Links 11/10/14

Breaking: 7-Eleven deploys pigs as store pets Bangkok Coconuts (furzy mouse)

Robert Frank at 90: the photographer who revealed America won’t look back Guardian

Oil Sands Companies Under Pressure Following Wildlife Deaths OilPrice

Something Called ‘The Race To Zero’ Is Scaring A Lot Of Tech Companies Business Insider (David L)

Enormous bitcoin “mining” operation goes up in flames Lambert: “Makes me think somebody wasn’t getting a cut. There are two sides to regulatory arbitrage, after all.”

Banks fight stores on cyber-attack bills Financial Times

The city on the hill: Democracy, human rights and all that take a back seat in America’s Asia policy Economist

Leaders of China, Japan hold ice-breaking meeting in Beijing South China Morning Post

South Korea, China Agree on Trade Deal Wall Street Journal

Russia to increase gas supply to China Financial Times

China’s rebalancing is not what it seems China Spectator

Battle of the Asia-Pacific FTAs VoxEU

G20 proposes buffer to end too big to fail banks Reuters

Europe’s Banking Addicts Bloomberg

Juncker tainted by Luxembourg tax leak Bloomberg (Richard Smith)

Catalonia’s symbolic independence referendum: What it means and why it would be wrong to ignore it Open Europe

Four British languages in danger of becoming extinct Independent

Putin seeks to reassure currency markets Financial Times


Ukraine Split in Two; Expect Major Rebel Advance Michael Shedlock

Dennis Kucinich: “The US Must Work to Reestablish Friendly Relations With Russia” RIA Novosti (furzy mouse)


A 3-Star General Explains ‘Why We Lost’ In Iraq, Afghanistan NPR (David L)

On GPS: Landis on a Syria Solution CNN

Syrian official: negotiations with US blocked by Saudi Arabia Al-Monitor (furzy mouse)

Moscow Hosted Talks on Ending Syria War, Ex-Opposition Chief Says Moscow Times (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Cory Doctorow: Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free TechCrunch

Medical Records: Top Secret New York Times

Job Description NSA (Lambert). A remarkable noise to signal ratio.

Breitbart Issues Best Correction Since Forever TPM

GM Ordered New Switches Nearly Two Months Before Recall, Emails Show Wall Street Journal

The great financial crisis: The guilty men Economist. As Lambert points out, predictably, no mention of fraud.

UBS to settle allegations over precious metals trading Financial Times. Brian C: “Interesting that an actual named banker is in the hot seat for this criminal ‘settlement’ round.”

Revenue Softness Worries Investors Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Republicans Are Only Sometimes the Party of Uber New York Times

Wall Street’s Bonus Season Not Likely to Be Filled With Joy, Survey Finds New York Times

Antidote du jour (Next Step via Lambert):

pretty snail links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. David Lentini

    The Ghosts of Viet Nam Still Going Strong

    Interesting interview with Gen. Bolger. But as usual NPR ignores the heart of the story. If we learned so many lessons after Viet Nam, how did we get into an even bigger mess now? The same comments from the general are the some ones made all through the ’70s when the subject of how we “lost” Viet Nam (as if it was ours to keep or win in the first place) came up.

    In fact, a comparison between Viet Nam and Afghanistan-Iraq is about as controlled a policy experiment as one can get over the so-called “Viet Nam Syndrome”. In both cases, we tried to use high-tech, traditional military operations to control populations and insurgencies (much the same thing, really) without having any real strategy to provide a stable political and economic base for the country we invaded. In the first case, the exposure of the lies used to support the war, and use of the draft led to provide the manpower for the war, led to large political unrest at home that was later used as the basis for a phony “stabbed in the back” excuse to explain our policy failure.

    In the latter, case no such unrest appeared largely because there was no draft. But nonetheless, we had a compliant press and a very docile public in the face of much the same sorts of lies and failures that we had in the ’60s and ’70s in Viet Nam. This despite the fact that both wars have gone on for over a decade. And the outcome has been no different from Viet Nam—We are “losing” in the sense that we have no way to achieve the results we want (whatever those are).

    I ‘d like to think this could lead to a sort of reveleation that having a huge military with the latest technology does nothing constructive; it only leads to abuse. I’d like to think that we’d finally come to understand Clausewitz’s famous remark that war is another form of policy. Then we’d start developing a proper policy before we started committing our military, which was an important element of the so-called “Powell Doctrine”.

    But I won’t hold my breath.

    1. skippy

      Ummm… fighting wars like its a corporate take over and replacing some or most of the extrusive officers… seems to not factor in a bunch of sociological and demographic stuff…

      Skippy… obviously a sales and marketing… snafu

    2. James

      The US military has three primary purposes:

      1. A profit center for the MIC elite.

      2. An employment/elimination service for the working class.

      3. A marketing device for Amerika Uber Alles Inc.

      “Winning” any particular engagement is a moot point. If money is made and the myth is perpetuated all is good.

    3. fresno dan

      At my age, growing up in the Vietnam era, one takes the Vietnam protests and how that was handled as the norm (big protests against US involvement that are EFFECTIVE), when in fact us getting involved (War with Mexico, Spanish American war, Korea, and a great number of incursions and who knows how many coups) in other countries with little or no protest is the norm. And this is even though the “benefits” of such interventions are very dubious….
      (I think the above gilds the lily, but still, it does prove the US was never isolationist – we’re always sticking our nose someplace)

    4. Dino Reno

      I think Bolger is looking for a workaround for future Fallujah syndromes as apposed to Vietnam syndromes. Libya is now the new and preferred model and is serving as a template for ISIS. Random “targeted” bombing, a massive infusion of weapons, and absolutely no attempt to hold any ground that could be surrendered later. Result: chaos, anarchy and failed state status. First and foremost, there must be no winners. Iraq is now shaping up nicely.

      1. Bene

        We have somewhere else we can go (home); they don’t (they are already there). Sooner or later, we will. They know that. The moment we do, we’ve lost. All they have to do is wait.

        1. James Levy

          The American elite can count it a victory if the ensuing government comes crawling cap in hand to them for inclusion in the globalized market economy dominated and controlled by the dollar and the Fed. You are correct about the “ground game”–the US will eventually be forced to pull out of any nasty scrapes it gets itself into–but the “long game” is economic hegemony, and the number of states that stand aloof from that (or manage to participate in it but not be coopted) you can count on one hand.

    5. dearieme

      “It’s very, very difficult … to try and sort out which of the males there … might be insurgents, [or] who might be just people living in the area, [or] who might potentially be government supporters, when you don’t speak the language and you really don’t understand what’s going on in that village very well.” In which case, conservative old chaps like me take the view that you shouldn’t start the bloody war in the first place. Especially because, since WWII, the USA has never won a war that lasts longer than one battle.

    6. susan the other

      I won’t hold my breath either David. Look at the long history of the 20th C. (Forget the 10,000 years of apprenticeship – does this mean that viruses evolve but we don’t?) It shows us how nimble we always were to use aggression to capitalist ends. 1914, 1941, 1950, 1965, various black ops replacing “war” because it was disgraced after Vietnam, and lots of pillaging in Africa until the “First Gulf War under GHWBush. Then even after the Berlin Wall came down, we needed to extend profiteering in the Balkans, and then privatizing state murder with companies like Blackwater under Little George in 2002 until now; and Egypt; Libya; Afghanistan; Syria; and enlisting all the old Empires like France in North Africa. Not to even speculate on all the other stuff we have no facts about. And I think the turmoil Mexico is entirely our fault for various reasons. Is it any wonder we are apoplectic about China becoming as efficient as we are militarily? We are disgusting. Instead of joining the human community to look for political solutions, we fake the successes of capitalism and murder anyone who doesn’t agree with our profiteering.

    7. NOTaREALmerican

      Nothing can be learned from fighting wars. The word “learning” – as used in this article – implies “not doing something to avoid pain”. War isn’t painful for Americans, it’s fun. It’s football on steroids. Who would want to “learn a lesson” that football (or slow-motion eagles-n-flags) is “bad”.

    8. optimader

      Per se having the latest technology is not a bad thing. Having a dull political leadership that is strategically overinvested in mil deployment as a substitutional alternative to diplomacy and a deeper intellectual conception of our long term national interests is a terrible thing.
      The deterrence value of weapons technology most quickly depreciates once deployed, consequently the ill conceived meandering perpetual conflicts that we seem oh so apt to get mired bake in obsolescence and the necessity of “Weapon rev*.* -the next best thing”. Higher value countermeasure/strategy always develop when the deployment time domain is out of sight over the horizon.
      ~15 years ago DARPA would have been keen on the bread boarded commercial electronic bits on crazymaans autonomous truck or a retail quadcoptor w/ a CCD lipstick camera. It didn’t take long to weaponize Genie Garage door openers to neutralize stupidly expensive armored vehicle columns.

      Cant find it in my links but at the rollout of Iraq War rev1.0 I read a study predicting how many occupation soldiers needed to successfully occupy a country/control the indigenous population. Even if the local bureaucracy is co-opted ala Vichy France, it’s an extraordinary number. The Bush admin — Cheney, Von Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell, Rice, Bremer ect ect were incredibly naïve considering the responsibility they wielded yet the seemingly trivial consideration that went into their strategy ( No strategy).. Powell probably knew better but kept his strap shut. Not sure which is worse, stupid or craven?

  2. fresno dan
    That theme is echoed in the private papers, but they also make clear that Geithner believed the rescue came up short on multiple fronts.

    “We sought a very powerful enforcement response by competent authorities,” he writes in a May 2013 memo titled “On the Politics of the Crisis Response” and slugged “TFG Draft.” “This didn’t turn out as we’d hoped, in part because we didn’t give it enough attention.”

    The memo, written after Geithner left the Treasury job, seeks to explain why the government rescues were not politically popular and tilted toward Wall Street rather than Main Street.

    Enforcement was slow “in part because the illegal stuff was very hard to prove,” Geithner writes, but also because of expectations “given the prevailing view that the crisis was caused by criminals [sic] behavior of a few bankers and mortgage brokers and investors.”
    Enforcement was slow “in part because the illegal stuff was very hard to prove,” Geithner writes, but also because of expectations “given the prevailing view that the crisis was caused by criminals [sic] behavior of a few bankers and mortgage brokers and investors.”

    Attempts to shake up supervision fizzled. “We changed part of the leadership of the financial oversight system, but not in a way that signaled a new team of sheriffs,” he says. “The bank supervisors got tougher, but we had no high-profile firings.”

    Obama’s regulatory picks, he goes on, were not initially seen as “likely to be tough enforcers.” He cites his own background as “a former sort of bank supervisor” during his prior job as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before and during the crash. (The New York Fed supervised giant Wall Street banks; Geithner’s book acknowledges that he missed troubles at Citigroup and didn’t push hard enough for bank safeguards.)
    Geithner faults himself and the Obama administration for not doing a better job in communicating good news, especially the positive results from TARP, the $700 billion program to buy troubled assets and equity from banks. (and there was sooo much good news!!!!!)
    One misconception that troubled him was a persistent belief that he had once worked on Wall Street. That was not true; most of his career was in the government. (that was perfectly true – Geithner was working for the government….that was working for the banks….on wall street)
    So what is one to make of this? My fantasy is that Geithner has inside information that the revolution is about to occur, and he’s setting up his defense before the people’s courts….

  3. proximity1

    Our language usages are the vehicles of our thought processes. If they become seriously degraded, so do our thought processes.

    RE : “Four British languages in danger of becoming extinct”

    The ordinary English language with which I grew up is also in danger of becoming extinct. This is not mere word-play. I’m serious. Much, and much that I’d argue is important about English as I learned it is now well on its way to disappearing from common use and even from a common understanding. You don’t believe me?

    It’s true. The use of personal pronouns in English is now so confused as to be little other than simply a tumbling drum of sheer accident. Recently, Britain’s Channel 4 news aired a series on new generation-gap phenomena in which the youth are the reserved, cautious group and the retired over-60s represent the exuberant irresponsible group–though “rebellious” doesn’t quite fit them the way it once fit the youth of the 1960s. One segment of the brief series was entitled, “Why does Granny drink more than me?” (*) If you notice nothing about that headline as out of order then I call you as witness to the degradation in our language which I have in mind.

    Once, the question “Why does granny drink more than me?” should have been nearly universally understood to ask, “Why does granny drink other things than me?” or, “Why does granny, who drinks ‘me,’ also drink other things beside drinking me?” Such a question should have been regarded as absurd–and funny. Today, it’s thought of as ordinary standard usage because the use of “me” and “I” have become so hopelessly confused as to be nearly indistinguishable.

    The default reaction to this is typically, “So what?” since that is part and parcel of the indifference toward the importance of language which so marks our times. We should consider how and why that indifference is allied with so much else about our times which is in disarray–we should, be we don’t and we probably won’t.

    I’m mourning the loss of not “Jersey English” but just plain English, period. I urge a careful and extended meditation on this and its related issues. It pervades everything else which concerns us here.

    Once, both the correct and the near-universal way to express the intended idea here should have been to ask, “Why does granny drink more than I (do)?” —whether or not the “I” was said or left implied, both should have been understood to mean “…drink more than I do.” We have now lost that usage and the understanding that went along with it. If you say, “So what?” I contend that you’re failing to recognize how some very important things are related to our everyday language usages.

    1. whine country

      You make an excellent point. I have noticed over time the prevalence of the term “you know what I mean” in our conversations. I agree with you that we would be better served if we just said what we meant without someone having to guess. Know what I mean?

      1. Kurt Sperry

        The “you know what I mean?” tack on on the end of a sentence is almost closer to a punctuation than a literal phrase. Every language and dialect I am familiar with has these. The Canadian “eh?”, the American/English “dontcha think?”, the African American, “nome sain?”, the French “non”, the Italian “vero?” If you think about it as an invitation to dialog, it’s actually generally a polite and civil convention.

    2. Garrett Pace

      Your headline is a good example of the pressures on headline writers to sacrifice coherence for brevity and punch.

      When communication is disposable people are freed from the rigors of clarity. Even if something is read, it will be forgotten almost immediately.

      Interestingly, this applies to contemporary legislation too.

      The only thing that makes sense to me is that laws, culture &c. are just words in books, and the real accounting of our lives is what accumulates treasure and power for the right groups.

    3. susan the other

      great comment Proximity. I have always been amazed that we can communicate at all. There is something always in the context of a comment that cues us to the actual case of the pronoun. It can get really funny, like granny. One solution which we will never resort to is the use of noun case endings (a la German wh was taken from Latin and have nominative, objective, dative and genitive (possessive) suffixes). So we could tack on an en or an em or an extra e to indicate that the thing or pronoun we are referencing is the object of the verb or the subject of a clause and etc. Grammar is so cool. And we are amazing in our psychic abilities to decipher our own language. Let’s not even talk about fictitious nouns, the words describing things that really do not exist!

        1. Kurt Sperry

          There is however a lot of cross pollination in the real world, I for instance would call the German ‘ieren’ verbs generally derived from French, almost French loan words really. Given the number of them and their frequency of use, that’s not an insignificant Latin influence. Lingual taxonomy tends to gloss over these nuances to maintain the cogency of its distinctions.

          1. Vatch

            Sure, there’s plenty of cross-pollination. English (a Germanic language) also has a huge vocabulary derived from Latin, either via French, or directly. But the people of various Germanic tribes were speaking something before they came into contact with the Romans some 2100 years ago.

    4. Jess

      And how about some of my favorites?

      The misuse of “good” and “well”, as in, “The team played good today.”

      The misuse of “less” and “fewer”, such as that cringe-inducing beer ad, “More taste, less calories.”

      Or the always handy, “I took and turned the (whatever).”

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      …vehicles of our thought processes.’

      We were able to ‘think’ before the invention of language, even before the invention of words, and before that symbols, when we spent our days gathering herbs and hunting small animals.

      We thought in the way, then, as, for example, birds do today when they build nests…finding, picking, bringing back, assembling in some order, materials for one’s shelter…all the engineering, without words.

      With language, today, we think most of our thoughts. Do we have not-language related, non-primal (primal such as sexual) thoughts? I think so, but I can’t recall just now, as my memory is stored with words and I am not trying hard enough.

      So, language aids our thinking. And our thinking is trapped with the particular language we think in. If we think in, for example, French, we will the see the world the unique French way. If we think in the Imperial Tongue, we will think imperial thoughts.

      When during the next color revolution you see on TV being interviewed some protest leaders who are fluent in the Imperial Tongue, you will hear imperial thoughts…and maybe traces of CIA training and funding.

    6. JerseyJeffersonian

      Another lamentable casualty is the loss of correct adverbs.

      In a related vein, punctuation has largely died the death. The elegant deployment of punctuation can have a remarkable influence upon clarity and comprehensibility of written language, supplying the little pauses and shifts of focus that are present in spoken discourse.

      The lack of ability to communicate with precision, elegance, and economy is another example of, and a driver for, crapification. In this regard, perhaps Orwell was an “early adopter” of sensitivity toward this issue, and the consequences that flow therefrom.

  4. Banger

    A note on the Landis interview on CNN. An example of the realist school of FP in action. It seems Zakaria has signed on to that POV–this signals the deep dissent within the FP establishment on Syria/Iraq that should be obvious. CNN, has been very hawkish on Syria from the beginning so this is an interesting move. So Assad stays, draw the lines where they are. Interestingly they suggest that Turkey spearhead, basically, an invasion of non-Assad Syria and a war with ISIS and presumably Al-qaida/El-Nusra would be a part of the solution. This notion is a radical change from the usual MSM pov that almost religiously follows whatever the State Department decrees as true. What next?

    Another sign of the realists beginning to have more influence is the continued downplaying of the crisis in Ukraine (other that a little posturing here and there) despite the fact that hostilities may be about to break out.

    1. Jackrabbit

      “Deep dissent” is deeply misleading.
      The question isn’t if there are different opinions but who is calling the shots. Neocons remain firmly in control of FP. What this interview with a ‘realist’ really does is strengthen the false narrative. No mention of how we got to this point. No mention of Erogan’s insistence that Assad must go (an OBVIOUS problem for the ‘plan’ presented by this ‘realist) and other stumbling blocks (Israel & KSA Iran concerns; Turkey’s concerns about a Kurdish state; etc.).

      The fact is, many hardliners (e.g. neocons) are likely pleased with ISIS as a force that has the potential to defeat Assad and counter Iran-backed shias in the rump Iraqi state. They are unlikely to listen to realists – at least until or unless there is an acceptable agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program (unlikely). In fact a number of analysts have question US determination to destroy ISIS and the effectiveness of the US bombing campaign.

      Downplaying of crisis in Ukraine?
      Last I checked sanctions and other measures (like halting Russia’s southern NatGas pipeline through Bulgaria) were still in place. And MSM coverage of Ukraine has been lite for a long time because its not a very flattering story for the US/West. This is NOT a ‘win’ for realists.

      H O P

  5. fresno dan

    Without a compensation package in Pennsylvania, Drew Whitley sued in federal court. Even though a judge agreed that police officers were negligent in their investigation of his case, she ruled against Whitley stating that he did not prove intentional misconduct. He lost his appeals of the decision.

    Newton served 22 years in prison for the rape, robbery and assault of a young woman who misidentified him. He spent years appealing for a DNA test, which the police claimed to have lost. It was finally found and tested proving that Newton was not guilty.
    So how many men are behind bars because of purposeful police or prosecutorial – probably a bunch, but somehow the old boys club called the US criminal court never bothers to look.
    And how many men are behind bars because of the semi purposeful lack of competence and oversight of our criminal legal system? Probably a bunch more….
    A lack of accountability and responsibility that shocks the conscience.

    1. Banger

      But isn’t that lack of accountability of the justice (or any other system) due to the fact citizens don’t care about that? We’ve known that the system wrongfully convicts people that who are put to death in fairly large numbers–but the public really doesn’t care about that. They’d rather execute ten men and women if they knew one of them was guilty as long as they were part of the underclass. Look, also, at the lack of interest in the fact major war crimes were committed in Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. military and no one cares–what they care about is some nutjobs beheading some American or Brit–that’s seen as far worse than a couple of hundred thousand deaths of towel heads right? This is the country we live in and we have to face it and not pretty it up. Sure, people are fooled–but they want to be fooled and expect to be fooled so they can stay asleep. We’ve on our own man–the people as a whole really don’t care about us particularly if we’re non-conformists (except if we are in the entertainment industry).

  6. whine country

    “In the latter, case no such unrest appeared largely because there was no draft.” –
    In NC jargon, was this cause or correlation? Which begs the question, is the draft a feature or a bug?

  7. Vatch

    “The great financial crisis: The guilty men Economist. As Lambert points out, predictably, no mention of fraud.”

    I thought I’d give The Economist the benefit of the doubt, and look for some other words besides “fraud”. Here’s what I looked for and failed to find:


    Dang! There seems to be something fraudulent about this article!

    1. fresno dan

      Thanks for the service Vatch!
      Something from the Economist about inequality would have been nice too….

      “In other words, the Fed has simply done in spades what it did after 1987 – rescued the markets when they wobbled. It may have done so with the intention of rescuing the economy, not the markets, but the biggest impact has been on Wall Street, not Main Street. The effect on business investment has not been as great as hoped, perhaps because the money has been diverted to share buy-backs which offer the best “bang for the buck” to executives motivated by share options.”

      Maybe at some point these analyzing this will see that the guys running wall street are way ahead of them on using tax loopholes and all the financial accounting gimmickry for their own benefit – and that indeed, most (?all?) laws are conceived, designed, written, and implemented for the 1%, and only the 1%. The fact that they do not speak of the crime that dare not reveal its name (FINANCIAL FRAAAAUUUUUUUDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!) tells you something about the “news” media.

  8. Erick Borling

    Regarding “The great financial crisis: The guilty men;” The article links to a freely downloadable book about causes of the financial crisis, with articles by people I’ve not heard of except Larry Summers. That makes me verrry skeptical of the book. And presumably they’re all Hoover Institution fellers. Does anyone have anything to say about that institution? Ah mean, by now the good analysis of causes of the financial crisis has already been published by progressives. I think these guys are posers.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Hoover is hard right wing. Some selections in the book are from Brookings, center-right. As for the cause of the financial crisis? Simply put, it was the largest heist in history. And everyone involved knew it as it was happening. Build a razor wire fence around Wall Street, let the custodial staff out, and maybe a half dozen of those left will be incarcerated unjustly. But then you’ll still have Congress and 1600 to deal with.

    2. McMike

      The financial crisis was caused by government regulators, FNME, and the CRA. Even my right wing brother in law knows that.

  9. OIFVet

    Today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of “communism” in Bulgaria, and the beginning of the transition to “freedom, democracy, and free-market capitalism”. Let us all bow our heads and mourn, for what replaced state capitalism was neoliberal paradise of looting, lawlessness, and impoverishment that have left the majority of Bulgarians poorer and more hopeless than ever and unable to meet the basic necessities.

    1. DJG

      I also ran across an article the other day that indicated that the population of Bulgaria is in collapse. People are fleeing the country, much like Latvia (another capitalist paradise). And then there’s Lithuania, which tried to be cautious, and yet still is enduring a population drop of a quarter or so. The Russians and Germans couldn’t destroy the Lithuanians, but capitalism bromides and assumptions are much more efficient.

      1. OIFVet

        The population is collapsing indeed, from 9 million in 1989 to 7.2 million today. High mortality, low fertility rate, and mass immigration will do that. The poverty and unemployment stats cited in ‘Bulgaria’s Spring’ are devastating for a member of the EU. The hopelessness has given rise to a previously unknown phenomenon: self-immolation. The protests of February-March 2013 that brought down the government culminated in a wave of self-immolations: Incendiary Politics on the Black Sea And they haven’t stopped, two more last week, one of them in front of the Presidency building by an unemployed and divorced mother of a youjg child. The president was so moved that later in the week he declared the transition a “success” over the ” inhumane communism”. The guy has so much empathy that he puts Obama to shame. So yeah, today I mourn.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The root global cause of the ‘not-so-exceptional* First World’ immigrants.

          * Not so exceptional, because all nations have the innate ability to be as ‘democratic, and safe (both relatively speaking of course)’ as the First World, absence neoliberal attacks.

      2. Fíréan

        In reply to comments posted regarding Bulgaria. Read, via link below, of the treatment meated out to Hungary whose democratically elected Prime Minister Viktor Orban and ruling Fidesz party snubbed the demands of the “masters” of the west and acted in the interests of their own country and the people who elected them.

        ” The Bullying of Hungary- the country that dared to disobey the EU and US”

        1. OIFVet

          Hungary is yet another proof that national sovereignty of EU/ NATO countries exists only on paper, and these institutions serve the interests of US, UK, and Germany. Institutions of equals they are not. Hungary has another strike against it though: Orban, much like Sikorski, had been groomed by the Western elites to be their yes-man lap dog. Such “treachery” as his simply won’t be allowed to stand, hence the campaign to make an example out of him and Hungary. I hope they fail, if Hungary succeeds it can only encourage other Eastern Europeans to pursue policies that benefit them rather than their Western “partners.”

      1. kj1313

        The cynical part of me thinks Obama is willing to burn the cable industry because they are an easy target and it helps his legacy. Also the fastest way you would get people to pay attention to how the elites control everything is if you interrupt their TV or Internet.

    1. Light A Candle

      That was a fascinating read. We seem to be sleepwalking our way to a fascist global corporate state.

  10. rich

    JPMorgan’s $9 Billion Witness Puts Government Testimony by Her Boss into Question

    Based on evidence it had obtained from Clayton Holdings and Vicki Beal, FHFA claimed in its court case that not only did JPMorgan “let poor loans pass into their securitizations in exchange for underwriting and securitization fees, they also took the fraud further, affirmatively seeking to profit from this knowledge. Rather than rejecting these loans from the loan pool, as they should have, JPMorgan, Bear Stearns, and WaMu used the evidence of underwriting defects to negotiate lower prices for the loans and thus boost their own profits. According to the September 2010 FCIC testimony of Clayton’s former president, D. Keith Johnson, the banks would use the exception reports to force a lower price for itself, and not to benefit investors at all.”

    There was also an internal “Cheats & Tricks” memo that had originated inside JPMorgan that would have been devastating to it in front of a jury.

    This morning, Fleischmann is being called the Snowden of New York banking. Clayton Holdings is actually the Snowden of New York banking as its documents and executives’ testimony have evolved into multi-billion dollar lawsuits and settlements across Wall Street. Fleischmann is more the Norma Rae of a systemically corrupt Wall Street, Circa 2014.

    Fleischmann is up bright and early today to post on her newly created Twitter account, announcing that she will be on Bloomberg and the Keiser Report this morning. She’s also urging Americans to become engaged in this battle by contacting their elected representatives in Washington.

    1. LucyLulu

      A few months into her tenure, Fleischmann would later testify in a DOJ deposition, the bank hired a new manager for diligence, the group in charge of reviewing and clearing loans. Fleischmann quickly ran into a problem with this manager, technically one of her superiors. She says he told her and other employees to stop sending him e-mails. The department, it seemed, was wary of putting anything in writing when it came to its mortgage deals.

      “If you sent him an e-mail, he would actually come out and yell at you,” she recalls. “The whole point of having a compliance and diligence group is to have policies that are set out clearly in writing. So to have exactly the opposite of that – that was very worrisome.” One former high-ranking federal prosecutor said that if he were taking a criminal case to trial, the information about this e-mail policy would be crucial. “I would begin and end my opening statement with that,” he says. “It shows these people knew what they were doing and were trying not to get caught.”

      Read more:

      A compliance department with a policy that nothing is put in writing? I’d dare say a conviction could be gotten without needing either a prosecutor or a ham sandwich.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I call bullshit. Clayton had this data well before the crisis. Did they go to any regulators or prosecutors? No. They tried getting rating agencies and investors to pay for it. Plus they were throwing any sort of irregularity into their violations of rep and warranties pile to make the numbers sound worse, and many of the things that were wrong were inconsequential. They were data hucksters, not reformers. Only after the crisis did they try playing the “we are anti-fraud” card to get hired by plaintiffs in litigation.

  11. McMike

    re Brietbart correction.

    Maybe Marshall was being snarky when he said there was no option when your entire premise is wrong, but of course the correct option is to pull the article and replace it with an apology.

    Raises an interesting question, does Brietbart’s failure to correct in a transparent way amount to libel?

  12. OIFVet

    The population is collapsing indeed, from 9 million in 1989 to 7.2 million today. High mortality, low fertility rate, and mass immigration will do that. The poverty and unemployment stats cited in ‘Bulgaria’s Spring’ are devastating for a member of the EU. The hopelessness has given rise to a previously unknown phenomenon: self-immolation. The protests of February-March 2013 that brought down the government culminated in a wave of self-immolations: Incendiary Politics on the Black Sea And they haven’t stopped, two more last week, one of them in front of the Presidency building by an unemployed and divorced mother of a youjg child. The president was so moved that later in the week he declared the transition a “success” over the ” inhumane communism”. The guy has so much empathy that he puts Obama to shame. So yeah, today I mourn.

    1. OIFVet

      Oops, sorry Yves and Lambert, I have no idea how this duplicate happened and for some reason I don’t have the option to request delete on my mobile.

  13. reslez

    As an IT professional I view cloud computing with derision. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to give a competitor stranglehold access to its data and computing resources. And once they have your data these proto-monopolists will always view your revenue as their own. Cloud computing has succeeded for the wrong reasons:

    1) Plausible deniability: If you do not control the servers you can disclaim responsibility for data breaches and outages. I doubt customers will appreciate the difference. The execs’ careers will survive, but maybe not the company.
    2) Trading short-term cost for long-term cost, control, and security.

    The social mechanism is the same as the housing bubble or the “logic” behind off-shoring: If the market moves in lockstep over a cliff, no one gets blamed for falling off. There are plenty of layoffs after the dead cat bounce, though.

    1. drexciya

      I totally agree with your sentiments about the cloud. It has it’s purposes, but I don’t trust any third party with my business critical data. Apart from the NSA problem with American cloud providers, there’s the big question of what happens when the cloud goes down and what will your cloud provider do then? What kind of damage will you suffer and how will they compensate you? Everyone is still painting a rosy picture on this, but I’m not convinced at all.

      It doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s typically managers, focused on short term cost-saving, that call for using the cloud.

      1. Oregoncharles

        This was my thought about the famous hack of celebrities’ nude photos:
        Who would think that anything called “the cloud” was secure?
        Especially if it involves storing sensitive data “on the internet”?

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Keeping your data anywhere that you are not physically in possession and control of and where your access is dependent on for-profit third parties whose income streams really depend in the end on their having the ability to deny you access to those data–what could possibly go wrong?

          Memory is dirt cheap, have a local copy of *all data* and *only* local copies of any sensitive data. Follow those simple rules and ‘the cloud’ concept looks nearly pointless.

            1. Kurt Sperry

              True, that. Portable TB+ HDDs are really, really cheap. When you do your regular data backups, write an extra encrypted copy of your data to one and keep it at the office, safe deposit box, friend’s or relative’s house. If both places burn down at the same time, you may have a larger problem in play.

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