Links 9/3/14

Nixon pardons Nu Skin John Hempton. Nu Skin has corrected the error. Good thing that this is just a one-off, and that signature errors at major banks aren’t a massive, festering problem that has damaged hundreds of years of contract and property laws!

Fed Positioning to Normalize Policy and Solid Start to September, Tim Duy

‘Mortgage crisis’ is coming this winter: Bove CNBC

Wrist Slap Watch:

New York Accuses Evans Bank of Redlining NYT. The press release from AG Schneiderman.

Halliburton to Pay $1.1 Billion to Settle Oil Spill Lawsuits Bloomberg

CPUC Fines PG&E $1.4 Billion in Connection with San Bruno Pipeline Explosion KGO Radio San Francisco. This is actually pretty significant for a state and local action, and comes on top of another $635 million fine.

China Securitization Boom Raises Concerns WSJ

Independent Scotland could not join EU without central bank, expert says The Guardian

Russian bank hires two former U.S. senators Center for Public Integrity. Far worse than Cantor.

Uber drives in to European tech backlash Financial Times

Class Warfare:

The “40-Hour” Workweek Is Actually Longer — by Seven Hours Gallup

Fedex’s Ruthless Approach to Misclassifying Employees Ruled Unlawful by California Court We Party Patriots

Detroit on edge as judge prepares to consider bankruptcy plan LA Times

The New Face of Hunger National Geographic

Credit Suisse investigating traders BBC

Home Depot Probing Possible Breach WSJ

Infrastructure Cracks as Los Angeles Defers Repairs NYT

North Carolina Union Files SEC Pay-to-Play Complaint Against Erskine Bowles David Sirota, IBTimes

Another Cuomo noninterference story falls apart Capital New York

Another Kind of Blood: Edward Baptist on America’s Slaver Capitalism The Junto

Meet The Two Women Who Hold The Future Of The Internet In Their Hands Huffington Post

Antidote du jour (taken in my home! It’s bug season.)


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. D. Mathews

    From the Colonel’s blog:

    You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the “intelligence” seems to be of the same dubious, politically “fixed” kind used 12 years ago to “justify” the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now.

    1. proximity1

      … “accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence.” …

      Maybe that is true, but how do we know? Just the Colonel’s word for it? (Never minding about whether such an alleged invasion is “major or minor in scope) I wonder: that view (cited above) is based on what exactly, please?

      1. skippy

        For some invasion is across the road thingy… whilst for others its half way around the world.

        skippy… regional security vis exporting ideology to boot…

      2. lolcar

        Have you seen what NATO and Kiev were touting as photographic evidence that Russia crossed the border ? Then google image “Russian invasion of Georgia 2008”. Now THAT’s what a Russian invasion looks like.

        1. proximity1

          “Have you seen what NATO and Kiev were touting as photographic evidence that Russia crossed the border ?”

          All I’ve seen so far are apparently still-photos taken by either aircraft or satelites indicating what look like columns of (parked) tanks. Of course, from what I saw, I couldn’t be sure where exactly these things were located or to what government they belonged. On the other hand, when V. Putin says that Russian soldiers strayed over into Ukraine by accident, I’m inlcined to consider that a flat lie.

          1. D. Mathews

            Pat Lang has a long distinguished career in intelligence. I would give him more credibility on the subject than anyone with little or no experience.

            1. proximity1

              Well, having read to the end of the open-letter, I found that William Binney was a signator and that immediately gave me reason to think that the views expressed in the letter were probably rather well-founded. I also happen to agree that to seek to make Ukraine a NATO member would be a foolish and a needless provocation to Moscow–and not only to Putin, who hardly needs provocation, after all.

              Here’s my concern: In a world where heads of state are practically an unrelieved lot of the most disgusting hypocrites and phonies—“ours” being as bad as “theirs”— still, Vladimir Putin strikes me as one of the very worst or the worst, one of the most cynical, cruel and ready to use the most barbaric of means to achieve his malevolent ends that I’ve ever been witness to. And in saying that, I grant you that Obama is a man who actually sends out orders to kill selected individuals–typically by drone-strikes—who find their way on to his hit-list. So, he, too, is high in the ranks of the world’s most despicable heads of state. The difference is, I think, that while Obama has to rely on the special or the black Ops arms of the military or the intelligence agencies, Putin has, besides such resources, others which amount to his own personal assassination squads which operate completely outside of any official structure. Putin is a man who, from all reasonable indications, has had some of his expatriate critics–merely people who’ve spoken or written publicly in ways that were critical of him– professionally assassinated by techniques straight out of the Cold War spy’s manual. Things these days are really so bad that it is a challenge to separate one bloody bastard from another. Still, Pat Lang’s blog is titled, “Sic semper tyrannis” and so, if those are words which he means seriously, then I have to wonder how he classifies Vladimir Putin. If Putin doesn’t qualify as one such tyrant, then, really, I don’t see how anyone could.

              ” A tyrant (Greek τύραννος, tyrannos), in its modern English usage, is an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution…” (Wikipedia) —– by that definition, Obama is still by some degress clearly less a tyrant than Putin, it seems to me.

              1. diptherio

                Whose got the higher approval rating? I don’t know what’s in the Russian constitution, but I know what’s in ours and it doesn’t seem to bug Mr. Obama one bit to ignore it completely. As for killing ex-pats, the O-man uses drones for that, he doesn’t need private assassination squads (although the latter would probably lead to less collateral damage).

                He’s not so much a tyrant as the head manager for our oligarchs, many of whom are in the Killing Folks industry, which is why Mr. O keeps trying to drag us into more wars. He’ll be successful eventually, I think, or his predecessor, since most Americans have been successfully defanged by decades of MSM propoganda and reality TV shows. So many seem convinced that LIFE (let alone politics) is a spectator sport, that I fear another war(s) is practically a given. Add to the spectators, those who recognize the danger but are afraid to resist for fear of losing their comfortable middle-class lifestyle, and it’s no wonder that things have come to such a pass.

                Unless and until enough people wise up and engage in effective protest, we’ve got more bloodshed and horror on the menu. And the heartbreaking irony is that we (well, you) will be paying for it all. But no, Putin is the real threat that we should be worried about….yeah right.

                1. proximity1

                  RE: “And the heartbreaking irony is that we (well, you) will be paying for it all. But no, Putin is the real threat that we should be worried about….yeah right.”

                  I doubt very much that I’ll be paying for it to much if any greater extent than you shall. You seem not to have read what I wrote–since you repeat to me some of the very things I mentioned; I don’t, as your criticism suggests of me, consider that Putin is the real threat that we should be worried about–to the exclusion of any others. (My emphasis added) Rather, I regard him as being ‘right up there’ with them, however, and I have no time to make excuses for what he has done in brutal oppression and abuse of political powers granted supposedly under law. No more than I do, mutatis mutandis, for Obama, or Berlusconi, or David Cameron or François Hollande or Nicolas Sarkozy , by the way.

                  There’s an odor here surrounding criticism of Putin that reminds me the necessity which people found themselves placed under to present and demonstrate their loyalties to approved opinion that reigned during the McCarthy period in the U.S. When it comes to capacity to see and criticize the “Western powers” to the fullest and fairest extent due them, I don’t recognize anyone here as ahead of me.

                  1. D. Mathews

                    Just for the record, while I don’t contribute often here to the comments section, I have been criticized as well on several occasions, yet I don’t sense this “odor” you speak of surrounding criticism of Putin that you compare to what “reigned during the McCarthy period.” Furthermore, I think that is a spurious comparison given that neither NC nor the contributors to the discussion here have at their disposal the repressive apparatus of the state in order serve as a dissuasive to any real or perceived “dissent”.

                    1. proximity1

                      Well, alright then, forget the terms “odor” and “McCarthy”–since in my experience, too, that is very unusual here— if you don’t agree that it’s appropriate and tell me that, on the same grounds, you dispute my view that, as it seems to me here with regard to the topic of the Ukriane-Russia conflict, a person could reasonably feel himself) ” placed under to present and demonstrate [his] loyalties to approved (i.e. the consensus) opinion .”

                      Honestly, reading over the entire thread’s content on this topic, you don’t find that the commentary is decidely one-sided in its treatment of Putin on the one hand and the Western powers on the other?

                      RE: …”NC nor the contributors to the discussion here have at their disposal the repressive apparatus of the state in order serve as a dissuasive to any real or perceived “dissent”.”

                      That is of course true. In general, this place is a welcome haven for contentious debate and that’s certainly a key factor in my choice to participate, though not the only one. Secondly, the quality of reader here seems to me usually significantly better than average as I’ve found in other discussion fora.

                      I read two, count ’em, two participants post comments which directly take up and defend something I posted. All the rest of the comments about my comments have been aimed at pointing out how I’m mistaken in my views. With those exceptions, no other readers have ventured to consistently post anything which challenges the clear consensus view here about Putin. I don’t recall at this site any other comparable example of group-think and that certainly struck me.

                    2. D. Mathews

                      In reply to your comment, I’ll say I agree with your mention of the vicious war in Chechnya as an indictment of the leadership (Putin, but one would have to include Yeltsin if you consider the first Chechen war as well). The US among other nations did rightfully admonish both sides of the conflict for violations of international humanitarian law. On a lesser note, I didn’t witness any US complaint at the recent execution of Uyghurs (I assume) linked to recent terrorist attacks in China. Nevertheless, point well taken. I don’t have the privilege of dedicating much time to discussions on blogs like this, particularly if they are not in my area of expertise.

              2. MtnLife

                Maybe person to person you might be more inclined to send your daughter on a date with Obama than Putin. Outside of that, Obama and the rest of the MIC make Putin look like a choirboy. How many foreign countries has Putin bombed in the last 4 years? How many innocent foreign nationals has he slaughtered as collateral damage? How many conflicts has he started? How many countries has he taken over on his own initiative, not in the response to NATO provocation? How many jokes has he made about killing teenagers with drones? How many governments has he overthrown? The only place Putin has been worse is in his treatment of homosexuals (I was going to add dissidents too but then I realized that was pretty even).

                1. proximity1

                  Since we’re rightly considering the entire sordid history of the U.S. government’s foreign invasions and military actions, I don’t understand why, when it comes to a review of V. Putin, we’re supposed to limit our attention to the last four years.

                  He bombed Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, and parts of Georgia—South Ossetia and, over ten years during the 2nd Chechnyan war, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia and North Ossetia–Alania.

                  1. MtnLife

                    No, I’m only talking about US action in the past couple years. See my post below about us being in 74 countries just last year. If you want to go back further it really only looks worse. In just the past year the US has dropped ordinance on more countries in the ME than you listed there. Soooo…. somehow we drop more bombs on more people and Putin is worse?

                    1. optimader

                      “Soooo…. somehow we drop more bombs on more people and Putin is worse?”

                      I don’t think Proximity made that value comparison.. Our government certainly has more resources for mayhem, if that’s the point.

                    2. MtnLife

                      I felt he was making that comparison by listing those bombings as a quantifiable measure of Putin’s “evil”. (I’m open to another interpretation, what was your take on his reason for listing them?) I was just pointing out our quantities of “evil” were much higher and that it doesn’t make much sense that we commit the greater amount of atrocities but Putin is somehow more evil. Not only does our govt have more resources for mayhem, but has shown time and time again it has a greater willingness to use them.

                  2. Christopher Dale Rogers

                    I find your tone a little disconcerting in relation to whether one V. Putin is some kind of tyrant, underhanded, a warmonger and thoroughly indecent type of chap.

                    As a Brit, let me instruct you that I’d rather have one V. Putin standing up for the interests of my national state, rather than the arseholes who are presently assembling in Newport, South Wales (NATO Summit), which happens to be less than 7 miles from where I was born.

                    At least Putin has actually improved the lot for many in Russia, which is more than can be said for the dickheads in DC, NATO, EU and the clowns in London such as Blair and Cameron.

                    No one on these boards has ever claimed Putin is a wonderful fellow and that butter would not melt in his mouth, but in terms of “death” associated with overseas foreign adventures and “full spectrum dominance” I’m afraid Mr. Putin would have his work cut out to catch up with Blair, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the master himself, one Obama.

                    Further, at least when Putin flexes a little muscle its on the borders of Russia itself, rather than far off places populated by little brown skinned people or wearing rags on their heads. So, whilst Putin is no angel, he’s head and shoulders above those of his peers in the West, and this is a matter we should be all concerned about as its these buggers that will lead us to a conflict involving nuclear weapons.

                    I won’t go into economics, but as far as democracy and geopolitics is concerned, Putin has done a fair job for his country when compared to the circus we have in the West.

                    Just remember its not Putin who is the warmonger and its not Putin who’s selling you out and your family out for coin. I’ll leave it there, but a comparative analysis exonerates Putin, which really does reflex badly on those who claim to represent our interests – which is an outright lie as you are no doubt aware.

                    1. proximity1

                      I’m just curious about a point of fact, so, please, if you wouldn’t mind, tell me which, if any, of the published writings of Anna Politikovskaya you have read and indicate whether you read them in full or only partially, and if the latter, how partially.

                      To simplify your answer, just refer to any of her main published writings by letter as found below:

                      A) Putin’s Russia (2004)
                      B) A Russian Diary (2007)
                      C) A dirty war : a Russian reporter in
                      D) Nothing but the truth : selected
                      (2011; published
                      E) A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from

                    2. proximity1

                      there’s a typographical error in A. P.’s name. It should be Politkovskaya, one “i”, rather than as I misspelled it.

              3. different clue

                Colonel Lang has been blogging for several years now. One can read all his posts, and his guests’ posts. He has made a number of predictions over the years and the interested reader may look back and see how many of them have come true and how many have come false. That would be one indicator of Colonel Lang’s reliability and good analytical judgement.

          2. Banger

            I know–Putin’s, what was it, ten-man invasion force. Very likely Putin is lying as all politicians do–language and information are a key tool in all conflicts and we are in one now, i.e., Cold War II started by the West not Putin.

            It is the U.S. and its subject countries in the EU that want chaos, war, and violence not Russia. I suggest you look at the pattern of activity of the to states over, say, the past decade and a half and tell me which one seeks peace–certainly not the USA. Do you deny that the neoconservative faction in the USG wants chaos and disorder? Look at the results and the pattern.

            1. proximity1

              I have looked at it–and I certainly see it, too, and not just over the course of the past decade, which I’ve followed closely, but over the past twenty, thirty and forty years, and, prior to that, I’ve read about in histories written by people who write from first-hand authority about the stories they relate.

              “Our” neo-cons are indeed a scumbag lot an, in my opinion, Dick Cheney, for example, typifies what I consider to be the most despicable people ever to hold offices of public trust in the United States. As I see it, none of that makes either the history of Russia’s vile official deeds– or Putin’s regime, as it latest expression— the slightest bit worthier of our respect. What I see here in defence of Putin strikes me as little like attempting to counter critics “Western” of Joseph Stalin by pointing, in an exculptory effort, to, say, Joseph McCarthy or to Nixon or Lyndon Johnson–both of which latter presidents certainly had plenty of blood on their hands—still, an amazing, stupefying attempt at moral equivalency.

              1. Banger

                Putin = Stalin.

                Not really–don’t see it. Stalin was responsible for anywhere from 20 to 100 million (or more) deaths in the USSR during his reign. Certainly, compared to McCarthy who was responsible for some but not many deaths and more boring movies, Stalin was pretty bad.

                1. proximity1

                  Really!, your reading comprehension is deplorable! Did I anywhere write, argue or imply, “Putin = Stalin” ? Hint: no, I didn’t.

                  I wrote, instead, what might be described in close to your short-hand manner this way,

                  ” Stalin? Don’t talk to me about Stalin! What about McCarthy? or Nixon? or LBJ?! “

                2. Paul Tioxon

                  You are right in poking a hole through the analogy of Putin=Stalin. From my perspective, there is a reason why there is a New Left. The Old Left wasn’t just the Communist Party members in the USA and Britain and France and so on, who simply denied not just the crimes of Stalin but after his death, would continue to make excuses for the military use of force to keep Hungary and then Czechoslovakia from exhibiting the tiniest bit of humanity and regional independence from the Kremlin. While the Social Democrats were gaining national health care for the working class as well as improved work conditions, better pay and a consumer cornucopia, the Soviet System was producing a Gulag nightmare, ransoming Soviet Jews and on and on. The younger political activists who rejected capitalism were not about to embrace what the Kremlin was trumpeting.

                  This is was so well articulated in the USA by Black Power advocates, SDS as well as other serous political observers. See the book: “Without Marx or Jesus, the New American Revolution has Begun” by Revel

                  1. optimader

                    “You are right in poking a hole through the analogy of Putin=Stalin
                    If you read what Proximity wrote, he did not make that analogy.

                  2. Christopher Dale Rogers

                    Paul Sir,

                    If you read up on one Ernest Bevin, UK foreign secretary of the post-war Labour government in the UK, you’ll note that many in the then Labour Party were anti-Stalinists and highly fearful of the man and his brand of communism – so I think a discussion of “new left” may be a little off the mark, if only for the actuality that there was nothing wrong with the old left in the UK, which was very much epitomised by our Labour Party. Regrettably, “Our Labour Party” no longer exists and has not existed since its former leader, one Neil Kinnock, failed to issue support for striking miners in 1985-86, which effectively was the end of the Party that I belonged too and was steeped in its culture and history.

              2. lolcar

                There’s literally not a single word here in defense of Putin. What there is, I think, is a consensus – that if this is a genuine Civil War and not an invasion by the Russian army – then Russia (not Putin personally, if he dropped dead tomorrow I wouldn’t expect Russian policy to change) hasn’t done much wrong.

          3. diptherio

            Well, duh. What do you expect? Of course, Putin is supplying aid to the Donetsk self-defense forces. However, sending in some advisors on the sly (just like we do, btw, only in countries that have no ethnic or historical ties to our country, much less a shared border) is way different from invading.

            You really think that with literal neo-nazis shelling civilians, many of whom are ethnically Russian, with family right across the border, that Putin could have done nothing? He had to do something, and so he has–as much as possible without getting (overtly) militarily involved.

            1. proximity1

              “Well, duh. What do you expect?”

              I expect you to apply–as I do— the same standards of behavior and the same principles of statecraft to Putin as you use when scrutinizing most closely and criticising most severely other heads of state –including those for whom you reserve the least sympathy.

                1. proximity1

                  A “stiffy for Putin” ? No. I think your judgment is clouded by a well-deserved contempt you may feel toward the US gov. and maybe some of its allies. When you attempt to descibe that in such absurd terms as “having a stiffy for Putin,” I’m inclined to think I’m right in suspecting that you’re both unduly biased –and, by the way, defensive about it

                  1. lolcar

                    I gather you interpret this as a Russian invasion. That there is no genuine Ukrainian resistance. The overthrow of the government was spontaneous, and not influenced by the West. Yanukovych ordered his forces to fire on protestors. The present government represents all Ukraine. A lot of the posters here probably think the opposite. Either way, answer those questions definitively and I think the rights and wrongs of the situation will become pretty clear. But apparently asking those questions shows a “stupefying attempt at moral equivalency.” Those of us who can’t immediately recognize the obvious and all-encompassing evil of Putin, are just too biased to realize that fuzzy satellite pictures, and Kiev’s word of honour are always proof enough.

                    1. proximity1

                      You use a lot of straw-man stuff here–

                      “I gather you interpret this as a Russian invasion.”
                      I regard some of it as just that.

                      “That there is no genuine Ukrainian resistance.”
                      To Petro Poroshenko? Or to Yanukovych?

                      I think there is and was–in each case. There was genuine resistance to Robert E. Lee and to Abraham Lincoln, too. So what?

                      “The overthrow of the government was spontaneous, and not influenced by the West.”

                      There was certainly some of both–influence and spontaneity.

                      “Yanukovych ordered his forces to fire on protestors.”

                      “The present government represents all Ukraine. ”
                      It has that ambition, whether or not in fact it does. Putin would have us believe that all the Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the eastern most parts of Ukraine would both oppose Poroshenko and prefer either alliance with Russia or Russian-federated statehood. I don’t think that’s true about them all.

                      “A lot of the posters here probably think the opposite. Either way, answer those questions definitively and I think the rights and wrongs of the situation will become pretty clear.”

                      “But apparently asking those questions shows a “stupefying attempt at moral equivalency.” (emphasis added)

                      As a charge against me, that’s sheer rubbish. Your debate tactics here do not speak well for your intellectual fairness or honesty. There is that.

                    2. lolcar

                      I listed a few possibilities that if they were proven true might be enough for someone like me, unsympathetic to the present government in Kiev and NATO expansion into Ukraine and generally supportive of Russia’s handling of the situation, to switch their view. I think its entirely fair to say that every post you’ve made in response to someone who has raised one or more of those issues amounts to little more than “Putin is obviously soooo evil, don’t you get that – and what does it say about you that you don’t?”

                    3. optimader

                      “Those of us who can’t immediately recognize the obvious and all-encompassing evil of Putin”

                      “fuzzy satellite pictures, and Kiev’s word of honour are always proof enough”

                    4. lolcar

                      You’ve broadened the discussion to include Crimea. Being a long done deal it wasn’t even in my mind. There’s a lot of evidence there that Russia took a very active role in taking it from Ukraine. As to the situation in Donetsk and Lugansk, I stand by my comment, the Western viewpoint is backed up by little more than extremely fuzzy pictures and the word of the government in Kiev. Being my own opinion of the quality of the evidence it can hardly be a straw man. As to “recognizing the all-encompassing evil of Putin” – boiled down I still say that’s what “proximity1″s argument amounts to – we need only to recognize that Putin is evil to know that the Russian government is behind all the violence.

            2. optimader

              “You really think that with literal neo-nazis shelling civilians, many of whom are ethnically Russian, with family right across the border, that Putin could have done nothing?”
              What precipitated the shelling?

              Neo-Nazi is red meat.

              Who believes in the authentic of a 83.1% voter turnout tin a referendum with a 97.77% plurality?
              Who has a problem w/ North Korea, Kim Jong Un had a near 100% voter turnout and plurality!

              Regarding the legitimacy of Crimea as part of a sovereign Ukraine, or not, should Mexico have the same angst about Texas?
              Surely we have racists on our side of that border that have the same level of philosophical complexity as “Neo-Nazis” in the Ukraine.

              1. lolcar

                In the presidential run-offs in 2010 the deposed Yanukovych got over 90% of the vote in the far east around Donetsk. Tymoshenko, his opponent, got over 90% of the vote in the far west around Lvov. The same pattern holds in all of the elections since independence, showing a country fundamentally divided by geography. Not that I think that the election was fair. Just being held so quickly while tensions were so high makes it fundamentally unfair. The fact that there were only two choices on the ballot make it unfair. But the fact that the result was so lopsided isn’t so strange in the context of Ukraine. It’s more likely that the turnout was much lower than the 80+% claimed than that the result was fixed.

          4. Fíréan

            How can you tell whether Russia has invaded Ukraine ?

            ” . . . this helpful list of top ten telltale signs that will allow you to determine whether indeed Russia invaded Ukraine . . .”

            This article, translated from original in various laguages, has been posted around the blogosphere, if you have not caught it already here afe a few relevant URLs (more than one least you have preferences or reluctances due the political nature of the blog in general or the owner)



            Excuse me if the html didn’t work out, no preview facility came up whilst posting.

      3. Massinissa

        Show me pictures of invading russians fighting Ukies and I will believe it. Better yet, show me video footage. Considering everyone has phones these days it shouldnt be that hard.

        Until theres more evidence, im going to assume that Russia is in fact, NOT invading.

        Post Script: Then again, there were ‘pictures’ of ‘wmd’s in Iraq before we went to war there and it still wasnt true…

        1. James Levy

          Russia almost certainly has “advisors” on the ground–does this make it an invasion? Well, not in the June 22 or December 7 1941 sort of way, no. But if you consider the government in Kyiv the only legitimate government for all of Ukraine, then the dispatch of said advisors is a breech of their sovereignty if not what anyone who is not trolling for political points would call an invasion. Certainly it fall short of the US sticking antiballistic missiles in Poland after assuring the Russians that such a lunge by NATO would never happen. But that, too, is not an invasion, although it is a military threat on a huge scale.

          1. Banger

            What if you don’t regard the Kiev gov’t as the legit government of all Ukraine? But then I don’t regard the current U.S. gov’t as the legit government of all of the USA. So I guess I will just wander off and eat some oatmeal.

            1. optimader

              “I don’t regard the current U.S. gov’t as the legit government of all of the USA. ”

              Interesting, in which parts of the US is it the legit government and which parts not?

              1. optimader

                How about the Russian Federation? Is it’s government the legit government for all, or just parts?

          2. Christopher Dale Rogers

            James Sir,

            The fact is Putin does not consider the present Kiev-western sponsored government as legitimate, how can he, given it has no actual true democratic mandate because it is the result of a coup – everything else is but a moot point, and since when does having advisors on the ground constitute an “invasion”, which by your definition means that the USA in South Vietnam were invaders, even though allegedly they were there at the behest of the Saigon regime, but not of the regime in Ho Chi Minh City.

        2. proximity1

          RE: …”Then again, there were ‘pictures’ of ‘wmd’s in Iraq before we went to war there….”

          Regarding President George W. Bush’s Operation Iraqi Freedom, in fact, there weren’t any authentic photos of “WMD” –hence the reason that none were ever found despite lots of looking, once the invasion had toppled Saddam Hussein.

          1. frosty zoom

            mr. obama’s new operation is entitled “OPERATION SYKES-PICOT FREEDOM LINES AND BLOW STUFF UP, DAMMIT!”

          2. Banger

            Wrong–there were photos presented by Sec. Powell at the U.N. Again, the issue here is motivation–which country wants this conflict, many of us here say it is the U.S. because that is what it does and has done over a very long period of time. Do I have to list the coups, assassination, invasion–do you know history at all? Check out some of the operational details of how these wars were fought–what forces within those societies were supported and which ones were penalized or destroyed.

            1. proximity1

              RE : “Wrong–there were photos presented by Sec. Powell at the U.N.”

              Excuse me, is that addressed to me? Try re-reading what I wrote– carefully.

              …” in fact, there weren’t any authentic photos of “WMD” –hence the reason that none were ever found despite lots of looking, once the invasion had toppled Saddam Hussein.”
              (emphasis added)

              1. Banger

                They were authentic to Powell he was an official of the U.S. government testifying before the UN it was authentic. Now, in the end, it proved not to be technically authentic–but I don’t remember if the USG ever actually state they were false–if not then they are still authentic officially.

                1. proximity1

                  RE: “…but I don’t remember if the USG ever actually state they were false–…”

                  ” A 2004 report by the Iraq Survey Group concluded that the evidence that Powell offered to support the allegation that the Iraqi government possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) was inaccurate. ” ( )

                  “I felt like we’d find weapons of mass destruction — like many here in the United States, many around the world. The United Nations thought he had weapons of mass destruction,” “So, therefore: one, we need to find out what went wrong in the intelligence gathering. … Saddam was dangerous and the world is safer without him in power.” — George W. Bush speaking to Barbara Walters, ABC Television, January 2005.

                  Yes, in fact, though it pained them, that admission was in effect made. And you’re supposed to know your history so well that you lecture me about my failings in knowledge? Sheesh. I think we may be close to “done.”

                1. Doug Terpstra

                  Bingo! Even better than the fuzzy blobs “proving” the Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! After Iraq and Syria (Cuba, Vietnam, Panama, Iran, ad nauseam) anyone buying US-NATO snake oil is a hopeless chump. I can understand Putin paranoia, but to swallow US agitprop whole shows willful blindness or other challenges.

      4. ex-PFC Chuck

        After one has been reading Col. Lang’s blog a while (in my case since shortly after its inception early in the last decade) one realizes that his calls of the balls and strikes of international affairs are far more often right than wrong. Just like Yves when it comes to financial matters. In response to comments similar to yours on his own blog he has written that he draws upon an extended network of reality-based contacts in both the US and abroad with whom he worked during his days in military intelligence and who earned his trust. During the first Bush 43 term he initially was one of the people who attended the periodic Pentagon briefings arranged for retired officers with a media presence, but those invitations stopped when Rumsfeld and friends noticed that he couldn’t be counted on to sing the company song. The invites from the networks dropped off as well, and some years later an acquaintance in the industry told him that the PTB threatened to cut off access to the sycophants if they didn’t stop inviting Col. Lang.
        Links to Col. Lang’s CVs are on the home page of his website. I suggest you read them, as well as follow the blog a while, after which it’s likely you’ll come to a similar regard for his views to mine. On the home page he also pitches his trilogy of novels set during the War Between the States. As a professional soldier and a Virginian steeped in the history of his state, he is not amused when one refers to that conflict as the Civil War.

        1. Banger

          Good point. I arrive at my conclusions based on my reading and leaning which sources are trustworthy over time and in what way they seem to get accurate information even if I don’t like what they say. Some people, like Webster Tarpley have been pretty consistently right about many things over the years. Webster was right about Obama early on–I’m not sure that his whole discourse on him is correct but his warning us that this guy was not who he appeared to be was right on. He was right about the color revolutions and the Arab Spring and, early on, understood the Syrian civil war before it developed into one. He was completely right-on about Libya in almost every way anyone could be so I now listen to him on FA and politics in genernal. I don’t, btw, agree with him on economic or environmental issues–he is way off there.

      1. proximity1

        I’ll read it. I have great respect for Mearsheimer’s opinion–not least because of his writings which put him in bad graces with the Israelis. And I agree with him that, “U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border.” Indeed, they did. That, however, doesn’t make Putin less of a bloody tyrant, does it? It appears that for more than a few participating here, the short answer is, “Yes.”

        1. MtnLife

          Apparently I’ve missed something here…. when did Putin overthrow the elected governments of Mexico and/or Canada and establish a military presence there? Oh, that’s right. WE were the aggressors. Can you please get the current situation correct? Because as far as reading your posts, one couldn’t be faulted for thinking Putin had invaded Mexico or Canada. He may not be the Greatest Guy Ever but he hasn’t walked around bullying the world, taking their lunch money (natural resources), and forcing them to acquiesce to our policy under threat of nuke – which is EXACTLY what the US does.

          1. proximity1

            Huh ? Mexico, Canada?

            Whatever your views of Putin’s justifications for action against the Ukraine government which ousted Viktor Yanukovych, you cannot deny that Putin had, by then, already invaded Chechnya and waged at least two bloody wars there to assure his grip either directly or by proxy on that region and waged armed conflict in Georgia in 2008 ( )

            1. lolcar

              The First Chechen War ran from 1994-1996 when Putin was an obscure apparatchik in St Petersburg. That one was all Yeltsin. The second Chechen War- now Putin’s fingers were all over that one. He was Prime Minister at the time and it was his success in handling that war that made him front runner to succeed Yeltsin. But Yeltsin was still President and the decision to re-invade Chechnya was made several months before Putin became Prime Minister – by Yeltsin-appointed Cabinet Ministers.

            2. Peter Pan

              “…you cannot deny that Putin had,…waged armed conflict in Georgia in 2008.”

              First, it was President Medvedev that was responsible for Russia’s reaction to Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia. Second, the OSCE blamed Georgia for making numerous wrong decisions that led to the crisis with Russia. (

              Third, it was USA SoS Rice that proclaimed that Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili (now under indictment in Georgia) made a miscalculation in confronting Russia militarily.

              If you want to make Putin out to be a bad guy, at the very least you could get your facts straight.

        2. James Levy

          It doesn’t change what a lousy tyrant Putin is, but it may indicate that in this specific case, he is in the right compared to those who have tried so hard to turn Ukraine into a US/German satellite.

          1. hunkerdown

            Shush! proximity1 believes it’s highly essential that we all commit the fundamental attribution error and perform our two-minute hate at the Bad Man! It’s the American Way, after all, and we’re supposed to be Americans if we want to keep our America Cards or something.

        3. Ulysses

          I’m confused as to why you find it necessary to keep breathing life into this straw man of your own creation. No one is arguing that Putin is a “good guy”. No one here likes what happened to Pussy Riot, the personal vindictiveness, gangster tactics, etc. that Putin employs to increase his power within Russia. What is happening in the Ukraine, however, disturbs many of us as yet another war-for-profit scheme, led by the MIC, that will do a great deal of harm to many– only to line the pockets of a few.

          The current situation in Ukraine was not provoked by Putin’s bellicosity, regardless of whether Putin is a “good guy.” People who aren’t good guys come to power all over the place, do you propose that we pick a fight with Hungary because Viktor Orban is a creep?

          I am not a strict isolationist. My father taught me to respect the sacrifice of my grandfather, who fought against Nazis and died in 1945. Yet Russia under Putin does not, and could not pose the same kind of existentialist threat to the rest of the world as Germany under Hitler. Indeed, the only existential threat here is the one posed to Russia by the belligerent posturing and aggressive eastward expansion of our own MIC and NATO water-carriers.

      2. proximity1

        RE: Mearsheimer’s “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault”

        First, thank you for posting the recommendation of the article. I read it and, though I found its argumentation much less well done than his joint effort with Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007) I think his article deserves a dedicated thread for extensive discussion of his views. At many places, I agree with him–more in what he presents in background than in his arguments concerning a solution to the conflict. It struck that where I found JJM most incisive in his historical review, he presents quite well-reasoned grounds which, taken to heart, simply demolish the reasonable bases for some of what he suggests later on as a way forward. It is as though there are two Mearsheimers–the one who wrote up the background review of the Ukraine conflict’s sources and another, who offers suggestions for what now could and should be done about it and these two men don’t seem to me to know each other’s views that well or the latter one seems not to have taken to heart some of what the former one has written.

        I agree that the responsibility for creating the present crisis (the proximate causes) belongs entirely to what we (mistakenly) call “The West”–principally the U.S. government as it manifested itself from the break up of the Soviet Union to the present. I agree that this was a collossal blunder which shall reverberate for many years and that it was really entirely needless and ideologically driven from just what JJM describes, a foolish world-view on the part of many in the U.S.-Euro political establishment. I also agree that there was no excuse for missing the clear indications that these initiatives were and would be provocatively received by Putin. The only fair conclusion is that the West’s leaders thought they needn’t give a damn about all that. They failed supremely to recognise the obvious fact that, had the circumstances been reversed, they’d have reacted just as Putin did–or even worse, I suspect. Just as believe that the European Union has been supremely foolish to have enlarged its membership beyond the first 15 member nations, NATO has been equally foolish in pushing, wrecklessly, into eastern Europe’s borders with Russia and other places which have nothing to do geographically with the North Atlantic. Only an idiot could have failed to see such steps as other than an organised effort by a consortium which was effectively engaged in containing and countering Russian geo-political influence–and Putin is not an idiot.

        To treat in detail all the points where I disagree with JJM’s reasoning requires more in time and space than can be presented in a one-post response. But, to present only one of these, and one of the key ones, which harks back to my comment about there being two different and ill-acquainted Mearsheimers behind his essay, there is this one: Mearsheimer argues that …”the goal should be a sovereign Ukraine that falls in neither the Russian camp nor the Western camp.” Unfortunately, and for reasons which Mearsheimer himself had already set out, that is simply not a reasonable expectation under the present or even the foreseeable circumstances. There is no reason, as his “other side” shows, to expect such an outcome. Putin, for completely rational and well-founded reasons, wouldn’t find any such neutrality, even if it could be devised, acceptable–since the West’s leaders have so amply demonstrated that they have in mind–ultimately–continuing to remake the rest of the world so that no nations pose any serious opposition to what might be called the Washington-consensus view of world political management. Both the Putinesque and the Obama-Clinton-Cheney-Bush approach to world political affairs are toxic in the extreme and, worse, they are incompatible and irreconcilable. Mearsheimer calls for a Ukraine which is neither/nor but pesents us with no compelling reasons to expect that there is actually any practical way to arrive at that. And a key factor in this is, as I see it, Putin himself, of course, no less than “our” sorry lot.

    2. Whine Country

      “Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration – who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy.”
      This passage caught my eye and I was reminded of the story that GW Bush liked to tell about meetings with his policy advisers. When the vote was called, prior to GW’s vote he would ask for a tally of the votes. When told it was 5 to 1 against what he favored, Bush would declare, “Then I cast my 5 votes for the minority position”. The passage above leads me to believe that Obama has only been given a fraction of a vote. What gives? This whole mess reminds me of Adlai Stevenson’s famous quote (supposedly repeated several times): “These are the conclusions on which I base my facts”. History is rhyming again, ya think?

    3. Bill Smith

      Huh, when the rebel leaders say several thousand Russian soldiers are in Ukraine supporting them, does that mean anything? True, we are told they are all on ‘leave’.

      And the reports from the dead Russian soldiers families? Bogus?

      Oh, wait… it is just a ‘minor’ Russian invasion, that’s okay :)

      It’s one thing to see what is happening and decide to do nothing…

      1. MtnLife

        Apparently you missed the days in history class when they talked about the Eagle Squadron, the Flying Tigers, Lafayette Escadrill, or any of our American All-Volunteer prewar units. Are you upset because Putin didn’t make them their own unit with flashy name and attire?

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          You forgot one American volunteer unit that fought directly against Nazi-supported fascist forces, the Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. This adds to the tally of American units fighting in other nations’ wars out of principle.

  2. abynormal

    the hues enhance your crisp clean grasshopper…Nice David
    Master Po: [after easily defeating the boy in combat] Ha, ha, never assume because a man has no eyes he cannot see. Close your eyes. What do you hear?
    Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
    Master Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
    Young Caine: No.
    Master Po: Do you hear the grasshopper that is at your feet?
    Young Caine: [looking down and seeing the insect] Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
    Master Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?

  3. Ned Ludd

    “Far worse than Cantor.”

    What sort of dastardly deeds will former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Senator John Breaux be performing for the evil Russian government?

    Gazprombank GPB (OJSC), a Russian bank targeted with sanctions by President Obama over the Ukraine crisis, has hired two former U.S. senators to lobby against those sanctions

    * faints *

    1. ambrit

      Probably the same dastardly deeds they do for their Western clients: fellatio, buggery, felching, influence peddling. They are, if nothing else, full service lobbyists.

    2. Ned Ludd

      Why is it particularly awful when a United States senator goes to work for a Russian bank? Both Trent Lott and John Breaux voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq, which resulted in over half a million deaths. Of course, those deaths were in the interests of U.S. imperialism.

      As Madeleine Albright remarked, when asked about sacrificing half a million Iraqi children under the age of five on the altar of U.S. imperialism:

      I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

      Wouldn’t it be horrible if Madeleine Albright started lobbying for a Russian bank? Some things are excusable, but some things are beyond the pale.

      1. frosty zoom

        wouldn’t it be just as bad if she lobbied for bank of america or chase or gs or or or or or or?

        1. Ned Ludd

          In the links above, Dayen claims that lobbying for Gazprombank is “Far worse than Cantor.” Eric Cantor joined a Wall Street bank, as a vice chairman and managing director.

          The anti-Russia propaganda is demonstrating the effectiveness of the multiple source effect. It shows up in stories and comments, as received wisdom, on almost all English-language news sites. For example, from yesterday, on the technology news site Slashdot:

          Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

    3. Tom Allen

      And then there’s the VP’s son, Hunter Biden, who’s on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Where there’s war, there’s profit to be made.

      1. Ned Ludd

        That is true, and clearly Trent Lott and John Breaux are just cashing in. However, stories like the one about Hunter Biden are fading into the background as the media adopts a pervasive anti-Russia and anti-Putin narrative. It reminds me of the media’s saber rattling 12 years ago.

        How soon before people in the U.S. support airstrikes in Ukraine? The polls have already swung around for Syria.

        According to the poll, 60 percent of Americans now support airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, while 20 percent are opposed. […]

        Support for intervening in Syria has grown dramatically in the past year. A HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted last September found that only 13 percent of Americans thought the U.S. should use airstrikes, while 62 percent said it should not. […]

        The latest poll also shows bipartisan support for the airstrikes that have already begun in Iraq. Sixty-four percent of Democrats, 57 percent of independents and 73 percent of Republicans said they support the decision to authorize strikes there.

        American support for intervening abroad has also grown more generally. A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday found that the percentage of Americans saying the U.S. is doing too little to help solve the world’s problems has doubled since November.

        Why are Trent Lott and John Breaux “Far worse than Cantor“, as Dayen claims? Apparently, we should despise those whose actions obstruct U.S. foreign policy towards Russia; even if their actions are as banal as lobbying against sanctions.

        1. DJG

          These are polls of American fantasies. Does anyone know how weakened U.S. armed forces are by years of over-extension, plundering through privatization, and pure cheapness (soldiers on food stamps and such?)? If Americans want to intervene overseas, then let’s reinstitute the draft. (Those poll numbers will change in two seconds then.)

        2. rich

          Criminals and corrupt politicians steal $1trn a year from the world’s poorest countries

          The staggering cost of corruption is revealed in a study published today by ONE, the anti-poverty group co-founded by the rock star Bono. It calls on the G20 group of rich nations, including Britain, to expose the anonymous shell companies which are used to “rip off” poor countries. According to ONE, the millions diverted from poverty-stricken nations is channelled through banks and secret companies in places including London, Delaware and Hong Kong.

          The ONE report, The Trillion Dollar Scandal, says: “Corruption is perhaps the greatest threat to economic growth in developing countries and the uncomfortable truth is that, all too often, money diverted from their own budgets ends up in G20 countries and their related jurisdictions.”

          It adds: “Illegal manipulation of cross-border trade is the biggest source of losses to poor countries. The secrecy that allows that activity to thrive may also help to conceal financial flows related to criminal bribery and theft by government officials, human trafficking and/or the illegal sale of arms and contraband, depending on the circumstances.”

          Some 70 per cent of the 213 biggest corruption cases between 1980 and 2010 involved anonymous shell companies, according to ONE.

          “These phantom firms are essential tools of the trade for money launderers. They may hide the identities of individuals who profit from illegal activities, including the trafficking of arms, drugs and people, the theft of public funds and/or illegal tax evasion.

          “In dozens of jurisdictions around the world, a phantom firm can be created with less information than is needed to obtain a driving licence or open a bank account. Currently completely legal, they exist solely on paper, and allow the people who own or control them (the ‘beneficial owners’) to keep their identities hidden.”

          The report says that governments, law enforcement agencies and ordinary citizens face “an impossible task” when they try to reclaim the “stolen assets.” It adds: “They are thwarted by the ease with which criminals can create complex, multi-layered financial structures in which an anonymous shell company can be owned by another shell company or a trust, resulting in a nearly impenetrable web of secrecy that can block even the best law enforcement efforts.”

          1. JerseyJeffersonian

            Jeez, doesn’t that Biden kid come from…Delaware?

            Perhaps a more relevant question might be, from whose loins did he spring, and under whose tutelage was he raised? Yes, an edifying meditation, that.

      2. MtnLife

        That statement, while truthful, might be even more so flipped around. “Where there’s profit to be made, there’s war.” No one really cared about the Novorussian area until it was time to go frack the crap out of it. Suddenly, all these boogeymen “show up”. We (Big Oil, Monsanto) weren’t making money off of Iraq owning all their oil wells and heritage/heirloom farms so our military action there was just, ya know, the “unintended outcome of rational profit maximizing behavior”. (*Sigh* that phrase is going to get sooo much use)

        1. Gabriel

          My hero in “Catch 22” is the US soldier who supplies both sides in the war – a true patriot to his own cause..

          I forget this unforgettable character’s name. Certainly a supremely cynical and hypocritical creation.

      1. Ned Ludd

        How is lobbying against sanctions a form of treason? Do you think it should be against the law to lobby against current U.S. foreign policy?

        1. MtnLife

          I think he may be viewing it in a WWII state of mind where most Americans would have viewed Congresscritters taking money to lobby for Japan to be treason.

      2. Ned Ludd

        Was every person who lobbied against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq guilty of treason, because they opposed the promulgations of the executive branch?

      3. JerseyJeffersonian

        Perhaps this is a question also reasonably directed toward George W. Bush, whose grandfather was caught doing business with the Nazis even after war had been declared between Germany and the US. Oh, rats.

    4. Whine Country

      Lott, Breaux and Gazprombank are just doing bid-ness.. We a do a lot of bid-ness with the world and that is the best reason to not go to war with each other. It’s them folks that you can’t do bid-ness with that are a real problem.

      1. Gabriel

        Yes, blurring the “a cause for treason” is one way to run the world and establish world peace.

        Make it all bid-ness, like Milo Minderbindger.

        1. Whine Country

          I think you meant Milo Minderbinder and, yes, Joseph Heller had it all figured out a long time ago.

  4. dearieme

    “Independent Scotland could not join EU without central bank, expert says”: if “independent” is to mean what it says then Scotland shouldn’t join the EU anyway. Nor should it join NATO.

      1. James Levy

        Monbiot did a cute thought experiment yesterday to “prove” how anyone who didn’t support Scottish independence was a conformist idiot. Well, two can play at that game. I live in the hill country of rural Western Massachusetts. Let’s pretend that, to escape those evil people in Washington and Manhattan, my state, along with VT, NH, and Maine formed our own little union and seceded from the USA (the way Monbiot wants the Scots to abandon those nasty people in London).

        Now comes the fun part: what do we sell, what do we need to buy, and how are we going to pay for it and in what currency? And, even more fun, who among us are going to cut these deals, with whom, and under what conditions/stipulations? To put it bluntly, how soon before we start “strip mining” the forest and coastal resources we have in order to pay our bills? What becomes of our regional environmental ethos when its a question of spare parts, medicine, and fuel versus cutting down forests or begging the IMF for a loan? And what guarantee do we have that our local elites won’t be taken or bought the way they were in Ireland, Portugal, and Greece?

        If we are going to beat the beast, we’re going to have to do it from the inside, because the United States of New England isn’t going to make Washington and Wall Street change their tunes.

        1. MtnLife

          Hey, you’re probably less than an hour away from me right now (working at NH, MA, VT border). Nice area you’re in, so unfortunate it’s in MA. ;-) Now to your point, we all know currency is just a made up fantasy. If everyone in those states proclaimed Monopoly money to be the standard currency it would be so. I think you are also confusing independence with complete isolationism. Becoming our own country would not mean we’d stop trading with the US or Canada, or that the people who own 2nd/3rd/4th/+ homes here are going to abandon them, or that we produce nothing here that isn’t wanton resource destruction. What do people in the US do when they need a part for their Mercedes? Are they SOL because they aren’t in Germany? No, they order it. It’s a little thing called trade. I think your argument is also couched in the “GDP Growth For-evah!” framework which we all know is unsustainable. Those areas you mentioned are almost all net tax contributors. VT gets only $0.75 back out of every dollar we send to the Feds. On this point, your argument would make total sense if we were talking about Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, etc who are all net Federal “takers”.
          I do agree that it needs to come from within/start locally because, even now, there is too much industry capture of our politicians. A straight shift to a new govt with the same faces would totally suck. That’s why we need strong local governments and then take proven, unselfish leaders and promote them upwards. You need a strong foundation to build a proper (political) skyscraper – changing the faces using the executive penthouse toilets does little.

          1. James Levy

            I can order a part from Mercedes because I am (or was) paid in dollars and they take dollars. I can get fuel for my car because I have access to dollars and the Nigerians, Mexicans, Saudis, etc. take dollars. If my state quits the US, no more dollars. Unless you have the world reserve currency at your fingertips, or want to take out loans from the IMF or on the bond market, you need dollars–your monopoly money won’t cut it. There’s the rub.

    1. ambrit

      I’ve just had a better thought. Scotland should take the lead in forming a Nasser like “Northlands Federation.” It would consist of Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Greenland. (The Russians could help by donating Novaya Zemlya, where all the seeds are stored.) Greenland leads the pack in that it actually left the EEU in 1985. It also was, until very recently, a part of Denmark. They could give the Scots helpful advice about partitioning from a previous Dominion.
      Other nations that might consider joining a “Northlands Federation” would be the other Scandinavian Countries and Ireland. Belfast might want to follow Scotland’s lead and have a Plebescite and then join the Federation. (And you wondered why there were so many Nordics in Starfleet.)
      This entire project is a natural extension of my earlier rant about the dynamics of the Libyan dissolution.

        1. ambrit

          You are right good sir, or madam. Thus, we need Norway to guarantee our stranglehold on the genetic heritage of our good Earth. Strategy will be realigned accordingly.

    2. sd

      Iceland does not belong to the EU to maintain its rights in its fishing grounds. (see cod wars) it’s membership in NATO still remains controversial.
      Speaking of NATO, why is a “trade organization” actually an army?

    1. Banger

      Yes, and they support all our “enemies” except Russia and Iran. One of the hallmarks of a controlled press is when they ignore major stories, i.e., the connection between the Saudi Kingdom and terrorism and many others that should be glaringly obvious. The other, of course, is how they airbrush people from history–people who disappear from the news suddenly because they express an opinion that is not in line with the Narrative.

  5. Murky

    Linked below is a story all about Russian neo-nazis. Russian has ‘nazis’ too? Yep! Here are the Russian ‘nazi’ political parties and their leaders:

    Russian National Unity headed by Aleksandr Barkashov
    Eurasian Youth Union headed by Aleksandr Dugin
    National Bolshevik Party headed by Edward Limonov
    Black Hundreds led by Anton Raevski

    These Russian ‘nazi’ groups have been evolving since the early 1990s. Some of them use real swastikas for their party symbols! But don’t worry. Most of these people and parties are tiny groups of extremists; they are not influential. Except for Dugin’s group. Dugin is Putin’s top ideologist.

    So now ya’ll know ‘nazis’ exist in Russia too. Not news to me. Probably news for you.

    1. Jackrabbit

      ‘Nazis’ of some shape or form are in many countries. In Ukraine they have a role in government.

  6. Brindle

    Listening to Obama’s speech in Estonia—embarrassing. He speaks as if he is talking to 5th -6th graders. Demonizing Russia of course. His whole public persona is an act—he is a very cynical man. Obama says “Our Ideals will win, justice will win, democracy will win” —-what a f**k**g joke.

    1. Ned Ludd

      I have noticed the same thing about Rachel Maddow. She speaks in a patronizing manner, as if she is lecturing a particularly slow-witted group of children.

      1. MtnLife

        That’s how they become Very Serious People. In our society, if you don’t patronize you obviously have no clue what you talking about. The plebes see it as a lack of confidence if you don’t preach. That and most Americans are really stupid. Talking in an intelligent manner would probably go right over their heads and inspire anger in them for “usin’ all them fancy words”.

        1. Banger

          I think you can speak to the American people sensibly but anyone who can is not allowed on the media–you must be either incomprehensible or wave tribal flags or both to be allowed to address the public by the oligarchs. This is why the language is so degraded–check George Carlin’s many critiques of language.

          1. MtnLife

            I wasn’t alive then so I may have this wrong but – didn’t Ford try to tell the American people to get their sh*t together and got voted out for it?

            Totally agree that they won’t put reasonable people on. Someone upthread (possibly even you) mentioned about how they keep Lang off the air now. They do occasionally make errors in judgement. My favorite was when Airbag O’Reilly invited two major hip hop figures (Damon Dash and Cam’ron) onto his show thinking they were uneducated black people. They schooled him (he had to shout over their well made points even more than usual) and it was hilarious.

      2. neo-realist

        Rachel angers me not because of her more intellectual than thou delivery, but because for all her intelligence, she pretty much preaches the establishment line just like the bleach blond de-facto Playboy models on Fox News, if a centimeter to the left.

      3. Leeskyblue

        That is exactly the intellectual level of the people she is “lecturing.”
        The internet is loaded with more substantive material than any of us can possibly consume.
        Why waste your time with MSNBC?
        They’re in a ratings war with Fox and, like Fox, that is all they are about.
        Every few weeks, when ratings lag, like clockwork, Bill O’Reilly provokes a bogus fight with Rachel and all of their epsilon male an female viewers jump up and down, and screech on Huff Post about the experience. Their viewers never tire of the charade.
        They all seem to have a good time.
        Why waste your time?

    2. Jim Haygood

      Okay, Brindle, the prez read your comment and decided to up the ante. No more Mr. Nice Guy:

      TALLINN, Estonia — President Obama vowed on Wednesday to punish the Sunni militants whose videotaped beheadings of two American journalists he said had “repulsed” the world, saying the United States would lead a regional and international coalition to beat back the terrorists.

      “Our objective is clear, and that is: degrade and destroy ISIL so that it’s no longer a threat, not just to Iraq but also to the region and to the United States,” Mr. Obama said. He was speaking at a news conference here on the eve of a NATO summit meeting in Wales, as pressure built for him to articulate a broader military strategy to take on the ISIS militants.

      “It’s not only that we’re going to be bringing to justice those who perpetrated this terrible crime against these two fine young men,” the president said. “The United States will continue to lead a regional and international effort against the kind of barbaric and ultimately empty vision” the group represents.


      We showed al Qaeda and the Taliban. Now these ISIS punks are gonna feel our wrath. Those loud explosions show how much we care.

      1. abynormal

        Aug.28 “We don’t have a strategy yet” 6 days later “Our Objective is Clear”…

        “Never attribute to malevolence what is merely due to incompetence”
        Clarke, 3001: The Final Odyssey

      2. Whine Country

        Yeah, we gonna kick their asses. I thought I just read that ISIS is starting to use the “blend-in” tactic that every bad guy group eventually adopts in the Middle East.(I guess that also applies to Ukraine these days) The pattern I see is that we definitely kick ass without exception up till the bad guys “blend in” with the population. Hell, even Dick Chaney warned us against continuing when the Iraqis were about to “blend-in” during the first Gulf War. (Never figured out what made him change his mind when he went to work for Junior) . Out in the open we are a lean, mean killing machine. But not when they “blend-in”. So now what are we going to do? No one knows how to deal with them bad guys when they “blend-in”. Well, when it comes to the Middle East, maybe there is one country. Yuk, don’t want to go there.

    1. sd

      The fissure rift in Iceland is growing and has extended to under the glacier which in all likelihood means glacial flooding or jökulhlaup. The eruption in Iceland looks far from over, especially with the most recent quakes.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      And just coincidentally, NASA is developing an air traffic control system for drones at a facility, again purely coincidentally, about four miles from Google’s Mountain View headquarters:

      Well, whaddya know? Guess those drones are gonna be positively bristling with sensors, purely for safety reasons, I should imagine. But what if these sensors could be sorta hijacked (NSA anybody?) to be used for another means of surveillance in real time here in meat space? Wouldn’t that be really keen?

      But maybe that’d be just a bit paranoic, just like all of this talk about electronic/computer/phone surveillance…

  7. fresno dan

    “Fournier’s basic point – one that has become the conventional wisdom across a good portion of the punditocracy this summer – is that in this new age of terrorism, Obama is failing to lead. As Fournier writes, “What’s unique about our times is the nature of the threats—suicidal, homicidal, genocidal terrorists, well armed and organized, seeking the destruction of the United States. The other difference: the lack of Western leadership, starting with the president himself.”

    Much of that recent dissatisfaction centers on Obama’s apparent lack of a strategy for dealing with IS (the Islamic State). For Fournier, recent statements by Obama’s chief cabinet advisers – Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel regarding the serious nature of the threat posed by IS to the United States belies Obama’s overly cautious military approach and his characterization of IS as, at best, a regional nuisance. That disjunction in tone and in policy preferences, Fournier suggests, is evidence that Obama’s “team is divided, confused, perhaps broken.”
    There is nothing new about this disjunction in perspectives – it is as old as the Constitution. In listening to the pundits braying about Obama’s lethargy and lack of decisiveness, I was reminded of the similar criticism leveled against FDR in the summer of 1941, including from his own cabinet advisers. As Hitler gobbled up Europe and turned his eyes on the Soviet Union, with only Great Britain still holding out, and the Japanese ran wild in the Southeast Asia, Roosevelt, in his advisers’ eyes, dithered. The late historian James MacGregor Burns, in his excellent study Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom, recalls that by May, 1941 “a deepening crisis of confidence enveloped the [Roosevelt] administration”. Roosevelt’s Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and Interior Secretary Harold Ickes met secretly to discuss ways of pressuring FDR to act; “all agreed that Roosevelt was failing to lead, that the country wanted more action and less talk.”

    As someone who came of age in the 70’s it seemed to me that the US press had an anti war with pacifistic tendencies and a healthy dose of anti establishment mindset on the whole, and that is how it would continue. I didn’t realize that the anti war mentally I grew up with at the end of Vietnam was really such an anomaly (at the beginning we had Barry Sadler’s Ballet of the Green Beret) and that the default zeitgeist for the country was to be always interjecting ourselves somewhere.
    Nothing like age to see beneath the veneer…..

      1. sd

        I should elaborate – any time you read the words, “conventional wisdom,” assume the wisdom is false. That is what was meant by “feature not a bug”

        1. James Levy

          The idea that IS is even remotely an “existential threat” to the United States shows what idiots we are dealing with. Russia’s nuclear arsenal is an existential threat to the US, as would be an airborne plague, a supervolcano eruption, or an asteroid strike. That’s it. People who can’t beat the rump Syrian army aren’t. That talk like this is uttered and repeated by ostensibly educated people “in the know” is a staggering indictment of the American ruling elites.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      It is also important to know how widely and how deeply the Viet Nam war and its chief personal beneficiary, Richard M Nixon cleansed the blind patriotic allegiance to war and political leaders. The movies with secret agents, also on TV were always battling the commies. I Spy, Mission Impossible and the Man From Uncle, with the red beret threat from a cheaply disguised Soviet threat called Thrush. Even the Marvel comic books had Thor battling the Viet Cong, so evil was the communist threat. But all of that changed by 1970. So thoroughly discredited was the American National Security apparatus, that it never really recovered favorable treatment in the halcyon days of the 1950s All American cultural consensus.

      I am sure the high brow types here never watch Steven Seagal movies. But what they showed was an extensive corruption of the society and the government at levels, with the worst of the worst coming from truly evil CIA types who would reach down to everyday neighborhoods in search of restoring some sort of national security. The CIA has become such a corrupting veil that seems to cover what joy is left in being an American with all of the attendant material benefits, that it shows up over and over again in one story line after another as the out of control deus ex machina, a murderous influence that can show up and void with impunity any local police investigation, trump any mundane federal operation against mere drug dealers or arms merchants. There is no widespread blind allegiance to America when the CIA is seen as the front line of the national defense most of the time, and even the conspiracy theorists no matter how ridiculous or without facts or evidence can find a large audience and fill the void where once trust in the honorable intentions of America stood admired with pride, of being on the right side of history and doing the decent, humane thing more often than not. That is gone with the wind.

      1. Banger

        The CTs you talk about have abundant evidence including the fact the CIA, DIA, NSA have infiltrated all levels of media to control the Narrative despite clear smoking gun, literally, evidence that counters the official stories. Other than great and highly articulate post.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          No, I am not talking about CIA conspiracies being ridiculous, I am talking about any bad thing happening being a plot by the US Government, like 9/11. I am talking about my neighbors complaining that there is ammunition shortage, a plot by the government. When I explain that every weekend, 10 million shooters descend on shooting ranges with at least 100 rounds, the amount of bullets fired in year, compounded with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our supplying many of our allies around the world with ammo, plus police departments with shooting ranges, well, you can guess that billions of rounds of ammo shot can cause a squeeze in supply in the face of a fixed amount of productive capacity. But no, it’s a conspiracy. These are what he average person sees. Or Israel behind 9/11 when the plane was loaded with Saudis who practiced how to fly but not land.

          Either I am not writing clearly enough or we are all way too pissed off, but it seems to me that the Steven Seagal movies I was describing shows the average person making box office gold about plot lines that regularly reveal the CIA to be a law unto itlself, as the his movie “Above the Law” portrays. What I was saying is that the American public does not have an appetite for the ballad of the Green Berets, in all of its cornball sentimentality. What I am saying, is that in popular culture, the CIA is seen as a malevolent force, not protecting Americans but protecting some awful behind the scenes arrangement where the criminals are a part of some scheme to ensure national defense and the locals can get a handle on their social ills due to being shielded by the Feds at high levels of beyond top secret shielding.

          A more recent and devastating indictment of CIA corruption of America is in a recent movie, “

          1. Paul Tioxon

            TWO GUNS” with big Hollywood stars playing under cover DEA and Navy Intel who are in turned left to twist in the wind when they stumble upon a CIA tax of the Mexican Drug Cartels. What was thought was a cash stash of drug dealers, was really the tribute paid to the CIA for license to do business. It reveals the off the books funding for the CIA is dependent upon criminal enterprises that is devastating civil society. I don’t think you could come up with a more evil view of the official government agency of the CIA than that. This movie is playing on HBO. It makes the government look really bad.

            But that is not conspiracy as much as sociology, well known and understood in the local politics across the nation and around the world. Criminal enterprises must pay tribute to stay in business or be crushed by the state. See Boardwalk Empire for another example of this in popular culture, based upon the book by the grandson of the former boss of Atlantic City. I think you mistake my disdain for conspiracy theorists with Network TV newspaper people who make fun of Kennedy Assassination books and movies. The people know differently. The CTs I target are the Jews controlling the Negroe against the white man klan BS, the commie plots when the Soviet Union is gone, the UFOs the Nazis the Lizard people inside the hollow earth and the rogue CIA scientists who use satellites to conduct mind control experiments on the population. What’s going on in the Ukraine is an unsortable mess with The American, Russian and Ukranian National Security Apparatus locked in a steel cage death match. Good luck to all of you trying to figure it out. Both the US and Russia are in violation of their own treaty with one another and the Ukraine over that nation’s neutrality.

          2. MtnLife

            After accounting for military action and all the new ammunition ordered by our “peaceful” government departments (like NOAA and Social Security, WTF do they need .45 cal rounds for?), a good deal of the ammo shortage is due to hoarding. You’d be frightened (or encouraged depending on point of view) to know how many people have 10,000+ rounds hidden away in their house. .22 ammo is nearly impossible to find now due to its survivalist uses: ease of use, load out capacity (amount you can take with you), and versatility (defense [yes, it’ll take more shots but, hey, they’re cheap], small game [larger if using illegal hunting techniques]). This hoarding was driven largely in part by the NRA propaganda of the government taking all the guns away in the time surrounding Sandy Hook. It has now become a self-sustaining shortage due to people being freaked out that there is no ammo in stores so they stock up even more which causes even more shortages. A lot of ammo sellers have started putting limits on the amount you can buy (often 3 boxes) as people started coming in first thing in the morning on delivery days and buying out the entire shipment. I will admit, I’m guilty of this too. Not anywhere near the same degree but I do hoard 75% of what I buy, using the rest to stay in practice. Thankfully my pistol uses one of the slightly less preferred rounds so finding ammo isn’t nearly as hard as it is for say .45 cal or 9mm.

              1. ambrit

                I’ve got an old sporterized Lee Enfield myself. Ammo is running near to $1 a round now. Learning to reload my own brass is next in the skills set.

    2. Whine Country

      “at the beginning we had Barry Sadler’s Ballet of the Green Beret”

      and not much longer we had Country Joe and the Fish “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag”:
      For it’s one, two, three what are we fighting for
      Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn
      Next stop is Viet Nam
      The difference between the two periods was that in Barry Sadler’s time, we had a very small contingency that consisted mostly of advisers. At Joe Mcdonal’s time Johnson had escalated the war to 500,000. Indeed, prior to the time Sgt. Sadler’s song was released 2,344 soldiers had lost their lives. In late 1967, when I trained at Tigerland in Ft. Polk, LA the instructors tried to comfort us by telling us that more people are killed on our highways in vehicle accidents in one year than had been killed in the entire Viet Nam war to that date. We were then shipped to the war zone in early 1968. (Just over 20,000 soldiers had been killed during the entire war through 1967 and just over 50,000 died on our highways in 1967) According to Wikipedia (The Battle of Saigon 1968): “From January to July 1968 the overall rate of men killed in action in Vietnam would reach an all time high and would exceed the rate for the Korean War and the Mediterranean and Pacific theaters during World War II.” America’s attitude changed because of this. The figure above for cumulative deaths goes back to 1956. The figure for 1968 was 16,899, so in one year the death toll dating from 1976 almost doubled. These numbers tell me that the backlash that the politicians faced at that time and in the ensuing years was inevitable and shows the measure of incompetence in our leadership then. I don’t mean to sound crass but if you call yourself a leader, you cannot put up numbers like that and expect support from ANYONE. My position is that the ONLY way we can continue to wage wars that are poorly planned and executed as is happening today, is with an “all-volunteer” military. The attitude of the public is, these guys are professionals, they made their own beds and they can just sleep in them. But the truth is that a very large number of young people who enlist for military service do so just to get a decent job because our economy has been turned to shit. That’s not volunteering! Don’t believe me about the “all voluntary” military being the key to sending in the troops every time sole policy genius can mobilize some support in DC, just follow this link and read this article from Salon Magazine:

      And here we are again, the public favors military action by a large margin. Let’s try the same thing again and hope for a different result. Google those words and see what comes up.

      1. VietnamVet

        The end of the draft meant the end of the people’s army that fought America’s Wars since the Revolution. The Volunteer Army allowed fighting the forever wars in the Middle East. The problem is that after 24 years and counting conflict with Iraq and 13 years in Afghanistan even the pay to fight army is worn out. It is psychotic to think that wars can be won with drone assassination or even B-52 arc light raids. Our Plutocrats are hell bent on grabbing Eurasia’s resources but to do so will require taxing themselves and drafting people to fight their wars. But, there is a fat chance of that happening. Operation Barbarossa had 3 million boots on the ground and failed. The only possible outcome of the current Ukraine land grab and Putin Regime Change Campaign is failure or a nuclear holocaust.

  8. Benedict@Large

    I’m really impressed by Putin. Not only did he have the cajones to invade Ukraine, he also had the intelligence and foresight to do it along a route that had absolutely no I-phones. Now that is one clever man. No wonder Obama is so distressed over it all. All he’s got is a bunch of recycled Neocons who didn’t even have the brains to plant WMDs in Iraq.

    1. Jackrabbit

      I heard he was raised by snakes and wolves. He mud wrestled with crocodiles as a teen. And learned Jedi mind tricks from yoda himself via Russia’s super-secret trans-dimensional thingamabob.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have been hanging around with economists too long here, I guess, that when all those comments about Russia and Ukraine are posted in plain English, I feel lost.

          Maybe if they can be couched in economics/financial lingo or mathematical equations, the whole situation will be easier to understand.

          1. Paul Niemi

            I have been trying to understand Putin. Recently I watched a fly-over video of some of Russia, and I think I’m beginning to understand, at least more than before. I think he is leading a weak, rather poor nation, but it is remarkable in a few ways: it has 50 percent more fresh water resources than the U.S.; it has almost as much arable farmland, that has yet been cleared; it has, some say, $75 Trillion worth of available natural resources; and it sure looks to me like it has the world’s last great reserve of undeveloped or underdeveloped prime real estate for residential. What if Putin, in a “Russia for Russians” context, truly believes he must go to any length to defend this awesome heritage from the onslaught of Western investment and development? Perhaps he truly fears the Russian people will lose it all, if the country is opened up, and he must do anything to hold out as long as he can? I’m undecided about this, but it is a way to look at Russia that could help explain what we see.

            1. MtnLife

              Ding! One look at American MO – shock and awe, destroy infrastructure and local business, insert American companies, loot loot loot loot and repeat – would make anyone seriously consider the future of their country under American “leadership”. Russia would survive quite well in a non-petro dominated world being rich in the “real” things in life – clean water, arable land (without GMO contamination), natural building materials, etc. The key is holding out long enough until that world arrives because as you pointed out, they really are kind of weak due to geographical features (or more precisely, lack thereof).

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Nice analysis, Paul. As it is the case usually, it’s about money.

              Not ‘as much as you can issue’ type of money, but real world money.

              I would add the ‘location, location, location’ factor. She links North America with Asia and Europe.

  9. mk

    The New Face of Hunger – National Geographic – Heard our Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on the radio yesterday talking about poverty in Los Angeles and raising minimum wage to $13.25 per hour.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When money is so concentrated into a smaller and smaller place, it attracts more money (like attracts like), and starts to bend truth-light travelling nearby (experimentally verified), but eventually it will go supernova and then, that money will be sent shooting out from the dark place, spread everywhere.

        Money Concentration > Wealth Supernova > Monetary Entropy Maximization

        That’s how it works in the real Money Universe.

        And people look up in the sky and say, a supernova is the most beautiful event in the whole universe.

        1. ambrit

          Much as I like your imagery, I must point out that super dense concentrations of money can also bend the very fabric of space and time around them and create Singularities from which nothing ever escapes. Much like the legend of Atlantis, in ages to come, after the worlds sea level will have reached its’ plus 205 foot total melt out height, peoples will marvel at the lost empires of City and Wall. “The Lord grew wroth at the profligacy of the peoples of the plains and smote them with floods and pestilences.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It sounds like you are saying taxes are like black holes…Money goes in and is gone (destroyed).

            1. ambrit

              Dear MLTPB;
              There are taxes, and there are Taxes.
              The taxes used by governments can level the playing field somewhat by reducing inequality. Who cares what it is used for. (A Black Hole is, after all, a bridge to literally Nowhere.)
              The taxes leveled by rent extractors create high vacuum regions in the lives of most ‘ordinary’ people. These create something more akin to the infamous ‘Black Hole of Calcutta.’
              So, under classical Keynsian Mechanics, one Black Hole is used to alleviate the other kind of Black Hole; Dueling Singularities! Algebraically it would be expressed as: 0+0=/<1

          2. frosty zoom


            we’re just gonna ride the qe wormhole through the stargate until we reach an age where we can ride dinosaurs once again!

  10. MikeNY

    Stopped clock or whatever, but Tom Friedman (whom I unaccountably bothered to read today) actually mostly makes sense on ISIS — up to the point where he starts talking about The Coalition.

    Yes, we helped break the Middle East. But we cannot fix it, and we should stop trying. Our meddling over there only breeds evil.

  11. MtnLife

    Re: the Greek strawberry shooting
    So I read the story as well as Vangelatos’ reply. The whole thing about shooting workers instead of paying them is horrible – can’t wait for that to come to America! Oops, better not give US industrialists ideas. Otherwise, the rest of the story could have been anywhere here (abused illegals working farms for less than minimum wage). In this whole story(ies) there is not one mention of him possibly getting in trouble for smuggling and hiring illegals. His only concern is that people think he raises “blood strawberries”, not that he breaks laws with impunity for his profit and their “cheap” fruit.

        1. Ned Ludd

          Why is this term used only for people who break immigration laws? Why aren’t Wall Street crooks called “illegals”? Or people who drive while intoxicated?

          My grandfather called Italians “wops”, and my uncle referred to Hispanic immigrants as “wetbacks”. It was publicly accepted, where they grew up.

          1. MtnLife

            I’d posit that the reason for this is the age in which it came about. According to Merriam illegal was first used as a noun to describe illegal immigrants in 1939. At that point Wall St had only crashed us once (people often forgive first errors, it’s those subsequent ones that piss them off) and driving while intoxicated was not yet a major portion of auto deaths (the early cars themselves were death traps, a little alcohol in the mix probably wasn’t viewed as a primary driver of accidents). Yet this was after a period of decades of immigration and the economic conditions of the Great Depression – I’d almost (humorously) wager this was probably the time of origin of the “they took our jobs!” phrase, too.

          2. trish

            “Why aren’t Wall Street crooks called “illegals”? yes. not even called crooks.
            some of the biggest criminals are wined and dined at the white house, while people just trying to survive, feed their families are “illegals.” and today protesters against bad laws or corporate/govt criminality are called “terrorists” and turned into criminals.

        2. trish

          publicly accepted. that doesn’t mean much re whether it’s right, good, something we all should accept, shrug our shoulders at. I find it offensive. because, well…human beings. admittedly I find calling them illegal aliens offensive, too, but shortening it to illegals seems to even further dehumanize these men, women, and children.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Detroit on Edge….LA Times.

    Los Angeles Infrastructure Cracks…NYT

    Interesting that important matters are covered by out of town newspapers.

    Perhaps we should get news about the US from another country, like, Andorra.

  13. Louis

    From the CNBC article: “” Bove said in a report he sent to clients Tuesday. “This means higher monthly payments and lower housing prices. It means a crisis in the mortgage markets—and the economy.”

    Considering how dysfunctional the current housing market is—investors are increasingly crowding out those who actually want to buy a house to live in—would lower housing prices really be such a bad thing?

    More importantly, something eventually has to give: housing and rent prices both increasing while wages fail to keep up is unsustainable.

    1. sd

      An observation, as interest rates go up and housing prices come down, the monthly payment stays relatively the same. However, some of the other costs for insurance, taxes, etc will go down. Ultimately, lower prices are only ‘bad’ if you bought high with the intention of selling higher.

      1. abynormal

        from atl. recent home tax increased again but worse home ins. almost doubled. shopped around and agents said lumber etc were going up. just rec’d notice our water bill would increase another 20%. another GA power hike is around the corner due to 2 new plants. food sticker shocks are continuing…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Luckily, food and energy, while not optional, are not core…Not sure what that word ‘core’ means, but that shouldn’t stop me from writing about it.

          Besides, if vegetables are too expensive, smart food shoppers know to switch to junk food…smarter than me, anyway. I am too dumb to make that substitution.

      2. Louis

        The monthly payment stays the same, provided you have a fixed-rate mortgage or loan; an adjustable rate is a different story. Interest-only loans can be variable as well and may–per Ives’ recent piece on the securitzed rental shell game–precipitate a collapse (at least regionally) when rates go up.

        1. jrs

          I think they were talking about the monthly payment for new buyers, which is true, if housing cost go down when interest rates go up (and they should tend to) the monthly payment will not change.

  14. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    All this arguing over US/Russian/NATO/Ukrainian motives, level of involvement, treachery, and criminality is ludicrous. The “debate” is so widespread that the question of whether there is a war or not is even on the table.

    Putin, Obama, the Ukraine oligarchs, NATO, and everyone else fomenting this shit storm are equally guilty.

    We have millions of unemployed young people with no where to turn, and nothing to do. A perfect breeding ground for anger, resentment, hopelessness, and the need to redeem one’s self as a productive member of society. Our Army, in waiting. Europe and Russia both have theirs, too.

    Where are the calls for peace?

    1. MtnLife

      Peace doesn’t make the MIC money and it gives the people too much time to think about how bad the situation at home is. If our resources (and public attention) weren’t directed towards military conflicts one could reason the pressure to use those resources to help the less fortunate amongst us here at home would be much greater and the oligarchs might have to share some of that wealth. Does anyone remember the last time we weren’t at war at all? I’m drawing a blank.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Howdy, MtnLife,

        I remember the last time the world called for peace (I was out among them) — it was just before we launched our criminal war against the Iraqi people.

        Nary a peep, nowadays.

        1. MtnLife

          I wasn’t really on the point of people calling for peace (but well noted), I feel the anti-war people keep that up regularly with other portions of society jumping in occasionally (or not so occasionally), but the fact that we have had our military engaged somewhere, in some fashion, as long as I’ve been alive. We were in Afghanistan before/during/after the Iraqi War. And are we counting only large scale actions? War on Terror first started in what, 1992, with the first World Trade bombing. We were in Kuwait in the 90’s and the Cold War (and subsequent hot proxy skirmishes) before that.

          1. MtnLife

            I just realized that wasn’t as clear as I meant it to be. My point about us being constantly at war was an observation on how that might affect the general populations view on calling for peace – almost as if we don’t know any other way to live, not that we shouldn’t be doing it. Apologies if that came across skewed.

    2. jrs

      Wars are like bubbles, sooner or later one gets tired of hearing “this time is different!” If only the U.S. were like the fictional town in “the boy who cried wolf” we would have at least had enough of them.

  15. Greg Taylor

    Regarding the “North Carolina Union” article –

    In North Carolina public sector unions are illegal. The State Employees Association of NC has no power to collectively bargain for wages, call for strikes or other activities normally associated with unions – it’s all illegal in NC and throughout much of the southern US. I’m a member and the organization uses it’s extremely limited powers to publicize some issues important to state workers and taxpayers. To call it a union is Orwellian.

    It’s disappointing to continually read headlines about “union activity” in North Carolina when fewer than 3% of workers in the state are members.

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