2:00PM Water Cooler 9/25/14

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Attorney General Eric Holder Resigns

More precisely, announces plans to resign when a successor is found.

All the explainers on Holder should include, and better lead, with a phrase like this: “Eric Holder, who prosecuted zero (0) FIRE executives for accounting control fraud in the aftermath of the Great Financial Crash, has resigned, although, disgracefully, not in disgrace.”

NPR broke the story; their reporting reads like it was extracted from a bullet list of winger culture war talking points [NPR].

Oddly, or not, NPR omitted all mention of the following criminal finance stories: the “protect the banks” mentality at Justice (the “Holder Doctrine”), the giveaway Citigroup bank “settlement”, the JP Morgan “settlement,” Holder’s professed ignorance of the FBI’s warning of an “epidemic” of mortgage control fraud, not to mention Holder’s stellar work on whacking Americans without due process on executive authority alone. 

The majors are following NPR’s lead. [WaPo] maintains radio silence on Holder and criminal finance, too; they don’t even try positive spin; there’s just nothing. The Times, in their front page teaser, calls Holder a “top liberal” (how right they are) but maintains careful silence, too [New York Times], and their spandy new First Draft section is already off to the races speculating about Holder’s successor (!) [New York Times].

More radio silence on Holder and criminal finance:  [Bloomberg], [Reuters], [CNN], [USA Today]. The FT, to its credit, mentions that Holder was criticized for being “too lenient,” but touts the “multibillion settlements” [FT, “US attorney-general Eric Holder to step down”]. NC readers know better. (Note on method: I’ve included only links that include significant discussion of Holder’s tenure, and not simple announcements].

“[I]t would be no surprise if he returned to the law firm Covington & Burling.” Indeed, it would not [Businessweek].

Bonus parody classic: Lanny Breuer gives an insider’s view of Holder’s Justice Department. I mean, Holder gave him a job there, right?

That’s what it’s like at Justice. That’s exactly what it’s like.

The rest of Water Cooler will be a little bit light because I had to struggle into my yellow waders and process all the material above. And to add insult to injury, Yahoo hosed my inbox, which is where I send myself links I want to use. I would have thought the NSA already had all my stuff, including the 50,000 unread messages, but maybe not!


A fine explainer on the whole Middle East “the frenemy of my frenemy is my frenemy” thing from Jack Shafer [Bloomberg]. Maybe just like with ObamaCare we had to pass the law to find out what’s in it, with ObamaWar we have to start a war to find out who our enemies are.

UPDATE (via RS):

The Times tactfully says that Khoristan — you remember Khoristan? The reveal last week by James Clapper? W-a-a-a-y worse than ISIS ZOMG?!?! — has “avoided the spotlight” [Times]. Or maybe they’re “as fake as the Kardashians’ physiques” [Washington’s Blog].

Great headlines of our time: “Iraqi intelligence uncovers ISIS plot to attack US, Paris subways, PM says” [FOX]. That’s “dutifully uncovers.” Fixed it for ya. Cue the “Iraqi intelligence has learned…” jokes.

Kos inadvertently but helpfully shows that Bill O’Reilly doped out ObamaWar’s strategy, although granted, a cartoonish version thereof [Daily Kos]. Still, O’Reilly’s bullet pounds — and I know this will come as a shock to you — are standard-issue, lowest common denominator Beltway natsec kcaching-bait, starting with the mercs [Stars and Stripes]. As Atrios says, what could go wrong? [Eschaton] After all, mercenaries worked for those Roman dudes, right? Until they didn’t, but that’s just a death bet.

Stats Watch

Jobless claims, for week ending 9/20: “[T]rending slightly and steadily lower” [Bloomberg]. Fed calls “resources” “underutilized” [WSJ]. Why don’t they track size of the labor force, or crapified jobs, and release those stats weekly?

Consumer Comfort Index, for week ending 9/21: Fell to a four-month low. Sentiment in under-$50K fell to lowest level since June. Sentiment in over-$50K rose by 2.4 points [Bloomberg].

Rapture Index remains unchanged, within 2 points of record high [Rapture Ready].

News of the Wired

  • Apple pulls the iOS 8 update, after it disabled cell phone services on a ton of phones [Ars Technica]. Oopsie.
  • Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus is bendy. Breaky, too. Videos! [MarketWatch]. Oopsie.
  • Apple stock falls in heavy volume [Reuters]. Obviously, Apple should get out of engineering and get into finance.
  • Cuomo helicopter drops $350 checks to likely voters [Politics on the Hudson]. Oh, so that’s how it works. And don’t give me that “the legislature voted on it” stuff. You’re telling me corrupt pols can’t plan a year in advance?
  • Why aren’t the middle classes revolting? [Telegraph]. Remarkable for the Torygraph to ask such a question. Simple answers to simple questions: Because everything’s going according to plan.
  • Blogger weaklings whinge that blogging is hard work [Times]. “I had to do a weekly post! It’s too h-a-a-a-r-d!” [snort]
  • An Islamic Reformation could have a downside. “[W]e should be highly skeptical of fastening cheap philosophical fabric over things we barely understand and are in little position to control” [TPM]. Somebody replaced Josh Marshall with a pod person in 2006. I don’t want to be too optimistic, but it’s just possible that the real Josh Marshall has struggled to replace his doppelgänger, and finally succeeded. Readers?
  • * * *

    Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:


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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. McMike

    But Apple already isn’t an engineering company. They’re an advertising company that does style design.

    1. Clive

      I think my iPad says on the back something like “Designed in California. Assembled by 2 children in a cage working in China for a buck and a quarter a day”. I always feel a little bit dirty even touching the bloody thing.

        1. jgordon

          Pretty insightful. You have ascertained the true heart ticking at the center of most people, especially in America.

          1. Clive

            Yes, how indeed did Obama get re-elected… Perhaps it was because of a world full of people ready to form snap judgements based on a partial understanding of other people’s situations and automatically think the worst of others and, by inference, the best of themselves.

            I use the device because I need what is basically a killer app for my sideline business (translation) which is iOS only. Oh, and that app isn’t developed by some mega corp duplicit in Apple’s sins. It’s called “imiwa?” and it’s developed by a guy in France working on his own who gives the app away for free. He started developing it nearly a decade ago when Apple was quite the doyenne of anti-Microsoft sentiment and now, like me, is very reluctantly wedded to Apple. Despite its apparently relentless determination to be evil. Perhaps it always was, but who knew ?

            I for one would be grateful if you could keep your glib trite simplistic moral superiority to yourself.

        2. Clive

          Yes, how indeed did Obama get re-elected… Perhaps it was because of a world full of people ready to form snap judgements based on a partial understanding of other people’s situations and automatically think he worst of others and, by inference, the best of themselves.

          I use the device because I need what is basically a killer app for my sideline business (translation) which is iOS only. Oh, and that app isn’t developed by some mega corp duplicit in Apple’s sins. It’s called “imiwa?” and it’s developed by a guy in France working on his own who gives the app away for free. He started developing it nearly a decade ago when Apple was quite the doyenne of anti-Microsoft sentiment and now, like me, is very reluctantly wedded to Apple.

          I for one would be grateful if you could keep your glib trite simplistic moral superiority to yourself.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        More new meaning for the word “swipe.” (It would be interesting to know the human costs of whatever manufacturing processes are required for the iPad, as opposed to those for the conventional PC. Without any evidence, I would bet they’re worse, simply because tablets (and smartphones) are newer technology.)

  2. wbgonne

    “The Times, in their front page teaser, calls Holder a “top liberal” (how right they are)”

    Indeed. And no wonder everybody hates liberals.

    1. DJG

      One of the great triumphs of Obama and the administration has been to destroy whatever remained of the liberal “brand.” Obama trotted out various things that the liberals want action on, in that vague liberal way, which means not all that much action. They salivated. Remember the check-off union-organization legislation? And I can hardly wait for the decision repudiating the tar-sands pipeline. And post-racial America, which means alleviation of white upper-middle-class guilt. And the liberals seem to be quite happy with these ways of dealing with the economy, the environment, and the social fabric.

      1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

        This liberal voted for Obama in 2008 because, among other things, he ran against Hillary on NAFTA.

        Of course, he then secretly resumed negotiations that G.W. Bush had begun on the TPP (aka NAFTA on steroids) less than a year after he’d been sworn in. So I voted for Jill Stein in 2012.

        Having said that, your blathering crap-fest about “liberals” is boring, useless, and stupid. Go fuck yourself.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Welcome to the “Class of” 2012. That said, the critique of liberal “vagueness” has a long and storied history.

          The Phil Ochs version, not the Jello Biafra version:

          NOTE * DeLong applied the “Class of” formulation to Republicans, but I think it applies to Democrats, too.

      2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        I’m going to go out on a limb, and assume you’re a “conservative” Republican.

        If so, you have squat to crow about regarding our economy, our environment, and our social fabric.

        Say what you will about Obama (but for christ’s sake, PLEASE say something cogent — there’s a laundry list of things he’s done wrong to choose from), the fact is that EVERY Republican/”conservative” President since Eisenhower has run the goddamned economy into a tree.

        The Conservo-publicans don’t give a rat’s ass about the environment either. You sound like a concern troll. They don’t believe in science. We’re in the end-times for what a large portion of their bad-addled-brains base believes, and Jesus will be back any day now to kick my liberal ass and fix all of the fuck-ups the “invisible hand” somehow forgot to clean up.

        When it comes to tar sands, we stand to take it up the butt for these companies, and you seem to relish the thought of that (Tar sands pipeline development will employ several thousand people for a couple of years, and will result in a handful of full-time jobs, once completed. Even then, it won’t save you or me a penny at the pump).

        Social fabric? You mean like the fellows armed with assault rifles who wanted a showdown with the Feds at the Bundy ranch (Bundy already having ripped you and me off to the tune of millions of dollars), but who failed to man-up and help protect the rights of their countrymen to peaceably assemble in Ferguson, MO? Not a peep from those pussies, then. I wonder why.

        I’m gonna’ have to give ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© a +1 on this.

        I disdain the Democrats (who are not to the left of center on the political spectrum), but I loathe the Republicans — they are hateful and irrational in their ideologies, practices, and policies.

        1. hunkerdown

          Apple probably doesn’t squeeze *that* hard on price (no evidence, other than seemingly fewer complaints about DOAs or infant mortality on the intertubes). PCs are highly commoditized and low-margin. From that, Apple’s iOS developer guidelines and “you’re holding it wrong”, I would suspect that Apple probably doesn’t cut any corners for money, but may cut corners for time.

        2. peppsi

          You’re not wrong about republicans being worse than democrats. But choosing the lesser of two evils over and over under the doctrine of ‘this guy won’t fuck us over quite so badly’ is hardly something to get excited about.

          1. Bobbo

            I really don’t know anymore. All (or virtually all) American politicians from the two major parties are wolves, sold out to big monied interests, but half of the wolves are wearing sheeps clothing pretending to be donkeys. I think these wolves in sheeps clothing might be the worse than the wolves pretending to be elephants who are a lot more honest about their intentions to trample the rest of us.

          2. Oregoncharles

            What did you EXPECT to happen, if you kept voting for evil?

            In fact, lesser-evil voting has gotten us exactly where we are, with both major parties wholly-owned subsidiaries of the plutocracy. It systematically sacrifices principle and the long term to extremely short-term considerations. Unfortunately, the long term is real, and lasts much longer than the short term.

        3. ian

          “The Conservo-publicans don’t give a rat’s ass about the environment either.”

          I forget, whose administration gave us the EPA?

          1. abynormal

            Republicans are going after the EPA. It’s a “job-killer”. America’s high unemployment rate is not the fault of the worldwide recession or the housing bubble or Wall Street hubris or two unfunded wars on top of George W Bush’s silly tax cuts for the rich, it’s those damned DC bunny-huggers. Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho insists, “overregulation from EPA is at the heart of our stalled economy”; his colleague, Rep Louie Gohmert of Texas, says, “Let EPA go the way of the dinosaurs that became fossil fuels.”

            Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann doesn’t want to wait for extinction, she advocates abolishing the EPA as soon as God puts the Tea Party in charge. She blames it for a host of anti-free market evils, from what she sees as an attempt to outlaw incandescent light bulbs (she countered with the “Lightbulb Freedom of Choice Act of 2011”) to the “hoax” that is global climate change. Take no notice of what elitist scientists say, Bachmann knows better, assuring us that “CO2 is a natural byproduct of Nature.”

            The bill funding EPA and the department of the interior (HR 2584, if you want to look it up) is a dirty bomb, meant to destroy any rule that slows down environmental degradation. The legislation is so loaded with industry-backed amendments and riders – 77 so far – that it reads like a polluters’ letter to Santa Claus. One provision would allow uranium mining right next to the Grand Canyon. Another would stop EPA from regulating pesticides, even if the pesticides kill endangered plants, birds, fish and other animals. EPA’s funding would be slashed by 34% over the next two years, but America’s oil and gas companies would be given an extra $55m on top of the $36bn in federal subsidies they already get.

    2. Propertius

      I don’t know who the “bottom liberal” is, but I sure hope he or she hasn’t forgotten the “safe word”.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                Shovel? 1) Irony not the same as sarcasm; 2) because two liberals use “Obama” as a safe-word doesn’t make Obama (note of absence of quotes) a liberal. (This being before we get to the question of what “liberal” might mean these days, to which many these days might answer “not much.”)

                UPDATE I had no idea there was an actual “Sarcasm Society” on the intertubes. How useful.

              2. hunkerdown

                Well, remember that liberalism *is* a center-right ideology — the public-private partnership is its very core — and doesn’t really have anything to do with leftism, contrary to the protestations of some Democratic hack I was arguing with the other day who reserved the right to call himself “left” and tell people what “left” means.

                1. DJG

                  Lambert and hunkerdown: Thanks. As a leftist, I know full well that nothing enrages liberals more than a leftist critique of their inaction. In the USA, liberalism has devolved into process-oriented gatekeeping. We’re a long way from Hubert Humphrey. And applying the criteria of Norberto Bobbio’s work, Right and Left, U.S. liberals fall into the swampy middle, somewhere. Meanwhile, I’ve started Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything. It is as clear and as compelling as The Shock Doctrine. Any chance for some coverage of it at the Water Cooler?

    1. JohnL

      Here it is in it’s entirety:
      “The Touchable: Holder and the rackets
      Posted by Jon Talton
      Wall Street must be relieved by the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder, its fierce and unstoppable nemesis.

      From their prison cells, Kerry Killinger of Washington Mutual, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Sandy Weill of Citigroup, Stan O’Neal of Merrill Lynch, Hank Greenberg of AIG, Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide, Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers, credit default swap-meister Joe Cassano, Ian McCarthy whose Beazer Homes violated mortgage regulations with its aggressive tactics, Frank Raines of Fannie Mae, Kathleen Corbet of Standard & Poor’s…and many more.

      As they swab floors, serve slop in the penitentiary cafeteria and learn skills for the minimum-wage jobs that await them on the outside, they must be cursing Holder still. Even more so because the “clawbacks” he insisted upon ensured that these executives had to repay the hundreds of millions in compensation they received while setting the table for disaster. Mansions, yachts and expensive cars and jewelry — all sold at auctions.

      “If a poor kid had robbed a liquor store of $10, he’d be serving time,” Holder said. “These people robbed the American people and economy of billions. They robbed the American people of hope.”

      Holder insisted on applying the rule of law to the financial elite that brought down the economy, impoverishing millions of Americans and costing a trillion or more in lost output. This despite the “banksters,” as he called them, reviving a phrase from the Great Depression, owning the U.S. Congress and putting relentless pressure on President Obama to stop this new Untouchable.

      Importantly, Holder and his U.S. Attorneys not only brought successful criminal prosecutions, he also explained to the American people how the hustles had been carried out and how the time bomb had been set that would bring the world economy to the brink of a second great depression. As a result, figures such as Alan Greenspan, Bill Clinton, Phil Gramm, Robert Rubin and former SEC Chairman Chris Cox are disgraced. Congress passed a new Glass-Steagall Act to prevent the criminal rackets that grew out of deregulation.

      “Never again will profits be privatized while losses are socialized,” the Attorney General said. “Never again will the public good be held hostage by a gang of oligarchs.”

      When Holder brought suit against JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America under the Sherman Antitrust Act, all the Too Big To Fail Acts entered consent decrees to voluntarily break themselves up. TBTF was over, as was the financialization that cost so many American jobs. After Holder, banking became a boring business again, lending money to help create and expand job-creating enterprises, and serving individual customers with integrity.

      …Oh, wait.

      None of that happened.

      They got away with it. Holder’s Justice Department at best extracted wrist-slap fines that are the corporate equivalent of a rich person flashing a wad of cash when being stopped for speeding…and the officer takes the money and lets the perp go.

      Next up: Revolving Door Watch. Where will General Holder end up on Wall Street, in a highly paid sinecure? Eric Cantor and a host of others will be waiting for him. Or maybe it will be K Street.

      The saddest lesson of Holder’s tenure was that there is indeed a different set of laws for the wealthy and well-connected. The buck stops with President Obama. A “liberal leftist socialist”? No, another neo-liberal status quo leader, enabler of the “quiet coup,” with an even worse record than his predecessor, who oversaw criminal prosecutions of the heads of Enron, HealthSouth, Tyco, etc.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Wow, on Holder some blogger got it right and the Times, WaPo, CNN, USA Today, Bloomberg, and Reuters all got it mysteriously and collectively wrong.

        Hey, what’re the odds?

        1. ambrit

          Wait a minute Lambert. You go asking for odds on a fixed bet? If you believe that I’ve got a bridge to Prince Edward Island for sale cheap.
          Contact us at ‘Deep South State Financial LLP’ asap.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I believe that’s “First Deep South State Financial LLP.” In the same way you should never eat at a diner called “Mom’s,” you should never have dealings with a company whose name begins with “First,” especially a financial one.

            1. ambrit

              I must bow down and make praise.
              Especially don’t do business with a church that calls itself “First”. (A little Southern humour. Like the reason why you must never offer the preacher Peach Pie at the end of Sunday dinner.)

              1. Janie

                Okay, I’ll bite: why don’t you offer the preacher peach pie? Maybe I grew up in a different part of the south.

                1. ambrit

                  I’m sorry to have been too vague and cliquish Janie.
                  It’s the ultimate sexist joke too. (I first heard it from a Church Sister at the corner store in Enon, LA.)
                  Q: Why don’t you offer the preacher peach pie at the end of Sunday dinner?
                  A: Because he’s going to want the p—y for desert.

      2. wbgonne

        Wonderful! And in a mainstream newspaper to boot!

        The Obama/Holder legal legacy: When the banksters do it that means it’s legal.

        (Savvy businessmen are dreamy!)

          1. barrisj

            Jon Talton has been a Seattle Times business and financial columnist for many years, and who just really came down hard on Kerry Dillinger Killinger and his racketeering cohorts at WaMu…some excellent reporting from the Times team on the whole demise of WaMu, and who within that outfit made off with huge payouts and no legal consequences.

      3. Banger

        Well, I’m sure we’ll get a real crime fighter to replace him. I can’t recall a non-corrupt AG, can anyone?

        Anyway this character is the worst I’ve experienced in my long life bar none. He wins the King of Korruption GOAT AG award. Maybe the next person will top him–who knows–but I doubt it.

        1. wbgonne

          Yes but he was Fair and Balanced and the Adult in the Room:

          “Eric Holder Angered Wall Street Banks, and Their Critics”


          Per Holder’s legal philosophy, corporations are not just people, they are uber-people who can’t be harmed because they are too important. Apparently, that goes for really rich human beings too. A “rich” legal legacy, so to speak.

        2. ambrit

          Be careful what you wish for. If Hillary doesn’t get the Dem nomination this cycle, I look to see her as AG in 2017.

            1. Jim Haygood

              Couldn’t you see Hillary as Interim Suzerain of Iraq and Syria (iSIS, not to be confused with Big Sis)?

              With all that we’ve done for women’s rights in the middle east, probably they are ready for this latest cultural breakthrough.

      4. proximity1

        ; ^ 0)

        That’s all quite true, of course. But, wasn’t the point really that, in Holder, we finally had a Black Attorney General? And, with all Obama’s faults, isn’t it also in the fact that Obama is the first Black U.S. president that the “identity politics” crowd will seek and find their main source of satisfaction? Of course, for some, that’s a truly cheap way to value social progress, but there we are, aren’t we?

        We’ve “experimented” (timidly but with great fanfare) and allowed some otherwise-socially-very-“White”-seeming Black men to hold the posts of Attorney General and President of the United States and, in doing so, we’ve learned the fascinating fact that they’re just as or nearly as susceptible to producing corrupt, irresponsible and non-responsive, non-representative government as all the White men who preceded them in office.

        Now, can we “move on”? Can we now say that all we have to do is wait till fortune’s wheel gets around to society’s readiness for officials who hold office because they’re committed to certain principles which are of greater and wider importance than the fact that, by their racial make-up, they represent an idea, however diminutive, of social and democratic progress.

        1. wbgonne

          It’s obviously time for a female president (HerTurn). Then a gay president. Then hispanic. That will get us to about 2040 and, as long as all those checklist presidents are neoliberal corporatists baking the planet for profit (trust me, they will be), AGW will take it from there. The Triumph of Identity-Politics Liberalism!

          1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

            You began by referring to neoliberals, and finished by referring to liberalism. I don’t think the two terms are fungible.

            1. hunkerdown

              What is identity politics but the annexation of yet another self-organized system under market principles, in this case social identity?

  3. TMc

    I never know which movie to cast Eric Holder in: “The Man Who Wasn’t There”, or “The Invisible Man”.

    1. Jagger

      Ask that oligarch bribing that Indian businessman in India whether Holder was on the job or not. Funny that I don’t see one US citizen involved in all that acitivity but it did apparently involve some US financial institutions, travel to and from the United States, and use of US-based communications — computers, telephones, and the Internet. –


      —–WASHINGTON, April 03, /ITAR-TASS/. Dmitry Firtash, one of the most influential Ukrainian oligarchs, was charged with bribing Indian officials to gain access to titanium mines in India, the U.S. Justice Department said in a press release on Wednesday.

      Six people Firtash, a Hungarian entrepreneur, another Ukrainian citizen, an Indian politician and two businessmen from India and Sri Lanka are under investigation. U.S. prosecutors said that about 18.5 million dlrs had been handed over to Indian officials since 2006 to secure rights to mine titanium in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The mining project was expected to generate 500 mln dlrs annually from the sale of titanium, including to a company based in Chicago.——

      Although funny how Firtash is a close ally of ousted pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, – See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/us-charges-ukraine-oligarch-with-bribery-in-india-mine/article1-1203552.aspx#sthash.dsKEAzni.dpuf.

      I wonder if he would have been prosecuted if he wasn’t tied so closely with Russia? And I wonder if this is a selective foreign policy prosecution? Part of the new war on Russia? If he could do this to a Ukrainina Oligarch bribing Indian officials in India, why couldn’t he do the same in the US?

      1. Jagger

        This is where the NSA and all that amassed data comes in handy. Look the White House or powerful political forces want to get Firtish, close ally to Putin ally, Ukrainian Ex-president. So NSA collects everything and hands it to the Justice department. Of course, the Justice Department could probably convict every oligarch in the world if you were willing to risk their wrath and put the NSA on to them. So this action appears to be a targeted attack rather than any sort of act of impersonal “justice”. So is the Justice department now another arm of our aggressive foreign policy or has it always been?

        1. hunkerdown

          Risk their wrath? If you got ’em all at once, froze every account they own, and dispossessed them of every claim to which they are the beneficiary (ignoring the Constitution cuts both ways, you know), there wouldn’t be all that much they could do against you.

      2. Jagger

        This is where the NSA and all that amassed data comes in handy. Look the White House or powerful political forces want to get Firtish, close ally to Putin ally, Ukrainian Ex-president. So NSA collects everything and hands it to the Justice department. Of course, the Justice Department could probably convict every oligarch in the world if you were willing to risk their wrath and put the NSA on to them. So this action appears to be a targeted attack rather than any sort of act of impersonal “justice”. So is the Justice department now another arm of our aggressive foreign policy or has it always been?

  4. Garrett Pace

    Blog burnout

    “Ms. Kueber suspects the Petersiks’ never-ending home construction contributed to their feelings of burnout and their decision to re-examine their careers. “Have you had to renovate a house?” Ms. Kueber said. “It’s worse than having kids.”

    There’s a thought provoking “new normal.”

  5. Jim Haygood

    Holder is gone, but the wheels of justice grind on:

    The contempt of Congress case against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — the first sitting Cabinet member ever to face such a congressional rebuke — will continue even after his resignation takes effect, but it’s unlikely he will ever face personal punishment, legal analysts said Thursday.

    Mr. Holder, is expected to announce his resignation later Thursday, and Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the timing is not accidental: A federal judge earlier this week ruled that the Justice Department will have to begin submitting documents next month related to the botched Fast and Furious gun operation in a case brought by Judicial Watch.



    I am certainly willing to attempt a citizen’s arrest of this notorious perp, who makes John Mitchell look like a fuzzy-cheeked Boy Scout.

  6. lightningclap

    The dude always reminded me of Richard Pryor imitating a geeky white person. As for a replacement, who has Covington got lined up? Or Goldman?

  7. afisher

    Done venting about Holder? For all the lack of prosecuting WS – I will tell you 2 things that he has done for which I will be forever grateful:
    1. Published all the GWB Torture Memo’s and
    2. Seriously ramped up the Medicare / Medicaid Fraud Abuse cases / convictions. And while some will say, not enough – could anyone here do better…or are you still just whining from above?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You mean, whining about a multi-trillion dollar heist where the perps skated because they had a friend in the DA’s office? But thanks for sharing your concern!

      Update As I show in the post, the US major media, completely suppressed Holder’s failure to prosecute accounting control fraud in the run-up to the GFC. So I document this, correct the record, at this one blog, and somehow that’s “venting” and “whining”? For shame, sir. For shame.

    2. Vatch

      I don’t know how many lawyers participate in the NC comments section, but I’ll step out on a limb and say yes, I think a lot of the people here could do better than Eric Holder. His tenure as Attorney General has been a complete disgrace.

    3. optimader

      I have a southern friend who would call that ” pick’in the flyshit outta the pepper”
      1.) Frame a copy of that and put it in the head for what it’s worth
      2.) Shows what an assistant to deputy prosecutor can do before lunch when the boss has no skin in the game

  8. Bill Frank

    Holder will simply be replaced by another puppet making sure the .001% get what they want. Our Democracy exists in name only. Our leadership is beyond hope when they refuse to allow peace to enter the national “discussion.” There is no discussion. The outright lies and false threats coming from our leaders, including the cowards dominating the mainstream media, to justify more war is disgusting. They want war and nothing will stop them. Everyone speculates about the real reasons, but what matters most is the gruesome truth that many more innocent people will be terrorized, maimed and killed by the glorious US war machine. How many will die? Our leaders do not care. Literally, they DO NOT CARE! The leaders of our nation have no soul and in our name, they eagerly spill the blood of innocent people with evil disregard.

  9. TimR

    Yesterday, hunkerdown wrote (in reply to my erudite screed about AGW)-
    “It’s in the news now because the solution supports oligarchs’ interests. Same as any other topic that’s in the news. Duh.”

    RanDomino wrote:
    “People have occasionally been able to make an impact, when they organize and act. To fend that off, postmodern capitalism’s go-to strategy is Recuperation. Gandhi got it a little wrong- what actually happens is that first they ignore you, then they fight you, then they laugh at you, then they propose half-measures that fail to solve the problem and which keep the power structure intact and allow a small number of the complaining people access to privilege while employing even greater violence against any of the remaining die-hards who still want an actual solution.”

    I agree that the solution supports oligarchs’ interests, and that’s why it’s in the news. But I think they are manufacturing the problem as well— or seizing on the opportunity presented by a faux problem, that some scientists were being allowed to busy themselves with, in previous decades, precisely because it was harmless to power — because AGW was not real environmentalism, but rather a nebulous make-believe environmentalism that did not demand any particular concrete action — because it demands total action, if anything. So you could ignore all sorts of tangible environmental destruction, specific harms caused by industry, with your head (so to speak) in the clouds, worried about AGW. Which could always be rather circumspect and uncertain, because there’s really no there there. Too complex and holistic for puny human materialists.

    Feel good work for middle class scientists, harmless to the oligarchs. But now, useful.

    hunkerdown, RanDomino, the oligarchs are not being forced to take account of AGW because it’s bubbling up by popular demand. They are the ones rolling it out, insisting on it, putting it on the table, propagandizing it. Boiling the frog slowly — this is not a “solution” (massive carbon reductions for everyone but them) that you could have unleashed rapidly, back when all this got going. This is one of their schemes to be implemented over decades, or even generations.

    The IPCC is not some independent body of disinterested scientists, looking for the truth. It exists at the pleasure of the oligarchs. It is not going to give them answers they don’t want to hear.

    I really think if you have functioning antennae for media propaganda, you don’t even need to address the science, because it’s clearly too politicized and agenda-driven to be trusted. But if you want to get into that, I would like to see someone address the points Denis Rancourt makes in several blog posts (activistteacher.blogspot.com). He criticizes the flimsiness of the science on many specific points, involving their temperature collection methods and more.

    1. hunkerdown

      seizing on the opportunity presented by a faux problem, that some scientists were being allowed to busy themselves with, in previous decades, precisely because it was harmless to power

      So if we exterminate all the climate scientists, you seriously don’t think that the PRopaganda machinery would have found something else to seize on to achieve their clients’ objectives? Are you one of those people who believes that, if Einstein had never existed, the atom could not possibly have been smashed?

      The world has seen many discoveries made by multiple people contemporaneously, back when communication latency was a couple of orders of magnitude higher.

      But anything can be misused.

      I really think if you have functioning antennae for media propaganda, you don’t even need to address the science, because it’s clearly too politicized and agenda-driven to be trusted.

      The best propaganda incorporates just enough truth to satisfy someone too busy to weigh two competing narratives.

      Now, prove you’re not an American: what’s your take on climate science before the hype, when it was just a bunch of NASA propellerheads trying to make sense of the weird data series they got back from their R/C spaceships?

      1. TimR

        I wasn’t trying to hide it… geez, what do I have to say to make myself clear.
        I’m certainly not interested in talking to you either, if your idea of exploring ideas is to wall off all criticisms of your views, and ignore interesting thinkers like Rancourt.

  10. Old Hickory

    On Marketplace today, Ky Risdahl asked the question: “how many CEOs of financial firms has Holder prosecuted?” Then, without comment, cricket noises.

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