Links 9/30/15

Exclusive Video: First “Glowing” Sea Turtle Found National Geographic

Carney warns of ‘huge’ climate change hit Financial Times

Uber Raided By Dutch Authorities, Seen As ‘Criminal Organization’ Slashdot

Can Business Insider Make Money? Bloomberg

New EU union could tap investor funds across Europe BBC

The benefits of migration are questionable Martin Wolf, Financial Times

IMF warns of rate hit on emerging markets Financial Times

Thousands of Mexican families mourn the ‘other disappeared’ Associated Press

Corbyn Panic

Jeremy Corbyn’s Necessary Agenda Marianna Mazzucato, Project Syndicate


Dueling Ideologies in New York: Putin v. Obama Steve Lendman


Saudi Arabia says there is ‘no future’ for Assad in Syria Guardian. This comes off as a hissy fit. How many years have the US and its allies (such that they are) been working towards that end? And where is the Saudi ground force to make this happen?

Trump backs Russia, Iran efforts to fight Islamic State Reuters

Afghan Crisis Grows as Push to Retake Kunduz From Taliban Fails New York Times

UK and Saudi Arabia ‘in secret deal’ over human rights council place Guardian

Mit Massenmörder Baschar al-Assad reden? – Syrien als Thema bei Maischberger Die Welt. EM: “If this piece about the upcoming episode of a popular German current-affairs talk show, and whose title translates as ‘Should the West hold talks with mass murderer al Assad?’ and whose main text has Green politician Werner Schulz describing Vladimir Putin as ‘a notorious liar and criminal’, at all represents the popular views of Germans, then things there are even worse than in the U.S. in terms of international diplomacy, something I barely thought possible.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Law Enforcement’s Love/Hate Relationship with Cloud Auto Backup Lauren Weinstein’s Blog

Did a Rogue NSA Operation Cause the Death of a Greek Telecom Employee? Intercept

Carly Fiorina defends Bush-era torture and spying, calls for more transparency Yahoo


The Mystery Of Hillary’s Missing Millions Forbes (Jim Haygood)

The Donald Trump – Roger Stone show: Birth Harder Mark Ames, Pando (Bill B)

Early Analysis: Donald Trump’s Tax Cut Plan Would Cost at Least $10.8 Trillion (!!!) Slate

The Latest Video Trying to Exonerate Carly Fiorina Just Proves She Didn’t Tell the Truth Slate


Volkswagen staff ‘acted criminally’ BBC

How Many Deaths Did Volkswagen’s Deception Cause in the U.S.? – The New York Times (EM)

Daughter of late actor Paul Walker sues Porsche over fatal crash Reuters

New York Law Blocks Judges From Practicing Medicine From The Bench Huffington Post

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in secret meeting with Pope Francis, report says Guardian

Georgia rebuffs Pope over Kelly Gissendaner execution BBC

The FBI Is Finally Taking a Huge Step in Fighting Police Brutality Pacific Standard

The unexpected upshot of John Boehner’s ouster: The Trans-Pacific Partnership is in danger Salon

How Congress Helped Save Goldman Sachs From Itself Bloomberg (MS)

GOLDMAN SACHS: The stock market stops working when there are too many passengers Business Insider. Notice how GS focuses on a “problem” that hits Wall Street revenues. As if QE and HFT aren’t bigger issues?

The Price Impact of Margin-Linked Shorts Rajiv Sethi

McKinsey warns banks face wipeout in some financial services Financial Times

Cargill to break up hedge fund arm agrimoney

In U.S. Home Prices, an East-West Divide Wall Street Journal

Bubbles Always Burst: the Education of an Economist Michael Hudson

Antidote du jour (from Red Ruby Shine):

cute anteater links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Eric Patton

    Dear Meadow Walker,

    We’re lucky it was only your father and his friend who were killed, and not innocent people who WEREN’T driving a hundred fucking miles an hour on a public street.

    Let it go.

    1. optimader

      They broke the stupidity rule sufficiently to kill themselves but luckily no innocent bystander. Over twice the speed limit, on a curve, 9 year old, probably cold, flogged out tires. Whodathunk. Pretty much adds up to reckless driving.

      The curve where Walker and Rodas were killed is a popular spot for drifting cars.[53] The coroner’s report stated that the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT was traveling at a speed possibly as high as 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) before the crash. ..

      …In March 2014, further investigation revealed that the speed of the car was the main reason for the crash. The car was said to be traveling between 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) and 93 miles per hour (150 km/h), and had nine-year-old tires that were seldom driven on.[59]…

  2. jgordon

    I really don’t get Business Insider. Every article I’ve ever read that’s been anywhere near that site has seemed like the blandest sort of uninsightful pablum I could ever have had the displeasure of accidentally reading. I was stunned when I saw that someone actually paid something for it, let alone a significant amount of money. Jeez, exactly who is supposed to be the audience for BI? I don’t get it.

    1. Gabriel

      As It happens, they had a piece on Turkey there the other day that made me think, “why, how surprising that it’s not the usual Business Insider re-heat job, with original reporting and analysis and everything,” then it turns out it was a reheat after all, of a Brookings report, which happens to be good (I add this last because with Brookings you never know).

      Re the why of BI, I’m with you dude. Maybe, using their fresh millions to prop up the only “new media platform” they comparable favorably against?

  3. wbgonne

    From DDay’s TPP Salon piece:

    Then there’s another 30 to 60 days where the administration must submit the final legal text and describe what changes to U.S. law must be put into implementing legislation. Only after that does the congressional process start.

    No impingement of sovereignty and democratic self-rule from TPP? Bullshit. And bear in mind that this is before the ISDS transnational corporate courts take over. Preemptive surrender of self-governance to the corporatocracy. TPP proponent are traitors.

  4. rich

    Rowan Bosworth-DaviesRowan Bosworth-Davies

    Financial Crime Expert Consultant

    More downright lies from the Tories
    Sep 29, 2015

    It is well said that in politics, a real truth is never established until it is officially denied.

    My good friend Monty Rankin from the US sends me a clipping from a US agency, ‘Bloomberg’, which itemises the death of an important piece of proposed UK legislation. It reads;

    “…The U.K. abandoned a much campaigned-for change to legislation that would have made it easier to prosecute corrupt companies in the latest nod to a new era of deregulation for business under the re-elected Conservatives.

    In a written answer to a lawmaker’s question posted Monday, junior Justice Minister Andrew Selous said the “ministers have decided not to carry out further work” on an expansion of corporate criminal liability laws as there is “little evidence of corporate economic wrongdoing going unpunished.”

    “Ever since the Tories were re-elected, they have been engaging in a concerted campaign to undermine laws and regulations designed to bring proper controls to the activities of the legions of organised criminals, spivs, wide-boys and other bankers who populate the City of London, and who serve only the interests of the very rich within the Tory party.

    This criminal money is flooding into London and is being used to prop up massive volumes of property speculation as faceless foreign plutocrats buy up off-plan penthouses and luxury apartments, aided by an army of money laundering lawyers and accountants, and secure in the knowledge that their ownership is disguised behind a web of off-shore companies maintained in tax-secrecy havens and organised criminal banking facilities in foreign jurisdictions.

  5. Dikaios Logos

    There was an interesting story about a case before the Delaware Supreme Court today re: banker liability for M&A.

    Basically, the Court of Chancery ruled that RBC, the M&A advisor, owed shareholders of Rural/Metro, an ambulance company, $78M due to their advising a lower sale price to Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm. Allegedly, part of the issue was that RBC hoped to financing business for the deal. The legal experts quoted in the article say that the case might change the liability for bankers in such transactions. I’d be curious if Yves, as a former M&A banker, had further comment on this case.

    1. Bev

      We are all curious when courts and the DOJ will help homeowners versus those who have committed mortgage fraud with MBS, MERS, etc.
      Leaked Seattle Audit Concludes Many Mortgage Documents Are Void
      David Dayen
      Sep. 18 2015, 10:39 a.m.

      Very powerful discussion at Harvard about the state of law in this country:

      Ralph Nader: on Harvard Law School and Systems of Justice in America

      Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen is fundraising which ends today Sept.30, and they need to reach their goal in order to receive matching funds. Please donate today to one of the most effective groups fighting for government and corporate accountability to the public citizen. Thank you.
      Contribute to Public Citizen

      Since 1971, Public Citizen has served as a leading force in the fight to put people before corporate profits. We accept no funding from corporations or the government. Our strength comes from people like you who support our work.

      Or, Donate by Telephone

      Call us toll-free at 1-800-289-3787.

  6. hemeantwell

    Re the Die Welt piece that apparently continues to try to pump up the Russian threat, I have yet to see a good analysis of the different strands of German elite opinion on Russia, which likely gives less than a fig for rantings about Putin’s mendacity as long as he’s willing to honor contracts. As the Ukraine crisis unfolded I would see references to sections of German capital that had either committed to investments in Russia or had an interest in stable resource availability or in a Russian market for their products. These interests were often said to be pitted against those of Merkel, supposedly guided by her experience as a child in East Germany, and perhaps others so inclined. I don’t find that to be a very convincing assessment of Merkel’s entourage, but what else drives them? I’d guess the military/NATO/the US is a player in the usual way, but what of German capital?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The U.S. is still an ocean away. Germany gets to be top dog in Europe, but with Russia in the mix, Germany’s position will be reduced over time to a co-partner instead of leader. I’ve always been convinced the Germans have no interest in the UK joining the Eurozone because it would free France to not jump at Berlin’s dictates.

      In the short term, an individual company might hate Russian sanctions, but long term, German dominance in the EU is dependent on keeping Russia, the UK, and Turkey out. Just because we slapped “democracy” stickers on everything doesn’t mean we are more evolved than people 100 years ago.

      1. hemeantwell

        That makes sense about Britain, but I think you underestimate the pressure from Washington. Here’s a bit from Victor Grossman’s email circular, just out today. This part is right after he mentions a small demo at Rammstein airbase which, to my astonishment, still has over 30,000 US personnel. Also, Russia would not be a member of the EU, but only a source of raw material and an export market, right?

        It is hard to make predictions about Angela Merkel [and how she will stand on various trade agreements]. Will she and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat, fight on for the trade treaties, resisting growing pressure from the people? And will they dance along with the threatening music blared at Putin, or further tread the thin line between floor thumpers in their own ranks, with bellicose pressure from Washington, and their haunting, often haunted hunt for some form of compromise in the Ukraine and Syria, placating business interests hoping to forestall a backward lurch in German economic dominance (with VW the latest and biggest worry).

  7. Tertium Squid

    Goldman Sachs scolds investors for not churning their portfolios:

    PT Barnum never covered that part – just because one is born every minute doesn’t mean they’ll always behave just as you want them to, over and over.

    Imagine if liquidity dried up, and the markets had to function on the profits the companies generated! Chaos.

    1. cnchal

      . . . no one to buy from

      Three times, that phrase comes up in the article. What is never mentioned is “no one to sell to”. That’s the misdirection for the rubes.

      Julia La Roche, the BI author of the article is a cute name for an algorithmic bot article writer.

      Imagine if liquidity dried up, and the markets had to function on the profits the companies generated!

      Dow at 100?

  8. MikeNY

    Re Carly. Next Up:

    “Carly Fiorina says she has solid proof that Putin was behind 9/11. Calls for invasion.”

    1. fresno dan

      In my view, Fiorina is the most despicable of all the republican nominees (I’m certainly willing to hear counter arguments). She really is unabashedly willing to engage in the “Big Lie” to accomplish her ends.

      The thing about Fiorina is that she is an exquisite example of a nation, and perhaps a world, where the hypothesis of the internet bringing people together turned out to be 189 degrees wrong, and instead empowers the most strident and delusional. The inability of a tongue tied media to straightforwardly point out the tendentiousness of her and her supporters argument about the planned parenthood “expose” just reveals what I should have accepted long ago – people believe what they want to believe.

      1. hemeantwell

        Re the shortcomings of the Internet, I think you’re blurring several different ideas. Some people certainly believe what they want to believe. Cognitive dissonance theory holds water, and the effects it charts are likely stronger for highly charged issues that are associated with social penalties. But some/many are finding that the Internet has broken the chokehold of the MSM on information. Some go off into Cloudcuckooland, many don’t. Sanders would not have a strong candidacy without the Internet. He’s the closest thing we’ve had to a politics that names the beast in over a half century, and he’s polling better than Henry Wallace did, AFAIK.

  9. financial matters

    Bubbles Always Burst: the Education of an Economist Michael Hudson

    Quite an education.

    “Nobody is more “liquid” or “hot” than drug dealers and public officials embezzling their country’s export earnings. The U.S. Treasury and State Department sought to provide a safe haven for their takings, as a desperate means of offsetting the balance-of-payments cost of U.S. military spending.

    I quickly discovered that of all the subdisciplines of economics, international trade theory was the silliest. Gunboats and military spending make no appearance in this theorizing, nor do the all-important “errors and omissions,” capital flight, smuggling, or fictitious transfer pricing for tax avoidance.

    All that seems to be needed is sufficient devaluation (what mainly is devalued is the cost of local labor), or lowering wages by labor market “reforms” and austerity programs. This theory has been proved false everywhere it has been applied, but it remains the essence of IMF orthodoxy.

    IMF “structural adjustment” austerity programs – of the type now being imposed across the Eurozone – make the debt situation worse, by raising interest rates and taxes on labor, cutting pensions and social welfare spending, and selling off the public infrastructure (especially banking, water and mineral rights, communications and transportation) to rent-seeking monopolists. This kind of “adjustment” puts the class war back in business, on an international scale.

    This showed us that the financial managers would indeed keep paying their governments’ foreign debts, as long as they were paying themselves as “Yankee bondholders” offshore.

    One is left to choose between central planning by a public bureaucracy, or even more centralized planning by Wall Street’s financial bureaucracy. The middle ground of a mixed public/private economy has been all but forgotten, denounced as “socialism.” Yet every successful economy in history has been a mixed economy.”

    One of the major proponents of a mixed economy is Marianna Mazzucato

    Corbyn Panic

    Jeremy Corbyn’s Necessary Agenda Marianna Mazzucato, Project Syndicate

    1. susan the other

      and I enjoyed his explanation of the corrupt right of debt, as if debt merchants were the sovereign, and the exponential inflation caused by interest compounded as well as doubling horizontally to everybody and their dog during some small time frame that can’t possibly absorb it all… what a mess

  10. ex-PFC Chuck

    Thank you for posting the Michael Hudson link! It should be a must read, if only because of its recap of economic history as reflected through Hudson’s career. There are some awesomely succinct and on point quotes; emphases are by me:

    Just as mortgage lenders view rental income as a flow to be turned into payment of interest, international banks view the hard-currency earnings of foreign countries as potential revenue to be capitalized into loans and paid as interest. The implicit aim of bank marketing departments – and of creditors in general – is to attach the entire economic surplus for payment of debt service.


    I was asked to estimate the volume of criminal savings going to Switzerland and other hideouts. The State Department had asked Chase and other banks to establish Caribbean branches to attract money from drug dealers, smugglers and their kin into dollar assets to support the dollar as foreign military outflows escalated. Congress helped by not imposing the 15 percent withholding tax on Treasury bond interest. My calculations showed that the most important factors in determining exchange rates were neither trade nor direct investment, but “errors and omissions,” a euphemism for “hot money.” Nobody is more “liquid” or “hot” than drug dealers and public officials embezzling their country’s export earnings. The U.S. Treasury and State Department sought to provide a safe haven for their takings, as a desperate means of offsetting the balance-of-payments cost of U.S. military spending.

    There’s more. At the end the CP editor writes that the piece is excerpted from the introduction to Hudson’s latest book, Killing The Host.

    1. Gabriel

      Michael Hudson had a great recent interview about his “Killing the Host” book with This is Hell!‘s Chuck Mertz here.

      (PS for fellow This Is Hell subscribers–interview still doesn’t show up on iTunes.)

    2. Goyo Marquez

      I was unclear on what he was referring to by, ” the balance-of-payment costs of U.S. military spending.”

      At first I thought he meant the purchasing of military hardware and since, at least in my understanding, most hardware is bought from U.S. companies it made no sense.

      Then I thought that he was perhaps referring to financing of foreign allied government’s military spending, which makes more sense in the context of balance of payments.

      Any help?

      1. diptherio

        That’s why he says foreign military expenditures:

        The State Department had asked Chase and other banks to establish Caribbean branches to attract money from drug dealers, smugglers and their kin into dollar assets to support the dollar as foreign military outflows escalated. Congress helped by not imposing the 15 percent withholding tax on Treasury bond interest.

        So Congress gives the money to foreign militaries, who give it to drug dealers, who give it to Wall Street who loan it back to Treasury to fund future arms shipments to foreign militaries (resulting in a flow of interest to Wall Street and the drug dealers). Everybody takes their cut and the wheels just keep on turning…make sense?

      2. Oregoncharles

        I assumed it meant the overseas expenditures necessitated by bases overseas. You can’t bring ALL your supplies and personnel fromthe states – and the host countries wouldn’t like it. Plus, of course, they must pay the host countries (or their officials) something.

        It’s a good question; why not ask Hudson?

    3. JEHR

      I enjoy reading Hudson’s articles and plan to get at least one of his books. He is a great writer. We are so fortunate to have this honest, hard working man teaching us what economics really means.

    4. TomDority

      Read the book – it is great and highly accessible. His other books are great reads and studies – very important and obvious. I have always found the best way to get a group of people together to build something crazy is to have beer and eats available in abundance and make it a party.

    5. curlydan

      another key lesson from the Hudson piece is the need to work in a field before one can truly understand it. Hudson’s work on Wall Street combined with his research into economic history make him an order of magnitude more qualified to talk about financial and economic matters than probably 95% of other economists.

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Saudi Arabia says there is ‘no future’ for Assad in Syria Guardian

    ” And where is the Saudi ground force to make this happen?”

    Right where it’s always been–in the Appalachian, rust belt and ghetto southern and western states of the u s of a. Right next to the checkbook, and israel’s auxiliary force, I might add.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Meanwhile, the war situation in Afghanistan has developed not necessarily to our advantage:

      Over the past three days, the Taliban have achieved what appears to be their largest military victory in a war that has gone on for more than a decade. Not only have insurgent forces captured a city of about 300,000 — the first urban center the Taliban has held since 2001 — but as the Afghan government struggles to respond, it has become clear that not only Kunduz but also a large chunk of Afghanistan’s north is at stake.

      With the help of his experienced foreign policy advisor Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb! Bush may yet be able to reclaim his brother’s shining legacy of democracy in Afghanistan.

      America: a force for global good!

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I hear the Green Mountain Boys are preparing to deploy.

        Right after they figure out how to pronounce the name of the “city” they are defending, and lay in a supply of chains. In case one of those “dancing boys” manages to break free and offend the cultural sensitivities of the region.

        They hate us for our freedom. Good thing we don’t pay any attention to theirs.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Without the promise of a rebuilding project and a host of angry people who aren’t going to be open to a U.S. backed government, I suspect local resistance will be stiffer than in 2001 when the U.S. was “searching” for a mass murderer. My guess is the Russians and several other supply routes won’t be too keen on U.S. resupply flights.

      2. fresno dan

        mission accomplished!
        Or was that Iraq?
        Anywho, been there, done that – time to invade…uh, I mean, free, other mideastern despots….

      3. Oregoncharles

        Very weird – that’s the part of Afghanistan that held out the longest against the Taliban. They’re ethnically quite different from the Pashtun –

        Correction: that’s what I thought, but the map shows a Pashtun population around Kunduz. It also shows 13+ ethnic groups in the country. It is not a natural entity.

      4. susan the other

        “We are going to spread democracy even to the southern mountains of Afghanistan!” Tony Blair – 10 years ago. Is Kunduz in the Khyber Pass by any chance?

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Benefits of migration.

    In the case of climate change (e.g. mini ice age), the net benefits (including benefits for those left behind) t can be negative, if the departure point was devastated.

    In the case of victims of global neoliberalism adventures, again, the net benefits (again, include for those left behind), can be quite negative.

    If we calculate net benefits from the start, for example, when a neoliberalism policy is imposed in a defenseless nation, the net benefits can be even more negative.

    Add in the fact, in some places, it’s legal (and also easier) to spy and monitor foreigners (a little more effort for citizens), and because they are more vulnerable to commercial and security force exploitation, it could become even more negative.

  13. tegnost

    The plumbers brother was an uber driver in anchorage AK, said he loved it but the city shut them down, had to reluctantly admit it wasn’t fair, but he loved the job. Now a plumbers assistant in seattle. Drives a late 80’s ford bronco so at least he wasn’t depreciating his auto for the benefit of ubers owners, said his knowledge of town made it work. There’s some tension there where the people want to work, how then to figure out how to stop ubers owners from taking all the productivity, putting it in their pocket, then paying as little as is neccesary to the worker. I’m in agreement with those who have heard the cock ticking on uber, air bnb and the “sharing” (with who?) economy…

    1. Goyo Marquez

      I’m kinda guessing that if it operated as a real sharing thing it would probably be legal.

      I assume the original idea was to allow people to gain a little revenue from assetts that were being under utilized. Your car, your vacation condo, etc. It’s actually a great idea, hook the guy who needs a ride, up with, the guy who’s car is sitting in his driveway while he’s unemployed.

      The problem begins when the spreadsheet guys start figuring out a way to profit from this software, and they discover that the biggest profit is in cheating on the local government enforced monopoly.

      If someone would reboot it as a sharing thing it would probably work great.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “……cock ticking on uber…..”

      An interesting thought comes to mind.

      Maybe it’s time for the sex/prostitution “industry” to grab a little of this “sharing economy” legitimacy. I mean there’s no denying that uber’s relationship with it’s “workers” is a direct ripoff of the pimp/prostitute business model.

      And as for the “sharing” part…….

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Why, now that you mention it, I definitely do.

          And travis kalanick seems like just the pimp to do it. He’s got the “ick” factor right there in his name.

    3. diptherio

      “With who?” indeed. Uber is not “sharing” by any definition of that word that I’m aware of. On-Demand economy, but sharing doesn’t generally involve payment.

      It could be a decent model for employment, though, if it were structured a little differently. There’s a conference coming up in NYC on “Platform Cooperativism” which is a nascent movement that aims at, among other things, creating an alternative to Uber that is owned and managed by the workers, users, or some combination of both.

      There’s a project called La’Zooz in France that could be easily adapted for the software platform. After that it’s just a matter of organization. And as it happens, we actually have a lot of people in this country who know how to organize these things. Hopefully events like this upcoming one in NYC will result in some concrete projects that bring stakeholders together to take down the capitalist a-holes with a better, more humane system.

  14. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Re: Syraqistan

    More color here:

    However, there was concern among rebel groups and in the west that Russia was targeting all forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, rather than focusing on Isis.

    Well, duh!

    We’re witnessing the complete and total failure of the feckless US “war” on ISIL. Obviously this “effort” was doomed from the start, as the article alludes to.

    Now we’re afraid that the big bad Russians won’t hold back, unlike the US/UK who seemed vaguely interested only in bombing “bad” ISIS forces, and then only if they’re weren’t engaged with Assad’s forces, which is the military equivalent of self-chastising.

    1. low_integer

      While Putin has characterised the Syrian president as a heroic fighter against terrorism, Kerry reiterated again on Wednesday that “by definition” Isis could not be defeated while Assad remained in power.

      By definition?
      What an odd thing to say.

    1. JohnnyGL

      USG and BFFs in Saudi Arabia are working hard to make sure new terrorists are created as fast as the Russians can mow them down in Syria!

      R2P, anyone!?!?!?

      1. 3.17e-9

        Where do you get that? He has said only that if the Saudis are so concerned about the Islamic State, they can put their money where their mouth is rather than calling on the U.S. to send more troops. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Sanders often has spoken out about the damage to young men and women returning from foreign wars that we shouldn’t have been involved with in the first place. He also has cautioned that committing troops in the Middle East is a virtual guarantee of a protracted war.

        Note that he talks about “stability” in the region. Although we don’t know what kind of advice Sanders is getting from his staff or what kind of insider information he might have, this is a clever way of telling the Saudis and their allies that they need to be part of the solution and not the problem.

    2. Carolinian

      Moon of Alabama discusses here including the previous day’s massacre–just as bad and in revenge for the killing of a Saudi general. It sounds like the Saudis are basically conducting revenge and terror strikes on civilians as reprisals, just like the Nazis.

      Sanders wish to have the Saudis enter Syria is right out of the neocon playbook and shows he either isn’t paying much attention or is in tune with some very bad advice..

      1. cwaltz

        I’ll go with bad advice for $1000. I wouldn’t be surprised if our good friends the Israelis are advising him on ME policy.

        1. hunkerdown

          100:1 kill ratio was a policy of one of their initiatives, if I remember right. To be fair, it is effective when credible. If the people of the US had taken that line against the elected aristocracy early on, the US might be a social democracy worthy of the term. Rule or ruin cuts both ways.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think it’s a weasel tactic. Sanders is a U.S. Senator after all. Logistical capacity is necessary to move on a country, and without NATO assets, Saudi Arabia is confined to bribes and the range of jets. They can’t move on Syria in any way. Israel and Saudi Arabia need their police forces at home. Look at Yemen.

        Russia would not have been able to do what it is doing today in Syria a year ago because of logistics. They needed plans and corridors for moving men and material. Iraq was a target in 2003 because we had all our vehicles and weapons pre-positioned, and gee, there was a chemical event 9 months after Obama’s red line and positioning of the fleet.

  15. shinola

    Re “Dueling Ideaologies …Putin v. Obama”
    The first sentence in the piece, “Obama addresses make painful listening.” made me chuckle – but I hadn’t even read the rest of the article yet.
    Does anyone else find find his oratorical “style” annoying? Typically an Obama speech goes something like:

    “I am going to say … something.
    Then I am going to…uh…say … something else”.

    And so it goes on & … uh…on. Just makes me want to whack him between the shoulder blades and say”Come on, spit it out. I know you can do it.”

    1. Inverness

      His speech patterns have become quite annoying since elected. He’ll always add a “folks,” because he seems to think it makes him sound earthy. His frequent uh’s are not the tools of a serious speaker. Perhaps he’s too busy figuring out how not to offend both Wall Street and the white supremacist factions to really speak with much spontaneity.

    2. cnchal

      Does anyone else find find his oratorical “style” annoying?

      I wonder what the rooms look like where he speaks. Does nobody sit in the middle? Or is that reserved for the cameras?

      With every second word, he looks one way, then the other, flip flopping his head from side to side.

      1. Ed S.

        The head turning/flip flopping are the result of his reading the speech from the teleprompter (to his left and right).

        1. optimader

          Why do people take issue with teleprompters Ed?

          I never got the message on that. Political speeches for the most part are prepared, it’s the nature of the beast. If the TP technology can render out at least some of the ..and ums… that hurt my ears, rambling or the old school stare at a piece of paper and read it in a monotone, I am all for them.

    3. curlydan

      Although you may find the pauses annoying, I find they allow me to easily insert super snarky comments.

      From his UN speech for example:
      “America has few economic interests in Ukraine… [We just want all their f’ing money]…We recognize the deep and complex history between Russia and Ukraine…[But it gets in the way of getting our f’ing money]”


      “Where order has completely broken down, we must act, but we will be stronger when we act together. In such efforts, the United States will always do our part…[because nobody screws up a country like we do]”

      The most annoying part of a president’s speech patterns is that all his little sycophants adopt the same style. Arrghh! You get everybody from Samantha Power to deputy AGs copying him.

    4. tongorad

      Obama reminds me of a lot of bosses I’ve known. Ruthlessness overlaid with feigned sincerity, mingled with a desire to be viewed as the adult in the room.
      Obama = Babbit

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump’s tax cut plan…$10.8 trillion, at least.

    Not bad if we just send a check equally to everyone (except the super rich).

    In fact, we should double or triple that amount.

      1. jrs

        Yep. Does this guy even deserve the moniker “populist”? What kind of populist prescribes eliminating estate taxes? I disagree with the articles that say most people don’t pay income taxes, as I’ve done the math and you pay income taxes even on minimum wage (and I don’t mean a $15 an hour minimum wage either!). It is nowhere near so easy to get out of income taxes as they imagine (I want some of what they are smoking, must be good stuff!). However the rich don’t need any tax cuts AT ALL. How can any plan that cuts their taxes be considered “populist”. The left is crazy to think Trump has anything to offer. Oh I know because he said something every single person who lives in this country already suspects: that the rich buy the politicians. More and more people I talk to (new people I don’t know) seem to reject the political system from a far left perspective only they don’t think it can change, and yet Trump is supposed to be so radical. If only they had any idea what people really think!

        1. cwaltz

          The whole income tax thing frankly pisses me off.

          The reason someone gets to zero tax liability is because they do the exact same thing the really rich do. They take every single credit and deduction they can. The larger difference is those that have zero tax liability or that get money back is that they don’t have six to seven figure incomes and investments to offset the credit and deductions they take. The idea that Mitt Romney deserves his deductions for Ann’s prancing ponies but the Burger King worker doesn’t deserve his credit for his child care is quite frankly elitist.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I agree.

        I was trying to ‘judo’ his plan. Tax cut is good for those paying taxes.

        I’d like to see a check to everyone…equally.

  17. Vatch

    Periodically, population issues come up here at NC. Many people have a good understanding of these issues, but some people are uncomfortable with them, even though they may understand them. Here’s a useful article 7 reasons why some progressives don’t get population, by Simon Ross:

    Here are a couple of paragraphs from the article:

    Many, especially young male ones, seek a target to attack. Since well before ancient Athens, the rich and powerful have tried to hold onto their wealth and power and the poor and disempowered have tried to get hold of it. So progressives aren’t always happy with something that doesn’t fit their simple dichotomy of rulers vs. ruled. Population concern, which says that we all have a responsibility and can make a difference, disrupts an ‘us vs. them’ world view which holds that it’s the bosses/ government/ establishment/ system to blame. Some progressives go further and deny that disempowered people are responsible for anything, though they can draw the line at crime. Similarly, some feminists argue that women have rights but no responsibilities. This seems to run counter to progressives’ faith in society. If society is a public good, hasn’t its members a responsibility to it? The number of one’s children has a greater impact on the environment than anything else one does.

    A third reason is some progressives’ desire for simplicity. They need a slogan: ‘One solution, revolution’ or ‘It’s consumption, not population’. The world is more complicated. Population Matters was launched in 1991, not because we thought that addressing population was the only solution, but because it was the only one being ignored. Yes, inequality and waste should be addressed, though that may be less practical and fruitful than some imagine. We should eat less meat and explore promising technologies. But it is fanciful to think that a projected 50% increase in human numbers by the end of this century is inconsequential and should be unaddressed. Promoting smaller families is not an ‘or’ but an ‘and’.

    The entire article is worth reading.

  18. rich

    Don’t exclude Sanders

    An article in Sunday’s Sentinel compared Pope Francis’ positions on various national issues with a handful of presidential aspirants who were simply referred to as “others” (“Pope plunges into presidential-campaign issues”). They included Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton.

    Interestingly, the article conveniently left out Sen. Bernie Sanders, who, according to the most recent surveys, is actually polling better than the two establishment Republicans the article highlighted. He is also outpolling the establishment Democrat in the first caucus state — Iowa — and the first primary state — New Hampshire.

    One wonders why. Is it because Sanders actually agrees with the pope on many of the issues cited, so it was decided that there wasn’t enough conflict to interest readers, or was it because the Sentinel, like much of the mainstream media, is so afraid of a Sanders presidency that it wishes to make him as invisible to those readers as possible?

    Whatever the reason, someone, somewhere, in the newspaper’s editorial offices made the decision to exclude Sanders from the list of “others,” thus depriving Sentinel readers of his views.

    The Sentinel has every right to endorse whomever it pleases on the opinion pages of the paper. But in the news section, the paper has a responsibility to inform its readers in a fair and unbiased way. The exclusion of Sanders from this article was unacceptable.

    1. Vatch

      Well, at least that letter got published by the Orlando Sentinel (on its web site — I don’t know whether it made it into the print version). There are probably some newspapers that won’t even publish a letter to the editor if the letter demands better coverage of the Sanders campaign.

  19. Ed S.

    RE: Trump’s tax plan.

    First and foremost — any INCOME tax reduction is going to benefit those who PAY the majority of the income tax. And the individuals who pay the majority of the INCOME tax are those with INCOME. Criticizing that the income tax plan benefits those with the most income is exactly the same as proposing to reduce motor fuel taxes and then stating that people who don’t drive aren’t getting much of a benefit.

    CBO (2011) estimated the lowest quintile having income of roughly $8K and paid roughly 2% in income tax ($160); the 2nd quintile was roughly $31k and 7% (about $2100).

    Alternatively the 91st to 95th percentile was at $180k and 21% (about $38k). A reduction from 21% to 20% in this percentile is $1,600. So a one percentage point reduction is 10X the benefit of a 100% reduction to the lowest quintile.

    The plan seems reasonably simple and fair. Married and earn under $50k — you pay ZERO. Married and earn $50K to 100K — 10% (whether that’s 10% on the incremental or total isn’t clear). Capital gains under $100K is ZERO. 80% of married taxpayers would pay either zero or 10%.

    Now if the plan was coupled with reducing FICA to zero for the first $25k and then progressive AND with no cap (and maybe a FICA-esque tax on capital gains at high levels), it would really be a start. But a comprehensive revamping of the ENTIRE tax edifice is beyond a campaign position paper.

    The tax system is opaque and complicated (intentionally) — there are a myriad of taxes assessed on most product and services (and that REALLY hurt low earners). Just look at your telephone or utility bill – taxes amount to 10 – 20%. And let’s not get into all of the fees.

    1. cwaltz

      The problem with the income tax system has very little to do with income. I notice that capital gains are again treated like extra special money. You can EARN $50,000 through work and get to keep it tax free. However, if you are lucky enough to be in the extra special snowflake investment parasite class you get keep DOUBLE that tax free(capital gains $100,000.) Nice trick there.

      1. Oregoncharles

        There is a policy reason for giving capital gains special treatment: to encourage long-term thinking, as well as investment. (My father, an investment manager, thought the latter made no sense: why reward something that’s supposed to be self-rewarding?.) But the present system doesn’t do that; one year, if that, isn’t long-term thinking.

        I could see a break at five years, and another at ten. Short-termism is a disease of the economy. But this isn’t what we’ve got. The other issue is that capital gains tend to come in big lumps, jacking up your tax bracket unrealistically. There used to be a provision to spread it out over years, more fair for those who, say, sell a house. Complicated to do, though.

        You’re making the countervailing point that all income should be treated equally. There’s a good case for that.

        1. cwaltz

          My position is that all income should be treated equally. Let’s face it if I make $25,000 a year then I’m not going to be getting ANY tax advantages from Trump’s give me to investors which just so happens to give them additional tax consideration after the first $25,000($50,000 for couples)in income that they get tax free.

          It also adds insult to injury since a lot of the gains the investment class has made over the years has been at the expense of labor. Woohoo, let’s send jobs overseas and save money on labor! Let’s break unions so we can save a buck! Why in the world should I give someone a tax break for their investment in destroying the economy in THIS country? When the investment class actually contributes rather than competes with the interests of labor than I might reconsider my position on the merits of their contributions. As it stands right now I’m on board with taxing them at a HIGHER rate then labor, not giving them double the exemptions.

        2. vidimi

          a progressive capital gains tax would be just what the doctor ordered. same for a progressive corporate tax.

        3. todde

          Bit the capital gains rate kicks in after a one year holding period, hardly long term.

          Your gains are your house are generally tax exempt.

          Capital gains for longer holding periods would be fair as part.of the gains is inflationary.

  20. cwaltz

    Does anyone even know Trump’s position on Social Security? I know he was all over the board in 2000, the guy changes his opinions like most people change underwear.

    He was everywhere from leave it alone(it’s a promise we made) to privatize it. I know at the Town Hall he was all “I’d be willing to write off my own contributions” but I didn’t really see a comprehensive answer on what he’d do with the program

    1. vidimi

      he doesn’t have any opinions. he just says whatever he thinks will be most likely to get him votes.

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