Recent Items

Links 4/4/15

Battle of the Nobel Laureates — Starts With A Bang! Medium (furzy mouse)

Atlantis Won’t Sink, Experts Agree Archdruid (jgordon)

The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust BBC

America’s Pacific dilemma affects us all ThaiVisa. Furzy mouse: “Here’s some hot grandstanding for you.” Note that this is a new messaging push. An NYT op ed argued the deal was key from a geopolitical perspective.

The Madre of All Bubbles Evan Soltas

Grexit?

Anti-corruption minister says Lagarde list data inadequate for tax evasion crackdown ekathimerini

Russia, Greece to discuss EU sanctions, economy in Moscow Reuters

Ukraine/Russia

Donbass: ‘The War Has Not Started Yet’ Pepe Escobar, Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Ukraine Price Inflation Rate: 111% Economic Policy Journal

Cold War 2.0 Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Syraqistan

Iran nuclear talks: Rouhani vows to abide by deal BBC

Pentagon Upgraded Biggest ‘Bunker Buster’ Bomb as Iran Talks Unfolded Wall Street Journal (Li)

The von Moltke Fallacy and avoiding another World War, with Iran Juan Cole

What they won’t admit at the Arab Summit Aljazeera (furzy mouse)

Li: “Brooklyn is over”: ‘Hipster’ for president: Hillary Clinton campaign-in-waiting signs lease for office space in Brooklyn, New York Daily Mail

Next, We Muslims Bring Sharia to Indiana Daily Beast (furzy mouse)

Terminator takes aim in US culture wars Financial Times

Ruling Gives South Dakota Doctors a Script to Read Washington Post (furzy mouse). While you were distracted by Indiana…

Exclusive: California used 70 million gallons of water in fracking in 2014 Reuters. EM: “The amount is actually fairly small – the real issue is the crud they pump back into the ground, i.e. the aquifer-poisoning angle.”

Invasion of the Hedge Fund Almonds Mother Jones. Important.

U.S. suspends funding for troubled L.A. County emergency system Los Angeles Times (furzy mouse)

Ethnic Rivalries Hurt Garcia in Chicago Race New York Times

Jawbs

A dip or a blip? The jobs boom went bust in March. Washington Post

What Went Wrong in the March Jobs Report? Atlantic

The March jobs report was a big disappointment — and there’s probably more to come Business Insider

Jobs and the Bernanke–Summers Secular-Stagnation Debate New Yorker

Air Pocket Tim Duy

Oil price: needs a new gear Financial Times

Servicers in DOJ’s Crosshairs Following JPM Robo-Signing Settlement Mortgage Servicing News (diptherio)

Class Warfare

Why Are Wages Growing Slowly Despite McDonald’s, Wal-Mart Raises? WSJ Economics

Antidote du jour (Christine):

Judy's dogs links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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87 comments

  1. BDBlue

    A couple of days old, but in case people missed it, on Tim Cook and Indiana, Religious Me-dom by Jacob Bacharach (who was ioz).

    Re comment “Brooklyn in Over”, so Hilary is good for something. :-)

  2. jgordon

    I’ve previously suggested an innovative solution for solving California’s drought problem and our deteriorating national employment situation in one go: we simply need to ship fresh water from all over the US and pour it onto the parched California landscape until said drought is alleviated.

    Now I realize that there are some logistical problems to work out with that, but if the Federal Government genuinely cares about the People of California, they will find it in their hearts to commandeer the resources of our society (via fiscal stimulus of course) to accomplish this noble deed (and the long-term unemployed should be prioritized for hiring, in the spirit of righteousness and social justice and all that). With this, not only will the Velocity of Money get going through fiscal stimulus and Guaranteed Employment, but Californian’s Way of Life (of growing almonds in deserts) will also be protected. It’s win-win for everyone involved.

    Any important policy people reading this, feel free to steal my idea. No credit needed.

    1. Ned Ludd

      I went to elementary school in a particularly arid state. My elementary school teacher taught us that – once the aquifers ran dry – our water would come from a massive pipeline that would be constructed to send us water from the Great Lakes.

      1. different clue

        Armed and explosived Great Lakestanis may prevent that pipeline from ever getting built.

        1. optimader

          I’ve previously suggested an innovative solution for solving California’s drought problem and our deteriorating national employment situation in one go: we simply need to ship fresh water from all over the US and pour it onto the parched California landscape until said drought is alleviated.

          http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25090363/california-drought-water-use-varies-widely-around-state
          Maybe there is some room for behavioral change first? Then evaluate the real carry capacity of the indiginous water supply before deciding how many Californians should be put in boxcars and shipped to Detroit

          Armed and explosived Great Lakestanis
          armed with court injunctions. http://glc.org/about/

        2. optimader

          I will confess a little sentimentality for Project Ditchdigger, one of Edward Tellers pet projects and the Mother of all Eminent Domain initiatives. Mothballed due to a bureaucracy snafu not the exquisite insanity of it all! What’s was not to love here? Skip the pesky pipeline. Imagine instead a lovely fused glass canal from Lake Michigan to a artificial basin in California? What could possibly go wrong??

          https://www.osti.gov/opennet/reports/plowshar.pdf
          ….By mid-1959, plans and preparations were well under way for several Plowshare projects
          with significant emphasis on: 1) Project Chariot, a five-detonation experiment first
          proposed as one 100-kiloton yield, 700-foot deep cratering detonation to produce a harbor
          at Cape Thompson, Alaska, and an additional four 20-kiloton yield detonations to produce
          a channel connecting the harbor to the ocean (in November 1960, the plan was modified to
          use one 200-kiloton yield and four 20-kiloton yield detonations); 2) Project Gnome, a
          proposed 10-kiloton yield device, to be fired in a salt dome to study isotope and energy
          production; and 3) Project Ditchdigger, a test of a clean weapon device to enhance the
          feasibility of building sea level canals. Project proposals made by LRL-L personnel were
          presented to DMA, however the program could not proceed without clarification on the
          testing moratorium or whether a to-be-negotiated treaty would have a provision allowing
          underground testing. These uncertainties, along with fears that Congress might reduce
          the Plowshare budget, were concerns that had to be addressed by the end of 1959.

        3. Demeter

          You got that one right.

          The Great Lakes are reservoirs…not spring fed sources of water. They hold the rainfall and snowmelt of the basin they drain. And then the water flows over Niagara Falls to the Atlantic Ocean.

          I was researching the claim that “global warming” would lead to increased rainfall. If it has, nobody has recorded it….of course, the extra rain could be falling over the oceans and not ever making it to land….

          What if all the gigantic shipping vessels set out to collect the rainwater, and store it in their holds, then return to California ports with fresh water? This is a rather low-tech solution, I know. Not very sexy or impressive.

          Still, it should prove more cost-effective than distillation of sea water.

          And what about that notion that the local vegetation creates the local climate? Why aren’t all those acres of nut trees producing rain for California? By the theory of deserts, California should have been transformed into a temperate paradise by now….instead of a sinkhole for the vanishing fresh water resources of a quarter of the nation.

      2. jgordon

        Your teacher was a Real American with a true can-do spirit. Not only teaching the curriculum but also imparting important lessons about life and our shared American Values. What an outstanding educator.

    2. craazyboy

      See my comment down below. You obviously don’t understand the concept of “profit motive”.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Civilian Water Carrying Corps.

      That is also known as Half Zen Corps (carrying water and chopping wood – but we don’t chop wood no more…we are paid not to cut down trees).

    4. heresy101

      Shipping water from other states is not going to happen because of something called the Rockies and Sierras. It will take way to much electricity to pump the water over the mountains. One solution to the large need for power would be to open/re-open the coal fired generating plants, but somehow that is not likely to fly.

      Actually, this drought must not be so bad because during the last major drought there were multiple serious proposals to bring in water via icebergs. So far, there haven’t been any proposals regarding icebergs during this drought. The icebergs were to have been towed from the Artic to areas of the coast of California and melted in place or melted in onshore ponds/lakes. While this would’t be cheap, icebergs are likely cheaper than the current state of desalinization.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Once upon a time in China, the Great Helmsman would simply tell the people to each grab a pole and two buckets to carry that water to help out the thirsty Californian fellow brothers and sisters, with Olympic sized pools and beautiful golf courses…and some ugly fracking landscape.

      2. docg

        Let it flow in a direct line south, ala the trans-Canadian oil pipeline, and then take a sharp turn west, directly into the arid and semi-arid regions of S. Cal. If they can build an oil pipeline, why not a water pipeline?

        And no this is not Apr. 1st, but Apr. 4th. I’m serious (though possibly stupid).

        1. JTMcPhee

          You think the indigenous people of MN and MI and WI and Ontario a and PA and all the other places that bound the fresh water are going to let the pistachio and citrus and other ags and rich sh_ts swimming pools and golf courses and Bermuda lawns suck the life water out of where it’s currently at without a little war?

      3. jgordon

        To maximize the employment benefits of my proposal I was thinking of carrying it using mule and wagon trains. Ergo, absolutely no electricity required!

        However I rather like the iceberg idea. But in that vein, many comets and asteroids contain copious amounted of water that are just sitting around in space doing nothing useful. I bet it’d be relatively cheap to implement some sort of robot space program to steer a few of these objects to earth and drop them on California. A couple of midsized watery asteroid landing on the Golden State is just what the (phd economist) doctor ordered. Of course we can still keep the mule trains running even with all that because, you know, jobs.

  3. Torsten

    The crud they pump back into the ground indeed!

    In 1976 Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (remember him?) pushed through Congress an amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act that exempted the crud from EPA regulation. They like to call the crud “produced water” or “brine”, the latter implying that the worst ingredient is table salt.

    In fact, the crud is water that is stewing with petroleum deep in the earth for 60 million years. It is laden with water-soluble BTEX and a host of other spices that, depending upon the locality, may include heavy metals and Naturally Occuring Radioactive Materials (NORMs). BTEX is an acronym for a range of noxious water-soluble monocyclic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In “produced water”, the most prevalent of these is benzene. Benzene is known to cause cancer, so the EPA now sets its Maximum Contaminant Level for benzene at 5 ppb.

    If you search Google for “produced water BTEX” you’ll get a few hits with oblique mention of BTEX from oil and gas wells. (After all, produced water is exempt from regulation in the U.S.) But if you add the term “North Sea”, you’ll get many more hits finding BTEX concentrations in produced water of up to 8000,000 ppb–160,000 times the EPA limit!

    The quantities of this crud dwarf the water consumed in fracking. In 2014 South Florida oil wells produced only 3,000,000 gallons of oil but 200 times as much produced water–620,000,000 gallons. of produced water for every barrel of oil.

    Since 1976, under an apparent gentlemen’s agreement with the EPA, the oil industry has been pumping its crud back down two miles deep where it came from. Except, of course, in the Everglades where it only gets pumped 2,000 feet deep. It’s a good thing not too many people live out in the swamp.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Yup. Big Oil/Gas is taking a page from the Big Tobacco playbook. Just deny that Fracking is poisoning aquifers. And tell people they can’t prove the GasCo is responsible for methane coming out of your water faucet.

      So CA Gov Brown tells residents “Don’t water your grass”– Like that is going to be a sufficient mitigation to solve the water shortage. CA aquifers are at 100 year lows and yet the Fracking pumps keep pumping 24/7. And when all the aquifers are poisoned, what will they do?

      1. Whine Country

        Are you suggesting that Governor Moonbeam has gone over to the dark side? Maybe he’s secretly preparing for another run for president!

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Governor Moonbean might as well have told us those born on odd numbered days to only take shower on even numbered days, and those born on even numbered days to bath only on odd numbered days.

        1. optimader

          is there any initiative in Cali residential areas to redirect gray water for yard/garden/foliage irrigation — like an intermediate cistern for shower water/washing machine water. Seems like this would be a huge opportunity to rebalance water consumption w/ some fairly simple plumbing rejiggering.

          1. bruno marr

            Yes. There are incentives to do water conservation, grey-water use, etc. in California. However, as I (comment yesterday) and the Mother Jones article today points out, 80% of available water is consumed by agriculture and only 11% by humans directly. The difference between Ag water and human contact (potable) water is treatment. Using treated water for landscaping seems wasteful (especially when many cities allow un-metered consumption).

            So, I guess (actually, I don’t guess, as I did my thesis on Water Re-Use more than 30 years ago) it’s really an economic issue. Who? and How Much? should folks pay for a receding (for the near term; maybe long term) resource. Groundwater regulation is a key element to the equation.

            1. optimader

              Yes, I appreciate the overall water balance –noted.. I was thinking more in terms of balancing of the municipal water supply capacity/usage allowing people to preserve their unnatural flora inclinations. Friends in San Diego area tell me the muni water supply infrastructure is collapsing w/ little prospect of funding intervention on the horizon. I imagine this is endemic issue in urban Cali?

            2. inode_buddha

              Hrm. Since you seem to be educated in this topic, I’ve got a question: What about all the water that New Orleans pumps out just to stay dry? Couldn’t that be pipelined across Texas etc (for a fee, of course)? I confess that being dry is completely foreign to me: I’ve spent my life in that little spit of land between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario (Buffalo NY and Niagara Falls). Its *really* green lush and growing here…

  4. craazyboy

    “Invasion of the Hedge Fund Almonds Mother Jones. Important. ”

    I still think it’s just a matter of time ’till hedge funds, private equity and venture capital figure out that exporting California Designer Watermelons to water starved Asian Oligarchs will be insanely profitable.

    CA could even become known as the state of Fruits, Nuts, Flakes and Designer Watermelons.

    1. fresno dan

      Invasion of the Hedge Fund Almonds Mother Jones. Important.

      “There’s more water embedded in just four almonds than there is in a full head of lettuce. But unlike row crops, which farmers can choose not to plant during dry spells, almond trees must be watered no matter what.”

      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26124989
      “The farmers are making hay while the year-round sun shines, and they are exporting cattle-feed to China.
      The southern Imperial Valley, which borders Mexico, draws its water from the Colorado river along the blue liquid lifeline of the All American Canal.
      It brings the desert alive with hundreds of hectares of lush green fields – much of it alfalfa hay, a water-hungry but nutritious animal feed which once propped up the dairy industry here, and is now doing a similar job in China.
      “A hundred billion gallons of water per year is being exported in the form of alfalfa from California,” argues Professor Robert Glennon from Arizona College of Law.
      “It’s a huge amount. It’s enough for a year’s supply for a million families – it’s a lot of water, particularly when you’re looking at the dreadful drought throughout the south-west.”
      =================================================================

      One looks at what is happening in CA, and one begins to doubt the efficacy of democracy. A lot of water usage is perverse because of “use it or lose it” clauses with regard to government subsidized water. Agribusiness, like any other concentrated special interest, has made policies that are ostensibly in their own interest, while in fact harming themselves and everybody else. The idea that we had to get to this point before the governor, who is in his third term for pete’s sake, and is 76 years old (is he trying to beat Roosevelt’s number of terms???) is particularly disheartening. The subsidizing of water has of course resulted in foolish crops planted, in what is a desert. But no politician in CA wants water to be priced rationally because of the farm lobby.

      The hubris of simply ignoring the climate, the ever expanding population, and the obstinate refusal that water must be conserved is probably the best argument that humans will go extinct due to sheer idiocy…

      http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2010/world/the-price-of-water-a-comparison-of-water-rates-usage-in-30-u-s-cities/
      “A first of its kind survey of residential water use and prices in 30 metropolitan regions in the United States has found that some cities in rain-scarce regions have the lowest residential water rates and the highest level of water use. A family of four using 100 gallons per person each day will pay on average $34.29 a month in Phoenix compared to $65.47 for the same amount in Boston.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are we close to having to pay to collect rainwater yet?

        Which local government will be the ‘pioneer?’

            1. different clue

              Ahh . . . but does the Colorado water law say no collecting your own “water” from off your own roof? Or does it say no collecting your own “rainwater” from off your own roof? Because if the law says “rainwater” specifically”, you are not legally barred from pulling the snow off your winter roof with a roof rake . . . and piling that snow up somewhere. If the waterlaw indeed says “rainwater”, then snowharvesters could force an interesting case through the Colorado courts, could they not?

        1. sd

          Under TPP, collecting rain water will interfere with someone’s profit so you will be fined accordingly.

          What I’d really like to know is: who is the new Enron?

        2. participant-observer-observed

          LA County has a very popular grey water catchment initiative – small scale residential barrel catchment systems are sold for ~$100 which is tax deductible.

          The report I saw a few months ago said supply couldn’t keep up with demand for the barrels.

  5. jjmacjohnson

    1 Pierrepont Plaza is not in Brooklyn Heights Daily News! That would be called Downtown Brooklyn!

    Hipper than the Heights but still not very hip!

    I also like my Brooklyn Heights that way, unhip, quiet and beautiful.

        1. bruno marr

          She is alive and acting (Liv & Maddie). Maybe Ivy is thinking of another Duke (Snider?).

    1. neo-realist

      Yes, Brooklyn Heights, very snooty and unhip—Brooklyn’s version of the upper east side.

  6. Paul Tioxon

    Juan Cole’s commentary on the diplomatic break through with Iran is the beginning of a necessary simple and clearly articulated defense of peace in the face of its alternative in total war. The Final Solution of the Republican War Party is that the only certainty is the death of your enemy. We can only survive another war if we are lucky enough for people to depose the promoters of Final Solutions through Militarism. The struggle to avoid the mobilization of the entire apparatus of one nation against another, this would include all of the allies who would join in one side or the other of the conflict, is something we managed to avoid with the USSR for almost 50 years, and we were much more regularly in conflict with them and their proxies around the world for decades. That we now have a cleared a path to peace is not a sign of capitulation or appeasement. Iran is staring in the eyes of China, Russia, The USA and its allies France, Britain and Germany. If Iran wants to face down 5 nuclear powers and the largest economies in the world and think they have leverage, options or any chance of anything other than complete nuclear disarmament, you must be a Republican or their fellow travelers in Israel.

    From JFK’s Peace Speech. WE have done this before with success, we need to do it again in our generation so that there will at least be more generations in the future at all.

    “I’m taking this opportunity, therefore, to announce two important decisions in this regard. First, Chairman Khrushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan, and I have agreed that high-level discussions will shortly begin in Moscow looking towards early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hope must be tempered — Our hopes must be tempered with the caution of history; but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind. Second, to make clear our good faith and solemn convictions on this matter, I now declare that the United States does not propose to conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere so long as other states do not do so. We will not — We will not be the first to resume. Such a declaration is no substitute for a formal binding treaty, but I hope it will help us achieve one. Nor would such a treaty be a substitute for disarmament, but I hope it will help us achieve it.”

    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jfkamericanuniversityaddress.html

    1. sleepy

      “That we now have a cleared a path to peace is not a sign of capitulation or appeasement. Iran is staring in the eyes of China, Russia, The USA and its allies France, Britain and Germany. If Iran wants to face down 5 nuclear powers and the largest economies in the world and think they have leverage, options or any chance of anything other than complete nuclear disarmament, you must be a Republican or their fellow travelers in Israel.

      From everything I’ve read, if Iran chose to have nuclear weapons not much could stop it, barring a military occupation by some, most, or all of the P5 you mention. Of course none of those powers would–or could–do that. Beyond that, there has been precious little evidence that Iran has any intention of making nuclear weapons.

      Cole approaches the issue from the perspective of someone who feels the necessity of portraying Iran as the nation that blinked, backed down, etc. Maybe that’s just the sales pitch he thinks is needed, but I don’t think it squares with the facts. I think at the very least–putting aside issues of economics, trade, etc.–the US seems to think it needs Iran’s cooperation in fighting sunni jihadis.

      As far as dumping on the “Republican War Party”, I think it would be more accurate to dump on the “War Party” given the bipartisan proclivities of both parties to promote war. Certainly, DOD secretary Carter has insisted on the right to bomb Iran regardless of any deal. Sounds completely insane, but that’s a warmongering democrat for you. And no need to cite Hillary’s well-worn war lust.

    2. fresno dan

      I saw a movie last night that I had been meaning to see for years – Triumph of the Will
      And it impressed upon me the notion that most humans, at most, have only a passing familiarity with thinking for themselves.
      And that defense of the realm is always the first, last, and only refuge of the scoundrel.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Cole begins with the following:

        Iran has just de facto announced that it does not want a nuclear weapon, at least in this generation, and probably ever.

        Which is a lie. Iran has long said this, consistently. They have not implied otherwise even for future generations. They have been members of the NPT since the early 70’s. Our own Intelligence estimates and the IAEA, despite what must have been tremendous pressure to cook their books, have always found no substantive evidence to the contrary of Iran’s claims. Nor does any of Iranian infrastructure come close to the levels needed to produce nuclear weapons. And we or our best buddies the Israelis have invaded Iran and assassinated scientists among other things anyway…. while holding tens of millions of Iranians hostage with sanctions and threats of all out war/annihilation.

        I don’t know what bloody humanitarian bomber Cole is selling these days, probably soft selling for the so-called left side of our war parties as usual…but he’s lying and rewriting current facts and history from the get go.

        I’m just sorry I gave balloon juice a click. Time for a shower.

      2. sd

        Fascinating history to the making of the movie. In Leni Reifenstahls biography, she describes the rehearsal of the marching troops at the parade ground as utterly disastrous. Hitler is scheduled to be there for filming. To hide the disarray of the troops, she and Spear hit on filming at night with huge search lights scanning over the marchers heads.

        It’s an incredibly important lesson in the deception of appearances.

      3. savedbyirony

        “Triumph of the Will” ! I can understand watching it for intellectual, historical and aesthetic reasons; but if you’ve never seen it you might try checking-out Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” just for a countering change of pace.

        1. fresno dan

          Oh, I have seen Chaplin’s film as well. Some say his comedic brilliance made Hitler seem less of a menace. Some say if Reifenstahs’ film had been more widely distributed maybe the west would have seen the fanaticism sooner.
          Something that has dawned on me is that I look at these people (pick your own modern day demagogue) and think how can anyone follow such irrational, illogical people. But Hitler didn’t use logic – it was a more primal, visceral, emotional appeal.

          It seems to me the heart beats the mind…

          1. savedbyirony

            I remember reading somewhere that Chaplin later said he would not have made the film if he would have know at the time the depth of all the crimes and autrocities being commited against Jewish people. I think that would have been a terrible loss of fighting back. I think humor is not used enough (and not nearly well enough) politically in our society to fight back and criticize power. (Don’t the powerful often act to snuff out satire and other forms of humor being used to portray them?) I think to show them, their rhetoric and behaviors in such mocking light makes them look weaker because someone is actually speaking publicly and wittily what so many think privately; and it takes some of the glitter off their gold and impressiveness from their staged pageantries. I think humor emboldens people. We in this society right now don’t see enough good political humor. For example i’m not saying that Second City skit they did about WW3 back when O was attempting to set the bombs dropping on Syria stopped that attack (which NC posted) but it sure didn’t hurt and it got the appropriate message across in one of the best and widely appealing ways i saw. I would say humor is an excellent means to win both people’s hearts and minds.

            1. different clue

              Chaplin should not have blamed himself that way. When he made the film, Nazi policy on the Jews was simply good old persecution. The policy of comprehensive physical extermination in detail got launched only AFter Chaplin released the film. One hopes Chaplin eventually thought his way to that realization.

          2. neo-realist

            From my vague memory of reading Mein Kampf many years ago, Hitler devoted an entire chapter to how you use propaganda—you tap into their emotions, their hearts. Intellectual rationalization does not work with the masses. The only chapter or parts of the book pertaining to how you get the people in your grip was about the only interesting thing in that book, or at least a subject where Hitler knew what he was talking about. Considering his instincts on propaganda, his success was of little surprise.

    3. Jackrabbit

      I wrote about the Iran non-deal yesterday and Working Class Nero added a good comment as well.

      In short, it is very naive to think that this is a real “diplomatic breakthrough”. At this point the Obama Administration is simply banking a political/propaganda victory. They have banked such victories in the past, only to backtrack on the promise(s) due to “details” that had to be worked out later or simply acted in a way that betrayed whatever benefits were in the offing. Recall: “Change You Can Believe In” (a ‘deal’ with the American people), Dodd-Frank, the Fiscal Cliff, “new beginning” with the Islamic world, “reset” with Russia, Obamacare, and more.

      The US is involved in proxy wars but the Obama Administration and their MSM lackeys prefer to tout Obama’s non-deal as a break-through to keep up illusions of the Great Leader as peace maker. Congress and Netanyahu backdrop for depicting Obama’s nothingburger as heroic.

      And YES, it would be best if a real deal was reached. But what we see from the Obama Administration makes me very cynical and I am remain skeptical that the US-Israel–KSA really wants such a deal as well as that Iran would trust them enough to reach a deal.

      =
      =
      =
      H O P

      1. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

        My (admittedly low-level) observance of the Obama Administration is that it is always the messaging that matters and not the follow-through. Numerous observations of them messaging, then pivoting to the next message, without much concern about implementing any of the projects promised in said messages. They really seem to only be concerned with the media hit / boost at the roll out. The lack of follow-through from the media helps ensure that no one notices that nothing really happens afterward. I’ve had a theory for a while that all they know how to do is message, and they don’t really understand that governance is a different beast altogether.

        1. Demeter

          Worse yet, even the messaging is sloppy and ill-thought-out. It’s not even recyclable by the next Democrat who comes along….and certainly, not quotable, unless perhaps as court evidence.

      2. different clue

        We take our hope where we can find it. Some of the commenters over at Colonel Lang’s blog Sic Semper Tyrannis seriously speculate that Obama may be a pathotoxic narcissist. For example, his war-risking behavior towards Putin may be driven by personal spite and a desire to avenge Putin’s humiliation of Obama over Syria. And Netanyahu has been humiliating and jerk-arounding Obama for some years now. So who is to say that Obama doesn’t nurse a cool deep quiet hatred for Netanyahu . . . and an understated lust for revenge? Hopefully all the negotiators would not accept a “bad deal” just so Obama can humiliate Netanyahu, but . . . IF. . . . a good deal is negotatiated, who is to say Obama would not accept it for the added reason that it could be used to humiliate and maybe destroy Netanyahu?
        At the very least, Obama may not feel personally motivated to achieve something Netanyahu would like. So cheer up, maybe.

  7. alex morfesis

    ELECT CHUY Garcia for Mayor

    well…since achy obejas has not spoken on the matter publicly and Danny Davis, Timuel Black and Bobbi Steele are all insisting Chicago needs to vote for Chuy, then…

    vote early, vote often, vote chuy…

    as to rapid rahm…

    he would steal Israeli nuclear bombs and hand them to the ayatollah if he thought it might make him a buck without getting indicted…

    before anyone gets out of joint remember…
    he made sure blagojevic became governor…

    rod…
    whose father was a chetnick and had ties to general mihailovics organization in chicago…

    so please don’t tell me about rahm’s religious background…
    he didn’t care then…he probably couldn’t care less now…

    yeah yeah…noise noise…i dare…
    my doctor was on kappock street…i dare…

    vote early, vote often, vote chuy

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    South Dakota Script for Doctors.

    This here is a script for hedge fund managers before every hedge, and bankers before every loan – this financial bet/transaction may possibly terminate many unique living human lives. Make sure you do no harm.

    And one for software programmers – this program may be used by frackers to frack, or multinational corporations to evade taxes or better exploit workers, in one way or another. Make sure you do no harm. If you can not be sure you can live with your own conscience, you have to make a hard choice to get out.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Battle of the Nobel Laureates.

    Well, no one is going to make me the president of Sony Pictures, but here is one winning idea (I believe): Oil Wrestling of the Nobel Laureates.

    I really think it will out-draw the World Cup.

    1. Larry Headlund

      “God does not play dice,” as Einstein was known to say

      Apparently saying it over and over again. Finally, according to Richard Rhodes in The Making of the Atomic Bomb Neils Bohr told Einstein

      Nor is it our business to prescribe to God how He should run the world.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Lagarde list inadequate for crackdown.

    :(

    I have always believed ‘if there is a will, there is a way.’

    “Perhaps, Alice, we are no longer children any more. We…have grown up.”

    1. Santi

      As someone that knows Greece said around here recently, Ekathimerini is a austerian/old regime source. See the same news from a different source. While the sentence is there, see the different heading and the whole quote in The Economist:

      “I’m not concerned about the so-called Lagarde list,” Nikoloudis said. “It’s just a footnote in this overriding bid to hunt down tax cheats. Most importantly, though, the money which the Greek state stands to rake in from that list, in connection to fines on undeclared incomes, is peanuts compared to what can be collected from this roster of 80,000 individuals.”

      Beware the infowar, I think we need to be very careful about sources, given that Greek sounds like Greek to most of us, and dubious English sources abound.

  11. fresno dan

    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/whats-this-qweq-jazz-matt-obrien?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+beat_the_press+%28Beat+the+Press%29
    ===================================================================
    When events prove the experts wrong, the rewriting of history to disappear the critics has the effect of immunizing the experts from accountability. There should have been a lot of economists fired at places like the Fed, the I.M.F., the Congressional Budget Office and elsewhere for failing to see the housing bubble and the consequences of its collapse. This was their job and they messed up as much they possibly could.
    ======================================================================

    Good as far as it goes, but Dean forgets all the CEO’s of the financial sector. And how many DoJ lawyers fired for failure to prosecute obvious crimes? And how many politicians re-elected for being wrong, venal, and imbeciles??? And why was Obama re-elected (oh yeah, Americans can ONLY vote for a republican or a democrat, and can’t even see the other choices on the ballot, and the republican was worse)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07w9K2XR3f0

  12. fresno dan

    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/03/wall-street-executives-2008-jamie-dimon-cancer
    =======================================================================
    That was then. These days, Cayne isn’t talking. Neither he nor his attorney Melissa Prober, at Kramer Levin, responded to requests to speak about the financial crisis for this article. But Cayne is still around. He continues to be a force in the world of contract bridge. Last October, he competed in (but did not win) the 15-day Red Bull World Bridge Series, in China. In November he and his wife, Patricia, posed for photographers at the Children’s Cancer and Blood Foundation Breakthrough Ball Benefit Gala, at the Plaza Hotel. The event was conveniently located for them: upstairs, on the 14th floor, was the couple’s 6,000-square-foot apartment, which they bought for $28.24 million a month before Bear Stearns imploded.

    Even though Cayne lost around $1 billion when the value of his Bear Stearns stock fell to around $2 a share in the days after the March 15 agreement to sell to JPMorgan Chase, he was able to sell it all a few weeks later for around $61 million after JPMorgan was forced to increase the price of the deal to $10 a share. “The only people [who] are going to suffer are my heirs, not me,” he told me back then. “Because when you have a billion six and you lose a billion, you’re not exactly, like, crippled, right?” He told me his net worth was then around $400 million, although some people wonder if that may be a bit of an exaggeration, in keeping with Cayne’s general flamboyance. In addition to the Plaza apartment and his huge beach house, in New Jersey, he also owns a sixth-floor condominium at the posh Boca Beach Club, in Boca Raton, Florida, for which he reportedly paid $2.75 million in 2010, through a trust bearing the name Legion Holdings III, according to the Web site Gossip Extra.
    ===========================================================================

    If I lost that much money, I’d immolate myself….UNLESS of course, I had 400 million left over. Than I’d probably just drink while gazing at gyrating strippers….while cursing my misfortune and the damn FED
    (irony alert…both me and Cayne hate the FED…)

  13. JCC

    It’s not just fracking and oil, but water in general. More people need to watch this youtube video (movie) on water. It’s one more explanation of Corporate Power and Globalization at it’s finest.

    It amazes me that only around 4000 people have viewed this but goes to show how good the propaganda is, no one (in this country anyway) even realizes it’s happening. Of course getting anyone to watch anything that last more than 5 minutes is part of the problem – and a part of what the power structure loves.

  14. optimader

    RE: Ethnic Rivalries Hurt Garcia in Chicago Race New York Times
    optimader
    March 13, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    …In Chicago the Hispanic population has engaged economically much more successfully that the black population, think squandered times w/ Dorothy Tillman, Jessie Jackson, Bobby Rush, so I will not be surprised with a black turnout for Rahm if for only to defeat Garcia and his peeps on purely ethnic lines…

    1. Lambert Strether

      Too bad Karen Lewis got brain cancer. I think she would have run a better race. I keep seeing opportunities for Chuy to reach out to the black vote, and not seeing anything (though it might not be reported). Shaking my head.

  15. participant-observer-observed

    In case anyone missed Tyler Durden’s post at Zero Hedge about Iceland

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-01/iceland-stuns-banks-plans-take-back-power-create-money

    “One Frosti Sigurjonsson, a lawmaker from the ruling Progress Party, issued a report today that suggests taking the power to create money away from commercial banks, and hand it to the central bank and, ultimately, Parliament.”

    It sounds like more hype than anything else at this point, but still makes for interesting contemplations.

  16. susan the other

    The Bankok Post. Amazing reporting. It’s OK to tell Thailand the truth about the TPP: “It is a strategic agreement with an economic component.” OK then. It will make Thailand unheard-of wealthy by trading with the US. Multiple billions of US dollars into their coffers. Etc. And America’s only dilemma: “… the US will have to compromise (on the economic component)”. Pivot to Asia indeed. With all the bells and whistles the MIC can deliver. Buy these planes, and tanks, and rifles, and drones, and bombs, and surveillance equipment from us and we’ll guarantee your “security” and give you a big break on the rest of the treaty which otherwise busts your country back to dirt. The US businesses are at a “disadvantage” in all this wheeling and dealing because they are “only interested in their bottom line.” Also known as profit. Unless of course they are in the business of supplying the MIC. This crap, this true report of the crap that is sneaking past us as a “trade agreement”, is almost unbelievable, even for the good ol’ USA.

  17. timbers

    Not that Obama is the greatest peace maker since Jesus of Nazareth (per the fake left) because of the Iran deal, maybe he will invest all his time in getting the deal passed and drop the ball on TPP.

  18. Peter Pan

    Pentagon Upgraded Biggest ‘Bunker Buster’ Bomb

    I suspect the specifications included the ability to penetrate and destroy the bunkers within the Cheyenne Mountain Complex of NORAD. The USA is so paranoid about a thirteen year old hacking their strategic nuclear forces that they felt a need to be able to destroy it’s communication and control system independent of the self-destruct thermonuclear device in the basement bunker.

    1. Lambert Strether

      That is actually quite a sensible thought, though IIRC the real threat is that the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is heavily infiltrated by religious fanatics (in this case, Christianists; see Mikey Weinstein’s work at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation). So it would be a problem if one of ’em wanted bring on the End Times early. Eh?

  19. Tareq Salahi

    You see a line getting repeated all over lately with the telltale perseveration of CIA propaganda. This example got stuffed awkwardly into a New Yorker review.

    “After the revelations of the nineteen-sixties and seventies, when many of the C.I.A.’s undercover operations were exposed, people began talking about the agency as though it were some kind of underground cell, an organization with no accountability, up to its own dirty tricks. But a report on the C.I.A.’s covert operations made immediately after the 1967 revelations concluded that the agency “did not act on its own initiative.” In 1976, a more critical congressional report, which was never officially released, stated, “All evidence in hand suggests that the CIA, far from being out of control, has been utterly responsive to the instructions of the President and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.”

    Why all this harping on old news from unnamed but ineffectual committees? Because CIA wants it all to be Obama’s fault.

    Look what happens when the executive does not exactly correspond with CIA positions. After Obama promised justice for torture, CIA threatened a revolt. Our freshly-elected puppet ruler instantly backed down. Even before his election, Obama took back what he said about telecom immunity for illegal surveillance. Obama tried to shake off the Afghanistan tarbaby and was promptly beset by a GTA mayhem mode of lone nuts plinking at his windows, importuning him with lethal weapons, and crashing motorized conveyances in his yard.

    Obama is the boss of CIA. Yeah right. And Patty Hearst commanded the Symbionese Liberation Army. Whether or not Pike was right back then, Obama is there to hold the bag, that’s it. When they want his opinion they’ll give it to him. CIA diffuses its agency only to dissemble this blindingly obvious reality.

  20. rich

    Billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett controls a mobile-home empire that promises low-income borrowers affordable houses. But all too often, it traps those owners in high-interest loans and rapidly depreciating homes.

    So, as the pilot cars prepared to guide the factory-built home up from Oregon in May 2006, the Ackleys were elated to finalize paperwork waiting for them at their loan broker’s kitchen table.

    But the closing documents he set before them held a surprise: The promised 7 percent interest rate was now 12.5 percent, with monthly payments of $1,100, up from $700.
    Editor’s note

    The terms were too extreme for the Ackleys. But they’d already spent $11,000, at the dealer’s urging, for a concrete foundation to accommodate this specific home. They could look for other financing but desperately needed a space to care for her father.

    Kirk’s construction job and Patricia’s Wal-Mart job together weren’t enough to afford the new monthly payment. But, they said, the broker was willing to inflate their income in order to qualify them for the loan.

    “You just need to remember,” they recalled him saying, “you can refinance as soon as you can.”

    To their regret, the Ackleys signed.

    They both recall being baffled by his reply: “We don’t care. We’ll come take a chainsaw to it — cut it up and haul it out in boxes.”

    The disastrous deal ruined their finances and nearly their marriage. But until informed recently by a reporter, they didn’t realize that the homebuilder (Golden West), the dealer (Oakwood Homes) and the lender (21st Mortgage) were all part of a single company: Clayton Homes, the nation’s biggest homebuilder, which is controlled by its second-richest man — Warren Buffett.

    Buffett’s mobile-home empire promises low-income Americans the dream of homeownership. But Clayton relies on predatory sales practices, exorbitant fees, and interest rates that can exceed 15 percent, trapping many buyers in loans they can’t afford and in homes that are almost impossible to sell or refinance, an investigation by The Seattle Times and Center for Public Integrity has found.
    Kevin Carroll, former owner of a Clayton-affiliated dealership in Indiana, said in an interview that he used business loans from a Clayton lender to finance inventory for his lot. If he also guided homebuyers to work with the same lender, 21st Mortgage, the company would give him a discount on his business loans — a “kickback,” in his words.

    Doug Farley, who was a general manager at several Clayton-owned dealerships, also used the term “kickback” to describe the profit-share he received on Clayton loans until around 2008. After that, the company changed its incentives to instead provide “kickbacks” on sales of Clayton’s insurance to borrowers, he said.

    Ed Atherton, a former lot manager in Arkansas, said his regional supervisor was pressuring lot managers to put at least 80 percent of buyers into Clayton financing. Atherton left the company in 2013.

    MHI spent $4.5 million since 2003 lobbying the federal government. Those efforts have helped the company escape much scrutiny, as has Buffett’s persona as a man of the people, analysts say.

    “There is a Teflon aspect to Warren Buffett,” said James McRitchie, who runs a widely read blog, Corporate Governance.
    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/the-mobile-home-trap-how-a-warren-buffett-empire-preys-on-the-poor/

  21. JTFaraday

    re: “‘Hipster’ for president: Hillary Clinton campaign-in-waiting signs lease for office space in Brooklyn, New York,” Daily Mail

    On what planet is this a good idea? You have to wonder about some people’s advisors.

    Personally, I don’t want her (or any woman) to be President (right now) so I’m fine with that.

    …Some fun for Vice and Gawker etc., I think maybe.

    1. Lambert Strether

      So, Philip Dru, Administrator preceded the Powell Memo by several decades. Interesting! I’m always skeptical, however, of intellectual history without the history part; do we know the book actually influenced anyone outside House’s circle?

    2. skippy

      Who knows how many prophets are responsible for ALEC…

      “Moyers & Company presents “United States of ALEC,” a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of — ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.

      Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, the episode explores ALEC’s self-serving machine at work, acting in a way one Wisconsin politician describes as “a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests.”

      http://billmoyers.com/segment/united-states-of-alec/

      Skippy…. at the end of the day… it seems interest – is – all about preserving interests… no matter how you slice it….

  22. LifelongLib

    Probably no great surprise to many posters here — Mars One may not be what it claims it is:

    mars-one-insider-quits-dangerously-flawed-project-2dfef95217d3

    1. skippy

      So its an Amway – Herbal-life approach to space exploration…. lulz… were off to Disney Land…. I made my sales target…

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