Links 7/28/14

The super-abundant virus controlling your gut bacteria New Scientist

Almost biblical: Amazing 3,000ft high dust cloud shrouds Phoenix Daily Mail 

Half of Britain to be opened up to fracking Telegraph

Oil drilling in North Dakota raises concerns about radioactive waste LA Times

Google has run away with the web search market and almost no one is chasing Quartz

The new Google? Baidu’s big plans to bust out of China New Scientist

But Wait, There Are A Few Differences Between Amazon and the US Postal Service Wolf Street

How to find your Uber passenger rating Medium

‘Hello there’: eight lessons from Microsoft’s awful job loss memo FT. And whenever you hear the word “team”, put your hand on your wallet.

The Open Source Identity Crisis Model View Culture

What the Hobby Lobby Ruling Means for America Times. Better make sure you can find it in yourself to wear whatever sigil and say whatever words your employer wants you to.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Can Any Government Agency Nominate Anyone to the No-Fly List? Observations on Credit and Surveillance

The Will to Make Legible Why Nations Fail

Why I Am I Moving Left? Thomas E. Ricks, Politico (flora). Note that Ricks’s “left” is well outside the Overton Window as defined by Democrats.

My party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats Salon

DCCC poses as debt collection agency in sleazy online fundraising gambit Corrente. Because what institution could be more trusted than a debt collector?


Obama Administration Moves Ahead With Employer Insurance Forms WSJ

Varying health premium subsidies worry consumers AP


As fighting continues in east Ukraine, U.S. releases images said to implicate Russia WaPo Front page teaser says “purported.” Ouch.

Ukraine: Government Attack In Breach Of UN Resolution Moon of Alabama

Dutch, Australian Team Delays Visit to Ukraine Crash Site Amid Fighting Bloomberg

Russia Bashing: Hatred, Hysteria and Humbug Counterpunch (RS)

The Russian-Chinese Geopolitical Game Immanuel Wallerstein, Fernand Braudel Center


New fighting breaks out in Gaza despite Obama’s appeal for a cease-fire WaPo

Destroy Hamas? Something worse would follow: Pentagon intel chief Reuters

An Israel Without Illusions Times

Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts Independent. Frank Luntz wrote the playbook for Israeli talking points. Guess that explains the Senate’s 100-0 vote.

Wild speculation on a highly controversial subject Yorkshire Ranter. Terrible headline, interesting article on how the Palestinian rockets really are a strategic weapon, for good or ill.

Imperial Collapse Watch

In Seattle, Barack Obama talks of unease about world Politico. “[T]he old order isn’t holding and we’re not quite where we need to be in terms of a new order.” Six years after “hope and change”? Why do I get the feeling that Obama and his owners and handlers know exactly where “we” need to be, and that it involves throwing even more people under the bus? Something flipped recently in elite discourse, though we can’t see the shape of it yet.


Class Warfare

Young college grads’ wage growth is falling farther and farther behind Vox 

Powerful and Coldhearted Times (study).

New Yorker Cartoonist Roz Chast’s Remarkable Illustrated Meditation on Aging, Illness, and Death Brain Pickings (furzy mouse)

BuzzFeed Writer Resigns In Disgrace After Plagiarizing ‘10 Llamas Who Wish They Were Models’ The Onion. Note the date: May 29, 2013.

I’m Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work Lifehacker

Blood and Gore: ‘Capitalism is in danger of falling apart’ FT. Look, they call it “the pink paper” for a reason.

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Banger

      Those of us who have a “deep politics” perspective have known about this for a long time. Also, true that the U.S. has supported Islamic radicals since its covert support of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 50s to counter Nasser in Egypt and other groups including Al-qaida through the agency of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The whole “terrorist” and Islamic fundamentalism “theater” exists: a) because it was the most effective means to dis-empower Muslim states from developing modern political economies thus making them more dependent; b) counter nationalist and socialist tendencies that were blooming in the 50s and 60s as higher education spread dramatically in some countries; c) create political chaos which enabled divide and conquer strategies by the Western powers and it’s main agents Saudi Arabia and Israel to use a minimum of force and bribery to keep things flowing in the right direction for U.S./Western interests.

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers


        Whilst I concur with you 100% in relation to your views on the “deep state”, in the UK its actually been known about for years and is usually referred too as “the Establishment”, which whilst this does not sound too dangerous, it usually is – an example of this being Colin Wallace in the 1970’s who worked for the UK security services in Northern Ireland and was involved in “operation Clockwork Orange:. I met Mr. Wallace in 1990 and he explained in detail what you yourself highlight, which is essentially a shadow government pulling the strings, most of who’s members are actually establishment figures, that is either military, part of the upper echelon of the UK’s middle class, and usually both public school educated (fee paying) and schooled at Oxbridge, see the Cambridge Spies.

        Where I disagree is when you attribute what the “deep state” or in the UK’s case, the Establishment, do represents the nation state, I could accept the belief they seem to follow that they are actually the nation state personified, but the fact remains they are a largely hidden clique determined to hold power and status at all cost, even if its to the detriment of the actual nation state, which obviously means you and I. Further, unlike the USA, our Establishment seems unconcerned with money and greed, they adore stays and power, which in my country is difficult to purchase, an example of this being how detested the Barclay brothers are and the likes of Richard Branson by our Establishment – regrettably it seems this is not the case with the USA.

        So lets dispense with terms that these hidden and undemocratic entities work on the states behalf, they do not, they work on their own behalf’s, and if there is one thing they fear, its democracy and democratic oversight – they like to remain hidden and wield power and we know what happens if anyone should step on their toes, just ask JFK, MLK or Robert Kennedy.

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers

          That should read :”they adore status and power”, so an apology for my hastily typed response.

        2. Banger

          I agree with you. These entities act ostensibly for the State, that is, they receive funding and cover from the State but act in their own interests. In the U.S. Our deep State originally had a patriotic sheen but that was largely not in play after the sixties.

        3. fresno dan

          I think the idea of the establishment or deep state is still tied, but fading, to the idea of the nation state. With Davos man and corptocracy, the idea that these people have any residual interest in protecting the interest of their country (nation state – other than with regard to intellectual property) probably went out the window 20 years ago.

          1. different clue

            Perhaps we should call them the Deep World State or the Deep World Government or the Deep World Order or some other name to indicate their interstate character and cross-border shared interests and outlooks.

      1. El Guapo

        Here is a much better article from them:

        “At the end of the day, at the end of a terrible week, it seems that a Jewish state means a racist, nationalistic state, meant for Jews only.“

        Indeed. There is a minority of Israeli`s who recognize that they live in a racist apartheid state.

  1. Jim Haygood

    Eric Margolis on who’s in charge here:

    [In 1956] Dwight Eisenhower ordered the British and French out of Egypt under threat of collapsing their weak currencies. Eisenhower told Israel to get out of Sinai – or else. Israel got out. After Israel was forced out of Sinai its American supporters determined that no US president would again be able to order about Israel.

    After five decades of patient work, the pro-Israel lobby now gives the US Congress its marching orders on the Mideast. The media in the US and Canada have largely adopted Israel’s narrative about the Mideast and Gaza.

    What could be more pitiful than two of the world’s most supposedly powerful men imploring Israel to stop killing Palestinians with US-supplied weapons like F-16 warplanes and heavy 155mm self-propelled guns – which violates the US Arms Export Act, though no one in Washington dares to admit this? Or resuming military payoffs to Egypt’s brutish military dictatorship to keep Palestinians locked up in the Gaza ghetto?

    Washington should be able to demand that Israel, which is due to receive over $30 billion in US aid in the next decade, cease fire and open Gaza’s gates. Of all the vetoes cast since 1950 in the UN Security Council, the majority have been by the US to protect Israel from censure.

    Can Washington act to enforce America’s national interests and common humanity? Not likely.

    Israel has long timed its punitive assaults to sync with the US elections cycle. We are now in the penumbra of America’s upcoming November elections, and Israel knows it. Now’s the time, in Israel’s view, to crush Hamas into dust and tell foreign critics to go to hell.

    1. fresno dan

      it is astounding.
      But a very good example of how money, and small but focused group, can have extraordinary influence.
      Considering how congress critters will do anything to stay there, there must be benefits they’re not revealing….

    2. Banger

      Excellent comment, Jim. But it’s not just a wag the dog scenario–the power elite in the U.S. are the ultimate beneficiaries of Israeli dominance of U.S. electoral politics.

    3. tiger

      It’s just amazing to read stuff like this here … words such as “who’s in charge here”.
      This is exactly like the 1930’s – grand conspiracy theories of Jewish control.

      You know who ACTUALLY wants to control the U.S., and Canada, and Spain, and France, even more than big corporations? (and actually already controls certain neighborhoods in France and a couple other European countries)?

      Answer: somewhere between perhaps 5-25% of muslims – yes – a small subset of muslims that believe that they are to install a Caliphate and rule everywhere, get rid of infidels, me you… all of us here. (and there is black on white proof for this, not empty conspiracy theories)

      I am willing to give up any portion directly to Monsanto if you can guarantee me that I won’t die young in the hands of a brainwashed Muslim. It’s called moral clarity. Your conspiracy theories about Jews, on the other hand, are deplorable.

      Even if we take into account western powers “testing positive” for the creation of Hamas, the Mujaheddin, and even if AIPAC is buddy-buddy with disgusting people in Washington, which I suspect they are since I hate most of Washington D.C.. Ok, let’s assume that to make you guys happy, but then what? what are you going to do about those crazies who want to kill the world and convert YOU to Islam. Are you Chamberlain or Churchill?

      1. James Levy

        So why not just round them up, send them to the desert near Demona and kill them all? I mean, that’s the logical final step in your assessment, isn’t it? If they are such evil fiends bent on taking over the world (how, of course, when they are powerless to even defend themselves you seem not to notice) we should just kill them all, right? They pose no serious threat to Israel, which can bomb them at will and is killing Palestinians at a rate of about 100-1, but why not just slaughter them all, just in case?

        1. Banger

          James you cannot argue with a true believer. I have often talked to incredibly bright and cultured Jews who I like who just start foaming at the mouth when Israel is mentioned and almost always regard Arabs as sub-human. Reminds me of German attitudes towards Jews back in the day.

          1. tiger

            So let me get this, Banger, you are presenting again empty comparisons of Jews to Nazis yet you are the one who butts in and answers the question cynically before I had the chance to answer. Thank you, dear dictator. Now let me answer:

            The question was why not kill them all in the desert in Dimona (by the way, isn’t it telling that the only desert city you know is the one that you read about in your anti-Israel literature. LOL… we have so many more places in the desert..)

            So the answer is: not the right thing to do practically or morally. Practically, it’ll simply breed more anger and hatred in the region and the world. Morally, it’s wrong. We’re not one of those people that kill tons of people like Stalin, Hitler, Mao. you know…. left-wing revolutionaries. Ever heard of these guys? hmmmmmm….

      2. Synoia

        How much have corporation damaged you, either your health, or your wealth? (pollution, unhealthy food, and Economic crises).

        And Muslims have damaged you exactly how much? (Words, and a desire to run their own business the own way).

        And who have been continually thwarted (leaders overthrown, had war waged on their land, been expelled and became emigres) in their desire to runt their own affairs? Corporations or Muslim communities?

      3. Banger

        So are you saying that Jews, unlike nearly every other group don’t have conspiracies? What was Zionism then before Israel existed? A social club? The fact is that no American politician can cross the Likud Party or it’s equivalent without losing his status an position–is that a coincidence. Is the treatment of Norm Finkelstein just a random blip? I can name any number of mini-pogroms Zionist agents indulge in within the media and even in professional associations.

        Jews are like many religions a diverse population and there is no strictly “Jewish” conspiracy–there are conspiracies that involve Jews just as there are conspiracies of right-wing Christians that are often allied with right-wing Jews. The same is true of Muslims. Personally I find neither of the conspiracies I’ve named as all that dangerous–the conspiracy I dread comes from the alliance of corporations and the National Security State.

        1. lambert strether

          So a “conspiracy” between individuals is of the same order as a “conspiracy” between institutions? Interesting theory, recently supported by the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby….

      4. hunkerdown

        Sorry, the “one damn thing after another” school of history doesn’t play here.

      5. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Your comment seems to assume that any and/or all religious “corporations” have not and/or would not do the same.

        You rant about the intentions of the Muslims when compared to the Jews — if you don’t want to die at the hands of a religious fundamentalist, you probably shouldn’t turn your back on the Christians, either.

        1. Vatch

          Nearly all religions are potentially dangerous, although the monotheistic ones are more likely to turn the intolerance up to eleven. A very wise paragraph by Voltaire has been condensed to the pithy:

          “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

          And of course, the other guy’s religion is always absurd.

          For the full quote, see Wikiquote.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Today’s episode of ‘pelea con los holdouts’:

    With less than two days remaining before a possible entry into technical default, a government delegation will travel to New York today to continue negotiating with the mediator appointed by Judge Thomas Griesa to find common ground in the dispute with the so-called vulture funds.

    Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich announced that the delegation will be composed of the Secretary of Finance, Pablo López; the Legal and Administrative Secretary, Federico Thea, and the Treasury Solicitor, Angelina Abbona.

    Members of the delegation will meet tomorrow [Tuesday] morning with attorney Daniel Pollack, the special master appointed by the judge to encourage movement in negotiating positions before the day after tomorrow, when it is expected that if no answers emerge from New York, the country will enter, albeit selectively, into technical default.

    Economic minister Axel Kicillof continued telephone conversations during the weekend with Pollack, according to La Nación in today’s edition. The Casa Rosada could advance payments through a new debt exchange to enable a change of venue [to local law], an idea already made public by the government when the US Supreme Court’s adverse ruling was announced.

    1. Alejandro

      “ I will make it a mixture: let it be a tragicomedy. I don’t think it would be appropriate to make it consistently a comedy, when there are kings and gods in it. What do you think? Since a slave also has a part in the play, I’ll make it a tragicomedy”. . .—Plautus, Amphitryon

        1. Alejandro

          Mentored by Gordon Gekko?

          Bud Fox: Why do you need to wreck a country?
          Gordon Gekko: CAUSE IT’S WRECKABLE!
          With a predictable Who’s Who, i.e., who benefits and who suffers.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Argentina’s dólar blue closed the day offered at 13.00 pesos, equaling its previous record high from a few days ago.

            Reckon it’ll blast through resistance tomorrow, into the wild blue yonder?

            1. Alejandro

              Bud Fox: Blue Horseshoe loves Argentine CDS’s.

              Here’s a song for Vultures, Financial Oligarchs and wannabes everywhere, when they come-a-calling with their camouflaged tandem of “Lop-sided assigning of risk” AND “The magic of compound interest”:

  3. Swedish Lex

    On Hobby Lobby and the question of legal personhood.

    I wrote my last paper at the University of Stockholm on the issue of legal personhood, or not, using a thesis written by an famous (locally) legal scholar, Johan Hagströmmer, from 1872……Hagströmer concluded that that the proposal that corporations/limited liability companies was fiction and, at best, kinda could be a helpful tool to summarize a very complicated and entangled legal construct that ultimately was a legal hybrid, depending from which angle you look at it (creditor, employee, owner, manager, etc.). If you have trouble falling asleep, I would recommend this:

    Never, ever, would I have guessed that any serious jurisdiction would conclude that a company, from a legal perspective, “is” a person, no more than any other legal construct like a marriage or country. This is simply insane.

    Bizarre that my own weird chose of university paper, analysing a text more than a hundred years old, one day would be totally pertinent.

    I guess that the courts now should concist of psychologists too that will have to assess the mental state like repression and split personalities. Will they follow Freud or Jung when they issue their rulings?

    1. Swedish Lex

      “Hagströmer concluded that that the proposal that corporations/limited liability companies HAD LEGAL PERSONHOOD was fiction”

    2. Banger

      While the argument pro-personhood is couched in legal language it is, logically, absurd and it, as a construct goes a long way to actually de-legitimize the current legal structure in the U.S. which is already heavily weighted to consist, essentially of power and money = Justice. Yes, Justice can still occur in U.S. courts but over time it will disappear entirely if current trends continue.

      The personhood argument is strictly as result of political power by the business elite and has no legal justification beyond that.

      1. David Lentini

        I think legal personhood started as a useful fiction for certain economic functions of corporations, especially as the size of the shareholder base grew, because there was no way for corporations to do the sorts of basic business functions they need to accomplish in order to operate, like make contracts, purchase real estate, etc. But this harkens to a time when corporate charters were more carefully drafted and monitored.

        The problem we have today stems from the eclipsing of political activity by economic activity, care of our genius economics and political science academics. By allowing ourselves to become enchanted with the insane idea of homo economicus, we have abandoned political life—an activity which can only exist between human beings—in favor of some half-witted “market polity”, which equates the political with the economic. Thus, the legal fiction of corporate personhood for certain limited legal rights on the basis of economic need now is extended to political rights because the distinction between the two is largely gone.

        1. hunkerdown

          For particular, enumerated purposes, it’s wonderful. But I’ve had people argue, “if we treat them as a person for the purposes of court disputes, why not go whole hog?”

          Claiming imaginary friends should have rights?! ORDERLY! Oh, Reagan closed the mental hospitals and now look.

        2. hunkerdown


          we have abandoned political life—an activity which can only exist between human beings—in favor of some half-witted “market polity”, which equates the political with the economic.

          Worse, “market life”, an activity which cannot exist between human beings, but only between a human being and the market.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      “Never, ever, would I have guessed that any serious jurisdiction would conclude that a company, from a legal perspective, “is” a person, no more than any other legal construct like a marriage or country.”

      The operative phrase here would seem to be “serious jurisdiction.”

      As for the legal construct of “marriage,” I suspect that our august “supremes” will soon be using that concept to overturn any antitrust actions brought against monopoly-creating corporate merger deals. After all, “persons” have the right to “marry.”

      Just how they will designate corporate gender, so as not to run afoul of any same sex marriage state prohibitions, remains to be seen. But I bet it will involve a reverent “channeling” of the founding fathers’ “intent.”

    4. Brooklin Bridge

      Everything hinges on Texas. If they successfully “hang” a corporation until dead (or whatever ghoulish method of killing they are currently intoxicated with), and if that corporation is certified dead by a licensed doctor (from a civilized state) then I will believe there may be something to the notion of corporations having human status in a legal sense.

      1. MtnLife

        Unless you can find a pulse, brain activity, or respiration occurring in a pile of papers I’m think they are already dead. We need one ballsy coroner and we can skip right to the death certificate and do what we do with all dead “persons” lacking a will – seize their assets for the state.

  4. arby

    The article about Obama in Seattle conversing with his donor base puts one in mind of the poem: our dried voices, when we whisper together are quiet and meaningless as wind in dry grass or rat’s feet over broken glass in our dry cellar.

    1. afisher

      I think we are being sold an op-ed piece. Taking a quote and then making it a whole cloth article. Isn’t that in direct opposition to the noise by the RW in which the entire media whined that they were not allowed anywhere near the fund raiser. Same author….let’s try and pay attention folks!

      Like or dislike policies – buying swill in the name of journalism…really?

  5. JM Hatch

    When I see the UK calling MH17 a potential war crime, I wonder where they were when Iran Air 665 was shot down, much less when the US was directing Iraq chemical warfare efforts against Iran…

    1. Banger

      The whole “war crime” charge is just another empty propaganda phrase–just read the article about Frank Luntz helping the Israeli gov’t PR effort. Other terms, now tired, like “terrorist” or “terrorism” are strictly meaningless propaganda terms. The U.S. does not recognize the Geneva Conventions on War so it has no right to talk about any War Crimes since it only recognizes rule by force. Britain is in the same boat because it reflexively follows U.S. policy in all areas and I question if it is even an independent country.

          1. cwaltz

            Unless you’re incorporated or very, very rich you likely wouldn’t be represented by Congress anyway even if you lived in the US. We call ourselves a democracy but really we’re an oligarchy. But yayyyyy! Capitalism rules!

    2. YY

      Deliberate premeditated targeting of a civilian airliner by state sponsored actors is rare. 1) Cuban Airways, 2) maybe Lockerbie (depending on what is believable), and now MH17. All others are accident/errors by military or pure terrorist (non-state) acts. With MH17, it is probably unwise for those involved in the periphery to assume that the problem is going to go away. Coverups will snag a lot more actors so it may best to come to terms with the reality that it is all going to unwind. Taking down a plane with large number of Europeans, including significant number of AIDS researchers, is an invitation to prolonged queries about what really happened.

      1. JM Hatch

        What deep insight do you have, YY, (Yoyo?) that this was a premeditated deliberate targeting, from your incomplete “complete list”? You’ve missed so many, such at VR-HEU, one wonders.

        My guess, and it is only a guess without further facts is It’s highly likely that the Russian separatist did fire MH17 knowing it was an international CA flight, but mostly likely because they had been concurrently under bombardment by Ukrainian Government aircraft.

          1. YY

            Ukrainian state for what its worth is the state actor, How wide and deep it goes is the question. There is no way that a plane is taken down from 10km up in the sky as a result of whoops.

      2. ohmyheck

        As I understand it, after watching a translated video, from Novorussians who first came on the scene, they were wondering what the hell a commercial jetliner was doing, flying over a known battle zone. They were stupefied at the stupidity of it.
        I also read that once MH17 was in the air, it was told to lower its altitude, and change course, so as to end up flying over the battle zone.
        I also read that Putin’s plane was flying the same route, 40 minutes before MH17.

        Other than the video, the rest is heresay.

    3. Yonatan

      So here’s some bs they made up about Russians firing at Ukraine’s military, conveniently overlooking the fact that OSCE monitors in Russia have observed Ukrainians firing into Russia and killing civilians.

      The US still hasn’t shown its satellite and radar data for the MH17 incident. Ukraine confiscated the ATC voice recordings and won’t reveal them. Come on guys, show us what you got (because sure as apples is apples, the Russians have more imagery such as infra red imagery showing the hot trail of a missile launched from Ukrainian territory and their own voice traffic recordings).

    4. Christopher Dale Rogers

      Jm & Banger,

      Hold on a second please chaps, whilst the down of the MAL flight is 90% certain to have been an accident, under international law the shooting down of the airliner actually constitutes a crime against humanity, and as such, anyone actually involved with the accident should be tried at the Hague – which means they’s get a fair hearing at least.

      So its not the use of that particular “sound bite” I’m concerned with, rather its the idea that Russia, despite all known facts, is the nation that’s actually been put in the Dock, this despite the fact that officially at least, Russia, the Duma and Putin have withdrawn support for the Federalists – obviously the MSM neglecting to instruct most of this little detail.

      So here we are, the Russian’s are guilty in the eyes of the likes of the demented ConDem Alliance – see both Clegg and Cameron’s dialogue yesterday about the bloody Football World Cup of 2018 of all things. Such a joke. Not sure where Milipede stands on the issue, as unlike with Syria he’s been most quiet and we don’t have someone in Westminster like Robin Cook – the former UK Foreign Secretary (deceased) who resigned from the Labour Cabinet in disgust at the lies in the run-up to the second Gulf War.

      I’ve been posting on the Guardian website extensively on this issue and Gaza and have now been banned from CIF using my real name – but the jingoism and anti-Russia hysteria is real enough, and that’s in the supposed Guardian, never mind the Tory gutter press of the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph. Seems many desire outright war with Russia, which seems strange given they won’t be combatants, and stranger still, being the fact that the UK is essentially a US Aircraft carrier and in any hostilities with Russia, meaning nuclear, quite a few hundred warheads would land on our “green and pleasant” land. Ah well, at least there’s no hiding for these particular “nutters” in that eventuality.

  6. Swedish Lex

    On “An Israel without illussions” – NYT.

    A thought:

    Had Iran been banging its usual drum as loudly as it has been doing over the past décades of destroying Israel (perhaps with our nukes that we are “not developing”), then the Israeli war propaganda/distortion would have had a much easier task of justifying the carnage in Gaza. The threat against Israel is potent, overwhelming and potentially devastating and therefore justify the necessary “counter measures”.

    What has changed, however, is that Iran is mute, no doubt knowing that any more “destroy Israel” babble would kill the chances of having sanctions lifted. I guess that Iran has more important matters in its own back yard with ISIS, etc.

    Without an officially crazy Iran, Israel begins to look overwhelmingly crazy too, even for some of the Israelis themselves, like the person who wrote in NYT.

    1. Banger

      Good point. Iran like Israel understands that PR serves a legitimate power function probably as important as military might.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      YouTube, twitter, Facebook (for all their faults) have been around for some time now. The msm isn’t a gatekeeper anymore.

      No one, not even blogs, is discussing Israel’s naked aggression into Lebanon and it’s subsequent defeat because the msm still was the gatekeeper. What they told the population was what was known. Iran was crazy because Wolf Blitzer, real life SNL celebrity jeopardy contestant, told us so. Now anyone can find out Wolf is a pet of Pat Robertson. Maybe the crowd over 45 doesn’t really understand this even though they’ve had e-mail, but they still use the msn home page as a news source. Time has reduced the reliance on the msm. I think the opposition to Syria was based on people checking out Libya despite the msm blackout and memories of Syria being on the neocon hit list.

      The world is different even in the last few years because there is no longer a monopoly on the news.

      1. hunkerdown

        YouTube, twitter, Facebook (for all their faults) have been around for some time now. The msm isn’t a gatekeeper anymore.

        Bwah? They ARE the MSM now. Both Google and Facebook have been witnessed censoring inconvenient evidence for Western governments, and recommendation engines in general are their own ball of problems.

        There may not be a monopoly as such, but the natural interests of those with national-scale media properties are remarkably aligned.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          They are officially, but regardless of their corporate nature, the wall of a friend is relevant to promoting discussion and legitimizing the Internet as a news alternative and not just a forum for fans of Babylon 5. The domestic reaction on Syria is a perfect example. Every Republican lined up to bomb the hell out of the place, but in the end, they scattered and scurried away besides McCain’s boy band because the Internet had changed in the way it was perceived.

          I’m not on Fb, but it sounded like a ground zero for Assad atrocities. Yet, the users didn’t bite.

  7. Jim Haygood

    Argentina remains obsessed with the RUFO clause, which Anna Gelpern says they can get around. From La Nación:

    [Argentina’s legal plight] is due to an equal treatment clause known by its English acronym RUFO, stipulated in the restructured bonds, giving bondholders who accepted the exchange the right to demand the same terms of any agreement that Argentina reaches with the hedge funds. This could trigger legal claims for U.S. $120 billion, says the government.

    The subject of the RUFO clause is so common on Argentine radio and television that it seems everyone understands what it means. President Cristina Kirchner said that she could even bear criminal liability if the clause is triggered.

    “For me, what worries me most is not criminal responsibility, but responsibility to history, in the eyes of my children, my grandchildren and the millions of Argentines who will not see me accept anything under a threat that the world is going to end,” she said last week.

    Legal experts debate the relevance of the clause, which can be activated only if Argentina pays “voluntarily” to hedge funds. Compliance with a court order would not be voluntary, some lawyers say.

    Since the RUFO clause expires on 31 December, Argentina has tried to convince the judge to suspend his ruling to give Argentina more time. However, the judge has not given way, and the hedge funds insist that the clause is a government ruse to avoid paying.

    Last month, Griesa appointed a mediator, but Argentina has refused to sit face to face with hedge funds. On one occasion, Argentine officials didn’t even attend a meeting.

    1. Alejandro

      Alternate scenario could be to dump current strategy and refocus and “obsess” about the odious debt and conduct an audit. Then present evidence that Singer bought illegitimate debt….seriously, how do you feel about suing for UNEARNED profits?

  8. Banger

    I recommend “THE CHIMERA OF GLOBAL CONVERGENCE” as a good start for a discussion on relative political/economic power in the world.

    I hesitate to criticize those who keep talking about “American decline” I see no evidence of that decline and neither does the article. There have been shifts and the rise of the BRICS is duly noted in the article. But essentially the USA still is in the catbird seat. Having said that, I believe the Globalization regime is not and was not about keeping the USA as a global hegemon but, rather, to stabilize and institutionalize a New World Order that breaks down individual nation states in favor of an international regime (the Empire) within which the U.S. armed forces (including and featuring the covert/black ops community) is a key ingredient to keep order. When the U.S. speaks of “the world” it means this Imperial entity which is, at this point in time, more of a network-emergent entity than a solid Imperial state like the Roman, Chinese, or Ottoman Empires.

    Logically, there seems to be little reason for national boundaries and “policies” except to keep up the illusion of individual states much as the Romans kept up the illusion of a Republic for a long time until it withered away with attempts to re-invigorate the Roman state with Republican virtues.

    1. James Levy

      I’m old fashioned enough to think that you need a solid base to build a viable superstructure, and if the US taxpayer and soldier is the base of “Empire”, then this system is unquestionably in decline. You need many willing hands to run an empire against opposition, and opposition is out there and growing, while faith in America, the kind of faith that gets people to pony up their taxes and send their sons and daughters off to die, is waning. American jingoism is deeply tied to American exceptionalism and the American Dream. A collapsing middle class and a drunk, meth-headed, demoralized working class will quickly lose faith in both.

      1. Ulysses

        “Drunk, meth-headed??!!?” Negative stereotype much? Just as not every rich bankster snorts coke and parties with prostitutes every day, not every working class person abuses alcohol or other cheaper drugs. Demoralized, yes, degenerate, no. I take special offense at this unfair stereotype because I spend so much time tutoring disadvantaged youth who are stellar examples of sober seriousness of purpose.

          1. James Levy

            You read everyone into this, I didn’t say it. But plenty of the disinherited and disenfranchised working class are today obese, diabetic, addled, and drugged up (or drinking too damned much) for the simple reason that their lives and livelihoods have been shown to them to mean nothing to the people who govern this land and own it. They have, in effect, “turned the guns on themselves”, as American culture teaches us that “losers” deserve the derision and contempt of society and have no value. Making noble PC utterances about such people is like saying that black communities aren’t afflicted in the same way. Plenty (although hardly a majority) of African-Americans live in ignorance, drink or take drugs, act out violently, and have too freakin many kids out of wedlock (or at least stable long-term relationships) and this hurts them. Pretending otherwise won’t solve anything. Removing the reasons for these pathologies among the displaced proletariat and African-Americans (many times the same people) is what I care about. Collectively stroking these communities to enhance their “self-esteem” is a way of side-stepping the fact that they are being screwed over and profoundly harmed and the quicker that ends the better. In no way am I blaming the victims.

            1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

              I’ve lived in public housing, among black people, and in VERY tony, gated neighborhoods, among white people.

              Plenty in each group are ignorant and use drugs.

              Socioeconomic status explains the drastic differences in localized populations (with the upper ALWAYS looking askance at the lower).

          2. kareninca

            I agree. That was breathtakingly bigoted and offensive. I know many, many working class people from the area where I grew up, and none of them fit that description. I guess James Levy does not go to the effort to actually get to know any working class Americans; he just watches “reality TV.”

      2. hunkerdown

        I’m old fashioned enough to think that you need a solid base to build a viable superstructure

        That’s right, but only in a static sense. That doesn’t preclude said superstructure, once partially built up and reinforced, from standing on fewer legs than designed, and there’s no reason it has to look pretty or sleek to stay selectively functional when most people are conditioned both classically and operantly to treat intermittent and empty rewards as the nominal functionality.

        Speaking of intermittent and empty rewards, Ulysses, you took it upon yourself to commit a fallacy of composition and take that as a slur. Despair doesn’t cease to exist, let alone have an effect upon the consensual hallucination we call “the world”, simply because you work to counteract it in a time and place that has sod-all to do with those currently in despair.

        Or, which of these are you denying?
        a) desperate situations motivate people to self-medicate
        b) strong depressants and stimulants are physiologically addictive
        c) self-medicating polydrug users in desperate situations exist
        d) people in desperate situations will experience periods of lucidity
        e) lucid people in desperate situations may be motivated to band together against perceived enemies
        f) bands of people so motivated and oriented will act in their interests
        g) your interests may not be their interests
        h) your interests should not be assumed to be their interests
        i) intersectional analysis is valid
        j) the OODA loop exists
        k) dynamics exist
        l) the Whig Theory of the present can be used perniciously as a derailing tool

    2. Jim

      If US corporations still occupy most of the commanding heights of global capitalism and if the ownership of these same institutions are still primarily in U.S. hands and if this structure of private power is intimately linked to powerful public institutions (like the NSA and other US intelligence agencies), which are free from any public democratic accountability, then is it accurate to argue that a transnational capitalist class is really running or about to be running things?

      Isn’t it still all about keeping the US nation-state (and both its public and private hierarchies of power and property) as the global hegemon?

  9. diptherio

    That Hobby Lobby piece in the Times….ugh!….head explode!

    The basic justification is that corporations, owned by people, should have the same freedoms as people. And in many ways, of course, they already do. Chick-fil-A does not sell sandwiches on Sundays. Interstate Batteries tells prospective employees, “While it is not necessary to be a Christian to be employed, it is a part of the daily work life for Interstate team members.” In 1999, Omni Hotels said its new owner, a Christian, had made a “moral decision” to stop selling pay-per-view pornography.

    One of these things is not like the others…

    How is choosing your hours or merchandise anything at all like religious discrimination in your hiring (thinly veiled though it is)? Not at all.

    Here’s the thing, corporate status conveyed on an enterprise gives a distinct advantage to the people who own the enterprise–placing a limit on down-side while allowing unlimited upside. Unincorporated enterprises also have unlimited upside (at least potentially), but they also have down-side to worry about. Having limited down-side allows one to take more risks and taking more risks leads to getting higher returns. Incorporation, therefore, conveys and “un-natural” advantage, and so it is only fair that society place restrictions on the processes employed by those enterprises, like forbidding hiring discrimination on the basis of religion, sex, complexion, etc. If you want to have the freedom to discriminate on the basis of these things in your enterprise, fine–you just don’t get to be incorporated. It’s called a trade-off…it’s an econ thing.

    And then there’s all the agency confusion:

    The corporation that published this column, for instance, is exercising its constitutional right to speak freely and to make contracts, taking money from some of you and giving a little to me.

    No, it is the authors of the columns that are speaking freely; the corporation has neither mouth with which to speak nor phalanges with which to type. Contracts are made between people. A corporation is (essentially) a complex of contracts–but at no point does a group of contracts ever gain agency.

    The author and the SC alike have a difficult time understanding agency…or the difference between not being open on Sunday and not providing mandatory benefits that all of one’s competitors are required to provide. I would imagine that all corporations are going to quickly “find God” so as to avoid paying for unnecessary birth control. As a CEO, why wouldn’t you? Heck, I think you might even have an obligation to, as reducing benefits is surely good for the bottom line, and that is a CEO’s sole concern….

    I think I probably agree with Binyamin, but his argument makes me bonkers.

    1. fresno dan

      good points.
      and I really love your use of the word “phalanges” – maybe you’ll start a trend

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: My party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats Salon

    The ugly but undeniable truth in two short paragraphs:

    “One reason we know voters will embrace populism is that they already have. It’s what they thought they were getting with Obama. In 2008 Obama said he’d bail out homeowners, not just banks. He vowed to fight for a public option, raise the minimum wage and clean up Washington. He called whistle-blowers heroes and said he’d bar lobbyists from his staff. He was critical of drones and wary of the use of force to advance American interests. He spoke eloquently of the threats posed to individual privacy by a runaway national security state.

    He turned out to be something else altogether. To blame Republicans ignores a glaring truth: Obama’s record is worst where they had little or no role to play. It wasn’t Republicans who prosecuted all those whistle-blowers and hired all those lobbyists; who authorized drone strikes or kept the NSA chugging along; who reneged on the public option, the minimum wage and aid to homeowners. It wasn’t even Republicans who turned a blind eye to Wall Street corruption and excessive executive compensation. It was Obama.”

    Obama should have lost the 2012 election. Romney was the obvious choice for his “opponent” as he personified all the things that the sorry democrats pretended to be against. In the end, the democrats got their long-suffering black guy, the republicans got their punching bag and the corporatists got everything they paid for.

    And the people got to pretend that in a “democracy,” votes matter.

    1. OIFVet

      “Mistaking the nature of the crisis, Obama mistook massive fraud for faulty computer modeling and a middle-class meltdown for a mere turn of the business cycle. Had he grasped his situation he’d have known the most he could do by priming the pump would be to reinflate the bubble.”

      I am not buying this Obama as a naif narrative.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I disagree he repeats a few platitudes and most people projected their feelings onto him. Read his 2004 dnc speech, don’t watch. It’s trite and dismisses major issues as inconsequential, but it was easy. So people applauded because he didn’t say think, he said let’s take the easy route and split the baby.

          Now he has morphed into a liar, but he was that guy in 2004, 2005, 2006 (remember his performance on behalf of Joe Lieberman), etc…

          The problem like my support for Team Blue after Reid made his keep the powder dry was when we didn’t want to believe those friendly people were so obviously terrible. We made up lies to justify it, such as its for politics, the gop will be mean, and wait for 2008. Now to justify that, we make up fraudulent assertions about Obama being shown the tape of the bending bullet (JFK was seated higher so people could see the President; that was the whole point of the parade).

          The Team Blue fanatics are just still unwilling to admit they elect idiots, crooks, and bums, so they hurl accusations of racism and kitchen sinks.

          1. OIFVet

            You do have a point, he made himself into a canvas upon which people could project whatever they wanted to see in him. But in the end that makes him a liar by omission. Allowing the voters to do that left him with the rather enviable option of not really having to take firm stances on some issues, and I happen to think that this was by design. I don’t see him as naive and stupid, I see him as cunning and calculating.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I didn’t say he was naive as much as he is a selfish, ignoramus who extols soft American fascism. Ive seen nothing to think he doesnt believe he is exceptional and capable of fudging laws in times of perceived need. He’s really a perfect Republican except the current GOP was too heavily influenced by the Southern strategy to a point where only outwardly crazy minorities could fit in. Occasionally, he trots out a more liberal message, but I think his disdain of liberals has been pretty well documented.

              As for his rise In politics, George W and Ronald Reagan were President, and let’s be honest, Bill is the only successful Clinton hack and he needed a major third party to win.

              Since fascist is a bad thing to be, the modern fascists can’t use that word or even comprehend themselves as fascists*, and those fascists are divided into different camps, vying for power.

              *it’s why Hitler became a super villain and the 6 million other holocaust victims have been forgotten. They want to do the same thing to political prisoners.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Me neither.

        Whatever they’ve got on him must be dynamite.

        My tongue is only halfway in my cheek when I say that maybe he really wasn’t born in Hawaii after all.

          1. MtnLife

            You two comments combined made me think (slightly TFH): if they didn’t have anything on him to start (highly doubtful seeing how dirty politics is), how hard would it be for them to fake it? If you take a room with no windows, consistent lighting and furnishings, and a fixed hidden camera, I imagine it wouldn’t be all that difficult to make it appear as if you were present for something you weren’t.

            1. Lord Koos

              Important candidates are likely annointed because they are easily blackmailed due to whatever indiscretions in the past… federal judges are rumoured to be controlled in this way. Obama could be no different… they need someone they can control — don’t want another FDR coming in to screw up the plans.

      2. Carolinian

        Still, this is a good article because it puts the focus on Nader, a much neglected figure these days. Once he was a major player on the left. Arguably the Powell Memo came about because the Corps were freaked out by Nader and his consumerist attack on their bottom line. Clearly anyone who lionized small business over big business had to be stopped (and he was).

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I hope I am not hallucinating. Maybe some of you will remember this as well.

          When Ralph Nader ran for president in 2000, he appeared on Bill Maher’s show. Appearing at the same time was Michael Moore. As I remember, both Maher and Moore literally got on their knees and begged Nader NOT TO RUN.

          Maher made a name for himself, as did plenty of others, thanks to George W. Bush. He idiotically defends Obama to this day. But I wonder if Michael Moore would like to have that one back.

          I sure would. Can you imagine how different things today would be?

          1. abynormal

            who can forget…from the anal(s) of yak:

            “Let it not be said by a future, forlorn generation that we wasted and lost our great potential because our despair was so deep we didn’t even try, or because each of us thought someone else was worrying about our problems.
            You should not allow yourself the luxuries of discouragement of despair. Bounce back immediately, and welcome the adversity because it produces harder thinking and harder drive to get to the objective.” Nader
            (could Americans embrace these words from a leader? nope :`(

          2. Carolinian

            That did happen.

            And I’ll take Moore over Maher but both are basically self-promoters. As for 2000, Nader said at the time there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties and he was of course right–at least when it came to economic issues. Should we blame him for what has happened since? Of course not. Let’s blame Al Gore and the Democrats instead. They are the ones who lost–or just barely won–against the improbable G.W. Bush. The press gets the blame as well for their shameless Bush favoritism.

            1. fresno dan

              I can remember debating a friend (who is gay) around 1999 about the electoral college, and how he gave me all the “sophisticated” arguments about the wisdom of retaining this venerable institution…..
              I NEVER, EVER let him forget it….

            2. Banger

              Bush never won a single Presidential election–fraud determined both outcomes as well as gore and Kerry conceding and Kerry definitely trying with all his might to take a dive–his candidacy was a joke–in spite of that he would have won and the power elite had to commit fraud to get Bush back in office.

                1. Ulysses

                  Here’s just one tidbit from the Buckeye State, 2004: “A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.”

          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            Nader is a red herring to justify the groupie support of Bill Clinton’s campaign friends despite their constant losing.

            1. Ed

              There is deliberate confusion/ amnesia on this point. Gore won the nationwide popular vote. Forty-eight states were either carried by Gore or carried by Bush with an absolute majority, in other words Nader had no effect. The two states carried by Bush by pluralities where Nader got more votes than Bush’s margin of victory were Florida and New Hampshire.

              In Florida, of course, every fringe candidate got more votes than Bush’s margin of victory. That is what happens when the margin is only a handful of votes. Nader cost Gore the election by keeping Gore from carrying New Hampshire and its four electoral votes, but for some reason no one gets excited about this.

              Nader was polling about 6% about a week before the election and his vote collapsed, with most of his normally Democratic voters coming home to Gore, which also pushed Gore above Bush (he had been consistently trailing in the polls). Its not clear whether the Nader supporters who were left were the sort of people who normally voted for the Democrats. Gore did wind up getting more votes than Clinton did four years before, and came close to matching Clinton’s 1996 popular vote percentage.

              1. Banger

                A recount commissioned by a consortium of newspapers showed that had all the votes been counted Gore would have won and that doesn’t even count the voter suppression and fraud committed by the State of Florida.

                1. James Levy

                  That is an excellent summation. But let’s do a thought experiment, if you’ll indulge me: imagine that Gore won and 9/11 happened. I maintain that Bush’s agenda would have largely have been implemented anyway because the cry for his impeachment would have been deafening. Bush caught a break by saying (and the MSM endlessly reiterating) that he was new on the job and his team was caught unawares. If Gore had gone from VP to President, he would have had no such cover. To save his ass he would have done just about anything the Republicans and the press demanded of him. His agenda would have been scraped in the name of “healing” and “bipartisanship” and to keep the wolves from tearing him to shreds.

                  1. different clue

                    If Gore had fought for the office as hard as Bush did it is possible Gore might have mud-wrestled it away from the Bushies. In which case, if Gore had been installed as President, it is possible 9/11 would not have happened because a Gore Administration would have tried to stop such a thing instead of working to Help It Happen On Purpose, like the Bush team did.
                    “Okay, you’ve covered your ass now.”
                    –who said that?

        2. OIFVet

          I agree with you and I certainly didn’t want to imply that the article was completely worthless. I simply wanted to point out that even as the author was engaged in criticism of the Dems he still was unable/unwilling to call out Obama. I stopped giving Obama the benefit of the doubt long ago, if it walks like a duck etc.

      3. TedWa

        Even Bush wanted strings attached to any bail out of the banks, Obama would not have that – HE insisted on no strings attached bailouts. Obama said when running in 2008 that no bank lobbyists would be writing bills. Dodd and Frank did not write that bill, bank lobbyists did. Something is wrong with him and it rhymes with cycle path.

        Although, coming out of the private meeting with Bush for the ceremonial transfer of power he appeared seriously shook-up, I say there is no room for fear or cowardice if you’re going to run for President. He’s done 360’s on his promises so times he’s looking like a typhoon, wreaking similar havoc.

        1. James Levy

          Maybe he was told what the anthrax attack was really all about. That would shake up anyone who doesn’t realize just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

    2. Paul Niemi

      Are you a populist? Curry’s article gives a neat summary — “All populists share common traits: love of small business; high standards of public ethics; concern for individuals, families and communities; suspicion of elites and of all economic trusts, combinations and cartels.” I agree with that. And I think the public should be exposed to populist ideas. Curry suggests conducting a poll to find out how popular populist ideas are. My guess is a lot of people would agree with those basic principles, but the rub would come in specific policies of implementation, because change isn’t easy. On the other hand, I would observe that people are not lining up to join the Grange, the barely surviving remnant of the original populist movement. I think I don’t because I just assume they would want me to volunteer to host dances and do nine other things. But I would like to know if it is because people just don’t join things anymore, or if something else is better? And people don’t seem enthralled with Ralph Nader much either.

      1. OIFVet

        Kinda hard for the public to be enthralled with a guy when the whole heavy artillery of the “liberal” MSM propaganda machine has set out to destroy him. Most of the younger voters have no idea what Nader has done in the past, all they know is “Florida 2000”.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Here’s the one factoid you need to demolish “ZOMG!!!! Nader!!!!!”:

          Now it gets really ugly for the Gore campaign, for there are two other Florida constituencies that cost them more votes than Nader did. First, Democrats. Yes, Democrats! Nader only drew 24,000 Democrats to his cause, yet 308,000 Democrats voted for Bush. Hello. If Gore had taken even 1 percent of these Democrats from Bush, Nader’s votes wouldn’t have mattered. Second, liberals. Sheesh. Gore lost 191,000 self-described liberals to Bush, compared to less than 34,000 who voted for Nader.

          In other words, the Democrats have only themselves to blame. But catch a Democrat ever accepting blame or responsibility for anything. It’s always the other guy. Yes, the Democratic Big Lie machine is just as effective as the Republicans’, only it’s deployed on different topics.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Yes, that’s the basis of my own favorite reply to the accusastion:
            To throw away an election that was theirs to win (I think it was deliberate, but that’s a digression for another day) and then blame it on some other party is just…
            That usually shuts them up.

          2. different clue

            There are two different questions here. Did Nader have an effect? The numbers seem to indicate that lots of other things had a bigger effect in Florida. Though as someone upthread noted, Nader got 6% of the votes in New Hampshire. If he had not been running would that 6% voted for Gore leading to Gore’s electoral college victory? Or would they have stayed home or voted other third party anyway?
            But the other question is intent. Nader’s only purpose in running was to get Gore defeated in order to get Bush elected, perhaps in the Leninist conceit that “the worse things get the better they are”. A Texas-based blogger called Politex kept warning and warning about this. So when I judge Nader by his evil “elect Bush” intention, I still regard him as evil-intended.
            Even if that stupid Democratic Party Operative who designed a butterfly ballot which got 150,000 old Democratic retirees to vote Buchanan by mistake instead of the Gore they thought they were voting for.

      2. Banger

        All non-mainstream political figures in the USA are ignored by order of them ministry of Truth unless they are entertaining.

        1. Paul Niemi

          I listened to Ralph Nader in an interview about four months ago. He is talking about elements of the left and the right, coming together to confront the (corporatist) middle. It is remarkable how time has validated much of his early activism. Now he sounds like an elder statesman, and remarkably says that he still uses an AT&T phone, a typewriter, snail mail, and has just one assistant, I think. If he has an IPad, he will not admit it, nevertheless he would make a wonderful contributor to a blog like this. This guy knows more about the law than most judges, but he chooses when to beat his own drum. Now that he is old, he’s not going to put himself out there, unless it’s for something he can really enjoy advocating. He still denies he cost Gore the election in Florida in 2000, but you would have to listen to him explain it in his own words.

          1. Banger

            I’m now convinced that Gore would not have been substantially different from Bush because I no longer believe the POTUS has very much power which should be obvious by now.

            1. Wendy

              But also, it bears a reminder that Gore did not even carry his home state. If he had, Florida would have never gone to the Supremes to call. Florida was a great big convenient distraction from the major failings of the Dem party.
              Losing TN was a failure of both the candidate, and the party.
              Not that, in the end, it would have made much difference, except that we would likely have better judges than Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court. In that vein, Sotomayor is the sole positive I can think of for Obama’s legacy.

              1. Banger

                Gore did win Florida, btw had there been a recount–he threw the election because, his life was threatened. The right had threatened to revolt in a coup if Gore was declared the winner–this from an-ex military guy. If you look into it closely Kerry definitely threw his election which he also won but technically lost due the proven voter fraud which he refused to pursue and we can see why in his turn-around in joining the neocon clique.

                  1. Lambert Strether Post author

                    It’s certainly a plausible narrative. But I don’t think you need to believe it to give an account of Bush v. Gore. All you need is Scalia’s desire to have his selection, Bush, put people who agreed with him ideologically on the court, which he was found to do. Not only is this simpler, it doesn’t assume good faith on Scalia’s part.

                    1. Ed

                      Bush v. Gore gets a bad rep. Scalia’s argument, which did not get majority support on the Supreme Court, was valid. His argument essentially was that the President was not elected by popular vote. There was absolutely nothing preventing the Florida legislature, or from any other state legislature, from simply submitting its own slate of electors, and they were going to do this if the recount and other court cases had gone differently. Nor do the electors themselves have any obligation to vote for whoever carries their state, and every few elections an elector votes the “wrong” way with only a few people noticing this.

                      The problem with the Scalia approach to these things is that the US doesn’t have a written constitution, it has a partially written one. It would come as a rude surprise to most people if the government actually started operating according to the constitution-as-written.

                      The actual opinion, that there is a due process violation if election boards started cherrypicking which localities they wanted to recount, and used different methods in different localities, is also valid, though taken more seriously it would nullify pretty much every election held in the US.

                  1. Banger

                    Not what you think–someone who was connected with the highest security clearance. Of course, take it with a grain of salt.

                    1. different clue

                      Well, as Chuck Hagel said in the primaries, you should accept that the Presidency is a hazardous job. “If you want a safe job, go sell shoes”.

            1. Paul Niemi

              In that interview, Ralph Nader reminded the host, Tom Woods, that at the time of the Iraq invasion 55 percent of Americans were opposed to the invasion, even considering the administration’s claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. It was only after the administration invaded, that so many adopted the posture that that opposition to the war was anti-American for not supporting the troops. I had forgotten that, and I’ll bet a lot of people assume differently. The build up to the costly quagmire never enjoyed majority support and the invasion was a fait accompli in the face of this. Nader also mentioned the vast, continuing human cost. His book, “Unstoppable” outlines points of agreement between left and right, including corporate bailouts, corporate welfare, needed revision of the Patriot Act, and opposition to foreign interventions. He said, “the Corporate Party has two heads, Republican and Democrat,” but left and right can find common cause to confront that.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Yeah, I read that Salon article, too, and commented on it.
      It’s a splendid dissection of the reality of the Democratic Party, complete with history; but in the end, he’s still a Democrat.
      My tolerance for people like that, and there are quite a few prominent writers who do the same thing (Thomas Frank, David Sirota), is wearing away quickly. They’ve worked themselves into a morally uninhabitable corner, but apparently don’t even notice.
      OTOH, Salon is normally a Democratic Party mouthpiece, so posting something like this is a good sign – I hope.

  11. furzy mouse

    Here in SE Asia, Baidu has made a habit of sneaking in and installing its software anytime you want to download something. It does not announce that it is Baidu doing the download until it is completed, then it trys to become your homepage. A real pain in the keester to get rid of as well.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Dr. Hussman says private equity is an accident waiting to happen:

    If the Federal Reserve is historically informed, it should concentrate now on supervisory oversight of those areas where systemically interconnected institutions have major loans out to entities with thin capital structures and highly leveraged exposure to equities. Hedge funds and private equity firms are often the canaries in that coalmine, because their highly leveraged, lopsided bets typically fail first.

    Our nation lost its best opportunity to strengthen the financial system when policy makers dropped the ball on changes that might have required banks and other financial institutions to carry more mandatory convertible debt (which would change automatically to loss-bearing equity if the company approached insolvency). The best that can be done is for the Fed to scramble early enough to identify and contain the expansion of loans that directly or indirectly finance leveraged equity positions.

    There is not much benefit to be gained from surprising the market by ending QE prior to October, but the Fed should also begin talking now about suspending reinvestment of interest and principal payments starting in October. The marginal benefits of QE have already turned sharply negative by encouraging speculation and low-quality debt expansion. Failure to begin drawing down the balance sheet will only make future policy normalization more challenging.


    Leveraged buyouts, at a moment of high equity valuations and near-zero interest rates, are a terrible idea. Today’s decidedly bubbly financial backdrop can only worsen from here. When it does, highly leveraged firms are going to be sucking wind, and the IPO market will not accommodate unloading ill-timed buys onto new victims.

    But the Federal Reserve itself is leveraged more than 69 to 1. Should we buy out this pig in a poke, run by purblind PhDs, and try to turn the sucker around? Not on your life! Chapter 7 liquidation (and rustication of its staff, to dig a canal to Las Vegas with their bare hands) is the only answer for an institution this broken.

    1. Banger

      I don’t buy that there is a large risk to the current leverage. It is my understanding that the whole international monetary system is prepared to act as one in case there is a market meltdown and all the major actors know it because they are in the mix. One if the agreements mad early in the financial crisis is that the main actors on Wall Street and the City would pool their resources with the Fed, IMF, other sovereign funds and international organizations as a more institutional version of the famous “plunge protection team” that functioned on an ad hoc basis and was barely able to contain the 2008 crisis. In exchange, governments like the U.S. Allowed the culprits responsible for the crisis who clearly vomited criminal acts, immunity from criminal prosecution.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Using empirical data from corporate bankruptcies, Prof. Ed Altman at NYU developed a well-known Z-score to predict bankruptcy. One of its five inputs is market value of equity divided by book value of total liabilities. Altman gives this example (p.13):

        ‘A company with market value of $1,000 and liabilities of $500 could experience a two-thirds drop in asset value before insolvency. However, the same firm with only $250 equity will be insolvent if assets drop only one-third in value.’

        Increase liabilities, and insolvency risk goes up. What’s scary is that in quintupling its balance sheet, the Federal Reserve has leveraged itself to the moon, hiking its own insolvency risk. Know any friendly, rich Martians who could bail us out when Bubble III blows?

        1. fresno dan

          Shockingly, you seem to doubt the prescience of our FED maestros and preeminent economists. These are Princeton, Harvard, etc. edumacated dudes….
          How do you expect confidence men….er, …um……I mean confidence fairies to fly if your always sowing cynicism???

          Here, look at their deep, deep knowledge that enable them to tell with great accuracy what will happen in the economy. For example:
          Developments in subprime mortgage markets raise some additional questions about the housing sector. Delinquency rates on variable-interest-rate loans to subprime borrowers, which account for a bit less than 10 percent of all mortgages outstanding, have climbed sharply in recent months. The flattening in home prices has contributed to the increase in delinquencies by making refinancing more difficult for borrowers with little home equity. In addition, a large increase in early defaults on recently originated subprime variable-rate mortgages casts serious doubt on the adequacy of the underwriting standards for these products, especially those originated over the past year or so. As a result of this deterioration in loan performance, investors have increased their scrutiny of the credit quality of securitized mortgages, and lenders in turn are evidently tightening the terms and standards applied in the subprime mortgage market.

          Although the turmoil in the subprime mortgage market has created severe financial problems for many individuals and families, the implications of these developments for the housing market as a whole are less clear. The ongoing tightening of lending standards, although an appropriate market response, will reduce somewhat the effective demand for housing, and foreclosed properties will add to the inventories of unsold homes. At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency. We will continue to monitor this situation closely.

          As we don’t have scores of economists helping us, we should hope to never…WHOOPS, I mean we could never hope to duplicate they’re illustrious forecasts.
          Next thing you’ll say is that we don’t have the world’s highest standard of living

      2. Calgacus

        The idea that the Fed can or will “go bankrupt” or has an insolvency risk because of balance sheet shenanigans is conceptually crazy, demonstrates incomprehension of money. The Fed is part of the gubmint, which prints/ creates money (or bonds) when it spends (issues them). Government liabilities are so solid, so valuable that they are the base money of all modern societies. This situation has basically zero chance of changing. In it, the parallel to insolvency is not a logically impossible insolvency-in-terms-of-your-own-liabilities, but inflation – a decrease of trading value of state liabilities and others’ liabilities denominated/measured against state liabilities – i.e state money & bank money.

        If the Fed “is broke” – has backed / exchanged a lot of crappy, unpayable debts with its solid FR notes / reserves, then all that has happened is a lot of fraudsters don’t go broke. All the Fed did was an unwise monetary operation, unlikely to have much effect on inflation even, which would have been set off when these eventually-bad debts were originally issued, not when the Fed acquired them. If people are still afraid of this meaningless situation of a negative-equity, “broke”, Central Bank, then the Treasury, which stands behind the Fed – not vice versa – can just give the Fed some nice new T-bonds. One pocket of Uncle Sam just giving a nice note to the other pocket that it owes the other pocket. An imaginary cure for an imaginary problem.

        1. MikeNY

          I agree that it is hard to see how the Fed goes bust. First, they don’t have to mark assets to market. Second, a big portion of their holdings are Treasuries. Most of the remainder, if I’m not mistaken, is AAA collateral, largely the super-senior tranches of agency (and likely conforming) MBS. Given the cash flows from the portfolio (it’s in the hundreds of billions a year) and the nature of the portfolio, I think actual Fed insolvency is a VERY tail-risk scenario.

          Two things could cause the need for a Fed recap: a forced sale of a huge part of their balance sheet at a time when rates gapped up big and quickly (so you have to be an inflationista); or a replay of the housing bust, with no intervention to prop up the market. But this second scenario would take a long time to play out, if ever it did. The AAA tranche of cash-flow vehicles is hard to kill — just ask the CLO market.

          Did anyone every lose money by holding on to the AAAs of conforming agency MBS? I know no one did in the CLO market.

        2. Jim Haygood

          One definition of insolvency is “the state of having liabilities that exceed assets.” If yields rise enough to cause capital losses on the Fed’s Treasuries and mortgage securities, with 69-to-1 leverage the Fed can slide into insolvency just as easily as Fannie and Freddie did.

          That doesn’t mean it gets liquidated, since its principal liability (currency) is unredeemable. It would mean (a) that the Fed stops sending profits to the Treasury; and (b) either they fudge the accounting, or J-Yelzebub has to explain to Congress (the one or two who can read balance sheets) how the Fed fell into negative equity on her watch.

          1. Calgacus

            But a and b are both meaningless. The Fed or any other central bank being “insolvent”, having negative equity means nothing at all, and it could maintain and increase such “insolvency” forever. Congress could even pass a (meaningless) law that the Fed must be “insolvent”. It is not something “scary” or that necessitates a Martian bailout.

            All it means is that it had earlier engaged in what turned out to be a fiscal, not monetary operation. It has no other economic effect, no effect on the government’s, the Fed or the Treasury’s operations. The appearance of an imaginary problem to confused onlookers could be solved by just putting the Fed back into the Treasury department.

  13. fresno dan

    What I get out of it (other than eye popping things like wage earners are better off under Obama than Clinton, but that Nixon whoops both of them) is that are best days are behind us. We don’t seem to want to confront that after 40 years – will it take 100? Of course, if we did confront it, the 0.01% might be discomfited… which point I would expect a big PR blitz that money doesn’t buy happiness……(the rich are dong “God’s work” – and what a burden they carry….)

      1. hunkerdown

        “Money doesn’t buy happiness” ≠ “consumption doesn’t buy happiness”. I think the tiny house movement is more exemplary of the latter, a sentiment with which I heartily agree. I’d love a tiny house too.

  14. Linda / Chicago

    Carnage in Gaza: your TIAA-CREF “Social Choice” pension investments at work.

    I had been wondering about how “Social” and “Choice” my/our pension investments were for a while; it turns out: not very. You can read about it here (and please sign the Quakers’ petition):
    When Yves wrote about the downside of money-market funds on the 24th (in the comments to the links, I think), it distressed me, because I was seriously thinking about moving my money out of “Social Choice” to MMF to unlink myself (bad enough that we pay for the bombing with our tax dollars; the TIAA-CREF contribution is more insult to injury). What to do? I’d be extremely grateful for NC readers’ comments.

    1. Jim Haygood

      An al-Jazeera story says that TIAA-CREF already disinvested from Caterpillar, the U.S. company which manufactured the D9 bulldozer that Israel used to crush Rachel Corrie to death:

      [In 2012] Morgan Stanley Capital International, a leading evaluator of corporations based on various criteria – downgraded Caterpillar’s Environmental, Social and Governance rating, thereby removing it from several of its indices.

      This prompted the retirement benefits leader Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund to divest its holdings from Caterpillar, which the growing BDS movement hailed as a big victory.


      You’d have to check the current holdings of TIAA-CREF’s social choice fund to confirm this. In any case, pressure on MSCI to delist other companies that act as accomplices to Israeli war crimes from its ESG index could be productive.

  15. craazyman

    That’s weird. This morning half asleep I read that top Link headline and my mind said: “The spider-abundant virus . . . “.

    I said to myself “That doesn’t sound right”, but I read it again and it said the same thing in my mind.

    Then I clicked it and tried to focus. Then it said “super-abundant” in my mind. and then I saw the picture.


    That sucker looks just like a spider. And not only that, it looks like a spider I saw once in a hypnogogic state and not only that, I’ve had chronic digestive “issues” since about then. Maybe this is a hint from Magonia.

    Too bad this sort of thing never works when trying to get rich quick. What good is it??? I don’t know.

  16. fresno dan

    New Yorker Cartoonist Roz Chast’s Remarkable Illustrated Meditation on Aging, Illness, and Death Brain Pickings (furzy mouse)

    I saw this in the New Yorker (or some aggregator) a while back. Remarkably poignant and touching

  17. fresno dan

    Why I Am I Moving Left? Thomas E. Ricks, Politico (flora). Note that Ricks’s “left” is well outside the Overton Window as defined by Democrats.

    I can relate, although I am probably much lefter than Ricks – I don’t have any qualms about Snowden. Of course, I don’t think I moved left, I think the country moved insaner…..

  18. fresno dan

    The Israel project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary, was leaked almost immediately to Newsweek Online, but its true importance has seldom been appreciated. It should be required reading for everybody, especially journalists, interested in any aspect of Israeli policy because of its “dos and don’ts” for Israeli spokesmen.

    “These are highly illuminating about the gap between what Israeli officials and politicians really believe, and what they say, the latter shaped in minute detail by polling to determine what Americans want to hear. Certainly, no journalist interviewing an Israeli spokesman should do so without reading this preview of many of the themes and phrases employed by Mr Regev and his colleagues.”
    It occurs to me that if your replace “Israeli” with “American” you get a pretty good idea how we are manipulated…..

    1. hunkerdown

      Best working link I could find to the original Israel Project Global Language Dictionary. It’s fascinating reading on how to wield propaganda and feel good about it. The 25 rules, cynically restated (and unsurprisingly applicable to American partisan politics):

      1. Pretend empathy for both sides
      2. Appeal to bourgeois values
      3. Clearly differentiate between Palestinians and Hamas (my note: while conflating Jews and Israel!)
      4. Always claim pacifism against innocents (until you’ve painted them guilty)
      5. Use false moral equivalence
      6. Be careful of your tone
      7. Create moral panic
      8. Sell “peace”
      9. Use the goyim like the cattle they are
      10. Build commonalities in American Exceptionalist values
      11. Don’t talk about religion (quote: “Religious fundamentalists are Israel’s ‘Amen choir'”)
      12. Sell, sell, sell (quote: “No matter what you are asked, bridge to a productive pro-Israel message”)
      13. Look forward, not back
      14. Hope (!)
      15. Use rhetorical questions (includes sidebar “Words that work”)
      16. Go where the people are
      17. Sell, sell, sell (repeat the Big Lie over and over again)
      18. Don’t analyze, just sell
      19. Sell the sizzle
      20. Lead on a happy note
      The last five are all about pretending impartiality:
      21. Concede a point
      22. Never speak in absolutes
      23. Use reductionism to your own benefit
      24. Don’t claim more credibility than the media
      25. Don’t claim more credibility than the global community

      That’s just the first 18 pages. The next section of shibboleths, more “words that work”, could be made into hasbara bingo cards. Thanks, Frank!

  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Lambert, very insightful catch regarding the substance behind Obama’s recent comments in Seattle. With respect to a perceived disagreement between billionaires (Steyer and the Kochs) over how climate change should be addressed, it seems that the Robert Rubin continues to have the president’s ear, if not the podium itself.

    From the first sub-link to Rubin’s 7/24/2014 article in the Washington Post (noted that there are over 1700 reader comments to Rubin’s article):

    … “Third, I believe that gross domestic product — the current standard measure of national economic health — is inadequate and misleading, because it fails to account for significant externalities, beginning with climate change. Others might think we should incorporate additional externalities beyond climate impacts, and that’s a good discussion to have. But we should start with a parallel GDP that incorporates the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. Without that, we are using an incomplete measure of economic output to inform policy decisions. Currently, GDP simply reflects the goods and services produced by our economy. However, it does not account for the present and future damage resulting from the emissions involved in producing those goods and services. And bad data leads to bad policy.”

    Wow!… Drilling down and if allowed to run it might result in changes in NPV analysis, how ROI is measured, financial accounting and reporting, an array of energy issues, and perhaps even the magic of crony capitalism itself.

    Wonder if someone developed a conscience? Just a thought. Thanks.

    1. Mark P.

      Somebody wants carbon trading markets.

      Same as Jamie Dimon saying in 2008 that saving the TBTF banks was vitally necessary for the future survival of humanity because they would provide carbon-trading markets.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Mark P, thank you for your observation. Ah yes, silly me. And given the nature of today’s markets and regulation, we can anticipate the likely outcome.

    2. Walt

      As I understand it, Robert Rubin contributed to the housing Ponzi by promoting MBS, and opposing the regulation of CDS.

      To build unneeded houses, huge quantities of concrete were produced, needlessly releasing immense amounts of CO2. (This, in addition to wasting petroleum, timber, copper and other resources.)

      Am I wrong about this?

      Should we listen to Mr. Rubin?

  20. tiger

    Re: Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts

    So… that document doesn’t actually show anything ugly about Jews. It only shows something ugly about Jews IF one assumes that the things being said to the media are untrue, which Cockburn states as a claim at the end of the document, without proving it. Just states it as if it true. But if that claim is false, which it may very well be, then the entire secret document is not evil at all.

    But the author of this article just seems to assume that his claim IS valid, which is not true journalism, it’s propaganda, and racist propaganda.

    (P.S. Because I want to make this message short, I didn’t talk much about the connection between the author’s last name and my wishes for him)

    1. Butch In Waukegan

      Tiger: . . . I didn’t talk much about the connection between the author’s last name and my wishes for him)

      Your hasbara handlers should have warned you off making a reference to setting people on fire.

  21. Banger

    I think the notion that all members of the power-elite don’t have a moral life is clearly wrong–they do–but they have to deal with the world of power where “muscle” plays a very important role. Rubin, as powerful as he is cannot by himself or with his friends impose a more earth-friendly set of policies when major interest in the energy industry and their direct allies in the National Security State oppose any kind of green agenda. If he calls them out he may suffer a “heart attack”‘ plane crash or fatal accident. See the power elite as different mob families.

    1. James Levy

      But I think the military is scared to death of climate change and the strain coping with it will place on US forces and those of our allies. Mass migrations, failed states, chiliastic movements bent on bringing about the end of a dying world, disease epidemics, the destruction of infrastructure like ports and bases–the generals and admirals who still use their heads (and we both agree that there are quite a few of them) see this coming and are not amused. I don’t think that they would be sad to see discipline imposed on the population and a stricter regime imposed to limit carbon emissions and reduce oil consumption. As far as I have read their are no climate change deniers among the Pentagon brass.

      1. Banger

        I think that some in the military are licking their chops because a dystopia is ideal for martinets–when things get really bad the men with guns rule directly.

    2. hunkerdown

      The carrots are very powerful as well and can’t be neglected. Besides, who wants to mingle with the inferiors?

  22. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    The good folks over at the Satanic Temple are using the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision to challenge state laws requiring informed consent (based on state-chosen and bogus “science” being against their religion), before having an abortion.

    This is going to blow up good! Real good!

    1. cwaltz

      I wonder how long it will take for Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito to revise history and declare us a “Christian state.” Nevermind that the Founding Fathers rejected being a Christian nation in favor of allowing religious freedom. I’m sure Scalia will have no problem twisting himself into a pretzel and declaring that he knows better than Jefferson.

  23. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    Just a couple of thoughts on the comment-threads over the past couple of days:

    The Red/Blue and/or Democrat/Republican: Who is more to blame? Question:

    I know quite a few loud mouthed, self-professed Republicans (to the point of being brazen dickheads in social situations), but not many loud mouthed, self-professed Democrats. The former will split hairs over ideological “purity.” Most of them have never questioned their party, because to do so would be disloyal.

    That said, most people who are voters see a choice between only two viable candidates. I don’t think those who elect Democrats to office even consider themselves Democrats (many being far too liberal to openly support a right-of-center party).

    If Obama proved anything, it is that the left will vote for a candidate who promises real change. Seems the trick is finding someone who isn’t a sociopathic liar.

    RE: A Jewish state:

    Madman, runner-up for the Least Interesting Man in the World, and former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a rare moment of lucidity, once suggested that if the US truly wanted peace in the ME, we’d give Alaska to the Jews.

    Sounds like a winner, to me.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Added bonus: They could relieve Sarah Palin from watching Russia for us. Poor thing’s eyes are probably gettin’ strained, by now.

  24. VietnamVet

    The Middle East blowup and the civil war in Ukraine document two facts; global government incompetency and insatiable greed. But, this is from the serf’s viewpoint. For the Plutocrats the system is working fabulously to increase their wealth. The fewer crumbs trickling down to the masses and more bloodletting, well, they are features of a neo-liberal world. Good reasons to expand surveillance and propaganda to keep it going.

  25. OIFVet

    Ready, reset, go! …to Cold War 2.0: Pepe Escobar: “Beware the wrath of the Empire of Chaos. The prescription is always the same; sanctions; no holds barred geo-economic/political warfare; internal subversion (NED, assorted NGOs); and non-stop vitriol marinated in hubris.

    In Moscow, there are no illusions; no matter what the Kremlin does on Ukraine, there won’t be any ‘reset’. Washington’s sanction hysteria – which has far surpassed the level of containment – is even regarded as a means towards (what else?) regime change, Putin’s huge popularity notwithstanding. No wonder US Think Tankland is drooling about it.”

    So is our fair Abe. Not gonna happen though.

  26. Oregoncharles

    You don’t suppose the English actually think Scotland is about to vote itself independent, taking the North Sea oil with it, do you? If Cameron is still PM when they vote (this fall), it’s quite likely, though not showing up in the polls yet. Like our own elections, still too far off to call – but frenetic fracking suggests the Brits think they’re about to get cut off from the oil tit.

  27. hunkerdown

    Lambert, thanks for bringing the Open Source Identity Crisis article to my attention. If I had time right now I’d enjoy reviewing it against the hasbara bible. Maybe some color codes would be called for over on Corrente…

  28. bwilli123

    “The Kremlin now sees the U.S. goal as the toppling of the Putin regime. That said, expecting Putin to back off betrays a lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation. It is no longer just a struggle for Ukraine, but a battle for Russia.”
    A Battle For Russia

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