Links 7/5/14

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Experts translate the sign language of CHIMPS Daily Mail

A fatal clash of civilisations? ‘Lost’ Amazonian tribe under threat from illegal loggers operating in their traditional territories Independent (Chuck L)

U.S. war hero Louis Zamperini, inspiration for ‘Unbroken,’ dead at 97 Reuters

Those with the highest IQs grow up in the country and move to the city Quartz (Lee)

How Climate Change Influences the Path of Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes EcoWatch (Nikki)

Bitcoin Faces Regulatory Backlash as EU Tells Banks to Stay Away Bloomberg

Who is Foreign Aid For? Foreigners or U.S. Corporations? Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

Bubble fears mean split opinions at ECB CNBC

The fall of President Bling-Bling: Driven from police cells at 2am, Sarkozy – the French peacock who married a supermodel and lived like a king – faces ten years amid lurid claims he took millions from Gaddafi DailyMail. This may be the best DailyMail headline EVAH. Lee: “See ‘Nation Led by Sleazy Crooks’ at end of this article for a rundown of predecessors’ corruption:

BP faces Deepwater Horizon lawsuit by investors including London councils Guardian (Nikki)

Renzi, Bundesbank Chief Face Off Over Stability and Growth WSJ Brussels

German doubts grow about reliance on the Chinese market Guardian

Monsanto and Foreign Aid: Forcing El Salvador’s Hand Foreign Policy (furzy mouse)

Campaign for Basic Income Guarantee Inaugurated in Canada CommonDreams (Nikki)


The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities Nation (Carolinian)

‘Leaked plan’ on E. Ukraine suggests internment camps, executions RT (OIFVet)


Iraq chases Baghdad sleeper cells as ‘Zero Hour’ looms over capital Reuters

Kurdish Leader in Iraq Sets Path to Independence Vote Wall Street Journal (Lee)

What’s a caliphate? News puts focus on ancient form of government McClatchy

Owen Bennett-Jones · How should we think about the Caliphate? London Review of Books

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

German ‘double agent’ is arrested on suspicion of spying for the U.S. Daily Mail (EM)

Germany Getting Ready To Divorce U.S. Ally Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

Moscow seeks to tighten grip online Financial Times

Phones, shoes to face scrutiny as airport security tightened: U.S. Reuters. EM: “The obligatory pre-holiday GWOT scare propaganda.”

The NSA may have another leaker on its hands Quartz

Electronic Privacy Information Center Files FTC Complaint Re FB Experiments EPIC

‘Right to be forgotten’ opens can of worms for Google Financial Times. See the first comment. Google has made the process, as usual, opaque and unaccountable. (Nikki)

Scoop from the End of Empire

U.S. Taps Hollywood to Outfit Elite Troops Wall Street Journal

CIA employee’s quest to release information ‘destroyed my entire career’ Washington Post

Californians Keep Up With Joneses’ Water Use New York Times

Class Warfare

Field Notes from a Mirage Counterpunch (Carolinian)

From Obama, a pivot from focus on income divide Washington Post. Translation: Obama can’t even bring himself to fake it as a class warrior.

Paying Employees to Stay, Not to Go New York Times. This sort of thing is so rare as to be deemed to be news these days….

US Democracy Movement Engages In Nationwide Rolling Rebellion For Real Democracy Rolling Rebellion. We’ll se when this gets beyond the “first they ignore you” stage.

Antidote du jour:

Links whale high-fives diver

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    “Have you lost your mind? What have I told you Charlie about whales? You can’t MANHANDLE THEM!”
    Erica Sehyun Song

    1. diptherio

      My caption is:

      “Typical…why does the whale always get to lead?” (I assume they’re dancing, probably to a whale song)

      1. abynormal

        this one cracked me up:
        Ah, I know that,” said Tiffany, as the boat rocked on the swell. “Whales aren’t dangerous, because they just eat very small things…”
        “Row like the blazes, lads!” Rob Anybody yelled.”
        T.Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

        my fav whale song…”don’t reason with destiny, dig it”

    2. direction

      “WonderTwin powers Activate!”

      she: “Form of…a Whale!”
      he: “Form of…Vladimir Putin on scuba holiday!”

  2. pwndecaf

    Your Antidote / Links picture-link worked for the first time today – for me, anyway.

  3. Steve H.

    Re: “Field Notes from a Mirage”

    “But the dream is coming to an end. A reckoning is fast approaching. The water is running out. Today 90 percent of the city’s water is sucked from Lake Mead and Lake Mead is drying up. The latest forecasts predict the once vast reservoir may be completely tapped out by 2021. Count ‘em: That’s seven years. After that, all bets are off. No water tunnels or emergency pipelines can possibly compensate for the shortage. Vegas’s days are numbered. Deal with it, baby.”

    Juxtapose with Vegas Zip code 89030:
    Homes underwater: 61%. Delinquent: 16%. Amount owed as a percent of home value: the bar for >200% is over twice as high as those at <40%.

    "Our revels are now ended"

    1. Carolinian

      They thought they were going to be able to tap the aquifer under Ely, NV but that apparently has been blocked. Maybe the gangsters who (possibly) still run Vegas will make California an offer they can’t refuse.

      As described in an article from a recent Links, there is also a proposal to drain Lake Powell to fill Lake Mead. Many think Lake Powell should never have been built in the first place. The Sierra Club and its leader David Brower famously traded Lake Powell for an end to government plans to put dams in the Grand Canyon.

      1. Steve H.

        I suspect there will be greater arm-twisting over the aquifer, but aquifers are not lakes. The water simply does not move as fast. The aquifer can postpone the inevitable for a few years, but the article is superb in conveying that Vegas is a city based on dreams of abundance. As soon as water rationing kicks in for tourists, they’ll go elsewhere.

        California has its own water issues. The time-frame involved means that even if a distant water source can be set up, pipelines from Canada or whatnot, there is a engineering question of whether it can be built before Vegas dries up. There doesn’t need to be zero water, just very expensive water.

        This was an great article. If you click the ‘by 2021’ link, there is information in the video beyond what is in the printed section.

      2. susan the other

        Not being able to keep Vegas in culinary water is something they shoulda acknowledged 20 years ago; instead they built the Bellagio. Gag me. Only the ancients ran out of water, like hapless hunter-gatherers. Which we all might as well be due to our corrupt and incompetent politics. Vegas has a weird mindset. The remaining water isn’t enough to even be conserved – so why bother. Not to mention the need for water in order to develop Nevada’s geothermal potential. But hey, Vegas has some really cool ghost malls.

    2. fresno dan

      I can’t help myself – I find it so ironic that the term “underwater” is used to describe homes that will lose all value due to the lack of water. What term will take the place of such homes?

      1. LucyLulu

        What will they call beachfront homes that lose all value because of retreating coasts?

  4. rjs

    first i heard of this: Trans-Pacific Partnership talks going on in Ottawa – Politics – CBC News: Trade officials from Canada and other Asia-Pacific nations are meeting behind closed doors in Ottawa to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive free-trade proposal that could create one of the world’s largest trading blocks.

    The discussions between trade officials are taking place in Ottawa from July 3 to 12.

    it was scheduled for Vancouver, hence the protest organizers were blindsided and many are still there; fundraiser to move them to Ottawa here:

  5. Ned Ludd

    It looks like the CIA employee is one of those people:

    Scudder took a new assignment in the CIA’s Counterintelligence Center, but couldn’t forget his unfinished historical collections business. Filing a FOIA, he thought, might force the agency’s hand.

    Explaining his decision four years later, Scudder acknowledged a stubborn streak that isn’t always aligned with his self-interest. “I am one of those guys who has to push that button,” he said.

    This would be a good interview test for diabolical technology start-ups: leave the person alone in a room with a jolly, candy-like button and tell them not to push it.

    1. Ned Ludd

      This is how a police state operates:

      On Nov. 27, 2012, a stream of black cars pulled up in front of Scudder’s home in Ashburn, Va., at 6 a.m. FBI agents seized every computer in the house, including a laptop his daughter had brought home from college for Thanksgiving. They took cellphones, storage devices, DVDs, a Nintendo Game Boy and a journal kept by his wife, a physical therapist in the Loudoun County Schools.

      The search lasted nearly four hours, Scudder said. FBI agents followed his wife and daughters into their bedrooms as they got dressed, asking probing questions.

      William Binney tells a similar story:

      William Binney: I was in the shower. I was taking a shower, so my son answered the door. And they of course pushed him out of the way at gunpoint and came running upstairs and found me in the shower, and came in and pointed the gun at me while I was, you know—

      Amy Goodman: Pointed a gun at your head?

      William Binney: Oh, yeah. Yes. Wanted to make sure I saw it and that I was duly intimidated, I guess.

      Juan Gonzalez: And what did they—what did they do at that point? Did they begin questioning you? Or they just took you to headquarters? Or—

      William Binney: No, no. Yeah, they basically separated us from—I was separated from my family. Took me on the back porch, and they started asking me questions about it. They were basically wanting me to tell them something that would implicate someone in a crime.

      1. just me

        And what they said to him was, “Tell me something that will implicate somebody in a crime.”

        William Binney: Well, they came in, guns drawn, you know, in my house. They didn’t do that to the others but they did it to me. I guess, I don’t know, they thought I was probably the most dangerous of all somehow. I didn’t know what was in their minds, okay. So but they did that, and they came in and pointed the gun at me when I, I was getting out of the shower at the time, so they pointed a gun right at my old head, you know, I said hey. So. I wasn’t too upset. I just said, “You don’t suppose I could get dressed here?” You know? Tried to — they weren’t intimidating me anyway, so.

        “Tell me something that will implicate somebody in a crime.” That’s what they asked me. So I told them what the crime was that I knew about, and that was that George Bush, Dick Cheney and Tenant and Hayden conspired to subert the Constitution, constitutional process, and any number of laws, and here’s how they did it. And I explained Stellar Wind on my back porch to all the FBI agents, who weren’t cleared. So they had a problem, I created a problem for them, because they had a bunch of people now who weren’t cleared for a very highly classified — only because it was domestic spying, by the way, was the reason was it highly classified. You know, they wanted to highly classify the extreme impeachable crimes that they were committing.

  6. McMike

    Yves: re yesterday/Greenwald

    Let me be clear that hectoring was not my intent. I come here because this is an excellent resource and outlet. And also I do sometimes forget that in this forum the author/hosts actually read and interact in the comments.

    I do still think it is weird, or disappointing maybe, that we are on day four and still no discussion about Greenwald. But that may be a reflection of an upstream lack of commentary out there rather than some deliberate act on your part here. Or you’re just busy, or don’t care; fair enough. However, I don’t buy your comment yesterday that this is merely an economics blog – you have been featuring a “big brother watch” special section of links for months at least. This is precisely why I am perplexed by the absence of commentary, and said so out loud here because I am looking forward to hearing what you/Lambert have to say about this. You should take that as a compliment.

    Perhaps I am the only one who views this event as a significant inflection point in the arc of the Greenwald narrative, and so have been eager to get your take on it.

    Ah well, I am just human myself, and am bobbing along with everyone else as we sort through author/reader relationships, and the evolving and problematic norms of digital based relationships in the peculiar realm of anonymous internet discussion boards.

    In any case, I offer this thought now as a fellow human who knows you only through these pages, it does seem to me that your frustration seems to be bubbling out increasingly often, which I completely understand. You’ve been riding the tiger/in the arena for a while, so take care of yourself.

    I have some experience myself in the meat world with similar human dynamics, and it is a sure sign to me that I need to hit reset, when I allow the inevitable subset of participants who irritate me to actually start really getting under my skin, and I start snapping, and defending, and resenting.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      I’ve noticed how broken links seem to cause some readers to post that the link doesn’t work. Yves (or whomever), fixes it, pronto, and reports back, in the comments, that the link has been fixed.

      The readership have google and everyone else here to fix the broken links.

      Those who maintain this site are busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, already. Anyone looking for “perfection” at NC needs to go the a MSM site for their news and discussion.

        1. McMike

          oh crap.

          (would it be appropriate for me to ask the admin for a deletion?)

          See, I caught it too. Feeling defensive. Knee jerk, rigid, ungenerous. It’s a freaking disease. Crap. Crap. Crap.

          [turns off internet and goes hugs kids]

      1. McMike

        Yes, as I said in my post above, there will be a certain percentage of the users who annoy you. That is the price of success and part of living in a community. It is the shoals the disrupt many artistic and communal ventures.

        PS. Actually, no one can fix the links except the admin. Stop for a moment and imagine that the people pointing out broken links are simply attempting to be doing a service, do a favor, to be helpful. Not carping or being helpless. It is precisely this rigidity and lack of a willingness to entertain a “generosity of intent” that spreads like a cancer in these forums.

        PPS. I am not aware of anyone who is seeking perfection here, or who is unappreciative of the effort that goes into it. Again, this sort of tribal strawman is not helpful.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Sorry, man — I didn’t refresh soon enough. My comment was not directed at you. I understand your comment. Econ and politics are conjoined twins.

    2. diptherio

      Well, I think we’ve already had plenty of discussion about Greenwald, Ames, Omidyar and Bezos, etc. Has anything really changed? And does the lack of a link stop people from discussing it? Not at all.

      I say, if you think something important is being overlooked, add a link and some commentary yourself. That’s the beautiful thing about NC–you can do that.

      1. McMike

        Well, I didn’t have a link on the topic, because it’s not really my bailiwick (that’s one of the reasons I come here), and NC didn’t offer one: so I asked, or rather wondered out loud.

        And what resulted was what I was looking for: a discussion about it. I apologize if the request was inartful or indirect. I was not sure what i was looking for until I found it.

    3. Lambert Strether

      “Two days now and not a single link on Greenwald from Mike”? See, I can hector with the best of ’em!

      * * *

      Readers will testify that when useful URLs are added in comments to a Links post, they are often picked up the next day. Not only that, such URLs often serve as the basis of dicusssion for comments that day. So if you want a topic discussed, that’s an excellent method.

      Therefore, I would suggest that you give consideration to the idea of actually adding value to the thread with real information, as opposed to going meta with — is “querulous” too harsh? — questions, discussions of emotional states, etc. Thank you!

      1. McMike

        Well, ive already copped to my own human limitations.

        Ive also already explained just above that this is a topic where i dont have much of my own resources to bring to the table. That’s why i came here.

        But i do have a pretty sharp musician’s ear; one that hears gaps, skips and silences as well as the noise. And a really sensitive nose. I find myself often telling people when their pilot lights are out.

        Not sure what you meant by the “meta” comment. I thought that was why we were all here.

    4. Oregoncharles

      Greenwald’s initial statement about the delay was very clear: ALL their material is offered to the government before publication, to see if they have legitimate – emphasis legitimate – objections, like this will get someone killed. They always object, of course; then the journalists decide whether it’s legitimate. We don’t know what other stories were held up while they checked.
      In this case, there was something in the government’s reply that worried them, so they took the time to check thoroughly. There might be something that would actually endanger someone, or something libelous, or an ongoing investigation that would be blown – remember, this one details their targets IN THE US. Eventually, they will publish; they have no choice at this point.
      It’s an illustration of just how difficult their job really is; personally, I’m going by Greenwald and Poitras’s track records, which are stellar.

      1. Keith Ackermann

        It’s hard to criticize Greenwald because he has done so much good, but I wouldn’t call his handling of Snowden stellar. The Snowden cache is so much bigger than Greenwald, and Greenwald himself admits this stuff is all over his head. There are people who live and breathe this stuff who have offered to help. We need to see the big picture. The only people who don’t have access to the material are the one’s it’s truly aimed at – you and me.

        1. McMike

          Greenwald’s work has been amazing, difficult, personally costly, historic, transformational… And also left a lot to be desired.

          1. Martin NFinnucane

            It’s simple, sorta: Greenwald is a Libertard. Unfortunately, Libertards are the best we can do right now, other than just watching from the cheap seats … and NC! Yeah, NC!

    5. JTFaraday

      Reporting on Greenwald when there is no new news to report has just become an occasion for the punditry to play leftier/holier than thou. Once you’ve seen a few rounds of this, you’ve seen them all.

      1. McMike

        But there is something new to report… Greenwald’s long teased big bomb was pulled at the last minute. He has been teasing this for a while. Did he really start bragging before he had his ducks in a row? That seems rather careless. Its the worst prick tease ive seen since geraldo opened al capone’s vault.

        There’s something really amateur, or naive, or weird, or suspicious, or tone deaf about the way this played out. I dunno, maybe the feds parked a drone outside his front door. But whatever the reason, it is new, and worth talking about.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Those with the highest IQ grow up in the country and move to the city.

    A related question.

    Those with compassion who think the world overpopulation problem is to be addressed with fewer births, will likely have fewer children.

    Those who think otherwise, will have more children in contrast.

    After a few generations, do we then have a smaller and smaller percentage of people who believe we need to have fewer children to get the overpopulation problem under control*?

    *This assumes that, for example, children from progressive families will grow up to be progressive and those from non-progressive families will grow up non-progressive. It’s a big assumption and probably not likely valid. But it also could be that some progressive family kids grow up into non-progressives and some non-progressive family kids grow up to be progressive, so that these ‘conversions’ offset each other; or it could be more pronounced one way than the other.

        1. diptherio

          Back to the land sorts, usually on the “hippie” end of things. Don’t believe in birth control or maybe just need more hands around the commune…they’re a somewhat rare breed, but we’ve got a few of ’em ’round these parts.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks for that information.

            I guess many roads lead to progressivism.

            Maybe more kids, but less consumption – offsetting each other (at least not worsening the situation).

      1. HotFlash

        From my exp, may or may not be relevant to this particular case. My DH has a son from his 1st marriage. On purpose, one only. We have none. Again, on purpose. His ex remarried. No kids there, have not asked why, but there is it. So, four ’70’s era (hippie?) types and one child amongst us. Reports from back in that time, it was considered responsible to have only one, what with The Pill, vasectomy, or whatever. Our son is a ‘born again Catholic’ (my term) and has three. Only stopped there b/c his wife had difficulties in all three deliveries, and #3 was life-threatening, not to mention (in the US) very expensive. According to what he tells me, he was lonely, always wanted sibs, and lots of kids is standard among his friends/contemporaries. Backlash? Dunno.

        So. Having a small family doesn’t necessarily carry on. One is reminded of the archetypal ‘Irish bull’: “It was hereditary in his family to have no children.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Maybe the lesson, then, is we need continual awareness, from one generation to another and hope non-progressive families can somehow procreate more progressive children.

    1. Susan the other

      Not the country that makes them smart, it’s the shock of moving to a big city.

    2. neo-realist

      Re higher IQ’s growing up in the country—-Cleaner air, cleaner water, purer food products minimally affected by toxins and chemicals that damage brains allow for healthier brain development. As they get older, the high IQ’s realize their options for career, cultural and individual development are limited in the country and leave for city.

    3. Tony

      That’s a lot of assumptions. Do people who believe overpopulation is a problem really have significantly less children? Is the current system last two generations? Is the dichotomy of progressive vs non-progressive meaningful?

      Dmitry Orlov, a famous peak oil writer, argued that the strongest growth is to be seen in subcultures like the Amish which are capable of growing their own food, patriarchal enough to keep the birth rates high and possess and ideology that is resistant to outside influences.

      Even if the differences in the birth rates between secular ideologies exist, they are dwarfed by the differences between egalitarian cultures and patriarchal cultures such as the Amish, Mormons or fundamentalist muslims. If the industrial society is to survive and demographics is destiny, the future can be described as a Mormon Caliphate, for the lack of a better term.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    What is foreign aid for?

    I think it puts a lot of US money into world circulation, for a duration.

    For example, when the US gives $1 billion in foreign aid to country X, for them to purchase US tanks in January

    1. It creates a current account deficit in January
    2. In March, for example, country X buys $200 million worth of tanks – that’s a $200 million trade surplus for us.
    3. Until the money is all used, every time country X buys US military toys with part of that foreign aid, it creates a trade surplus and our money is in global circulation.

    It also gets country X used to needing the US currency.

    The easiest way is to become a products or services supplying colony.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The added benefit is that, for example, if country X’s first lady becomes addicted to US shoes, she will make sure her subjects are not too complacent in asking be to paid too much, in order to export more.

        It could be the first lady’s shoes or the rich class in general needing their ‘toys.’

    1. JCC

      (I also posted this comment on Mike’s site)

      This particular example was announced publicly about a week ago, and I’m glad Mike pointed it out here on his site (thanks Mike!), but it is only one example of many. US Foreign Aid has been a scam for years, a scam driven by Corporate Greed and corrupt Federal Politics. About 14 years ago I took a required course at R.I.T. that dealt with “Globalism” and it’s immediate and potential long-term implications on business and democracy. Interestingly, to the University’s credit, at the time R.I.T. set this as a required course for all disciplines..

      Anyway, one of the things we investigated during this course was US foreign aid policy and its relationship with Globalism and it was shocking. I wish more Americans understood how it works. First, all foreign aid money is required to be deposited in U.S. Banks… with one exception. Second, the expenditures have to be with, and through, U.S. Corporations… with one exception. Third, and still true today, nearly half goes exclusively to Israel and Egypt.

      The two exceptions mentioned above are specific to one country – Israel. They get their money in cash and it is deposited into any Bank Israel chooses, and they are NOT required to spend it with or through American Corporations.

      US Foreign Aid is just one more example of corrupt American Politics and corrupt American driven Corporate Globalism. It is one of the worst practical jokes perpetrated on the American Public and has been going on for years. Monsanto has always been a large beneficiary of this scam. Hopefully El Salvador will find another way to pay their bills; the US price of the forced-purchase of Monsanto’s “product” is much too steep and, like Mexico’s acceptance of Monsanto products, it will increase the exodus of small farmers into the the US and its illegal immigrant labor pool once they are driven out of business by Monsanto Corporate farming in their region.

      Unintended consequences? I doubt it.

  9. Paul Niemi

    So we wake up this morning and Reuters is reporting that the Taliban set fire to 200 tanker trucks sitting in a parking lot outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. This is important, because the fuel costs $400 per gallon by the time it gets to Afghanistan up a narrow, winding road from Pakistan. Now that the supply is stopped and the fuel trucks are on fire, I would guess that it would be difficult to fuel up airplanes to get out of there or ground vehicles either. Perhaps the remaining NATO troops will walk out, carrying their own supplies. I don’t like being sarcastic, but I wonder if the lawyers running this show from their little perch you know where have thought about that.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Send lawyers, guns and money; Dad, get me out of this.’

      When the estimable Warren Zevon wrote this verse, he wasn’t talkin’ about freaking Joe Biden, FFS.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A long time ago, when I still had cable, they used to run WWII films on long weekends.

      This reminds me of Tobruk or Wehrmacht’s southern march to the Caucuses.

      1. Paul Niemi

        I wondered if I felt strongly enough to use this. Maybe, after all the years we’ve been there, I do:

        “When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
        and the women come out to cut up what remains,
        jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
        and go to your gawd like a soldier.”
        Rudyard Kipling

        1. tawal

          That scene was enacted near the end of the movie, The Tank, about Russia leaving Afghanistan in the 1980’s.

    3. Susan the other

      Just a thought. The rise of the Caliphate is no stranger than the rise of the EU. Both are sorta based on historical empires. But we in the west like the EU, more or less.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In fact, there are a lot of historical empires rising.

        Greater China, to include Tibet, the South China Sea, and maybe that part of Siberia Tsars took.

        Maybe Greater Israel.

        Some, like the EU, with the support of the West and some not.

      2. Paul Niemi

        I thought to have an actual Caliph, you had to have a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad. I’m not aware this Baghdadi guy would qualify. Actually the person who would qualify, the pretender in-line to the Hashemite throne of Syria and Iraq, is the newly appointed U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, who has been Jordan’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Sorry, his father Prince Ra’ad bin Zeid is really first in line, but the son is so much better looking and married to an American named Sarah Butler.

        1. hunkerdown

          Psh, makes not a bit less sense than the European royals and their “blood of Christ”…

        2. Paul Niemi

          All right, catching up in understanding what is going on: al Baghdadi has spoken and said his real name is Ibrahim ibn Awwad ibn Ibrahim Ali ibn Muhammad al-Badri al-Hashimi al Husayni al-Qurashi. Thus he claims to be a Hashemite of the Qurash tribe and a descendent of the prophet. In that area of the world, proclaiming himself to be the Caliph instead of just an Emir is considered an act of war against the Saudi royal family, in that the title implies that the Saudis are illegitimately serving in the named role of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. King Abdullah has named Prince Bandar bin Sultan as his personal representative, given that the King is 90, and the Saudi kingdom appears to be preparing to go to war against the pretender.

          1. Martin NFinnucane

            My understanding is that the Hashemite claim is bullshit. But the Hashemites in old Arabia were, um, a bit more laid back than the bedouin-supported House of Saud.

            Hell, now that I think about it, I myself am fourth cousin to Bonaparte … not to offend legitimist pretensions and all that …

    4. Yonatan

      Well, they could always leave via the Northern Corridor – through Russia. I’m sure there will be no problem there what so ever.

    5. Yonatan

      I forgot, the Brits are expert at the Great Game in Afghanistan. They’ve been there and got the T-shirt.

      When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
      and the women come out to cut up what remains,
      jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
      and go to your gawd like a soldier.

      Rudyard Kipling

  10. Jim Haygood

    FT on the Yellebubble:

    They say the US Federal Reserve is forever blowing bubbles. Janet Yellen did little to counter that view this week with her reiteration that tighter interest rates are almost always the wrong tool to curb asset price inflation.

    There are real concerns the Fed is behind the curve. Regulators are almost never as nimble as the markets they regulate. Ms Yellen must do more to demonstrate that the Fed, and its sister agencies, will follow the search for yield into whichever asset classes it goes, and via whichever entities.

    It is imperative the Fed makes use of every macroprudential tool it has to protect the US recovery from the bubbles it has helped create.


    This is like advocating that a gang of arsonists purchase a new fleet of fire trucks to ‘follow the blazes wherever they emerge’ and heroically douse them.

    Chairsatan J-Yelzebub will end her term as a Herbert Hoover-like figure, after creating an asset bust so bad that it might even give us an opening to abolish the infernal Federal Reserve bubble machine.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      If you’re looking for an arsonist, check the local firehouse, first.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you have only one life to live, or more specifically, one old life to live, you may, we are not all the same, have been in cash (or gone short, for the really convinced) with your 401K or other undefined benefits pension schemes.

      So, as Dow climbs ever higher toward Mt. Everest like heights (in feet, not meters), these people (and they could be you or me) are even less likely to spend (i.e. contributing to the economy, never mind whether that will trickle down to meaningful jobs).

    3. Susan the other

      Alan Greenspan said the same thing c. 2012, after he made his 2006 mistake, that raising interest rates does nothing to counter inflation (aka some varieties of bubbles). And it is said that Paul Volcker drained the excess liquidity out of the American economy in (? – so uneventful) maybe the mid 80s, but failed to change the instability of the economy. Because whether you screw with interest rates or not, the 350 million people of this country always have to keep working, and living. A good analogy is critical mass. Unless we do a guaranteed income. Janet Yellen was right on in her assessment of the uselessness of some of the Fed “tools” Pun intended. I think she is wiser than most.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A more generalized version of the uselessness (on impacting the real world) is that 1). the tools are useless when implemented and 2) useless when removed.

        One might argue then that rates should be restored to where they were, since any where is as good as any other place (except those mentioned below, who would then have to find another game).

        But the tools do make a big different for money-operators – they live in a different universe, I believe.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Thanks, susan.

              A name is just a name…unless, as Flora quoted below, a master can make a name mean many different things…sort of a Shakespeare vs. Lewis Carrol.

  11. dearieme

    What a revealing headline: “How should we think about the Caliphate?”

    It implies that there’s a tribal “we” that’s keen to adopt uncritically some unanimous view about the Caliphate, and is assumed to want its (secular) clergy to delineate that view. Happily, the LRB supplies a Pope to provide.

    1. hunkerdown

      Good Americans fall in with American Exceptionalism, no matter which faction of aristocrats drive the bus.

    2. Synopticist

      And the view seems to be …”don’t mention the tons of weapons, billions of dollars, priceless intel co-ordination and endless PR and spin we’ve been giving Syrian jihadis for the last 3 and a half years, that has NOTHING to do with it. None of this is our fault. Nor is it Turkey, Qatar, Saudi or Israel’s fault.”

      However, we are allowed to blame safely retired western politicians, and Maliki..

  12. Jim Haygood

    More MSM delusions:

    Moscow (AFP) – President Vladimir Putin will next week begin a major Latin America tour that will take him to Cuba, Argentina and Brazil as he seeks to counter Russia’s growing international isolation over the Ukraine crisis.

    From Cuba, Putin will travel to Argentina for trade and energy talks with President Cristina Kirchner, before moving on to a summit of the BRICS group of developing countries in Brazil.

    On the sidelines of the summit, Putin is expected to meet leaders of China, India and South Africa, the Kremlin said.

    The highlight of the trip’s final leg will be a handover ceremony at the end of the World Cup finals, where Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will pass on responsibility for the tournament to Putin.


    ‘Russia’s growing international isolation’? Meeting with the BRICS, after cutting energy deals with Austria and China, and receiving increasing cooperation from Germany and France?

    Reminds one of the classic British headline, FOG IN CHANNEL: CONTINENT CUT OFF.

    Feel the sting of our savage sanctions, slavic reprobates!

    1. Susan the other

      wondering now if we, via SCOTUS, pushed Argentina toward Russia and the BRICS alliance. I do believe all this stuff is proceeding according to plan…

      1. Synopticist

        I don’t think they’re anywhere NEAR competent enough for this to be a plan.
        Putin is reacting to Washington’s hubris.

      2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Plan, hell — the “plan” is null and void as soon as people wake up. Might be 1,000 years, but the “plan” will be shot to shit when the pain of modern living outweighs the pleasure.

        A friend of mine likens it it to having intercourse with a porcupine, but his analogy left me wondering about his prior life experience.

        What’s a porcupine fucker do, when all does not go according to plan?

        1. Martin NFinnucane

          the “plan” will be shot to shit when the pain of modern living outweighs the pleasure. Ok, I’m there, bra’. Now what? Or was that just another (boring) hippie-apocalyptic rant thingy without any, you know, meat?

  13. fresno dan

    “In fact, Geithner’s attempts to justify what the administration did only reinforce my belief that the system is rigged. If those who are in charge of making the critical decisions are so “cognitively captured” by the 1 percent, by the bankers, that they see that the only alternative is to give those who caused the crisis hundreds of billions of dollars while leaving workers and homeowners in the lurch, the system is unfair.”

    1. Susan the other

      So really what legal recourse do homeowners have as the owner of the underlying collateral when the banksters rehypothecate that collateral, which they do not own, ad infinitum? I want a new law for that that includes restitution for all the losses and then some. So basicallly, triple damages.

  14. jfleni

    RE: The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities

    The big danger here is that Stumble-bum Kerry and devoted NeoCon Butt-kisser Barry, aided and cheered by clowns like Sewer-mouth Vicky, will almost certainly get us into an unwanted and unwinnable war!

    American/Nato forces are mostly on wheels, whereas the Russians are heavily armored and all but invincible close to their own territory. Not to forget either, that the experience and skill of the Russians in armored combat (for close to a century now) is probably far superior to the straggling (and struggling) combination of US, Polish, Ukrainian, and German (??maybe) forces who would all be sacrificed in a moment by the Neocon Nuts.

    Barry shrunk away from confrontation before in the face of almost total opposition; maybe right now the Neocon nuts are insisting and pushing him in the opposite direction. If so, he (not to mention the whole country) could be the big loser.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      The idea that you call the President “Barry,” makes the remaining content of your comment absurd.

      American forces have jets, helicopters, ICBMs, and a host of other weapons that make tanks look like turtles.

      The “big loser” is the US, when people can’t refer to the President, by name.

    2. Yonatan

      Several radar sites in eastern Ukraine along the length of the border with Russia having been destroyed in mysterious circumstances in the last few weeks. The attackers have magically appeared, worked their spell and disappeared without a trace. Who knows who they are? My guess, they are little green men. Modern day Leprechauns, if you will.

  15. Susan the other

    Comment to Steve H. above: Probably the aquifer they are really after isn’t Ely’s but one just over the border in Utah. It takes all the runoff from the Seviere River in south-central Utah, fed by snow mostly (so that’s prolly out too). It always seems the true focus of the resource-eaters is kept secret until the last minute. I kept thinking “they” could kill 2 birds by 1. diverting the Columbia R. – thereby saving that water source from being contaminated by Hanford, as Hanford is gonna take 50 years, if at all; and 2. build a pipeline to Nevada to use to develop geothermal, and while they are at it they can have drinking water and maybe a shower permit twice a week.

    1. Oregoncharles

      There’ve been efforts to divert the Columbia for that purpose,which led to threats of internecine war.
      Anyway, there are a LOT of mountains in the way. I’ve seen that country.

      1. inode_buddha

        I never could figure out, why not divert all the water pumped out of New Orleans into a pipe running from NOLA to the Colorado River? I’m sure the recipients would be glad to pay for a bond issue. It’s win-win: NOLA gets paid to stay dry (and possibly upgrade its pumps and infrastructure) vs the peeps that actually need water, get it from a giant year-round source: Ol’ Muddy.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      I believe that geothermal, with any expectation of ROI, is best exploited in Wyoming. In some places in the Yellowstone caldera, two feet down, and you reach boiling water.

  16. fresno dan

    “The document’s overall perspective is interesting. On the one hand it accepts as given the standard precepts about the Cold War — primarily the threat of Soviet aggression, including the perception that Mosaddeq seriously intended to move closer to the Soviets. It also makes dubious assertions about the Iranian character — for example, “their tendency to be talkative was notorious” (p. 54) — that are of a piece with many Westerners’ attitudes in the 1950s. On the other hand, 20 years after the fact, the author does not fall entirely in line with Eisenhower administration caricatures of Mosaddeq, pronouncing him “neither a madman nor an emotional bundle of senility” (p. 26; see also p. B-2).
    As noted, the history does not see the overthrow as an unqualified good. It may have removed Mosaddeq and restored the Shah but “it left behind a good deal of debris [words excised] to clean up, plus not a few complications.” (The next half page of detail is excised.) (p. 71) The coup changed Iranian history, but it “did not, as Churchill hoped, enable the West to turn things around in the Middle East” (p. 79). ”

    All this screwing around – the foreign policy, the spying, “statecraft” – can anyone seriously claim things turned out in any way to the perceived interests of the US better than if the US did not do anything???

    I don’t know how many articles I have read over the years that prove not doing anything gives superior results over active investing. It is an unfortunate characteristic of humanity to praise the man of action and belittle the truly virtuous man of indolence. I’m going to take a nap now.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t if people saw it coming or it was just the media, but I was watching on DVD an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations when he visited Nicaragua.

      Apparently, Ortega is worth $200 million (or did Bourdain say it was $400 million) personally. In either case, that’s a lot of money.

      In the area of foreign policy, it’s hard to say which way we should go…sometimes or maybe often (or all the time).

    2. hunkerdown

      With few exceptions, indigenous cultures knew when to say when. What’s the dandy West’s problem?

  17. flora

    re: From Obama, a pivot from focus on income divide

    “…Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank…”
    The Third Way is “centrist” only if Wall St. is the center of the party.

    “Both the White House and the Senate agreed that the decline of middle-class incomes was the most serious issue we face in this country, but the focus had to be on how to get middle-class incomes up, rather than drive other people’s incomes down,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) (aka Wall St’s Senator), the messaging chief for Senate Democrats.
    Shorter Chuck: no tax increases on Wall St. profits.

    “Income inequality is much more a term of art than a term of everyday politics, and public-opinion polling has borne that out pretty quickly,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.
    “ ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’ “
    -Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

    1. flora

      @flora above
      to be clear – the “(aka Wall St’s Senator)” is my editorial insertion in the quote, not the WaPo’s original reporting.

    2. Lambert Strether

      We most definitely should drive “other” [i.e., wealthy] people’s income down:

      1) So they don’t buy the government with their loose cash;

      2) To prevent the development of an aristocracy of inherited wealth;

      3) For the sake of wealthy children, who suffer “disturbingly high rates of substance use, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, cheating, and stealing.”*

      IIRC, and readers will correct me here if I’ve fallen for a junk study, more money doesn’t bring more happiness after around $75K. Let’s be generous and double that to $150K (which was, IIRC, what an Eisenhower era CEO made). Everything after that is up for grabs, say I. The Constitution was structured for “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness,” not “life, liberty, and the endless hoarding and fondling of heaped up newspapers, kleenex boxes, or dollars, whether in paper or digital form.”

      NOTE * I’m not arguing that rich kids have it worse than poor kids. Rather, I think playing the “for the children” card in a discussion of redistributing money away from the rich is just too delicious not to do.

      UPDATE Adding, Chuck Schumer is a horrible human being who knows which side his bread is greased on.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        The entire game should be run more like Monopoly: when a player drops out (e.g: dies, or their mother calls them to dinner), their assets go back in the kitty — they can’t “grant” them to another player (even if they are kin).

      2. Martin NFinnucane

        Rich kids: high rates of substance abuse, eating disorder, etc etc. Presumably, not every one of those leetle sheets succumbs – rather they pull through, like the survivor from solitary, to survive and fight again — that’s capitalist competition in full display: rich kids in prison. Would make Daddy proud – if “pride” or other forms of human interaction were remunerative. Daddy still believes in the system – and the system, whether its patronage, fealty, slavery, or the free market, is everything. The devil take the hindmost, or the hindmost 99%, kiddos be damned …

        The wifey and I have a little one on the way (no joke), to get here any day now. All I can say is: god-in-whom-I-don’t-believe, please deliver him from being a shitty little rich kid. Preserve him from the system. Preserve him, somehow, from the global warming that this supposedly most perfect of systems has imposed on us.

    1. Susan the other

      Thanks for the images. If the MSM took an objective view, we’d all be laughing our 4ss off about now.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      As Chuck Spinney, Pierre Sprey and others have been writing for years, at Counterpunch and elsewhere, the F35 program has been a clusterf#@K for years.

    3. OIFVet

      Apparently the F-35 can’t fly in the rain either. In a way, could it be that the F-35’s crappiness is a great deterrent, to the US? If so, it might just go down in history as a great plane :)

    4. Ed

      It would be nice if the F35 could fly, but that’s not its main purpose.

      Think of the Tweed Courthouse if it were a plane. Though I think the Tweed Courthouse actually functioned as a courthouse for awhile.

    5. Yonatan

      A photographer with a specially adapted lens took this image of an F-35 during a vertical take off.

      FWIW each F-35 has only one engine, rather than two in typical high performance aircraft, so the pilot is fscked is anything goes wrong with it. The single engine idea was tried with the F-104 Starfighter. It became known as the ‘Widow-maker’, or ‘Missile with a man in it’. Fortunately the F-35 pilot has a very reliable Martin-Baker ejector seat.

  18. Lambert Strether

    “From Obama, a pivot from focus on income divide.” Wowsers. Who could have seen that coming?

    Guess Piketty didn’t have the mojo CAP thought he did. Or, if you’re utterly cynical, had exactly the mojo CAP thought he did.

    1. hu

      Oh leave ’em alone. They’re busy making hard decisions about Iraq, for the children, I mean American Progress.

      I daresay I’m even more cynical than that. Piketty was given exactly as much play as CAP (and the big papers) wanted him to have. And by play, I mean rope.

      When might Landais, Piketty & Saez give us an American analog to their French title (here translated) Toward a Fiscal Revolution: An Income Tax for the 21st Century? Hoping soon…

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Now that the statutes of limitations are up, Obama can demonize the banks all he wants — their profits are safe, and his check is in the mail.

  19. TimR

    Here is one of the best interviews I have heard in a while, covering a range of geopolitical topics and putting them in context concisely and forcefully — Webster Tarpley on Coast 2 Coast a few days back:

    Sometimes on his own podcast (broadcast?) Tarpley can just deluge you with information, in a somewhat wearing style (not that it isn’t brilliant and knowledgeable.) But in this audio he’s very informative and to the point.

    The discussion begins with a comparison of the circumstances before WWI to today’s political climate. The key point to me is that, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was an irrelevance: Britain was concerned about the building industrial might of Germany, and looking for an excuse to set off the Great War and insure her continued dominance. Likewise, Tarpley says, today’s US/British/NATO elites are concerned about the rising power of Russia, China, and the BRICs.

    He describes the atmosphere of illusion and dreaminess around the time of WWI — the people felt as “sleepwalkers,” (perhaps a source of the title of Herman Broch’s trilogy _The Sleepwalkers_.) But not all were asleep: the men setting the conditions for WWI (rigging military agreements such that countries would be obligated to mobilize), who happened to share membership in Freemason lodges, were awake and knew what they were doing.

    Then he discusses ISIS and mainstream articles (from Germany’s Der Spiegel) that describe its connection to Western intel: jihadis trained in Jordanian training camps. Tarpley alleges that Guantanamo and other concentration camps are also training grounds for Western Intel tools, i.e. that the way to get out of such camps is to become a double agent or serve Western interests somehow. Bhagavati(sp), who heads(?) ISIS now, came out of Gitmo(?) or one of these camps.

    A key point here is his claim that the chief CIA goal in all these conflicts is to break up state power (including even ultimately in Europe and North America) — the classic divide and conquer. Maliki (Pres. of Iraq) is too close to Iran, and uncooperative, so they want him out.

    He discusses Obama as a weak and ineffectual president, who is nevertheless not (according to Tarpley) really 100% on board with the neocon plans for WWIII, or global hegemony at any cost, or All Warmongering All the Time, or whatever their plan is. He discusses the attempted (soft) coup against Obama, to get the neocons back in power, and how Romney was too bumbling to carry it off. He describes how US presidents are controlled by Wall Street money (needed for re-election) in their first term, and then by manufactured or propagandized scandals in their second term.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Only the stupid engage in a tug of war over a rubber band — the winner, in every case, is the one who lets go of the “prize” at its greatest stress. Snap! You win. Hope it feels good — good luck finding new teeth.

  20. Yonatan

    Ukraine is the gift that keeps on giving.

    Here is a blog (auto-translated) detailing leaked Facebook conversations between a Ukrainian lawyer associated with Yulia Tymoschenko, a German (possibly a surgeon) and someone in the Ukrainian militia. The code words relate to body parts and their process. A Spiegel article gives full details of the process of retrieving, storing and shipping parts, including to the US. Just for reference, the market price for an arm was 42.90 Euro in 2002.

    Where do the bodies come from in this case? Perhaps it is something to do with the civil war going on in Ukraine that the MSM is oh-so-quiet about? If so, that would be a good example of not letting a good crisis go to waste.

    My guess is that somehow it will all turn out to be Putin’s fault.

  21. Yonatan

    The MSM in the UK was also totally quiet about the horrors in Ukraine. Things may be changing. The Daily Mail – a right wing “hang ’em and flog ’em” newspaper surprisingly published an article revealing the parallels between the actions of the Nazis in Ukraine during WWII and those of the current ‘government’. The article url actually is also very revealing.

    It has the text “American military advisers masterminding Ukraines surge against pro-Russian separatists bid expand Nato east”. This text ties in neatly with the story revealed by the RAND memorandum.

    In contrast, the page title is “A sign of where Ukrainian conflict could lead? Victims of mortar attack stand before their flaming home, like a scene from the Eastern Front in the Second World War”.

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