Links 7/11/14

Academic journal retracts articles over ‘peer review ring’ with bogus scholars Guardian. Chuck L: “How to not help the credibility problem of science.”

Listen to the Oldest Song in the World: A Sumerian Hymn Written 3,400 Years Ago OpenCulture

Psychologists Have Uncovered a Troubling Feature of People Who Seem Nice All the Time NewsMic

A way of capturing cancer cells from the bloodstream opens a new front in personal cancer treatment MIT Technology Review (David L)

Why libertarians must deny climate change, in one short take George Monbiot, Guardian. Chuck L: “A couple of years old but ever pertinent.”

The Renminbi’s Grand Tour Barry Eichengreen, Project Syndicate (David L)

Fact of the week: Not one European city in the top 10 for tech talent Bruegel

Why Moldova Urgently Matters Stratfor. Paul Tioxon:

What this article makes clear is that Russia at the very least is using what it knows quite well, as the original source of political theory on Imperialism, via Lenin’s writing. Hardly mentioned, along with most of Marx by the respected social scientists due to purges from the ’60s and continued ignorance based upon fearful avoidance, Putin and his cadre has a lot of America’s intellegencia at a disadvantage.

We say soft power, but the rest of the world reads quite clearly imperialism. Now that Russia is in a position to practice it to firm up its borders, we’re finding out that the USSR may be dead and gone, but national interests are forever. And Russia’s aren’t ours, especially right on their borders.

Cisco and Juniper lose $170 million in sales due to US sanctions Mark Ames, Pando

Russia Stalls Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

Death toll in Gaza ‘reaches 100’ BBC :-(

Opinion: Radical forces gain from Gaza war DW

Israeli Rocket Defense System Is Failing, Expert Analysts Say MIT Technology Review (David L)


ISIS: The Spoils of the ‘Great Loot’ in the Middle East Nation (Nikki)

UN Agency: Seized Iraq Nuclear Material Is No Risk Associated Press

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

One Of The NSA’s Original Whistleblowers Says The Goal Is ‘Total Population Control’ Guardian

Amazon presses on with drone plans Financial Times. You can be sure they’d surveil while making deliveries. Why would you not gather data that has probable commercial value?

We need to talk about the right to be forgotten Guardian (Chuck L)

Colleen McMahon Kicks the Administration’s Ass Marcy Wheeler

Imperial Collapse Watch

Retaliation for Spying: Germany Asks CIA Official to Leave Country Der Spiegel (Nikki)

U.S.-German Relations Fray Over Espionage Allegations Wall Street Journal. Moon of Alabama’s call days ago that Germany had started divorcing the US (a process that he pointed out would take a decade) is looking more and more on target.

NYT Protects the Fogh Machine Reader Supported News (RR)


Success Kills Another Obamacare Myth Bloomberg. Only in DC is forcing people to buy a generally overpriced product (insurance with high deductibles and often narrow networks) defined as a success. And to the extent that Obamacare is responsible for lower health care spending, those high deductibles, which force more costs on consumers, are the likely culprit (note that pricing is so extremely variable that some people will wind up better off, but from everything we can tell, including a conversation with a research outfit which got the features and pricing of all Obamacare policies). The one group that is a clear winner are those that benefitted from Medicaid expansion.

Remember that whole Obamacare thing? Apparently Congress has moved on. Washington Post

Buffett, Gates and Adelson criticise Congress on immigration Financial Times. Of course, they want more H1-B visas.

Parched California proposes steep fines for over-watering lawns Reuters (EM). This is good, but agriculture is the real water hog in CA…

Detroit Residents Face Water Crisis as 36 Detroit Businesses Owe Over $4.2 Million in Back Bills Brian Sonenstein, Firedoglake

Cynk Surges 36,000% as Buzz Builds for 1-Employee Company Bloomberg and Cynk sinks after 36,000% climb Financial Times

Has Anyone Heard of the Uniform Law Commission? Joel Sucher, Huffington Post. For those concerned about the effort to draw up a template for standardizing foreclosure-related laws.

Mortgage Bankers: ‘Unsustainable Housing Bubble Is Inflating’ Wolf Richter

A Devastating Pattern Of Homelessness Among Late Baby Boomers Could Repeat In Millennials Business Insider

Class Warfare

Security Is Tight at Sun Valley Conference New York Times

The Minimum Wage For Tipped Workers Hasn’t Increased Since the Fall of the Soviet Union Bill Moyers

Subsidizing private retirement accounts…. Angry Bear

San Francisco landlord uses loophole to evict 98-year-old who paid rent on time for 50 years Raw Story (Nikki)

“Forbidden Bookshelf” Series Acquaints Public with Books Vanished by Government or Powerful Interests Kevin Gosztola Firedoglake

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

LInks little cat lying on huge dog

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    “How to not help the credibility problem of science.” It’s largely in Climate Science and Nutrition that the credibility problems are severe. They could be largely solved if the “scientists” would stop telling lies.

    “Listen to the Oldest Song in the World: A Sumerian Hymn Written 3,400 Years Ago”: very interesting, but I didn’t follow the jump from Ugarit to Sumer. Can anyone help with this?

    “Why libertarians must deny climate change, in one short take “: I have never met or read anyone, libertarian or not, who denies climate change. Why must Monbiot and his ilk use the tactics of Goebbels?

    1. JL Furtif

      The ‘best science’ website (no I won’t put it’s name. It was already cited by Lambert and demolished in comments) only runs articles that deny human-caused climate change.
      There must be a reason that 0% of scientific articles deny it, but over 55% of MSM articles.

      1. jrs

        I doubt it has anything to do with libertarians though, unless one is throwing the Kochs and other billionaires in the “libertarian” bucket (might as well just throw them in the “billionaries” bucket – it may be all one needs to know). If it’s talking citizenry, may as well just call Republicans Republicans, never mind if they like to call themselves “libertarians” as they prefer the branding, when their approach to the world is throughly conservative and they repeatedly vote an R ticket with maybe one libertarian party choice thrown in once in a blue moon.

        “This is the point at which libertarianism smacks into the wall of gritty reality and crumples like a Coke can. Any honest and thorough application of this philosophy would run counter to its aim”

        If it’s aim in being used to defend the status quo which it tends to be given the way the world actually is (that’s where the money is). But actual libertarians have argued the EXACT SAME point Monboit is arguing follows from libertarianism. Rothbard did (maybe in his lefty sympathetic period rather than his paleoconservative period but at any rate – he argued polllution should be considered a violation of people’s rights. Libertarian solutions to this might not be better – lawsuits versus regulation – both can go wrong.).

    2. pretzelattack

      apparently one guy fabricated a bunch of identities, therefore the royal society and the aaas are wrong about climatology?

    3. Larry Barber

      Don’t be a pedant. Plenty of people deny the reality of anthropogenic climate change which is clearly what is being talked about here.

      1. davidgmills

        What reality? Climate changes; it always has. But are we experiencing global warming? That is the first question even before we address the issue of what is it’s cause.

        The answer is that there has not been any global warming in the last 17 years and 10 months. And the antarctic is at its highest ice extent ever.

        Something is wrong with the models that predicted warming by now.

        I am about as progressive as it gets and I once thought Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth was the best documentary ever. But when the reality (as you put it) was not conforming to the predictions, I started asking questions and having doubts. I believe it really is time for the rest of the progressive community to do the same. Or to at least ask yourself this: “How many years of zero warming does it take for you to start questioning the consensus?”

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Huh? Last year was one of the hottest ever in worldwide average temps. The first half of this year was on track to be the hottest ever. Stop generalizing from the eastern US, which was an extreme departure from what was happening in the rest of the globe.

        2. different clue

          I remember reading somewhere that the katabatic winds off Antarctica have been steadier / faster this year than the last few years. Those push the thin sea ice in the Antarctic Ocean right next to the Antarctic ice cap a little way out to sea allowing more ice-side seawater to freeze at the surface to get blown offshore allowing more ice-side seawater to freeze at the surface, etc.
          So the ocean surface area surrounding Antarctica covered by thin sea ice is bigger than in the last few years. This may be the “more Antarctic ice” herein referred to. The question arises: is the increased volume of this year’s katabatic sea ice greater than the volume of Antarctic sheet ice and cap ice which has disappeared over the last few years? If it is, then we can truthfully say that the cubic volume amount of Antarctic ice has increased again.
          Meanwhile, non-Antarctic icefields, icecaps, and glaciers have been net-melting/ net-shrinking all over the world, almost as if they are being net-melted by net-heat or something.

  2. abynormal

    re: Psych finding about Nice People…”Those who are described as “agreeable, conscientious personalities” are more likely to follow orders and deliver electric shocks that they believe can harm innocent people, while “more contrarian, less agreeable personalities” are more likely to refuse to hurt others.”

    I Respectfully Disagree …bahahahahaaaa

    “In northwest Alaska, kunlangeta “might be applied to a man who, for example, repeatedly lies and cheats and steals things and does not go hunting, and, when the other men are out of the village, takes sexual advantage of many women.” The Inuits tacitly assume that kunlangeta is irremediable. And so, according to Murphy, the traditional Inuit approach to such a man was to insist he go hunting, and then, in the absence of witnesses, push him off the edge of the ice.”
    M. Stout, The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “The Inuits tacitly assume that kunlangeta is irremediable.”

      Finally an “assumption” that makes sense on all levels.

      1. abynormal

        HA! believe it or not it was either that quote or this ““assumption” that makes sense on all level”

        “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”
        D.H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature

      2. hunkerdown

        And Western psychology appears to agree. So anthropogenic climate change is, in fact, an intentional endeavor to keep the ice floes from appearing within easy distance of Wall Street?

    2. ohmyheck

      I read that the Inuits set a kunlangeta onto an open water ice-flow and left him up to his fate. I always wondered about this. Maybe the Inuits assumed he would die, but I wonder if he would not just end up beached near some other Inuit village, to continue his psychopath ways.

      Maybe it is know among Inuit tribes that if some dude shows up alone on an iceberg, that they just shove him back into the sea.

      1. abynormal

        “shove him back to sea”, now thats funnee!…of course we can’t perform that simple task thanks to our preconditioned years of rudolf looking for santa from a floating berg :-/

      2. Binky Bear

        People who appear on the ice are assumed to be ghosts or demons and are killed immediately. This fact alone led people who were lost on the ice to commit suicide by hypothermia or become wild people, living alone on the margins of others’ territory. Sometimes relatives would find these people and have a ritual to “bring them back” to being real people, Inuuq, which was part of the problem in the first place if they were ejected. Once qablunaq showed up and stayed this changed slowly-see Brower, 50 years below zero for a good read.

  3. JL Furtif

    Why Moldova matters: Hasbara at its best.
    All observable facts show NATO expansion towards the east, and all you ever see in press is articles about Russian expansion towards the west.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      I’ve never heard of a NATO tank rolling in to take over territory. NATO membership is by treaty (and, yes, political and economic pressures do come to bear).

      Russia, OTOH, has a history of taking what it wants, by force, and making treaties, afterwards.

      1. Jagger

        Maybe not Nato but if you look at some individual members such as the US, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, I think you might find some recent and relevant history there of tanks rolling in and taking over territory. Although I think the reference to NATO eastern expansion relates to membership. Personally I have serious doubts you would ever see NATO go into a World War over any of the Baltic states or the Ukraine if they join. But then I think back to Serbia and WW1 and who knows what idiocy might occur down the line.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Not only is Serbia not a member of NATO, they are not part of the EU. NATO might have rolled in, but they didn’t annex the territory.

          1. hunkerdown

            Why would they, when “economic integration” is just as profitable with less hassle?

            1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

              To paraphrase George Thorogood: Ever’body already economically integrated. Now, they economically integrated, too . . .

              Other than North Korea, I can’t think of any country that isn’t already, in fact, economically integrated (and even NK has trade with other nations, I believe).

              The grind between tribalism and empire will always be there, and it is profitable.

      2. Banger

        What about Libya, Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia? Or even many NATO countries involved in the genocidal, illegal and corrupt war in Iraq? Russia, under the current regime, has reacted with some restraint in recent years considering the provocations most recently in Ukraine by the covert takeover of Ukraine by the NATO alliance.

        1. Vatch

          Perhaps my memory is faulty, but I recall that NATO did not become heavily involved in the former Yugoslav territories until after the Serbs committed the genocidal massacres against Bosian Muslims in Srebrenica and Markale.

          1. Jake Mudrosti

            No, your memory isn’t faulty. The policy under Bush I, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, et al., was to wait for the rump-Yugoslav (i.e., mainly Serbian) forces to reassert their control within the former borders. For this reason, an arms embargo was enforced against the Bosniaks, even while Bosnian Serb forces systematically carried out well-documented atrocities.
            Not until the Clinton administration did the official policy shift away from the Bush I formula. Even at that time, the ultimately-disastrous “Safe Haven” formula ( ) was preferred over NATO intervention. No simplistic NATO policy there.

            1. FederalismForever

              Let’s be fair. The Bush I team was also trying to monitor the dispersal of (potentially) thousands of nuclear weapons. This was the main reason they took so long to recognize the break-away republics.

              Besides, most of the atrocities you refer to occurred under Clinton’s watch. On the bright side (depending on your point of view), Clinton and Warren Christopher’s dithering inspired Samantha Power to enter politics and advocate for our “Responsibility to Protect.”

              1. OIFVet

                Yugoslavia never had nucular weapons. And R2P is a thinly veiled excuse for empire-building.

              2. Jake Mudrosti

                I mentioned James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, et al. since they operated with a specific policy, which very specifically meant giving the rump-Yugolavia a green light to use military force. In no way was this a case of being too distracted.

                The late Peter Jennings worked very hard to reframe the events in Bosnia — overtly rejecting the framing “handed down” by the Bush I team to the 1993 Clinton team ( ) My point, all along, simply this: No simplistic NATO policy there.

      3. JL Furtif

        Nato is extending “services” in Poland, the Baltics and probably another bunch of states to limit the so-called ‘agression’ of Russia.
        Nato is also doing exercices in the Black Sea. Is the Atlantic Ocean now too small?

        1. hunkerdown

          Remember, 3% growth forevar, and when they run out of ocean, they legislate more into existence. At least, if their performance with regards to “intellectual property” is any guide.

    2. Paul Tioxon

      Look at a map of the world. Not a topographical one, but the one with political territory. The size of Russia speaks for itself. Add onto that map of world Alaska, the extension of Russia into N America. We were fortunate they sold it to us. The tiny portion of the Eurasian land mass called Europe has been made less of a target by controlling access to the Black Sea which leads to the Mediterranean and onto the Atlantic Ocean. It also enters the Atlantic from its Northern Coast. After creating and holding onto a continental empire from the Atlantic to The Pacific by taking possession of the land directly under their political control, they are now engaging in Imperialism. One of the great sources of weakness of an international system of nations, guided by the suggestions of the United Nations, is that all of these country follows a uniform procedure of establishing central legislative bodies via popular elections. This gives entrance into the family of nations, along with due process, such as it is, and legitimate status as the authority of the people via its government bodies. Imperialism then has a smaller and easier target than an army to target in order to take what it wants. Influencing the popular opinion of the people by media, and placing choice candidates up for election and promoting them by hook or crook into power allows politics by other means than total war.

      Total war has been rejected because of the obvious futility in the face of the US overwhelming military superiority. Less than nation state warfare with proxies, propaganda blitzes, industrial sabotage, economic warfare, cyber attacks, espionage, grand spectacles of violent terrorism, everything short of blackening the enemies skies with bombers and swarming their defenses with armies. Peace is the absence of war, but not the absence of conflict. Politics goes on with varying degrees of volatility. Smaller nations with too ambitious leadership are crushed like Libya, Iraq etc. But Russia is too big and been around for too long to push around without consequences. They make a better partner in hegemony than adversary. I have little sympathy for Putin and Russia. It is the nation that is too big to fail. It better not. The US needs to figure this out sooner rather than later. Making them weaker does make us stronger, except in a relative sense. Then, policies can be developed to make sense out of the volatility of the Middle EAst and other areas close to Russian borders than ours.

  4. abynormal

    re: UN Agency: Seized Iraq Nuclear Material Is No Risk (Red Flag)…i don’t trust a dam thing that agency reports from the day we killed David Kelly

    1. Gaianne

      Wasn’t David Kelly the guy who committed suicide by slitting his wrists and then afterward thoughtfully walked out a mile into the woods so he wouldn’t get blood in his apartment?


    2. Vatch

      If there’s little or no U-235, the uranium can’t be used to make nuclear bombs. But the far more common “safer” U-238 is still radioactive, so it could be used to create conventional dirty bombs.

  5. Banger

    “ISIS: The Spoils of the ‘Great Loot’ in the Middle East” is essential reading from The Nation it is a very short and succinct history of the region without details but a good outline. The article describes the current situation very accurately except for a few details. The article implies that the forces of ISIS are not “out of control” of those who spawned it and it so could threaten, for example, the Saudi state. I believe, on the contrary, that the forces at work (basically a working alliance of intel organizations and financiers that have been in place, more or less, since the Soviet Afghan War) are mainly in control of ISIS. I don’t believe there is any danger to the Gulf States or Jordan from this group.

    The Nation and other left-leaning publications tend to discount the role of covert operatives since they also discount “deep politics” and prefer variants of mainstream narratives to more realistic approaches. Still the article is good background reading.

    1. hunkerdown

      Whatever gave you the idea that The Nation was an alt-weekly or something? :) They are very much for, of and by the management caste, whose social utility (such as it is) starts and ends with saying something often enough until subordinates make it a reality. And that’s just what they’ll do, sang one pop princess some decades ago…

      Facts are orthogonal to narrative. You may see the occasional facts in the MSM, but only after they have been machined, packaged and sorted to suit the sensibilities of their late-18th-century Whig counterparts. It’s a costume, not a culture.

  6. pretzelattack

    so detroit is shutting off water to residents who owe peanuts, and letting business slide who owe in aggregate 4.2 million. i like the spokesperson who said that water may be a human right, but questions whether humans deserved purified water delivered to them. let them drink sewage, eh?

    1. McMike

      Let them drink sewage.

      Perhaps the shutting off of water could be a modern revolutionary spark? Seems rather primal to me.

      Nah, the US peon has proven an unlimited appetite for eating ever larger sh*t sandwiches without fighting back.

      Half of the people without water will probably blame socialists and demand privatization.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        The US peon is apparently exactly like any other, throughout history, anywhere in the world.

        1. McMike

          Are there historical parallels in the willingness to rationalize their escalating oppression? Some kind of stockholm syndrome?

          I have got to believe that the self-awareness and reality-evaluation facilities of the American polity is at an epic low point.

          It is one thing to not get the gumption to revolt. It is another to ignore your own eyes and agree that the piss falling on your head is just rain.. and then ask for more.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        “Nah, the US peon has proven an unlimited appetite for eating ever larger sh*t sandwiches without fighting back.”

        Unfortunately, you may be right. In Jefferson County, Alabama, after it was royally screwed by JPM over its new sewer system resulting in astronomically unaffordable water bills, the poorer residents put port-a-potties in their yards when they could not pay. Financial innovation killed indoor plumbing!

        Still, the MUST be a line somewhere that cannot be crossed.

        1. McMike

          Indeed. And JPM or one of their peers is probably still raking in tens of millions in consulting fees for advising on how to get out of the mess, and pilfering the pension fund as well.

    2. optimader
      By Amira Hass | Feb. 13, 2014 | 3:20 AM
      Just how much do Palestinians rely on Israel for water?

      Israeli households use three times as much water as Palestinian ones do; but figure that caused Knesset uproar expresses just one aspect of a large discrepancy in access, development and use of resources

      Israelis – including those in the settlements – use three times as much water a day in their households as West Bank Palestinians do, according to figures provided by Palestinians and aid organizations. That is just one aspect of the large discrepancy between Israelis and Palestinians in access, development and use of water resources — a discrepancy that has only increased since the signing of the Oslo Accords.

      Some 113,000 Palestinians in the West Bank, in some 70 villages and communities, are still not connected to the water network and are dependent on water transported in tanker trucks, which raises the price significantly. In many of these communities, which are extremely poor, the families are forced to spend up to 40 percent of their income on this basic commodity. In these communities in Area C (under exclusive Israeli control) the average water consumption per day is about 20 liters per capita. Often a pipe of Israel’s Mekorot water company that reaches the settlements runs nearby, but the Palestinians are not allowed to connect to it. …

    3. jrs

      That might work in Detroit in the LONG term anyway, they get rainfall, why not build wells etc.. However if applied to somewhere like California (“why deliver the water?”) seems like a death sentence to millions. Nothing is more symbolic of the state than the aqueduct.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    “You say ‘potato,’ I say ‘po-tah-to.'” Cheney and Rice say WMD and mushroom cloud, the UN says not “a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk.” (Where the hell were they 12 years ago?)

    Let’s call the whole thing off.

    It would seem that one person’s “existential threat” justifying the loss of 5000 lives, trillions of dollars and destruction of an entire country, is another person’s “no big deal.” Curiously, the dreaded sarin gas reared its ugly head in this article as well, and was greeted with a yawn.

    I’d imagine that the “existential planetary nuclear threat” potential of this material will be reconstituted should it ever find its way to Persia, or the American “intelligence” community can convince the American public that it has.

    1. pretzelattack

      hans blix was telling them there weren’t any wmd’s before the invadion. bush and cheney didn’t want to hear it.

      1. abynormal

        they couldn’t hear of it or have to admit the origin of the dang weapons and the means by which we pimped’m out

      2. amateur socialist

        He gave a great speech here in Austin in 2004 where he compared the cost of the UN inspections regime (borne by member states jointly although US had a big share) with the cost of the invasion to date which had already topped hundreds of billions. IIRC it was something like $500M/yr total for all the UN member states.

        For a program that turned out to have been completely effective in controlling and monitoring Iraqi nuclear ambitions. What a bargain.

    2. MtnLife

      “Nevertheless, any loss of regulatory control over nuclear and other radioactive materials is a cause for concern.”

      Well then maybe we should stop making even more of it. The more of it there is, the harder is it to properly look after it all. Not like we have any REAL solution as to what to do with it anyways, so why make it more difficult? Our “existential planetary nuclear threat” is the world’s nuclear energy programs and US/Russia stockpiles not a lone nut job with a dirty bomb.

    3. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      “5,000 dead . . .”

      That number is valid if you consider deaths of American soldiers to be the only actual deaths of actual human beings.

  8. JM Hatch

    Anything Strafor puts into the public can be no more trusted than either the US Government, or Morley Safter. If it was useful truths, they would sell it privately. Here they stand in for a certain ex VP, who’s probably too busy these days shooting lawyers with birdshot.

    1. Jim Haygood

      This was our multicultural VP’s creative adaptation of the Inuit custom of kunlangeta, owing to the absence of ice floes in south Texas.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      I’m still surprised Cheney isn’t insisting that a Bobwhite landed on the shot-dude’s face.

      1. optimader

        Cheney was and remains an insane evil fck without conscience that was enabled wildly beyond his intellectual depth.
        Many may assume he is intelligent but evil. No he’s actually an evil idiot w/ a track record of grossly misjudging risk/reward events. I have a good friend exposed to him in meetings during his Halliburton tenure and first hand assessment was that Cheney was a train-wreck, focused on personal enrichment and way out of his depth relative to contributing an positive commercial strategy/organization stewardship. Just another professional Political creature anointed with unearned financial independence from the private sector to pursue a long term damaging path through US domestic and foreign policy.

        Further to my post from yesterday:

        Dick Cheney
        Not a bad career path for a drunken, subpar, draft dodging PolySci grad who’s seemingly only personal success, in spite of the best healthcare available, was eating and drinking himself into an early case of acute heart disease.

        …He attended Yale University, but by his own account had problems adjusting to the college, and failed out twice.[16] Among the influential teachers from his days in New Haven was Professor H. Bradford Westerfield, whom Cheney repeatedly credited with having helped to shape his approach to foreign policy.[17] He later attended the University of Wyoming, where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in political science. He subsequently started, but did not finish, doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[18]

        In November 1962, at the age of 21, Cheney was convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). He was arrested for DWI again the following year.[19] Cheney said that the arrests made him “think about where I was and where I was headed. I was headed down a bad road if I continued on that course”.[20]

        When Cheney became eligible for the draft, during the Vietnam War, he applied for and received five draft deferments. In 1989, The Washington Post writer George C. Wilson interviewed Cheney as the next Secretary of Defense; when asked about his deferments, Cheney reportedly said, “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service”.[21] Cheney testified during his confirmation hearings in 1989 that he received deferments to finish a college career that lasted six years rather than four, owing to sub-par academic performance and the need to work to pay for his education. Initially, he was not called up because the Selective Service System was only taking older men. When he became eligible for the draft, he applied for four deferments in sequence. He applied for his fifth exemption on January 19, 1966, when his wife was about 10 weeks pregnant. He was granted 3-A status, the “hardship” exemption, which excluded men with children or dependent parents. In January 1967, Cheney turned 26 and was no longer eligible for the draft.[22]

        1. MikeNY

          ITA the man is evil.

          No conscience, no compunction, no regard for truth, no concern for the harm he does others. That is evil.

  9. jfleni

    RE: Buffett, Gates and Adelson criticise Congress on immigration

    Three blind billionaires say “Gimme more foreign serfs”, while the rest of us, mostly under or unemployed, scratch for any garbage left over!

    Way to go Barry Bubba! You are buttkissing to the max now!

  10. McMike

    re tax inversions.

    Decent article here:

    Apparently these scams create problems on both sides of the sham transactions:

    The WSJ piece skips the obvious follow-up question: doesn’t the IRS generally decline transactions that are obviously shell games that do not substantively alter the underlying subject matter? If both the US and Ireland complain that the transaction is a sham, can’t the IRS simply strike it down?

    Ireland is directly admitting it here. The activities transferred to Ireland are patently phony and without substance or benefit.

    1. FederalismForever

      You are right that there is a common law “sham transaction” doctrine which can be used to strike down abusive transactions. This doctrine has been employed to strike down some of the most aggressive “inversion” deals – e.g., where U.S. multinationals were “re-domiciling” to NO-tax jurisdictions, such as the Cayman Islands, while continuing to engage in significant U.S. activities. The WSJ article you cite raises the question whether re-domiciling to a LOW-tax jurisdiction (Ireland imposes a 12.5% tax) still qualifies as a “sham” – probably so, if this article is correct that very few meaningful activities take place in Ireland.

      1. McMike

        One would think that the Irish government complaining that the transactions are artificial ought to be enough evidence to raise some doubts.

        But in reality, I suppose Ireland will be able to have their cake and eat it too – honoring the inversion for their own domestic tax purposes, but gaining an exemption from their EU GNP calculation at the same time.

  11. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    Inuits and ice flows:

    When I was a kid, the “savage” nature of the Native American was illustrated with the anecdote of them leaving their elderly and infirm at the side of the trail, with enough food and firewood for a day.

    Sounds exactly like what we’ve decided to do.

    “Savages,” indeed.

    1. abynormal

      i read a similar story about earlier wonders of Africa leaving elderly with the leg of an animal. what i couldn’t wrap my pea brain around was they judged the elders ‘usefulness’ by how many teeth they’d loss…so why leave the leg? furthermore, what if the animal leg was just enough to pis off a lion or two…

      Sounds like we’ve room to ‘grow’ JSS

    2. hunkerdown

      Hah! When I was a kid, I read college textbooks for fun, and one of the figures I can recall well was from a psychology 101 textbook illustrating what appeared to be an article on nursing homes: “The Eskimos used to freeze their elderly to death. Today, we bury ours alive.”

      Want to spoil the authoritarianism built into the Prussian educational model? Give an 8-year-old a college psych text and sie’ll take no bullshit for a lifetime.

      1. jrs

        The chapter on “learning” in the psych 101 textbook (a fairly recent one) is entirely about behavioral conditioning (Skinner and so on) and that’s the chapter called “learning”. :)

        1. hunkerdown

          Would that I could remember more of the content than the rich color photos and drawings! I’m pretty sure this book predated the Powell memo so might have covered human cognition as if it were not some extremist ideology.

  12. Carolinian

    The FDL “Forbidden Bookshelf” link is most interesting….a follow up to that Pam Martens post from a couple of weeks ago.

    And btw I looked up The Lords of Creation and it’s neither in my local library (which has a lot) or any nearby. World Cat seems to say closest is in Pennsylvania.

  13. Bene

    All of a sudden I’m seeing stories about Iraq and chemical weapons and nuclear material. I thought we went to war to eliminate those things in Iraq, and actually found none. So why are they there now? And why are we suddenly seeing stories about them?

    The Neocons are trying another god-damned run-up again, aren’t they? And Obama is asleep at the helm again, isn’t he?

  14. Banger

    The Kaplan article about Moldova is very interesting in that, aside from the usual nonsense about Russia on the march there is what I can only describe as a call to covert war against Russia.

    I am saying only that there are incalculable human costs to Western inaction. And Western action must mean a whole-of-government approach — political, intelligence, economics and so forth — in order to counter what the Russians are doing.

    Kaplan is very unclear about just what the Russians are doing in the region or what their possible motivations are. There is nothing in the article that provides much insight into Russian strategy just a tactical issue of using “corruption”, subversion, fanning ethnic conflicts and so on. Interestingly Kaplan also makes this revealing statement that goes to the heart of the neoconservative project (now disguised as humanitarian interventionism).

    Thus, Moscow’s strategy is about taking over countries from within. In this battle, it is precisely during the quiet periods, when an issue like Ukraine drifts off the front pages because of the Middle East, for example, that we should be worried. And remember that weak democracies can be more useful to Russia than strong dictatorships. A ruthless communist autocrat such as Josip Broz Tito in Yugoslavia was able to keep the Soviets out of his country during the Cold War. But a feeble polity, however democratic, such as Romania’s neighbor Moldova, offers the Russians many local politicians to bribe.

    The goal of the neocons is to create strong autocratic regimes in the region who will ruthlessly put down rebellions of ethnic minorities as the current Kiev gov’t seems to be wobbling about as Kaplan, Nuland and the nest of necons in the Obama administration attempts to influence to be more brutal and authoritarian.

    We need to establish why Russia is seen as such an enemy–as, basically, the re-incarnation of the old USSR. I think it is because the GWOT has become so absurd and so hollow no one really believes in it anymore–people are more concerned with the NSA than the alleged terrorists–who are, for the most part, a fiction anyway just as ISIS is not a local movement but largely engineered by the Gulf States, Turkey, U.S./NATO and so on. The weakness in the neocon argument is that they do not present a good motivation for why Russia would want to renew its imperial ambitions other than the Putin=Hitler nonsense which is nonsense since Putin does not appear to be ideological.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      You are right in pointing out the weakness of not providing a well crafted set of reasons based upon history that would explain why Russia is up to dirty imperialist tricks. Part of the reason is the source, Stratfor, which assumes that Russia still is the bogeyman and all the implications there off, which do not need to be articulated. For the Neo-Cons, you already know that you can trust the Russians as far as you can throw a battleship or you’re just clueless. This is the neo-con source of geo-politics, and as such, is good for seeing the party line, when the party line is shifting, when it is in bewilderment until it can figure out a new party line or competing grand theories of who needs to be crushed like a bug first. For example, we can crush Saddam, Kadaffi and Assad like a bug right now, and that whole area is up in flames, even bringing Russia to help stabilize the situation. Oh Well, we just have to wait to crush Hugo Chavez like a bug. OOpps? Too late, he died. Well, sooner or later the rest of the that rat nest of socialist/commie madman will get theirs. Take a number, we’ll get to them as soon as we can.

      What is important is reporting that comes from the mouths of the Moldavan leaders who know full well the strategy and tactics of Imperialism and Neo-Colonialism. They use the West’s euphemism: soft power. Putting the word soft in front of the word power is so corrupting of the language. Soft rape, you get a sweet little kiss before hand. The softer side of Sears, women’s wear right next to the air compressors. And I’m sure the favorite of the NC community, the Fed is engineering a soft landing for the economy. Using these Left Wing terms, Imperialist War Monger!!, pigeon holes you into punchline status with the witty retorts from Bill Kristol and his entire element. Of course, they are conversant with formal doctrines from the USSR, Leninism and so forth but they don’t want to spread the useful methodologies to the half baked intellects of who the term the useful idiots of the American Left. Of course, they include Adlai Stevenson in that set of people along with Gus Hall. More on Neo-cons hope springing eternal for more military adventures can found on their new website that replaces their old, discredited Project For A New American Century: that PNAC website has been entirely shut down, along with the whole stupid Imperialist War Mongering Policy…HAH!

    2. OIFVet

      “I am saying only that there are incalculable human costs to Western inaction” Westerm (read American) actions is what really tends to result in “incalculable costs” to the target country or region. Screw Kaplan and the warmongering hobby horse he rode in on.

      1. hunkerdown

        Whenever the foreign policy industry speaks of “incalculable costs”, that’s just a euphemism for the dissolving legitimacy of absentee authority. To calculate it would be to name it and to thus hasten its demise.

  15. savedbyirony

    Under the subject of “class warfare”, online the article is pay-wall protected but the August edition of Harper’s Magazine has a very good article by Jessica Bruder on “the Oakies of the Great Recession” (this country’s growing geriatric migrant labor force) called “The End of Retirement.” The piece on Francis and the Nuns isn’t news to anyone who has been following the Vatican Inquisition against American women religious, but for anyone who hasn’t it gives a decent, brief account -though it doesn’t convey well the pain and psychological abuse these women have been repeatedly put through. And Francis, so far, looks to be as institutionally misogynistic, politically manipulative and culturally condescending to females as the standard issue male member of the RCC hierarchy.

        1. savedbyirony

          Thanks. (Talk about bread and circuses, here in N.E. Ohio. LeBron James returns to Cleveland and suddenly all is righted in the world. At least it’s better than hearing that the Republican Pres. convention will be in town in 2016.)

          1. hunkerdown

            Great link, though. Captures in one sentence the crux of the idea I’ve been trying to get across to my good Young Democratic friends for ages:

            Examining identity is not in itself a problem, but in a discussion of how the Left can develop strategies to challenge the imperatives of capitalism — and the capitalist mode of production — Frase’s focus on identity ends up reproducing and reinforcing dominant narratives of neoliberalism.

            Sadly, social media, as the game is played, is an effective tool of operant conditioning as well as information control, and that’s where the bulk of them live most of the time. It’s hard to talk sensibly about the Church of Stop Shopping while standing in a mall anchored by a Foxconn factory…

  16. John

    The US should not be apologizing for all that evil spying on Merkel &Co. Germany has been begging for it with their open hostility towards American political and economic interests. They are just plain hypocritical. It’s time for Washington to spine up and call them out.

    1. Windsock

      So anyone who doesn’t want to play with a hostile bully should be spied upon? No wonder some of us Brits and other Europeans hate American policy (but not Americans, per se).

    2. abynormal

      dear john letter,
      “been begging for it with their open hostility towards American political and economic interests”
      i have come to realize i can no longer live with your American political and economic interest. i’m happy to report i have grown a ‘spine’ and will no longer support your American political and economic interest nor stand next to anyone that does.


      PS. i’m grateful to report i got my period…NO MORE OF YOUR INTEREST

    3. OIFVet

      What open hostility do you hallucinate about, pray tell? I dislike German economic imperialism within the EU as much as anyone else, but I am not aware of any German hostile acts toward the US, unless I somehow slept through some recent conflagration. And since when should everybody else’s economic interests be subservient to those of the US? I am so sick and tired of otherwise intelligent people buying into the tired and discredited notion of American Exceptionalism. It may benefit a small handful of our elites, but it is us regular people who bear the costs of America’s exceptional empire.

      1. psychohistorian

        It is not just American exceptionalism but our support of Israel revenge and global financial bullying tactics. If there is one group that can be said to have an inordinate share of global money and power it is Israel and its staunch supporters. As these small minded folks bring humanity to the edge of extinction they keep telling us it is all Hitler’s fault.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Be they right or wrong, I was unaware that Israel blamed current events on Hitler.

          There are many people who have an inordinate share of money and power. Why single out the Jews (or, did you actually mean “Israel and its staunch supporters”? If so, I’d love to hear a clarification of what that means).

          Your comment, intentionally, or not, comes awfully close to sounding like Hitler was, in some way, justified.

          Maybe it was all of the German babies the Jews ate.

          1. psychohistorian

            I am just an observer in a world that sees what is called Western as a social organization based on private ownership of “property” and ongoing accumulation thereof through inheritance.

            Another observation I have is the fate of our species seems to be destined to turn on revenge and centuries old myth and mysticism all with its blind followers of faith…..instead of reason and sharing.

            I apologize if my comment was less than clear.

        2. optimader

          ” If there is one group that can be said to have an inordinate share of global money and power it is Israel”
          1.) RE:global money, Israel is a failed State, how is it possible “they” have an inordinate share of global money?
          2.)RE: inordinate power, Israel really has no power perse, but US domestic Zionists (and their supporters with diverse motivations) certainly do, Israel is surrogate Tool.

          1. psychohistorian

            1. If Israel is a failed state then where do they get the funds to expand their “residential” footprint, build a huge wall, have more nukes (than the rest of the ME combined? too lazy to check) and are executing an expensive program of social genocide in Palestine.

            2. In the global Western world, every member country is a tool of those in control of the social structure of private ownership of property and accumulation of such through ongoing inheritance.

            I apologize if my comment was less than clear.

  17. kevinearick

    another couple thoughts:
    get on a tour to north coast;
    take one of the winery tours; they pick you up and drop you off in an SUV limo; quite reasonable; the hollywood types have a bunch of wineries up here.

  18. Bob

    Thanks, John, for your incisive personal opinion. It is refreshing to have a viewpoint that is scrupulously independent of government policy. Your meticulously-supported arguments have helped me greatly in formulating my own opinion on this subject.

    So I wonder, John, how should we patriotic Americans protect US economic and political interests under the body of law concerning state responsibility principles (A/56/10) that entitle Germany to restitution, compensation, or satisfaction with interest for the moral damage of personal affront associated with NSA intrusion on home or private life, potentially including but not limited to: a trust fund to manage compensation payments in the interests of the beneficiaries; disciplinary or penal action against the individuals whose conduct caused the internationally wrongful act; or the award of symbolic damages for non-pecuniary injury, not to mention countermeasures?

    It’s a tough one, you know, John, because an offense like NSA/CIA espionage, which is criminalized in every jurisdiction, is a natural part of customary international law. Wartime espionage is recognized in the Geneva Conventions as “une activité préjudiciable à la sécurité de l’Etat” (it justifies certain restrictions on the rights and actions of detained suspects, for example.) Peacetime espionage is a breach of the principle of non-intervention, which is a legal absolute just like the ban on use or threat of force – coercive intervention is as serious a crime as aggression. And under the law of diplomacy, espionage is duplicitous proceedings, which give legal grounds for suspending or invalidating international agreements. Knowing what we know now about NSA duplicity, countries could demand renegotiation of all sorts of agreements: trade treaties, international organization charters, even alliances. For instance, Germany could invoke this item in the NATO Charter, Article 13:

    “After the Treaty has been in force for twenty years, any Party may cease to be a Party one year after its notice of denunciation has been given to the Government of the United States of America, which will inform the Governments of the other Parties of the deposit of each notice of denunciation.”

    So, John, What do you think? should we pay up for the trust fund or symbolic damages? Should we extradite Alexander to Germany for prosecution? Or should we just get on our knees and beg Germany to stay in NATO?

    Thanks again for your highly informed opinions.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “After the Treaty has been in force for twenty years, any Party may cease to be a Party one year after its notice of denunciation has been given to the Government of the United States of America.”

      Wow. We can only wish that the U.S. Constitution contained such an enlightened provision.

      Although it doesn’t explicitly address the question, the de facto interpretation post-Appomattox is ‘try to bolt, and we will bomb your ass.’

      1. hunkerdown

        I’d be happy if these suicide pacts multilateral economic agreements had ’em. Alas, the very same lesson might yet apply.

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Buffett, Gates and Adelson criticise Congress on immigration Financial Times

    “We believe it borders on insanity to train intelligent and motivated people in our universities – often subsidising their education – and then to deport them when they graduate,” they said.

    Well I believe it borders on insanity to subsidize foreign students while American students are drowning in student debt that’s not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    What in the world do they mean by subsidising? What do they mean by deport?

    1. Jon

      Graduate students with research or teaching assistantships are generally subsidized for tuition and a small stipend, enough to live on. This applies more to externally funded departments like engineering and science schools, where the money comes in part from federal grants to faculty members whose students they are. There’s no distinction between US and foreign students in this regard AFAIK.

      Grad students in internally funded departments, e.g. most liberal arts, are often in a much more parlous state.

    1. hunkerdown

      Ironically, it’s when you’ve been exposed to enough H2S that you can’t smell it that you’re in deep, um, trouble.

  20. MtnLife

    Miami, the great world city, is drowning while the powers that be look away

    Good article detailing the issues facing south Florida in the wake of sea level rise, reminiscent of Norfolk and set to play out all along our coasts.
    Some money quotes, emphasis mine:
    “The city – and its satellite towns and resorts – is built on a dome of porous limestone which is soaking up the rising seawater, slowly filling up the city’s foundations and then bubbling up through drains and pipes. Sewage is being forced upwards and fresh water polluted. Miami’s low topography only adds to these problems. There is little land out here that rises more than six feet above sea level. Many condos and apartment blocks open straight on the edge of the sea. Of the total of 4.2 million US citizens who live at an elevation of four feet or less, 2.4 million of them live in south Florida.”
    “even if all emissions of carbon dioxide were halted tomorrow – a very unlikely event given their consistent rise over the decades – there is probably enough of the gas in the atmosphere to continue to warm our planet, heat and expand our seas, and melt polar ice. In short, there seems there is nothing that can stop the waters washing over Miami completely.

    It a devastating scenario. But what really surprises visitors and observers is the city’s response, or to be more accurate, its almost total lack of reaction. The local population is steadily increasing; land prices continue to surge; and building is progressing at a generous pace.”

    Head, meet sand.

    1. psychohistorian

      In the early 70’s I worked in the Office of the Governor of Washington state, mostly under Dan Evans, a Republican former engineer that would be considered a liberal today. How can I say that? Governor Evans was all about studying the future and trying to make more prudent decisions. But it was evident that we were already too far gone by then. Dan Evans spent one term as a Senator after being Governor and the memory I have of his reasoning fed back to me about his retirement was that the moneyed corruption of Senators made the place ungovernable. I evolved back into the computer industry because just fighting the little political corruption I found in the few years I was a bureaucrat gave me an ulcer.

      I have watched the world spin for the past 40+ years and only now have a forum to spew my textual white noise about our world. It is nice to know now I am not alone. Now, we only need the collective will to change the status quo.

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