Links 4/9/15

The brain in three crustaceans from cavernous darkness BMC Neuroscience. “A study of blind crustaceans living in deep, dark caves has revealed that evolution is rapidly withering the visual parts of their brain.”

BREAKING: In Chicago, Reports of Voters Receiving Ballots Already Marked for Emanuel Rick Perlstein, In These Times. Yikes!

Fed Divided on June Rate Increase, but Soft Data May Prove Deciding Factor WSJ

Fed’s Dudley: Payroll growth stronger than the overall economy, ‘something was off’ CNBC

Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, March 17-18, 2015 Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Grab a cup of coffee….

IMF seeks stress tests for asset managers FT

Algorithms Will Make JPMorgan Less Bad Bloomberg

Jamie Dimon warns next crisis could see ‘more volatile’ markets FT

Post-Crisis Risk Casts a Darkening Shadow Wall Street Journal

Pawn to cushion payday lenders from regulatory blow Reuters

Denmark highlights naked truth about negative lending FT

PayPal and eBay Become First to Yield to New Russian Data Law – Report Moscow Times (Furzy Mouse)

Oil prices edge back from 6 percent fall, but outlook weak Reuters

Shell-BG Deal Puts Pressure on Big Oil to Consolidate Again Bloomberg

As Colombian Oil Money Flowed To Clintons, State Department Took No Action To Prevent Labor Violations David Sirota, International Business Times. Yikes! Well, we can always check State’s email to see if this is more than coincidence. Oh, wait…

Blowback as National Policy War on the Rocks

CIA Director: We’re Winning the War on Terror, But It Will Never End CFR. Ka-ching!


Obama Calls Senator Corker to Discuss Iran Nuclear Talks Bloomberg

Tom Cotton: Military Action Against Iran Would Take Only ‘Several Days’ NPR

Tsarnaev guilty in Marathon bombings Boston Globe

The Penalty Phase: What Happens Next In The Tsarnaev Trial WBUR

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

How Edward Snowden Unwittingly Killed a Mass-Surveillance Program National Journal

New MLB Metal Detectors Causing Long Lines and Delays for Baseball Fans Bleacher Report

Passengers leave thousands in loose change at L.A., S.F. airports Los Angeles Times

How many officers helped ‘killer cop’ to cover-up the shooting of unarmed black man before video emerged? Mayor refuses to say if anyone else will face justice at angry press conference Daily Mail

U.S. Has Limited Data on Shootings Involving Police New York Times


Europe’s manhandling of Greece is a strategic gift to Russia’s Vladimir Putin Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Putin: Greece did not seek financial aid from Russia BBC

UPDATE 1-Greece raises 1.1 bln euros, sells all 6-month T-bills on offer Reuters

Tsipras-Putin Sign New Trade Deal and Renew Greece-Russia Relations Greek Reporter

Russia could give Greece advance funds for future gas project – Greek official Daily Star

After Syriza: What’s next for Spain? LSE

Marine Le Pen, Leader of France’s National Front Party, Splits With Her Father, Its Founder New York Times (KF)

Kenya al-Shabab attack: Who are the victims? BBC. Oddly, or not, no “Je suis” for this mass slaughter.

China’s Already Preparing for a Post-Sanctions Iran The Diplomat

Kim Says China Bank Is New Start, Not End for U.S.-Led Order Bloomberg

Sidewalk Touts Trade Tips On Shanghai’s Booming Bull Market NPR. I believe I recently asked for signs of froth in China…

Class Warfare

The Financial Pressures of the Middle Class Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Is It Inequality or Mobility? Neither Economists nor GOP Candidates Can Decide. The New Republic

Neighborhood Stigma Affects Online Transactions, Sociology Researchers Find NYU (abstract).

The top story in Mexico is about a feisty journalist who exposed the first lady’s secret mansion, and lost her job WaPo

Travel tip: Showering with your clothes is an easy way to do laundry Los Angeles Times

The copycat who nearly died air-mailing himself home BBC

Stan Freberg, Madcap Adman and Satirist, Dies at 88 New York Times. “Stan Freberg modestly presents….”

Valar Morghulis WaPo (!). “An illustrated guide to all 456 deaths in Game of Thrones

Antidote du jour, and thanks to reader Eclair for suggesting le bouquetin!


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Ed

      The article is a brave attempt to figure out what US foreign policy in the Middle East really is, but it makes the interesting and probably correct point that Isreal has strong support in Washington precisely because its NOT a democracy.

    1. diptherio

      Yeah, that Sun Tzu knew a thing or two…”the more things change,” eh?

      The author, however, seems to be laboring under the illusion that foreign policy is crafted with some sort of “national interest” in mind, rather than it’s being the outgrowth of numerous personal motives, agendas, and schemes for gaining power and money. Take a look at the Hellary/Columbia article for an up-close view of how, and why, foreign policy decisions really get made.

    2. JTMcPhee

      From ex-SP4 McPhee, link to the whole set of wisdoms from the collective person called Sun Tzu:

      Our great imperial leaders and warlords and those effing business buddies that think they can find models for best management practices in the tactical advice from ancient warriors while totally blowing past the precepts and strategic advice that comes first, those folks cite (albeit a lot less frequently of late) ancient wisdom, get exposed to it at least in B-School and War College, and then completely do the State-killing, destruction-the-People-completing exact opposite of what the wisdom advises:

      1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.

      2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

      3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

      4. These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.

      5,6. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.

      7. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.

      8. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.

      9. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.

      10. By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.

      11. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.

      12. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:–

      13. (1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law? (2) Which of the two generals has most ability? (3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth? (4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced? (5) Which army is stronger? (6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained? (7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?

      14. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat.

      15. The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat:–let such a one be dismissed!….

      temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.

      II. Waging War

      1. Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.

      2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

      3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

      4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

      5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

      6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.

      7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.

      8. The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice.

      9. Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.

      10. Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to be maintained by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.

      11. On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause the people’s substance to be drained away.

      12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be afflicted by heavy exactions.

      13,14. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated; while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue.

      15. Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy. One cartload of the enemy’s provisions is equivalent to twenty of one’s own, and likewise a single picul of his provender is equivalent to twenty from one’s own store.

      16. Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards.

      17. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots have been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. Our own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy, and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with ours. The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept.

      18. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one’s own strength.

      19. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.

      20. Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people’s fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril.

      Looks to me like a clean sweep in the “blowback induced and made inevitable by blowing off all the principles of war according to real experts, not McChrystal or Petraeus” category…

      1. steviefinn

        Those lovers of & so called experts on war ( from a safe distance ) the Kagan clan seem to have missed the above, never mind Tom Cotton.

    3. Lambert Strether

      I kept waiting for the author to say that Blowback was actually the policy, i.e. consciously chosen. But the moment never came. Or I have a crippled/simplistic notion of policy.

      1. Oregoncharles

        It remains possible, if not likely, that our masters are nowhere near as clever as they think they are – in particular, that they’re blinded by arrogance.

  1. Kokuanani

    “A study of blind crustaceans living in deep, dark caves has revealed that evolution is rapidly withering the visual parts of their brain.”

    Next up for study: what happens to the “thinking part” of the brains of Fox-watchers.

      1. ambrit

        In my day, we’d have to watch the TV Test Pattern Indian for at least a half an hour before the Sunrise Sermon. He’d tell us kids all sorts of neat stuff about how Mom and Dad were our ‘best friends,’ and how Officer Friendly always knew what to do in an emergency. You had to concentrate real hard to hear Mr. Indian, but he was talking, no doubt about it, just at the edge of consciousness. For some arcane reason, things always went smoothly on days when you spent some time with the Indian. Why, it was almost like you didn’t need to think about anything! It was all running on a program or something! The joys of childhood.

    1. Benedict@Large

      I thought we already did that Fox watcher study? As I recall, the patient died; only the zombie remained.

    2. susan the other

      when it comes to our senses, our 5 senses, it’s use it or lose it… not good if you are a slowly boiling frog

  2. Kokuanani

    WaPo (!). “An illustrated guide to all 456 deaths in Game of Thrones”

    The WaPo has got a lot of free time since it’s not busy reporting “real” news.

    1. Ned Ludd

      I have a relative who goes to a public elementary school in a liberal state. As a role-playing activity, they pretended to run a newspaper. The focus was on raising money, and one of the activities was for the student playing the editor to convince the one playing a wealthy businessman to give the newspaper money in exchange for positive coverage.

      I was horrified by this – as a young student, my class toured the offices of a large newspaper and the person taking us on the tour emphasized the “Chinese Wall” between the news and the business side of the paper. Nowadays, though, no one thinks twice about tailoring news coverage to make money, going so far as to publish native advertising and sponsored content.

      1. Bill the Psychologist

        “Nowadays, though, no one thinks twice about tailoring news coverage to make money, going so far as to publish native advertising and sponsored content.”

        As a prominent and daily illustration, notice how many “news items’ on ABC Nightly News are actually about ABC programs.

        I like watching David, but his news program is now officially the “lightest” on TV IMHO.

        1. optimader

          unless your referring to a reanimated David Brinkley I take some small satisfaction not knowing who David is.

          1. Bill the Psychologist

            Yes, optimader, you should be proud ! I watch the Nightly “News” because I’m an old man with nothing better to do at that time.

        2. ambrit

          Not to mention the Online presence of Disney. They sneak self promotional material into everything associated with them, which means everything they have a controlling stake in. Mouse Kingdom indeed!
          Am I the only one who will occasionally tell one of those talking flat screens on the aisle at Wall Mart to “Shut up”?

        1. Ernesto Lyon

          And if you add in hospitals, nursing homes, and health professionals, there is a tidal wave of cash going to politicians from the healthcare industry.

          It’s insane. They stomp every other sector into the ground with their spending.

          It’s almost like they’re trying to take over the government?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Too late?

            Someone else captured it a while back? They feel comfortable for it to print at will now.

            It’s…under control.

            New money will not go rogue.

              1. frosty zoom

                funny, if you reply to the last comment, you get a whole new comment.

                this is in reply to beef.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Not only that, they got moved to a new neighborhood. The comments are a few stories higher in the building.

                  “We are moving up in the world!!!”

      2. NOTaREALmerican

        Re: I was horrified by this

        I don’t see why teaching the truth should be horrible. If you taught kid early about concepts like duplicity and assholes winning perhaps they could figure out reality when they got out of school. Instead, we have nonsense like: “How aBill becames a Law” and there’s nothing about the reality of purchasing sociopaths with money.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Air strikes, comrades — the U.S. advisers said they’d work a treat:

    (Reuters) – Houthi fighters, backed by supporters of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh entered the provincial capital of the mainly Sunni Shabwa province in eastern Yemen on Thursday, residents said, despite intense Saudi-led air strikes against the group.

    Saudi Arabia, backed by four Gulf Arab states and other regional Arab allies, has mounted two weeks of air strikes against the Iran-allied Houthis after they pushed south toward Aden, the stronghold of Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

    The air campaign failed to stop the Shi’ite Houthis and soldiers loyal to Saleh entering central Aden. But the coalition says it has cut Houthi supply lines, destroyed weapons depots and pushed them back in some southern provinces around Aden.

    What would the brilliant military tactician B. H. Obama do?

    1. Gareth

      Based upon US actions in Syria, I would suggest having Al Qaeda in Yemen change it’s name to the Yusra Front, have the media re-brand them as moderates, then provide American trainers and weapons.

  4. Ned Ludd

    “If it were a conspiracy, it would probably be the least effective conspiracy in the history of conspiracies.”

    If there is evidence of a conspiracy, then the conspiracy was not effective, so we should not worry about it.

    If there is no evidence of a conspiracy, then by Occam’s Razor, there was no conspiracy, so we should not worry about it.

    Don’t worry, be happy, conspiracies only happen in novels. Powerful people who profit off of theft and destruction would never stoop so far as to fix an election.

    1. Ernesto Lyon

      If there was a conspiracy someone would have gone on Oprah to give it away.

      That’s the Oprah Conjecture.

      But what if Oprah is in on the conspiracy? ;)

  5. Jim Haygood

    Senator Tom Cotton [on bombing Iran] seems to be quoting Charles Hamilton’s farewell to Scarlett O’Hara:

    “Don’t cry, darling. The war’ll be over in a few weeks, and then I’ll be coming back to you.”

    But ol’ Rhett Butler had Senator Cotton pegged:

    “All we’ve got is Cotton and slaves, and arrogance.”

    After all, air strikes are workin’ so good in Yemen, it’d be a shame not to expand the program!

    1. DJG

      My question about Tom Cotton is whether or not he is truly this stupid. Is he the boy Sarah Palin? Or is he malign? No one in theirright mind can want a land war in Asia with a country of 80 million? I can’t even figure out what is motivating this twerp.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Like the revered figures of George W. Bush and B. H. Obama, Cotton is a Harvard graduate.

        It shows.

        1. cripes

          Little Bush was a Yalie, like his father, but too dumb for the See-I-A. Obama, who lounged around Harvard until groomed for the white (mans) house was just dumb.

      2. vidimi

        i’m not sure how many people in america really know how big iran is (i.e. area 2.5x the size of france and the population of germany) but it seems like they can be counted on one hand. unlike iraq, iran’s got real weapons, too. those aircraft carriers would have to be kept pretty far away.

        1. ambrit

          Aircraft carriers, yeah, big floating targets. If we were the Navy, we’d not want them anywhere near the Persian Gulf, which sort of makes them useless.

          1. Antifa

            Actually, Tom Cotton is right. A war with Iran would only last a few days. From the moment it starts, the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf would completely cease, and Western economies would be in a state of collapse in a few days. So the war would end.

            The supertankers plying the Persian Gulf are heavily insured for each voyage. During a shooting war in that narrow body of water, no one could afford insurance for supertankers headed in harm’s way, no one would issue insurance, no one could guarantee their safety, and why bother? The onshore oil loading terminals would be in flames from Iranian missiles from the first hour.

            And don’t start talking nukes. Iran has a solid friend in the big Russian bear. Moscow can inform Israel and America that and America will receive exactly as many nukes as they drop on Iran. Mutually Assured Destruction — the only sure cure for nuclear war.

            Or Russia could rapidly deploy troops into Iran and warn the West not to touch them. Or flood Iran’s nuclear sites with Russian technicians as a means of protecting those locations from attack. Russia could also immediately cut off all natural gas to Western Europe, bringing tremendous pressure from them for the war to cease immediately.

            Pentagon war planners have run multiple war games with Iran. We’ve never won without Iran mysteriously failing to use its missiles against our ships, and against oil tankers.

            It is Israel and the Saudi royal family who want war with Iran. It is not in America’s corporate or military interest, nor in Europe’s, nor in Russia’s. The Saudis are in a tizzy because of what Yemen’s turmoil represents to them — the beginning of the dissolution of Saudi Arabia into similar turmoil. It’s inevitable, of course, but they want to put it off for at least as long as the oil lasts. So they are bombing Yemen in hopes of forcing them to accept a ‘strong leader’ chosen by the Saudis.

            Master Tom Cotton is still young enough to enlist. If he truly wants war with Iran, he should sign up and hop to it. After it’s all over, he can run for President.

            Of Yemen.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Not useless at all!

            Each one provides a base of operations for a couple of admirals and their staffs, complete with really nice quarters and it used to be with lots of Filipino servants to cater to their whims. And it’s a JOBS PROGRAM!, 5,000 crewmembers and a huge supply chain that somehow gets bigger after the thing is finally launched, and all the corruption of cost-plus construction and re-re-re-re-fitting, not to mention the weapon systems! All because “projecting power!” which appears to have been trumped by some fairly simple and inexpensive applications of technology,

            But all in, we can’t call the “carrier program” actually “useless:” seems like the whole complex thing, not counting the F-35, has over time cost the American taxpayers several trillion dollars in wealth transfers to post- or trans-national corporations and those general officers who live like little kings or at least princes,, and, to prove that air power apparently cannot actually win any wars, and guess what? the little kids on the schoolyard are figuring out that the big bully is kind of porky and doughy and cumbersome, and a kick in the ‘nads by some brave or desperate little kid, “Iran Encounter Grimly Echoes ’02 War Game,” , will put him down for the count, without the ability to hold up his magisterial hand, say “cancel, cancel,” and have a “do-over” with the outcome “appropriately” pre-determined.

            And some “loyal Americans” are actually COUNTING on that:

            The Neoconservative Agenda to Sacrifice the Fifth Fleet – The New Pearl Harbor
            by Michael Salla

            The U.S. plans for an attack on Iran envision to sacrifice the Fifth Fleet in order to justify a nuclear retaliation. This is not a hypothetical scenario, but a real option being discussed within the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff cabinet. According to our sources, admiral William Fallon made clear that if such an order was given, he would refuse to follow it and would hand in his resignation along with the entire Centcom headquarter’s. So far only the Navy and Army’s superior officers’ resistance has prevented the neoconservatives and the Air Force to launch the operations.

            Gulf of Tonkin, Part 13? There’s a gulf, all right — but it’s between what is, and what the mopes still, persistently and incomprehensibly, are led to believe…

            But… but… we HAVE to have AT LEAST 11, or 13, or 15 carriers! Each one is “a piece of America!” that dominates its tactical and strategic environment, until those kids in the schoolyard get their backs up, or until some senior US naval officer sells the deployment plans, for a nice bribe and some great free prostitute sex, to some “foreign person,” “‘Fat Leonard’ fallout: Officers talk growing bribery scandal and ‘epic parties’,” Look how it REALLY works, people! A thing of arrogant beauty, the REAL projection of power which is actually just impunity for the Elite…

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That impunity for the elites all starts with the global reserve (we never ever have to peg to another money, but can print at will) fiat currency.

            2. craazyboy

              I was mulling around a theory in my head which goes:

              In one of the 11-Dimensional chess games we hear Obama likes to partake in, it was decided we should become friends with Iran, so that Iran could be the new counterbalance to the new iRaqiState forming in the region. Then, if the Saudis, Iran and Israel could put aside differences for a short while, Israel could do something useful, in the eyes of their new allies, and nuke iRaqiState.

              The Saudies would have to concede Yemen in the deal, but the upside would be attractive.

              But losing the 5th Fleet so we can nuke the place??? This is why I never get invited to 11-Dimensional chess games.

          3. Perdido

            You will know the US is actually planning to attack Iran when we move every US Navy ship out of the Persian Gulf. The principal tenets of naval warfare are to maneuver to advantage and to sink any attacking ship. You cannot maneuver in the Persian Gulf – it’s the size of a bathtub – and you cannot sink Iran. There is no tactical or strategic advantage in having ships in the Gulf rather than the Arabian Sea. We don’t call it the Persian Gulf for nothing. And don’t get me started on how easy it would be for the Iranians to close the Straits of Hormuz.

            1. James Levy

              The USN would put its most advanced AEGIS ships in the Gulf to protect Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, or at least try. To pull them out would be to admit that they are ineffective in a high intensity combat environment; pride and pricetag will make that an impossibility. The Iranians would be wise to ignore them and hit as many soft targets as possible before they use/lose their offensive assets, which would be pretty quickly. What you can easily forecast is that the Americans can hurt the Iranians and strip them of any offensive military capacity, but at a higher cost than the Americans are used to paying. The Gulf will be closed for a few weeks but then the Iranians will run out of missiles and mines. From that day forward the two sides will be largely staring each other down, because the US can’t hope to invade and occupy Iran and Iran will have been stripped of the capacity to strike at American or Saudi assets. To distract the air attacks on my home front if I were the Iranians I’d send a powerful force to occupy Baghdad. If I could “Saigon” the US embassy there it would be a propaganda coup of epic proportions, and to stop it the Americans would divert all their air assets to the Iraq front, giving me time to hunker down, disperse, and prepare for the American’s next move. By this point Russia, China, and France would be huddled in the Security Council mobilizing pressure for a brokered deal to end the conflict. At that point, things would really get dangerous.

        2. sam snead

          Iran is not flat desert like Iraq or Kuwait.

          Its almost as mountainous as Afghanistan.

          And also unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, they are mostly unified by culture, religion, and language.

      3. James Levy

        What’s terrifying is that this is not laughed out of court and denounced as insanity by every thinking person who has a pulpit to speak from. What’s terrifying is how craven, cowed, and disorganized our intellectual “elite” are. But if I tried to rally the military historians I know to denounce this balderdash, they’d overwhelmingly demur–don’t want to look all “radical” or “lacking in objectivity” or “unprofessional”. What all these people are looking for is a foot in the door. They mostly agree with the hegemonic obsession with ruling the world, and hate the Iranians, so they’ll sit by quietly as we launch ourselves into a half-assed air war against a country that can actually fight back so that the US is forced to escalate so that we can then “finish the job” and overthrow those evil mullahs. And when we eventually lose, as we’ve lost so many times before, they’ll just blame the “liberals” for “tying their hands” because the half-million or more dead Iranians won’t be enough for them; if we just killed three or four million of the little Moslem bastards, we’d prevail! Or so they’ll argue.

      4. Benedict@Large

        Cotton has found his cash cow in Israel and AIPAC. It’s how he puts food on his family.

      1. JTMcPhee

        They didn’t specify which year, of course…

        Said this idiot enlistee in the Imperial US Army, 1966, who got to go look for the “light at the end of the tunnel” along with a couple of million other mostly non-Elite, drafted GIs and Gyrenes and Other Service Members… At least the Army tour over there was limited to near exactly a year, unless short-circuited by death or disabling injury… have pity on the latest set of Joint Service Boots, who are expected to just keep on walking, until death or disabling injury.

  6. Ned Ludd

    Potential good news for Greece:

    Prior to the two leaders’ meeting, Russia’s Agriculture Minister said on Tuesday that Moscow could consider removing Greece, Hungary and Cyprus from its ban on most Western food imports, imposed in retaliation for the EU sanctions over the Ukraine issue.

    Also, according to Russian business newspaper Kommersant, a Russian government official said that Moscow may offer Greece a discount on natural gas and new loans.

  7. craazyboy

    “Fed’s Dudley: Payroll growth stronger than the overall economy, ‘something was off’ CNBC”

    “Sure, given enough time the business cycle with implement the Fed’s charter of balancing inflation and full employment, but our #1 concern is to maintain frothy, speculative excess in financial markets…”

    1. Jim Haygood

      If Dudley would just come out and commit to keep the Nasdaq above a floor value of 5,000, I certainly would be willing to fund a more vigorous program of capital investment.

      1. craazyboy

        Only Dudley’s closest friends know for sure.

        The rest of us still need to guess. Except if you guess wrong, it’s the Smith&Weston retirement plan for you!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I can hear chants of ‘Death to Wage Inflation’ from inside that building.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Yes, and when the chanting is done, the high priests rip out a few hearts and then roll the bodies down the front stairs. The Beltway is a funny place.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It is also rumored that they sacrifice a few virgin dollar-bills (never been touched, much less used) to placate their gods.

    3. Benedict@Large

      There is one reason and one reason only for raising interest rates: We haven’t done it for a while.

      That’s it. That’s all there is. There is no data at all to support it.

      Our economics profession is truly laughable.

      1. Jim Haygood

        You’re right, of course.

        Every quarter point above zero represents ‘ammo’ to the Fed.

        They need at least one bullet in the chamber to play Russian roulette with the economy.

  8. TarheelDem

    Stan Freberg shaped the media understanding of a part of a generation. He deconstructed historical movies (“What’s that”…”french horns”) and the use of art as propaganda (“the skinny kid with the pipe”) before deconstruction was “in”. Those were part of his audience will understand this comment.

    I would love to hear the current crop of political comedians riff about Stan Freberg’s work.

      1. Emma

        The NC angle?
        Like usual, the right angle ie. mock the stuff n’ nonsense of so-called hard-ons…
        Do an homage to Freberg and his take-down of advertizing, and then deliver a withering expose of the ad world today and the pervasive lack of standards (ie. ingenuity in favor of the ‘concern’, not genuinity in favor of ‘the concerned’….)

  9. alex morfesis

    ballot fraud in chicago is nothing new

    I figured chicago was where fidel and putin learned to get 98% victory results…and those others who voted otherwise were sent to some reeducation camp and given ritalyn…to help them remember….

    synthetic winds….

    not second hand conjecture…was an election judge a few times in chicago…what is described is why I stopped doing it…fighting the machine is like fighting Illium…the only way to win is to make them think you surrendered…

    1. Vatch

      I’ve never lived in the city of Chicago, but the politicians there certainly have a reputation for voting fraud. I sometimes complain about election results in other countries, but Chicago represents the ideal Platonic archetypal form of voting fraud. As they say:

      Vote early and vote often.

  10. fresno dan

    How many officers helped ‘killer cop’ to cover-up the shooting of unarmed black man before video emerged? Mayor refuses to say if anyone else will face justice at angry press conference Daily Mail

    “He then handcuffed his lifeless body before jogging back to where he had fired the shots to pick up an object from the ground – possibly the Taser.
    The officer then returned to Scott where a second officer was on the scene. Slager can be seen on video tape appearing to drop an object next to the victim’s body.”

    How many other officers helped cover up? Well, I think first you have to clarify if your talking omission or commission. How many times do police “move” evidence around to benefit themselves?
    As I’ve said many times, there is a reason why the police so obdurately refuse to acknowledge that the public has a right to photograph them.
    I’m trying to figure out if items I photograph with my cell phone can be simultaneously uploaded to the “cloud” or youtube…(in case something happens to me or my phone)


      1. bob

        My understanding of both is that they allow “live broadcasting” but do not “record”, let alone record to the cloud or the phone itself. Straight up broadcast.

        Do both internally capture and record the videos, out of view of the users? I bet they do. It’ll probably take a criminal case and a subpoena to find out.

        Feature or bug? Was ustream becoming too much of a problem?

        In short, neither offer the “user” the service you say they do.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I haven’t tested it, but I believe Periscope stores temporarily, and you can save out the file if you want.

          Adding, yes, it does do what I say at least in part:

          Periscope auto-saves every broadcast and, as soon as you’re done, uploads the whole thing to Periscope so people can watch streams from people they follow even if they’re not live.

          Whether you can save out the upload I’m not sure of. Somebody could surely grab it, though.

          1. bob

            Vaporware. It must be real, someone was paid to write about it.

            “Because the service is limited to a relative few invited beta testers, there were often times when no one was broadcasting. That’s okay, though, because there’s still lots of Periscope programming to watch.”

            The “when you’re done” bit is troubling. What if the phone is taken away from you or smashed?

            Sounds like another vending machine opportunity to sell your content back to you.

            Who owns the video?

            An app to save the world– attached to a twitter account. In beta.

            How are either better than ustream? “They’re more tightly integrated with your social network and online brand building apparatus. Plus innovation, conflagration and application synergicity®. All brought to you by your friendly venture capital firm and marketing department.”

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Well, typically one can’t install vaporware through the Apple Store. On the narrow question of whether Periscope saves out video to local storage or the cloud, I’ll find out when I start messing about with it; I want to video a morning walk in the garden when the mud season is over.

              1. bob

                I’m being pedantic, but honestly, what the hell does parascope® do that most phones have been doing for years? Take a video? Make a VC millions?

                Baffling with bullshit. Even the “technical” descriptions don’t make sense, they just sound good, but with any little bit of examination, don’t stand up. Buy it from the iHoles® and find out.

                It’s whatever you want it to be and, at the same time, everything you already have. beta.

                  1. bob

                    like a webcam? 20 years of that now.

                    ustream, the service, was started in 2007.

                    Again, what’s new?

        2. hunkerdown

          The use case of attention whoring differs greatly from the use case of covert documentation.

          Video is hard to stream into storage in a usable, compact form without a server specially customized to the purpose (such as Icecast). You could stream to the cloud, but you might be safer and better off streaming to your PC at home if you don’t need the NSA to have 99.999% availability. It takes a bit of doing to set up something that will record every stream you throw at your server, but I don’t think it’s impossible.

          1. craazyboy

            I looked around for a open source toolkit for windows to try and do it at home. Not much out there. Someone could do it – if they are super expert at low level coding in the 64bit windows SDK. Not I, or many others qualify. Some challenges are operating systems are very picky about what they allow to get written to a hard disk from a memory stream. Also, the customers for streaming apps generally believe their content is copywrited (Netflix, online TV, etc..) and making code that disallows saving to disk is their most important design feature.

            It is easier with Internet radio which is typically broadcast as UDP packets. Your network layer is much more cooperative about saving stuff like that.

    1. Benedict@Large

      We need to learn that the “thin blue line” is simply a way to politely rephrase “when cops commit felonies”.

  11. Jackrabbit

    Oh, come on.

    The good people on the left who are rushing to defend Obama’s non-deal deal with Iran should know better. How foolish and pathetic.

    These good people KNOW that Obama has betrayed their trust many times, that Obama cow-tows to powerful special interests, that Obama gives free-reign to neocons, etc. But as soon as a few war-mongering republicans oppose Obama, they rush to his side like good liberal sheeple.

    It’s just as likely that it’s all bullshit theatre. That Obama simply struck the best non-deal that he could so that he could walk away with a political/propaganda victory – with no intention of really making a final deal. We won’t know for months (as I expect the June deadline to be extended) but Obama’s past ‘deals’ offer little assurance that the Iran deal is genuine.

    “Change You Can Believe In” was a deal with the American people that was reneged on. Dodd-Frank was undermined by later negotiations on rules (as critics claimed it would be). The fiscal-cliff fiasco was a set-up for cutting social programs. The “New Beginning” with the Arab World, and “reset” with Russia were shams – rhetorical BS.

    The duopoly loves to tie us up with false choices. Here we are presented with: Obama’s non-deal or War. But others have pointed out that a similar agreement could have been reached years ago. A failed non-deal would justify extending and deepening sanctions and proxy wars.

    I wrote of this in more depth yesterday (click link to see).

    H O P

    1. vidimi

      i think you’re preaching to the choir here. one need only listen to the iranians, who refuse to sign anything unless sanctions are lifted first, to see that this is true.

      regardless if any deal is signed or not, i think iran will proceed with their plans to build a reactor assisted or supported by most of the world while the colonial west keeps huffing and puffing. i doubt that despite all the rhetoric they would attack a country so large and important and almost certainly precipitate a world war.

      1. James Levy

        As far as I can tell the decision-makers and their minions in Washington will keep telling each other that it will work until they have completely convinced each other that Iran is Nazi Germany and we’ve got to “strike first or Washington and Tel Aviv will go up in a mushroom cloud!!!” They’ll wait until Russia is distracted or in turmoil and then they’ll ramp up the propaganda and launch their airstrikes. Obama, for whatever reason, doesn’t want this turd dropped on his watch, but you can bet your bottom dollar Hilary or Jeb will pull the trigger early in their presidency so that they can parade around as a “war president” and watch Congress and the media swoon like a Southern Belle with the vapors.

        1. Jackrabbit

          Obama, for whatever reason, doesn’t want this turd dropped on his watch . . .

          Links? What leads you to believe this?


          Obama seemed to be fine with:

          – NSA spying

          – “torturing some folks” (no prosecutions);

          – Egyptian military dictatorship;

          – ‘droning’ weddings;

          – turning a UN no-fly zone into a bombing campaign in Libya;

          – supporting extremists ‘rebels’ – many of whom joined ISIS;

          – bombing Syria on trumped up charges;

          – antagonizing Russia with a Ukraine coup + sanctions + arms build-up;

          – and more.

          But he doesn’t want THIS turd? What makes you think he will do anything other than what the neocons want him to do? As a “peace maker” (as bogus as that may be) he is even more valuable to them. Only a “peace maker” can convince people that a war is just.


          And you are making the same mistake that I highlighted in my earlier comment: accepting the false choice of Obama’s non-deal or war. Like so many, you ignore a (somewhat obvious) third choice: that the non-deal is not meant to succeed. The result: Iran is blamed, and restless allies are forced to continue sanctions and support the proxy war. Bombing Syria might also meet with less resistance.

          1. hunkerdown

            No, he doesn’t want to be seen causing a problem for which he can’t be seen taking credit for the solution. Did you forget there’s a war stageplay going on? Stop projecting bourgeois American values on the transnational elites unless you’re *trying* to come to useless conclusions to deliver to those beneath your station.

              1. hunkerdown

                Jackrabbit, yeah, I missed that one. I know, sarc tags are supposed to be self-closing…

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They keep taking out and putting back in the next Nobel Peace Prize.

        “Do we?”




        “What now?”

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    That’s a beautiful blue in today’s antidote.

    Ancient Chinese potters were able to get close to that blue using copper oxide in their glaze, involving the same Raleigh scattering.

    1. susan the other

      ancient rule of potters: Throw a perfect vase; if you can’t throw a perfect vase, throw a big one; if you can’t throw a big one, glaze it blue

  13. Kim Kaufman

    I don’t have time to read all the comments right now so I hope someone hasn’t already suggested this regarding animals relating to Yves being in Paris in Springtime and, of course, it’s corny but… how about some cute French poodles? from the cute
    to the ridiculous

  14. Oregoncharles

    ” A chastened Syriza seems increasingly reconciled to ejection from EMU, though keenly aware that this can only be justified to the Greek people if forced upon them. ” (Evans-Prichard)

    As some of us have been saying. He lays out a way Greece can “pull the trigger” on the entire Eurozone, via the German parliament. Again, as some of us have been saying, but with concrete detail.

    Interesting reference to “the anthropology of a post-Ottoman society.” Evans-Prichard is a founding name in anthropology – his father or grandfather?

  15. VietnamVet

    “Inadequate men become leaders and wage war for no reason at all” is the best description of the re-start of the Cold War 2.0 between NATO and Russia that I have read; not to mention, the expanding Sunni-Shiite Holy War or the USA/Canada/France/Belgium/Netherlands/Saudi/Egypt/Jordon/Qatar bombing campaigns.

    The Shattered Dreams section in the Germanwings article is the telling portrait of the disappearance of good jobs that force young workers into debt slavery. Not mentioned by corporate media except in passing are also the Air France and AsiaAir crashes that happened with young co-pilots in control that stalled at altitude. Together with the disappearance of MH-370, the flying public might want to reconsider the safety and expediency of commercial air transport’s privatization and deregulation.

    The continuation of the Bush and Clinton Dynasties and their neo-liberal/neo-conservative policies that brought us to this sad state is beyond depressing. Trust is fragile and shatters in an instant.

    1. hunkerdown

      I don’t know about that last part when the hand that feeds you demands your trust *first*. Western publics, by and large, still trust the institution of vested authority. I don’t know that they can be helped.

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