midnight, summer or winter, and would it be too much to ask at what latitude and how many sunny days per year in that local?

        Show me the kw-hours/year.

        In the SW, show me the tile roof installations that don’t break the $40K tile roof? Wind force data? Many states have building codes stating the roof has to withstand wind load. Putting a solar wing on one must make things interesting?

        1. heresy101

          Oh the sceptics. At the SF latitude, the capacity factor per year is 19-20% of the AC watts. Take the kW (our average residential installation is 3 kW) times 8760 hours in the year times .19 will give you very close to the annual generation in kWh. Use the National Renewable Energy Labs PVWatts program to find the capacity factor for your area and you can see the actual hours when the system is generating.

          These systems are being installed on victorians that are over 100 years old but there may be instances where there are structural issues with roofs. We are looking at putting 5 MW on commercial roofs that are 70 years old and will need a structural review.

          Of the 200 solar installation that we were mandated to provide rebates, this formula has been very close to the actual generation. Since these are net metered installations, we have to do an annual true-up and my simple formula is close in almost all cases.

          As far as calculating the cost, the kWh are an average annual cost. For example, take the 800 kW times the 3.30/watt total install costs (I have the invoice for parts and labor from the installer) to get a total installed cost of $2.64M less the 30% tax credit (not including depreciation) is $1.85M. At 5% (the banksters and wall street want more) for 20 years, the annual payment is $148K, which yields $0.111/kWh when divided by the 1,331,000 kWh generated annually.

          The previous cost discussion is for residential and commercial but utility grade costs are muuuch lower. The city of Palo Alto has two solar contracts for $0.07/kWh and Austin just inked one for $0.053/kWh which is on a par with coal.

          Finally, don’t confuse me with a solar evangelist because I hate the wall street solar industry.
          My preference for generation resources is small hydro, geothermal, and biomass. See my comments of a couple of days ago on the use of biogas by NY.

          1. craazyboy

            Here’s a utility scale solar thermal plant with mirrors that track the sun and it’s in the Mohave Desert, Capacity factor is 31%, so that’s as good as it gets. For sunny SF and fixed rooftop, I guess maybe 19-20% may be believable, but I’d check the meter for a couple years, just to be sure.


            Those Chinese must have REALLY been dumping if you got a total installed cost of $3.30/watt. First Solar has been talking individual cell internal mfg. cost below a buck, but their film tech has lower effy – around 12% last I checked a couple years ago. The cells still need to get manufactured into panels – then they like adding overhead and profit, and off it goes into distribution and installers, and all those people like getting paid too.

            The reason I mention tile roofs is we got a lot of them and just walking on them can break them. Drilling into them, certainly. And every few years we get wind ripping thru here that cracks telephone poles in half. I’d want to see some wind tunnel tests with panels mounted on a curvy tile roof.

            Plus, subsidiaries are cheating and I hear the utilities don’t charge for grid cost when you sell your excess power back to them, even tho you do use the grid. All this may be overlooked for some period of time to “jumpstart” the industry, perhaps – but before we declare victory on GW and peak fossil energy, we should take a sober look at where things are at on a stand alone basis. Just believing doesn’t make GW go away.

            1. heresy101

              Besides frying the birds, most of the solar thermal aren’t working out as planned and a number of the big projects have been converted to PV.

              We have been doing annual net energy meter true-ups since 2009 and the generation is consistently 20% of AC watts and 17% of DC watt at the SF latitude. Look at PVWatts for your area.

              The $3.30/watt two years ago was from a Korean company that was probably trying to get into the US market. Today, the price for a comparable system would be about $2.60/watt.

              Prices have come down hugely ($1.50/watt for utility scales systems). At a retail (not wholesale) level you can buy a complete PV system for $1.79 per watt before the 30% tax incentive. Add $1-2/watt for installation and you still have a cost effective installation. It certainly would be below the $0.22/kWh average cost that I pay to PG&E. If my roof wasn’t shaded by trees, I would be looking at solar.

              The reason that I am familiar with all the costs of solar is that I’ve run our utility’s solar rebate program for the last six years. In addition, I’ve negotiated and put together about $250M of renewable energy contracts.

              Utilities are looking at paying solar it’s value of avoided energy, transmission costs, renewable attributes, avoided losses etc (a la Austin). The customer pays the normal rate on all usage and gets a credit for all solar generation on each bill. The difference should be equivalent to the customer and distribution charges because a solar system is using the utility as a battery currently. If storage drops in cost in the future this would have to be reassessed.

              1. craazyboy

                That’s better “hard” info than anything I’ve come across in the news, or at the DOE site, and I’ve spent some time looking. Only 5 years ago they were projecting solar thermal to be half the kw-h cost of rooftop PV. That was with grid cost(some new) cranked into remote installations – and zero grid cost the only thing that kept rooftop PV from being blown away altogether.

                So it’s good to know what changed and if it is reliable info or not. (in case you don’t trust your friendly local solar installer)

                PS: If birds crap on your PV, efficiency goes down.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In this case, economists aren’t alone.

    Brain baffles brain scientists.

    Human nature baffles humans.

      1. flora

        Yves reporting on the huge financial risks to the limited partners in PE contracts may serve as an effective warning to would-be investors.

  17. Peter Pan

    I’m sure many of you may think WTF has this got to do with “What Happens When the Economy Baffles Economists?” You’ll understand if you read it all the way to the end.

    But before I give you the link to this (ahem) dubious website of “free minds and free markets” (cough), just let me state for the record that I believe in “regulated markets” for some products but that I don’t believe in stupid regulations. Unfortunately it appears that Washington state has fallen for the stupid regulations.

  18. Carolinian

    To OIFVet

    Mish is a libertarian (or at times outright conservative) like Stockman and some other business writers. But as the actions of government itself become increasingly rightwing then opposition to government–i.e. libertarianism–can start to seem a lot more leftwing.

    At any rate one area where liberals and libertarians certainly ought to agree is opposition to war. For example check out run by libertarian–and very smart guy–Justin Raimondo.

    I’m old enough to remember the peacenik era, flowers in gun barrels, all that. Puzzling where that once very prominent part of the Left went. Did 9/11 turn us all into, as the quip goes, liberals who’ve been mugged?…into (international) law and order freaks?

    If it did then it’s not going well.

    1. OIFVet

      I agree with a lot of what you say, and I follow Raimondo as well. I share some libertarian views but despise their economic horseshit. As to the flower generation, I don’t think they got mugged by reality. Rather they decided that being part of the establishment was far better financially than standing up for their principles, if they had any. My neighborhood is full of former peaceniks who are now staunch Obama supporters who are happy to explain to anyone who would listen that Obama is antiwar but is forced by (insert scapegoat here) to act the way that he does. Some believe it, most are full of crap and they know it.

  19. shinola

    Re. the “sharing” economy: Has little or nothing to do with actual sharing. It seems to me it’s more like an attempt to turn us into a 3rd world economy; perhaps something like India or any one of a number of African nations.
    Everyone can have their own little rickshaw business. We can all be entrepenuers (I can never remember how to spell that right). Things like job stability, health & safety regulations are sooo… 20th century.

    When I think of Airbnb, I think of bedbugs.

    BTW, did you know that when you are using your vehicle in a “commercial” capacity (i.e. carrying passengers or cargo for a fee) your personal auto insurance is null & void? All personal auto policies I’ve encountered in 30+ years in the insurance biz carry this exclusion.

  20. Jess

    Matt Stoller ends his piece with:

    “It was a group of liberals picking fear, fighting for fear, and making fear the guiding point of politics, one more time.

    That’s the government we’ll get, again. That’s what the Democrats chose to stand for, and it’s why voters don’t trust them or don’t show up. They see the real choices. Why don’t we?”

    Did he really ask that question? Can Stoller be so poorly educated as to have missed Upton Sinclair’s famous explanation, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”?

  21. jfleni

    RE: Gates Foundation financed PBS education programming which promoted Microsoft’s interests

    This is anything but a surprise! PBS will sell its begging bowl to whomever pays the most! Fast bucks and he resulting high pay are everything, not mealy-mouthed, high-class sounding “educational” jabbering.

    Microswift has always generously paid for grubby shills to push its own act, whether blatantly commercial, or just the same thing at one remove: the “foundation” pushing for “change” (often destructive), that Billy-Boy wants and likes.

  22. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the Bloomberg article cited by Richard Smith regarding Barclay’s civil penalty for manipulation of the silver market. It points to a much broader and more profound issue IMO: The super-priority of derivatives in bankruptcy and the implications of that for the global financial system. Anyone looking for a reason for low volatility, “TBTFs”, manipulated markets, and lack of criminal prosecutions for criminal behavior need look no further IMO.

  23. OIFVet

    Noted propagandist Timothy Snyder has now invaded my former homeland in his quest to disinform on behalf of the neocon/neolib Imperial Project, disseminating propaganda and US/EU TINA amongst the natives of the neocolony. Unfortunately the text of the “lecture” is only available in Bulgarian for the time being, but for those with strong stomachs the full video in English is available at The short of it is, Snyder lays out a foundation based on revisionism, half truths, and outright lies for his grand finale (beginning at the 52:00 mark), where in a true Orwellian fashion he concludes that those who call the Kiev junta fascists are the real fascists. Then he moves on to the TINAs: there is no alternative to EU “integration”, there is no alternative for US; the alternative presented by the Eurasian Union is a chimera of oppression whereas the US and the EU are founts of peace and freedom. The European right and Russia are conspiring to destroy this veritable paradise on behalf of Russian oil/gas interests. The end.

    I don’t understand how this CFR neocon propagandist is still considered to be a respected historian, he has completely gone off the deep end. Its like he is polishing his credentials to succeed Goebbels at the NWO Ministry of Propaganda. He is an enabler of the neocon conspiracy against humanity is therefore a prime candidate to appear before a future war crimes tribunal as a defendant accused of crimes against humanity.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Well, ol’ Timmeh is doing what he can to undermine Southstream, & shackle those EU nations which would benefit from it to the rotting corpse of Atlanticist NATO. His masters have sent the shameless hack to Bulgaria to spread falsehoods, half-truths, & innuendos because this is his claim to fame. I wish him bad cess.

      1. OIFVet

        It’s not just him, Grumpy McCain will be there tomorrow as well. The unelected eurocrats of the EC are threatening sanctions over the South Stream, Soros’ Open Society is pouring tons of cash into think tanks and media outlets to spread the gospel of neoliberalism and neoconservatism in the Bulgarian Colony. The bootlicking president is begging the US to station troops there in order to prove his fealty, while the majority of the population is opposed to this proposition; they are derided by the comprador elites as Russian agents, uneducated peasants, and brainwashed pensioners. The result is that the government is destabilized and will most likely fall within a month. Not that I have any sympathy for the ruling neoliberals masquerading as socialists, but how many more governments have to be brought down by these neocon lunatics?

          1. OIFVet

            I am inclined to think that it will: Serbia and Hungary are proceeding with the construction of their sections, and Austria and Italy want it very badly. Seems they are not buying into the American shale LNG hype.

  24. S Haust

    Seriously, these guys (the FT interviewees) are asses every bit as big as Yanukovich.

  25. kareninca

    Sorry to post a question that is not precisely on topic (broke middle class?? peak oil??), but has anyone else noticed a sudden huge spike in airline ticket prices?? I just looked at a flight from CA to CT and all of the prices had suddenly, in the course of a month, DOUBLED from what I was used to. I know it’s graduation time, so I looked at dates months from now, and found similar huge increases. The usual attempt to try big airports as an alternative (since they are usually much cheaper) did little. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who often visits his daughter on the East Coast, and he had just found the same thing; being crabby and retired, he had actually contacted the airlines to complain (getting nothing out of the effort, of course).

    My guess, along with a reduced number of planes, is that $100/barrel oil is finally getting priced in; that the long-term fuel price contracts that had lower prices are expiring. If this is the new normal, regular people will be doing even less air travel. Any thoughts??? Please someone, tell me that this is a blip, or somehow my imagination.

    1. kareninca

      oops, I’m sorry, I had meant to post this on the 6/8 link. I am going to repost it there.

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