Links, 7/20/11

Our Dying Economy

This is a terrible story on Obama’s apparent decision that he is helpless in the face of the continued crappy housing market. The story seems designed to support the false claim that the only hope of improvement is a settlement, both by ignoring unused TARP funds, and suggestions like Right to Rent.

David Leonhardt writes a similar (though not terrible) story on how the Administration, rather than doing anything on the jobs crisis, is trying to spin his debt negotiations as an economic win. Emphasis on spin, I guess.

China’s long made a killing of its counterfeits. Now they’ve got counterfeit Apple Stores.

Herb Kohl, the Chair of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, has come out against the AT&T T-Mobile merger. It’s amazing what not running for re-election can do for a politician’s judgment. (A bunch of progressives like John Conyers, Anna Eshoo, and Ed Markey also submitted a letter in opposition.)

Oh, and the big piece of news on the dying economy? Congressional Republicans are going to crash it to make a point in the debt limit debate.

Your Daily Murdoch

David Cameron was asked at least nine times during question time whether he had talks about Murdoch’s BSkyB bid; the closest to a denial he got was in saying all his conversations were appropriate.

After yesterday’s hearing, News International has suddenly decided to stop paying the legal bills of Glenn Mulcaire, the guy who did a bunch of their hacking for them. Let see if Mulcaire suddenly gets chattier (or discovers some unexpected gifts in his mailbox).

One of the reasons the Murdochs gave for shutting News of the World at their testimony yesterday is that they had lost the trust of readers. But if they spend all their time trying to convince their US readers to trust them still, won’t that lead readers to distrust them?

LulzSec says that, in addition to defacing the Sun in their hack of News International, they got some interesting employee emails. As with DOJ indicting a bunch of hackers on the PayPal DDoS attack, this seems like it just sets off an ongoing path of mutual destruction, hackers hacking hackers.

Justice and Injustice

The government claims all the cables leaked by WikiLeaks may not really exist. Or something like that, just so they don’t have to declassify a bunch of cables that show they’re trying to cover-up torture.

The Fed just signed a consent decree fining Wells Fargo $85 million for channeling prime borrowers into sup-prime loans, and also for lying about people’s incomes on liar loans. I guess the Fed thinks $85 million is a reasonable fine for all the fraud Wells Fargo did that contributed to the crash. Speaking of slaps on the wrist, a year after settling with the FTC on overcharging people whose mortgages Countrywide was servicing, Bank of American has finally identified all the people it needs to pay.

Three judges in the UK has overturned the convictions of 20 climate activists based on their finding that an undercover cop was acting as an agent provocateur.

A Scottish court issued an injunction against Greenpeace, preventing it from spreading pictures it took during a protest against Cairn Energy. But a bunch of crazy bloggers and tweeps have passed on the photos, effectively breaking the injunction.

Judge Royce Lamberth refused to give a new trial to two DC cops who falsely arrested a woman for criticizing them. If the city doesn’t appeal, the woman in question will get $97,500.

The American Empire

For some reason that is not entirely clear, Hezbollah leader Ali Mussa Daqduq may have to be transferred to Iraqi custody. Which, given the ties between Iraq and Iran and Hezbollah, probably will mean Daqduq ill go free.

Spencer interviews Daveed Gartenstein-Ross about his forthcoming book, Bin Laden’s Legacy: Why We’re Still Losing the War on Terror; Gartenstein-Ross describes the many ways our poor response to 9/11 has played right into al Qaeda’s hands, notably on budgetary issues.

Republican Stupidity

Republicans–and some hackish Democrats–are trying to prevent Obama from increasing contractor disclosure using an Executive Order. Some of the Democrats opposed to the disclosure get upwards of 80% of their support from corporations.

House Republicans are trying to defund the OAS, basically trying to get the US to stop engaging in a multilateral way in our own hemisphere. Whoever said John Birch was dead?

Republicans are going to shut down the FAA to make it harder for FAA and railroad employees to unionize. As part of their “negotiating” tactics, they’re also trying to make flights to Harry Reid’s home town more expensive.

And how could I discuss Republican stupidity without noting that Dougie Feith is giving Rick Perry lessons on foreign policy.


75 retired football players are suing the NFL for suppressing the results of a study showing the problems that result from brain injuries.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

32 replies
  1. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    With regard to the NFL and brain injuries, The Guardian had a sober piece up today about the findings of the postmortem analysis of the brain of the late Dave Duerson, the former strong safety of the Bears and Giants who shot himself in the heart earlier this year, leaving instructions that his brain be donated to the NFL Brain Bank.

  2. marksb says:

    Evidenced by a number of your links, starting with the Wikileaks non-document claims, I’m thinking you can say pretty much anything these days and get away with it. Just lie and dare any news source to spend the time to get into a lather about it. After all, the media is too busy most of the time with the simple and lurid–the “ratings” stories.

  3. prostratedragon says:

    David Cameron was asked at least nine times …

    A three-Pete! He’s taking it in stride, though.

  4. Gitcheegumee says:

    re:making it harder for railroad workers to organize

    Does this have anything to do with WHY we don’t have high speed railroads in this country?

    Because the conservative element is wanting to destroy any possibilty of the railroads unionizing – the way Reagan did the air controllers- THEN – the high speed rails will be built .. by Repub crony entities.(Think lack of federal oversight at Massey mines.)

  5. EoH says:

    $85 million fine to Wells Fargo? Cheap at ten times the price. See what you can get away with when the president would rather fund his re-election by taking money from banksters rather than ask for it from supporters whose interests he has and will put to the sword. Describing this as a vicious cycle doesn’t quite capture the perfidy.

  6. EoH says:

    Cameron has yet to explain how so many current and “former” Murdoch employees could work for his Tory Party, for No. 10, and for the Metropolitican Police – they comprised 10 of Met’s 45 press aides – without there being claims of impropriety, conflict of interest, undue influence, and leaks that would turn Arakis into an ocean planet.

  7. EoH says:

    Back to a point covered in an earlier thread, GPS will soon migrate to other portable devices. It’s now a popular device in stand alone digital cameras. The issue is not whether privacy is an endangered species, but what can be done to protect what little remains.

  8. prostratedragon says:

    Reading the comments thread at TMZ on the football players’ suit would help some athletes know how to proceed with their careers.

    I well recall Duper and Anderson in particular (and some others prominently since) getting their clocks cleaned on a regular basis, to the point that even sport commentators were relieved when they retired. And I well recall a sick feeling, on hearing about Duerson, that he would succeed in getting people’s attention. I hope the game can be saved with its high intensity level, but if not, well …

  9. Gitcheegumee says:

    EoH: Do you know there a legal period of “waiting time” between the Murdoch employees leaving his enterprises and then joining Cameron’s Tory party “forces”?

    I know that there are stipulations with some corps that there has to be a waiting period before being hired by other entities-or is that just by other COMPETING entities?

    (And considering the internecine contortions,who could actually tell the difference?)

  10. prostratedragon says:

    EoH, has anyone selling them said why I want GPS on my digital camera? I didn’t realize it was there; still using film here, while you can get it and can get Nikons for theft prices.

  11. LiberalHeart says:

    @emptywheel I’m having trouble reading the comments because of the format. Is there a way to improve how they’re displayed?

  12. rosalind says:

    ok, this tweet by @MikeDrucker cracked me up:

    “Rebekah Brooks is what would’ve happened if Hermione Granger was put in Slytherin.”

  13. Gitcheegumee says:

    James Murdoch: hack victim’s payout sparks queries over hush-money denial
    Source: UK Guardian

    James Murdoch appears to have given misleading parliamentary testimony about a key phone-hacking cover-up, according to evidence obtained by the Guardian.

    Rupert Murdoch’s son sought to deny that “astronomic sums” had been secretly paid out to a hacking victim as hush-money. He told MPs the company’s legal advice was that the likely award of damages was £250,000, and that this explained the size of a confidential payout he agreed could be paid in 2008 to hacking victim Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the footballers’ union the PFA.

    But full details of the legal negotiations obtained by the Guardian show that in fact Murdoch’s company executives paid far more than that to buy Taylor’s silence. After consulting James Murdoch, they eventually agreed to pay £425,000 damages, almost twice as much as the alleged likely award.

    With Taylor’s legal costs at £220,000, and their own solicitors’ fees of some £300,000, the total cost to the News of the World to keep the case out of court amounted to almost £1m.

    Read more:

  14. emptywheel says:

    LiberalHeart and Gitche

    We’re working on it–sorry it hasn’t happened yet but it’s the very first thing on the list.

  15. EoH says:

    Rebekah Brooks is what you would get if Voldemort had a mistress with red hair, if the stories about Eve, the snake and the apple were true. She wants the fruit from the tree of knowledge not to satiate her hunger or thirst for knowledge, but in order to become the gardener-in-chief. Like many a male counterpart, she’ll do anything for it. She must be worried now that all she’ll have are takeaway leftovers.

    Ms. Brooks is offensive because she is a predator with great wealth, not because she’s a woman, a red head or a former newspaper editor.

  16. MadDog says:

    Just been reading the Team Anonymous indictment (12 page PDF) and noticed these things:

    The indictment was “sealed” by the court. Question for our resident Legal Eagles is whether that is normal?

    At the bottom of page 2 where Bail is listed after the Judge’s signature, appearing to be the Judge’s handwriting says “No Bail Arrest Warrants for all Defendants”. That does seem unusual.

  17. EoH says:

    With the number of current and former Murdoch employees working for the Met, the Tories and No. 10, it seems likely that there was little of interest that wasn’t making its way back to Mr. Murdoch’s web. That would have enhanced his ability to assist the Tories’ victory, to put obstacles in front of Labour and the LibDems, to give himself a forewarning about incidents injurious to him and to sway approvals to tilt in his direction.

  18. emptywheel says:


    Wow, you could just swap out the dates and the names, replacing them w/DOJ’s hackers, and that indictment would be valid for the WL DDoS.

  19. MadDog says:

    In response to emptywheel on July 20, 2011 at 7:10 pm – I betcha the DOJ hackers aren’t allowed to have cool aliases like “No” or “Toxic”. :-)

  20. spiny says:

    “But most foreclosures are now caused by economic factors like unemployment rather than subprime loans”

    Gee.. to bad we can’t do anything about that.

  21. coloradoblue says:

    If you have a category, well deserved, of Republican Stupidity I think you need to add one for Democratic Cowardice.

  22. Kathleen says:

    Most of the news I heard this morning on BBC, NPR and Morning Joe spent more time on Murdochs wife saving him from the pie man than anything substantive. Hmmm.

    Had read that Feith working for Perry thing at Mondoweiss. Amazing what kind of jobs those seriously involved with mass murder can get these days. Miracles will never cease

    Raimando has one up about the Anthrax investigation fiasco

    And this

  23. Valley Girl says:

    The Daily Murdoch-

    These are two really interesting audios from “On the media” I heard the earlier one, but second just found.

    If you like listening, the second is fascinating. You have to go to the link, and then click on the “listen”. It’s a very interesting Brit view, given by the person interviewed- irrc Guardian person.

    Okay, well worth listening, if you are interested in the story!!!!! July 8, quite prescient. You have just ignore the intro.

  24. allan says:

    Our dying economy (western NY edition):
    Kodak might sell its digital patents
    Eastman Kodak Co., which has struggled to sell camera film and digital cameras, now may be contemplating the sale of intellectual property it holds in the digital imaging realm.

    The company announced on Wednesday it was “exploring strategic alternatives” for its digital imaging patents….
    Its move comes just weeks after bankrupt telecom equipment maker Nortel Networks auctioned more than 6,000 patents and patent applications to tech companies Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion and Sony for $4.5 billion — far more than the $900 million Google had initially bid…
    f Kodak were to make such a move, it would result in the elimination of many of the 7,100 jobs it has in the Rochester area, where, despite years of downsizing, it remains the fourth-largest employer.

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