Links 9/25/14

Britain celebrates ‘Sticking to Terms of Your Contract Day’ Daily Mash

Neil Gaiman: ‘Terry Pratchett isn’t jolly. He’s angry’ Guardian

IBM’s solar concentrator can produce energy, clean water and AC Computerworld

Natural gas won’t save us from global warming, study confirms Washington Post

Why this tiny Italian restaurant gives a discount for bad Yelp reviews ars techinca. Chuck L: “Hilariously creative push-back.”

Apple Pulls iOS Update: Stumbling Start for Hot-Selling IPhone 6 BusinessWeek

Bug in Bash shell creates big security hole on anything with *nix in it ars technica (Richard Smith)

Authors to call for Amazon antitrust inquiry Financial Times. Notice the Overton Window policing. Antitrust expert Barry Lynn is described as “Barry Lynn, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, a left-leaning think-tank…” I’ve never seen the pink paper depict Cato, the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Foundation or the Peterson Institute as “right-leaning”.

G20 Finance Ministers Cannot Hide Failure to Tackle Major Issues Triple Crisis

Japan trade minister: No progress with U.S. in TPP trade talks Reuters. The Japanese are NEVER this direct. This is tantamount to a rebuke.

TPP Talks Dead In The Water, BMO’s Doug Porter Says Huffington Post

Bank of Japan dives into sharemarket to help economy Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

China considering replacing central bank head: WSJ Reuters

China Uncovers More Than $10 Billion in Fraudulent Trade-Financing Deals Wall Street Journal (Richard Smith)

Human History: China vs. Europe Global Economic Intersection

Thai Farmers Threaten Protest in Defiance of Martial Law Bloomberg


Russian air incursions rattle Baltic states Financial Times

Obama Tells UN General Assembly ‘The Cause Of Empire Leads To The Graveyard’
DSWright, Firedoglake


The War Nerd: Bombs away in the Middle East! But why is Israel so quiet? Pando

WaPo Propaganda vs. McClatchy Journalism Moon of Alabama

Who profits from our new war? Inside NSA and private contractors’ secret plans Salon

Obama to Congress: Oh, By the Way, You Just Funded the Iraq War Marcy Wheeler

The Khorasans: As Fake As the Kardashians George Washington

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Everyone agrees that NSA reform legislation is needed. So why hasn’t it happened? Vox. Um, “everyone” does not include the people who have a real say.

When your genetic information is held against you Cathy O’Neil

Obamacare Website Costs Exceed $2 Billion, Study Finds Bloomberg

Maine Department of Environmental Protection denies proposal for Argyle landfill Bangor Daily News. Lambert was involved in this fight.

Auditor: Pa. should dump costly hedge funds Philly

Jeffco students walk out of 5 high schools in school board protest Denver Post. Revolt v. changes planned by right wing majority.

Rise in New-Home Sales Bolsters Outlook for U.S. Housing Market Reuters

Chief of $2 trillion investment firm decided to quit after 10-year-old daughter presented him with list of 22 milestones in her life that he had missed DailyMail (Chuck L). The timing of this story (appearing now) suggests that this is not the operative truth.

Outsourcing and the shift from manufacturing to services VoxEU

Class Warfare

Radical Ideas for Radical Times Counterpunch

Hong Kong’s Mega-Rich Kowtow in Beijing Asia Sentinel

Student homelessness hits another record CNN (Lynn S)

Antidote du jour:

fox pup links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Carolinian

    Big Brother, unsafe at any speed.

    As the ignition devices proliferate, so have complaints from troubled borrowers, many of whom are finding that credit comes at a steep price to their privacy and, at times, their dignity, according to interviews with state and federal regulators, borrowers and consumer lawyers.

    Some borrowers say their cars were disabled when they were only a few days behind on their payments, leaving them stranded in dangerous neighborhoods. Others said their cars were shut down while idling at stoplights. Some described how they could not take their children to school or to doctor’s appointments. One woman in Nevada said her car was shut down while she was driving on the freeway.

    Take that subprime losers with low credit scores.

  2. BillK

    Re: Chief of $2 trillion investment firm decided to quit after 10-year-old daughter presented him with list of 22 milestones in her life that he had missed DailyMail (Chuck L). The timing of this story (appearing now) suggests that this is not the operative truth.

    Haven’t you noticed that nothing in the Daily Mail is the operative truth?
    It is a propaganda rabble-rousing rag.

    1. dearieme

      And yet you’ll learn more about the world from it than from the Guardian or the NYT. It’s a mystery, innit?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Not accurate. The Daily Mail actually does some decent reporting now and again. We’ve linked to real stories in the Daily Mail in the past. And I think the long headlines are genius.

      With all due respect, you don’t get it. That story has to have been planted. No one, particularly the Daily Mail, would go and call El-Erian and ask about his family. He HAS been asked for months running about why he resigned and there was a long piece (IIRC in the Wall Street Journal) on all the tensions and even fighting between El-Erian and Bill Gross. Basically El-Erian had been hired to make some fundamental changes which Gross really didn’t want made because he hadn’t fully grasped the implications in how the firm would operate.

      And this story comes right at the time when Pimco is investigating. It looks like an effort to provide some distraction from other Pimco news.

  3. scott

    I guess the US is between the Bush dynasty and the Clinton dynasty…”some kings often wanted to be the emperor, resulting in a vicious cycle of fighting, splitting, union, and more fighting, until a new dynasty was born”. Sounds familiar.
    The author should have noted that due to a lack of precious metal ore, China has had multiple economic crises (paper currency failures) over the last two millenia, whereas Europe was on a de-facto gold and silver standard until the 20th century. Languages all over Europe were different, but trade took place because the value of gold was known throughout. The Chinese emperor could print money and force all his subjects to use it, but only until it became worthless.

    1. James Levy

      That’s a little too simplistic. Europe ran a chronic bullion deficit with Asia until the 19th century. That goes back to Roman times, where so much gold (and especially silver–China always had more gold than silver compared to Europe) was flowing out that the Emperors had to seriously regulate the trade. Also, Europe could get by with gold and silver because much of the time her levels of economic activity were way lower than China’s, which was a richer, more populace, and more advanced civilization until somewhere between 1750 and 1850 depending on who you read. Fernand Braudel goes into great detail about this in his three volume Civilization and Capitalism, one of the texts I am most proud of having actually read.

      1. Ulysses

        You’re making me nostalgic for the old sweet life in the ivory tower! Along with Braudel, Raymond De Roover, Carlo Cipolla, Armando Sapori, and Roberto Lopez were some of the great pioneers in moving us beyond a Whig understanding of western economic history.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        By the Late Ming dynasty, European cannons were already better than Chinese ones, or at least good enough for the Ming Chinese to try to incorporate into their own artillery warfare.

        One of them was the Ming general Yuan Chonghuan, who, per Wiki, “befriended several westerners during this time and spent much time modifying European cannons…”

        That was around 1610.

    2. Eleanor

      I’m not sure China can be seen as a failure compared to Europe. It is a gigantic nation with one language and culture — a remarkable achievement, given the size of the country and its geography, and it has not done badly over the millenia. There have been ups and downs, but the resilience of the culture and nation is (to me) remarkable. As far as trade goes, it’s doing okay now.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Your comment brings to mind the Kindleberger spiral, showing how world trade collapsed during 1929-1933, thanks to the Smoot-Hawley tariffs and competitive devaluations.

      Now competitive devaluation is the only game in town (except for those strong currency giants, Argentina and Venezuela), and a WTO round just failed. Fortunately central banks are providing zero-interest war financing to ward off the threat of deflation.

    4. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      “. . . because the value of gold was known throughout.”

      Indeed. Strange thing about gold — every culture values it, and has, since the dawn of humanity. Everyone from the most lowly peon in some god forsaken hell-hole to those who operate our fiat-generating Central banks accepts gold as a store of value, without reservation (other than to its authenticity).

      The reason for this phenomenon might be open to debate, but the truth of it is not. When push comes to shove, gold is the de facto currency of choice.

      1. Skippy

        Gold is the FPL [final protective line] of the wealth class, always has been from the day a deity backed ruler proclaimed it by decree – force.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Force has nothing to do with it — gold is valuable on every continent and in every culture, and on every scale, independent of other cultures.

          If I put a 1 oz. gold coin at the bottom of a bucket of pig shit, and then walked away, you’d find a way to get it out and clean it up. You would do it almost reflexively. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it — and it wouldn’t have anything to do with any deity or proclamation.

          People are very homogenous when it comes to gold.

          As far as the Biblical God story goes, if God really wanted to confuse matters to disrupt the building of the Tower of Babylon, he would have had differing fiat currencies being used to pay the workers, instead of changing their languages.

          1. reslez

            Kindly note that David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years is required reading for Naked Capitalism commenters. It appears you (and your gold-flogging compatriot scott) are overdue.

            Gold is a barbarous relic of slave empires and is of limited economic significance outside those specific historical periods.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              One question I have is that ‘free’ barbarians seemed to value gold as well.

              The Huns, the Gauls, the Scythians, etc.

              1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

                Gold is everywhere in human history. It is ubiquitously valuable. Some people disdain it, but they can’t really explain how this useless crap could possibly be of any value, to anyone, especially when compared to any other commodity (a reasonable question), or any other fiat currency (an insane question).

            2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

              Not a “gold flogger” at all. Just pointing out a few facts about gold. You can bet your ass that if ANY of the major powers goes to war with another, gold will immediately become the international settlement currency.

              I don’t know Graeber, but perhaps the next time you speak with him, you can ask him why the central banks continue to own gold, as opposed to setting it out on the curb.

              BTW:You’d dig through the pig shit, too. You know you would. The real question is why you would, being that you have absolutely no belief in ti.

              1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

                BTW: Gold only got put into the “Barbaric Relic” ledger in 1974, or thereabouts. Not much of a “relic”, eh?

          2. reslez

            Pigs are valuable on every continent and in every culture, and on every scale, independent of other cultures.

            If I put a 200 lb hog at the bottom of a pile of Wall Street bankers, and then walked away, you’d find a way to get that pig out and clean it up. You would do it almost reflexively. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it.

            People are very homogeneous when it comes to valuable and/or edible things. Gold, however, in many cultures is just a shiny rock.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Value is a funny thing.

              I could sing, or someone with a good voice could sing, and sing for free alone. Buy when others would pay to hear me (or that someone with a good voice) sing, that same song that was free to me before is now worth something (to me and to my customer).

              If people come to my garage sale and want to pay money for some of my stuff I have no use for (i.e. no practical value to me), I would take it.

              So it is with a lot of thing.

              Gold has functional, utilitarian value plus whatever value people want to attach to it….just like a lot of other things.

              It’s just that it’s easy to use and does not degrade naturally…whereas the quality of pigs varies a bit and pigs don’t stay the same shape, size or quality for too long. But if necessary or by choice, pigs can be used as money.

              And I would guess that people bartered with pigs before the invention of money. I am not sure it’s conclusive, as Graeber suggested, that Neanderthals did not barter with Cro-Magnons, or among themselves.

              “Can I have some of your obsidian for my fur?” – somewhere in Anatolia 15,000 BC, long before any ‘civilizations’ in the Fertile Crescent.

              1. Skippy


                Barter is an ex nihilo conceptualization of human activity, an ill attempted reverse engineering exercise due the observer bias its doctrinaires labored under.

                skippy… Personally I find it a mental conditioning tool by which to groom others with, as part of an over all information arb type of indoctrination system.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Whatever the Neaderthals were doing, they weren’t conceptualizing.

                  “Some walnuts for your berries?” – except they just did it.

                  1. Skippy

                    ““Some walnuts for your berries?” – except they just did it.”

                    Got any forensic anthro to support that assertion. Conversely, was it an exchange from a binary outlook or was it a bit more complicated i.e. act of love, kinship, favor, group survival, et al.

                    This is a classic case of reductive materialistic minimalism post facto to support an ex nihilo a priori e.g. the definition is concocted and then fleshed out to support the observer bias.

                    You may want to consider the larger effect this has when applied to humanity as a whole – atomization of society down to individual consumers, in a market place, seeking selfish out comes. Pretty much a boiled down version of neoliberalism.

                    1. Skippy

                      As individuals you can indoctrinate them, which will manifest in group traits as time flutters by…


                      Or as Graeber put it to Murphy…

                      “Even there, I think the persistence of the barter myth is curious. It originally goes back to Adam Smith. Other elements of Smith’s argument have long since been abandoned by mainstream economists – the labor theory of value being only the most famous example. Why in this one case are there so many economists desperately trying to concoct imaginary times and places where something like this “must” have happened, despite the overwhelming evidence that it didn’t? It seems to me because it goes back precisely to this notion of rationality that Adam Smith too embraced: that human beings are rational, calculating exchangers seeking material advantage, and that therefore it is possible to construct a scientific field that studies such behavior. The problem is that the real world seems to contradict this assumption at every turn. Thus we find that in actual villages, rather than thinking only about getting the best deal in swapping one material good for another with their neighbors, people are much more interested in who they love, who they hate, who they want to bail out of difficulties, who they want to embarrass and humiliate, etc. – not to mention the need to head off feuds. In actual long-distance trade, it turns out they are mainly worrying about danger, adventure (sexual and otherwise), glamour, fame, religious devotion, and all sorts of factors that are not simply getting the most lapis lazuli for the wool. (And that even if they were, it wouldn’t generate circulating money!) Indeed, the only occasions in which people act remotely like the models say they ought to act is when you already have a circulating medium of exchange and already have impersonal markets, and people become accustomed to operating that way – or even recreating something along the same lines, like the POWs, if suddenly the money is taken away. What you seem to be doing is projecting certain types of behavior created by certain social institutions backwards as an explanation of the institution themselves, rather like saying that the game of chess was invented to fulfill people’s preexisting desire to checkmate their opponents’ king – and then justifying it by saying that well, people are competitive, they like to win games, therefore, the desire to checkmate must always have existed.”

                      You can search that exchange over at von mise site, won’t link it here.

                    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Monkeys just do it, without indoctrination.

                      “Scratch your back for scratching my back”

                      One service for another service…without money.

                      How about birds?

                      Do birds barter?

                2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  The Neanderthals must just have done it without thinking too much about it.

                  Walnuts, me.

                  Berries, you.


                  Money? What Money? said the cave man.

            2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

              You, sir, and with all due respect, are full of shit. There is not a culture in the world that would view gold as a shiny rock. If you believe there is, name it.

              1. Skippy

                Originally it was just a malleable metal to make decorative art with in antiquity, not such a rarity in those times imo, until the gawd kings made it divine by proclamation.

                skippy… yes you to can own a little piece of divinity… feel like a… and peace of mind… as blown from the heavens. Fear indoctrination with a remedy to sell in advance…. sweet~

                PS. every bloody TV ad now uses that line… aren’t you glad you have peace of mind… only for a small monthly fee… just don’t try and claim or under new management, securitized and went poof thingy…

              2. Binky Bear

                Indigenous American cultures discovered that if they had it in their area, and white people found out, they would have no area left. No culture in Alaska at contact had managed to mine gold, coal, silver, platinum or iron nor drill for oil. They did collect native copper nuggets and traded them far and wide, with some groups growing rich for having these nugget sources available to them for trading out.
                Gold is less useful than copper for making arrowheads, spear points, and so on. Gold as a universal store of value is bunkum.

          3. Skippy

            Sorry to inform you but, probably the first objective measure of gold was against grains of wheat i.e. the wheat was the store of value that backed gold e.g. wheat was more valuable as you could eat it.

            Metalism just made it easier to collect taxes and run the kingdom [divine rule by force], yet, the gold et al was just numerical expectation of next years harvest, which was a factor of the sun, climatic and other factors.

            skippy… you have about 11,000 years of history to review before popping off about stores of value and human beliefs. Pro tip…. economics is not the place to start….

            1. psychohistorian

              This is all wonderful history but the reason I am a fan of gold is because of its relative value to fiat currencies in the present world consciousness.

              I think the world is preparing for a “reset” of money in its various forms and I want my meager investments in anything that is not a questionably worthless piece of paper when that happens…..YMMV

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                After Roma was sacked, and the empire gone, one would need

                1. gold, just in case it was fancied by the ‘bar bar’ sounding people
                2. some javelins and daggers, I suppose

                to get back safely to one’s vineyard in Gaul or orchard in North Africa

                “Here, some gold. I don’t personally believe it’s valuable, for I have studied modern economics of the future (more than 1,500 years into the future). But your mighty brigand-ness, if you so desire it, please take it.”

                I don’t own guns…never have. Gone skid shooting once in my lifetime. And I am for universal, private and pubic, gun ban…in principle. Sometimes, one aspires to be Socrates-like but we are not going to be always abide by our principles.

              2. Skippy

                The history of gold shows its not a store of value during a crises, just the opposite, a big target on the back of those with out the brute force to action its perceived religious value aka a belief.

                Most sovereign nations utilize a basket of assets to underwrite their currency’s, GLD is very a small portion of that mix. This is complicated by the issue that most of the money in circulation is private issue and is not HPM.

                skippy…. for a guy that, from comments of the past, anti religious, object fetishes just don’t seem your bag.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  If we don’t want gold, the 0.01% will gladly take it.

                  If we only rent and don’t want to own homes, the 0.01% will glad own all (or most) and rent to us.

                  if we don’t want to own businesses, if we don’t strive for more co-ops, the 0.01% will glad keep all the businesses we don’t want.

                  1. Skippy

                    Toynbee –

                    “Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.”

                    “Compassion is the desire that moves the individual self to widen the scope of its self-concern to embrace the whole of the universal self.”

                    skippy… how does gold or a post WWII spec house advance humanity.

                    1. Skippy

                      Unrestricted government spending?

                      Firstly the monetarist coup supported by the corporatist makes that statement erroneous.

                      Secondly economics is a reductive term when viewed through he multiple faceted abstracts, which make up the whole, and the knowlage that it was a sociopolitical examination comported to a quasi religious template by the so called betters. So granular detail is a must when applying them.

                      skippy… the war on the gawdless commies and socialists is a mother of a hangover… eh. Decades of indoctrination don’t just go poof over night.

  4. Jim Haygood

    ‘Aircraft and drones operated by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates attacked 12 “modular” refineries Islamic State uses in its oil-smuggling operations, U.S. Central Command said in an e-mailed statement. ‘

    We should have known it would come to this. Just as steam-powered mainframes have been replaced by smart phones that fit in your pocket, big ugly oil refineries that belch smoke and rust in the rain have been replaced by little mobile rigs on wheels. Just cruise up to a stripper well, hook the sucker up, and watch the meter spin. Black gold … Texas tea!

    If only I’d paid attention to that Popular Mechanics article, way back when, titled ‘How to Build an Oil Refinery in Your Back Yard.’ Today I’d be a freakin’ Rockefeller.

    Meanwhile, Scotland receives an immediate return on its ‘better together’ vote:

    U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is recalling parliament to meet tomorrow in London for a vote to authorize joining the international airstrikes. Britain “will do what it takes to make sure we play our part,” U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told LBC radio today, adding the campaign may take “considerable time.”

    Off to war, laddies! Sunny Syria sure beats Glasgow inna winter. Don’t forget yer kilts ‘n bagpipes!

    1. dearieme

      Alas, the Yes campaign did not promise an exit from the EU and NATO. If it had, I would have been much more sympathetic to it.

    2. paul

      The immediate consequence of a yes vote would have been ISIS taking over grangemouth forcing the US to blow it up, so we are very releived.
      I’m always amazed how a medieval bunch can take over a refinery and use the profits to further their evil ends. All this in the middle of an invasion!
      Can’t we just impose sanctions on them to stop them selling it?

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Valuable commodities make their way to market, no matter what.

        I’m sure Iranian oil makes its way to US markets, despite the trade embargo imposed by the US government.

        It reminds me of the Great Maple Syrup Heist of 2012:

        “The Federation would need two months to tally the losses to the stockpile. Sixty percent, or 6 million pounds of syrup, had vanished, worth about $18 million wholesale. The bold and baffling heist counts as one of the largest agricultural thefts ever, dwarfing the 860 head of cattle snatched in Queensland, Australia, last spring and the potato patches the size of a football field that were dug up in British Columbia in August. Siphoning off and transporting so much syrup was no mean feat. It would have taken more than 100 tractor-trailers. “To steal that amount of maple syrup means you have to know the market,” says Simon Trépanier, acting director of the Federation. “We are talking about big players.””

        The syrup on your pancakes is, most likely and at least in part, hotter than a $2 pistol.

    3. fresnodan

      Obama Tells UN General Assembly ‘The Cause Of Empire Leads To The Graveyard’
      DSWright, Firedoglake
      “But we will insist that all nations abide by the rules of the road, and resolve their territorial disputes peacefully, consistent with international law.”
      Cough, cough, cough…Israel, cough, cough, coughs lung out.
      International law, US resolutions, which should be followed when the US wants them followed and ignored when the US doesn’t want them followed….

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Reportedly, 0bama wrote much of the UN speech himself — where not even the Onion could have reached such heights of satire. Thus the fantasy of truth trumps fiction as 0bama dethrones Orwell. And on cue, the world and the American people cheer for war.

        1. jrs

          I’m calling him Obola from now on. How many will Obola kill? I don’t know. But even those who claim not to be threatened by Obala, seem upon closer inspection to be infected with the brain eating disease.

  5. Clive

    Re: Japan trade minister: No progress with U.S. in TPP trade talks

    Good old USTR Froman, still insisting that the lack of agreement on TPP is Japan’s problem. I’ll say this for him, at least he’s consistent.

    “Undecided” (from the linked-to article) is one of those words which only the Japanese can use like this — situations happen, but without specifying who, what, where or how they were brought about. I looked up the original Japanese text (at and I’d have translated it as “Further negotiations have been thrown up in the air.” Spot the missing actor here. The original Reuters text stops short of saying who had done the throwing. But given the history of the TPP negotiations with Japan, I’d say that the Japanese “economic revitalisation” minister (Amari) thinks that it’s the US that is responsible. Why, the Japanese would ask, have “negotiations” when you’re not prepared to negotiate ?

    1. Clive

      Forgot to say… and Yves is right, this is as close to stroppy as you’ll get from the Japanese, especially in diplomatic language. There’s no platitudes in Amari’s statement (it’s possible he made them but they weren’t included in the report, but I doubt that’s the case) along the lines of “we’ll continue to work with all parties towards progress” or “the US proposals will be studied carefully and we will strengthen our efforts at co-operation” and so on. This sort of guff is not usually considered important in western cultures and is ignored or not worthy of taking notice of. But even if it is boilerplate sounding politeness, the absence of any of it in the Japanese statement is very telling. Has the same effect on a Japanese reader of putting the phone down without saying “goodbye, have a nice day, speak soon” after a call between English speakers would.

      1. susan the other

        And compare this with the big drive of Abe recently in his foreign relations around Asia. Japan is aggressively doing deals all around the Pacific. Also to be considered, the main import Japan needs now is energy – so that’s almost telling: the US can’t even give them the trade they need. So what does that say for our loudly proclaimed energy exports?

        1. Clive

          That is a very valid and all too often overlooked point. In a rare display of putting its collective foot down, the Japanese are very reluctant to allow large scale de-mothballing of their installed nuclear power plant base. I guess you would too given the history… That’s probably very fortunate for the U.S. West Coast :-)

          Much of Japan’s economy has high energy inputs which are structural. This as Susan says is pushing up imports of primary fuels such as LNG. The last thing Japan needs right now in terms of trade flows is foreign low cost foodstuffs being dumped on the country — regardless of the internal politics of domestic agriculture having a disproportionate sway in the Diet. This situation was not in play when TPP was first mooted, how significant a factor it is is difficult to tell, but it’s not completely irrelevant.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Brain-washing 101, ‘always use the word progress.’

      And in this case, we must say no to progress.

      “Son, progress is not always good. Please stop that chant: progress, progress, progress!”

      1. Kurt Sperry

        The neoliberal version seems to be “reform” or better, “needed reforms” or “structural reform”. This wrapper always seems to contain a sh*t sandwich doesn’t it?

        1. wbgonne

          Yes, “reform” is the telltale. It is neoliberalism’s buzzword. Everything must be “reformed,” meaning privatized, exploited and stolen from the people.

      2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        That the middle class has, for the past 3 decades, been moving backwards (when not standing still) , would seem to make the case for “progress!” being an apt word/phrase for use by those who want the trend to change (it certainly beats ‘reverse!” Even though going back to previous taxation and regulatory schemes would, indeed, be “progress”).

  6. dearieme

    “The timing of this story (appearing now) suggests that this is not the operative truth.” I regret to say that that cynical thought did cross my mind over my toast and coffee this morning.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My own radical idea, after reading yesterday’s article about banking revolution.

      This is the idea – we need our own Cultural Revolution (we need to copy China, so we too can have 7% GDP growth per annum).

      We need

      barefoot doctors
      barefoot bankers
      barefoot teachers
      barefoot politicians

      And, instead of the Red Guards, we will have the Soul Guards.

      While the rich have guards to protect their bodies, they, as usually, ignore their spiritual health. And so, we will have the Soul Guards to make sure they don’t sell their souls to Marmon.

      1. ambrit

        It’s an uphill slog against the declasseification of this world.
        I wish we had a more comprehensive rationalist religion. Starting sitting meditation in kindergarten would be a big first step. (How you’d get a room of hyperactive five year olds to sit still for a minute, much less ten would require a true masters touch.) [I’ve just ben told that most mothers are Secret Masters in disguise.]
        Your reference to Mao’s Cultural Revolution is apt. Where are our Marx and Engels for today, much less our Lenins and Maos?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I like your ‘Sixth Column’ idea you mentioned in another thread.

          How about ‘a conscription army’ of barefoot bankers to teach Americans how subprime loans work?

          And a coprs of volunteer barefoot doctors who will educate people on the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, and the dangers of GMO foods, sugar and other unhealthy products.

          1. ambrit

            In other words, make the system work the way it was supposed to in the beginning.
            Unfortunately, or maybe not, Mao understood that the old ways of doing things couldn’t be modified to produce real changes in the lives of the ordinary people. The old ways had to be utterly destroyed first. I’m guessing that Mao believed in the regenerative abilities of the human spirit and planned for the Party to guide the rebuilding of society after the break. Well, most people agree now that Marx was an heir to the Romantic Movement in Europe. Alas, nothing is ever simple, cut and dried.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Mao would have the Soul Guards drag the offending ‘running dogs’ to public squares for rehabilitation.

              ‘Eradicate the rotting culture of corruption, greed and apathy!!!’

              And instead of carrying the Little Red Book, we carry the Little Green Book to save the Pale Blue Dot.

              1. ambrit

                A valid criticism up to a point. Opposed to that would be the observation that millions died under the former model of society through what Dick Nixon so famously defined as “benign neglect.” I’m not claiming omniscience, just observing.

  7. ambrit

    Whoever did the graphic for the Computerworld article on solar collectors has a sense of humour. It looks almost exactly like a field of “slaver sunflowers” and their collection towers from Larry Nivens “Ringworld.” Indeed, this might be a subtle nod of recognition for Nivens use of their basic idea way back in 1970. As the article states, the real deciding factor will be the price per unit of output. Here’s hoping that IBM doesn’t get too greedy.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Someone commented here the other day, part of the parade of disdain from knowing NC politicos, that climate change marchers probably don’t know enough to realize that they, along with the rest of us, will have to cut energy consumption 90% to maintain our consumer lifestyles, presumably including pointless marching with smart phone and iPads. More than likely, the climate change marchers know more about back yard appropriate technology than the, dare I say it, old people on this site who complain to no end about political corruption. However, Jim Haywood may have pointed out something today about old Popular Mechanics articles about back yard oil refineries. Mother Earth New, Popular Mechanics, Organic Gardening from Rodale Press, probably produce more radical solutions over the past 40 or so years than will come out of the disregard for any political action that I read here regularly from otherwise thoughtful, concerned comments.

      In India, a school for women has been set up by a man who is teaching the women left behind in the villages by the young men who leave for education and work in the growing India middle class. The school teaches them how to build solar powered cooking ovens, similar to the IBM parabolic reflectors. The women are trained in metal fabrication from trash and junk metal to make these parabolic reflectors to boil water and cook food. The founds material are free and there is no need for an electrical grid connection. There is no time wasted in scavenging wood or other fuels to cook with. Women hammer out the parts and assemble the cookers and villages are self sustained without the need to send out someone to participate in the formal cash driven market economy in order to buy fuel, pay utility bills and the like.

      The informal economy, not just illegal drugs and gun and sex trafficking, is a very large part of the national product, which often goes unmeasured around the world, including here in America. It is not surprising that ISIS can create an informal economy to finance their violence by using these mobile refineries. Farmers do likewise with alcohol from grains for their own fuel, a larger industrial distilling process than corn squeeze for booze operations, but not large scale enough to be mistaken for Archer Daniels. The possibilities for cooperative informal economies growing all over the place are not seen as a serious solutions, because taken separately, they are not measured with the mass culture of manufacturing with large scale footprints of 1mil sq ft buildings. I live in a township of 55,000, in a county of almost 1mil in a region of over 5 million people. If ISIS can run an operation with fewer people than in my township alone, what can organized people do here in America if similarly motivated to move full speed ahead into solar energy? A lot more than you suspect.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Solar ovens make way for a refurbished old saying: Eat while the sun shines.

        Solar ovens, if widely adopted (and they should be), would become taxable. They’re already taxing or prohibiting the private collection of rainfall. Next comes sunshine.

      2. Banger

        I have always been a fan of elegance and elegant solution–unfortunately, I live in the USA where brute-force heavy-handed solutions are considered sacred–the more wasteful and stupid the technology the better. It irks me quite a lot particularly when I see it in software and certain operating systems I will not mention.

      3. Lambert Strether

        Well, as an old person on this site who complains no end about political corruption, I’m quite conversant with solar efforts in my locality and state. And last I checked, knowledge of solar, both theoretical and practical, didn’t sort on age, and more than it does for gardening or sustainable ag, certainly in my direct experience of young and old working together on projects.

        Just saying.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          This is yours and Yves creation. You are doing something other than complain. And of course your request for plant photos reeks of organic gardening, no weed, no mulch eco-agro. But, I don’t believe you work like a mule to just to have a forum for complaining. It’s too negative after a while, and especially, from my background, people who complain about protests, marches, etc. and I don’t hear much about what they are doing. How much moaning and groaning about the climate change march and the flood Wall St action were met with Spiro Agnew class dismissal. As if this site were populated by activists doing something. It’s a very academic, cerebral site, which is fine with me. I like to be aware of things that I miss out on staying in my little lane.

          Finance and banking and the government all meet in ways that I probably don’t know anything about, unless I read it here. Now, empowered with more theoretical and practical understanding of the subject, I hope to leave a something behind more than my bile. In Pragmatism, the only American contribution to Philosophy, the purpose of knowledge is to act. John Dewey wrote one of the most influential papers in science in the late 1890’s, “THE ARC OF REFLEX”, which brought about an scientific understanding of the world distinct from the Newtonian Mechanistic model. It was more biological, influenced by Darwin’s revolution. We can learn because we are self aware. We can choose, because we can make distinctions, and not be just a broken clock that luckily, at random times, is correct twice a day. We can choose correct courses of action, based on self reflexive behavior. That introduces change, not mechanical repetition due to lack of an ability to choose. I need more than complaining in my life, I need some inspiration.

          The existence of this site is just one of the inspiring things I Iook forward to everyday. Not an endless sea of complaints. Yanis presents proposals, Bill Black, Yves seeks out policy alternatives, the both of you present finance guests to alert us to problems, difficulties which requires more than one or two sentences to just complain. Cooperatives are giving a lot more time of day here than any other serious site, outside of their own. Exposing, debunking, demystifying imply complaining, but the effort to research, and think and write at length is so much more. And you have to know there is a problem to take corrective action. People who are marching are complaining, and beginning a process of action by taking over public space that can eventually lead to taking over public policy. I hope so.

  8. Carolinian

    From the local rag

    Students in Tony Thompson’s economics class sat at desks with MacBook laptops, tuned in and engaged in a lesson projected onto the classroom’s smart board on Tuesday morning.

    Thompson used cloud-based collaborative technology in his classroom, letting students complete a principal-for-a-day exercise before moving on to lessons about investing. He said he thinks technology in the classroom is just hitting its stride……

    In Chris White’s English class, students participated in an interactive discussion on chapters of “The Scarlet Letter.” White led the class on a comparison of taking away Hester Prynne’s daughter, Pearl, in the book to the Department of Social Services stepping in to take custody of a child in today’s society. Students were asked to find examples of cases where DSS took custody of children and compare that to what the character was going through.

    “They’re engaged,” said Christine Horowitz, the director of instructional technology with the district. “They were able to go and find the information on their own.”

    Good to know that high school is just as dopey as it ever was even if it’s a high tech kind of dopey. The bad news: my tax dollars are paying for all this Apple product placement, not to mention stock broker product placement. Meanwhile the main grammar school run by our school board geniuses has a program called “The First Tee”…golf as a metaphor for life. People think of the South as the Bible Belt but it’s really the Babbitt belt. Bizness is all….

  9. Vatch

    From the truth is stranger than fiction department:

    …Holder is basically sending a flare up to Wall Street that might be represented in an imaginary statement such as, “It’s not that I’m disclosing any secrets here, but in case you or your staffs were going to talk about any criminal financial activity, I just want to make sure that you know that we have moles wandering around who report back to us. And if you are planning something really big – like 2008 all over again – we might have to do something about it if a mole told us, so limit those in the know.”

    The chief law enforcement officer of the United States is telling criminals to be careful, because he really doesn’t want to have to do his job.

      1. Vatch

        Here’s my completely unrealistic fantasy: Holder will be prosecuted by his successor for obstruction of justice.

  10. Jim Haygood

    ‘Our school board geniuses has a program called “The First Tee”… golf as a metaphor for life.’

    Perhaps they can invite the First Lady to speak, since The First Tee properly belongs to the president.

    With the Whitney Museum’s mobbed Jeff Koons retrospective, New York has displaced the South as the indisputable ‘Sahara of the Bozart.’ This dawg don’t hunt:

    1. Carolinian

      Take our Lindsey….please!

      As for First Golfer Obama he would fit right in around here. A few years back he visited nearby Asheville, NC and loved it, gave out souvenir presidential seal golf balls.

  11. ProNewerDeal

    random thought/question I had. Would much appreciate it if somebody knowledgeable could reply

    My thought is that if the ACA Employer mandate is ever actually implemented, in practice private employers (especially nonunionized, eg the employers of 90% of private USian employees) can avoid the ACA Employer mandate by threatening to fire the employees if they don’t obtain health insurance.

    In our no-data privacy era, I would imagine there may be some “data service” company data service that would provide info of “insured vs not insured” list by Soc Security number the employer provides? There remains a vast Reserve Army of the Unemployed and PartTime Underemployed to replace anyone fired. And a nonunionized private employer, can “At-Will” typically fire anyone for no/any reason anytime. Even if they can’t fire “at will”, afaict in practice in the current US, an private employer could easily manufacture a fake reason, for instance “lay off for economic reasons” (iirc a newsstory that megacorps like IBM have done mass layoffs of USian workers citing “economic reasons” or “efficiency due to redundancy” even during a quarter of record profits without any legal problem from the fired employees nor any Government).

    I also wonder if this will be a moot point, because 0 or the next Pres will “quietly” on a holiday ignored newsday permanently cancel the Employer Mandate anyways.

    What do you think? Thanks again

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Part time professor living on food stamps applied for a third job, after his daughter presented him with a list of missed milestones in her life.

    “I can’t afford to quit. I am not a trillion dollar investment firm chief!!!!”

  13. montanamaven

    The article on “Yelp” is worth the read. Sometimes all you can do is fight back in your own backyard. These guys deserve their own TV series.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I glanced quickly and must have missed, but how do bad reviews help your business?

      The article mentions something about removing reviews? Are they hoping that with bad reviews, that they are so bad that they will be completely off Yelp? I am not sure how it works here.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China, fraudulent trade-financing deals.

    (This works for any country – nothing special about China here and not picking on her):

    Ship a load of junk
    Declare said load lost/stolen/defective
    Sell cheaply, below cost
    Destroy American businesses
    Use money to buy Mansions in Vancouver/California/New York
    Get a Green Card.

    Well, that’s one way I can think of. And it would make a good book.

    1. Paul Niemi

      The 1902 Sears catalog was reproduced in the ‘70s as a novelty, and it was a good representation of the things a coal and steel economy can produce. It had cast iron tools, tin toys, fancy oil lamps, gingham dresses, etc. The great variety of stuff available was remarkable, and people could get it by mail order. Now trainloads of this type of stuff arrive from China, but the barns like Kmart, full to the beams with it, are reportedly going broke. Point is, big banks lined up to finance production in China of not only cheap junk, but the 100 year old technology cheap junk of a coal and steel economy. I think that whole edifice is insolvent, and investors will be lucky to get any of the hot money they finagled into it back.

  15. ProNewerDeal

    I was wondering if the “sacred” “property rights” really exist in 2014 USA?

    The majority of bankruptcies are due to healthcare costs > $100K from a massive health issue like cancer or surgery, the majority of this cohort have health insurance that did not cover the costs (whether because the policy didn’t cover said issue, or hard-for-a-consumer-to-fight fraud from the insurance company). Afaict, this issue still occurs post-ACA, perhaps made worse by the phenomenon of subject-to-randomly-change, narrow networks. There was a newsstory of a insured patient in NY state that “shopped around” “informed consumer” “neoliberal” style for a hospital to do his surgery, was assured the entire surgery was “in network”, but during the surgery unconcious, the physicians/hospital screwed him by using a non-network “assistant surgeon” who charged $117K for his (few hrs?) of work.

    Yves has an article today about student loan customers getting robbed by bogus fees, & notes this is a common problem she has seen in other consumer debts like the mortgage (fraudclosures).

    So if nearly any citizen can be subject to getting robbed for >= $100K by these government-favored industries that have many predators, like healthcare & FIRE, without much chance of seeking justice in a court even if one can afford the lawyer to attempt to challenge the rich company with expensive lawyers, that robbed one in court, do property rights really exist? Keep in mind the median USian adult net worth is $45K, so that a $100K robbery will bankrupt the majority of USians

    Where are the Propertarians “Libertarians” on this issue, forever bitching about “property rights” and the “Non-Agression Prinicple” etc? They seemingly rant on dubious or relatively minor “rights” (such as the “right” of employer to pay less than the minimum wage, but are silent on these consumer-bankrupting thefts by predators in the healthcare & FIRE industries?

    What do you think?

  16. chris

    BREAKING NEWS – Newest Terror Overlord Named

    Government officials have released the name of the newest terror-master responsible for much of the carnage against everything that is good in the world: Obama bin Golfin’

    Like his fellow death merchants, Obama bin Golfin’ is a charismatic, often soft spoken type who hides his true and psychopathic narcissism behind a cool demeanor served to the public through masterful propaganda techniques. Photos reveal a tall and handsome man who, nevertheless, avoids the spotlight except in highly controlled appearances. He rarely does interviews except with those who won’t question his motives and, more often than not, refuses the Q/A format of press conferences. Mr. bin Golfin’ has amassed a large cadre of cult-like sycophants around the globe who are willing to do the heavy lifting as to ensure their supreme leader’s hands are not sullied. Indeed, his evil has been so whitewashed as to have allowed credulous international peace organizations to bestow upon him their highest honors before his murderous rampages were known to them. Authorities are concerned that the public, distracted by consumerism and mesmerized by popular culture, cannot see the truth and have assumed a dangerous complacency.

    With nuclear war heads assumed to be at his fingertips, Obama bin Golfin’s declared war against democracy and decency threatens the globe and we are admonished to take heed, lest an international confrontation of ghastly proportion results.

  17. fresnodan
    Are you confused by what is going on in the Middle East? Let me explain.

    We support the Iraqi government in the fight against Islamic State. We don’t like IS, but IS is supported by Saudi Arabia, who we do like, and by Turkey who is our ally, who has been supporting IS because they don’t like Assad.

    We don’t like President Assad in Syria. We support the fight against him, but not IS, which is also fighting against him. This week we have bombed al Nusra in Syria, which is also fighting IS, but we think al Nusra is a greater threat than IS.

    We don’t like Iran, but Iran supports the Iraqi government against IS. So some of our friends support our enemies and some of our enemies are our friends, and some of our enemies are fighting against our other enemies, whom we want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win.

    If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they might be replaced by people we like even less. And all this was started by us invading a country to drive out terrorists who weren’t even actually there until we went in to drive them out. Do you understand now?

    Sums it up well…
    and of course, it will make everything better…

    1. Banger

      There was some headline indicating peace in Washington now that war has broken out.

      Anyway, I like that summation what else is there to say? Well, one thing–“reality TV.”

  18. lightningclap

    Huh, I would have thought NPR would mention his real legacy, that of not prosecuting documented FRAUD. Oh, I forgot…the “F” word disappeared from media vocabulary about 6 years ago.

    1. Bunk McNulty

      We know his legacy: A truly fine example of “regulatory capture,” which is to say he answered first to the foxes, and last or not at all to the hens.

  19. lambert strether

    Are Yahoo’s mailservers hosed for anybody other than me? They’ve been super-flacky for over 24 hours; I’m thinking of dropping them.

  20. fresnodan

    The War Nerd: Bombs away in the Middle East! But why is Israel so quiet? Pando
    “Nobody ever seems to mention it, but the supposedly fearsome IS now owns the ground right under Israel’s Golan Heights fortifications, after moving in in June 2014 when the weary SAA, tired of being shelled by the IDF, moved out.

    So IS has been in place right there on Israel’s border for months now—and there’s been no attack from Israel. Yes, folks, you might actually get the impression that the Israelis—who know a thing or two about threat assessment—just don’t take IS very seriously.

    In fact, IS is a convenient little irritant, as seen from Jerusalem, a useful way to annoy the real enemy—the Shia/Alawite/Iran bloc.

    And a year ago, when it looked like that might happen, Israel and its stateside proxies weren’t shy at all. They were all for intervention.”
    Now that is interesting.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I didn’t read the whole story, but what is the ‘that’ in “…a year ago, when it looked like that might happen…?”

      1. ambrit

        The save children from ‘Chemical Assad’ proto war. AIPACs recent major defeat.
        BTW, get a load of Assad’s recent self inclusion of Syria in the GWOT! Now that’s chutzpa! (Good for him.)

    2. susan the other

      So is that band of ISIS holed up in Jordan by any chance. Jordan, who is a coalition member in good standing?

    3. Andrew Watts

      I don’t think anybody has ever made the claim that IS threatens Iran or Israel. Hezbollah is worried that they don’t have the manpower to fight IS in Lebanon though and that is significant. I’d take anything the War Nerd says with a grain of salt. He has been consistently wrong about the current situation. Everything from the myth of Kurdish military superiority vis-a-vis the Islamic State and their inability to operate outside Sunni dominated areas. The Syrian Kurds are being slaughtered by IS as we speak with a wink and a nod from Turkey.

      The last I heard it was Al Nusra and FSA in that particular area, but considering the Islamic State is openly allied with other “moderate” rebels it hardly matters anymore. If I was an Israeli commander I would opportunistically fire my artillery at both sides when they’re engaged with each other. Why conduct air strikes when America is already bombing them?

      I’d also relish the fact that my enemies are slaughtering each other.

      1. Roland

        Dolan tends to be pro-Kurd. Not surprising, since he got to know the place and people during his celebrated teaching gig in Suleimaniya.

  21. Jess

    Surprised not more comments on the FDL piece about Obama’s speech. The cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy on display are truly monumental. We’re seriously through the looking glass here.

    1. Banger

      I think most of us just ignore that kind of thing these days. What is there to say? Obama is what he is–those that see him as the figure who keeps barbarism from their doors now have no place to hide–they are deliberately deceiving themselves in a stunningly grotesque way.

  22. Jim Haygood

    Fresh hearings on Argentina’s default, coming up tomorrow and Monday:

    Citigroup has requested Judge Griesa to allow it to proceed with payments on the local law debt, due on September 30. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for September 26. Judge Griesa has also set September 29 for a court hearing on the holdout creditors’ request to declare Argentina in contempt of court.

    In its latest attempt to circumvent US courts, Argentina will seek to pay nearly $200m due on its restructured bonds by disbursing the money to investors next week via a local bank instead of Bank of New York Mellon, its trustee.

    Argentina’s plan to switch trustees “won’t work,” warned Alejo Costa, head of strategy at Puente, an investment bank in Buenos Aires. “The way things are right now, this is just going to work as an escrow account, not as a payment.”

    One problem Mr Costa identified is that it will not be possible for Fideicomisos to distribute the funds as it will be unable to identify the bondholders without the co-operation of BNY Mellon. Argentina’s central bank last month revoked BNY Mellon’s authorisation to operate an office in the country.


    Will all you Argentine bondholders out there please raise your hands?

    1. Lambert Strether

      I don’t know if you’ve seen this post by Golem XIV. Quoting in relevant part from what I have tentatively labeled “Playbook for the Global Overclass:”

      4) From bail-out-cash to assets-for-pledging.

      Banks want assets. The kind they are looking for are physical assets which produce wealth – like factories, or frackable land, or electricity grids, or ports, or telecoms systems. Assets that, unlike money, cannot be so easily withdrawn, tapered or ‘tightened’. The kind of assets a nation might have, funnily enough. The banks don’t want these assets in order to use them to produce wealth directly, but rather to use them as collateral for creating more credit and debt. …

      The question is how to get your hands on those assets for a good price? …

      At the moment nations can still default and force bond holders to accept a ‘hair cut’ – meaning a loss on their loan. This is always portrayed by our loyal media as some sort of crime against nature and an evil plot by crooked politicians. Despite the fact that when you lend money (and buying a bond is just that) you do so knowing you are taking a risk which is precisely why you are paid interest on your loan. So the risk of a loss is known and agreed at the start. And let’s remember most of the money made on bonds is, in fact, from the buying and selling of the risk of default. The trade in CDS (Credit Default Swaps) wouldn’t exist without it. …

      At the moment the major victory, which I mentioned above, is by the latest Supreme Court rulings in the US in favour of the Vulture funds against Argentina making it harder for any government ( I am thinking or Ireland in particular) to put the good of its people above the good of the bond holders. The rulings make it now very likely that more and more bond holders will refuse to engage in any sort of voluntary agreement to restructure sovereign debts. The problem is, this route, the Vulture route, can take a long time and requires specialist lawyers. Not every bond holder has that expertise. They, the majority, need another quicker, easier route to getting their hands on national assets.

      Here is one way I think they could do it. If I am right, and if this is a viable way, then they will have thought of it already and should be busy working out the legal fine print and preparing the politicians to agree to it.

      In a nut-shell, I think nations will be urged to issue a new kind of sovereign bond which would be the equivalent of a corporate Covered Bond or, as they are sometimes known, a Pfandbrief. Don’t be put off by the jargon it’s quite simple. Should the borrower default or go bankrupt, a normal bond gives you a claim on the general pool of the borrowers’ remaining assets. But all the other bond holders have the same claim. So you must all wait for the auditors to sort out what assets there are to be shared out and who gets how much back. Then you all form an orderly line with those holding the most senior bonds at the front and those with more junior bonds at the back. If the pool of assets runs out before you get to the front of the line, then you go away empty handed. I’m simplifying but that is the general way it works. Except for one group of bond holders – those who have Covered Bonds or Pfandbreif, because those bonds not only have general claim on the pool of assets but have a unique claim, written in when the bond was issued, on assets that were ring-fenced as the specified collateral for those bonds ONLY. Those bonds have their value ‘covered’ by a specified group of assets. ….

      BUT a Covered Bond would make life so very much simpler for the bond holders. If a nation was induced to issue a Covered Bond then it could be written in to the agreement at the start, which national assets – a train system or oil and gas fields – were the specified and pledged as collateral for this particular bond. The government in charge when the default happened could then say to its electorate, “We’re terribly sorry but its right here in the small print – you – via your government agreed to forfeit these assets if you failed to pay. This is international law which we must obey.” And THAT last phrase is the key which opens the door to the future the 1% want. A future were International Law is held up as the new supreme, and completely non-democratic arbiter of right and wrong.

      If this is indeed the play, does that change your views on the Argentina situation?

      1. Ulysses

        This is indeed the “play,” but to someone who identifies with vulture capitalists over impoverished residents of Argentina (or anywhere else) it’s an analysis unlikely to produce a change of opinion.

  23. cripes

    Oh please. IS is yet another iteration in a long line of CIA-MOSSAD-SAUDI-QATARI phony fundamentalist jihadist mujahadeen freedom fighting/terrierists. The empire must always create more “enemies” to justify their interventions and skeer the people into supporting whatever misbegotten adventure they have stumbled into. Again.
    It is telling that not only are the Israelis not concerned about IS, but IS, sitting on their border, is not concerned about Israel!
    And isn’t it odd that the only source of IS videos is the duo at Rita Katz’s SITE that also provided all the BinLaden videos that our ginormous unintelligence services were incapable of finding without paying SITE 250,000 annually to scour jihadist websites?
    Rita famously claims to release terrier videos before they are released by the makers of the videos (?!?).
    Enjoy the show.

    1. Banger

      A little over-simplified but pretty accurate. Part of this mix are competing interests including organized crime figures in Israel and Turkey.

  24. cripes

    Sure. There are many actors and intrigues in the ME, just as Therese are here and everywhere.
    However, the geniuses at State, Pentagon and their banko-petro-armaments sponsors have spent the better part of a half century exporting their destabilizing, sovereignty-violating, colonialist spook strategies–honed in Latin America and “perfected” here–to their inevitable conclusion. A shitstorm of death and destruction.
    Notice that since Mossadegh in 1953, they have coincidentally attacked and engineered coups exclusively against the secular, nationalist regimes descended from Nasserism. You know, those states that promoted gender equality, universal health care and education, and oh, lemme see…control of natural resources for their own interest.
    Anyone that imagines (not Banger) the Empire is dispensing humanitarian assistance anywhere, anytime is living a fucked-up deluded fairy tale.
    To paraphrase Lily Tomlin: No matter how paranoid you are about the machinations of the spook state, you can never keep up.

  25. cripes

    Sure. There are many actors and intrigues in the ME, just as Therese are here and everywhere.
    However, the geniuses at State, Pentagon and their banko-petro-armaments sponsors have spent the better part of a half century exporting their destabilizing, sovereignty-violating, colonialist spook strategies–honed in Latin America and “perfected” here–to their inevitable conclusion. A shitstorm of death and destruction.
    Notice that since Mossadegh in 1953, they have coincidentally attacked and engineered coups exclusively against the secular, nationalist regimes descended from Nasserism. You know, those states that promoted gender equality, universal health care and education, and oh, lemme see…control of natural resources for their own interest.
    Anyone that imagines (not Banger) the Empire is dispensing humanitarian assistance anywhere, anytime is living a f*cked-up, deluded fairy tale.
    To paraphrase Lily Tomlin: No matter how paranoid you are about the machinations of the spook state, you can never keep up.

  26. cripes

    Sure. There are many actors and intrigues in the ME, just as There are here and everywhere.
    However, the geniuses at State, Pentagon and their banko-petro-armaments sponsors have spent the better part of a half century exporting their destabilizing, sovereignty-violating, colonialist spook strategies–honed in Latin America and “perfected” here–to their inevitable conclusion.
    A sh*tstorm of death and destruction.
    Notice that since Mossadegh in 1953, they have coincidentally attacked and engineered coups exclusively against the secular, nationalist regimes descended from Nasserism. You know, those states that promoted gender equality, universal health care and education, and oh, lemme see…control of natural resources for their own interest.
    Anyone that imagines (not Banger) the Empire is dispensing humanitarian assistance anywhere, anytime is living a f*cked-up, deluded fairy tale.
    To paraphrase Lily Tomlin: No matter how paranoid you are about the machinations of the spook state, you can never keep up.

  27. Howard Beale IV

    United Arab Emirates first female fighter pilot leads strikes against ISIS:

    To some, this is like watching your hated mother-in-law drive off the cliff in your new Lexus. Then again, from the article: “”Sorry #ISIS, I know this too much and so harsh but it’s real,” taunted Twitter user @kafrev, which purports to represent an opposition-held town in Syria, using an alternate name for the Islamic State group. “A woman bombed you!””

  28. ChrisPacific

    Very interesting Gaiman article about Pratchett. I had wondered for a while whether there were any self-insertion characters in Pratchett’s books. I thought there must be (they are hard to avoid for any writer as prolific as he is) but couldn’t quite figure out who they were. Now I know: Sam Vimes.

    1. ambrit

      I agree. I love Pratchetts work. I would have thought the self insertion was “Foul Ol’ Ron” though.
      I’m very saddened to read of Pratchetts Early Onset Alzheimers.
      Pratchett, Gaiman and that crew represent the best of modern Humanism to me.

  29. cripes

    Sorry about multiple posts.
    I couldn’t get a response, and thought it was on my end.
    It would be nice if there was a delete option.

Comments are closed.