Links 7/10/14

Gorillas Use Stinky B.O. to Say Back Off LiveScience

Google Glass controlled by brainwave BBC (David L)

Smartphone dependency fuels other addictions, say rehab clinics MarketWatch

Leaked ‘Confidential’ Document Alleges Google’s Search Monopoly Is Deliberately Screwing Yelp Business Insider (David L)

Is There A Right To Secede? Project Syndicate

Financing still a mystery as Nicaragua unveils details of giant canal McClatchy (furzy mouse) We wrote skeptically about this a while ago.

China’s Wealthy Getting Richer in a Declining Economy Triple Crisis

Economists React: China’s Exports Rise, But Not Enough WSJ China Real Time

Credit Guarantees, Fraud, Corruption Fuel China’s Credit Bubble; Bankruptcies Rock Loan Guarantors; Beginning of the End? Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

Chinese Hackers Pursue Key Data on U.S. Workers New York Times

Japan machinery orders plunge in May Financial Times

Draghi Calls for Euro-Zone Rules for Economic Reforms WSJ Economy

France proposes anti-terrorist travel bans BBC

Secret British files on CIA rendition flights ‘accidentally destroyed’: Accusations of a cover-up after minister admits documents had been ‘water damaged’ Daily Mail

What Does Netanyahoo Want? Moon of Alabama


The ISIS Is A U.S. Tool “Conspiracy Theories” Moon of Alabama

On the Road to Samarra, Glimpses of Iraq’s New Fractured Reality New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On First Look

NSA Spied on Prominent Muslim AmericansNSA Spied on Prominent Muslim Americans Bruce Schneier

All These Muslim Organizations Have Probably Been Associationally Mapped Marcy Wheeler

Deconstructing Weasel Words from ODNI & Justice Department on NSA, FBI Spying on American Muslims Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

The Ex-Google Hacker Taking on the World’s Spy Agencies Wired (Nikki)

Edward Snowden applies to extend stay in Russia, lawyer says Guardian (furzy mouse)

US Military Admits Spending Millions to Study Manipulation of Social Media George Washington. Not that we didn’t know that already.

Why I quit Facebook and we are sharing much more than you think Chris Chan (David L). Um, but he posted this on LinkedIn….

Imperial Collapse Watch

Second German government worker suspected of spying for US Guardian (furzy mouse)

The Times, they are a-Kagan Stop Me Before I Vote Again (Carolinian)

Are the Authoritarians Winning? New York Review of Books. I am sure readers will have a field day with this article, starting with the tacit assumption that the US is democratic rather than authoritarian (the size of our prison population is a strong counterfactual). Shorter: talk about asking the wrong question.

CIA Didn’t Bother Informing Obama About Blown Cover Of German Double Agent Before His Call With Merkel Techdirt (Chuck L)

Journalists Accuse White House of Politically-Driven Suppression of News Broadcasting & Cable (Chuck L). Quelle surprise!

Race Is On to Profit From Rise of Urgent Care New York Times

Speculative activity in WTI Walter Kurtz

QEInfinity Not Tim Duy

U.S. prosecutors use new tactic to grill suspects to build bank laundering cases Reuters. Why the new-found interest in money laundering?

Corporate Tax Behavior So Bad Even Fortune Magazine Can’t Stomach It American Prospect

The U.S. Corporate Tax Dodge Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

Why Walgreens Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Influence Corporate Citizenship if It Becomes Swiss Robert Reich

The cronut-ification of banking FTAlphaville

Game theory — a critical introduction Lars P. Syll

Class Warfare

More on Class and Monetary Policy Paul Krugman. Hard money serves the super-rich.

Is wage stagnation keeping homebuyers away? Housing Wire. You gotta love how HW is asking this question only now.

“The Truth of the Matter Is Walmart Is a Horrible Place to Work” Gawker. Gawker takes issue with a Walmart PR blitz.

Four Signs Long-Term Unemployment Is Becoming a National Tragedy New Republic

Chelsea Clinton Makes $900,000 for Doing Almost Nothing Peter Van Buren, Firedoglake (Carolinian)

Antidote du jour:

Links boxer + kid

And a bonus video (furzy mouse):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Katniss Everdeen

    Seems like there is an inordinate number of “DUHS” in Links today.

    ” Facebook treats users as products and not customers.” Duh.

    Walmart is a crappy place to work. Duh.

    Maybe stagnant wages do not support rising house prices. Duh.

    Corporations should pay their fair share of taxes. Duh TWICE.

    Washington is suppressing information for “political” reasons. Duh.

    Where is the giant rock that these people have been living under? It might be time to buy some S&P 500 puts. It seems that these astute thinkers may be on the verge of discovering that water is wet and that, even in exceptional America, trees don’t grow to the sky.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Oh, how could I have forgotten:

      The military is manipulating social media and the NSA is spying on Muslims.

      I’d really like to meet the people for whom this is NEWS.

      1. Skeptic

        One of the problems is that new people come to NC every day. So, in a way, the site has to bring those people up to speed. If you have been coming here for years, most of those links are screened out.

        If NC had the resources, there could maybe be different pages. New, Intermediary and Advanced.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Take this as an indicator of where MSM reporting is. Plus it takes a lot of repetition for messages to get through.

      And most of those “duh” links were sent by readers, so they regarded them as noteworthy.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          Yes, alarming it is. By the way, I very much enjoy your informed and acerbic comments here. Speaking of comments, someone whose observations I’ve missed over these past months is “From Mexico.” I hope her/his lack of presence doesn’t indicate misfortune.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Thank you for the compliment, sir. As to your Links suggestion, I certainly meant no disrespect.

            And may the odds be EVER in your favor.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I wish he were still commenting, but we had a repetition of the pattern he’d exhibited when he was posting as Down South. The fact that he was liked and respected led him to become more proprietary and assertive, and he started getting very aggressive with certain particular readers and accusing them of bad faith. We told him privately (in the mildest way possible) that that wasn’t on. He quit commenting. He did come back last time, but it was a lapse of nearly a year and a half. No idea whether he will relent again.

            1. JohnnyGL

              I used to like some of his stuff, too. There was a good amount of hyperventilating, though. And he seemed to take the worst possible interpretations of other people’s comments at times.

      1. Ed

        Its actually interesting to watch ideas/ facts migrate from the tin foil fringes of the internet into the mainstream media, so I appreciate the links.

      2. trish

        and today so much of MSM reporting is frequent regurgitation of old issues, perhaps with a little tweaking with new (and carefully selected) particulars.
        With many of those issues, a real watchdog press might be exposing the complete picture, all the facts, and hounding those in power until they’re no longer issues. Alas, but a fantasy.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      The reason I suggested the link about the White House suppressing news was not because of that fact in itself, which as you point out readers of NC and other non-MSM sources are well aware of, but because the stenographers inside the bubble had finally started to publicly bitch about it.

      1. James Levy

        That’s because the president has become boring and is losing power. They all want to be in on the deal when the President, any President, is on the ascendant–it gives them all a vicarious thrill and sense that they are “a part of history.” But as Presidencies wind down, the press corps seems to uniformly turn on them. There is nothing these hyenas hold in greater contempt than powerlessness. And, they can now get back at him for any real or perceived slight when he had “juice.” Yes, I think it’s all that petty.

        1. hunkerdown

          Not to casually drop Hitleresque diktats or anything, but performance art really ought to be prosecuted as the worst kind of felony — and the Western bourgeois lifestyle as universal truth and supreme authority is among the most insulting, most condescending forms of performance art, next to (or perhaps subsuming) representative government and MBAs. Funnily enough, the prestige of all these institutions is sharply negative.

          That having been said, could it be that the MSM, especially among the highbrow where direct contact with the lived experience of others is largely optional and where the “hard work = rewards” operant conditioning is still operative and minimally credible, treats government’s lack of delivery on elite desires as insubordination to their own class and professional interests, most of which can be found in the DSM-V under “borderline personality disorder”?

      2. direction

        If you posted the “US Military Admits Spending Millions to Study Manipulation of Social Media” link, thank you, I quite enjoyed it. Yes, we know that’s going on (duh) but I appreciate the link because Washington’s blog has links to links to links. It’s a wonderful rabbithole to specific information.

        I remember reading Proceedings magazine in the 1990s about the military declaring the new frontier for warfare was information warfare, so yes, (duh), I/we have known this for a long time but social media had not even been invented back then, so it’s nice to have quotable sources aggregating how the nature of that type of warfare is going to be changing with the times.

  2. optimader

    NSA Spied on Prominent Muslim Americans NSA Spied on Prominent Muslim Americans Bruce Schneier

    Considering there is 0 entrance barrier to being spied on, I assume I have been spied on too. Unfortunately for the Seracens as a group, they have a dodgy track record.

    1. Paper Mac

      Pope Urban II called, he’s looking for cannibals to eat Muslim children in the Levant- you down bro?

      1. optimader

        “Pope Urban II called, he’s looking for cannibals …blahblahblah…”

        Vacuous hyperbole mixed w/ historical ignorance.
        I’m as secular as they come so I really have no problem recognizing culturally intolerant religious affiliations for what they are.
        In the case of Muslim’s there is certainly a thread of intolerance of Western values/culture. So it should really not be anymore of a surprise some “prominent Muslim Americans” are spied on anymore than some “prominent Secular Americans”, some “prominent Christian Americans” and some “prominent Jewish Americans” that have philosophical/political beliefs perceived to be anarchistic or antisocial by organs of the State.

  3. MikeNY

    Re Krugman and hard money:

    Well OF COURSE higher rates benefit the rentier class by way of interest income: they own the bonds and deposits. Likewise,QE-based asset inflation also benefits the rentier class, because they own the stocks. They own pretty much everything.

    I do not understand why PK can’t wrap his head around the fact that the Fed’s monetary policies have overwhelmingly benefited ONLY the top 5% of the populace. The Fed is not the solution; it’s part of the problem. They stand in the way of meaningful reform.

    Après nous, le déluge….

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Interest is a significant source of income only for people high in the distribution; these are the people who have a lot to lose if inflation erodes the values of their assets.’ — Kurgman

      Kurgman’s summary is accurate … for the 19th century. Then, doctrinaire rentiers were obsessed with maintaining the par value of the currency, even after wartime suspensions from redeemability.

      But in 1964, Fisher and Lorie reported that stocks had earned 9.0% annually from 1926 to 1960. Despite their epic smash during 1929-1932, stocks delivered a significant ‘equity premium’ to bonds, which only returned about 3% annually over the period:

      Since company revenues and earnings rise with inflation, and equities deliver a premium to bond returns, rentiers’ conclusions are stone obvious: (1) Mild inflation is not a problem; (2) Invest for capital gains, not income.

      What does Kurgman invest in? Carpets to munch on? Oh, the bizarrity!

    2. Benedict@Large

      Disagree. It is not the Fed’s monetary policies. (All they do is inflate bank reserves.) It is Congressional monetary policy that is shoveling money at the rich. There has to be a certain minimum of shoveling money in at the bottom and shoveling it out at the top (both are Congressional functions) for the system to work, and Congress is simply not doing it.

      1. arby

        Their are many kinds of stupidity and cleverness is among the very worst … as one might read in The Magic Mountain. Mr. Krugman is a clever man, among the very cleverest.

    3. fresno dan

      What I find most annoying about this thing that economists have with inflation is what can only be the most obtuse inability known to man to disaggregate data. A very good portion of income quintiles have no ability to exert higher wage pressure and their only ability to deal with inflation is through a lower standard of living. Also, the way data are collected, not taking into account inability to work overtime, good jobs lost and replaced by much lower paying jobs, etc. the most “benign” level of inflation, if your not getting any raises, or if indeed, if defacto your income is decreasing, is really an inexcusable lack of critical thinking by economists.
      Again, economists look at that total GDP number, and simply REFUSE to consider the implications of income distribution. (and for the zillionth time)

      Just as another example, how many times to economists assert that benefits should be included in evaluating income of the poorer? A lot of the “value” of the benefits is health care. Well, 1st I doubt they are really accounting for all the deductables and copays, (and myriad other “costs” such as inconviently located labs with excruciating long wait times) and the mis pricing caused by people too poor to get regular care who have to use emergency care. But my main point is that these very same economists point out how overpriced health care is….So the “benefit” – and resulting higher “income” amounts to the same as getting a smaller lunch and paying more for it.
      And of course, economists dare not speak the name of the regulatory functions that the FED was suppose to do (regulate the BANKS!!!!) but utterly failed at. Nah, they (both economist and the FED) just want to yammer about interest rates…

  4. Carolinian

    NYT/Urgent care: Several of these clinics have been popping up around my little town recently. In a couple of cases abandoned video rental stores became clinics–perhaps saying something about the shifting sands of economic activity.

    At any rate an interesting backgrounder. Thanks for the link.

    1. Cocomaan

      It’s interesting that, beyond the obvious problems with the ER, they don’t mention wait times at doctor’s offices.

      I don’t bother going to the doctor anymore, because as kind, competent, and caring as my doctor is, I am tired of scheduling an appointment and then waiting for anywhere from ten minutes to an hour as they clear a backlog of patients. General practice isn’t profitable without having a glut of patients, which means when you bruise your finger or have an ear infection, you’re sitting around in pain for awhile.

      I mean, maybe there are GP’s out there that are better than this, but I haven’t found one. I can’t imagine I’m alone in this. So the last time I had an ear infection, I went to a CVS and was done in an hour. It was excellent.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        In my experience, vomiting, preferably on personnel, charts or computers, gets you to the head of the line every time.

        Just sayin’. Use what you got. Or want to get rid of.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          Starting to pass out from internal bleeding two plus hours after walking into the ER waiting room works too. As I found out after lacerating a kidney in a bike accident a few years ago.

          1. OIFVet

            Better to bleed all over the front desk and preferably over the personnel too. I had an accident with a miter saw a few years ago, almost completely cut off a finger. I put on a tourniquet, wrapped it in one of my military issue bandages, and my SO drove me to the emergency room. I had done too well with the first aid and there wasn’t much blood, but with a tourniquet time is essential if one is to save limb or digit. After an hour of sitting and waiting and arguing with personnel, I removed everything and started to spray blood all over them and their precious computers, while my SO whipped out her big lawyer act and made vile (from a hospital’s POV) threats about medical malpractice lawsuits. I had a team of surgeons all over me in 30 seconds and I still have my finger, albeit about 3/8″ shorter than it used to be.

              1. OIFVet

                If one is lucky. Back in the 1998 a teen died 35 feet from the emergency room entrance of a Chicago hospital after the personnel refused to come out to treat his gunshot wound. In the same UChicago Hospitals ER where I went to get my finger put back together, a guy died after waiting for four hours for care: I guess Mr. Ross couldn’t channel his inner Denzel Washington. It is not surprising about the UofC though, none other than our dear First Lady was at the forefront of designing a patient dumping program there:

            1. Ex-PFC Chuck

              Unfortunately an internally bleeding kidney doesn’t show until you Konkani out.

    2. grayslady

      There are three immediate care facilities near my home, all affiliated with a local hospital. Happily for me, the closest one is open seven days a week until 11:00 p.m. There’s only one doctor on staff, so the wait can often be long on weekends, but the cost is about one-eighth of what the local emergency room would charge. I wouldn’t recommend them to someone who is on a complex set of medications, unless the issue is one where conflicting medications isn’t an issue. But for those couple of times a year when a sinus infection, for example, decides to blow up on a weekend or late at night, and you really need an antibiotic prescription, they’re great. Also, I’ve noticed that prices have just been raised 20%, now making my co-pay just $10 less than what I would pay my PCP, so, pretty soon, the only difference will be hours of operation.

      1. cwaltz

        The biggest difference I see between these facilities and an ER is what your insurance will cover. My insurance company doesn’t require an ER get pre approval to get an X ray, MRI, etc, etc. If I head to an urgent care they are going to run into the same problems as a doctor. They need pre approval.

        As far as the minute clinics go, they have such a narrow window of care that I have to wonder how profitable they’ll be and I wonder if they’ll be contributing to bacteria resistance to antibiotics due to overuse. Colds and flus rarely need treatment and if they do need treatment then your best to head somewhere they can take a looksee at your lungs.

    3. Jim Haygood

      ‘In a couple of cases abandoned video rental stores became clinics.’

      Abandoned gas stations are even better. Hydraulic lifts in the service bays are easily convertible into adjustable-height examination tables. Air and water hoses plus floor drains are great for hosing the place out after the consumers … errr, patients, leave. Obamacare means snappy service!

        1. Carolinian

          BTW the highest paid executive in our county runs said megaplex–another sign of the times.

      1. trish

        and maybe the pumps can be converted to payday loan vending machines for the poor customers.

        (pawnshops nearby for added convenience?)

        1. Carolinian

          We can handle that too. Our town is headquarters for Advance America, one of the players in payday loan racket. However they are dwarfed by the Denny’s world headquarters nearby.

          Great stuff here!

    4. ambrit

      The exact same has happened here in the Deep South. One I went to recently for an ear infection of my own wouldn’t treat me because of an attack of high blood pressure. Yes, they outright refused. They tried to hustle me off to the local Emergency Room of the hospital they were associated with. When I balked, they tried some good old fashioned fear mongering. “You have a poor chance of making it home in one piece. Better let us call the ambulance for you.” Etc. I’ve been through all this before. I know the serious trouble signs as distinct from the bad day stress signs. Why they were leery of treating me right there I’m not sure. Two other cases of a similar nature have come to my attention since I recognized the type of interaction involved. I’m beginning to suspect that these Urgent Care store front operations are really little but feeder units for their associated hospitals. I did notice that the very first thing the admittance clerk checked up on was ability to pay, not symptoms.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Any health care provider that is obviously more interested in your billing/insurance info than your symptoms isn’t someone you should trust the motives of. One would quite naturally treat a patient very differently depending on whether they were primarily seen as a revenue source or as someone needing help.

        I’m not sure how we can even pretend to apply ethical practices and at the same time treat medicine as a profit center. The two are so often working directly at cross purposes to each other.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Huh? Where does MMT say that? Setting interest rates below risk (ZIRP or otherwise) will always stimulate an economy. You just might not like the way it does.

      1. Tyler

        Warren Mosler argues that ZIRP has a deflationary bias because it causes the federal government to pay no interest on the federal debt. You can find him saying this at his website,

        1. habenicht

          I won’t pretend to be an expert on MMT, but some of what Pilkington and Mosler say are very clear regarding this issue in this discussion:

          My take-away is this part: (emphasis mine)
          “The only way a rate cut could add to aggregate demand would be if, in aggregate, the propensities to consume of borrowers was higher than savers. But fed studies have shown the propensities are about the same, and, again, so does the actual empirical evidence of the last several years. And further detail on this interest income channel shows that while income for savers dropped by nearly the full amount of the rate cuts, costs for borrowers haven’t fallen that much, with the difference going to net interest margins of lenders. And with lenders having a near zero propensity to consume from interest income, versus savers who have a much higher propensity to consume, this particular aspect of the institutional structure has caused rate reductions to be a contractionary and deflationary bias .”

  5. rich

    The tide is turning against the scam that is privatisation The international revival of public ownership is anathema to our City-led elite. But it’s vital to genuine economic recovery

    Privatisation isn’t working. We were promised a shareholding democracy, competition, falling costs and better services. A generation on, most people’s experience has been the opposite. From energy to water, rail to public services, the reality has been private monopolies, perverse subsidies, exorbitant prices, woeful under-investment, profiteering and corporate capture.

    Private cartels run rings round the regulators. Consumers and politicians are bamboozled by commercial secrecy and contractual complexity. Workforces have their pay and conditions slashed. Control of essential services has not only passed to corporate giants based overseas, but those companies are themselves often state-owned – they’re just owned by another state.

    Report after report has shown privatised services to be more expensive and inefficient than their publicly owned counterparts. It’s scarcely surprising that a large majority of the public, who have never supported a single privatisation, neither trust the privateers nor want them running their services.

    But regardless of the evidence, the caravan goes on. David Cameron’s government is now driving privatisation into the heart of education and health, outsourcing the probation service and selling off a chunk of Royal Mail at more than £1bn below its market price, with the government’s own City advisers cashing in their chips in short order.

    But the need to break with 30 years of cash-backed dogma against public ownership goes well beyond rail. The privatised industries haven’t only failed to deliver efficiency, value for money, accountability or secure jobs. They have also sucked wealth, rentier-style, out of sitting-duck monopolies, concentrated economic decision-making in fewer and fewer hands, deepened inequality and failed to deliver the investment essential to sustainable growth.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Of all of the false memes we’ve been fed over the past 3 decades, or so, perhaps the worst is that the private sector can do everything and anything better, faster, and cheaper than the government. Combine that with trickle down nonsense (“give the greedy everything, and the will share it generously with the rest of us), and the subtle switch to a credit economy (from a productivity/income-based one), and there’s no wonder the middle class has been crushed.

    2. Benedict@Large

      … with the government’s own City advisers cashing in their chips in short order.

      Can there be any stronger sign of a failed state than when government insiders are making deals and cashing out as fast as they can? The whole thing is coming down, and us rubes are now just along for the ride,

    3. trinity river

      I don’t yet see privatization on the wane, but hope you are right. The most absurd privatization scan I ever saw proposed was when Pat McCrory was mayor of Charlotte and tried to get a county owned cemetery privatized. Fortunately someone spoke up and said that the company buying it could go bankrupt in 10 years. Opps.

  6. voislav

    Re: Damaged rendition flight documents

    Obligatory Yes Minister excerpt. I always wonder if any of the current ministers have seen the show.

    Jim: [reading] This file contains the complete set of papers, except for a number of secret documents, a few others which are part of still active files, a few others lost in the flood of 1967.
    [to Humphrey] Was 1967 a particularly bad winter?
    Sir Humphrey: No a marvellous winter, we lost no end of embarrassing files.

  7. trish

    re Chelsea Clinton Makes $900,000 for Doing Almost Nothing.

    I can’t wait till she runs for office! And, oh, that one day she may be play-acting the role of public servant together with Jenna, one of the assorted Bidens, even Malia…myriad other dynastic possibilities…

    and then they can each joyfully swing back through the revolving door to make 9,000,000 for Doing Almost Nothing.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “– June 2, Interviewed the Geico gecko, an animated character who sells insurance.”

      I am publicly begging forgiveness from my daughter. There is no punishment too severe for a parent who failed to anticipate and prepare her offspring for the obvious social and financial benefits of claymation and cartoonsmanship. I, regrettably, thought COFFEE would be the way forward.

      I don’t know if “cartoonsmanship” is even a word, but I am too verklempt…….

    2. fresno dan

      C’mon, its simply outrageous and shocking that she made 900K for doing ALMOST nothing…
      1. That piddling sum is only appropriate for an elite doing absolutely nothing…
      2. The inability of make 1000 times more money for not doing anything, or ideally 1 MILLION times more money to totally screwing the American, nay, the World economy, demonstrates a decidedly lack of intellect and ambition…

      1. trish

        well, maybe she’s anticipating her political future when she can claim she’s dead broke.

    3. optimader

      This is a contemporary way to confer financial independence to those anointed to be professional political creatures..
      Cases in point:
      Rahm Emanuel…..
      not a bad career trajectory w/a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, (where’s that again??) a liberal arts school with a strong dance program
      After serving as an advisor to Bill Clinton, in 1998 Emanuel resigned from his position in the Clinton administration and joined the investment banking firm Wasserstein Perella, where he worked until 2002.[39] Although he did not have an MBA degree or prior banking experience, he became a managing director at the firm’s Chicago office in 1999, and according to Congressional disclosures, made $16.2 million in his two-and-a-half-years as a banker.[39][40] At Wasserstein Perella, he worked on eight deals, including the acquisition by Commonwealth Edison of Peco Energy and the purchase by GTCR Golder Rauner of the SecurityLink home security unit from SBC Communications.[39]

      Emanuel was named to the Board of Directors of Freddie Mac by President Clinton in 2000. He earned at least $320,000 during his time there, including later stock sales.[41][42] During Emanuel’s time on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandals involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities.[42][43] The Obama Administration rejected a request under the Freedom of Information Act to review Freddie Mac board minutes and correspondence during Emanuel’s time as a director.[42

      GW Bush…
      Not bad career trajectory for drinking through BA in History at Yale.. Maybe it was his role as head cheerleader that put his CV over the top?
      Bush began his industry career in 1979, when he established Arbusto Energy, an oil and gas exploration company he financed with his education trust fund surplus and money from other investors, including Dorothy Bush, Lewis Lehrman, William Henry Draper III, Bill Gammell, and James R. Bath, the last of whom represented Salem bin Laden, a half-brother and cousin of Osama bin Laden. In 1984, Bush sold the company, hurt in the wake of the 1979 energy crisis, to Spectrum 7, another Texas gas exploration firm. Under the terms of the sale, Bush became CEO. Spectrum 7 lost revenue and was merged into Harken Energy Corporation in 1986, with Bush becoming a director of Harken.

      After working on his father’s successful 1988 presidential campaign, Bush learned from fellow Yale alumnus William DeWitt, Jr., that family friend Eddie Chiles wanted to sell the Texas Rangers baseball franchise along with the new sports dome; built on land acquired under eminent domain law and built under funding financed through taxpayers’ funds backed by a bond issued for its debt. The new home of the Texas Rangers is still being contested in court by the original landowner who has not received payment for the land. The sports dome has not yet been paid off with the tax increase enacted to pay off the bond. The selling of the baseball team included the new stadium, which accounts for the huge profits the investors received. The benefits to the taxpayers or the landowner from their contributions are unknown. In April 1989, Bush assembled a group of investors from his father’s close friends, including fellow fraternity brother Roland W. Betts; the group bought an 86% share of the Rangers for $75 million. Bush received a 2% share by investing $606,302, of which $500,000 was a bank loan. Against the advice of his counsel, Bush repaid the loan by selling $848,000 worth of stock in Harken Energy. Harken reported significant financial losses within a year of this sale, triggering allegations of insider trading. On March 27, 1992, the Securities and Exchange Commission concluded that Bush had a “preexisting plan” to sell, that Bush had a “relatively limited role in Harken management”, and that it had not seen evidence of insider trading.[1][2][3][4]

      The subsequent SEC investigation ended in 1992 with a memo stating “it appears that Bush did not engage in illegal insider trading,” but noted that the memo “must in no way be construed as indicating that the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result”.[5] Critics allege that this decision was strongly influenced by the makeup of the SEC at the time, which heavily favored Bush. The chairman at the time was Richard Breeden, a good friend of the Bush family’s who had been nominated to the SEC by President George H. W. Bush and who had been a lawyer in James Baker’s firm, Baker Botts. The SEC’s general counsel at the time was James Doty, who had represented George W. Bush when he sought to buy into the Texas Rangers (although Doty recused himself from the investigation.) Bush’s own lawyer was Robert Jordan, who had been “partners with both Doty and Breeden at Baker Botts and who later became George W. Bush’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia”.

      In House of Bush, House of Saud, Craig Unger notes that at the time of Bush’s sale, Harken Energy “was expected to run out of money in just three days” (p. 123). In a last-ditch attempt to save the company, Harken was advised by the endowment fund of Harvard University to spin off two of its lower-performing divisions. “According to a Harken memo, if the plan did not go through, the company had ‘no other source of immediate financing.'” Bush had already taken out a $500,000 loan and sought Harken’s general counsel for advice. The reply was explicit: “The act of trading, particularly if close in time to the receipt of the inside information, is strong evidence that the insider’s investment decision was based on the inside information… the insider should be advised not to sell”. This memo was turned over by Bush’s attorney the day after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled that it would not charge Bush with insider trading. On June 22, Bush sold his 212,140 shares of stock anyway for a net profit of $848,560. The very next quarter, Harken announced losses of $23 million, which continued to the end of the year when the stock “plummeted from $4 to $1.25”.

      As President, Bush has refused to authorize the SEC to release its full report on the Harken investigation.[6] When the Rangers franchise was sold for $250 million in 1998, at a total profit of $170 million, Bush personally received $14.9 million for his $600,000 investment.[7]

      Timothy Geitner..
      not a bad career trajectory for a BA in Asian studies
      Geithner worked for Kissinger Associates in Washington for three years and then joined the International Affairs division of the U.S. Treasury Department in 1988. He went on to serve as an attaché at the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo. He was deputy assistant secretary for international monetary and financial policy (1995–1996), senior deputy assistant secretary for international affairs (1996–1997), and assistant secretary for international affairs (1997–1998).[10]

      He was Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (1998–2001) under Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers.[10] Summers was his mentor,[18][19] but other sources call him a Rubin protégé.[20][21][22]

      Treasury Secretary designee Geithner meets then-Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus on November 25, 2008
      In 2001 he left the Treasury to join the Council on Foreign Relations as a Senior Fellow in the International Economics department.[23] He was director of the Policy Development and Review Department (2001–2003) at the International Monetary Fund.[10]

      In October 2003, at age 42,[24] he was named president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.[25] His salary in 2007 was $398,200.[26] As President of the New York Fed, he served as Vice Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee. In 2006, he also became a member of the Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty.[27] In May 2007, he worked to reduce the capital required to run a bank.[24] In November he rejected Sanford Weill’s offer to take over as Citigroup’s chief executive.[24]

      1. craazyman

        Seems like the less you do, the more money you make.

        That’s not the way economic productivity is supposed to work, according to the textbooks, is it?

        1. psychohistorian

          It is not how much one does but the relative quality of the effort that sets your payoff.

          Unfortunately, for the aforementioned cretins, the relative quality of their efforts is being measured and payment set by the sucky elite of our world.

          As we continue to devolve an increasing amount of GDP will go into paying humans with no morals to “convince” the rest of us that all is well in the world and everything is as it should be.

      2. griffen

        Interesting, had never read that Rahm was on the board at FHLMC (what a class organization to its sister company FNM).
        Texas Rangers do not play in a domed stadium (though it gets a little warm in August) Only just next door is the domed stadium locally named as Jerry World.

      3. cnchal

        Thanks for the history lesson.

        Turbo Timmy sure was a secretary a lot of the time. Don’t secretaries take dictation?

      4. fresno dan

        thank you for that background
        Now my cynicism level has been raised to infinity and beyond….

    1. susan the other

      And those Elephants in the Rain were great. They had expressions as intense as 3-year-old kids. Cheers.

  8. ex-PFC Chuck

    From Sic Semper Tyrannis:

    They will simply go in, kill as many young men(assumed to be Hamas) as possible and utterly destroy as much infrastructure and economic assets as they can. They will then withdraw and leave the people to their own devices. My nephew is a Golani captain and his unit is just outside Gaza the above is the essence of his unit’s orders.” jdledell

    1. Eeyores enigma

      It almost makes one wonder if Israel doesn’t go into Gaza and lob a few rockets back at Israel as reason enough to bomb Gaza back to the stone age at regular intervals.

    2. James Levy

      I keep wandering back to the same awful point: it may likely be true, but it doesn’t matter. I once heard a Vietnam Vet tell a harrowing story of mass killing to boost the body count so his unit could get leave in Saigon for exceeding their target of “kills.” Since then, I’ve heard tenured history professors tell me that no such thing ever happened and soldiers who report such things are making it up because they are “guilty” about the war or “anti-establishment” or “hate the army” and want to make it look bad.

      Could the facts of the matter (and yes, I do think something happened in Vietnam and that those things that actually happened are facts) be ascertained? Perhaps. Would it make any difference? No. Because many of the professional historians of Vietnam are irredentists who think that the “liberals” lost the war and if you showed that x or y happened, it would be dismissed as “an isolated incident” or excused because “the VC did worse.”

      No amount of evidence that the Israelis are overwhelmingly strong and that the Palestinians are pathetically weak, or that the ratio of dead in all these raids and counter-raids overwhelmingly indicates that Palestinians are doing the suffering and the dying over there, mean shit. People love Israel and see Arabs as sub-human and essentially evil. Just as those American historians love America and its army and see any attempt to taint its record as revolting and a calumny. We are good and they are bad. We make mistakes but they do not. When we kill it is because we have no choice. When they kill it is because they mindlessly love to kill and only our killing them prevents them from killing all of us. How do you defeat that mentality? I have no idea. But facts ain’t going to do it.

      1. Banger

        Your example is a powerful indictment on American intellectual culture because it is not limited to Vietnam but extends into all areas of knowledge even physics. There is a certain party-line in any area of study–sometimes it is pretty solid sometimes looser but, in the end, it comes down to denial–specifically denial or easily provable facts. The gauleiters of culture whether in the university system of “progressive” web sites make sure that their Narrative is held and inquiry limited to very narrow boundaries. This is why perfectly intelligent people automatically discard inconvenient facts–it is not very conscious but they are so used to saying certain things cannot be. In the case of atrocities of war, Americans cannot commit atrocities because they are Americans–when they do, as in My Lai, it is as a result of an crazy and almost accidental combination of facts where people just snapped and did messed up things. Every other country is capable of atrocities but not Americans. Similarly, Presidents or other senior officials are not capable of corruption or great crimes it’s always either incompetence or “mistakes were made” the favorite media trope.

        The systems that we complain about on this blog, the TBF banks, the Fed, the media, the corruption of the regulatory system, Obamacare and the dominance of the military and the national security state would not be possible without an intellectual class that has as narrow a focus as it does–the problems start in ElSec and continue into university with a few notable exceptions here and there. Even how we divide disciplines, how we teach and so on are usually directly contradict what we know, collectively (flawed as it is). We spend fortunes on research and are unable to present our knowledge in a cohesive ways. Corrections system have degenerated into cruel punishment system despite what we know about offenders and what causes them to offend, the Justice system rewards the rich and punishes the poor just as all the other systems do–medical research concentrates on ways of making money for Big Pharma instead of running with the implications of what we know, i.e., that stress causes at least 80% of disease and we know, more or less, what it takes to relieve stress but we generally don’t, collectively, have any interest in anything but actually increasing stress and misery. All because we, who we can loosely classify as intellectuals, are so used to wearing blinders. We know, conclusively, that love/compassion soothes all ills, yet we insist on a fear-based political economy.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          “Your example is a powerful indictment on American intellectual culture because it is not limited to Vietnam but extends into all areas of knowledge even physics.”

          IIRC it was Einstein who said, “Physics advances one funeral at a time.”

        2. James Levy

          The wackiest thing of all is that conservative Southerners, who will denounce real (and imagined or hyper-exaggerated) atrocities committed by other Americans against them in the Civil War would knock your block off if you accused Americans today of doing anything like that (looting, rape, arson).

          I’ve always been weak on double-think. I may be a crank, but I know what a principle is. But then again, my parents had a deeply abstract sense of good and evil (which could be hell when you are a kid and want them to stand up for you no matter what, but taught me an invaluable lesson about fairness). And, as my mother so often told us, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

        3. Skeptic

          “but extends into all areas of knowledge even physics. ”

          And all areas of activity. There is not a morsel of Modern Life which has not been corrupted in some way.
          Universities, which supposedly advance and preserve those “areas of knowledge” are part of the problem churning out more and more bodies for the Predatory Economy.

        4. hunkerdown

          Who needs a life when you have a lifestyle, and a very stylish one at that, and you’ve paid a fortune for it?

  9. Banger

    Part of the reason this Administration is limiting access to reporters is that public information offices have managed to get more and more power within agencies and departments. It is their job to manage all information and they are staffed, increasingly, with PR professionals and political operatives. Having said that reporters have some nerve complaining since they, as a profession, have done more to debilitate our society by their consistently false and misleading work and maintaining an overall Narrative that has very little connection to reality. What they are jealous of is that the PR people who work for gov’t and the PR firms of K Street are, increasingly, making their own work obsolete.

      1. fresno dan

        How many “reporters” have become White House spokespersons?
        And how many spokespersons for other representatives and businesses and associations were formerly “reporters”….
        Look at the White House “correspondents” dinner, and you’ll understand that the “adversarial” press is adversarial in the same way professional wrestling is.

  10. trish

    Gorillas Use Stinky B.O. to Say ‘Back Off’

    I wonder if teenage boys sometimes use this. ie with their mothers, or older sisters. seems that way.

    1. diptherio

      Personally, when I want the TV room to myself I just take a quick jog around the block to get the ol’ sweat flowin’, and then go sit down in front of the tube without my shirt on. Guaranteed no one is gonna come in and ask if they can change the channel from Book TV to Bad Girl’s Club….

    2. craazyman

      How would they even know what smells bad to a gorilla? They’ve never been a gorilla, as far as any of us knows, including them. This so-called “news story” doesn’t smell right to me. sorry.

      Is this a hoax or a PR stunt? I’ve noticed there’s a movie out now about apes with guns. And it’s not a metaphor. The movie poster really had apes, like you’d see in a zoo, with firearms. Maybe it is a metaphor, but it’s too subtle to apprehend all at once.

      1. cwaltz

        It’s the prequel to the nostalgic Planet of the Apes(the old movie where 2 astronauts think they landed on a planet controlled by Apes only to find that they had landed on Earth in the future after humans destroyed it.)

      2. optimader

        “How would they even know what smells bad to a gorilla? ”
        Exactly right, very human-centric.
        Having once seen a Chimpanzee in the San Diego Zoo take a dump, then shape it into a ball and eat it, I make no assumptions about what smells/taste good to other creatures.

          1. ambrit

            Then he’d have really been buggered. (I’ve never really trusted that guy in the yellow hat.)

  11. diptherio

    This interview with Andres Toledo of Coopertiva Alé Alé is super inspiring. Found myself getting a little weepy whilst proofing it…If economic justice, collective courage, and solidarity are your thing, this one is a three-hanky piece. Makes me wonder what I would do if I ended up in Andres’ situation, working at a joint that’s about to be closed down, not having been paid for months. I hope I’d do like Andres and organize a cooperative take-over.

    “Together is the only way we’re going to make it”

    The first thing we did was to get rid of the supervisors and say they couldn’t come back. Then, the owner called, and they passed the phone to me. He said they were going to evict us and I would go to prison. I had been advised on this. I said to him, “So, if this is your business and you’re doing things right, come here and defend it. Come here, I’m waiting for you here. In the meantime, I’ll be managing it. Self-managing.” We asked the owners to come and talk to us, but they never appeared. Never. So we did everything.

    The 13th of January we started working together on everything. The owner called and said, “Whoever is responsible for the accounts is doing it with a criminal charge against them and [is] going to jail,” things like that. So the cashiers left and I said, “no problem.” Now I manage the accounts.

    After a bit, the the police came. Imagine! That first day we were all sure they were going to come and evict us. By chance, I was here alone talking to a lawyer, saying, “What do I do?” She was saying you have to do this and that. I mean, we were all excited and saying “Up with Alé Alé”, but there I was alone with the lawyer. Really this was beautiful, because I faced a policeman, and he asked me what was happening and I told him the story. I said, “Look, this happened. And the other thing… They owe us four months salary, seven years retirement contributions… And now we’ve taken the place, and we’re going to work as a co-operative.” The police man looked at me and said, “You know what? Don’t leave here. Stay here. I’m a worker like you. The only thing we’re going to do… These people want us to get you out of here, but we can’t without the order from a judge. So, I only came to give you this paper, and I’m going. I’m going to collaborate with you peacefully. But move forward, don’t leave here. Stay here and you’re going to win.” I said, “Wow!”

    Hell yeah!

  12. craazyman

    Is today the start of “The Great Unravelling”?

    The beginning of the beginning of The End, an end which will end, certainly, with interest rates at 35% and the Dow at 139? It may be. Not to sound too hysterical or anything. After 5+ years of sky-is-falling-macroeconomic-melodrama almost anybody would be ready to scream a silent scream of financial fury at the anamorphostically asphyxiating analysis that passes for so-called cutting edge wisdom among the know-it-all’s who seem to have big paychecks matched only by their small capacity for insight, let alone foresight. How much of this can one person read in a lifetime? Enough to cut miserably into the time available for wasting utterly.

    What you need is not intelligence or any kind of information advantage. All that does is confuse you into thinking you know more than you do. What you need — other than a job that pays you lots of money no matter how stupid you are, or a rich relative — is luck.

    Could this be a time to get lucky? It might be. How would you know? You don’t know. That’s the problem. But you won’t get lucky unless you put some money down. This is the question right now, on the table. Is it time to get lucky? The problem is though, if you are lucky, where will you spend all your money? Since nothing much will be left except detritus of delusions that were once measured in dollars but are now no longer even able to be measured? It could be a good time to buy a boat and eat seaweed and fish!

    1. Jim Haygood

      Some excerpts from the unraveling of Bubble II (R.I.P.):

      27 Feb 2007 — Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) announces that it will no longer buy the most risky subprime mortgages and mortgage-related securities.

      2 Apr 2007 — New Century Financial Corporation, a leading subprime mortgage lender, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

      1 Jun 2007 — Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Services downgrade over 100 bonds backed by second-lien subprime mortgages.

      7 Jun 2007 — Bear Stearns informs investors that it is suspending redemptions from its High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Fund.


      The warning bells weren’t just ringing; they were busting their hinges off, with the whole bell tower on fire. And what happened? Stocks just kept on rising until October 2007.

      Do what is profoundly irrational, and soon you will be both rich and lucky.

    2. ambrit

      “ a boat and eat seaweed and fish.”
      Don’t try that on the west coast of north America. You’ll end up glowing in the dark and being complimented for your enlightening personality!

    3. griffen

      stuff hits the fan almost exclusively in the 2nd half. 1929, 1987, 1998 (Long Term Cr*pital), 2008 (LEH, AIG, TARP).

      Maybe Citigroup won’t almost fail (again) this go around.

        1. griffen

          Well I’m certain something could , or possibly did, crash in 1050. The exchange market for round stones probably took a beating that year !

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘Stuff hits the fan almost exclusively in the 2nd half. 1929, 1987, 1998 (Long Term Cr*pital), 2008 (LEH, AIG, TARP).’

        These are good examples. But spring can be harsh too. Such as the Dow’s mostly-forgotten 22% drop in May 1940, on war fears. Or the 50% slide that started in March 1937 and extended through March 1938.

        Some still recall the brief recession and bear market which took the Dow down to 759 in April 1980. April is the cruelest month …

  13. Paul Niemi

    Four links and a whole thread on China today. I like the links to Mish Shedlock. He also gives a good commentary on the radio at night on Coast to Coast AM. I think I’m going to take a field trip to see how China is doing today, down to my local Kmart. It’s been three months, and I want to look for signs of more empty shelves or fire sales. My interest in China stems from about five years ago when I noticed their stuff was starting to be defective, despite replacing our stuff. I bought a new Made in China water pump for my Ford F-250 from my local NAPA parts store, and it wiggled right out of the box. I returned it for another, and that one lasted a day. Finally, I had them use a part number from their old book, instead of the number off the computer, and found one Made in Mexico, and of course no problem with that one. Over time, I have had enough experience with defective products imported from China that I have reached the conclusion that the offshoring of jobs from the United States to China has been a scam, a swindle. I think the only way it has been possible is in the artificial environment of a credit and debt pyramid unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It is nearing the end, and there will be fireworks.

    1. optimader

      Over time, I have had enough experience with defective products imported from China …….. debt pyramid unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It is nearing the end, and there will be fireworks.

      Correct conclusion.. scam. Nothing Is Free. The scam foisted is one of corporate tax evasion, deferred environmental pollution control and industrial hygiene/safety. The fact of the matter is with ever increasing industrial automation pushing down the labor content in value added production, the cost of handling/transportation product in pipeline makes it less and less rational to fabricate the crappy stainless steel grill ( or your water pump) in China vs building a decent one in the Americas. the Chinese operate on such a razor thin margin, they have to extract profit from the illusion of supplying a robust product which in fact is CRAP. As people FINALLY catch on (I hope) due to less and less disposable income, hopefully the sophistication of buying less but buying quality will e beaten in to there purchasing behavior. End of rant..

      1. Paul Niemi

        I did my little snoop trip to Kmart, China-by-proxy since everything in the store is made there, and lo it seems everything in the store is being marked down — half the items by 30 to 40 percent, and everything else at least 5 percent. Interpretation: they need to raise cash. There are not too many empty shelves, but the store is not full to the rafters like three months ago, and lots of the items, especially the boxes they come in show damage in shipping, as if squashed into the containers. In the huge store there was only one checkout line open, only one set of automatic doors working, the pizza station was closed, and the lines in the parking lot had not been painted for a couple years.

        It really is all a scam. No way is it less expensive, when you add up all the costs, to manufacture in China. What the whole show does is take from the poor and give to the rich. And I think manufacturing is changing. The days of the big factory producing big batches of product with big environmental costs are waning. In the future, I believe it will be possible to make custom products, one or a few at a time, on demand, and have the cost of that technology pencil out to be about the same. No big inventories will be needed. That is where we need to be. The whole show in China is not only a financial scam, the whole paradigm is obsolete.

  14. Garrett Pace

    Right to secede?

    Now that “rights” are granted by government forbearance, rather than recognized as inviolate, I am not encouraged about the answer to any rights questions.

  15. Jackrabbit

    The ISIS Is A U.S. Tool “Conspiracy Theories” -Moon of Alabama
    MoA punts with: I’m not ready to decide.” Suggestion: read the comments.

    Back in March 2007(!!) Sy Hersh wrote “The Redirection”. In which he reports that:

    To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
    . . .
    The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.

    [[ Note: In 2014, Sy Hersh wrote “The Red Line and the Rate Line” in which he detailed Obama Administration clandestine support for Syrian rebels.]]
    . . .
    The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat.
    . . .

    In addition, many have taken note of the following:

    – The Administration’s professed surprise at the emergence/rise of IS/ISIS makes no sense. The US follows ME developments closely and has many sources of information and both the Kurds and Maliki say that they warned about ISIS long ago (I believe I saw some document from November 1st).

    – To this date, the US has taken no action against IS/ISIS despite its professed concerns – instead insisting that Maliki must go. The US Promised to deliver F16s that would be crucial to fighting ISIS but never did. Russia recently delivered urgently ground attack planes within days. Maliki now demands that the US return $40 million that was paid for the US planes.

    – It has been reported that IS/ISIS fighters were trained in Jordan (a US ally). The IS/ISIS leader was jailed in Jordan and released.

    – From MoA: “Obama acknowledges that the notion of a “ready-made moderate Syrian force that was able to defeat Assad” was a “fantasy”, and only days later, requests $500 million from Congress to fund this fantasy.” This arms provided would likely find their way to IS/ISIS/

    – Israeli purchase of oil from the Kurds – bypassing the Iraq Govt – and statements from US that take Kurdish independence as a given. The more the Kurds break free, the weaker is the central govt and the more likely that Iraq is partitioned.

    And, of course, this is only part of ‘the case’.

    H O P

    1. Jackrabbit

      This is probably the fourth time that I’ve linked to “The Redirection” at NC. It really seems key to understanding what is going on because:

      1) It is not something that a reporter would just think up on their own

      2) It is a strategy that would take years to develop (so the fact that we are seeing results in recent years is understandable)

      3) It makes sense given that the backlash from the Iraq War debacle constrained further US-led ‘adventures’ AND vies with frequently expressed KSA and Israeli concerns

      4) There is a history of stoking extremists: Al Queda to fight the Russians in Afghanistan; extreme nationalists in Ukraine, etc.

      5) Other events have confirmed this story (overt and covert support for Syrian rebels, rush to bomb Syria, etc.)

      1. Jackrabbit

        PS It seems likely that reporting like this led to or intensified the war on whistle-blowers. If you are going to do shady things, you want to ensure that they are kept secret AND that you guard against blow-back with tighter security measures (Indirect confirmations?)

      2. Jackrabbit

        And another thing . . .

        One might well ask if this ‘proxy war’ is better than a ‘real war’ that might eventually involve US forces. Or, will this eventually lead to a real war? Are we containing Iran or provoking it? And whats the ultimate goal – will conflict it continue and intensify until the Iranian regime is overthrown? Also, the strategy may have made sense when formed but with the Hersh report, and other reports, having ‘let the cat out of the bag’ does it still make sense? or is it reckless to continue now that ‘plausible deny-ability isn’t so plausible anymore? What of Russian and Chinese support for Iran/Iraq and the building tensions in other areas with these countries?

        1. Jackrabbit

          I sure hope that someone is thinking about these questions other than neocons (who seem to predominate in USG, think tanks, and academia) and a few bloggers.

        2. Banger

          Well, there’s the rub isn’t it? How to make sense of these policies? As I see it there is a lot of action underneath the covers, as you know. Every faction is pursuing their own interest. If you look at how the Iraq War was conducted you will see that there were multiple and contradictory agendas that mainly had to do with corruption, i.e., feasting on the billions that disappeared from view but some of it involved real strategic differences. On the one hand, for example, there were intel forces trying to created Sunni/Shiite hatreds by bombing or aiding in bombing Shiite holy sites, on the other, there were people wanting to heal the differences and so on.

    2. Paul Niemi

      To help complete the picture, do a search for “death squads.” It is said that Shiite death squads have been in operation in the Iraq for some time, and that as many as 100 bodies per night have been found. That may be a grievance source. Assume now too that Sunni death squads from ISIS are at work as well. This is the very definition of terror: the knock on the door in the middle of the night, to take you away, execute you, and leave your body in a ditch. It is also said that in Afghanistan, special forces have employed death squads on the ground as a compliment to the drones. I did not want to know that, because it makes me sick. This stuff is not in the U.S. press.

    3. Banger

      Great research–and know that support of extremists has been a constant for many decades by the U.S. and Britain as well as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and, more recently, Turkey. Jordan doesn’t count, of course, since it is directly under U.S./Israeli rule or at least appears to be.

    4. ewmayer

      Besides the voluminous damning stuff about the administration’s attempt to lie their way into a war on Syria in The Red Line and the Rat Line,, I found fascinating the stuff on the Benghazi consulate attack detailed in there:

      The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

      In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

      The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

      The annex [to the Senate Intelligence Committee report] didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

    1. Vatch

      The U.S. government has a long history of nasty behavior in Central America. But that’s not the only cause of the child immigration crisis.

      While experts strive to stem this immigration surge, one fundamental cause shouldn’t be ignored: the Vatican’s refusal to respect the rights of all women to make their own childbearing decisions.

      Many of these children have made the long, dangerous trek from Guatemala, which has the most rapid population growth of any Latin American nation. There, the least educated women have more than five children each; the average woman has nearly four. Mexico, its neighbor to the north, however, has made extraordinary progress in expanding access to voluntary family planning. Family size there has plummeted from 6.8 children per woman in 1970 to just 2.2 children today. This helps explain why the current crisis involves a sudden influx of children from Central America and not from Mexico, where small families have played a major role in changing society for the better.

      What makes Guatemala so different from Mexico? A big part of the discrepancy is the role of the Catholic Church. Both Mexico and Guatemala are largely Catholic and share much in the way of a common heritage. But Mexico has a long, proud tradition of separation of church and state, and birth control is universally available. Not so in Guatemala, where the church is a powerful and harmful political force. Catholic bishops in Guatemala have long suppressed efforts to allow women and couples the means to make their own reproductive choices.
      . . .
      Unlike his predecessor, Pope Francis at least seems open to change on some fronts. But women and couples in Guatemala don’t have the luxury of time. Neither should the Pope. While the U.S. government does what it can to protect these children and end this immigration crisis, Pope Francis needs to step up. He can undo the damage inflicted by Pope Paul VI back in 1968 by rescinding Humanae Vitae, the papal encyclical against modern contraception. It’s 2014, and the overwhelming majority of Catholics around the world support the use of contraception.

      1. Carolinian

        But the Catholic birth control issue is not exactly new whereas the surge in child immigration is. Also I believe I’ve seen it written that at least half the children recently are from Honduras where a coup of sorts took place early in the Obama administration. Hillary’s State Dept seemed to turn a blind eye to the abuses even while other nearby countries were pressuring for the restoration of the previous government.

        1. Vatch

          I didn’t say that the relative lack of birth control in Guatemala is the only reason for the crisis. The causes in the article that you cite are very important. However, the populations of both Guatemala and Honduras continue to grow, and that places great stress on families. The total fertility rate in Honduras isn’t as bad as it is in Guatemala, but it’s still significantly higher than in Mexico.

    2. Banger

      That is precisely why the MSM should be public enemy number one–they never mention how the U.S. destroyed the fabric of society in Central America through supporting and funding mass murderers, rapists and torturers in the region, whenever possible. American FP is about destroying societies, creating chaos and enabling gangsters and martinets to rule at the national and barrio level just as they are doing sytematically in all regions. It’s really tragic and horrible–and the sad part is FP policy-makers are so narrow in their focus they don’t really think about it–they know that if they do think too much their careers are finished.

  16. financial matters

    This seems like a good proposal for money market fund reform. Basic money market funds would keep their standard 1 dollar share price (not be allowed to break the buck). And they could only invest in Treasuries and other government securities.

    ‘Prime’ money market funds could offer more interest but investors could also lose money (break the buck). These funds would be allowed to enter the tri-party repo market and invest in short-term corporate debt and other securities.


    “”How we got here

    In the fall of 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and one money market mutual fund suffered heavy losses due to its investments in the company’s short-term debt. The fund’s shares fell below the fixed price of $1 per share, which is known as “breaking the buck.”

    That triggered a run on the fund, which spread to other money market funds. The Treasury Department stepped in with a temporary guarantee program, which stopped the run and stabilized money market funds. “”

  17. Keith Ackermann

    This is a very interesting video of a Zionist settler lecturing some Palestinians on their station in life. If they behave themselves, they will be accepted as slaves.

    Zionism was a very bad idea. Any utopian vision is a bad idea because increasingly violent means are always used to attempt the impossible.

      1. hunkerdown

        Utopian visions aren’t necessarily bad; it’s just that in practice the bulk of utopian endeavors are profoundly and predictably dependent on the sufferance and expense of Others for their very life force. How about that Athenean democracy, eh?

  18. fresno dan

    “Police in Northern Virginia have backed off plans to coercively photograph the erection of a 17-year-old charged with child pornography for allegedly sexting an explicit video to his 15-year-old girlfriend.

    A day after the case received notoriety, the Manassa City Police Department announced Thursday that a search warrant to gather additional photographic evidence would not be executed.

    “When I found out about it, we determined we would not proceed,” Chief Douglas Keen told WRC-TV.

    Authorities will let the search warrant expire, Lt. Brian Larkin toldThe Washington Post.”

    The boy was initially detained and charged in late January, but charges were dismissed last month on a technicality. Prosecutors refiled charges, and police formally arrested him, seized his iPhone and iPad and took photos of his genitals against his will, according to his lawyer, Jessica Foster.

    She said prosecutors and police threatened to take him to a hospital and medically induce an erection with an injection if he did not cooperate. A judge approved a second search warrant last week after police and prosecutors said they needed to compare photos with the video.

    The case went to trial last week, and a court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. Foster told WRC she would seek to have all photos taken so far declared inadmissible as evidence.

    The boy is charged with felony counts of manufacturing and distributing child pornography. If convicted, he could be jailed until he’s 21 and placed on the state’s sex-offender list.”

    My problem isn’t that the police came up with this harebrained scheme.
    My problem isn’t even that a “judge” (or magistrate) approved it. (apparently, magistrates don’t even have to have passed the bar)
    My problem is that the “judge” isn’t immediately impeached.
    The bill of rights doesn’t mean anything unless people want it to mean something.

    1. Howard Beale IV

      Worse still would be to to find a doctor willing to give the boy the injection of a PDE5 inhibitor.

  19. JohnnyGL

    From the “Are the Authoritarians Winning” link:

    “In Latin America, democracy has sunk solid roots in Chile, but in Mexico and Colombia it is threatened by violence, while in Argentina it struggles to shake off the dead weight of Peronism. In Brazil, the millions who took to the streets last June to protest corruption seem to have had no impact on the cronyism in Brasília. In the Middle East…”

    I had to laugh at this one…are we really just going to ignore Venezuela? Love the Chavistas or hate them, they’ve undeniably gotten people voting. Facts are facts, even if DC elites can’t handle them.

  20. MarcoPolo

    Re: The cronut-ification of banking FTAlphaville
    Yves, keep an eye on this – potentially much more interesting than MMT. She has written several articles recently.

  21. Ignatz the Mouse

    The US is democratic rather than authoritarian. And I’m a pretty ballerina, watch me twirl!

    There ought to be a syndrome related to the Dunning-Kruger Effect, but instead of being so stupid you think you’re smart, you’re so stupid you think everybody else is stupid too.
    It could be called the Ignatieff Effect. That is the only explanation for assuming such obvious bullshit and thinking it will fly.

    The counterfactuals are pretty overwhelming when you see them all laid outin one place.

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