Links 8/9/14

Dear readers, I can’t recall war-related news so dominating Links by virtue of its prominence in the media (and in the world). Sad times and tragic for those who have the misfortune to live in the wrong places.

How to Use Your Cat to Hack Your Neighbor’s Wi-Fi Wired

Bacon-fueled motorcycle goes whole hog Grist

Rabid free-marketeer subsidised by mum Daily Mash

Peru Has Reopened Its Office of UFO Investigations Vice

The War Photo No One Would Publish Atlantic

Disaster at the Mount Polley Mine (BC): Update KateCA, Firedoglake

WHO declares Ebola global emergency Financial Times

Spreading Ebola epidemic has widening economic ramifications Nikkei

‘We’re f*****’: Climate change will be catastrophic for mankind after study reveals methane leaking from the Arctic Ocean, scientist warns (Li)

Military hammer makes everything look like a nail Asia Times

Rare diary gives details of life under Khmer Rouge Associated Press

Gold Daily and Silver Weekly Charts – Argentina Chastised By Judge Griesa For Speaking Out Jesse


US, UN condemn new Gaza violence BBC

150 + International Legal Experts: Israel Has Committed War Crimes … Should be Referred to the International Criminal Court George Washington


Ukraine Threatens Oil and Gas Cut-Off in Russia Sanctions Bloomberg

Who Needs Russia? Ukraine Will Destroy Itself With New Gas Tax OilPrice

Boeing, United Technologies Stockpile Titanium Parts Wall Street Journal (Richard Smith)

Why Have So Many Ukrainians Fled to Russia? Real News Network

Three Reasons Why Europeans Aren’t Too Worried About Putin’s Energy Power WSJ Economics


U.S. Jets, Drones Hit Militants in New Round of Strikes in Iraq Bloomberg

An incoherent Iraq strategy Washington Post. An editorial, therefore important.

This Islamic State nightmare is not a holy war but an unholy mess Guardian

What Obama Told The Caliph Moon of Alabama

Middle East Diary – 8 August 2014 Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Death Knell in Fine Print USC Center on Public Diplomacy

The West on the wrong path Handelsblatt. Sorry for the failure to give hat tips, but this article got a record number. Note that Handelblatt is center-right.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA, struggling to recruit top talent, turns to Silicon Valley Reuters. EM: “Making nice-sounding noises while the mass surveillance continues apace.”

Did Anthony Coppolino Fib about NSA’s New Architecture? Marcy Wheeler

Legal student uses ‘cute EU privacy laws’ to take on Facebook Financial Times. This is not just any student.

NY TIMES Commits “Journalism”, Begins Using ‘Torture’. Daily Kos

Migrant courts bring new problems Guardian

Expert: Out of 1 Billion Votes in 14 Years, Just 31 Incidents of Voter Fraud That MIGHT Have Been Stopped by Polling Place Photo ID Restrictions Bradblog

Manhattan DA Subpoenas Parody Twitter Account Over Obvious Brooklyn Bridge White Flag Joke Gothamist

Green Billionaires Club? David Vitter Owns Stock in Coal Utilities Fighting EPA Carbon Rules DeSmogBlog

Judge Overturns Fort Collins Five-Year Fracking Ban EcoWatch

Making Sense of the US Oil Story Gail Tverberg (Peter W)

White House Delays Proposal To Reclassify ‘Factoryless Goods Producers’ David Sirota, IBT

Junk-Bond Turmoil just Preliminary, “The Real Panic Will Come With…” Wolf Richter

Corporate 1% in U.S. Gets Wealthier While Cash Piles Up: Economy Bloomberg. (Joe Costello)

Wall Street Gift: GOP Suit Aims To Overturn SEC Anti-Corruption Law David Sirota, IBT

Versailles Watch. Extremely conspicuous consumption merits its own category.

Kumbay-OMG! A $16,000 price tag for summer camp CNN

Billionaire Mittal Looks To Buy Entire U.K. Mountain Forbes

Class Warfare

Student Debt Linked to Worse Health and Less Wealth Gallup (JohnL)

Credit card debt growth exceeds wage growth in the US Walter Kurtz

BREAKING: Judge strikes down Techtopus wage theft settlement Mark Ames, Pando

Judge tells of others’ ‘fear’ of Apple’s Jobs Financial Times

100 Best Novels in English, Since 1900 CounterPunch. I’m sure readers will nominate their favorite sleepers as additions. Off the top of my head, Somerset Maughm’s The Razor’s Edge isn’t beautifully enough written to make this sort of list, but it’s still a great read. I also have a weakness for Keri Hulme’s The Bone People. And one of my favorite books was written in French, Memoirs of Hadrian, by Marguerite Yourcenar, so it’s not a candidate. I’m not a huge fan of To Kill a Mockingbird, but its omission seems odd, although it may not skew highbrow enough for this compilation.

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    No, I did not read the article.

    “An incoherent Iraq strategy”

    . . . began the day Rumsfeld shook Saddam’s hand, and April Glaspie told him to go ahead and invade Kuwait — the US didn’t give a damn.

    1. Brindle

      WaPo editorial: Let’s blow up more shit and kill more folks and give weapons to folks to kill more….etc.

      —“The United States should offer sustained military support to friendly forces that fight the Islamic State, beginning with the Kurds and including moderate Syrian rebels and Iraqi Sunni tribesmen. It should seek to erode the Islamic State’s military power as much as possible with airstrikes.”

      1. Jagger

        If you can handle it, try Fox news for 10-20 minutes. They are in full war paint whether it is celebrating the destruction of Gaza or demonizing Russia/Putin or berating Obama for not going back into Iraq to take out ISIS. Most of these Fox hosts look young enough to be in the military. If they are really that bloodthirsty, they need to do their patriotic duty in the frontlines rather than on TV. I guess there is a reason they are called chickenhawks.

        I also noticed Israel is now running frequent commercials on Fox blaming Hamas for the Gaza war. Although I assume on Fox, Israel is preaching to the choir but maybe they know something I don’t.

        1. ambrit

          Chickenhawks are known for another kind of perversity down in the French Quarter. Fox seems to be aiming for full spectrum dominance of the Right Youth. I invested in KY, not the state, years ago.

        2. Fíréan

          Nato members must step up and spend more on defence
          In a dangerous world, the best way of ensuring peace is by better preparing for war, says US ambassador to Nato, Douglas Lute .
          end quote.
          The headline, with my bold emphasis, and opening quote on first line of the article from the bastion of conservative, rightwing British main stream media The Telegraph.
          Is the picture getting clearer ?

    2. ewmayer

      “The bombings will continue until morale improves”.

      The essence of a morally and intellectually bankrupt foreign policy.

      1. Jim Haygood

        … or until an election occurs:

        ‘President Obama said on Saturday that the airstrikes and humanitarian assistance drops he ordered last week in Iraq could go on for months.’NYT

        Which means, of course, that Obomba’s blasts have no effect whatsoever, except to keep munitions plants humming and prove his indisputable manliness.

        Obomba’s urban renewal program rolls out in Iraq (photo):

    3. Crazy Horse

      Just read Ilargi’s (The Automatic Earth) summary of the current evidence surrounding the downing of Flight MH 17. Seems that a Canadian investigator was on the scene while the wreckage was still smoking and before it was sealed off by heavy fighting instigated by the Ukrainians. No sign of any surface missile attack but lots of nice .30 caliber holes in the cockpit area. And the Brits are still working on their black box laundry job while the air traffic control tapes are firmly in the hands of the Ukrainian secret service. Or more likely mere ashes in the incinerator.

      Since the US has produced no factual evidence whatever to support its claims we must rely on that released for public examination by the Russians.

      The evidence points toward the following sequence of events:
      –MH17 was ordered by Ukrainian air traffic to divert onto a flight path where it could be targeted by a Ukrainian fighter jet.
      –The fighter jet fired an air to air missile but probably hit only one engine, causing the 90 degree reversal of course reported by Russian radar.
      — The fighter jet then finished off the job using it’s 30 caliber machine guns, thus accounting for the observed bullet holes entering from both sides of the aircraft cockpit.

      First, let us realize that the US spy agencies know exactly what happened. The most sophisticated electronic spy ship in the world was stationed within range, and a spy satellite passed over at exactly the time of the attack. With cameras capable of reporting the color of nail polish used by Ex-General Petraeus’ mistress, the information is all there, and likely on Obama’s monitor as it happened.

      If this is how the plane was brought down that accounts for the means part of the crime equation. Let’s speculate about motive.

      1- The Ukrainian government, acting alone, engineered the attack to place the blame on the Russians to aid their war financing and extract more money from their US backers.
      2- The attack was a failed false flag attack of the type the US has used repeatedly as pretext for war. It was planned and coordinated by US contract operatives in coordination with one of the private oligarch armies that constitute the Ukrainian military. Had the wounded airliner not turned back it would have crashed near or in Russian territory making the blame game easier to sell. The propaganda attack on Russia was prepared in advance as the opening shot in a policy of economic warfare against Russia which has proceeded with no reference to facts or justification. Just good business for Warfare State and all the corporate vampires that profit from supplying it.

      So two explanations fit the evidence. Take your pick.

      1. Jeff in San Diego

        After having followed with interest the news and available information surrounding this event, my feeling is that scenario #2 nails it. The crash of MH17 was almost certainly a terrorist attack concocted, designed, and financed by Americans (via their tax dollars) and the transnational cabal of chosen ones who hold the levers of power in the Western nations. I can only imagine how the Dutch, not to mention the Malaysians, Australians, Indonesians, British, Belgians, Germans, Filipinos, Canadians, and New Zealanders, feel about the unnecessary deaths of their fellow citizens as involuntarily enlisted support for the American imperial war machine.

  2. tomk

    Totally agree about Memoir’s of Hadrian and Bone People, great books. As for the books on the list, if you haven’t read JR, it’s a treat. You just have to get past the confusing lack of quotation marks. Funny and prescient.

  3. steviefinn

    Not on the list but a book for obvious reasons, but one that haunts me & I think is very pertinent to what is now developing in the Ukraine & possibly elsewhere. ” Life & Fate ” written by Vasily Grossman, a Ukrainian Jew who as a journalist who spent an approximate 1000 days on the frontline of some of the worst battles fought over 4 years during WWII, in which he interviewed thousands of the participants for his last novel & masterpiece. The book was not published till 1980, 16 years after his death due to it’s criticism of Stalin & totalitarianism. Based on interviews from camp workers his description of the events that unfolded in a gas chamber are for me the most profound thing I have ever read.
    I will be forever grateful to Jesse for featuring this book over at the cafe, a book that for anyone with any heart should lead to rejection of the idea that war is worth the cost of what it might achieve & that the exercise more often than not simply leaves behind the sour seeds of future conflict.

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


      First I have to concur with Yves in here opening comments lambasting the amount of war-related posts, it really is diabolical that so much war, pain and suffering is being undertaken at this very moment – what the “fuck” has happened to humanity is all I can think of, it really is a tragedy and how to put I stop to this carnage and madness is beyond a mere mortal like me. I truly fear for my daughters future and must say the world we live in is not the one I wish her and her peers to inherit.

      Regretfully, one has not read Vasily Grossman’s novel about what he witnessed on the Eastern Front and how this influenced his literary output. I am familiar with some of the best non-fiction accounts of the War in the East and madness unleashed by both Herr Hitler and Uncle Joe. The reality makes for some very uneasy reading where you shake your head in utter unbelief – no doubt Grossman’s work can be compared with much that came out of WWI, be it poetry or literature, Henri Babusse “Le Feu” being a classic, as well as Siegfried Sassoon’s Sherston’s Trilogy. So seems I’ve missed an important work and one of the very few great literary works to come out of WWII.

      1. toldjaso

        But imagine the financial “profits” redounding to the oligarchs! Isn’t that ALL that counts? “No pain no gain.”

      1. steviefinn

        CDR – I think the key to ” Life & Fate ” is the fact that Vasily was actually there. He was apparently gifted at drawing out information from participants, some of whom had previously not spoken about what they had experienced. His interviews taken at the liberated concentration camp particularly get to the burning question of how far would one would go in order to survive, & how some are willing to go to the bottom just in order to prosper – Questions that we have to consider in our relatively trauma free everyday lives, which have no comparison to the hell he writes about.

        Here is his thoughts on life after his experience :

        “I have seen that it is not man who is impotent in the struggle against evil, but the power of evil that is impotent in the struggle against man. The powerlessness of kindness, of senseless kindness, is the secret of its immortality. It can never by conquered. The more stupid, the more senseless, the more helpless it may seem, the vaster it is. Evil is impotent before it. The prophets, religious teachers, reformers, social and political leaders are impotent before it. This dumb, blind love is man’s meaning. Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil, struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness. But if what is human in human beings has not been destroyed even now, then evil will never conquer.”

        JHR – Thank you, I will check out ” Bloodlands ” interspersed with great comedies for light relief . Chris of course was also a war correspondent so he should know a lot more than most of where Vasily was coming from than most. The Russian film ” Come and see ” I would say would be an equivalent in celluloid to ” Life & Fate “. I was reminded of it the other day when seeing a photograph taken of a Ukrainian soldier by his rebel captors – On his face he had the same look of feral dread as the young glory dreaming lad in the film.

        1. trish

          Thanks for your comments…I intend to read Life & Fate.
          A slim novel I read and enjoyed (if that’s the word- more accurately, was disturbed by) is The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller.
          Excellent portrayal of the damage done to victims of Stalinist forced labor (this case, ethnic Germans in Romania…god, It stayed with me for a long time…an interesting approach…

  4. grayslady

    The “100 best” list has a distinctly British slant to it. Even so, to select “Tender is the Night” rather than the far superior “The Great Gatsby” just doesn’t make sense. Agree that “To Kill a Mockingbird” should be on the list, as should “Gone with the Wind”. Again, I guess they’re just too “American” for the authors of the article.

    1. trish

      a lot of good british writers.
      (to complement kingsley amis’s Lucky Jim I’d put in a Penelope Fitzgerald, say, The Golden Child. She is a woman who rivals Amis (witty and astute character depictions.

      1. windsock

        Me too. It looks like they went for whatever was an author’s more obscure work (Vikram Seth, Anthony Burgess etc). The list screams “pseuds corner” to me.

  5. Kokuanani

    Headline in this morning’s Washington Post: U.S. Planes Attack Militants in Iraq.

    Wouldn’t the reaction be different if it said, “U.S. Planes Attack Children and Defenseless Civilians in Iraq”?

    The truth, please, Post.

    1. Synopticist

      The targets were some mobile artillery and a convoy of seven vehicles driven by ISIS. The defenceless civilians are stuck up a mountain in fear of genocide.

      1. Jagger

        Can you imagine if we had made the effort to defend Gaza in the face of slow motion genocide and ethnic cleansing instead of providing the artillery, the planes, the bombs, the shells and the cheerleading?

        1. jrs

          Well apparently the genocide reason for getting involved in Iraq again is now passe. Not that there aren’t real concerns there, but they’ve already moved on to it being not just an emergency humanitarian intervention but a months or years long incursion with hopes of regime change. They can’t even pick a story and stick to it.

      2. ran

        Sure, and one has to admire the US goons’ impressive record of just killing the bad guys in Iraq and never civilians. True humanitarians in it strictly to save innocent lives.

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers

          Yes, and the greatest “humanitarian” of them all is one Tony Blair, one of the world’s most insidious and obnoxious characters, a man who even today cannot accept the reality that by his actions more than 1 million persons are dead, and for what purpose may I ask?

          So that he can flaunt his wealth and superiority all over the world and accumulate millions in the bank paid for by his willing enablers and executioners. This odious man is the full travesty of it all, a man who should be strung up for war crimes and drawn and quartered whilst alive as a reminder to us all the evil begets evil – that he had the temerity to convert to Catholicism just about sums it up in that he can purchase forgiveness for his sins, sins which he strenuously denies, despite the overwhelming force of evidence against him and the warmongers. Absolute evil sums it up perhaps best, and there are many more like this greedy bugger strutting their stuff on the world stage and global media. Enough to make you puke continually is disgust.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Tony is a holy man now, and has his own Faith Foundation to prove it:

            Founded in 2008 when the Foundation’s patron, Tony Blair, taught a course at Yale, we support universities teaching courses concerned with faith and globalisation through the provision of teaching resources, hosting collaborative platforms and aiding research impact.

            The Faith & Globalisation Teaching Network now consists of over 30 universities worldwide including Yale University, McGill University, the National University of Singapore, Peking University, the University of Western Australia, Tecnológico de Monterrey and Banaras Hindu University. In the last few months the network has been joined by Sabanci University in Turkey, the University of Vlora in Albania, Wesley Theological Seminary in the US and Sejong University in South Korea.



            With the cachet of their extensive experience in both religion and government, Britain’s glamourous power couple Cherie and Tony Blair look set to inherit the mantle left behind by American televangelists Jim and the late Tammy Faye Bakker.

            PTL, brother.

          2. optimader

            “Tony Blair, one of the world’s most insidious and obnoxious characters”
            I see you are in the habit of damning with faint praise.
            Consider for a moment my fellow Americans feelings in so far as GWB needing TB to articulate his rationale for Iraq War rev.1 to the American Public, and the larger viewing audience, in the most appalling POTUS press conferences I ever recall seeing.
            I’ll remember that speech and where I was forever.

            “that he had the temerity to convert to Catholicism ”
            In at least a historical sense he is in good company. Changing one’s religious inclinations is hardly worth consideration on the Blight Scale”

          3. Glenn Condell

            Granted, a candidate for the most odious person alive, but he is really a sideshow, a distraction. If it wasn’t him it would be some other self-absorbed grasper, there’s no shortage. He is front-of-house for the real evildoers…. Cheney perhaps at or near their head. His star is bigger and brighter and its gravity draws the ire and disgust of the informed globe into its orbit, which helps allow the real drivers of our fate – operating in the darkness where finance and the national security state meet – to go about their work in relative silence.

            In the end his evil isn’t sui generis; he is a good soldier who does what he is told and in return gets what his kind always craves; celebrity, wealth and a plausible illusion of power.

      3. Andrew Watts

        Sheesh. The comments are starting to get mean ’round here. I’m afraid to post what I think about the latest disaster we call Iraq. It’ll just rile ya’ll up ‘hic.

        Everybody needs to look on the bright side. At least we aren’t re-occupying Iraq…. well, not yet anyway. NOBODY COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING!

        1. Synopticist

          It was all painfully obvious, which is why I’m so pissed off about it. If you encourage jihadis on one side of a line drawn in the sand a century ago, then you’ll get lots of jihadis on the other side as well.
          This crazy shit has come about because we armed, fed, paid, supplied and gave 24/7 PR cover to hardcore Islamists in Syria, and told everyone they were freedom fighters. And anyone who disagreed was an Assad stooge.

          Now we’re bombing the very same individuals who we covertly trained to fight in semi-secret bases 18 months ago. It turns out they weren’t moderate after all, and they joined the BAD jihadis, rather than sticking with the GOOD, proxy, jihadis, like they were supposed to.

          This is one of the dumbest moves we’ve ever pulled since WW2, and it really pisses me off that people aren’t calling it out, rather than going on endless rants about Tony Blair. F*ck Blair, but he isn’t the architect of this of this cluserf*ck.

          1. Andrew Watts

            Yup. I definitely share your frustration and anger. If you’ll recall I commented awhile back that I had no problem if the US bombed Syria as long it was on ISIS positions. This was when it started to appear like they were capturing large amounts of territory. By that point it was only a matter of time before they absorbed lesser and other minor jihadis groups that Washington was so very keen to train and arm. Those people were eventually given a choice to join ISIS, surrender/sell your weapons, or die.

            …and now things are far worse and stand to get even more horrific.

        2. Lord Koos

          I’m starting to believe that chaos has been the plan of the deep state all along. Whatever it takes to instill fear is good, because fear = control.

  6. Furzy Mouse

    I was in Siem Reap on Thursday when the verdict was announced against the Khmer Rouge leaders. Also visited a Land Mine museum there, ( where an ex GI gave us a very passionate and informative talk about Pol Pot and the multiple players vying for control of Cambodia at that time, which included Russia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and the USA. I was stunned to learn that both the US and the Thais supported Pol Pot, along with the UK, China and even Singapore, especially after the Khmer Rouge forces retreated into NW Cambodia along the Thai border, in a fit of anti-Vietnamese zealotry ( More killing fields are being found even til this day.

    1. optimader

      This is no secret FM, it’s all well documented public information thrown in the memory hole for safe keeping

      “The US not only helped to create conditions that brought Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge to power in 1975, but actively supported the genocidal force, politically and financially. By January 1980, the US was secretly funding Pol Pot’s exiled forces on the Thai border. The extent of this support — $85 million from 1980-86 — was revealed 6 years later in correspondence between congressional lawyer Jonathan Winer, then counsel to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.”

      “In 1981, Pres. Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, said, “I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot. The US”, he added, “winked publicly” as China sent arms to the Khmer Rouge(KR) through Thailand.”

      “In 1980, under US pressure, the World Food Program handed over food worth $12 million to the Thai Army to pass on to the KR. According to former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke,’20,000 to 40,000 Pol Pot guerrillas benefited. This aid helped restore the KR to a fighting force, based in Thailand, from which it destabilized Cambodia for more than a decade.'”

      “In 1982, the US and China, supported by Singapore, invented the Coalition of the Democratic Government of Kampuchea, which was, as Ben Kiernan pointed out, neither a coalition, nor democratic, nor a government, not in Kampuchea. Rather, it was what the CIA calls a ‘master illusion.’ … Cambodia’s former ruler, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, was appointed its head; otherwise little changed. The KR dominated the two “non-communist” members, the Sihanoukists and the Khmer Peoples’ National Liberation Front (KPNLF). From his office at the UN, Pol Pot’s ambassador, the urbane Thereon Parish, continued to speak for Cambodia. A close associate of Pol Pot, he had in 1975 called on Khmer expatriates to return home, whereupon many of them disappeared.”

  7. Carolinian

    Re The West is on the Wrong Path: I’m currently reading Barbara Tuchman’s March of Folly which seems highly relevant to our present situation and to this essay. She shows how governments at different points in history have acted contrary to their own interest in order to satisfy more personal motives–the “folly.” Thus in the 1760s the British insisted on imposing new taxes on the Americans solely to prove their dominance over the colonies and despite warnings that the trivial sums raised would risk losing the object itself. They also held the colonists’ ability to fight back in contempt. Similarly in Vietnam our own ruling class felt they had something to prove, and were not about to let themselves be shown up by third worlders in rice paddies who would be unable to resist the mighty US war machine. Listening to Obama now one gets this same tone of aggrieved vanity along with a casual contempt for the Russians.

    Of course that doesn’t mean we’ll really plunge into an historic disaster. He needs Europe to go along. So far they have, but that may change. Essays like this may help. But the historical precedents are not encouraging. On the stupid or evil question stupid seems to win every time.

    1. fresno dan

      I think those are good points. I think we have a tendency to understate the emotional and “cultural” aspects of policy – humans are not really very rational at all. I came to see how foolish the “economic man” model was with regard to economics – might as well apply the same jaded view to human diplomacy and statecraft. Could their be a war with Russia because of personal pique???? Yup!
      Was Iraq just really a tantrum? Hard to see how a dispassionate, informed “real politic” analysis would have said that we want to destroy the greatest bulwark against Iran, and a natural enemy of Al Qaeda – yet there we went.

      The American view of ourselves as saints, and that Pax Americana is what keeps the world from descending into chaos seems to me to be easily refuted, but it still seems to hold sway (maybe just for propaganda purposes???).
      Of course, I find the theory of the “Deep State” very compelling as well – all this chaos IS the plan for the benefit of the war profiteers, “defense” and state department bureaucracy that compels us “to do something” and those who just believe that if you hit people enough with a hammer, the problem will be solved.

      1. Jagger

        —-Hard to see how a dispassionate, informed “real politic” analysis would have said that we want to destroy the greatest bulwark against Iran, and a natural enemy of Al Qaeda – yet there we went. —-

        Sure from the viewpoint of American society, it made absolutely no sense. But don’t forget that forces with immense power over our American government felt they would benefit from dismembering Iraq such as Israel, MIC, the oil companies. I suspect Israel still feels that generating a war between the Western world and the muslim world was a major coup and the falling apart of Iraq is at least a short term advantage. The MIC made huge amounts of money-war is profit. I suspect the oil companies didn’t come out too badly either. So sure American society was let down by our political leadership but many amonst the powers that be did benefit. You have to remember who our political leadership represents and the general good of American society is not top priority.

      2. hunkerdown

        The disproven conceit that humans are rational deciders is a perfect example of group narcissism, the reserve currency of social relationships in the neoliberal world. Then again, Ian Welsh observed long ago that successful ideologies are irrational, because it’s always rational to sell out.

        Those who can make you believe absurdities can get you to commit atrocities — yet absurdities are what we call home. There’s a tough synthesis for you.

    2. FederalismForever

      This is why rigidly materialist analyses of history are so often incomplete, or flat-out wrong. It simply is not the case that actors in history are motivated solely by economic considerations. Humans are more complicated than that.

      1. hunkerdown

        That they are. That said, those who have been granted the power to direct wealth do direct whose ideologues eat and whose ideologues starve, especially in over-civilized societies built from stolen land.

    3. Jackrabbit

      On stupid vs. evil.

      No one thinks of themselves as evil. They disassociate via ‘us vs. them’ thinking, which is strengthened by group-think. And they finesse moral considerations via convenient rationalizations like “exceptionalism”.

      We tend to think that stupid wins out because >95% of those that contribute to the narrative that justifies evil are just stupidly going along because it is in their short-term interest. But the small number of evil people that drive the bus are the real problem. Whether it is nazi’s or neocons, these ‘true believers’ scheme to manipulate society to their advantage.

      They say “you can’t fix stupid”. But you CAN identify and call out the evil thinking that leads the merely selfish and stupid into folly.

      Jesse describes how such ‘evil’ can persist and flourish via the ‘credibility trap’

      A credibility trap is a condition wherein the financial, political and informational functions of a society have been compromised by corruption and fraud, so that the leadership cannot effectively reform, or even honestly address, the problems of that system without impairing and implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure, including themselves.

      The status quo tolerates the corruption and the fraud because they have profited at least indirectly from it, and would like to continue to do so. Even the impulse to reform within the power structure is susceptible to various forms of soft blackmail and coercion by the system that maintains and rewards.

      And so a failed policy and its support system become self-sustaining, long after it is seen by objective observers to have failed. In its failure it is counterproductive, and an impediment to recovery in the real economy. Admitting failure is not an option for the thought leaders who receive their power from that system.

      The continuity of the structural hierarchy must therefore be maintained at all costs, even to the point of becoming a painfully obvious, organized hypocrisy.

      H O P

      1. Jackrabbit

        As I’ve said to Banger many times, pointing fingers at the ‘Deep State’ seems like a way to make the ‘stupid’ seem sinister, thereby defusing the responsibility of neolibcon policymakers and the corrupt, vote-with-your-money political system that got them there.

        1. hunkerdown

          Today, most of the important “policymakers” are not currently elected legislators, and those we suppose as legislators are merely product champions and paid endorsers. Why cook at home when one can buy frozen meals from ALEC and Wellpoint and when you collect enough points they’ll donate money to your (charter) school too.

          Can Americans even have any relationships with anyone that aren’t made entirely of retail exchange and high school drama?

        2. Synopticist

          There’s a bit of both going on. Often the establishment are manipulative string pulling macheivalians who think they’re brilliant, but in actual fact their policies are dumb as f*ck. There’s a strain of lefty, oppositional thinking that seems to believe the deep state are fantastically omnipotent and plan everything down to the last detail, but the truth is they’re nowhere near that competent.
          The days they could pull off a quiet coup while avoiding any subsequent chaos are over. The neo-imperialists just plain aren’t as good at it as their predecessors were.

          1. hunkerdown

            I don’t know that they couldn’t. They seem to be doing just that here and everything seems about as orderly as ever.

            Also, consider that neoliberalism seeks to replace organic social relations with disciplined market relations wherever they are found. In that light, social chaos breeds distrust and makes fertile ground for Because Markets as a rough organizing force, though preferable.

            1. hunkerdown

              Rather, preferable among those whose pots are being violently stirred. At some point, anything to stop the blood stew from spilling will be welcomed by “civilized” people who value tranquility over justice.

        3. Lambert Strether

          +100. I haven’t seen a “theory” yet. I’ve seen a compelling label. Perhaps that passes for theory in these degenerate times. It might, in fact, be better just to accept the label and put actual content behind it, were it not for the fact that to focus on the state is to fall into the gliberatarian trap of not asking who owns and manages the state. As always the deception is at least double… “Look! I see the trap!” turns out to be, itself, bait; and so on.

          1. skippy

            Tis the ultimate gliberatarian headfouk… that the – state – has an unfair “monopoly system”.

            Skippy… to read or hear this argument ad infinitude… one size fits all ideological bias… actually creates a visceral mental anguish… which invokes ones ancestor… to unpleasantness…

          2. jrs

            well if there’s no way to actually change who owns and manages the state then it’s a distinction without a difference.

            1. skippy

              “well if there’s no way to actually change who owns and manages the state” – jrs

              jrs… that’s a wee bit of a projection imo, largely a factor of observer time preferences, which is contrasted by the time it took to get, this bad, in the first place. In turn its compounded by societal whiplash if such a sudden transformation was even possible [see history].

              skippy… don’t forget this thing went global over a span of decades and is intrenched in key installations, that does not go away just because its right or refuted… it persists like a living cell.

    4. heresy101

      With the German economy sliding into recession, the Handelsblatt article isn’t surprising because the Russian’s response is/will be so much broader than failing into a war trap in eastern Ukraine. The end of dollar reserve status may not be that far away. Unfortunately, the 1% will be bailed out and the rest of us will be left holding the bag. The headline is misleading.

  8. diptherio

    I’ve been diving into the work of Elinor Ostrom lately, since her birthday was this last Thursday, and boy is she great. Clarity, humanity and humor–a tough combination to beat. Here’s an introduction and two lectures, both worth your time:

    Building the Commons Beyond Markets and States

    But in case you don’t have time for that, I grabbed a two minute clip of Elinor demolishing Hardin’s “tragedy of the commons” with humor and commonsense–two things that are all to often missing from economists.

    Elinor Ostrom on the Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons

    And Lambert (and other commoners), I’m quite serious about starting a National Commons Day. I’m going to be running it by Bollier and the guys at P2P Foundation, Jay at On the Commons, and anyone else I can think of who works on commons issues. A couple people have already expressed excitement about the idea and apparently creating your own day is all the rage in social media advertising.

      1. diptherio

        Will do.

        The more I watch Elinor talk, the angrier I get that 1) NOT ONE of my econ professors mentioned the existence of her work to me, despite the fact that many of her critiques mirror the ones I was making as an undergrad…aaarggh!; and 2) that I didn’t get to meet her before she shuffled off the mortal coil. A heterodox, cooperative economic theorist who did her research in Nepal, and I didn’t even know about her until she was gone. So frustrating…. When she won the prize in ’09 I was so fed up with economics and the state of things in general that I didn’t even pay attention. Now I wish I hadn’t been quite to disconnected…

  9. Oathbreakers

    The US official state policy of assassinating leading dissidents has been affirmed. PTSD Iraq-war animal Robert Roche successfully used the superior-orders defense. It didn’t fly for Nazis at Nuremberg but that was then, this is now. The US government is setting up a Mukharabat to make there’s no American spring and they need lots of killer pigs like Roche.

    1. Lord Koos

      It boggles the mind that Oakland would retain a cop who has cost the city $5,000,000 in lawsuits. You would think they at least understand the language of money. Something fishy there.

  10. diptherio

    Re: 100 best novels

    What?!? No Infinite Jest?!? F*** you Counterpunch-that’s the best novel ever! End notes inside of footnotes inside of parenthetical asides that go on for pages…the man was a freakin’ genius!

    Also missing is R.M. Koster’s The Dissertation, another massive tome, which recounts the history of the South American country of Tieneblas, as well as including the most creative version of the afterlife I’ve ever read…The “Latin American trilogy” of books by Louis De Bernieres are also highly recommended–anarchism in the Andes, where a defrocked priest and a hard-as-nails prostitute-turned-geurilla along with a bunch of magical panthers and assorted freaks and weirdos do their best to hold out against the encroachments of the outside world. Magical surrealism at it’s finest.

    Oh well, there’s no accounting for taste, I suppose. I am glad to see Montanan James Welch made the list. I haven’t read The Indian Lawyer, but his book Fools Crow is a classic (at least around these parts)–a must read for anyone interested in Western US history and in trying to get an Indian perspective on the genocide our country carried out against them.

    So many books, so little time.

    1. Carolinian

      From the intro

      “Third, each of us had unlimited preemptory challenges to be invoked against writers we hated. Thus no: George Orwell, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, Margaret Atwood, Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, David Foster Wallace or Jonathan Franzen. ”

      The list is their personal faves, not meant to be in any sense official. Here are two others

          1. Tim Mason

            The link seems to have got lost. I’ll try again. If that doesn’t work, look for “The Fable of the Weasel” by Alexander Cockburn. The piece opens thuswise :

            set me thinking again about Orwell. These days I can’t get through almost any page of Orwell without a shudder, though in my teens I often had the Penguin selection of his essays in my pocket. I’d learned to loathe Animal Farm earlier at my prep school, Heatherdown, where any arguments for socialism would be met with brays of “and some are more equal than others” by my school mates.

            Some writers admired in adolescence stay around for the rest of the journey, perennial sources of refreshment and uplift: P.G. Wodehouse, Stanley Weyman, H.L. Mencken, Flann O’Brien, to name but four I’d be glad to find in any bathroom. Now, why can Mencken delight me still, while the mere sight of a page of Orwell carries me back to memories of England and of British-ness at full disagreeable stretch: philistine, vulgar, thuggish, flag-wagging?

            1. Vatch

              Thanks, I can see the link now. It appears to me that Cockburn has conflated his opinion of Blair/Orwell the man with his opinion of the books.

              Whether Orwell actually “named names” is an interesting question. He witnessed first hand the actions of Stalinists in the Spanish Civil War, and understood that they were not to be trusted. I guess if he really did name names, the crucial point is whether or not he was naming current Stalinists or former Stalinists who had mended their ways. The former is acceptable, whereas the latter is not. Furthermore, despite his unpleasant experiences with the Stalinist communists, Orwell did not become a right winger. Methinks Mr. Cockburn protesteth too much.

      1. diptherio

        I didn’t read the intro, just jumped to the list and my pre-emptory judgements. FWIW, I was being hyperbolic, but still, f#@% Counterpunch for leaving out Wallace. I’m not a fan of Pynchon, though I did manage to make it through Gravity’s Rainbow, but I wouldn’t ban his works from a list of important books.

        And who “hates” writers anyway? That’s a pretty strong word to use about novels or novelists. I get that you don’t like somebody’s writing, but hate?

        Oh well, it’s not like I look to CP for advice on cultural enrichment anyway, that’s what the LRB is for.

      2. abynormal

        devoid of Atwood…a literary sin!

        Maybe the life I think I’m living is a paranoid delusion…Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes.
        The Handmaid’s Tale

        Don’t let the baztardz grind you down.
        The Handmaid’s Tale

        1. The Black Swan

          And no Frank Herbert… Any of the 6 Dune books should qualify as some of the greatest books ever written in any language.

          1. diptherio

            I know “fear is the mind-killer,” but I have to admit that staring down the other five tomes after finishing the first one was rather intimidating. I let my fear get the better of me and didn’t continue, though I liked the first one a lot. I’ll put number two on the list for consideration next time I’m looking for some good fiction.

            1. windsock

              Some of Herbert’s other non Dune stuff is great too – The Dosadi Experiment, The Jesus Incident and The White Plague are all one offs, great reads and full of ideas that are so relevant now.

              While we’re on Science Fiction – Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson instead of Cryptonomicon?

              And no Iain M Banks?

            1. Crazy Horse

              Frank Herbert’s ” The White Plague” was by far his best novel. Especially appropriate in the age of Ebola.

      3. trish

        It is their list. and re “…had unlimited preemptory challenges to be invoked against writers we hated.”
        can respect that- glad to see Franzen made the (anti)list. Wish Tartt did too.( and relieved kingsley Amis wasn’t on, because Lucky Jim is a great read.)
        My picks by some of their authors would be different and I’d add a few of my own, etc, but that would be my list.
        I love these lists because they might suggest a work I might otherwise never have read.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Infinite Jest has an awesome portrait of Boston AA, and much to recommend it, but Foster Wallace didn’t seem to know how to end it… Or he did, eh? Which shadowed the book for me. Still, Gravity’s Rainbow at #3? Absurd. I wouldn’t swap in Infinite Jest that high, but I’d knock Pynchon’s book off the list entirely. Both share IMNSHO the same flaw: Too much “brilliant writing.” Dr Samuel Johnson:

      “I would say to Robertson what an old tutor of a college said to one of his pupils:’Read over your compositions, and where ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.'”

    3. gordon

      What happened to E.M. Forster? And if I were Yves I wouldn’t worry about Maugham’s lack of “beautiful writing” – not in a list which includes Eric Ambler and John Buchan.

  11. Tatanya

    Re Ebola: The primary global emergency is the fragile global economy. There is no reason to expect that the public’s health and welfare will take precedence. We only need to reference the ongoing Fukushima tragedy to see that. Containing the public from the most alarming bits of information and evidence is priority one. It is precisely when they say ‘nothing to see here,’ that our collective senses should be on highest alert. Hedge accordingly: “WHO called for no ban on international travel or trade, fearing that misunderstandings and rumors could damage the region’s economy and create turmoil.”

    1. Whine Country

      I’m not an economist but I can do the math. GD – GB = GR. That’s Great Depression minus Great Bailout equals Great Recession. OED. Rest assured TPTB will dust off the formula when the stock market crashes (again).

    1. grayslady

      I’ve been following this story online. Can’t remember anything like this in my lifetime.

  12. William

    100 best books list–The Big Sleep is Chandler’s least worthy Marlowe story. It was his first and is relatively simplistic. Subsequent Marlowe novels were sublime, particularly IMO The Long Goodbye.

    1. lambert strether

      Elmore Leonard is IMNSHO far superior to Chandler. I’d choose Unknown Man #89 or City Primeval over the Big Sleep any day. There’s no good bad writing in Leonard, and there’s a lot in Chandler. Seems odd that Phillip K. Dick made the list — truly one of the greats — and Leonard didn’t, since they were both nickel-a-word writers of pulp fiction for many years.

        1. ambrit

          Try reading Lowry’s “Under the Volcano” followed by Lawrence’s “The Plumed Serpent.” Mexico will never be the same for you, I promise.

          1. abynormal

            Plumed Serpent is one of a handful of the books ive absorbed twice. Lawrence unlisted is haunting! Looking forward to ‘Under the Volcano’…H/T Ambrit
            “Continuaré tirando pan al agua; y si mis hijos vuelven algún día, seré feliz.”

      1. ewmayer

        Hemingway’s true genius was as a prose stylist – the actual subject matter of his novels is often puerile.

        As with many famous authors on and off the list, the short story is a better vehicle for Hemingway than the novel.

    1. diptherio

      I didn’t see any Richard Brautigan either. In Watermelon Sugar, The Sombrero Fallout, Trout Fishing In America…so many great books. He also wrote the worlds shortest short story, reproduced in full below:

      The Scarlatti Tilt

      “It’s very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who’s learning to play the violin.” That’s what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.

      Truly a genius.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        Love as rural electrification! That blew me away. Richard Brautigan trying to describe how heavy his emotions were for his love, and he came up with an impact like rural electrification transforming desolate back breaking labor in the Stygian darkness of small farms throughout America, like the gods bringing fire to humanity, changing us forever, that was like the girl who came into his life.

        The random pairing within the top 100 of “VIDA” by Marge Piercy with Phillip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle” it’s like VALIS piercing my forehead into the brain with radical political gnosis. #50 & #51 on the yin and yang line of synchronistic demarcation of the 100.

        One of Marge’s characters falls in love with cop and receives a batch of shit from the radical purity standard bearers. One uber radical amazon asks how could she love a pig, I mean she fell in love with a cop!!!! The other woman responds, she didn’t fall in love with a cop, she fell in love with her boyfriend!! I learned more about women from those few lines way back when, more about humanity and each and every individual having their own social reality outside of my generalized concepts and vague idiosyncratic notions of how people and the world work than all of the philosophy classes and poems devoured like candy bars.

    2. craazyboy

      Started going down the list and began thinking I found a hundred books I haven’t read yet.

      But then got to Catch 22. Ok. But there’s been a lotta books in a hundred years.

      Then Neuromancer . I can see it getting somewhere on a sci-fi list due to being first with the computer virtual reality thing, but what the book has to do with writing. I’ll never know.

      The Man in the High Castle. Been trying to get it from my library (60 years late) but they no gots.

      Cat’s Cradle. Ok, but what shall we read after graduating college?

      Snow Crash. Here we go – sub Snow Crash whenever we see Neuromancer mentioned.

      Gateway. Ok, but first we should look at best sci-fi lists before selecting sci-fi books to all book lists.

      so either I’ve missed a lot or they’ve missed a lot.

      1. trish

        cat’s cradle…but what shall we read after college…I loved vonnegut then, and still do. I re-read a couple of his best and they are still great.
        loved catch 22…don’t know if I still would…

        1. craazyboy

          I devoured all the Vonnegut books in college, and they went particularly well with a bong hit.

          Catch 22 was a real eye opener at that age, especially after narrowly escaping the draft and then finding out what a messed up nightmare you were lucky enough to be spared.

          I haven’t read any book twice yet…still trying to get caught up…

      2. craazyman

        They missed all THE HARDY BOYS books. Even Nancy Drew! I liked a few of those, too, and I’m not gay or even Bi. A real man can like fine things just for themselves without regard to considerations of machismo.

        1. ambrit

          For an adolescent, The Hardy boys or Nancy Drew were sure fire fun reads. I remember haunting the second hand book stores on Saturday and picking up any old style Hardy boys I hadn’t read yet. Now I look for old version Nancy Drew for one of our granddaughters. She’s six and reads a few chapters a night with her mother most nights before going to sleep. (Anyone here remember reading with either parent at bedtime when young? I feel that this has a large effect on a child’s development.)

          1. abynormal

            i have the ‘luxury’ of stressed teens cross my path. i always keep a couple copies of home grown tales on hand that i have to ‘dare’ them to read.
            A Stone for Danny Fisher/H. Robbins (believe it or not)
            The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon /S. King
            The Chosen/C. Potok
            the desired effect is a given…’get your sh!t together before its done for ya and count your blessings’.
            parents have contacted me with pure gratitude…they didn’t think their kids read. pretty sad.

  13. ohmyheck

    This video has Greg Palast putting in a nutshell, the Argentina mess, info about Judge Griesa and info about Paul Singer, the holdout, who he is and why he is doing what he is doing.

    The only question I have is when Palast claims the Obama and HRC have both condemned Judge Griesa’s actions. I have seen no proof of that allegation.

    Anywho—-sometimes it is just easier to have complicated things explained in a video, rather than spend hours and hours reading.

  14. diptherio

    Re: Weaponizing your Cat

    Bransfield spent the next months painstakingly creating the WarKitteh, using Spark’s Arduino-compatible open source hardware and enlisting Nancy to sew it into a strip of cloth. When he finally tested it on Skitzy, however, he was disappointed to find the cat spent the device’s entire battery life sitting on his coworker’s front porch.

    Hilarious. You know the cat knew what was going on and was just messing him.

    1. craazyboy

      They are coming out with a 3.3v low power version.

      But WarKitteh is easily defeated with countermeasures.
      Dog pee around your perimeter should secure your network.

      1. hunkerdown

        Then you’re vulnerable to a bit bull. In which case you’d want to deploy cats as honeypots (honeycats) to distract them and as canaries to provide early warning.

    1. ambrit

      Let’s look at the bright side. If this idea stands, we can look forward to a lot of prosecutions of CEO’s and the like for the long term deaths resulting from corporate ‘wrongdoing.’ Think “Agent Orange” and all those Nam Vets dying from cancers linked to dioxin exposure. Intent was clearly there. The whole point of “Agent Orange” was to kill little brown brothers before they could make it down to the south.

    2. hunkerdown

      Of course not. They’re Very Serious.

      The professional “left” should never talk about politicizing science again.

    3. neo-realist

      Suicide? I don’t see what TPTB would gain from wacking Brady at this stage of his life.

  15. JEHR

    Re: The War Photo Than No One Would Publish: Look at that photo. The article explained why pictures of the bodies at the MH17 crash should not be shown. On the radio, a CBC journalist (whose name I do not remember) was at the scene of that plane crash early on. He walked around the wreckage and gave descriptions of some of the bodies but he did it in a very respectful way that still gave the listener a feeling of the sad drama of seeing the bodies strewn about. His description of the scene was better than a photograph because it included his humanity in the tone of his voice and in the selection of the images he shared with us. It was very humbling, riveting and reverential.

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers

      I’m of the opinion that photography is an essential tool to prevent both war and convey the utter madness of it all, and that this has been the case since conflict began to be photographed during the Crimea War and the US War of Succession. I can think of no other medium that can convey on a canvas the full horror that those involved witness, be they civilians or combatants. Only by looking at photo’s of utter depravity of mankind can you fully appreciate post traumatic stress – perhaps if Fox News and all the other chicken hawk propaganda outlets were mandated to actually show the full horror of what they support will opinion turn against these fools – we witnessed its full power with the horror of September 11 images and real live footage, obviously its just a great shame that the precision bombing they showed us did not show the actual carnage it achieved, which is the ending of life in a most brutal manner.

      Far from “sanitising” us to these horrors, such photography demonstrates conclusively the ghastliness of it all and why we should stove with every sinews in our bodies for a world free of violence, hunger and egregious inequality.

      Whilst its strange the amount of seemingly “off-topic” dialogue on this finance and economics blog, it does prove conclusively that finance and economics are deeply intertwined with the political economy and much of what we comment upon finds its origins in these interactions – obviously our neo-classical economists ignore these realities, which is why most of their outpourings are mere garbage and propaganda for the ruling economic orthodoxy.

    2. OIFVet

      I agree with CDR, withholding photographs of wars’ victims sanitizes for the public the ugly truth about violent deaths ordered by a bunch of chickenhawk politicians and lustily cheered by a properly propagandized and sanitized public. I don’t give a shit about the CBC journalist’s humanity, I care about the truth of the victims’ humanity being forcefully taken away from them. War is ugly and violent death uglier still, and the public is carefully kept away from the ugliness precisely because seeing it would reduce public support for war. Bush didn’t keep away the press from Dover for no reason you know. It’s time for the public to face the handiwork of those it has given power to.

      1. hunkerdown

        I have a hunch that people don’t “tune in” to violent media for the violence so much as the message that it’s okay to hurt people in the service of the Correct Answer.

        1. OIFVet

          Well, perhaps glorious Tom Hanks productions do that. But a movie or a video game is one thing, seeing real brains spilling out of a real head is quite different. Trust me on that.

  16. Pongo

    Yves, you are officially awesome! (not that you weren’t before, I mean :) )

    My mother worked for Marguerite Yourcenar during the last decade of her life, and continued to work for the Yourcenar estate for many years afterward. I was about five years old when “Madame” (as we all called her) passed away but I have photographs of me and her together and some of my very earliest memories are of visiting her house or of her visiting ours. MEMOIRS OF HADRIAN is probably still my favorite work of hers.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, your mother must have some fantastic stories!

      The version of Memoirs of Hadrian that I have has a long section after the novel proper about how hard it was for her to write it, how she had IIRC almost a complete book written and threw it out and then returned to the idea something like 15 years later because it was still nagging at her.

  17. Brian

    War is best seen as live action where you are party to the moments that remain in your life. Best when there is no glory left and no more desire to see.

  18. Carla

    Re: Wall Street Gift. I think there’s a typo in that headline. Shouldn’t it read “Wall Street Grift” ?

  19. fresno dan

    What Obama Told The Caliph Moon of Alabama

    “U.S. F-18 jets bombed two U.S. made artillery pieces the Islamic State was using to prepare its attack on Erbil in the Kurdish part of Iraq.”
    Being a cynic, I really don’t understand why this is classified under “Iraq” when it really should be classified as “Business strategy” – obviously, the military industrial complex has exhausted the potential of its consumers to acquire ever more weapons. Its like selling houses – once you’ve sold a house, what’ll you do? Sell a vacation house! But after you’ve done that, what’ll you do? Sell houses to people who can’t afford them…..
    Anyway, once everybody is armed to the teeth, how can you sell more weapons? Why, destroy the weapons you’ve just sold them. Often times, the people are so inept that you sold the weapons to, or bizarrely, the soldiers want to go on living and run away instead of fight, the weapons just peacefully change hands…..of course, this is a disaster. What to do?!!?!!?? What to do?!!?!!?? Have the US destroy US weapons!!! Sure, those cheapskate taxpayers will grumble about digging holes just to fill them in, but they don’t understand the national economy, and how important the defense sector is to job creation (to insider squillionnaire cronies). As they say, you gotta break a few billions of dollars of US military ordinance eggs to make a rich omelet….

  20. scraping_by

    RE: WaPo on Iraq

    The editorial’s quoting ‘senior officials’ about the threat to “Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan” was ironic humor. Turkey and Jordan are the main supply routes for ISIS, keeping the threat alive. Were they to cut off supplies, all offensive operations would collapse. I would guess, without evidence, that the banking industry in Lebanon is involved in passing on Saudi financial support for the group. So two of the main supports for the insurgency are put on the side of those threatened.

    This has to be done at the behest of the US. None of those nations have a stake in dismembering Iraq (well, maybe it’s a Saudi goal, but they weren’t mentioned) and indeed, have exposed themselves to blowback from the mercenary/Islamist invaders. Very few nations engage in mischief for mischief’s sake.

    The third support, secure bases in Syria, could be ended if the Administration stopped attacking the legal government of Syria. The Baathist government would be happy to move in and recover those areas if they weren’t hamstrung with sanctions and distracted by Israeli attacks.

    It would seem insane for the US to sustain the invasion and fight against the invasion at the same time. US foreign policy would be more effective than military operations to end the fighting. So it’s likely military operations are the goal here, rather than the peace and security of the people of Iraq.

  21. craazyman

    I don’t know why my comment in reference to the Peru link was deleted. It was a true story! I’m not making this up — I saw that thing the author describes — in the sky over the Hamptons one spring about 15 years ago. I guess I’ll take this as a signal I should find a more productive use of my time. Not that I need a signal about something that obvious, but you take what you can get. LOL

    1. craazyboy

      Your comment wasn’t deleted. It was transported to the August 8 links!

      That is spooky as hell. Something is gonna happen!

      1. craazyman

        Hooly Smokes! now I’m running like Scooby Doo. bwaaaaahhhh bawaaahhhhhhhh. bwaaaaaaahhhhhh

        If you wanna be a paranormal investigator, you’d better pack a big vial of Xanax and some cheap red wine you can buy by the case, that’s for sure. I don’t know how John Keel did it. . I really don’t. I think he was sober most of the time.

        1. craazyboy

          Doubt it would possible to be sober at all with pressure like that. The entire human race depending on you for their survival??? Look at Winston Churchill – he didn’t stop shaking ’til 10 in the morning!

            1. craazyboy

              Then no one even questions how a bear got to New Jersey! Dumb reporting.

              Anyone sees something like that in AZ, we just open fire and the whole problem is solved!

        1. hunkerdown

          Are you thinking of the SATs? I seem to remember that 400 meant standard temperature and pressure.

            1. hunkerdown

              0, 1 and lots are the only numbers you really need. Trouble with the digitophiles is that they sometimes forget about lots!

              Speaking of, craazyboy, to save the neighbors’ eyes from glaze, and me being one of those Serious Folks previously mentioned, here are a few suggestions I offer your EE-ness as fun and/or useful: the Bus Pirate pocket serial protocol analyzer, Teensy microcontroller boards (and Teensyduino software), and OSH Park pc board pooling service serving USA. I’ve used all but the last of these and have been quite happy with the results. I have used another, now defunct, pc board pooling service and found it most gratifying.

              1. craazyboy

                Already figured out you’re one of the Serious Folks. ME here, but entered the electrical motor and drive field after college. Eventually led to being a dc permanent magnet servo motor designer for defense and aerospace customers.(but only for a while – why are careers so short, and shouldn’t they call it something else?)This caused my decent into EE-ness so I could converse with customers.

                I’ll check out Bus PIlot. I’ve looked at the Teensy web page. Polulu just came out with a board smaller than Teensy!

                Lots to learn with this stuff.

            2. ambrit

              But it’s numbers that are used to “seal” our fates. Algorithms and all that. Sort of like a Rationalists’ Kabbalah.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    One of the best books to be written in the next 100 years:

    “Reminiscences of an Extraordinary Tulip – how I was the craze that launched a thousand FWMD derivatives in the 2010’s of the CE.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Hi Aby.

        I have been trying to perfect the Haiku style of posting -instead of 100 posts, I want to be able to do it in one.

        1. abynormal

          that would be a disservice to NC Humanity…how would you like Aby without quotes?

          “Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.”
          de Sade bahahahaaa

  23. gordon

    The Bloomberg piece on Ukraine sanctions (“Ukraine Threatens Oil and Gas Cut-Off in Russia Sanctions”) notes: “Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told reporters today in Kiev…”. Prime Minister who? Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned in July, only apparently he’s de-resigned because the Rada expressed confidence in him! That’s the Rada that was elected in 2012, that has no scheduled election date before 2017 (as far as I know), which periodically devolves into fistfights and which recently banned the Ukrainian Communist Party even though they had elected members in the Rada. There is about as much democracy in Ukraine as in Honduras, and the US seems to treat them both about the same.

  24. Fool

    I rolled-on-the-floor-laughing (as it were) at the top novels list. If I were to satirically impersonate an annoying humanities grad student making a listicle of novels it would look something like that. That list was as good an indication as any of why the MFA-post-grad culture/route is so alienating to people who don’t, like, wear berets or invoke Foucault every other sentence or pretend to understand Derrida (in itself a misunderstanding!); just as a career in corporate finance has become alienating to undergrads who didn’t grow up in Greenwich or UES or ___ (or who don’t want to wind up there).

  25. Jack Parsons

    Nice to include Wodehouse. Someone did a survey of writers around 1980 of who they liked to read just for fun. Wodehouse was tops, then S. J. Perelman (one of the Algonquin crowd).

Comments are closed.