Links 7/8/14

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Bear in distress saved by Wisconsin logger Star Tribune (Chuck L)

Tiny Flying Robots Are Being Built To Pollinate Crops Instead Of Real Bees Business Insider (David L). I find this sad. Instead of saving bees, we will find a way to live without them.

Twitter Shuts Up When Penalty Kicks Are Taken Regressing (Chuck L)

For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story Wall Street Journal (David L)

Earthquakes Linked To Fracking OilPrice

High earners in a stock market game have brain patterns that can predict market bubbles MedicalXpress (Chuck L)

Ritalin May Be Sabotaging Your Kids Bloomberg EM: “This piece is truly bizarre – despite their own findings clearly showing that these by-now-epidemic-level chemical experiments on the most vulnerable subjects possible being worse than useless in terms of efficacy, the authors use wording worthy of paid shills for Big Pharma.”

The Transpacific Partnership and “Free Trade” Economix Comix. Pat: ‘An illustrated explanation of free trade and TPP, connects the dots in a way that this non-economist can understand. Long but worth the read.”

China Developers Slow to Pay Realtors Amid Rout, Centaline Says Bloomberg. EM: “LOL@’the government’s four-year effort to rein in prices.'”

Problems are being sorted with bewildering speed Bangkok Post. Furzy mouse: “​Indicting the police contingent.”

Swiss threaten to freeze US accounts Financial Times

Europe’s Debt Wish Kenneth Rogoff, Project Syndicate (David L). More important than anodyne headline suggests. Rogoff argues that debt restructuring is necessary, at least if Europe ever wants to have growth.

ECB under pressure to rein in ‘crazy’ euro Financial Times

German exports and imports fall more than expected in May Reuters

Italy should lead the way out of the euro-zone Bill Mitchell. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard predicted this some time ago.

The Beveridge report revisited: where now for the welfare state? Guardian (Bob V). Important.

Scottish independence could be ‘more damaging for UK than 2008 banking crisis’ Telegraph

Israel launches new strikes on Gaza BBC


ISIL destroying Shiite mosques, holy sites in seized territory Washington Times (Chuck L)

Obama’s ‘unity government’ plan in Iraq is just a mirage Washington Post

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Time Magazine shows just how creepy smart homes really are Pando

In The NSA Archive: 800 Pages Of Doomed Lovers’ Emails, Facebook Messages Forbes

Senators Clueless About NSA Bombshell Daily Beast

Imperial Collapse Watch

Who is considered ostensible ally by the US? failed evolution

White House on the back foot over CIA role in German spying scandal Guardian

In addition to “Big Brother is Watching You Watch,” we may need to inaugurate “Security Theater for Fun and Profit. CFS and FBI Announce Public / Private Cyber Security Partnership Center for Financial Stability. MS:

Former NSA Director Keith Alexander is now working for SIFMA for $1M a month to coordinate a new cyberwar council of government (NSA/DHS/FBI/Treas) and banks, and the administration is handing out clearances to bank personnel.

Then, a few weeks, defense contractor BAE announced that a hedge fund had been ‘hacked’ in a cyberattack. Last week BAE said that it had been a mistake, and that no hack had occurred.

After the initial announcement of the attack, the Center for Financial Stability and the FBI announced a partnership on cyber-security.

REVEALED: Court docs show role of Pixar and Dreamworks Animation in Silicon Valley wage-fixing cartel Mark Ames, Pando. Note Obama’s biggest fundraiser’s role in this scheme.

Wall Street Offers Clinton a Thorny Embrace New York Times. Huh? As if she and Bill ever let go?

#HobbyLobbyLove is a thing, but it’s not going well Daily Kos

Industry Data Show Oil-By-Rail in North America at Record Levels DeSmogBlog

Who Stole the Water? Mens Journal. Jason: “It used to be ‘as California goes, so goes the nation’ but in our neoliberal near-future it’s going to be ‘as Texas goes, so goes the nation’ and down here in the Lone Star State the rentiers have taken complete charge.”

Detroit: My Complication Had A Little Complication Melissa Jacoby, Credit Slips

Fed Defends Its Approach to Punishing Banks for Improper Foreclosures Wall Street Journal. This is pathetic and embarrassing. The idea that $3.1 billion in payments for abuse of millions of borrowers is remotely adequate beggars belief, particularly when contrasted with the $8.9 billion fine at one bank, BNP Paribas. No one, and I mean no one, even the OCC, attempted to defend the wind-up of the botched Independent Foreclosure Review at the time. So the Fed is trying to rewrite history now that memories have presumably faded?

A Potential Foreclosure Crisis Looms Over America Alternet

Welcome to the Everything Boom, or Maybe the Everything Bubble New York Times

Milton Friedman’s economics and political economy: an old Keynesian critique Thomas Palley

Class Warfare

How New York Real Estate Became a Dumping Ground for the World’s Dirty Money Nation (Nikki)

Nike World Cup Jersey Price Cut 35% as Fakes Abound in Brazil Bloomberg. EM: “Price slashed to just 1/4th the average monthly wage!”

Worker-Owners Cheer Creation of $1.2 Million Co-op Development Fund in NYC TruthOut (Nikki)

The Neoliberal Bailout Boston Review. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour. Bob: “Still trying to identify what the hell it is. Flash kills the color, but he was mostly dark green with some blue/purple hue. HUGE. I believe it’s some sort of silk moth.”

Links really big pretty moth

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Jim Haygood

    Park Avenue celebrity watch:

    In a much-anticipated meeting with a court-appointed mediator, Argentina’s economic minister Axel Kicillof reiterated his government’s request that a New York judge presiding over the case extend a July 30 deadline for Argentina to pay some $1.5 billion awarded bondholders.

    Kicillof dodged a group of Argentine journalists gathered outside the Park Avenue law office where the five-hour meeting took place and slipped into a black SUV without taking any questions. Onlookers surprised by the fuss chased the pack and screamed out “Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter,” confusing the 42-year-old finance chief with the New York Yankees shortstop.

  2. BDBlue

    Re the Music Industry. While it’s true that the music industry makes most of its money from record sales, that is certainly not true for most artists as Courtney Love famously explained. Records are really just an advertisement for the live show where the performers actually make money. The recording industry may be the most corrupt industry in America – since it’s been robbing artists for decades – and that is surely saying something.

    And since the article focuses on Taylor Swift as a model of how to be successful in the new musical landscape, as a country music lover, I can’t resist pointing out that much of the current music coming out of Nashville is crap, but that it it didn’t have to be that way.

    Having said that, I love albums and the album format. I also love Maria McKee, who has gone on from Lone Justice to have an eclectic, and at times uneven, music career. One that would never have happened had her label not dropped her when she refused to make the same record over and over again.

    1. brian

      Dave Clark was successful. He was also the smartest. It took the Beatles a long time to catch up to the money Dave put away in the first few years of the invasion. His story is one of brilliance much like Desi Arnaz.

    2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      Taylor Swift didn’t take into consideration the propensity of some generations to rebel against prefabricated pop-tart starlets like herself. How much does the decline is album sales really reflect a rejection of the shiny pop music machinery?

      It’s also obnoxious that you can be sued for a bazillion dollars by the RIAA with not even a pro forma rubber stamp hearing and zero evidence for ‘piracy’. Perhaps we’ll see a lot more samizdat style reproduction of art outside of the internet to bypass IP trolls.

  3. Ned Ludd

    Remarks about Wikileaks from Ann Wright, who spent her career working for the U.S. military and State Department:

    I, as a retired U.S. Army Colonel, with 29 years in the U.S. military, and then a former U.S. diplomat, who was in the U.S. diplomatic service for 16 years…

    I resigned from the U.S. government after 40 years in it, working under 8 different U.S. presidents…

    My culture has been in protecting the secrets of the state, but now, I say it is critical to our world, that we know what’s going on with our governments…

    I’ve read more U.S. diplomatic cables through Wikileaks than I ever did, with 16 years in the U.S. government.

    I imagine, while in government, people access and read information based upon whether it is useful for their job and their career. Chelsea Manning looked beyond her own career and read cables to gain a true understanding of government operations. Pursuit of truth led to her moral outrage, which caused her to release the diplomatic cables – assuming that the public would also want to know the truth.

    1. Stephen Liss

      You spend 40 years doing what the master expects of you, collect your 40 years of salary, corner office, prestige and rank, pay off your mortage, put your kids through college, and when you have all this security and the assurance of an uninterrupted stream of pension payments and medical benefits until you no longer need them, never jeopardizing your freedom or welfare for the sake of principle, at precisely that risk free moment you realize that the system you continue to benefit from from is beating down everyone else and warn us.

      Gee, thanks. How courageous. You really put yourself out there.

  4. DakotabornKansan

    Antidote du jour: Bob, “Still trying to identify what the hell it is.”

    “The diversity of the phenomena of nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.” – Johannes Kepler

    Another favorite quote by Edward O. Wilson: “A lifetime can be spent in a Magellanic voyage around the trunk of a single tree.”

    1. bob

      I got a positive identification from a moth expert.

      Modest Sphinx Moth (Pachysphinx modesta)

      The creepy crawlies are in full swing. I was camping over the weekend and was besiged by Luna Moths every night. Dozens. The first was very cool to see. The next few dozen had me worried.

  5. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Time Magazine shows just how creepy smart homes really are Pando

    About a year ago, a scruffy looking “contractor” in a beat up pickup truck was going house to house in my Florida neighborhood offering to replace old electric meters with “smart meters” on behalf of Florida Power and Light. For FREE. I said, “No thanks.” And wondered how long it would be before the hammer came down.

    This summer it did. Keeping what is now a “non-standard” meter would now cost a $95 “enrollment fee,” and $13/month extra “non-standard meter fee.”

    With that bit of business finished, I just received an e-mail, full of exclamation points indicating the greatness of the deal, alerting me to a new program which could save me $137 EVERY YEAR. All I need to do is sign up to let FPL cut my power off during times of “peak usage.” When and for how long to be determined by them, of course.

    They’re asking “nicely” now. They’re selling hard with the “cool factor” and kitsch. But “standard” goes to “non-standard” in a flash, and pretty soon it’s going to be expensive to keep yourself off the radar. And I’d imagine that paying to keep yourself off the radar is the quickest and surest way to get you on.

      1. Demeter

        In Florida, solar panels with battery storage, inverter and grid kill switch would be the way to go.

        Or convert to DC ( buy RV appliances), forget about selling excess to the grid, eliminate the inverter, store as much as you can and dump the rest.

    1. abynormal

      “Why spend ten dollars to buy one item that does two things, when for five dollars a piece I can sell you two items that each does one thing?

      Good To Cya Kat

      Shock Value: The Rising Cost of Utilities in America…last update June 3, 2014
      (hotlanta is tappin on the roof of hel. folks are barely making mortgages/rents but having to bail due to utilities actually doubling…wait till our fearless gov goes into another water fire sale)

    1. bob

      Thank you. I just got word via email that’s what it was. The flash didn’t really catch it, but a lot of it had a blue tinge.

      1. Kevin Hall

        You are welcome Bob.

        The coloration can be somewhat variable with the species but the shape patterns on the wings stay the same. Beyond being one of the larger hawkmoths in the US there are two good clues as to it’s identity, for your own information – notice the scalloped edge of the wings? Only two hawkmoths in North America are like that and big – the Modest Sphinx in the East, and the Big Poplar Sphinx in the West. The other indicator is that unlike the other hawkmoths, the Modest Sphinx has no mouth parts – like a Giant Silk Moth. As your photograph clearly shows, there is no proboscis coiled under the head. It would be obvious if one were there from the angle of the shot.

  6. Jim Haygood

    ‘ … the massive crossover potential of Latino music (which has a lot in common, musically and culturally, with Country)’ — scholars and rogues

    Strangely enough, some of the purest Spanish-language country-folk comes out of the Dominican Republic. This is a classic ‘she done me wrong’ song, Se Fue De Mi (‘She Left Me’) :

    Eat your heart out, Nashville.

  7. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    The anecdote may be a Gaudy Sphinx Moth, Eumorpha labruscae.

    P.S. Jackson Diehl (Obama’s ‘unity government’ plan in Iraq is just a mirage Washington Post) is Fred Hiatt’s deputy editor. Listening to that asshole blather about Iraq is no different than listening to Dick Cheney, Bill Kristol, Richard Perle, or any of the other members of Team Chickenhawk who lied us into the debacle. Fuck him.

  8. grayslady

    Bob, regarding the moth: A lot depends on what time of day the moth was sighted and what type of plantings you have in the area–as well as which state you are located in. The dark green color, chubby, furry body and purple eyespots suggests a pandorus sphinx moth. Shpinx moths are very fond of petunias, and a lot of folks plant petunias, so that could have been the attraction. However, the sphinx moths are more active late in the day or at dusk–although I have seen them feeding mid-day as well. I had a hummingbird sphinx moth at my petunias for days last year. Years ago I trapped moths at night for my insect i.d. course, and the evening moths were really large and beautiful.

  9. Ned Ludd

    In this month’s OECD report, “Policy challenges for the next 50 years”, people are referred to as “human capital stocks”.

    Global GDP growth is projected to slow from an annual average rate of 3.6% between 2014-2030 to 2.7% from 2030-2060, owing to decreasing potential for catching-up, slower increases in human capital stocks, and shrinking labour forces. […]

    [R]ecent OECD work explores the national and global effects of slower increases in human capital stocks in China, India and Indonesia, finding that real GDP by 2060 is lowered by 7% for China, 12% for India and 9% for Indonesia (Johansson and Olaberría, 2014).

    1. susan the other

      Can the world afford all this leeway for GDP, out until 2060? I think GDP is such a capitalist fiction we should cease and desist from talking in terms of GDP. It is a fiction. Oh well, the oligarchs say, if the GDP isn’t there we can’t provide social services. Crap.

  10. Raven

    Tiny Flying Robots Are Being Built To Pollinate Crops Instead Of Real Bees

    There’s no better proof than efforts like this to show how sick and deranged our society is. Question: Will these robots also make honey? Or have they written honey off too?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I hope the researchers don’t forget to include a stinging functionality.

      An increase in the number of bee stings could significantly improve the revenues of those big pharma companies producing the Epi-Pen, provide a boost to US GDP and provide exciting new investment opportunities.

      For those still able to survive in the “environment” that killed the REAL bees in the first place.

      Deranged is a good word for it. No surprise it’s coming out of that elite asylum known as Harvard.

    2. Ron

      Bee die off seems to be focused on large AG farmed area’s and professional bee keepers that cater to the AG industry. We have a bee keeper on our block and several nearby and nobody has a problem with dead bees but this is an urban landscape with a variety of flowers and plants mostly if not all organic.

      1. MtnLife

        Vermont, as of late 2012, still hadn’t had a single case of CCD. They attribute it to our environment being mostly small scale, often organic, farms as well as having only 1 or 2 migratory keepers. We also have breeders who purposely don’t use chemicals to breed natural resistance. They lose a huge portion of their bees at the start (95%) but the remainder are immune.

  11. Swedish Lex

    On the neoliberal bailout. Love the last para:
    High finance, drunk on systemic risk, drove its Maserati ever more recklessly until it inevitably crashed, totaling the real economy. Inside the car, the seat belts held and the airbags deployed. Emergency crews rushed to the scene. Climbing from the wreck, finance dusted itself off and expressed regret about the unforeseeable accident. Its government-sponsored no-fault insurance promptly provided a shiny new replacement. As public officials tossed over the keys, they gently asked if a bit more care might be taken on the roads, a request barely audible over the sound of screeching tires. The system worked especially well—for some.

    1. financial matters

      Yes, I’m getting more intrigued by Joe Firestone’s platinum coin ideas. This basically would put the Fed closer to the Treasury and Congress and further from the banking sector. It makes the statement that it is the US govt that stands behind the currency and not the Fed. And it makes clear that this is the public’s money and not just there to be handed out to banks.

      As is often pointed out the ‘running out of money’ theme is mainly used for social programs.

      “The Congress and the Executive won’t be able to hide behind “we’re running out of money” anymore, when they refuse to enact that which the majority support among the people. And the Fed won’t be able to hide behind its “independence” to justify its doing the bidding the big private banks. Using proof platinum coin seigniorage will be better for supporting a progressive democracy; and ultimately, that’s why I think it’s a good thing!”

      Firestone, Joseph M. (2014-01-13). Fixing the Debt without Breaking America: Austerity, the Trillion Dollar Coin, and Ending Debt Ceiling, Sequester, and Budgetary Crises (Kindle Locations 1243-1246). EIS WebPress. Kindle Edition.

    2. diptherio

      Dan Drezner and I were hanging out in downtown Missoula last night. This being Summer time, and Montanans being what they are, there were more than a few intoxicated inebriates wandering the streets.

      As Drez and I stood on the corner, considering to which house of questionable morals we should next direct our steps, out from the nearest such establishment stumbled a precarious, boozy patron. He lunged first in one direction, and then erratically and unrhythmically changed course and half-shuffled, half-fell in the other. He stopped for a moment and attempted to right himself but couldn’t maintain and careened towards a nearby telephone pole. His head made a sickening crack! as it struck unfeeling lumber, but miraculously his drunken instincts kept him improbably upright.

      As the drunk lurched and lunged down the street away from us, I turned to Dan and said, “looks like that guy’s gotta balance problem.” Dan looked at me in wide-eyed amazement–shocked.

      “What do you mean, ‘balance problem’? Didn’t you see how he saved himself after whacking into that telephone pole? His balance is great!”

      We agreed to disagree and went to find a good spot to do some 12 oz. curls of our own. Drez, as per normal, got blackout drunk and puked all over the place. I had to carry him home and put him to bed, muttering under my breath the whole way. The next morning I complained to Drez about his lack of self control, but he couldn’t remember a thing and insisted that I must be over-reacting…

    3. Jackrabbit

      “Drezner also emphasizes that continued U.S. predominance helped to hold the system together
      . . .
      The system worked especially well—for some.

      Are they grateful? Politicians kiss their a$$ and tell them they are exceptional!

      H O P

  12. wes

    Why is the “must read” a must read? The criminals did not go to jail, the regulators are captured, the status quo is still in place, the bankers & their ilk still are driving the new Maserati….whoops, now it’s a Rolls. I’m just preparing for the next crisis…wish me luck

    1. Susan

      I agree wes. Must read? Yawn.

      But this one stood out to me: “An unambiguously good thing, it would register at the margins of the balance sheets of banks gaining fees for churning speculative transitions, just as wise public safety regulations about the handling of radioactive waste show up as a cost borne by the nuclear power industry.”

      They do? That’s not what I understood at an NRC dog and pony show on the waste confidence memo last winter. They didn’t say they planned to repeal the Price–Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act. They said, we plan to have a generic EIS so that nuke waste can be stored onsite anywhere in pools and casks with no regard to the particular geography. Don’t worry. Be happy. If the $60 million bandaid for nuke waste accidents (a butterfly closure for a gaping wound) is “wise public safety regulation” that intends that the nuke industry will bear the cost, someone needs to inform the power companies. I’m pretty sure we continue to socialize losses on those private gains.

      Tobin tax though, yes, let’s get that on the boards.

      1. LucyLulu

        Where should the spent fuel be stored instead?

        The companies were required for years to contribute to funding Yucca Mountain, the national nuclear waste depository in Nevada. Construction at Yucca Mountain is now indefinitely on hold. Lack of a permanent storage facility is a global problem. In the past the US has put the waste in metal drums and dumped it off our coasts, drums now being corroded by salt water. The US has a permanent storage facility for its military waste in NM, in underground salt beds, but its use is limited to military waste. There is also some very limited dry cask storage space available at three facilities, e.g. Idaho National Lab, etc. for special circumstances.

        There really is no alternative for nuclear power plants at this time. Spent fuel must be stored either at their own facilities or sent to another plant for storage. We have over 100 nuclear power plants, in operation since 1965-1980 in the U.S, and about 30,000 tons of spent fuel. That’s a lot of fuel. What CAN be done is to transfer more fuel from pools into dry casks. Dry casks are the safer alternative. The fuel inside dry casks are air-cooled and don’t rely on any cooling system, thus aren’t vulnerable to loss of power or water. Dry casks also provide a solution for 100 years, presumably sufficient time to develop a more permanent solution. Dry casks are more expensive than pool storage however, which is limiting their use. Instead fuel rods are reracked into more efficient geometric configurations in the pools, allowing four times as many rods to be safely stored in a pool…… assuming the pool, its water, and cooling system remain intact. But should the integrity of the pool become compromised, the risk of fire and the consequences of that fire significantly increase. Fortunately the rods at Fukushima were not reracked when pool #4 sprung a leak (and evaporated with no cooling due to loss of power) and the rods became uncovered, or the middle of the night fire of mysterious origins in #4 may have proved to have been far more consequential than transient spikes in radiation readings in adjacent prefectures . Moving the rods from located 50+ meters above ground level, without the use of the overhead cranes, fuel handlers, and tracks built for that purpose, has proven to be one of the two most significant challenges at Fukushima thus far (the other being containment of large quantities of contaminated water that’s leaking into the ground underneath the plant and travelling to the sea….. which will only be aggravated once the long process (over 4 years at Three Mile Island, and no fuel escaped the vessel) of removal of reactor fuel is able to begin, requiring submersion of the reactor vessel, secondary containment, and any other areas where fuel might have escaped, i.e. filling the building with water).

        I’m not a fan of nuclear energy, not because I believe its inherently unsafe, but because our regulatory agencies are captured. Compared to other fossil fuels, nuclear energy has a low probability of health risk, but because of the very high impact when an incident does occur, strict oversight is mandatory. In our corrupt pro-business environment, profit trumps safety and regulators, who have their roots in the business, look the other way. Plants that have reached the end of their original 30 year lifespan are recertified for another 30 years, and ones that are decommissioned, a 30 year process, are allowed to be essentially abandoned by their owners. Citizens see their rights routinely infringed in the GWOT, while unarmed little old ladies with wire cutters prove how easy it is to break into the nuclear plants allegedly reinforced against terrorist attacks since 9/11.

        We need a facility for long-term storage of nuclear waste, even should we transition to renewable energy. But nobody wants it in their backyard. I can’t blame them. I don’t want it where I live either.

        1. MtnLife

          I agree with most of your reasons for opposing nuclear but would counter that it is inherently unsafe in part due to some of the reasons you mentioned but also due to the fact reactors and water cooled spent fuel need constant monitoring to not pose a threat to all of humanity. You can’t just flip a switch, shut a reactor down, and walk away. What happens in a large scale societal breakdown? Will those workers stay there, ignoring whatever plight their family might be in, to ensure the safest possible outcome? What would have happened if Fukishima wasn’t just one reactor but all of Japans reactors? The world doesn’t have the skill or means to deal with that. The “world’s best” are barely able to deal with one. The world is already saddled with some serious legacy costs associated with spent fuel as we move into an era of increased resource scarcity. Hoping we can successfully play a game of hot potato with our doom while we pray a long term solution comes along is not anything I would label positive leadership.

        2. davidgmills

          I get tired of posting about liquid fluoride thorium reactors. Google Ted Sorensen and LFTR. One great thing about them is that they can burn up conventional nuclear waste and their waste stream is only 1% (not 99) and that 1% only needs storage for 300 years. Though developed at Oak Ridge in the 60’s, we chose not to use the technology because we could not make bombs with the process.

          But China is using our technology and plans on having one by 2020.

  13. Tyler

    The world did not avoid another Great Depression. In the United States, the U6 unemployment rate has been over 12% since late 2008. Europe is definitely in a depression.

    1. diptherio

      I know, right? And how about the incipient break-up of the Euro? I suppose he thinks that has nothing to do with the GFC…

      Of course, if your metric for success is how well the top .01% of the income distribution is doing, things seem pretty swell.

  14. Pwelder

    WRT the Clintons and Wall Street (NYT story in links)

    No question there’s an organized full-court press aimed at persuading Hillary not to run. I knew Karl Rove would try that; what’s surprising is the skill and the ferocity of the assault from the left.

    Yesterday there was this item in the NY Post, claiming that Obama through Valerie Jarrett has been trying to persuade Liz Warren to enter, promising all kinds of support and resources from Chicago. The rationale is that Warren would be much more likely to preserve and build upon what Obama likes to think of as his legacy. Here’s the link:

    And today there’s the story about how, way back when Hillary was a court-appointed defender for an accused (and probably guilty) child rapist, she was chuckling in an interview about how an inept prosecution plus the vagaries of polygraph technology enabled her to get the lowlife off with a couple months of time served.

    That last is no doubt very effective politics, but substantively it’s bullshit. Lawyers know very well that there are gross miscarriages of justice all the time; and black humor about cases where the ball happens to bounce in their favor is one of their mechanisms for preserving sanity.

    HRC wasn’t going to be my candidate anyway, unless the R’s make themselves as unacceptable as they did in 2008. (Always a possibility.) But it’s clear that her problems on the left are as serious as anything that someone like Jeb Bush would face on his right.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Hillary does have problems on the left. Her “dead broke” fake populism went over like a lead balloon. And Wall Streeters made no secret of the fact that she was their gal.

      What better way to dispel those notions than to start planting pieces in the NYT about how Wall Street is becoming suspicious of her commitment to them? And the NYT always tells it like it is, no??

      I have no doubt we’ll be seeing plenty more like this. After all, “Reducing inequality and increasing upward mobility has been an uninterrupted pursuit of hers through every job she’s held, and it continues to this day in her work at the Clinton Foundation.” Right. For herself.

      Hope and change are of the table. Bill seems to be losing his edge. Getting trashed by “hedge funders” seems like as good an idea as any.

      1. Carolinian

        Right on to this. The Post probably has more credibility when it comes to Hillary than the NYT.

        Plus if Hillary runs we’ll have the prospect of unlimited Maureen Dowd Clinton bashing columns to join all the others. The mind reels

      2. Lambert Strether

        The problem here is that the “left” who are giving Hillary problems are the same “left” who gave us Obama. How’s that been working out?

        It’s interesting seeing the oppo researchers at play. On both sides of the aisle. Having had experience with Obama’s rump Democrats in 2008, I put them in the same box as Rove, but it also seems to me that the entire political class is in the same box as Rove, even if a very few, none running for national office, are trying to chew their way out. (What the Piketty boomlet signified is that the “left” now dominates the discourse with new outlets and venues. And that’s about all it signified. So now, the Dems are backing away from even the anodyne “income inequality.” Shocker, I know.)

        1. wbgonne

          “now, the Dems are backing away from even the anodyne “income inequality.” ”

          Indeed. Obama, of course, doesn’t truck in “income inequality” because it is not-neoliberal doctrine. And since the only political hope for the Democrats in 2016 is holding the Senate, that means odious creatures like Landrieu (Chair of the Senate Energy Committee!) and Begich and Grimes and Manchin have to win. And those “folks” don’t do socialism.

    2. Banger

      Hilary is vulnerable and it is important to attack her now before she builds momentum. I think the reason for the attack is that people who are politically astute have noted the performance of Warren and Clinton who are both on book tours–the results are in as far as these pundits are concerned–Warren comes off as enthusiastic, passionate, and sincere and does not speak only in platitudes–she’s just better in public than Clinton. Warren can speak politician speak and BS with the best of them but only when she has to do so tactically and she has a swag about her that Clinton doesn’t have.

      I said yesterday that barring major scandal, the nomination is Warren’s to lose and thus the Presidency. The Republicans have nothing to offer, no compelling candidate–Jeb Bush is a better version of Romney but I think, other than in the ex-Confederate states, any Bush has too many negatives.

      I think Warren knows she would win if she ran. She’s right with the American people on most issues–her gee-whizzery would play very well in the Midwest and the media seems to like her whereas they tended to be very suspicious of her before she became Senator. She’s clearly made some deals–however, a note of warning here, she cannot win if she alienates all parts of the power-elite–some part of the national security state and the corporate elite must support her to some extent or she will get an offer she cannot refuse not to run. No one gets anywhere near the Presidency that won’t play ball with the Deep State as poor Howard Dean discovered to his chagrin. Fortunately for Warren, the Deep State is now more deeply divided than at any time since in its history–in my view at any rate.

      1. Pwelder

        “Warren comes off as enthusiastic, passionate, and sincere and does not speak only in platitudes–she’s just better in public than Clinton. Warren can speak politician speak and BS with the best of them but only when she has to do so tactically…”

        Wouldn’t you have said the same thing in 2008 about Obama? And look how that turned out.

        In hindsight the country might have been better off in many ways if in 2008 it had elected McCain. Having been educated by Charlie Keating et al during and after the S & L fiasco, he would have been appropriately cynical about input from Wall Street on financial reform and crisis management. Plus, the R’s would have had full political accountability for the post-crisis economy.

        Instead, at a time when taming the financial system was Job #1, we elected a community organizer who was pretty much clueless about banking and finance. He turned to the Clintons for advice, and the rest is history. Whatever satisfaction one might take in some delayed accountability for HRC, it would have been much better to have decent economic policy and financial regulation during these largely wasted years.

        1. Banger

          No we would not have been better off with McCain–all wars would have been escalated and Iran would have been bombed. He is and was much worse than Obama on FP. On the other hand his election would have refocused the left. No, I never thought Obama was a sincere candidate–I honestly thought he was 100% BS when I watched his first interview with Charlie Rose where he said nothing in a very stylish way–people loved him because he spoke in something resembling English though a bit over-rich with platitudes even of a pol. People on the left liked his classy persona and the color of his skin. Warren has made highly detailed and very erudite statement about the situation of the average American family while advocating real policies something Obama never did–he only hinted at policies.q

          1. hunkerdown

            But if the deep state is running the place, who cares who the figurehead is? Palin, even as President, isn’t a danger to the self-pronounced Republic which the deep state wears as a skin, Hannibal Lecter-style, because she would never have been allowed to be.

            So Liz Warren is a better talker. So what? If she wants the promotion, she needs to prove she’s working for us in her current position. Where’s the legislation and how is it faring?

      2. Jagger

        —————She’s right with the American people on most issues–her gee-whizzery would play very well in the Midwest and the media seems to like her whereas they tended to be very suspicious of her before she became Senator.————-
        Don’t forget she is owned lock, stock and barrel by AIPAC. Just do a few searches on AIPAC, Israel and Elizabeth Warren. And then there is this good article worth a read with this interesting summary of Warren from here:

        ——–Mind you, if you are in Massachusetts, I am not telling you not to vote for Warren. I am simply warning you that she is not the Great Progressive Hope. She came to a strongly liberal view on a comparatively narrow set of issues, on how banks have looted customers, based on intensive research. She does not have that depth of expertise on many, if any, of the other topics she opines on. She has surrounded herself with mainstream Democratic advisors, the bulk of them with links to Harvard. She may wrap her views in populist rhetoric, but I strongly suspect, ex banking reform and other consumer protections, she’ll be far more centrist than most of her enthusiasts anticipate. —-

        1. Jackrabbit

          She has been described as pro-consumer because she talks about the impact of corrupt practices on families and people of limited means. But she arrived at her position via conservative values.

          I don’t really have a problem with that as I feel that we need more principled people in office (I think she is more principled that most pols). However, if Obama is involved, neolibcon corruption can’t be far behind.

        2. Banger

          I’m sorry but if you are in the legislative branch you support AIPAC or you are finished forever in American politics–that’s just reality. The Mossad has been able to infiltrate all branches of US government particularly the propaganda organs.

      3. LizinOregon

        I must disagree about Warren’s speaking style. The last few times I have heard her speak, mostly on the radio or tv, it was one platitude or sound bite after another. I was totally turned off by the lack of real thought and not an original sentence uttered. There was simply no there, there.

      4. Lambert Strether

        It’s too bad all that enthusiasm and sincerity hasn’t culminated in any banksters in orange jump suits doing the perp walk. And the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says “because markets” about as loudly as it can be said.

        The problem with mortgages isn’t and wasn’t that the forms weren’t written in plain English for pity’s sake; it’s that the entire system was a gigantic accounting control fraud scheme. Have we heard anything from Warren on that? Any hearings?

        Ditto student loans. We’re going to clip a little off the interest rates and call it good? How about free and public K-16 and gutting the administration layer? Has Warren held any hearings on that?

        Bueller… Bueller… Bueller… Good quotes on YouTube wearing red Nina McLemore don’t cut it.

        One faction of the Dems has pulled the “Fresh Faced Newcomer” play out of the playbook because it worked great in 2008 (for them), and they scratched out “black” and wrote in “woman.” That’s what’s going on with Warren and IMNSHO that’s all that’s going on.

        UPDATE And please no “She can’t _____ because she has to ____ .” I had a bellyful of that with Obama.

    3. Jackrabbit

      I think that to a significant degree powerful neolibcon king-makers chose Obama over Hillary because Obama was more easily controlled. He is more of a team player and has a young family. Hillary is an autocrat with her own vision. She ‘plays the game’ and that makes voters and oligarchs alike uneasy. No one is quite sure how solid her support is for their interests.

      Is Warren a team player? Would Warren support the neolibcons? I don’t suspect she would unless she is bamboozled (think of the children!) If she wouldn’t (as I suspect) then supporting Warren is simply a means of furthering a Republican President. A bruising Democratic primary battle could make a ‘moderate’ Republican look good.

      PS After ALL we have seen, it seems like people STILL focus on the candidate instead of the powerful interests behind them. This: “Warren would be much more likely to preserve and build upon what Obama likes to think of as his legacy.” is just silly. Obama’s backers would love to continue their reign IF Obama can use his Presidential magic to convince Warren to play ball.

      H O P

    4. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Hmmmm . . .

      Clinton vs. Bush: The Redoux

      So, the choice would be between:

      a) a cold, calculating, political insider who will use faux-populism and faux liberalism to propel her agenda (corporatist/fascist/neoliberal or whatever else it might be), or;

      b) someone carrying a turd-covered brand and propelled by uniting those wanting weak government, even lower taxation, secession from the Union as a state right, theocracy, the supremacy of the corporate “person”, equity between science and opinion, war as the only “diplomatic” option, deportation of the immigrant workforce they created and depend on, despoliation of the environment, guns everywhere, the recognition of greed as a virtue and racism and misogyny as rights.

      Once again, I’d settle for the lesser of two evils (or the questionable vs. the known).

      1. wbgonne

        I think we must begin to think beyond the next election. The ship continues heading towards the iceberg, sometimes faster sometimes slower, depending upon which party holds power. But we are still headed for disaster. We have not changed course one bit under Obama and the Democrats. In fact, things are very arguably worse than they were with Bush and the GOP.

        What did the LOTE voting get us with Obama? A litany of horrors: Civil liberties. Fracking. AGW. Income inequality. Militarism. Privatization. Union-bashing. Globalism/Free Trade. The decimation of the Middle Class continues apace while government authoritarianism becomes ever more florid. The complete institutionalization of Corporatism as primary, bipartisan U.S. policy as the GOP is proudly Big Business (now amped by Economic Libertarianism) and the Democrats under Obama/Clinton get to the same place via Neoliberalism.

        IMO, we would have been better off — far better off — had McCain won. At least then we would have fought back. And, who knows, we might have won. But the American Left — such as it is — is incapable of breaking from the Democratic Party because, you know, Ralph Nader. Interestingly, even assuming Nader cost Gore the election, that election gave us W. Bush’s reign of error which led the country — appropriately within a two-party system — to desperately seek the correction from the opposition Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton was not the hope-and-change figure the times called for, so we got Obama, who betrayed us.

        I also think that, in terms of political analysis, the Democrats are more the problem than the Republicans today because the GOP is playing its assigned role in our political duopoly as the benefactors of Big Business, while the Democrats are betraying the populist role they are designed to fulfill. As the Democrats moved further and further Right, they effectively compelled the GOP to to stake out insane positions like denying AGW.

        Voting LOTE simply rewards the Democrats for their betrayals. Better to suffer for a time by abandoning the Democrats — yes, that means the GOP wins temporarily! — in order to either force the Democratic Party to reform, or to let it die and be replaced by a true populist party. Propping up the status quo guarantees disaster. Something fundamental must change.

        1. abynormal

          oh yeah…i miss those Pre-emptive strikes days.

          load’m ALL on the First ship heading toward that berg

          1. hunkerdown

            Lying is never lying when there’s a sale to be made. Almost nobody hires an ad agency to help people make informed decisions…

      2. Vatch

        It’s inevitable, we’re going to get either the lesser or the greater of two evils in 2016, but we don’t have to be a part of it. We can vote for someone outside the narrow Republicrat/Demolican corridor. No third party candidate will be elected U.S. President in 2016, but it’s still very useful and meaningful to vote for such a candidate. A practical reason is that when a political party gets a certain percentage of the vote, it is easier for its candidates to get on future ballots. For more information than I or most of us want to know about ballot access laws, see:

        Another reason to support third party candidates is that if some third party candidates get a non-trivial number of votes, then the Dems and Reps who are actually elected might be frightened into paying attention to a few opinions outside the generic mainstream.

        1. hunkerdown

          10% turnout for a Presidential election would also raise some eyebrows, worldwide. Never play a losing game.

          1. Vatch

            Worldwide, people already have plenty of reasons to raise their eyebrows about events in the U.S. An unlikely 10% turnout won’t make much difference.

            There are sometimes local electoral races with a few half decent candidates. If you avoid voting because the major candidates smell bad, you lose the chance to vote in the smaller races in which you might be able to make a real difference. People have given their lives for the opportunity to vote. We should honor their sacrifices, and vote in a way that maximizes the inconvenience for the oligarchs.

    5. neo-realist

      Not to say that the dems are the party of the people, but when was an anti black, anti-safety net, anti-poor, anti regulation party like the republicans ever acceptable to main street America?

      1. Lambert Strether

        Since Reagan?

        * * *

        Of course, since the Democrats constantly enable the Republicans, it really doesn’t matter whether Main Street want, because we get it. It’s almost like the two parties have formed a single system that’s almost entirely unresponsive to the electorate….

        1. wbgonne

          ” It’s almost like the two parties have formed a single system that’s almost entirely unresponsive to the electorate….”

          Ahem. Also known as cornering the market, which is pretty easy to do when there are only two entities to corrupt.

    6. Jackrabbit

      I think Obama was chosen over Hillary in 2008 by Democratic neolibcon king-makers because he was more easily manipulated. He is more narcissistic, has a young family, and was less wealthy/established than Hillary. In all, more willing to be “a team player”. Hillary has her own power base, is more of her own ‘man’.

      Having previously dumped Hillary, these neolibcons are probably somewhat unsure of her support. And she plays the political game too well. I suspect that she makes a lot of nice sounding speeches but is unwilling to be pinned-down on specifics. And, to the extent that she has ‘sucked up’, she has failed to ‘suck down’. Her meager book sales show that she has little connection with ordinary people. While she has time to build that connection, it is easy to criticize her now – and entice another candidate into the race.

      The overture to Warren is a rebuttal to Hillary. But will Warren be sucked in? A contentious primary would weaken the Democratic candidate (who ever that may be), and make a ‘moderate’ Republican nobody look good.

      And lets be honest. This is nonsense:

      “Warren would be much more likely to preserve and build upon what Obama likes to think of as his legacy”

      Obama is making the overture but it is the neolibcon king-makers that have an interest. Their pitch: Its yours – IF you play ball (think of the children!)

      H O P

      1. wbgonne

        “I think Obama was chosen over Hillary in 2008 by Democratic neolibcon king-makers because he was more easily manipulated.”

        I think the “neolibcon king-makers” (nice phrase) were perfectly happy with Hillary is 2008, just as they are now. The problem the neolibcon king-makers had in 08 was that the American People were demanding a Progressive alternative to Hillary. So the neolibcon king-makers said: Oh, you want somebody else? Well, we have just the guy for you.

        I do agree that Hillary may be more puppeteer than puppet (like Obama), since the Clintons are the dictionary picture for “neoliberals” and they surely know how the game is played and how to maximize their own personal interests. But the show will be the same and the cost just as high.

        “And lets be honest. This is nonsense: ‘Warren would be much more likely to preserve and build upon what Obama likes to think of as his legacy’”

        Agreed. Such abject nonsense that one must question the bona fides of the peddler.

          1. wbgonne

            Well, she might. Or she might not. I will watch and listen and decide if and when she decides to run. So far Warren seems pretty good to me. But I was burned badly by Obama while I think you were on to him from the start. So I do respect your skepticism. But still. There will be a presidential election in 2016. And unless there is a significant challenger (and preferably a woman, politically-speaking), Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. I don’t want that to happen so I am looking for a viable alternative. Can you suggest one? If not, then what?

            1. Lambert Strether

              I don’t think a viable alternative exists, absent a breakup of the legacy parties (and to break up one is to break up the other). Such things do happen; political parties are not eternal, and especially parties as corrupt as our own. There Is No Alternative, until there is.

          2. davidgmills

            Why would you think for a minute there is some left wing savior out there that is going to turn this ship away from the rocks of fascism? Even if there were, it seems like all the youth today have known is fascism, and they seem quite comfortable heading toward the rocks. Only old geezers seem to know what it was like before Reagan.

            If we have any kind of radical change, my fear and expectation is that it will only go to the very far right. Which is why I am comfortable with voting for the lesser of two evils, not that it makes the slightest bit of difference in a state that Obama lost by 10 points both times.

            1. Lambert Strether

              The difficulty is telling, in advance, which evil is really lesser. Given our experience with Obama, is that really so easy? And if the change does go right… Well, the left had better resist it, right? Instead of letting the change happen slowly, like they are now?

        1. Propertius

          “I think the “neolibcon king-makers” (nice phrase) were perfectly happy with Hillary is 2008, ”

          I think the fix was in at the convention in 2004 – the only uncertainty was whether it was going to happen in 2008 or later.

          Anyone who considered Obama a “progressive alternative” in 2008 wasn’t listening to him. We are, after all, talking about the man who, in 2007, declared the importance of giving heath insurance companies “a seat at the table”, who flipped on both public financing and telecom immunity in 2008, and who publicly announced his intention to launch drone strikes against Pakistan during the Democratic debates.

          Progressive alternative? Yeah, right.

      2. Synopticist

        The question of a power base is important. Obama never had one, which mean’t he fell back on the neo-cons, the Clintonites and John “57 varieties of stupid” Kerry. That’s one of the fundamental reasons for his weakness, he didn’t really have his own guys who he could appoint, apart from a bunch of Chicago cronies.

        Does Warren have anything like her own power base? Enough people who share her views and owe her a degree of political loyalty? I guess not because she hasn’t been around for long enough. Clinton does, and she certainly won’t be making the classic democrat mistake of bringing a knife to a gun fight. The thought of her as president revolts me, but she’d get more done than Obama has.

        1. wbgonne

          About the only positive thing regarding Obama is that he has been so inept that he can’t “get things done.” Things like the Grand Bargain, the TPP, etc. The Left has been trying to fend Obama off nearly his entire presidency but would have failed completely but for the intransigent right, the Tea Party that Obama’s ineptitude brought to life. As you say, Hillary may be more “effective” than Obama. But will she be the Even More Effective Evil? That’s my fear. Thanks but no thanks.

          As for Warren, she is campaigning and raising money for dreadful corporatists like Grimes and Landrieu. I hope that is her developing a power base for the presidency. If not, she should knock it off pronto. One thing about Warren: she is tough and unfazed by money and power unlike, well …

          1. Lambert Strether

            Here’s a thought: Develop a “power base” among those who don’t vote, the disenfranchised, and the disemployed! Then again, we are talking about the Democrats, who do squat to actually stop the Republicans, but yammer when it’s much too late. Since I seem to be in a literary frame of mind today, let me quote from the unusually a propos Through the Looking Glass:

            “I weep for you,” the Walrus said.
            “I deeply sympathize.”
            With sobs and tears he sorted out
            Those of the largest size.
            Holding his pocket handkerchief
            Before his streaming eyes.

            “O Oysters,” said the Carpenter.
            “You’ve had a pleasant run!
            Shall we be trotting home again?”
            But answer came there none—
            And that was scarcely odd, because
            They’d eaten every one.’

            ‘I like the Walrus best,’ said Alice: ‘because you see he was a LITTLE sorry for the poor oysters.’

            ‘He ate more than the Carpenter, though,’ said Tweedledee. ‘You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn’t count how many he took: contrariwise.’

            ‘That was mean!’ Alice said indignantly. ‘Then I like the Carpenter best—if he didn’t eat so many as the Walrus.’

            ‘But he ate as many as he could get,’ said Tweedledum.

            This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, ‘Well! They were BOTH very unpleasant characters—’


            1. wbgonne

              Through the Looking Glass should be our national motto. U-S-A! U-S-A!

              “Develop a “power base” among those who don’t vote, the disenfranchised, and the disemployed!”

              The “power base” the preceding commenter referred to, I believe, is how to govern once elected. That’s why I mentioned Warren cultivating relationships with the Corporatist Democrats. But your point is well-taken: When the American People are mobilized and engaged, the pols will respond out of fear. Obama had that but squandered it for inside baseball. Intentionally or not, history will say. But Warren could certainly bypass the Conservadems and force them in her populist direction if she gets the people on her side in a big way. (A lot of assumptions in this comment, of course.)

                1. wbgonne

                  I’d say that being anti-corporatist and insisting upon re-regulating Wall Street is, by definition, populist because it strikes at the heart of neoliberalism and neoliberalism is the most serious obstacle to populism is today’s world.

                  I don’t know what you mean by her having “no skin in the game.” Do you mean that she can’t be a populist because she was a professor and is now a Senator? I can’t imagine that you think that.

                  1. Lambert Strether

                    There’s talking the talk. And there’s walking the walk. The “left” constantly treats the two as the same. Getting verbal strokes is enough for them.

                    Warren needs to walk the walk. Here’s a litmus test: A proposal from Warren that has the entire political class screaming what an evil populist she is. Heard that yet? No, me neither.

                2. grayslady

                  Glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Light years ago, before TPM became an arm of the DLC and other Dem horrors, I used to read Warren pieces on the site. She struck me as privileged right wing, trying to justify her beliefs (not facts) based on academic gobbledegook. Just my opinion.

                  1. Lambert Strether

                    Her academic work is not gobbledegook. But like I said, I’m not seeing any skin in the game from her. The Beltway’s idea of populism, and populism, are two very different things.

            2. ChrisPacific

              From ‘The Translator’ by John Crowley:

              The poem of the walrus and carpenter is surely among the most terrible in all your language. How is this book given to children?

      3. Lambert Strether

        Here’s how Warren will be “sucked in,” as you put it:

        But who, alas! can love, and then be wise?
        Not that remorse did not oppose temptation;
        A little still she strove, and much repented,
        And whispering ‘I will ne’er consent’–consented.

        A convention draft would be fun!

      4. davidgmills

        Could it be more contentious than the Obama Clinton primary? We were told that would be the death of the Democratic party and it did not occur.

  15. Benedict@Large

    Europe’s Debt Wish, Kenneth Rogoff, Project Syndicate … Rogoff argues that debt restructuring is necessary, …

    As Michael Hudson is constantly reminding us, debt that cannot be paid, will not be paid. To argue that debt restructuring is necessary is a gross understatement. Debt restructuring WILL happen. The only question is whether or not this will be managed to minimize impact, or allowed to simply roll over the Eurozone. If recent history is the judge, put your money on the latter.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Debt means nothing in a completely fiat/infinite currency/money world. It’s all about distribution.

      99% of the population sucks hind tit.

  16. Banger

    Jackson Diehl’s article in the WaPost “Obama’s ‘unity government’ plan in Iraq is just a mirage” is very interesting. Diehl’s opinions pieces are significant because he represents those that favor a generally activist and belligerent U.S. foreign policy, i.e., the Imperial Project. The article is a result of his conversations with the two Kurdish representatives who came to Washington to discuss Kurdish independence. And I think that the answer to that question from Kerry was a solid “whatever.” Diehl sounds depressed about this he believes that the Administration is indulging in “wishful thinking” which is a silly idea. Obama is reacting to the fact the Americans are fed up with foreign adventures and all he has left to play with are covert operations that appear to be focused on creating the very chaos ISIL has created. ISIL would not exist without the support of the Gulf States/Turkey and their support would not exist without the support of the CIA.

    At any rate, at the end of the day we are going to see new borders. A rump Alawite Syrian secular state, a Sunni Caliphate in Syria/Iraq, a Kurdish state with current borders at least and a Shiite state in a rump Iraq. The mystery is the Sunni Caliphate–is it really under the domination of the alliance of intel organizations or can it go its own way?

    1. Paul Niemi

      The odd thing about the new Caliphate is the fact that when IS issued out of Syria into Iraq, they made a right turn and left the Kurds alone. So the Kurds have their oil facilities near Kirkuk, from which they have sold four ships full of oil, loaded in Turkey, to Israel. This has outraged the Shia government of Iraq, which has hollered that the sales are illegal. But the Kurds are being left to themselves, despite the fact they were included in the last Caliphate of the Ottoman Pasha. Add that to Shimon Perez, the President of Israel, coming to Washington and telling President Obama to accept partition of Iraq as inevitable, thus endorsing Kurdish independence. It looks like we are not being told the whole story deliberately. Is IS rogue, or is that a dissimulation? Are they following orders to leave the Kurds alone? Are they following orders from whom? If so, who are the partners in control, and why are they telling Washington that IS is not threatening to U.S. interests? Why does there seem to be a stoney silence from all the actors who would normally be screaming for intervention from the West? What is being whispered about all this?

      1. Banger

        Why the silence? ISIL is a US/UK/Gulf State operation with other intel services contributing particularly the Turks and Israel. That’s why the reaction in the media is so odd.

        1. Paul Niemi

          Thank you. I needed to hear a sane person say that in a matter-of-fact way. It is somewhat of a relief. It is a relief because I know we have bottomed out, that there is no place to go but up. For God’s sake, these agents are chopping people’s heads off and crucifying people, nailing them up on crosses. If what you have said is true, then we as a nation have reached the lowest possible depths of depravity. I don’t care if the Sunni Arab Emirs feel they need to take over the Iraqi oil fields, or confront Iran, or whatever. I don’t care if ISIL gets the American equipment left in Iraq and takes it back to Syria to use to fight Bashar al-Assad. If we actually wanted to overthrow Assad, we could have done it ourselves in one day, just like Noriega in Panama, and he would be sitting in a Florida jail cell next to Old Pineapple Face right now. But apparently we are enthralled with this ISIL and the spectacle of medieval torture. Maybe D/CIA John O. Brennan ought to sit down and have a talk with Congress about moral integrity in foreign policy. Or maybe not. I suppose Senator Feinstein has already been briefed, and that’s the way we do things now, in secret, and she is after all on-board with getting rid of Maliki anyway.

      2. Synopticist

        The west are basically OK with partitioning the middle east again, so they’re slightly conflicted about ISIS. A great deal of decision making is based around trying to defend their own sense of self-esteem.

        Don’t assume our spooks and foreign policy elite are machiavelien geniuses, they’re actually a bunch of fairly incompetent, greedy idiots who have become corrupted by arab oil money and driven into intellectual laziness by decades of full spectrum dominance. The only thing they’re REALLY good at now is manipulating the MSM. The whole “soft power”, NED, colour revolution, Soros funded NGOs thing. Plus the old school spooks telling news editors what to say or write.They’re WAY better at it than the Bush/Blair generation was.

        Hence the lack of a coherent response to ISIS. They’, along with the gulf arabs (no longer mere proxies) and Turkey, have encouraged jihadis and sectarianism in Syria. The west led a brilliant media messaging campaign on behalf of Syrian rebels. That’s been incredibly successful, squeezing out any dissenting voices that object to allying with hardcore violent fundamentalists and maintaing a “moderate rebels” fiction for years longer than any secular moderates fighting groups actually existed.

        That false “moderates” claim has finally worn thin, so they would left trying to claim sunni extremists are the worst enemies in Iraq while they’re the good guys in Syria. That’s too much even for the tamest MSM since WW2 to stomach, let alone the internet.
        So they’re a bit stuck, which leaves them trying to blame Maliki or Bush/Blair, or Prince Bandar bin Sultan, rather than face up to their own incompetence, and admit that millions of internet commenters were right all along. Naturally, the MSM will still be 100& behind them.

  17. Clive

    How New York Real Estate Became a Dumping Ground for the World’s Dirty Money Nation … after fending off stiff competition from London.

  18. Ron

    “The mortgage debt overhang was the result of financial deregulation and securitization, which created a massive housing bubble. When it inevitably burst, housing prices plummeted, but mortgages did not. The resources of the once-great middle class were then diverted from spending on consumer goods to trying to stay afloat in this sea of debt. Without demand, stores closed their doors and workers got laid off, in a vicious downward spiral.”

  19. Banger

    Thanks, diptherio, very important work–still, cultural tribalism is still very real and trumps agreement on individual issues. If, for example, people will take contrary positions on issues without thinking if that thinking is presented to them as cultural. Thus “tree-huggers” are obviously irrational and sentimental idiots who would rather save a tree than a person–thus when environmental issues are presented as cultural issues cultural conservatives tend to respond in that way even if, they were directly asked about environmental issues they might agree that conservation is important.

    People are primarily emotional not intellectual. Americans have been polled over the years and they often believe contradictory things. What the article really says is that if a person could articulate merely what most Americans believe, they would win elections if they were able to neutralize cultural prejudices–i.e., people in my part of the country oppose Obama primarily on racial grounds. But such appeals have, so far, not really been allowed–Obama ran on them but once in office he could not rule by them because the power-elite would never permit the people’s will to be asserted.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Isn’t it the end result that matters? How far do we go before those ruled by emotions realize that they are acting against their own long- and short-term interests? Will we have to poison every aquifer on the continent?

      My grandad said he once had a mule that was so stubborn he had to whack it between the eyes with a 2×4, twice, just to get its attention (I doubt he was being literal — then again, one never knows, for sure). Some people remind me of that mule.

    2. diptherio

      I don’t hold out much hope for either of the two parties, but I think (I hope) that this sort of thing points to some fertile ground for grassroots organizing.

    3. Vatch

      “People are primarily emotional not intellectual”

      That’s because our brains are awash in neurotransmitters and hormones, as a consequence of our genetic inheritance.

  20. Jill

    Bob, Your beautiful moth is a Pandora Sphinx Moth! One stayed in my house for about a week. At the full moon, she got extremely active and flew out the window. I loved watching her, she was amazing!!!!

    1. bob

      Thank you. I kept looking at sphinx moths, but none of the colors were right. I finally got it though. Modest Sphinx moth.

      I harrased it with a camera for about a half an hour before letting it go on its way. Haven’t seen it since. It seemed to like the red IR focus assist light on the camera.

      1. Jill

        Hey Bob,

        Thanks for finding out who this is! I’m sorry I told you the wrong moth. It looked so much like the one at my house! That’s interesting to know it liked the red light. The Pandoras like grape leaves. We have a lot of those around here. The naturalist said that was why it was visiting! I’m glad you got a moth visit as well! What a great picture!

  21. rjs

    on robobees; so who is going to pollinate the wildflowers, or the hardwood trees dependant on insects to pollinate their seeds? for that matter, who will pollinate your backyard garden and apple trees?

    1. fresno dan

      I’ll do it for 5$ an hour, and one craft beer per hour.
      I will have to be indemnified against false paternity suits…..

      1. abynormal

        “one craft beer per hour. I will have to be indemnified against false paternity suits…”
        FU*KING KNEE SLAPPIN! you just saved my day from the daily cesspool realities for our 2 (actually ONE) party underworld…even if it is only momentarily, Thanks

  22. Roger Bigod

    A more thorough coverage of drugs for ADHD is here:

    The take-home seems to be that there’s only marginal improvement, especially over longer periods, and little followup and adjustment of dosages to the child’s changing situation. IOW, the parents and caregivers have a problem with sustained attention.

    (Warning: contains some quotes from evil prohibitionist Nora Volkow.)

    1. Howard Beale IV

      Ah yes, Nora “it’s all about dopamine” Volkow. Scientific tunnel vision at it’s finest. Too bad Peele’s shredded her thesis six ways from Sunday.

  23. Jim Haygood

    Another euro-shakedown in the works from our D.C. extortionists, as they dig the dollar’s grave:

    U.S. authorities are negotiating a settlement with German lender Commerzbank AG over possible sanctions violations, according to people familiar with the matter.

    A settlement could cost the bank at least $500 million and be completed this summer, though a deal isn’t definite, according to these people.

    Authorities investigating Commerzbank DE:CBK -5.05% include the U.S. Justice Department, the Federal Reserve, New York’s Department of Financial Services and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the people said.

    The German lender has said in regulatory filings in recent years that it faces an investigation by U.S. authorities over transactions involving sanctioned countries, including Iran and Cuba.

    1. wbgonne

      “as they dig the dollar’s grave”

      No kidding. The future of America? Who gives a shit about the future?! Or about the American people??!! The feeding frenzy is on almost as if the plutocrats know the party is coming to an end. Get it while you can.

  24. fresno dan
    “Officials said this is the first time in the U.S. that unaccounted-for smallpox has been discovered. But at least one leading scientist raised the possibility that there are more such vials out there around the world.

    The CDC and the FBI are investigating.

    It was the second recent incident in which a U.S. government health agency appeared to have mishandled a highly dangerous germ.

    Last month, scores of CDC employees in Atlanta were feared exposed to anthrax because of a laboratory safety lapse. The CDC began giving them antibiotics as a precaution.

    The freeze-dried smallpox samples were found in a building at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, that has been used by the Food and Drug Administration since 1972, according to the CDC.

    The scientist was cleaning out a cold room between two laboratories on July 1 when he made the discovery, FDA officials said.

    Officials said labeling indicated the smallpox had been put in the vials in the 1950s. But they said it’s not clear how long the vials had been in the building, which did not open until the 1960s.”

    Yup…that’s the building, on the NIH campus, for the FDA center known as CBER (Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research) known in the old days as BoB (Bureau of Biologics) where I used to work. And the Division of Product Quality Control received samples of all products from manufacturers, and stored them (with not very good record keeping – because we were scientists, damn it – not bureaucrats!!!) rather haphazardly…. Of course, the labs did some research as well, so its possible its in-house made smallpox…

    And when I was in the Air Farce at NSA, what did I see? We’re intelligence officers, not bureaucrats, damn it!!!!
    Nobody in government wants to keep good records. Its lotsa of work, it can get you into trouble, because NOBODY actually reads all the regulations. And if you ever did read them all – you wouldn’t understand what they actually intend. And you wouldn’t have the funds to comply with the rules anyway…

  25. rich

    Carlyle Group, TPG on “Modernizing” Education

    WaPo ran a column by Carlyle Group Managing Director Julius Genachowski and TPG founder James Coulter on the need to increase technology in the classroom.
    Their thesis is technology will make learning better, more effective. The question is what is being automated? Private equity underwriters (PEU’s) have transformed industries by shedding jobs, moving them offshore and replacing them with technology.
    And what role would Carlyle Group or TPG affiliates play in this transformation? PEU’s hire top government officials to garner the next federal honey pot.
    Normal people have to reveal potential conflicts of interest. Neither spoke to how Carlyle or TPG could benefit from their recommendation or how each could personally profit.

  26. MtnLife

    A friend directed me to this browser app. Apparently made by a 16 yr old. Seems like it would be useful in decoding political motivations to translate the doublespeak.

    “A free browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Displays on any web page detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation. Puts vital data where it’s most relevant so you can discover the real impact of money on our political system.”

  27. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

    Hi all. Long time lurker at Naked Capitalism, first time posting. I just wanted to thank Yves and Lambert for their fine work. I read this site every day, and appreciate all the high-level commentary. I especially appreciate the daily round-up of links, and the daily antidotes. I mean this as a compliment: this site never fails to impress (and, sadly, to also depress) me, and I really appreciate the effort and care being put into the information delivery and analysis. I feel a sense of community here, and feel like at least I’m not alone anymore as I watch this long-form freak show piece-by-piece dismantling of our country. So, thanks to everybody here (minus the small troll contingency) for their thoughts and ideas. You help me every day.

  28. OIFVet

    This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps Pretty self-absorbed article but it does have it’s positives in that it shows just how precarious the position of the white collar class can. The end showed she hasn’t learned very much though: “President Obama’s programs — from the extended unemployment benefits to the tax-free allowance for short-selling a home we couldn’t afford — allowed us to crawl our way out of the hole.” Really? He gave you crumbs to crawl halfway out of the hole his policies and those of his predecessors helped to create and to maintain.

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