Links 11/24/14

Smithsonian

Reuters

Nature

FT. Yves: “We broke it but we don’t want to pay for it.”

Reuters

South China Morning Post

New York Times

Wolfgang Munchau, FT

  Bloomberg

Guardian. TTIP.

NBC (smelt)

The Atlantic

MacLean’s

FT

  Bloomberg

Statesman-Journal

New Yorker

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

HuffPo. Jay Rockefeller: “The question would be how much you could read [on the Senate floor] before they grabbed you and hauled you off.”

re/code. From a nation-state.

Ferguson

CNN. Wilson is not appearing in court in felony cases where he is a witness.

  The Hill

CNN

Fader

Buzz

WaPo

The Onion

Syraqistan

Foreign Policy. On ISIS.

Los Angeles Times

Reuters

Empire Collapse Watch

PBS

CFR. Sounds like factional infighting to me.

Latin Correspondent

Telesur

Asian Correspondent

Cory Doctorow, Salon

  Bloomberg

Guardian

  Econospeak

LRB

Antidote du jour:

horse_duck-G

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.

81 comments

  1. rich

    “60 Minutes” Omits LaHood’s Infrastructure PEU Job

    60 Minutes reported:

    Ray LaHood: Our infrastructure is on life support right now. That’s what we’re on.

    Few people are more aware of the situation than Ray LaHood, who was secretary of transportation during the first Obama administration, and before that a seven-term Republican congressman from Illinois. He is currently co-chairman of Building America’s Future, a bipartisan coalition of current and former elected officials that is urgently pushing for more spending on infrastructure.

    60 Minutes failed to mention LaHood’s two other jobs that deal with infrastructure. LaHood is Senior Advisor to Meridiam Infrastructure, a private equity underwriter (PEU) specializing in infrastructure and Senior Advisor to law firm DLA Piper.

    DLA Piper announced that former US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has joined the firm as a senior policy advisor in the Washington, DC, and Chicago offices. Joan DeBoer, Secretary LaHood’s former chief of staff, will also join the firm as a policy advisor.

    NextCity reported:

    LaHood joined law firm DLA Piper as a senior adviser earlier this year. (The term “lobbyist” was not used, but DLA Piper does occasionally dabble in lobbying for transportation projects. Legally, LaHood is not allowed to lobby the Department of Transportation, but Congress — which he used to be a member of, as a representative from Illinois — is fair game.)

    Back to the 60 Minutes interview with LaHood:

    1. Chris in Paris

      It’s amazing how some people wear those tasseled loafers so well that you’d never be able to guess which client or firm they’re working for when they slink into the room.

  2. Kevin Smith

    M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “The contagious people of Washington have stood firm against diversity during this long period of increment weather.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “I promise you a police car on every sidewalk.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “If you take out the killin’s, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “First, it was not a strip bar, it was an erotic club. And second, what can I say? I’m a night owl.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “Bitch set me up.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “I am clearly more popular than Reagan. I am in my third term. Where’s Reagan? Gone after two! Defeated by George Bush and Michael Dukakis no less.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “The laws in this city are clearly racist. All laws are racist. The law of gravity is racist.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “I am making this trip to Africa because Washington is an international city, just like Tokyo, Nigeria or Israel. As mayor, I am an international symbol. Can you deny that to Africa?” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “People have criticized me because my security detail is larger than the president’s. But you must ask yourself: are there more people who want to kill me than who want to kill the president? I can assure you there are.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “The brave men who died in Vietnam, more than 100% of which were black, were the ultimate sacrifice.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “I read a funny story about how the Republicans freed the slaves. The Republicans are the ones who created slavery by law in the 1600’s. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and he was not a Republican.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “What right does Congress have to go around making laws just because they deem it necessary?” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “People blame me because these water mains break, but I ask you, if the water mains didn’t break, would it be my responsibility to fix them then? WOULD IT!?!” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    “I am a great mayor; I am an upstanding Christian man; I am an intelligent man; I am a deeply educated man; I am a humble man.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s not fair. :

      Within the city, he was a champion who first gave its working-class black residents a taste of the economic prosperity that racial apartheid had long denied them. He was the realization of D.C. residents’ long-denied democratic aspirations. There is much more to Barry than the time he got set up.

    2. optimader

      Barry had a BS, MS and started his PhD in chemistry. He could have been Heisenberg if he didn’t go into politics.

  3. Banger

    In reference to O’Rourke’s essay in the Atlantic on doctors. The first thing we have to do to understand American medicine today is to look into how doctors become doctors–medical education has emphasized detachment not involvement. The whole point of keeping interns up for 36 hours or whatever is to insure that they are too tired to be empathic, too tired to be intuitive and simply go by the book. This is the conscious intent of the medical profession–they aren’t trained as healers but deliverers (often grumpily) of services. The sad fact is there is no way to work around this fact because doctors have a near-monopoly on delivering health-care which has gradually waned thanks to a vibrant alternative care movement–now threatened by Obamacare.

    The one thing regular medicine had going for it is its claim it is scientific–it’s not. If you look deeply into medical research you will find that 80% of illnesses are caused by stress (while there are genetic markers for some diseases they are triggered by stress–without that these diseases are usually dormant). There have been many promising treatments for a variety of treatments but they are not and cannot be investigated unless they ensure a ton of profit which is why the American medical profession is tied so closely with Big Pharma.

    I had the good fortune to have a doctor who graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1918 and his way of practicing was so radically different form today’s doctors. When you came into see him he usually had no receptionist and saw you walk in. He sized you up very quickly and used tests only to make sure he was right–but he diagnosed through sight, tone of voice, smell and touch. People he knew were not sick (most of his patience were elderly women) he threw out of his office brusquely (he was a old-line New Englander) and those who he knew to be in need he welcomed gently and compassionately asking them about their lives and their situation in life. I could go on–but the point is that he connected with people and sat with them and talked to them and was never in a hurry.

    I have personally been involved with the spiritual healing community and myself do healings and have healed people myself of serious illness and seen dramatic recoveries from chronic illness that doctors believed were incurable. But the medical profession generally rejects these practices in favor of endless cycles of often harmful drugs because they are unable to listen to their patients. Healing is an art and in some cultures is healed communally. We know that Hispanics, for example, have better health than non-Hispanics because they have a tighter family and community culture.

    But we are wedded to the industrial culture whether in medicine or education or warfar or almost anything you can think of–the idea is to not feel, not connect and, above all, display no kindness or empathy–just treat people as numbers on a sheet of paper or screen. This cultural tendency is the cause of all our ills and dysfunction–it makes us, at this point, unable to effectively deal with reality or even to use our reason.

    1. fresno dan

      Medicine today values intervention far more than it values care. Gawande writes that for a clinician, “nothing is more threatening to who you think you are than a patient with a problem you cannot solve.”

      Doctors do piecework. Once you “unleash” the market, you start to get the implications of that…..more stuff, and higher priced stuff, done faster. Just like me-pods, communication isn’t the point for Apple, selling more me-pods is…hard to monetize compassion.

    2. Noonan

      It is my opinion that Doctors have become who they are because they are no longer compensated by the patient. I imagine your New England doctor not only had a close personal relationship with his patients, but also a direct financial relationship.

    3. Ernesto Lyon

      A good way to set yourself up for autoimmune diseases is to vaccinate. Think about, you’re injecting rendered pathogens and immune inflammatory agents in order to provoke an antibody response. Who’s to say that only the intended pathogens have antibodies created, and not, say, to the peanut oil you ate a few hours before the injection?

      It is an objectively valid scientific question to ask, and yet it seems that no one in charge wants to know the answer.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Eat right and get plenty of sleep.

      Basically, if we all do that, the GDP will shrink not insignificantly.

      And if you grow your own food and buy local, it will further contract the economy.

      But people are hesitant to think about it, because our jobs depend on a strong economy (or so we are told).

  4. Vatch

    Re: ‘Shadow currency trade points to new Ukraine financial crisis FT. Yves: “We broke it but we don’t want to pay for it.”’

    Here’s a interesting quote from the article:

    Mr Yatseniuk admitted the economy was “heavily affected by the war”, but said the government had collected 5 per cent higher revenues than in 2013, despite industrial output falling 9.4 per cent.

    That strongly implies that when Yanukovych was in power, large sums of money were diverted from the government by corruption. I’m sure there’s still plenty of corruption, but it has clearly been reduced.

    As for the comment that “we [the U.S. or the West] broke it”, that’s quite true about the state of the world’s economy in general. As for the Ukrainian economy, a lot of their problems were caused by the Russian supported Yanukovych administration. See page 53 of by Andrew Wilson:

    the estimate of total corruption by Yanukovych and his literal and metaphorical ‘Family’ had risen to $100 billion in just under four years.

    1. Banger

      Certainly the Yanukovich regime could not have been more corrupt except perhaps than the one before it. But you have to remember that he was trying to play the EU against Russia and eventually decided for Russia because they left him more room to maneuver. The West was going to put more restrictions on the Ukraine.

      At the present time Western Ukraine is probably going to be more honestly ruled because of IMF, NATO, US and EU intervention. But we’ll have to see if Yatseniuk’s figures are correct–figures are often invented in areas of conflict.

      But in the larger sense–it was the West who were the aggressors not Russia. Anybody familiar with the post-Cold War set of arrangements in the region knows that Russia has repeatedly stated it will not give up its security needs. This operation in Kiev was one of many attempts to undermine Russia by Washington which wants not to have peace with Russia but wants to dominate the country as it did during Yeltsin when, as I’ve said before, many McMansions were built in the DC area from the looting of Russia. That you cannot deny nor the incredible suffering of the Russian people during that time.

      1. Vatch

        It’s interesting that Russia demands that they be allowed to keep their security needs, but what about their neighboring countries’ security needs? Why should those security needs be ignored and rejected? I see a double standard.

        I do not believe that Americans, whether in the DC area or in Cambridge, Massachusetts, were the primary beneficiaries of the looting of Russia. It was always well connected Russians. Early on they were ex-Communists and ex-KGB, or people who had a close relationship with such people. See , by Karen Dawisha.

        As for your speculation that the administration prior to Yanukovych might have been more corrupt, I suspect they were more incompetent rather than more corrupt. Even before Yanukovych became president, in 2004 he tried to steal the presidential election. His array of dirty tricks make Richard Nixon look like a choir boy.

        1. bwilli123

          “It’s interesting that Russia demands that they be allowed to keep their security needs, but what about their neighboring countries’ security needs? Why should those security needs be ignored and rejected? I see a double standard.”
          Re double standards, I count approx. 56 of them.

          or

          1. Vatch

            Oh, I agree completely. The behavior of the U.S. in Latin America has been utterly scandalous. The U.S. and Russia have treated their neighbors very badly.

              1. OIFVet

                So I take it you are not a big proponent of ethnic Russkies’ rights to self determination? “But the so-called referendum was invalid” you will likely retort, or something to that effect. I won’t grant you that, but for the sake of argument let’s pretend that it was a land grab of a militarily strategic piece of land. I ask you: what exactly is the difference between Russian “annexation” and US occupations? Good old colonialism vs. sleek newfangled Anglo neocolonialism? The right of the US to act pre-emptively under some vague justifications vs the right of Russia to act pre-emptively to counter a very real threat from an expansionist “defensive” alliance? America the “exceptional” hypocrite? US surrealpolitik has lost that fight with Russian realpolitik and all I hear is a bunch of crybaby talk condemning the big bad Russian bear. Conveniently neglecting the fact that we woke it up and forced it to act in the first place. Securing staging areas in Eastern Europe wasn’t enough, we had to have the one staging area through which every single invader has poured into Russia’s indefensible steppes. So you expected Russia to do what exactly, roll over? Bend over? Cry uncle? Good luck with that. Ukraine is what happens when “serious people” listen to Brzezinski’s lunatic ideas, but true to form the US government and some older US-ians simply refuse to own up to their own responsibility. There has to always be a boogeyman of some sort, if not Bin Laden and Al Qaeda than Putin and Russia. So be it. But don’t expect Russia to take it. It ain’t Iraq, not that Iraq was a win for the US in the first place.

                1. optimader

                  OIF,

                  I’ve had several very reasonable posts w/ supporting links on this topic disappeared so I wont waste my time engaging any deeper than the following comment, no disrespect meant to you.
                  Generally speaking no I don’t endorse a State referendum in a Federation or a Regional referendum in a Republic as being in and of itself sufficient basis for a neighboring country to unilaterally annex said State or Region. This event no more than say, Russia getting a do over on Alaska based on some hypothetical State referendum held there..
                  As well, no I don’t see US bad behavior elsewhere as being an excuse in the case of this illegal annexation.
                  Cheers Have a good Tday btw..

      2. cwaltz

        I don’t get the impression they are being more honestly ruled at all as a matter of fact the formation of this government was largely because of backdoor discussions and implemented by people who spent billions behind the backs of the American people.

        I don’t have any particular love for Russia but I think it is hypocrisy not to point out that WE weren’t any more honest in creating the environment that led to the government in Ukraine then perhaps the Russians were in attempting to install their lackeys.

        1. Vatch

          I have great difficulty believing that the money that the U.S. gave to Ukraine over a period of years could have inspired thousands of people to demonstrate in Maidan starting in November, 2013. I know that Victoria Nuland bragged about “investing more that $5 billion to help Ukraine”, etc., but most of that money probably went to cronies of Yanukovych, since they were in control of the country. Our foreign policy mandarins and operatives simply aren’t skillful enough to engineer mass demonstrations such as Maidan.

          1. cwaltz

            Seems like you are guessing while we have the conversations about who was and wasn’t suitable for governing post Yanuk Ukraine that pretty much says different. Do I believe you or my lying ears? Hmmmmm think I’ll go with my ears.

            1. optimader

              Does that mean anything more that V Nuland is yet another State Dept cipher that can talk out her *ss?( less colloquially, was she in a position to engage anything operationally?) She is unremarkable typical State Dept clowncar ma’tl..


              1. OIFVet

                was she in a position to engage anything operationally?

                Giving away cookies don’t count? There are other, established channels for greenback distribution to the native compradors. NGOs, USAID, etc. It appears to me that you are arguing that Nuland’s desired outcome re Yats and the de facto outcome of Yats is a coincidence of some sort. I honestly admire your naivete, if that’s what it is. I have grown far too cynical to believe in coincidences. Was McCain, a US Senator, in a position to act operationally during his early June visit to Bulgaria? I suppose the announcement of the suspension of work on the South Stream by the Bulgarian PM following McCain’s visit was a coincidence also… The wonderful coincidences that accompany US neocolonialsm never end and never fail to amaze.

                1. cwaltz

                  Heh, I think it’s amusing that he thinks that she was talking to a US ambassador to Ukraine with just idle chatter like some high school gossips and that she just dropped a couple of billion at the mall so she could buy a spot at the cool kids table and had no authorization to act as an ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE. Seriously. I’d say that kind of conjecture goes beyond naivete and borders on willful put my fingers in my ears and cover my eyes stupidity. We’re not talking about a regular state department prole, we’re talking senior people with a full understanding of Ukraine and all it’s power players having a discussion of those players (which uh oh wasn’t as private as they thought.)

                  1. Vatch

                    It’s necessary to distinguish among the causes of multiple events:

                    1. The start of the protests in November, 2013.

                    2. The pressure that finally induced Yanukovych to flee the country, effectively resigning the presidency.

                    3. The choice of the interim government leaders.

                    It makes good sense to believe that the U.S. government was heavily involved in number 3. I have yet to see a strong case that the U.S. had much influence over numbers 1 and 2.

          2. cwaltz

            I also wonder if you understand what a tipping point is? The reality is that the country of Ukraine has been fairly split on an alliance with Russia or joining the EU for YEARS. Why in the world wouldn’t you think that spending a couple billion to tip the scales the way you want would make no difference in that scenario?

            The reality is that the US played on the fact that half the country was already unhappy and just pushed enough to get the tipping point.

            As I’ve stated I have no love for Russia and I believe Russia bears some responsibility by allowing “their guy” to be a corrupt douche without any regard for Ukrainians, however pretending that we’re the white knights is positively absurd particularly when you consider one of the first acts over there was cutting pensions by half, and forcing Ukraininans to agree to cuts to social programs in order for us to loan them money. That tells me we are no more concerned with the Ukrainians then the Russians were.

            1. optimader

              bottom line
              1.) The Soviet Union legally transferred the Crimea to the Ukraine in 1954
              2.) Russia recognized the Sovereignty of the Ukraine by way of the Budapest Agreement in 1994.
              3.) Russia and the Ukraine signed the Mutual Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership recognizing each others borders in 1994.

              4.) As well, Russia and Ukraine agreed on the disposition of the Baltic fleet, signed the Kharkiv Pact leasing naval facilities from the Ukraine in Crimea, then renewed that lease in 2010 until 2042.

              So yeah, as recently as 2010 at least Russia formally recognized the Crimea as Sovereign territory of its neighbor, Ukraine.

            2. optimader

              cwaltz
              I posted a reply that outlines the relevant diplomatic agreements that establish Russia’s recognition of Ukrainian sovereignty including the Crimea but apparently it ‘s politically incorrect, so c’est la vie. I wont waste time repositng it, The relevant information is online in anycase
              cheers

              1. cwaltz

                So let me get this straight we’re condemning Russia because of their not living up to their agreement?

                I’ll take hypocrisy for $100 Alex.

                I’m pretty sure when Russia signed it’s agreements that there was an agreement that Russia would have some say over which regions would be bought into NATO as well. How’d that work out for them?

                Oh that’s right, we can break treaties at will (after all that Geneva convention was a quaint little document too!)but when Russia does it to defend itself it’s awful, horrible, terrible and no good. I’m not buying what you’re selling.

                Since you like links I’ll give you a few.

                And we all know that NATO itself is so benign and has always only acted on UN authority……oh wait.

                Oh and I’m sure someone who knows all about how covertly we operate has no idea when he talks about this.

                1. Vatch

                  “I’m pretty sure when Russia signed it’s agreements that there was an agreement that Russia would have some say over which regions would be bought into NATO as well. How’d that work out for them?”

                  There was no such treaty. There wasn’t even a written memorandum of understanding. I posted this link a few days ago, which basically is partial confirmation of both points of view about what, if anything, was agreed:

                  I think the point of all this “he said / she said” disagreement is that there was a spoken promise not to precipitously allow the newly freed Eastern European countries into NATO, since the Soviet Union was in a very fragile condition. Few wanted to make the situation even more unstable. But I doubt that there was a promise to permanently keep the Eastern European countries out of NATO. As I pointed out a few days ago, the Soviets were very tough masters of negotiation during the Cold War, and if this issue had been really important to them, they would have demanded something in writing.

                  1. proximity1

                    Just so you know, I’m in general agreement with all the views and reasoning you’ve presented here on this subject. I think you deserve to know that there are some here who think you’re correct and that you’re taking on one of the few very stubborn blind-spots found at this site.

          3. MRW

            I thought Michael Hudson wrote that the money left the country into the bank accounts of the Nuland-approved officials as soon as it hit the ground there. Bond vigilante heaven.

  5. Jim Haygood

    From Bloomberg:

    Draft legislation that would anchor Israel’s status as a Jewish nation-state in law is headed for parliament, where it could bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition.

    The cabinet yesterday approved two Jewish nation-state bills over the objection of Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who say they threaten Israel’s democratic values and discriminate against its minorities, chiefly Arabs who form 20 percent of the population.

    ————

    This is the rough equivalent of a law defining the U.S. as a ‘white, Christian, English-speaking’ nation. Here, such a law would never pass judicial review, as it crashed head-on into Amendment XIV and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    But Israel already has almost 50 different laws which explicitly authorize discrimination against ethnic minorities, who live in segregated neighborhoods and attend segregated schools. So this latest provocation would just be icing on the cake for the world’s last apartheid state.

    1. fresno dan

      but, but, but…….but
      isn’t Israel the only mideast state we share democratic and pluralistic values with??? And that’s why we’re such a staunch ally??????

    2. ambrit

      “Last apartheid state??!!” Surely you don’t mean that. “Latest in a long line of apartheid states,” would be more accurate.

    3. Banger

      The fact remains that this sort of law is what most Israelis want. Israeli culture has moved rapidly to the right as it seeks to emulate the Nazi regime which was, in a way, the ultimate “dominator” culture. We are the master race and all that. Many Israelis and Jews I’ve spoken to over the years really believe that stuff.

      1. psychohistorian

        The Founders understood well the destructive effects of a state religion, which is why they set E Pluribus Unum as the US motto.

        The backers of the God of Mammon, inheritance and ongoing accumulation of private property “helped” change the US motto to In God we Trust in the 1950’s and its been a slippery slope ever since.

    4. David Lentini

      The from Sic Semper Tyrranis: Betting on another woman neo-con to take over for Hagel. From the post:

      Obama, true to his nature, will, IMO, choose someone to replace Hagel who will not challenge him and who will “play nice” with the other boys and girls without regard to the realities of life.

      That woman is likely to be Michele Flournoy. This woman is just another member of the Washington/New York playcircle of academics who think they understand war. pl

      Looking over the composition of our foreign policy leadership, I think it’s fair to say that we should at last have proven that incompetence and arrogance are blind as to race and gender. I hope someday we can start holding people accountable for their incompetence and corruption.

  6. ex-PFC Chuck

    Hagel resigns.

    Many of us had hoped that the Vietnam combat veteran enlisted man would have had an effective enough BS filter, not to mention backbone, to rein in the war party. But apparently not.

      1. cwaltz

        McCain was defending him in the article on Bloomberg following the rape article so maybe it isn’t bad that Hagel is going bye bye. Not holding my breath though. I worry that this may be the admins way of signaling changes on policy in areas like Syria. We can never spend enough taxpayer money on everywhere but here

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Hmmm, John McCain praising Hagel now after opposing his nomination is nothing less than a forked-tongue politician with attention-seeking disorder. I think David’s right: this is opposition theater, pure alduterated politics.

          More likely Hagel was canned for being insufficiently supportive of Israeli wars. Recall his unpardonable comments about the power of “the Jewish Lobby” causing the US to do stupid things? Scandalously anti-Semantic! He also advocated unconditional talks with Iran—outrageous and intolerable! No wonder Netanyahu ordered Obama to fire him. The delay is tantamount to insubordination.

      1. JEHR

        Now that we have that warmonger, Harper, we’re ready for invasion from the South!

        I heard on TV someone describing Canada as the US’s hat. Another person said, No, the US is Canada’s pants.
        I don’t know what that means but it sounds good.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Best guesses:

      * Hagel is not on board with “preventive” nuclear first-strike on Russia over Putin’s mythical invasion of Ukraine and presumptive shootdown of UH17 (after four months absence of evidence is deafening evidence of absence)

      * … not on board with bombing Syria and arming IS thru moderate cannibal terrorists attacking Assad.

      * … not on board with Zioneocon war on Iran or Israel’s support of ISIS.

      * … not on board with permanent occupation of Afghanistan (the pipeline MUST proceed; China must be countered)

      * … demonstrated insolence in contradicting Obama’s “junior varsity” assessment of ISIS.

    2. Banger

      Important issue–I went to several MSM outlets but can’t really find much of any use about what, exactly, the conflict is about. It seems Hagel and the military were miffed about Obama not supporting the U.S. funded Free Syrian Army which seems to be, more or less, a conduit of U.S. arms to IS. The so-called army seems to sell and or abandon its arms whenever Al-Nusra or IS comes near–sort of like the Iraqi Army. Another issue might be that Hagel wanted to downplay the ME and “pivot” towards Asia–whatever that means. So Hagel may have been playing a very complicated game–as many do in Washington

      My guess is that this is part of a deep series of struggles within the National Security State (NSS) as to what direction to go in. Obama seems to be trying to take charge (for the first time) of his own foreign and military policy and becoming a third force between the major factions of McCain/Clinton and the neocons and the more moderate “realists” and I think Obama is beginning to realize that both sides are noxious–that’s just a guess. The reason I say that is that the military is accusing the WH of “micromanaging” policy in the region and that clearly shows that the WH DOES NOT TRUST the military or the intel people just as Kennedy learned during the Cuban Missile Crisis that the NSS was absolutely not to be trusted and was running an independent foreign policy from the WH. In those days the power struggle was between hawks (the NSS never forgave Kennedy for starting an nuclear war over Cuba that ALL his advisers wanted except for RFK.

      1. psychohistorian

        Maybe they will get a guy with the right jersey but both parties are on the same team and we are the opponents…..and we don’t get jerseys.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hagel was a Republican every day from 2001 to 2009. Jeffords asked him to walk out of the GOP caucus in 2001, and Hagel showed his true colors.

      Besides DC insiders hailed him as a paragon of bipartisan ideas. Is there anything worse than Washington bipartisan-types?

  7. spooz

    In the section “Markets Are Distorted” section in The New York Times article “There’s a Giant Contradiction at the Heart of the U.S. Economy”, there is no mention of the Working Group on Financial Markets (aka Plunge Protection Team) buying S&P futures to boost the equity markets. Its still considered a conspiracy theory by mainstream analysts, although even Yves speculated on the possibility in a NC post from 2013. Fringey ZH featured a post two days ago titled Veteran S&P Futures Trader: “I Am 100% Confident That Central Banks Are Buying S&P Futures”. This article on the same subject appeared in the New York Post last month (sketchy, but closest to MSM covering the story that I’ve found yet).:

  8. dpacmanchopra

    Off-topic but big news, from NBC:

    Not getting all warm and fuzzy yet just because The Pope and Rupert are (seemingly) on the same page….

    Now if he admits to evolution having actually happened and earth being 14 billion years old I can speak to everyone else in my family again. Christmas is coming.

        1. spooz

          Ritholtz included the 2007 NBC news article in today’s links, kind of as an ironic look back. Ritholtz’ ADMIN response to a reader wondering how Murdoch’s 2007 position translates to FOX news reporting was, “The entire point its it is 7 years old and the programming is still all anti-science ignorance all the time.”

  9. DJG

    Just leak the torture report already. Then run around D.C. saying no one knows how it happened. That tactic has worked before. Or maybe some of the genius Democrats could get in with Anonymous. Laura Poitras is off in Berlin–and someone could take a flash drive while on vacation…

    Obama and his crew trying to thwart the process is a sign of what levels of debasement we have already achieved. And with torture, there is no bottom. The state and government simply fall through and continue to descend in to illegitimacy and immorality. So much for the transitional transcendental change-maker presidency.

  10. Luke The Debtor

    No Nigerian oil imports for the first time in 40 years. Must be because the shale revolution is over-hyped and unprofitable.

  11. PQS

    Re: Atlantic doctor article:

    I was strangely gratified to read this article…it confirms both my and my spouse’s many beliefs about the medical profession and their general lack of sensitivity and/or compassion, based on many experiences interacting with them….and it demonstrates that “crapification” isn’t just relegated to various sectors of the economy (like mine, which isn’t medicine). I have despaired for some time to come up with another profession, since commercial construction is so plagued with instability and angry people, but perhaps I can make the case that this is a general malaise, since eventhewellpaidmedicalprofessionals are being ground down like those of us in construction!

  12. Mel

    Police: Woman allegedly kills herself with gun bought to prepare for Ferguson unrest CNN

    Since firearms aren’t going away, read this. It’s free. It’s long, but read it. It’s strange, but it’s true. Read it.

    Sample:

    However, to repeat, never point a pistol under any circumstances at anything you do not want to shoot.

    Never have it loaded except when absolutely necessary.

    Now as to when it is necessary to have it loaded. Most people are much safer if they never load it. If you want a pistol to frighten burglars with or to carry in dark lanes at night, get a brightly plated nickel one. The larger you can carry the better. Do not buy any cartridges for it.

    If you get the gunmaker to render it impossible to fire it, even if loaded, so much the better.

    You can stop any but the most desperate man[Pg 29] by “brandishing” this at him in approved theatrical style.

    1. Sandwichman

      Indeed. Ellerman’s article should be required reading in every cost-benefit analysis economics course.

  13. proximity1

    Ferguson, Missouri grand jury finds no justification for criminal indictment of police officer Darren Wilson in the August 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

    Senior officers of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department lecture the public on their “disappointment” in the reaction of many local people to the news of the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Wilson–after a four-month wait for a ruling in a case which involved an unarmed man shot six times and killed. [ By the way– has anyone seen or heard any clear statement from the prosecutors or the grand jury’s members explaining and justifying the decision not to return any indictment at all? ]

    President Obama to appear has appeared before the press corps looking calm.

    President Obama, appearing calm before a press corps gathering in the White House, announces the resignation of Secretary of Defense Charles Timothy “Chuck” Hagel.

  14. proximity1

    PS:

    President Obama, speaking at the announcement of the resignation of Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel:

    …”I’ve known him, admired him and trusted him for nearly a decade since I was a green-behind-the-ears, freshman senator, and we were both on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” …

    Note to the President: ordinarily, the phrase is either “green-horn” or “wet behind the ears” but not “green behind the ears,” sir. Though, of course, you are best placed to know whether you were once a green-behind-the-ears freshman senator.

  15. proximity1

    Note to Yves,

    Follow-up since your posts RE RBS and predatory shake-downs of its own small-business loan clients
    [ Ian Fraser: The “Financial Terrorism” of Royal Bank of Scotland
    Posted on December 2, 2013 by Yves Smith ]

    last night, the BBC’s documentary program “Panorama” aired “Did the Bank Wreck My Business?”
    Link:

    and, ealier in the evening, Channel4.com news also featured the story on its evening main news hour
    :
    “RBS Admits squeezing small businesses for profit”
    Link:

    RBS has recently admitted publicly that their program, described by their senior management a year ago in testimony before a Commons committee of parliament as “absolutely not” a profit-center, was in fact after all just that.

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