Filing immigration papers for my wife is cutting into online time, so these daily link dumps might become more frequent.
On 45th Anniversary of His Death, Martin Luther King Jr. on the Power of Media and the Horror of War (Democracy Now!)
That isn’t all that’s happening as a result of that war. That war in Vietnam has isolated our great nation morally and politically. There isn’t a single ally, major ally of the United States, who would dare send a troop to Vietnam. Allies that have been with us in other wars in the past aren’t there. And today we stand without any friends in the world where this war is concerned, with the exception of a few puppet client nations like Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, and that’s about it. This war has damaged our image in the world.
It’s strengthened the military-industrial complex in our country, and it’s strengthened the forces of reaction. It’s diverted attention from civil rights. All of the emotions and all of the energies and all of the resources that should be going into civil rights to solve the problems of our cities are so often going into that war. And here we are fighting two wars: a war against poverty, which ends up not even being a good skirmish against poverty, and a war in Vietnam. And we are losing both of them, morally and politically.
Google Takes on Rare Fight Against National Security Letters (Wired)
In filing its recent court challenge, Google has joined a very small club of NSL recipients who have taken on the civil liberties interests of users by fighting back against orders that until now have been issued under the cloak of secrecy and generally without oversight.
NSLs, which have been in use for to decades but were greatly expanded under the Patriot Act, are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, credit companies, financial institutions and others to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, websites visited and more.
NSLs are a powerful tool because they do not require court approval. Until now, most came with a built-in gag order, preventing recipients from disclosing to anyone that they had received an NSL. An FBI agent looking into a possible anti-terrorism case could self-issue an NSL to a credit bureau, ISP or phone company with only the sign-off of the Special Agent in Charge of their office. The FBI had to merely assert that the information was “relevant” to an investigation into international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.
New Survey: Republican Voters Support Action on Clean Energy, Climate Change (Renewable Energy World)
A recently released national survey conducted by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication shows that a majority of Republican and Republican-leaning voters believe that climate change is happening — and that 77 percent of respondents believe the U.S. should transition to clean energy sources.
The enduring cliches of North Korea coverage (Reuters)
A brief survey of North Korea news clips reveals a spate of clichés unremarked upon by Cockburn. Pyongyang reliably remains defiant; talks have resumed or been proposed, canceled, or stalled, while a U.S. envoy seeks to lure the North back to those talks to restart the dialog; North Korea is bluffing, blustering, or is engaging in brinksmanship; tensions are grim, rising, or growing—but rarely reduced, probably because when tensions go down it doesn’t qualify for coverage; North Korea seeks recognition, respect, or improved or restored relations, or to rejoin the international community, or increased ties to the West that will lead to understanding; deals with North Korea are sought; North Korea feels insulted and is isolated by but threatens the West; the Japanese consider the North Koreans “untrustworthy“; the West seeks positive signs or signals or messages in North Korean conduct but worries about its intentions; diplomats seek to resolve, solve, respond to, overcome, defuse, the brewing, serious, real crisis; the escalating confrontation remains dangerous; the stakes are high, but the standoff endures.
Helicopter QE will never be reversed (UK Telegraph)
Today’s QE relies on pushing down borrowing costs. It is “creditism”. That is a very blunt tool in a deleveraging bust when nobody wants to borrow.
Lord Turner says the current policy has become dangerous, yielding ever less returns, with ever worsening side-effects. It would be better for central banks to put the money into railways, bridges, clean energy, smart grids, or whatever does most to regenerate the economy.
The policy can be “wrapped” in such a way as to preserve central bank independence. The Fed or the Bank of England would decide when enough is enough, or what the proper pace should be, just as they calibrate every tool. That at least is the argument. I merely report it.
Lord Turner knows this breaks the ultimate taboo, and that taboos evolve for sound anthropological reasons, but he invokes the doctrine of the lesser evil. “The danger in this environment is that if we deny ourselves this option, people will find other ways of dealing with deflation, and that would be worse.”
A breakdown of the global trading system might be one, armed conquest or Fascism may be others – or all together, as in the 1930s.
There were two extreme episodes of money printing in the inter-war years. The Reichsbank’s financing of Weimar deficits from 1922 to 1924 – like lesser variants in France, Belgium and Poland – is well known. The result was hyperinflation. Clever people made hay. The slow-witted – or the patriotic – lost their savings. It was a poisonous dichotomy.
Less known is the spectacular success of Takahashi Korekiyo in Japan in the very different circumstances of the early 1930s. He fired a double-barreled blast of monetary and fiscal stimulus together, helped greatly by a 40pc fall in the yen.
The Bank of Japan was ordered to fund the public works programme of the government. Within two years, Japan was booming again, the first major country to break free of the Great Depression. Within three years, surging tax revenues allowed Mr Korekiyo to balance the budget. It was magic.
This is more or less the essence of “Abenomics”, the three-pronged attack on deflation by Japan’s new premier and Great Power revivalist Shinzo Abe.
- Think Your Bank Deposits Will Always Be 100 Percent Guaranteed by the FDIC? Think Again (Truthout)
- ‘They Stole Our Dreams’: Blogger Reveals Cost of Reporting Mexico’s Drug Wars (The Guardian)
- Better Models of Our Nature (Scientific American)
- Audio: Talking North Korea with Ambassador Chris Hill (UN Dispatch)
- Kospi Drops Most in 4 Months on North Korea Threats (Bloomberg)
- Study: Nuke Power Has Saved Millions of Lives. Media Yawns (Discover)