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Old 2014-08-05, 23:26   #56
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Michael Hudson: The Fracking/World Bank/IMF/Hunter Biden Dismantling Plan for Ukraine
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HUDSON: Well, one of the things that has not been in the news is that a recent Senate bill, 2277, directed the U.S. Agency for International Development to begin guaranteeing loans for the fracking of oil and gas in the Ukraine. And Vice President Biden’s son has become the head of the biggest fracking company in the Ukraine. And what’s not usually known is that the armies from Kiev that are marching into the Eastern of Ukraine have been basically protecting the fracking equipment.

Now, for the last nine months, local cities in the east in Ukraine have said, wait a minute, we want local control over the fracking. The people in the city of Sloviansk wanted to oppose the shale gas field from being developed, ’cause they said, look, this is going to destroy our water supply and our land. And essentially what Kiev is doing is saying, well, you’re terrorists if you’re opposing the oil drilling.

Now, just imagine in this country if President Obama and Vice President Biden were to send troops into upstate New York, which has opposed oil/gas drilling, and bombed Rochester, bombed Buffalo, and began just bombing the cities and shooting the opponents of the fracking. That’s exactly what’s happening in the Ukraine. And they’re doing this supported by the World Bank. The whole attempt is to make Ukraine independent from having to get the gas imports from Russia. And yet already the neighboring Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France, Germany, they’ve all–Germany’s halted the shale gas drilling for seven years because they worry it’s going to destroy the groundwater.

Now, in the Eastern Ukraine, where the fighting is now, all of the groundwater under Dnieper and the other major water flows flow into Yalta and into the Crimea. They’ve turned off the water, most of the water, to Crimea, trying to starve it. So there’s a diversion of water away from agriculture towards the fracking.

Meanwhile, in the Western Ukraine, the World Bank has been supporting essentially the large-scale alienation of agricultural land to foreign investors. The World Bank is a wonderful index. It’s the index of screwing labor and destroying the environment. They call it the ease of doing business index. But the index for agriculture, they have a special index just for ease of doing business in agriculture. And that means getting rid of rules against pesticides, getting rid of rules against labeling food, against additives, and against everything. And it’s very much like the Trans-Pacific Partnership proposal and the Transatlantic partnership proposal. The problem is that Europe is actually opposing all of these pesticides and all the laboring. So you may have the irony of the Ukraine following the World Bank’s directions and getting rid of the restrictions on agriculture and making it impossible to export its crops to Europe.
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Old 2014-08-06, 00:50   #57
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NPR had a brief note on the current incarnation of too big to fail today. Warning: the sidebar with the top Huffington Post stories is quite NSFW, and show that its readers need to see more boobs to take a story seriously.
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Old 2014-08-06, 18:03   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonp View Post
NPR had a brief note on the current incarnation of too big to fail today.
Kinda like oil-spill cleanup plans. Baby steps:
Quote:
Last week, Wall Street and the Obama administration briefly celebrated a report by the Government Accountability Office that claimed the biggest banks no longer enjoy lower borrowing costs than their smaller peers -- the prime perk of being perceived as too big to fail. Those celebrations were muted on Tuesday after the FDIC and Fed declaration.
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Old 2014-08-06, 21:23   #59
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NC's take on the TBTF living will epic fail:

Regulators Reject Living Wills of 11 TBTF Banks, a 100% Fail Rate
Quote:
Mirabile dictu, it looks like Elizabeth Warren’s grilling of Janet Yellen on the Fed’s failure to make progress on Dodd Frank resolutions, also known as living wills, has had some impact. From the Wall Street Journal:

In a sweeping rebuke to Wall Street, U.S. regulators said 11 of the nation’s biggest banks haven’t demonstrated they can collapse without causing broad, damaging economic repercussions and ordered them to show “significant” progress by July 2015.

The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said bankruptcy plans submitted by big banks make “unrealistic or inadequately supported” assumptions and “fail to make, or even to identify, the kinds of changes in firm structure and practices that would be necessary to enhance the prospects for” an orderly failure. The regulators raised the specter of slapping banks with tougher capital, leverage and other rules—and even eventually forcibly breaking them up—absent significant progress to address the shortcomings.
Since the Fed actively and assiduously enabled said perma-TBTF-ness, their objection is very much reminiscent of Capt. Renault's famous line from Casablanca: "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"
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Old 2014-08-25, 22:01   #60
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I'm going to duck evaluating this article. The title is itself mystery economic theater of the highest order. So I'm not saying if the article worth reading; sorry, not feeling that well atm. It sounds intriguing though. It opens:

Did columnist Paul Krugman help topple the French government?
Quote:
Today's must-read

Did Paul Krugman help topple the French government? According to Business Insider's Rob Wile, the New York Times columnist "deserves some of the blame".
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Old 2014-08-25, 22:32   #61
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Maybe it's just that the truth hurts. I don't see it as blame worthy to point a finger at stupidity.
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Old 2014-08-25, 23:22   #62
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Maybe we can kick-start a drive to get PK appointed as the new French econMin -- let him put his theoretical models and "understanding of economies and banking" into practice and see how it works out. Wonder if "other side of the Atlantic" will be a sufficient minimal safe distance, though.
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Old 2014-09-01, 23:50   #63
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Labor Day: Human Labor, Human Rental, Human Gift

(Note the context make clear his "work is force over distance" characterization does not mean the physics-botching F/D but rather is intended as "force exerted over some distance by the exerter.")


Important piece on the 2008/2009 presidential transition and the bank bailouts from Salon:
Quote:
This is the shape of the system Obama has designed. It is intentional, it is the modern American order, and it has a certain equilibrium, the kind we identify in Middle Eastern resource extraction based economies. We are even seeing, as I showed in an earlier post, a transition of the American economic order toward a petro-state. By some accounts, America will be the largest producer of hydrocarbons in the world, bigger than Saudi Arabia. This is just not an America that any of us should want to live in. It is a country whose economic basis is oligarchy, whose political system is authoritarianism, and whose political culture is murderous toward the rest of the world and suicidal in our aggressive lack of attention to climate change.

Many will claim that Obama was stymied by a Republican Congress. But the primary policy framework Obama put in place – the bailouts, took place during the transition and the immediate months after the election, when Obama had enormous leverage over the Bush administration and then a dominant Democratic Party in Congress. In fact, during the transition itself, Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson offered a deal to Barney Frank, to force banks to write down mortgages and stem foreclosures if Barney would speed up the release of TARP money. Paulson demanded, as a condition of the deal, that Obama sign off on it. Barney said fine, but to his surprise, the incoming president vetoed the deal. Yup, you heard that right — the Bush administration was willing to write down mortgages in response to Democratic pressure, but it was Obama who said no, we want a foreclosure crisis. And with Neil Barofsky’s book ”Bailout,” we see why. Tim Geithner said, in private meetings, that the foreclosure mitigation programs were not meant to mitigate foreclosures, but to spread out pain for the banks, the famous “foam the runway” comment. This central lie is key to the entire Obama economic strategy. It is not that Obama was stymied by Congress, or was up against a system, or faced a massive crisis, which led to the shape of the economy we see today. Rather, Obama had a handshake deal to help the middle class offered to him by Paulson, and Obama said no. He was not constrained by anything but his own policy instincts. And the reflation of corporate profits and financial assets and death of the middle class were the predictable results.
As one NC commenter put it in a comment on the same daily links collection (the comment w/the above Salon link is a few screens down from this) -- this focuses on foreign policy but the general theme qpplies equally well to economics & finance:

Many ordinary people in the US/West seem to think that foreign affairs are far removed from their everyday experience. It is not. Our foreign policy ‘comes home’ in the form of a police state (propaganda, spying, militarized police), reduced economic opportunity (China and Russia are developing technologies to compete with Silicon Valley; BRICS are developing alternate financial systems; increased defense spending starves education and other areas, etc.), and dead or crippled soldiers. This is possible mostly because ‘We the people’ have been disenfranchised by vote-with-your-money politics. Our politicians, and the government they lead, work for monied interest groups instead of the best interests of the country.

The worst part is this: its unsustainable. All of it. Our energy use, our military, our wasteful spending, our financial bubbles, our exceptional! selfish attitude and haughty demeanor, and more. The longer we ignore reality and kick cans, the stronger will be the blow back. We can lead the world – as we used to – by setting an example of good governance, or we can continue to follow the anti-humanist, anti-capitalist, pro-oligarchy neolibcon path to dystopia.

This leads to a meta-discussion on narcissism, with observations like this:

The implicit goal of any primary narcissist is to maximize their image in each and every present moment. There is no other criteria [sic]. Anyone looking for core beliefs or fundamental truths will be driven crazy by their ability to say the exact opposite position from five minutes ago and treat you with complete and total disdain for suggesting they said anything otherwise.

E.g. "The murderous baby-killing-and-eating Syrian regime is the most evillest in the galaxy ... we must take resolute bomb-aided diplomatic steps and support the 'moderate' anti-regime rebel groups ... [Ooh, look! Squirrel!! The freedom-hating Russian squirrels are coming!!!] ... The murderous baby-killing-and-eating ISIS terrorist group is the most evillest in the whole known universe! Our dear terror-hating friends the Saudis assure us they'll attack 'merica within months if we don't 'humanitarian bomb' them into submission..."

In the same daily-links-related comments section there is a discussion of a featured scientific article on changes in hierarchy, behavior and health in a baboon troop whose alpha males were all demised as a result of their practice of eating rotten meat from the garbage dump they monopolized.

The question is, is there a way of similarly demising the "alpha baboons" -- who in human societies are mostly, but by no means exclusively, males -- in the form of warmongers and corporate oligarchs who afflict human societies? Note that the human alpha baboons have access to the best medical treatment as a result of their position. They also have a huge mind control apparatus (in form of the MSM) dedicated to brainwashing the rabble into believing the existing order is both necessary and good, and that any conceivable alternatives are manifestly evil, or even worse, "un-[American|democratic|European]", "inhuman", "freedom-hating", "defeatist", "communist" or some similar label-slandered stuff.
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Old 2014-09-02, 04:07   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Maybe we can kick-start a drive to get PK appointed as the new French econMin -- let him put his theoretical models and "understanding of economies and banking" into practice and see how it works out. Wonder if "other side of the Atlantic" will be a sufficient minimal safe distance, though.
Paul Krugman is not the only weapon of mass media destruction. It's the internet, baby. Blogs and ephemera provide the factual basis for making decisions. The SCOTUS also uses these fluffy cotton candy soft and sweet truths:

Seeking Facts, Justices Settle for What Briefs Tell Them
Quote:
Some of the factual assertions in recent amicus briefs would not pass muster in a high school research paper. But that has not stopped the Supreme Court from relying on them. Recent opinions have cited “facts” from amicus briefs that were backed up by blog posts, emails or nothing at all.

Some amicus briefs are careful and valuable, of course, citing peer-reviewed studies and noting contrary evidence. Others cite more questionable materials.

Some “studies” presented in amicus briefs were paid for or conducted by the group that submitted the brief and published only on the Internet. Some studies seem to have been created for the purpose of influencing the Supreme Court.

Yet the justices are quite receptive to this dodgy data. Over the five terms from 2008 to 2013, the court’s opinions cited factual assertions from amicus briefs 124 times, Professor Larsen found.

The phenomenon is novel. “The U.S. Supreme Court is the only American judicial entity that depends so heavily on amicus briefs to educate itself on factual matters,” Professor Larsen wrote.
Quote:
Consider these examples.

In a 2011 decision about the privacy rights of scientists who worked on government space programs, Justice Alito cited an amicus brief to show that more than 88 percent of American companies perform background checks on their workers.

“Where this number comes from is a mystery,” Professor Larsen wrote. “It is asserted in the brief without citation.”

In a 2012 decision allowing strip searches of people arrested for even minor offenses as they are admitted to jail, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy cited an amicus brief to show that there are an “increasing number of gang members” entering the nation’s prisons and jails. The brief itself did little more than assert that “there is no doubt” this was so.

And in a 2013 decision, Justice Stephen G. Breyer cited an amicus brief to establish that American libraries hold 200 million books that were published abroad, a point of some significance in the copyright dispute before the court. The figure in the brief came from a blog post. The blog has been discontinued.

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2014-09-02 at 04:45
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Old 2014-09-03, 01:03   #65
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Scary stuff about the SCOTUS, Ross. Seems we need a modified term for the Internet age: "Spamicus Curiae".

============

Moving on to another "--OTUS", via a postscript to yesterday`s Labor Holiday in the US -- The POTUS deployed his typical "soaring rhetoric" targeting those all-important readily and repeatably dupedswing voters in advance of the upcoming midterm elections:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/... for Labor Day: Granted, Obama gives good phone. But none of what he says will translate to policy.
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Old 2014-09-03, 04:56   #66
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Washington's revolving door continues: http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/02/politi...html?hpt=hp_t4

Quote:
Eric Cantor got a job on Wall Street, though technically it's only a formality since he's been doing their bidding for years.
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