Links, 8/1/11

Our dying economy

Hendrik Hertzberg catches Louie Gohmert stealing Leon Trotsky’s dustbin.

HSBC is closing a bunch of branches in the US, apparently having decided the US is not longer the land of opportunity for profit.

Yves Smith argues that Liz Warren would be better of primarying Obama than running for Senate. I think her analysis is spot on.

Bruce Levine looks at the 8 ways our society has undermined the traditional rebelliousness of youth, from medications to No Child Left Behind to student loan debt.

Free birth control! At least we have some good news.

Surveillance Nation

The Senate Intelligence Authorization extends FISA past the 2012 election; if it passes, Obama will never be held responsibly for his past flip-flop on FISA and his promises to fix it.

The House Judiciary Committee passed their Internet-surveillance-posing-as-Porn-law on Tuesday, even managing to make it worse. I like John Cole’s approach to this: to make this into an issue about the DNC, since DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is one of the original co-sponsors. Next time the DNC hits you up for money, tell them no, and it’s DWS’ fault.

The Brits botched the redaction of a FOIA response, thereby revealing cooperation between Capita and ISPs.

The British torture inquiry is actually planning on going to Gitmo to interview detainees about events they may have witnessed. This is far more than I expected from this inquiry, though it’s still safe to assume it’ll be a whitewash.

Obama has finally found nominated someone (another Harvard JD) to replace Glenn Fine, who as DOJ Inspector General found a lot of the abuses the FBI committed under the PATRIOT Act. I’ll have to do more research, but I am skeptical about a former prosecutor taking this job.

35 replies
  1. rugger9 says:

    I would agree, and with a little support Warren could win the general against any GOP candidate if she beats Obama. At the least she would force Obama to be a Democrat again.

    Now, if AmericaSelect gets their astroturf candidate in as well, I’m not as certain because it will be a well-known name with unlimited money behind them. And I’m pretty sure it won’t be Palin, either, after the “success” of Undefeated and the bus tour. How’d that trial go, anyhow in AK, Sarah?

  2. MadDog says:

    From page 13 of the 33 page “S. Rpt. No. 112-___, Report to Accompany S.____, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
    ” PDF:

    “…The Committee moves forward on the requirement for Senate confirmation of the Director of NSA in this Act in light of NSA’s critical role in the national intelligence mission, particularly with respect to activities which may raise privacy concerns

    …The requirement for confirmation of the Director of NSA will not increase the number of Senate-confirmed officials. The Director of the NSA is now also the Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and therefore subject to confirmation…”

    (My Bold)

    Which may raise privacy concerns? Yeah, right!

  3. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Warren to primary Obama? Sign me up. Should I start saving my money? Anyone know if she is interested?

  4. Mary says:

    “The British torture inquiry is actually planning on going to Gitmo to interview detainees about events they may have witnessed.” It’s more than I would have thought too, but still – you have people who have been bought and sold in human trafficking or kidnapped and sent into depravity – they’re going to go question them while they are still in the hands of the human traffickers/kidnappers and in front of them as well, and with no hope of them leaving with you.

    Kind of like sitting a child down in the manacled dungeon in their basement where the abusive parent takes them to torture them, with the parent therr, to ask them to give testimony about the parent’s torture of other kids, all the while knowing that you’ll leave them in the basement with Bad Daddy when you go.
    Great way to get credible information.

  5. Earlofhuntingdon says:

    I agree that Warren’s voice as a presidential candidate would be stronger than in Congress. The Senate is broken, seemingly beyond repair with its current millionaire cohort of corporate sponsored members. The House has been nobbled by the bipartisan adoption of Gingrich-DeLay’s pay-for-play, which doles out power and access solely on the ability to raise funds for the party, effectiveness, work ethic, IQ, personality, priorities and principles be damned.

    She would be more credible than Nader. More importantly, she has credibility on the issues that everyone inside the Beltway is ignoring like the plague: jobs, education, public health and personal finance for the 95% of Americans making less than $100k/year.

    Ms. Warren also does something this president is constitutionally – pardon the pun – incapable of doing, which is to speak out and oppose the policies and actions of his opponents. From the public’s perspective, it makes no difference whether that inability is because he’s too naive or polite or weak (unlikely attributes for a Chicago pol), or because he just agrees more with his opponents than the foundation principles of his own party.

  6. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: And from page 25:

    “…By a vote of 7 ayes to 8 noes, the Committee rejected an amendment by Senator Wyden as modified by Chairman Feinstein to require the Inspector General of the Department of Justice to submit a report within one year on implementation of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

    The votes in person or by proxy were as follows: Chairman Feinstein—aye; Senator Rockefeller—aye; Senator Wyden—aye; Senator Mikulski—aye; Senator Nelson—no; Senator Conrad—aye; Senator Udall—aye; Senator Warner—aye; Vice Chairman Chambliss—no; Senator Snowe—no; Senator Burr—no; Senator Risch—no; Senator Coats—no; Senator Blunt—no; Senator Rubio—no…”

    (My Bold)

  7. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: And from page 26:

    “…By voice vote, the Committee rejected an amendment by Senator Wyden and Senator Udall calling for a report from the Attorney General and the DNI pertaining to interpretations of domestic surveillance law…”

  8. Earlofhuntingdon says:

    Glenn Fine’s replacement as DoJ Inspector General? It will comes as no surprise that he is not only a former prosecutor, but a member of a NYC white shoe firm who specializes in white collar “defense”. That’s a resume tailor made for today’s federal prosecutors and their political and corporate clients. Michael Horowitz, the nominee, was an AUSA in Manhattan, serving two years as head of its “public corruption” unit before jumping to Main Justice to serve as Deputy Assistant AG and then chief of staff at the “criminal” division. That was all 1991-2002. Before then, he was at Debevoise & Plimpton, and since then, he’s been at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, both white shoe firms. He hales from Brandeis and HLS.

  9. Jeff Kaye says:

    @Mary: The British torture inquiry, the one headed by Sir Peter Gibson, is not going to Guantanamo. If you read the article, you’ll see it’s Scotland Yard following up on an ongoing case. The article is confusing, but one thing is clear, it’s not the torture inquiry that’s going anywhere. But if they were, your points would be apposite.

    “An inquiry set up by the Prime Minister into claims that the British Security and Intelligence services turned a blind eye to the abuse of suspects in US custody has been delayed partly because of the ongoing police investigation.”

    Read more:

    By the way, Truthout is going to publish, I think tomorrow, a major analytic-research article of mine on DoD use of waterboarding and similar techniques, often called “water treatment”. We’re not talking about water flicking or dousing, but simulated drowning, in buckets, toilets, with garden hoses, etc.

    Seems DoD and the media have played a trick on us. Article will draw upon Congressional testimony, the Qahtani logs, IG reports, and first person testimony.

    I think the whole discussion on waterboarding has been crafted in such a way to direct attention away from much of the torture, especially by DoD/Special Forces. (Not that CIA isn’t horribly culpable as well, as you already know.)

  10. emptywheel says:

    @Earlofhuntingdon: Yeah, there’s a bit that’s mixed about his background. At one level, he knows how white collar (alleged) criminals work. At another, he’s likely to be make deals. I had hopes that his PIN background might balance that, though.

  11. emptywheel says:

    @Jeff Kaye: Very cool, Jeff. It’s been pretty clear for years they have always caveated # of waterboards w/CIA, so it seemed pretty clear they weren’t considered DOD side.

    But I’m thrilled that has finally been pulled together.

  12. Mary says:

    I guess this should have been an OT in yesterday’s links – so sue me.
    The CIA station chief in Islamabad has (again) headed for home.

    “Pakistan and the United States are seeking “to quickly repair the damage to their intelligence cooperation” following the unexpected departure of the Central Intelligence Agency’s station chief in the Pakistani capital, a senior Pakistani government official told CBS News Sunday ”

    The tit for tatting has been rampant. Raymond Davis and some bodies – pulled out with Kerry dangling dollars; Bin Laden killing with what had to be quiet cooperation but public denials of being clued in; Obama gets Davis home and past his Bin Laden killing and then announces massive reduction of Pak military aid; DOJ files illegal lobbying case against ISI’s voice whispering in Congressional ears here in the US (the Kashmiri American Council); US Military (Mullen) accuses Pakistan of being behind the kiling of a journalist (not to be confused with the bombings of Al-Jazeera offices); Pakistan sends 90 US soldiers sent there for counterterrorism training back to the US: Pakistan puts travel restrictions on US diplomats and just after that we find out that the CIA station chief scampered in advance of the Pak restrictions.

    S: Obama has further cut military aid to Pakistan, leaving only enough left for a mass mailing of a bootleg copy of Why Can’t We Be Friends, by War, to members of the current government.

    Analysts are debating whether “I know you’re working for the CIA, they wouldn’t have you in the Mafia” is intended as some kind of diplomatic message.


  13. Mary says:

    @Jeff Kaye: @12 – I’m going to stick with the points being apposite even if it is Scotland Yard instead of the commission. The points weren’t so much dependent on who is going to do the questioning as what can be expected from the questioning of “witnesses” who are in the unimpeded and unfettered by any constraint custody of the accused perpetrators. It’s not a good set up for getting testimony whether the questions come from the Commission or the Yard. Imo. Fwiw.

  14. Jeff Kaye says:

    @emptywheel: I’ll send you a link when it’s up.

    A small tidbit from my research: when the interrogation team at Gitmo described Al Qahtani’s interrogation in a memo, they said they limited the water they poured over his head to 8 oz, but the interrogation log states it was 2 pints! And this happened about 17 times. Amazingly, this particular aspect of his torture has been overlooked.

  15. person1597 says:

    OK, that was embarrassing. I should dig my hole deeper and look for connections between BMI and News corp. That would be less cringeworthy. Or not.

  16. rosalind says:

    while i will withhold judgment until the actual patients are given a voice in how the new procedures are going, this LAT article “Healthcare partnership pays big dividends” has some interesting tidbits.

    from personal experience with my parents, this – “As part of the hospitals’ checkout procedures, nurses reviewed patients’ post-hospital instructions and then asked them to repeat it all back. The providers also made sure patients had made appointments with doctors before going home.” – particularly hit home, having been subjected to the opposite several times, leaving family members scrambling with post-op side effects they don’t know are side effects, trying to get back in to the doctor, etc.,0,3537835.story

  17. P J Evans says:

    It reminds me a little of a former co-worker’s experiences with his big-name HMO: he’d be told to come back in two weeks, but the first appointment he could get was three (or four) weeks later, and then they’d complain because he hadn’t come in when they told him to.

  18. prostratedragon says:

    Today in glorious recapitulation:

    Something that turned up in a tab, I don’t know how, an entry from Adam Curtis, the maker of such documentaries as The Power of Nightmares and Century of the Self. He recounts the history of the mid-20th century British press baron Cecil King of the Daily Mirror, who in 1968 mounted an effort to bring down Harold Wilson’s Labour government, using the Mirror as his primary tool.

    According to Curtis, rumors of MI5 involvement have never borne out; however,

    The truth is that King was in league with more familiar “rogue elements” —senior City of London bankers, including the Governor of the Bank of England, who wanted to force the Labour government to slash the financial deficit.

    And because of other fresh-seeming circumstances, Curtis got a lot of good film out of the era. His post includes a link to about a 50min portion of a rough-cut documentary.

  19. Bob Schacht says:

    Typo alert: 3rd sentence, “…better of primarying Obama…” of = off?

    (BTW, I think English speakers are losing the ability to remember the difference between “of” and “off”.)

    Now to read the comments.

    Bob in AZ

  20. person1597 says:


    Last gasp…

    Jerome Hauer => Council on Foreign Relations

    Fox News ==> (up until recently) CFR Corporate Sponsor.

    Dr. Zack + Hauer = fast times at WTC7?

    Unlikely that B. Healy (Battelle) would go along with the big adventure, so lights out.

  21. radiofreewill says:

    You know, the Debt Deal ‘looks like’ the first stage of a bankruptcy process – one that’s being kept hidden from the people to prevent a panic, that might very well be followed by rage.

    The collapse of the Housing Bubble seems to have left only minimal asset value, and much toxic liability on the country’s balance sheet – what was ‘bought’ with 30-1 asset multiplication now lies fallow as 30 times unsecured debt on our Banks’ balance sheets.

    Capitalism, my brothers and sisters, may be in receivership…we claim we’re not Greece, but the process of debt recovery is the same – we just have more assets to take, over a longer period of time…

    If so, then it’s not surprising that we might choose to pull-out all the existential stops to save ‘our way of life’ from bitter ruin.

    However, I would point out that ‘secret policy’ carried-out by authoritarians while keeping the infantilized people in the dark is what got US into this mess to begin with…

    …and it won’t dig US out, either – we’ll only go deeper and deeper into the chasm between ‘in the know’ and ‘in the dark’ inexplicability in public policy.

    It’s cowardly not to call on the courage of the people to face adversity together, but then again self-interested Pride will muzzle men all the way down to hell…

    So, for now, the schemers who did this to US want it ‘fixed’ at Our expense without US ever realizing what happened…

    …but O what a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

    The collapse of the monetary system is nothing compared to the collapse of Trust.

  22. radiofreewill says:


    It explains Boehner’s crying – after years of Denial – now he ‘knows’ that he’s been an integral part of driving the country into the ditch – and accepting responsibility for that failure is really hard for him.

    It explains why the Tea Party is so adamant about ‘cutting spending’ – they ‘know.’ And now they’re engaged in a full-on over-reaction of over-control: their cynicism tells them that ‘if we balance the budget, then the money will still be good’ – even though this is like saying you can drive a car up-hill without fuel.

    And then there’s the clueless Dems – the infants who’ve never been ‘read-in,’ but select individuals get to play great parts – like Harry Reid, the guy who wants us to ‘know’ that he ‘originated’ the idea of the Joint Committee – it’s his baby!

    And, going by yesterday’s religious experience in the House vote – both caucuses were told ‘the cold hard truth’ just before Joan of Arc walked in and announced ‘Compromise is Good’…in a room ringed by Bankers and Lobbyists.

    So, unfortunately, it seems that viewing the debt ceiling crisis through the lens of bankruptcy causes the rorschach of our politics to resolve into a single image of a government now secretly missioned to save ‘our way of life’ – capitalism – without using the ‘B’ word…

    It would, imvho, be so much better to prosecute those who hijacked the system, and restore it to the Public in its original non-secret form – then there is truly no challenge, no matter how dastardly pawned-off on US, that we can’t all overcome together.

  23. thatvisionthing says:


    That was exactly the point Moazzem Begg described in the documentary Taxi to the Dark Side, regarding his incarceration and the death of Dilawar, the taxi driver, at the hands of his American interrogators in Bagram:

    MOAZZEM BEGG, released due to pressure from British government: I was kidnapped, abducted, falsely imprisoned, tortured, and threatened with further torture, without charges and without trial. Even many soldiers had said to me afterwards, “Hell, if you weren’t a terrorist when you came in here, by the time you leave, I’m sure you would be because of the way you’ve been treated.”

    BEGG: One of the reasons why I was held in isolation was to do with this issue of witnessing these deaths in Bagram. And they asked me which soldiers had been involved and were around at the time, so they brought in photographs of the people from the unit and I pointed out who I believed was involved.

    They asked me one of the strangest requests I’ve ever had during the time I was in incarceration, and that was, would I be willing to stand up as a witness for the prosecution in a trial against these soldiers? And I thought how ironic this is, you know. Is this the only court that I’m going to get to see after all these years in incarceration?

  24. thatvisionthing says:


    Debevoise & Plimpton! That name again! Michael Mukasey, Mary Jo White, Eric Dinallo:

    Mary Jo White and Eric Dinallo:

    Matt Taibbi, Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail: “Pause for a minute to take this in. Aguirre, an SEC foot soldier, is trying to interview a major Wall Street executive [John Mack] — not handcuff the guy or impound his yacht, mind you, just talk to him. In the course of doing so, he finds out that his target’s firm is being represented not only by Eliot Spitzer’s former top aide [Morgan Stanley’s regulatory liaison Eric Dinallo], but by the former U.S. attorney overseeing Wall Street [Debevoise & Plimpton’s Mary Jo White], who is going four levels over his head to speak directly to the chief of the SEC’s enforcement division — not Aguirre’s boss, but his boss’s boss’s boss’s boss. Mack himself, meanwhile, was being represented by Gary Lynch, a former SEC director of enforcement.”

    Guess what, Aguirre gets fired.

    Dinallo’s now at Debevoise.

    Michael Mukasey, now a corporate monitor for Debevoise & Plimpton:

    BILL BLACK, on why mortgage fraud wasn’t investigated: And so the FBI proposes a nationwide task force and the FBI proposes to concentrate a major part of their investigative efforts on the biggest lenders. This is when Mukasey steps in to kill that effort. Again, Mukasey was Bush’s attorney general, and said, “No, we’re not going to do that.

    So what were we left with instead? So we got agents from the FBI with no expertise on sophisticated financial frauds at this time, with no guidance from the regulators, where they’re getting actively misguided by the industry doing their old, you know, Obi Wan Kenobi stuff? “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for [laughs] – go look at those droids,” you know? Go look at the little guys, not looking at us.

  25. person1597 says:


    Wrong again, News corp is still on the CFR roster.

    Sorry to sully this thread — love the other comments. The “truth” is much more elusive than “certitude”.

Comments are closed.