Links 7/13/14

Why tonight’s supermoon is called a ‘Full Buck Moon’ (+video) Christian Science Monitor

As Honeybees Die Off, First Inventory of Wild Bees Is Under Way National Geographic

Singapore to Destroy Copies of Book About Gay Penguins mashable

How to Ignore a Plague Medium (furzy mouse)

The Problem With Mobile Phone Batteries May Finally Be Solved Business Insider (David L)

Cold War 2.0: The “old school” behind it failed evolution

Thai digital natives on edge as junta tightens grip Strait Times Asia Report

Westminster abuse inquiry: Baroness Butler-Sloss accused of hiding claims of bishop’s paedophile allegations Independent

Russia Eliminates Cuban Debt Aljazeera (Nikki)


Gaza: Israel hits security HQ and rocket site BBC

Israel army tells Palestinians in north Gaza to evacuate Agence France-Presse

Facts All US Citizens Need to Know About Israel and Palestine George Washington


No to currency slavery Michael Hudson

Ukraine Fighting Continues as Donetsk Apartments Hit Bloomberg


Iraq’s tailors profit as conflict deepens Aljazeera

BAGHDAD: Witnesses describe how Islamists leveled Sunni village as a warning McClatchy (Chuck L)

US warns of ‘widespread conflict’ in Libya Aljazeera

Battle for Baghdad Patrick Cockburn, London Review of Books. A must read.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back Wired. So what if he’d disabled it, say by immersing it in water? Would the FBI want a refund?

The internet of things (to be hacked) Economist (David L). I first heard about what is now called The Internet of Things in 1991. I din’t like the idea then.

How 160,000 intercepted communications led to our latest NSA story Washington Post

Merkel doubts US will stop spying Guardian. Merkel be right!


Political calculus on immigration may be shifting Washington Post

This Road Work Made Possible by Underfunding Pensions New York Times

Climate change is flooding out American coastlines Grist

Parched Texas Town Turns to Treated Sewage as Emergency Drinking Water Source Scientific American (Chuck L)

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

“Hidden Cash” came to my quiet neighborhood in Whittier, CA Reddit (Max)

Flunking Out, at a Price Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Citigroup’s $7 Billion Fraud Deal: The Clique’s Still Clicking in D.C. Huffington Post (RR)

A gangster called Capitalism and its vanquisher The Common Good Spectator (Michael M. Thomas)

Class Warfare

Knowledge elites, enlightenment, and industrialisation VoxEU. Now that leading edge conventional wisdom says advanced economies need more knowledge workers, now that many of them earn more in pay than everyone else, we find an article justifying why they are important (and hence deserve to be paid more).

Class Brought to Life Jacobin

Antidote du jour (Lance N):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. optimader

      There’s a saying that goes “You can make a lot of money in Russia as long as you don’t try to get it out of the country”
      Reapplied to Cuba: “You can loan Cuba a lot of money, as long as you don’t ask to be paid back”

      Russia is recognizing they merely rented a Caribbean property w/ escalating association fees on the rotting infrastructure.

      1. Yonatan

        What does Putin get in return? Maybe hosting for ABM sites or even nukes? A nice big airfield protected by S-400s? A warm-water port for its carrier-killer missile ships? The possibilities are endless.

        1. b

          “What does Putin get in return?”

          How about a missile defense site do defend Russia “against the growing threat of nuclear missiles from Argentine”. That would fit perfectly well to the U.S. missile defense in Europe which is claimed to protect “against the growing threat of nuclear missiles from Iran”.

          We have been there before when the U.S. installed Jupiter missiles in Turkey and Italy which directly threatened Moscow. Russia responded with missiles in Cuba. There was some bro ha about those and then both sides pulled their missiles back. We now may be in for a repeat.

          1. Mark P.

            ‘We now may be in for a repeat.’

            If so, it won’t be anything new. Contrary to American myth, for more than three decades, all the way from 1970 to the Cold War’s end, the Soviets had nuclear subs and missiles based in Cuba — primarily at Cienfuegos Bay.

            In 1970, Nixon and Kissinger were smart enough to know that it made no difference and they didn’t want a repeat of 1963 and Kennedy’s idiotic nuclear brinksmanship, and so they essentially looked the other way. If you read between the lines in both Nixon’s and Kissinger’s biographies, they mention the Cienfuegos Bay crisis and completely play it down. But that’s what happened.

    1. Banger

      Like you I live in the South–I believe guns are symbols or totems here as much as anything else. But also they are a reflection of fear and distrust–there’s a sense here that things are “out of control” and changing far to fast in an area that feels very attached to tradition and for good reasons–there is a more convivial culture here, in my view, than the one I came from up north (which is why I’m here).

      1. Bunk McNulty

        As grandad used to say, “YMMV.” After a decade in North Carolina, I’m back in Massachusetts, and feeling quite convivial, thank you, knowing I can go into the Tunnel Bar in Northampton and not worry that some idiot is walking through the door carrying a Glock.

        1. Fíréan

          Criminals, either visitors or local, don’t carry concealed weapons in Northampton, Massachusetts ? Or do they just not frequent the “Tunnel Bar” ?

          From an outsider’s perspective this debate, and comments, reads like a north/south divide with every opportunity taken by the northerners to assume a false attitude of superiority and denigrate the southerners.

          1. Keith Ackermann

            Here’s a map of poverty in the US (2004):

            Here’s a map of obesity:

            Here’s education:

            You can’t put lipstick on this pig

            1. Foppe

              What is it you’re trying to say, Keith? That obesity, education and poverty levels are moral criteria from which one can conclude “inferiority”? Or that highly educated, lean and rich people necessarily aren’t criminals? I really am at a loss as to how to interpret your “you can’t put lipstick on this pig” comment.

              1. Inverness

                While poverty in the Northeast may not be as high as in Southern states, the Pioneer Valley, like pretty much anywhere in the US, has its share of misery. It is just a question of degree. I like Northampton, but it isn’t nearly as progressive as it claims to be. Their public transportation (only impressive by US standards, otherwise…pretty lousy) and expensive housing leaves a lot of room for improvement.

                On another note, I miss their quaint little movie theatre that closed down a few years ago.

              1. Kurt Sperry

                I should perhaps add that all but one racist tweet from my state of Washington appears to have been sent from on or very near a large military installation.

              2. Vatch

                The book Assh*les A Theory, by Aaron James, doesn’t have any maps, but it might be of interest. Some people think that the book is more properly about narcissists, egotists, or psychopaths, but really, who cares? It’s a book about unpleasant people — call them what you wish.

            2. hunkerdown

              There was a time in history when the bourgeoisie were treated like the Ferengi they are and got the hostility and spit they deserved, but that time has not been for many decades. Behold the predictable result.

      2. Lambert Strether

        Nice to see the fear and distrust leveling off where gun culture permeates. Oh, wait….

        * * *

        Frankly, seeing some loon carrying his **** outside his pants is about the least convivial sight I can imagine (short of actions and events it would be ludicrous to place on the scale of “convivial” vs. “not convivial”).

        1. Carolinian

          You don’t see that sort of thing where I live and probably hardly anywhere. But I will admit I don’t spend a lot of time in Alabama.

          Like I say, the idiots who do this are probably out to get attention more than anything else. And succeeding…

          1. hunkerdown

            These are generally the same people who put smokestacks on their four-banger pickups, aren’t they?

        2. davidgmills

          I have lived in the south for 64 years in four different states. I have never owned a gun, and I have never seen one pulled out in public, other than by the police.

          1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

            My son and I saw encountered an extremely obese couple sporting side arms while shopping at the Dulles Town Center Mall in VA, a few years back. They got on an elevator with us. I actually confronted them by asking why they felt the need to carry firearms at a shopping mall. They claimed a right. I countered that they were creeping people the F out.

            Anyway, I wonder what will happen when a group of American Muslims decides to have a mass open-carry rally.

            Will the rednecks support them?

      3. Cynthia

        In this current age of this nation, the police serve the corporations and banks, and nobody else, while they will kill anyone that they even think might eventually become a threat. Their sole focus is to come home safe at the end of the day, and they are willing to kill the innocent, and abuse anyone that questions their right to give commands that violate the law, in order to do so. On top of that, police forces are steeped in corruption and routinely use excessive force and engage in racial, ethnic and political profiling, but are worshiped as hero much like the soldiers who have committed war crimes in America’s dirty wars.

        Being able to own and operate a gun is the only means by which citizens can defend themselves against numerous forms of abuse and misconduct at the hands of police, which are becoming disturbingly widespread in the US. Disarm the police then maybe I will change my mind and support disarming the citizens of this country. Until that happens, which isn’t likely, I will continue to side with the far Right, despite being a hard-core peacenik from the far Left, in their rather fanatical efforts to fight for the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.

    2. mossmoon

      What ever happened to “If you don’t assert your rights, you don’t have them”? I think the demonstrations are awkward (like all demonstrations), but I support those guys 100%.

      If everyone exercised his rights like this fellow, we’d all be better off:

      1. Lambert Strether

        Every Supreme Court decision since the first justice ascended to the high court after Scalia wrote Bush v. Gore to decide the election in favor of the candidate who would put his views in the majority is fruit of the poisonous tree. That includes Scalia’s rewriting of the Second Amendment.

        For “right” -> “putative right”; for “better off” -> “worse off”. Fixed it for ya. “Well regulated militia, my sweet Aunt Fanny.

  1. Ben Johannson

    Re: Knowledge Elites

    So we need more researchers even though we refuse to supply enough work for those we already have? The prupose of that paper is to justify importation of low-wage scientists and tech workers while churning them out of universities in ever greater numbers.

    In other words the entire point is to continue driving down incomes, the same playbook our Corporate Lords have pursued for everyone else over the last four decades.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The emphasis on the value of “knowledge” elites and science education is interesting, particularly after reading the Guardian article on the “drowning” of Miami.

      Apparently the way forward is to produce or “import” more “scientists,” whose “expertise” we can then studiously ignore.

      1. hunkerdown

        It’s not about production, it’s about the priesthood. Civil religions need civil priests, and neoliberalism needs a crusade to stave off its crisis of faith.

    2. trish

      Many of today’s “knowledge” elites are of course today’s corporate/finance elite (different knowledge value, ie finance, the silicon valley elite), the drivers in the global neoliberal war on the world’s people. Production of a growing supply of low-wage, no-wage workers, the fundamental drivers of growth, continues apace. Many other other-knowledge elites are increasingly relegated to serf status (ie adjuncts) through the ruling knowledge elite’s intentional policies.

      physical capital is of course still the most relevant today for the elite drivers, with big money underwriting (invested/infested in) every aspect of the plutocracy/kleptocracy from finance to public policy in service only to the elite to the marketing/media/propaganda machine to the cost/availability of advanced education for fewer and fewer to the select protectionism for some but not for many others to keep wages low (and drive lower) for the majority.

    1. Susan the other

      It was a long-overdue report on reality. Florida in denial. I’ve heard stories about their brackish tapwater for years. Funny the comment that if you were 95% sure your house was on fire you’d prolly get out. But then there are those skeptics who stroke their chin and say, well, there’s a 5% chance I’m just hallucinating there’s a fire. Like Senator Rubio’s backers. The dangerous thing might be liquifaction – there’s no bedrock in Florida. It’s a sandbar with a few chunks of porous sandstone. I wonder if any tall buildings have already begun to list?

  2. mellon

    The Wired article about the guy whose car had a GPS tracker put on it if from 2010, but suddenly, its been reposted in a bunch of places as if it was new. Thats strange. Why?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Can’t answer your question, but if I was this kid, I’d be scared sh*tless. The Boston bombing brothers come to mind.

        1. optimader

          Further truncate to: “spying on Americans ”
          Reason #2,345 Why the FBI are considered Dicks, even by other organs of law enforcement. The FBI tape rewinds directly back to JEHoover.

          Personally I would have told them I left it in the driveway for the errant owner who abandoned it on my property. If you do find it, I’m not the one who drilled the hole in it.
          In this situation one already have a cross hair on their back , so why not.

          1. HotFlash

            I wonder if I would have been brave enough, in his shoes, to refuse to return it without proof of ownership. I hope so.

    2. ambrit

      This gives me an idea that will save Radio Shack: The Counter Surveillance Department. A growth industry if I ever saw one!

      1. hunkerdown

        And, their business is largely one of mobile devices now, so they get to play both sides of the arms race. Brilliant!

      2. mellon

        >This gives me an idea that will save Radio Shack: The Counter Surveillance Department. A growth industry if I ever saw one!

        Ever hear of the cheap $10 RTL2832 software defined radio USB dongles?

        You can receive all sorts of stuff with them and they are extremely cheap because the SDR aspect of them was an accident, they are a mass production item meant to be used for receiving DVB-T (European and Asian digital TV) Basically, its like having a high end scanner that’s the size of your finger that works only with a computer. Best $10-15 geeky deal out there, ever. Every investigative reporter should own one.

        If you go to youtube and search on “rtl2832” you’ll see what they can do. Tons and tons of stuff.

        I would get one of the models with the big and clunky and durable PAL/IEC antenna connector, (the european TV antenna connector) not the tiny, fragile MCX connector. There is a white R820T one with the big PAL/IEC connector that is built quite well, and seems to be pretty good.

  3. Schofield

    “A gangster called Capitalism and its vanquisher The Common Good”

    Love the terminology “Gangster Capitalism” versus ” Common Good Capitalism” !

    1. David Lentini

      Love the terminology “Gangster Capitalism” versus ” Common Good Capitalism” !

      But I think the reviewer states the problem well: The liberal Left has caved to the liberal Right, because in a very basic sense the Right is actually the more socially liberal. Of course, it never seemed that way back in the ’80s, expect to those who really understood—and welcomed—the idea that social freedom would create a power-based society. Instead, the social conservatives who identified themselves with the Right in their opposition to modernism and socialism, and the social liberals who assumed that rational people would voluntarily adhere to personal limits in a socialist paradise, were fools. When the shackles were removed the monster was let out of the cage. Now the Seven Deadly Sins are virtues and the Seven Virtues are for fools.

      As I often say, “We’re all liberals now.”

      1. Susan the other

        Don’t forget the Seven Dwarfs. They vanquished the evil Queen and preserved Snow White. Of course only a valiant prince could actually save her. I was impressed by Michael Thomas on David Marquand. Apparently Marquand never was so offensive as to imply gangster cappies are Profit Uber Alles comrades – but we know beyond a doubt that they are. I was also surprised someone mentioned Ruskin who was an early 19 C. renaissance man who philosophized and moralized and was adamant about realism in art and the morality of mankind. But not much of an authority on monetary policy. Of course capitalism is not monetary policy – it is the utter lack of it.

    2. flora

      “Gangster capitalism”, aka neoliberalism.
      ” The fundamental doctrine of neoliberalism was well expressed by Adam Smith’s vile maxim of the masters of mankind: “all for ourselves, and nothing for other people.” And if the masters are given free rein, we should expect the kinds of social and economic disaster that we now see.”

      Chomsky – How to ruin an economy , Feb 2014, Youtube link:

      1. flora

        Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations.

        “All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”
        Chapter IV, p. 448

  4. Yonatan

    An excellent Anitdote du Jour. I didn’t know dogs could be trained as paramedogs specializing in mouth-to-snout resuscitation.

    1. mellon

      When puppies (and human children) are a certain age they tend to put everything into their mouths..

      This is actually the second puppy picture of its kind here recently. The first one was of two husky or malamute pups. Very cute.

      “Its a doggie-dog world” as a friends daughter used to say, making a funny face and rolling her eyes.. she had turned “dog-eat-dog” into “doggie dog”. :)

      When they are little it is SO hard keeping them out of trouble! But they are just so much fun too.

  5. diptherio

    The cover story on this month’s Harper’s, The End of Retirement is an important and sobering read. Unfortunately, it’s behind a paywall on the site, but it’s worth some dough. Probably worth the price of the magazine just for that piece of journalism.

    To summarize: increasingly large numbers of elderly Americans are finding it impossible to maintain their “stick” homes or apartments, and so are becoming “Workampers,” living in RVs or vans parked on cheap or free public land, working seasonal jobs for Amazon, national parks, sugar beet harvests, etc.–working at crap jobs until they drop. It’s incredibly sad, but there are glimmers of light. The campgrounds where these geriatric road warriors gather are oases of community spirit and self-help. As always, great need breeds great solidarity. But the story makes the clear the trajectory of our economy and our society–and it isn’t pretty.

    Random thought to provide more access to paywalled content: magazine sharing clubs. bunch of people pool money to get dead-tree subscriptions to various mags. Each subscription goes to a different member, and once they’re done with the magazine, they mail it on to the next person on the list. Kinda like a chain letter only useful…jus’ thinkin’….

    1. ambrit

      That magazine sharing idea, sort of like Committees of Correspondence. We remember how that idea worked out, don’t we.
      The literature sharing club idea is too similar to Public Libraries for safety. You might be getting letters from legal council for the Library Guild soon. (We can’t have rival organizations disseminating non approved ideas. That would be bad for the status quo.)
      Sharing magazines like that would be good for the Post Office. That’s an idea I can support.

      1. diptherio

        requires leaving the house…also, they still have those things?…also, I want to be able to read it on the pot, man, not sitting in the reading room.

        yeah, libraries…

      2. Carolinian

        Off to the library now. And thanks for the, er, link diptherio.

        Should say that as an avid camper I am familiar with the phenomenon of campground gypsies. Not all are poor. Some retired people live in their RVs by choice and even work in Amazon warehouses by choice (those would be the very fit retirees). There have been other stories about this.

        1. diptherio

          Oh man, read the description of the working conditions at Amazon. Not only physically taxing, but personally degrading as well (how would you like a post-work security check?). I don’t think anybody is doing this job for their health–Amazon literally provides OTC painkillers for its warehouse workers.

          How’s your 401(k) looking? Gonna have a couple mil. in there by the time you retire? Yeah, me neither. Hopefully I’ll be able to afford a minivan…

          1. Susan the other

            But seriously, you wanna have to find a pit stop every three days that can vacuum out your sewage tank?

          2. Carolinian

            Know all about Amazon. In fact there’s an excellent BBC Panorama investigation for those that can get it. But there are some (fitness freaks probably) who like to work there for the Christmas rush and some of them are RV type retirees.

            1. Carolinian

              And personally I would never buy an RV. Those things get like 10 mpg and cost as much as a small house. I do my camping in a tent.

              Not for everyone–obviously.

    2. savedbyirony

      Read the article and have been passing it around, recommending it to people. However, i think it is very poorly titled and, though it covers a number of topics, I would have prefered to see the situation examined more from a labor issues perspective.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes, i finally got to this at the library and it was almost as much about homeless people (plenty of those in the library waiting to see my copy of Harper’s) as about old age. There’s lots of pathos to be found in this country but we don’t even come close to real poverty. I recall a long ago trip to Mexico and driving past an entire city (seemingly) of people living in cardboard boxes.

        1. savedbyirony

          Don’t know what you mean by “real poverty”. Are the people who live in it here not experiencing “real poverty”; as if this is another part of our world for us to turn into yet another “who is the greater victim” debate. Just what proportion of a populace does it require to qualify for real poverty status, as if this should be some sort of milestone to strive for before we take steps to deal with it? How many kids have to be malnurished? how many citizens have to be buried in un-repayable debt? are our growing “tent” cities more upscale than cardboard boxes? you don’t see as many “poor” in the USA – how surprising is that when poverty in this country is a crime: as in being poor will increasingly get you locked-up for one reason or another.

    3. mellon

      The RV folks, what’s the deal with their votes? Do they get to vote? if so, where? This is an important question, because if they are turning a whole country into travelers we’re going to lose a lot of voters.

  6. optimader

    RE: Miami

    Rubio… has made his views clear in speeches. “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.”

    Aren’t humans part of Nature and by extension our activities part of the Natural Process? It is illogical to believe our activities do not affect nature. “Is causing” is purposely imprecisely stated Political BS . More accurately the issue is how Human behavior influences Rate of Change of a global warming/cooling cycle.

    “…I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy,”
    There may be a point to be argued here, particularly if legislation is a unilateral move in a global economy. That said, it can also be stated that doing nothing has at least as good chance for : “will destroy our economy” as well. I would argue there is much that can be done merely for the purpose of energy conservation that offer the prospect of follow on salubrious effects.

    Lastly, should I care if Miami becomes the US version of Venice? Because I really don’t. People who choose to live on the coast of Florida (Miami) don’t do so because there aren’t less expensive alternatives. They are making a conscious risk/reward choice to do so.

    1. ambrit

      The real danger is in the flood of refugees that will head for higher ground as their former dry ground habitations become inundated. This massive population relocation is the real destabilizing force. Entire countries will be destroyed, cultures submerged.
      Finally, as I’ve ranted on about before; what about the clean up needed along the coastlines as the sea claims the land? There is so much toxic stuff stored along the coastlines that it poses a real danger to the marine ecosystem if released into the waters. It won’t be a tropical paradise. More likely, it will be an industrial nightmare.

      1. optimader

        It’s slow motion train wreck at worst, Population densities will change, domestically at least, insurance companies will ultimately establish the viability of habitation on the changing coastline.

        1. Lambert Strether

          “insurance companies will ultimately establish the viability of habitation” True, although real estate speculators and shoreline property owners (disproportionately wealthy) will try to, er, hold back the tide with subsidies, while the rest of us vote with our feet. I can already imagine the heart-wrenching stories…..

          1. optimader

            “will try to, er, hold back the tide with subsidies”
            Yes of course the will, and it’s up to the Public ultimately to reject the nth federally subsidized disaster rebuilding funding of coastal residential properties.
            Ideally, transform it to public costal property (like Oregon) and allow the go it alone self insured private parties to flush their money into the surf employing local trades people.

            1. mellon

              Projects that use public money at national, state or local level, will probably have to be put up for international competitive bidding because of TISA. Or so it seems.

            2. mellon

              Turning it into public coastal property is a GREAT idea, if only that could become some kind of would make the loss of coastal areas a little less ugly. However, a way would need to be found to clean the buildings and debris out of the areas.

          2. Susan the other

            The real crime, that is always smoothed over for whatever political or national security reasons, is that we in the US have known this was coming for decades. It has become dangerously unpredictable now, at this level of warming, and our “government” has just tossed up its hands… that’s life. After all the US Government is not the Galactic Governing Council. What the hell did you expect; nobody with significant money even pays taxes.

          1. susan the other

            It seems to help to be tucked away in the mountains. Like the Basques. A city can once again be a commune. Commune is as old an idea as City is, right? Sounds like a place where you even dream during the day… in a good way. The origins of the Etruscans has never been established, providing a wonderful mystery to the mix. We should all embrace our mystery.

          2. Kurt Sperry

            I like Arezzo very much, I was just there a couple of months ago, and have spent some days enjoying it as my father lives nearby in Anghiari but “a great world city” might be a bit over the top. Perugia and Siena are reasonably nearby–as is of course Florence–and I’d probably put any of those higher on the list.

            I’ll put a plug in for Enoteca La Torre di Gnicche just off the Piazza Grande in Arezzo. Fantastic enoteca, you’ll get a fine meal in a very convivial and authentic atmosphere for a reasonable cost.

            1. optimader

              Just returned from a stay w/ friends that live in Arezzo and Vogognano. Love the area, I could drop anchor there very easily. Labeling food as organic would be redundant.
              Drinking water from the artisan well in the yard, eating fruit, olive oil and vinegar, drinking wine all from the property while living in a 15th century building built on a roman wine cellar?…. If that’s not world class, I dont know what is.

              Anghiari is another fantastic place in the Arezzo Province. Our friend grew up w/ in Caprese and is a cousin of the Busatti family so they were kind enough take me.downstairs to check out the ancient looms they use. Cool city, Anghiari.
     –very nice people.

              1. Kurt Sperry

                Glad you made it across the Scheggia pass to see Anghiari. Anyone can, I think, make arrangements to take the Busatti tour and see the weaving being done. I’ve somehow managed not to take the tour in spite of having spent months in little Anghiari. I should rectify that next time I visit, Busatti is a class outfit, even if I can’t really afford their stuff. Puo parlare italiano?

        1. Klassy

          Yes, that. And this (David Harvey, New Left Review on The Right to the City):
          The right to the city, as it is now constituted, is too narrowly confined, restricted in most cases to a small political and economic elite who are in a position to shape cities more and more after their own desires.

    2. different clue

      Your penultimate paragraph is correct, as is Rubio himself on this particular point. The answer is to take America out of every Free Trade Agreement and Convention and Organization and restore Belligerent Protectionism. Then our unilateral carbon-control measures won’t be just unilateral, because we will be outside the jurisdiction of Free Trade Enforcers who would prevent us from banning economic contact with carbon-enemy countries which don’t copy our unilateral standards.
      Free Trade means Global Heat Death.

  7. Banger

    Please read the Cockburn piece in the LRB–it is, indeed, essential reading.

    There are important implications in PCs report that we need to thing good and hard about. I will quote the article:

    I asked a recently retired four-star general why he thought the army had fallen apart so quickly and why its commanders had fled. ‘Corruption! Corruption! Corruption!’ he replied: pervasive corruption had turned the army into a racket and an investment opportunity in which every officer had to pay for his post. He said the opportunity to make big money in the Iraqi army goes back to the US advisers who set it up ten years ago. The Americans insisted that food and other supplies should be outsourced to private businesses: this meant immense opportunities for graft. A battalion might have a nominal strength of six hundred men and its commanding officer would receive money from the budget to pay for their food, but in fact there were only two hundred men in the barracks so he could pocket the difference. In some cases there were ‘ghost battalions’ that didn’t exist at all but were being paid for just the same. Soldiers would kick back half their salaries to their officers in return for never going near a barracks. Checkpoints on roads acted like private customs posts, charging a fee to every truck passing through. A divisional commander might have to pay $2 million for his job: when one candidate asked where he could get that kind of money, he was told to borrow it and pay back $50,000 a month through various forms of extortion. Safa Hussein at the National Security Council confirmed that prices for military posts had soared in the last five years – a position that cost $20,000 in 2009 would now be worth ten times as much.

    Now think about the money from the Treasury that was spent to “train” these armies in corruption–grasp that if you will. While, certainly, there is a incompetence in the U.S. military the fact is that the U.S. military is also systemically corrupt and passes that tradition of corruption to military organizations it trains. Now the same kind of corruption does not exist and soldiers don’t bribe officers and the head of the JCS does not ask officers for bribes to be promoted or whatever. Why? Because the U.S. military has a long history and its procedures and traditions are well-established. But any close look at the Pentagon would show that the system is, on the level of procurements, just as corrupt. I believe, also, that the U.S. policy-makers knew they would breed corruption in the Iraqi military as they have everywhere–just take a look at Vietnam.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Bomb, murder, torture, pillage and plunder, AKA MIC, leads to more corruption…. say it isn’t so?

      Sounds like Maliki’s problem (bet he owns Miami real estate) is too much graft is not reaching the proper oligarchs pockets…. And US Saudi ISIS loves it.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      From the article:

      “Also comical – and self-defeating – are the government’s attempts to prop up civilian morale in the face of humiliating defeat.”


      “The government’s response is to pretend that its defeats never happened….”

      So where have I heard that before? Great minds think alike, I guess.

      1. William C

        I saw a brief TV interview with an Iraqi soldier a few weeks back. He was asked why, after all their training, he and his comrades had cut and run when ISIS advanced on them. His answer? ‘We did not have any ammunition’.

        It has the ring of truth to me. I wonder which bank account the money for the bullets went to?

    3. Lambert Strether

      I wonder if we turned Iraqi schools into charters…

      * * *

      I don’t think the idea is that privatization causes corruption; rather, privatization is corruption; two names for the same thing.

    4. Doug Terpstra

      It’s an appalling eye-opening article on an epic, never-ending criminal disaster — trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands dead to turn one of the ME’s more advanced nations into an utterly failed state, a Mad Max wasteland of murderous, grasping tribal cults. The Zio-neocon archtitects of this bloody tragedy, for oil and Israel, should be prosecuted. But, incredibly, they not only remain alive at large, they are also given audience by the media. It’s an Orwellian farce.

      1. optimader

        Hear Hear. I was appalled to see Cheney (briefly) shilling a book while flipping past Charlie Rose. To me it’s equivalent to if they gave Herman Goering media time.

    1. tiger

      Hamas sends false text messages

      !!!!!!!!!! And here’s the BBC !!!!!!!!!!
      #BBCtrending: Are #GazaUnderAttack images accurate?
      a #BBCtrending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

      !!!!! BBC !

      Why do you believe the propaganda from an organisation that executes people, gives no rights to women, etc etc? Why are you believeing them? Just because you’re left wing doesn’t mean Israel is evil. As a matter of fact my country that I am so proud of began as practically semi-communist. (not that I am opining either way of the economic theories)

      1. hunkerdown

        Because we don’t uncritically believe in identity politics or Western culture. Go splain somewhere where they’re not sick of the wolf-crying yet.

  8. Doug Terpstra

    Today’s other must read: Facts … About Israel and Palestine by George Washington evokes deep sorrow, burning outrage, but also hope. The crimes of Israel (and its active US accomplice*), well-documented by Washington, are legion, unconscionable, and despicable. Worse, these crimes against humanity are founded on a most diabolically perverse form of divine exceptionalism — supreme racism that renders Philistines literally as “cockroaches” — cockroaches to be exterminated with extreme prejudice, even celebration, just as Yaweh annihilated entire civilizations millenia ago to steal The Unholy Land that Israel is stealing again today, by “divine right”.

    This is manifest evil, and given such terms as concentration camps, final solution, and never again, it is also so hideously ironic that one day *ionism will be studied by history with even greater incomprehension than that by which Nazism utterly baffles us today. It not only can happen here, today, it is happening here today — right now, live.

    Historians will quite rightly damn us all to hell if we do and say nothing in protest. May God forgive us where historians will not. Yet even in this context, Washington’s conclusion is hopeful, appreciable and appreciated.

    * “Obama requested more military aid for Israel than any president ever”. I did not know that, but I’m not the least bit surprised. One more crime on his exhausting rap sheet.

    1. tiger

      Allow me to challenge you:

      We know that the conflict in Syria has at least 20x more deaths. In Syria we have three parties roughly speaking: regime, the islamists and the regular folks who rebelled. The first two groups are evil, the third is good. Now that you’ve written 1 post about Israel, I challenge you to write 20 posts about Syria, splitting your anger equally between Assad and the islamists.

      If you refuse, it means you are biased and you hold bigoted feelings toward Jews

      1. Doug Terpstra

        I utterly reject your premise re Syria’s principal actors and your perverse logic of false equivalence. If I do not describe and condemn evil in other times and places, that proves me a bigot? Someone else (also hiding behind a pseudonym) said the same thing to me about my protest of the last assault on Gaza in ’09, condemned by the Goldstone Report, that if I did not also condemn the US for the 19th century Indian pogroms, it proved I was anti-Semitic. Huh? Complete nonsequitur nonsense, like yours, a lame attempt to distract by blunt attack.

        But since you bring up Syria, is it possible that you really unaware that Israel is the thick of that crime as well, along with Arabia and of course the US? Israel has bombed Syrian territory twice now in this conflict, acts of war that Syria wisely chose to ignore beyond protest. You really need to educate yourself before chewing on your foot. George Washington’s article would be a good place to start.

        BTW, what planet are you from?

  9. rich

    The Awful Reason Florida Is Bulldozing One of the World’s Rarest Forests

    The lush tropical canopies of pine rocklands exist only in South Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas. But soon the Sunshine State will lose some of its remaining tracts of the imperiled ecosystem in Miami-Dade County,

    expelling wildlife and rare flora to make room for a new tenant: Walmart.

    This month the University of Miami sold 88 acres of rockland to Ram, a Palm Beach County–based developer known for building strip malls and residential complexes. The Miami Herald reports that the company has allotted space for 900 apartments and 185,000 square feet for a Walmart, in addition to a Chick-fil-A, a Chili’s, and a fitness center.

    “You wonder how things end up being endangered? This is how,” Dennis Olle, a lawyer and a board member of Tropical Audubon and the North American Butterfly Association, told The Miami Herald. “This is bad policy and bad enforcement. And shame on UM.”
    “County officials say they…are hamstrung by an ordinance that allows them to require forest protection only when the land is developed,” the paper reports. Meanwhile, scientists and wildlife organizations have been collecting and saving plants before the project gets started as part of an ordinance to preserve forestlands. They found troves of rare plants and butterflies.

    Tropical Audubon and the North American Butterfly Association have called for an investigation. According to federal officials, they’re keeping an eye on the development.

    “Our listed plants are very rare, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that so little habitat remains. So we certainly place a great value on these species’ conservation,” said Craig W. Aubrey, a field advisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  10. OA*

    If Gellman was minimally interested in pretending to do his job he would notify the victims of NSA surveillance with a blast and offer them interviews. Let the victims tell us why their correspondence might have been surveilled and retained.

    The issue of so-called journalists pulling their punches festers more and more. In its most strident form, the suspicion is that Snowden’s leaks are theater to placate the masses, like the Church Committee, only hyped up with a little Jason Bourne melodrama. In modified form, that argument has always been plausible. Below, from Steele’s Open Source Intelligence site,

    “Phi Beta Iota[.net]: In evaluating the third video [Russ Tice] and the role that NSA appears to be playing in blackmailing a broad range of US politicians and financial leaders, it is very important to remember that Israel gets just about everything that NSA collects. If Snowden is indeed a US political counter-attack being executed by CIA and Booz Allen, this could be epic.”

    This makes sense. The scope and scale of Snowden’s leaks are easier to explain as bureaucratic infighting or intra-elite faction than as the exploits of a lone superhero. Snowden did in fact introduce himself to Greenwald in the first-person plural.

    The HUMINT peddlers and analysts are being pushed aside for brute-force SIGINT. Booz Allen works for both, and they would have to take sides in a fight. For NSA they’re just another contractor while they earn priceless clout helping CIA with their NOC. They’re safe from reprisals as the place where senior civil servants go to feather their nests in retirement. Why do you think Carlyle bought such a low-margin business? It’s an influence-peddling concession.

    Carlyle is reorganizing their Schutzstaffel. That’s what’s going on here.

  11. Jessica

    It is useful to distinguish between what types of knowledge workers we train now and what work they are given on the one hand versus what we could do with a different form of social organization on the other. What we have now are knowledge workers crippled to fit within the confines of rent-collecting capitalism, with many of the knowledge workers employed to obscure this fact. What we could have is universal abundance.
    The current system tries to take credit for the possibility of such abundance, using the distant glimpse of what might be as a form of branding. Think Apple. Giving the current system credit for precisely what it lives by preventing is yet another of the tasks carried out by our current warped knowledge worker strata.

  12. Keith Ackermann

    I think I have a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma.

    The root of the problem is that The State of Israel was formed on land already occupied by other people, and, to the severe detriment of everyone involved, these people were not made inclusive in the new state. For my entire life (51 years), these people have been at each other’s throats and it’s only getting worse. In fact, Israel is growing increasingly paranoid about the demographic threat, and a galvanization of world opinion against it.

    I think a workable solution would be to move Israel to Utah. Before you laugh, please hear me out.

    Israel is approx. 1/10th the size of Utah. We could carve out an area centered around Zion national park (it’s predestined!) and call it Israel. The climate and terrain are similar. We could name all the areas using Biblical names to make sure the prophecies can still hold up, and then the Son of David can come forward and build the third temple on wherever they choose to name Dome of the Rock and then let all the sweet things happen.

    The beauty of this is that all they have to do is ask and the US congress will make it happen, just as they always grant the wishes of Israel. This time, though, if congress is smart, they will make sure any displaced people are well compensated.

    It will be a beautiful community nestled deep in the protective arms of the United States, where Jews can never be threatened again.

    B.T.W. If you take the area of Utah and divide it by the area of Israel (including occupied lands), that number is basically pi squared. I just thought that was interesting.

      1. Keith Ackermann

        Nice link, thanks. I wonder why he favored Argentina?

        Something has to give. There is an incredible hardening to the right taking place in Israel. Some of the settlers have gone so deep down the rabbit hole that they are indistinguishable from Nazis.

          1. Keith Ackermann

            Masada is an analogy almost too close for comfort.

            And the West bank and Gaza are almost Bantustans. Look how that worked out.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Ahmadinejad, Iran’s immediate-past President, once suggested that if the US truly wanted an Israeli homeland, we’d give them Alaska.

      I thought it was a very rational and insightful suggestion, for an otherwise insane man to make.

  13. TimR

    Link suggestion…. Guns and Butter has been running some excellent podcasts lately.

    Catherine Austin Fitts gave quite an interview there recently, breaking down her thesis of a “financial coup d’etat.” She makes some incredible, incredible claims, but she’s extremely authoritative, and has a resume that the Serious People could not easily dismiss. Her arguments deserve to be addressed — If she’s wrong, I want to see some other “authorities” debunking her, please. I’m not expert enough to challenge her claims. I’d like to see some debate here at NC, or could some of the contributors weigh in?

    What does one say to her claim that the black budget has been funneled into a Shadow Government takeover by the private sector, via hidden off the books accounting? (Best I can summarize, you’d have to hear her tell it.)

    She claims the amount of money that’s been taken is not just at the level of corruption or incompetence, but rather, the kind of money needed for say a “breakaway civilization”, or secret space programs… Yeah. But like I said, she’s so authoritative. I don’t see how anyone can brush her off as a crank when you listen to her, and look at her background, working in high levels of government and with experience in finance.

  14. Leeskyblue

    Response to
    “Facts All US Citizens Need to Know About Israel and Palestine”

    First, it does NOT justify anything to note the one overwhelming fact of reality about the Middle East and particularly the land called Israel/Palestine — that for at least 2000 years that territory has been plagued by starvation, torture and murder and general lawlessness, and tribal warfare. It was an economically nonviable misery for any who chose to live there.
    if you really look at events there with any real sense of rightness and compassion, you see a spiral of provocation and response from many quarters that goes back almost into infinity. I don’t see many people commenting on any website who have even tried to study that imbroglio with any depth. Yet they comment glibly. The word “Torture” oozes from their mouths in a comfortable self-satisfied lather. How arrogant and smug. I get no sense that most of the people who exercise themselves on the issue really care about ANY of the people involved or about rightness or justice.
    If you would judge Arab or Jew, what would you advise either Arab or Jew for the sake of both Arabs and Jews? First you would have educate yourself in depth about that imbroglio that I mentioned ever so lightly.

    Now, about the link cited. A couple of responses to those “facts” — The maps of Palestine are very misleading. In 1946 virtually all of the land colored “Palestinian” belonged to no one. A very few nomads grazed their goats there for only a few months of the year. Visit that area some time — dispel any notion you have of “grazing land”. a tiny part of that land, maybe one percent, has a few scrubby plants to feed a few goats. Certainly the nomads have rights there, and so did anyone else, Arab Christian or Jew, who wished to squat there or even build a village or town.
    This is a question for anyone who beats his breast and says he cares about the people there — do you want the blessings of comfort and dignity for all? Because by the late 19th century when the Zionists started to immigrate, there were perhaps 10 or 15 thousand people occupying the territory now called Palestine/Israel. The land couldn’t maintain anyone. Most were Arab Christians maintaining the holy sites for a trickle of pilgrims. Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and Jericho were tiny villages. Certainly all of those people have rights whatever you wish to call them, but there was no “Palestinian people”. Arabs moved into the area the same time as the Zionists, as Jewish settlers, educated in western ways built a viable economic system — out of nothing. Now Arab Israelis are among the best educated in the Middle East, they compete well in business and technology with Jews.

    Now, what about the violence? Again, what exactly would anyone who wishes to speak of it — what would they do about it? The first thing — out of decency and good sense, and above all, compassion — the first thing should be to put things in perspective while Arabs and Jews try to come to terms, slowly and agonizingly, with their past and present.

    One more thing — while Israelis tried to maintain a hellish tightrope for 66 years between maintaining a democracy and preserving safety, what have we Americans done lately to teach anybody? — Two buildings are blown up and we just toss our civil liberties away. We will likely never get rid of the Patriot Act — we are just too spineless and shortsighted to care.

      1. aliteralmind

        I’m disappointed to see such a biased article in links today. In fact, I’d call this article blatant propaganda, not news.

        I’m not arguing the facts either way, because I am not closely following the situation, but this writer clearly has an agenda against Israel.


        “Israel is in constant and continual commission of illegal aggression against Palestine by occupying it (illegally and sadistically blockading it and frequently committing terrorism against its civilians, including by targeting them with chemical weapons provided by US taxpayers”

        “***Israel intentionally targets and murders civilians, including children, en masse.***” (their emphasis)

        – “Israel also kidnaps and tortures children…”

        – “Gaza is under illegal Israeli occupation, Gaza did not initiate this current round of violence; Israel did”

        – “…the Israeli government murdered 2 unarmed Palestinian teens…”

        – “[The Palestinian’s] response to earlier Israeli bombings, killings, assassinations, and arrests of Palestinians, including children.”

        – “…Israel has killed over 1,000% percent more Palestinian children than vice versa.”

        – “Israel breaks far more ceasefires than Palestine…”

        – “most of the wars in which Israel was involved were the result of deliberate Israeli aggressive design”

        – “Israel has violated more UN resolutions than any other country. That includes Iraq under Hussein.”

        – “Israel forced Palestinian civilians to dig and lay naked in trenches around Israeli tanks.”

        After combing through this, ahem, article, I’m not just disappointed to find it on Naked Capitalism. I’m pretty upset.

        Please don’t post this kind of vitriol without at least very clearly marking it as such.

          1. aliteralmind

            As I said, “I’m not arguing the facts either way, because I am not closely following the situation”. I hope you can see that this article is a whole lot more than the facts it presents. Even if every item is exactly true, it is written in a very scary, propagandistic way, with manipulative, highly charged, extreme language.

            With an article containing the word “facts” in it’s title, and being legitimated by being listed–without comment–in NC’s links, I was shocked at its hateful tone. I expected a news article, not a blog post.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          He has sources for every point. The onus is on you to disprove the source info.

          And did it not occur to you that the author is Jewish and doesn’t like crimes against humanity being justified in the name of his religion or it being assumed that he supports Israel because he’s Jewish? I know quite a few young Jews who are upset about the pogrom against the Palestinians, and they tend to be very pointed in their objections.

          1. AV

            Facts, sources, news, reports are all forms of communication. I take everything I read with a grain of salt, the alluded Facts about Israel article included. I commend NC for continuing to post diverse forms of stories and perspectives. Do I agree with everything I read as factual? Absolutely not (especially that article which had a clear agenda/bias). Do I believe that human beings are even capable of understanding truth – not really (for a good example of this theory in markets, read up on Soros’ Theory of Reflectivity’). My favorite color has is gray as nothing is black or white, including the Israel/Palestine issue. For all its thorns, Israel’s economy is a model for many countries’ to aspire to given its innovation and entrepreneurship track record. Is it conducting itself well in this latest conflict with Hamas? Assuredly not. The definition of peace relies on its opposite, war. Hopefully one day soon, all countries in the world will appreciate diversity of thought rather than battle on entrenched opinion and their version of the ‘facts’.

        2. JerseyJeffersonian

          Gee, thanks for compiling the list; it makes it ever so much easier to remember all of these things.

          Now, smile for the CAMERA!

      2. Leeskyblue

        Yves – I did some reading and got a lesson on eternal vigilance and the price of liberal hubris.
        I was hugely wrong on at least one point of fact. My arguments I think are still very valid but could be stated more clearly and more considerately.
        Washington’s photos are very interesting, but for the purpose of argument there are better records that serve his point — According to Ottoman records, there were about a half million Muslim Arabs in Palestine circa 1910 – about 70% of the population.
        Another 15% were Arab and European Christians, and about 15% were Jews. I think we can rely upon the record keeping of good bureaucrats like the Ottomans especially when it serves the purpose of taxation.
        Jews were about 30% of the population in 1947, at the start of a huge influx of WW2 refugees.
        I still think the main thrust of Washington’s thesis fundamentally misses something, but I’ll leave that alone for now.
        I can expand upon your mention of date palms. About thirty years ago I spent some time in Israel/Palestine mostly in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Negev. These areas, say 80% of the whole territory, are desert – scrub brush and sand and that includes Jerusalem. Some of the Arab villages were just beautiful – brilliant white limestone houses offset and shaded by dark green palm and fig trees, all offset in turn by the vast expanse of sandy desert, the product of centuries of ingenuity in water conservation and ecology. They were oases. Few people, Arab or Jew could live there. Most people lived in a five mile wide strip stretching between Jaffa/Tel Aviv and Haifa and Lebanon, areas that got moisture from the Mediterranean.
        However, the land can be worked and settled by a combination of traditional wisdom and modern technology. All parties are doing a terrible job of working for peace. I don’t think we can step away, just in our own interest, but we do need a better path.

    1. linda / chicago

      Hasbara (and its author probably knows it)–Yves, you shouldn’t waste your time responding to this sort of thing (I don’t think Juan Cole would). Meanwhile, I recommend Sarah Graham-Brown’s “Palestinians and their society–a photographic essay” as a starter to those who like visuals with their history.

  15. MikeW_CA

    RE: “Flunking Out, at a Price”. There’s a large contingent in our body politic that seems to believe that the Profit Motive makes anything work better. Here’s a counter example.

Comments are closed.