Agendas & Intel Ops Behind Wikileaks?

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My powder is dry on the interesting subject that Zbigniew Brzezinski raised on PBS NewsHour. He suggested that in this enormous Wikileaks data dump of largely trivial cables, there are selections of highly pointed and embarrassing material. Brzezinski asks if someone with designs has planted this or selectively leaked to the operation.
zbrzezinski.jpgStephen Hadley, former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, agrees that it’s a scenario that deserves review.
I don’t know what the means and methods of Wikileaks’ document collection and review process is — and feel it would be wrong of me to speculate.
As I get deeper into reading some of these cables, I increasingly realize that I and others are seeing the equivalent of raw intelligence, massive amounts of it. And some of it — even the statements by leaders in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE about the Iran threat and what to do about it seems to be missing larger contextual framing.
I know personally that there is a diversity of views around the Saudi King and among his closest national security hands — and know that the same is true in the UAE. Those parts are missing from the Wikileaks material. And yet I know that there are cables about these views and statements as well — but they aren’t part of the records in the dump.
Again, I’m intrigued by Brzezinski’s query about covert ops — and have my doubts about his formulation, but it does provide a good cautionary warning not to just take everything in the Wikileaks material at total face value. There may be a lot more to the story we haven’t seen yet.
More soon. Flying back from Dubai World Economic Forum meetings to the US shortly.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

78 comments on “Agendas & Intel Ops Behind Wikileaks?

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  4. JeanA says:

    Shouldn’t Wikileaks be on the CIA Fakes list?
    Or maybe it’s just so obvious it doesn’t warrant the effort!
    Gold is up a jump in Euros recently, does that suggest a bit of printing on their part too or is it just finding its true level after Euro QE1?
    Over 6 months it’s only up 2.42%, having dropped as low as 892 it’s now 1062 – What happened in the middle there?
    Are Euros also being taken out of circulation on top of non-printing?
    http://www.goldprice.org/gold-price-euros.html
    Anyway, glad to hear my money experts think the Euro is solid, safe and here to stay.
    I was beginning to think it was “jodido” and about to say “Adios/Au revoir/Auf Wiedersehen/Hasta la vista babe!”

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  5. replice vertu says:

    In the meantime, it has become the typical political game show. Only in America could Cablegate become such a divide-and-conquer partisan issue. The Right have successfully defined WikiLeaks as a dangerous terrorist organization and desire the assassination of its leader, while the Left defends the public’s right to knowledge, but disparages the damage the documents may cause, thus setting up the obvious bipartisan compromise: tighter control and surveillance of the Internet.

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  6. replice vertu phone says:

    And Assange is playing the clever but likable villain part so well, too, claiming to have an encrypted “insurance” file in case anyone kills him or terminates the website. Assange is the perfect international man of mystery with the dark shades in press conferences; endless mainstream media interviews with his exotic accent and short temper; and his famous silver-blond locks. What a great show they’re putting on for us. I’m sure the movie industry is already clamoring for the rights to the script.

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  7. replice cell phone says:

    Assange is playing the clever but likable villain part so well, too, claiming to have an encrypted “insurance” file in case anyone kills him or terminates the website. Assange is the perfect international man of mystery with the dark shades in press conferences; endless mainstream media interviews with his exotic accent and short temper;
    and his famous silver-blond locks. What a great show they’re putting on for us. I’m sure the movie industry is already clamoring for the
    rights to the script…

    Reply

  8. Vi Stephens says:

    Assange is playing the clever but likable villain part so well, too, claiming to have an encrypted “insurance” file in case anyone kills him or terminates the website. Assange is the perfect international man of mystery with the dark shades in press conferences; endless mainstream media interviews with his exotic accent and short temper;
    and his famous silver-blond locks. What a great show they’re putting on for us. I’m sure the movie industry is already clamoring for the
    rights to the script…

    Reply

  9. CaseyR says:

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010
    BREAKING: WikiLeaks Being Used to Justify “Patriot Act” Legislation For Internet
    Eric Blair
    Activist Post
    Senator Mitch McConnell called Assange a “high-tech terrorist” on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday and said, “if it

    Reply

  10. Kathleen says:

    Zbigniew Brzezinski brings up the possibility of foreign intelligence services feeding Wikileaks info to serve their agendas
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/government_programs/july-dec10/weakileaks2_11-29.html
    Not sure why PBS had Stephen Hadley on to discuss this issue. Hadley ignored counter terrorism expert Richard Clarke

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  12. questions says:

    By the way, we have taken steps to relieve people’s debt burdens….
    While foreclosure is pending, people don’t make house payments. They live there rent free. I have seen this referred to as a mini stimulus.
    Foreclosure itself is debt relief. People will go back to renting, and will be out of debt at least as far as housing goes.
    There’s still the credit card issue. What we do about this, I don’t know. Repossess the clothes, the food, the medicine, the car repairs, the vacations….
    We had a carnival. We’ve awakened to the puke in the streets, the stale beer, the realization that we sold a bunch of heirlooms while we were drunk.
    The clean up isn’t fun. We all participated at some level, and we all have to pick up shovels and mops and something to mask the stench.

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  13. questions says:

    High end vs. low end economic splits….
    Well, I think that what’s off shorable will be off shored and that competition from off shoring will significantly lower labor costs where it can.
    Stanley Fish had a couple of pieces on the cost of higher ed up at his NYT blog and one of the points was something I’ve come across before. There are certain kinds of productions that lend themselves to increased productivity, decreased labor costs, and/or off shoring.
    Medical care, education, lawyering up, and I would guess hedge funding among other sorts of practices don’t have the same structure. There’s actually a phrase for this, but I’m not remembering it (cost disease??) At any rate, wealthy areas of the country are filled with people in these non-off shorable, non-competitive, labor intensive, high priced fields.
    The people who dig their ditches, teach their kids, fix their toilets, and arrange their closets don’t live in proximity to the wealthy whom they serve.
    The wealthy exchange money and germs with one another and avoid the rest of us poor slobs like the plague.
    What keeps them separate from the general economy is the lack of labor competition.
    There’s demand because they all suck down one another’s money and they all still have money because no one has yet found a way to grab it.
    But I’m sure that the capitalists will keep trying to off shore medicine, or lower labor costs significantly via nurses, nurses’ aides, computer diagnosis, long distance diagnosis, robotic surgery, drug treatment rather than hands on doc treatment and so on.
    Lawyering is harder to find cheap labor subs for, but mediation, paralegals, and American law-trained people living in India and taking phone calls might make the difference here….
    So indeed, there is a major issue regarding the cost of labor here. And I think that cost structure is, well, a structure, not a cycle.
    As for raising taxes, more power to us all. But I don’t think that the tax money will as effectively be circulated among the less well off as one would hope.
    The Clinton boom went bust, wage stagnation I believe was in the works already. Clinton backed off of government support at the bottom of the economy. So it wasn’t paradise under the Clinton clan (Krugman??)
    I think there’s room for a wide range of gov sponsored programs — building big stuff, connecting us, doing the capital intensive but profit weak things like roads and bike paths and train tracks and sewers and medical research. So yes, I’d certainly like to see this kind of stuff happening.
    But I don’t think it can really take the place of the fantasy money we just spent.
    If most earnings clustered around, say 45 thousand, and households were spending far more on houses, credit cards, were pulling pretend equity by the ton out of their houses, how in heaven’s name can government programs that pay anything like a rational wage make up for that?
    People spent way more than they earned, and way more than they had tied up in their houses. They spent their future earnings, their past earnings, they spent their paychecks two or three times a month or whatever the actual numbers are. There’s no way to make up for that on regular pay. They HAD regular pay, and they spent monopoly money, too.
    I think there are lurking structures, even if technically economists don’t call these sorts of things structures. So I’m willing to stretch the vocabulary a bit.
    And I’m willing to have someone with economics training go through a point at a time and say, well, not really…..

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  14. Dan Kervick says:

    “So why aren’t people hiring here? Labor costs.”
    This doesn’t follow. Wealthy countries are able to preserve their wealth and high wages by making sound investments and following their competitive advantages, and by cultivating their own internal economy.
    Consider the most affluent communities in the United States. These communities are filled with high-end businesses providing higher-end services and products to the more affluent members of that community. Most of those communities are not suffering serious economic dislocation or unemployment during this recession. Would we say that Palm Beach, Florida is doomed to suffer economic stagnation until wages in Palm Beach fall into line with the wages of the average Chinese factory worker? Of course not.
    The United States remains a wealthy country. There is no reason at all that its wealth and living standards are doomed to dissipate or fall to a per capita level commensurate with the level of the Chinese. The wealthy are not doomed to become poorer. Most wealthy people use their wealth to become more wealthy, and wealthy countries can do the same thing.
    When a product can be made more cheaply in another country, whether due to cheaper labor or for any other reason, then we can substitute cheaper products and inputs for the ones we used before. That leaves more of our income available for economic spending and investment activity in other areas.
    However, we have had problems before in this country when larger and larger shares of our national product were allowed to flow further and further up the income ladder. Ultimately, this self-destructive policy impoverishes the very people upon whose spending productive activity depends. The spur to more economic activity in these circumstances is to redistribute wealth from the less productive nether regions of concentrated affluence to produce *higher wages* and *more employment* in the broader economy. The modern middle class was built in this country *after* the institution of labor protections and the growth of unions increased the bargaining power of labor and raised standards of living. A thousand people with a thousand dollars each generate more productive economic activity than one man with a million dollars.
    “Once the fantasy went away, we were back to the fact that wages have been flat for what is it, thirty or more years now, and people can’t afford all the shit they bought.”
    Correct. You have just described a catastrophic collapse in demand. We can help restore that demand by steering more of our nation’s still abundant wealth into the bank accounts of broad majority of people who have lost wealth. We can also take steps to help relive their debt burdens which will loosen up their spending.
    We should let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. But instead of using that money to pay down the deficit, we should plow it immediately into creating jobs directly through government action, or incentivizing hiring by private business. A sudden and sharp increase in employment will have an enormous and cascading impact on economic activity.

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  15. questions says:

    Why does a business outsource instead of hiring locally — because he or she can make more money by paying less for labor.
    Why does Walmart import from China? Because labor is cheaper.
    Why does a lot of produce come from Mexico? Seasonal issues, and umm, cheap labor.
    So why aren’t people hiring here? Labor costs.
    I get the feeling that if every employer could higher ten people for the price of one, they’d be happy to have the extra, cost-free people doing slave labor for them. Except that we have this moral compunction about wages (as well as a low legal minimum that we skirt routinely).
    Lots of people could get work if they were willing to do job sharing, be paid a couple of bucks a day, play in toxic pits… be like Chinese prison laborers.
    Why isn’t the cost of labor coming down massively to compensate for this — or, why don’t we pay people the way the Chinese and Indonesians and Haitians do? Well, there are some behavioral economics explanations for this.
    Demand is part of things, but the demand bubble we had was based on ethereal, non-existent, fantasy wealth. Once the fantasy went away, we were back to the fact that wages have been flat for what is it, thirty or more years now, and people can’t afford all the shit they bought. The demand was fake because the money was fake. So just creating new fake money to bolster new fake demand and pretend that we all have money once again doesn’t sound like the prescription for economic health to me.
    What business would hire if convinced that the next bubble is going to burst soon?
    Yes businesses want to see demand, but they also want cheap labor, and until the labor is cheap enough, things will stay as they are.
    Demand and cost are connected, not independent.
    I don’t think you really have Zizek characterized well at all, but I’ll leave that aside.
    It’s not like our business people, with all their experience, really managed things particularly well, either.

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  16. Dan Kervick says:

    questions, you are making convoluted theoretical mountains out of worldly phenomena that are much more prosaic and easily understood than you want to believe.
    If a business is not hiring more people, you have to ask yourself, “Why does this business not think they can make money by hiring additional people?”
    If a company is hiring people to do job X but not people to do job Y, you have to ask yourself, “Why does this company think they can make more money by hiring people to do X than they can by hiring people to do Y?”
    If some entrepreneur wants a bank loan, or capital from other private investors, to start a new business and hire some people, but cannot get that loan or raise that capital, you have to ask, “Why do these investors not believe that that this entrepreneurial venture will generate a acceptable return on their investment?”
    If you find out that the local widget factory or widget retailer is not increasing the production or sales of widgets, then ask some people you know, “When was the last time you bought a widget?” Have you bought more widgets this year than last year?” “Why or why not?”
    I think you might want to stop reading sophomoric pseudo-intellectual continental ramblers like Zizek, and just go out and ask some of the business people and ordinary people you know why they made the economic decisions they have made. Get more empirical information. I think you will get reasonably straight and clear answers if you ask questions of people whose knowledge is based on experience, and who are actually in a position to know what they are talking about. Slavoj Zizek knows very little about economic behavior. Richard Rorty knew even less.

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  17. questions says:

    And one more thought, when the right talks about how Americans lack “global competitiveness skills” (from a quote in the Konczal piece linked above) what I think they mean is: global low wage acceptance.
    And here’s a place where the structural issue seems to be more possible — until US wages match global wages for any exportable job, we will perhaps see significant unemployment in that sector.
    And unemployment from international competition would seem to add to unemployment for services that can’t be exported.
    So a demand component, and a structural component together, suggesting that we can’t really separate these two sides of the same coin.
    Maybe. I’m still working on this, and as always, am willing to be corrected, or to correct myself as I see evidence that tells me I’m wrong…..

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  18. questions says:

    A nice clear statement about structural unemployment vs. demand problems:
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/11/our_unemployment_crisis_is_not.html
    Mike Konczal of Rortybomb runs through the standard issues underlying structural unemployment — education levels, mobility issues, and inflation problems. None of these seems to explain unemployment as the educated aren’t working, people can default on homes and move to new jobs, and there’s no inflation anywhere.
    I get the technical definition of “structural unemployment” at this point. But I wonder about a few things.
    First, there are all sorts of things we could pay people to do, pay them rock bottom wages, and employ lots of people. But we don’t do that because there are things we would simply never pay anyone to do, not even a few bucks an hour.
    Presumably, in a free and desperate market, wages drop and more people can be hired at the lower wages to do whatever crap work there is. But something stops us from bargaining the wages to the basement, even in a slack labor market like this. And I get the feeling it isn’t just slack demand because one could hire personal, not very productive, servants to cover all sorts of tasks.
    We have social approval limits on what we’ll hire people for, and how low we’ll pay them. (I picked this up from one of the behavioral econ books I was reading, I think.)
    If some portion of unemployment comes from something like a dignity concern, well, that doesn’t show up on the structural unemployment list, but it does seem to be a structure.
    The cost of benefits for new employees might seem to be another barrier that goes a little beyond the demand issue. It’s not just that I can’t sell enough widgets right now, it’s also that any new employee-hours cost more than just pushing current employees a little harder.
    So what I still wonder, as I read what I find, is if the boundaries of “structural” are the best versions of boundaries.
    The basic idea, I think, is that if it’s “structural” the government can’t do anything about it, but if it’s cyclical, the government can. So the right wants it to be structural, and the left wants it to be cyclical.
    I’m unconvinced about the distinction at all between these terms.
    I’m unsure if a massive boom would really re-employ all of these people given the deep changes in our thinking at this point. If the psychic retrenchment regarding consumer spending is deep enough, we’re not going back so easily.
    And I wonder if the productivity efficiencies are such that we might not bother employing extra people when fewer will do, or cheaper abroad will do. We may have priced ourselves out of the market.
    And I wonder if, given that the last boom was financed by debt, not by actual wealth, we could ever get back to debt-financed prosperity at that level.
    At the same time, I assume that there are some things the government should be doing to push back against the oligarchy and the concentration of wealth at the top. I don’t know how successful this kind of push back can be — after all, if the money works its way down to the bottom quintile of the economy, it’s just going to go back up again really quickly as the bottom quintile will simply exchange the income for stuff they purchase from the top quintile.
    The flow of money is truly an odd thing to try to piece through.

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  19. questions says:

    The other point, though, it seems to me, is that we’re in this situation precisely because the various stakeholders and policy makers have developed entrenched interests in vastly different positions.
    Note that he says that some really big crisis, too big to manage, even, was bound to happen eventually.
    I think that it’s not unreasonable to wonder about whether or not we really could structure policy making in such a nimble way that a reasonable response to a massive crisis NEVER outstrips our popular rhetoric and never contradicts the the preferences of the entrenched.
    My guess is that there’s not a chance we’ll ever be that nimble.
    People get attracted to rhetorical leanings. Cassidy points this out as he shows the ways that Hayek’s language dovetails quite unfortunately with basic liberal American rhetoric. All the “free market” stuff goes hand in hand with “let freedom ring” in a way that we get deeply attracted to free markets without doing the deeper analysis necessary to understand the conditions of this “freedom”. Of course, we don’t really do the analysis to understand the conditions of political freedom either….
    At any rate, policy makers, in a republic based on popular elections, are not going to have quite the space to be nimble as Krugman’s fantasy would have.
    And, it seems to me, Krugman is starting to see the bind as structural.
    I think it’s a pretty interesting insight, one to be though through thoroughly. If we reach a kind of limit on nimbleness, if we are going to bump into these moments when the models no longer work, when the compromises we must have for political and academic and institutional reasons fail us deeply, then we are going to have to face some unpleasant truths about the structures of our economic policies.
    What we might know to be true at one level and in one arena, might not carry water in another. I think that we reach a kind of antinomy or differend or maybe the term is aporia? There’s a gap, a difference, an unbridgeable fact of the universe, a fundamental contradiction between realms. The terms don’t translate, and failure results.
    There’s room for energy and rethinking (Zizek’s point), and for now that energy seems to come from the right (Zizek, also), but it might be nice if the left got a little creative, too (Zizek, as well.)
    So perhaps Krugman, in his centrist technocratic soul, could maybe think past his basic assumptions of the ability of policy to stabilize the economy in little bitty technomoves and…. Wait, that’s what he might be starting to do!
    Zizek might well be the thinker of the moment. Totally recommend sitting down with his (many many) books.

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  20. Mags says:

    The Fraud Started At the Very Top: With Government Leaders
    The government’s entire strategy now – as during the S&L crisis – is to cover up how bad things are.
    But it is not only a matter of covering up fraud that has already happened. The government also created an environment which greatly encouraged fraud.
    Here are just a few of many potential examples:
    * The government-sponsored rating agencies committed massive fraud (and see this)
    * The Treasury department allowed banks to “cook their books”
    * Business Week wrote on May 23, 2006:
    “President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations.”
    * Regulators knew of and allowed the use of debt-hiding accounting tricks by the big banks
    * Tim Geithner was complicit in Lehman’s accounting fraud, (and see this), and pushed to pay AIG’s CDS counterparties at full value, and then to keep the deal secret. And as Robert Reich notes, Geithner was “very much in the center of the action” regarding the secret bail out of Bear Stearns without Congressional approval. William Black points out: “Mr. Geithner, as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York since October 2003, was one of those senior regulators who failed to take any effective regulatory action to prevent the crisis, but instead covered up its depth”
    * The former chief accountant for the SEC says that Bernanke and Paulson broke the law and should be prosecuted
    * Freddie and Fannie helped to create the epidemic of mortgage fraud
    * The government knew about mortgage fraud a long time ago. For example, the FBI warned of an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud in 2004. However, the FBI, DOJ and other government agencies then stood down and did nothing. See this and this. For example, the Federal Reserve turned its cheek and allowed massive fraud, and the SEC has repeatedly ignored accounting fraud. Indeed, Alan Greenspan took the position that fraud could never happen
    * Bernanke might have broken the law by letting unemployment rise in order to keep inflation low
    * Paulson and Bernanke falsely stated that the big banks receiving Tarp money were healthy, when they were not
    * Arguably, both the Bush and Obama administrations broke the law by refusing to close insolvent banks
    * Congress may have covered up illegal tax breaks for the big banks
    * Of course, deregulation by Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, Phil Gramm and many other high-level politicians and regulators also helped to grease the skids for fraud
    Economist James K. Galbraith wrote in the introduction to his father, John Kenneth Galbraith’s, definitive study of the Great Depression, The Great Crash, 1929:
    The main relevance of The Great Crash, 1929 to the great crisis of 2008 is surely here. In both cases, the government knew what it should do. Both times, it declined to do it. In the summer of 1929 a few stern words from on high, a rise in the discount rate, a tough investigation into the pyramid schemes of the day, and the house of cards on Wall Street would have tumbled before its fall destroyed the whole economy. In 2004, the FBI warned publicly of “an epidemic of mortgage fraud.” But the government did nothing, and less than nothing, delivering instead low interest rates, deregulation and clear signals that laws would not be enforced. The signals were not subtle: on one occasion the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision came to a conference with copies of the Federal Register and a chainsaw. There followed every manner of scheme to fleece the unsuspecting ….
    This was fraud, perpetrated in the first instance by the government on the population, and by the rich on the poor.
    ***
    The government that permits this to happen is complicit in a vast crime.
    In other words, the fraud started at the very top with Greenspan, Bush, Paulson, Negraponte, Bernanke, Geithner, Rubin, Summers and all of the rest of the boys.
    As William Black told me today:
    In criminology jargon: they created an intensely criminogenic environment. I have no knowledge whether the national security aspects played any role, but the anti-regulatory dogma was devastating.
    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/11/fraud-started-at-very-top-with.html

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  21. Dan Kervick says:

    I think you’re over-reading Krugman’s use of “inevitability” here. He is not making some grand claim of the the inevitable failure of all economic policy and the “inevitable structures of economic misery”. He is not making some kind of pomo or poststructuralist point about economic policies and systems inevitably deconstructing themselves.
    His point is that, in hindsight, the failure of a a *particular* consensus policy model – the recently dominant economic policy paradigm articulated by Samuelson and promoted in his wildly popular textbook for generations – looks to have been an inevitable failure, both because that paradigm can now be seen to have been intellectually flawed and internally incoherent from the start, and also because the political equilibrium that took shape around that policy paradigm contained the seeds for a triumph of the barbarians: the rhetorical victory of ignorant market fundamentalist populism over the smarter, more Keynesian part of the policy consensus.
    The intellectual flaw consists in an intellectually unprincipled and inconsistent mix between a macroeconomic approach based on Keynesianism, with its acceptance of the need for countercyclical government intervention to counter the inherent instabilities of the capitalist business cycle, and a microeconomic approach based on a highly idealized and empirically inadequate model of rational and efficient markets. He sees this schizophrenic macro-micro split as leading to a sort of grand but flawed-from-the-start policy compromise and ideological compromise in which central bankers were given the political freedom to implement sound and more-or-less realistic Keynesian countercyclical monetary policies, while the popular political rhetoric holding sway over the rest of the “real” economy was increasingly dominated by a market fundamentalism based on the unrealistic and idealized models plied in microeconomics.
    The political instability Krugman sees as built into this bastard ideological compromise lies in the fact that by promoting laissez faire market philosophy in the public sphere when talking about most economic transactions, while reserving the more enlightened Keynesianism for the central banking elite who most people ignore most of the time, economic policy-makers laid the foundation for the eventual political triumph of market fundamentalism.
    He seems to analogize the situation to the situation of the medieval Church, in which the intellectually sophisticated theology for the few ran counter to the superstitious popular doctrines fed to the many. So there was one simple, but less realistic market fundamentalist economic philosophy preached by politicians and economists to the masses, and another more true economic philosophy studied and practiced by the enlightened experts in their central bank monasteries. The result was that the popular and fundamentalist philosophy grew in strength and eventually took over most of the political class. And now the central bankers can’t get buy-in for the correct countercyclical policies since
    He seems to be somewhat horrified by the strength of populist political reaction against QE2, a political response he averts to with barely concealed contempt as economically illiterate ignorance. He thinks we are now stuck in an Dark Age of economic ignorance that is in effect the result of promoting a crude and only partially useful superstition as the foundation for economic policy, to the extent that the superstition has now overwhelmed the forces of science and enlightenment.
    The market fundamentalism promoted by the flawed invisible hand microeconomics of the consensus compromise ultimately led to a financial failure as well – simply because it is bad economics. As Hyman Minsky argued, unregulated financial activity is inherently stable. By removing adequate supervision and regulation from every area of economic policy except central banking, we ended up in a place where even central bankers couldn’t fix the problem anymore.
    Where Krugman is clearly going with all this is that we need to return to something like a full scope Keynesianism as a unified framework for all economic policy, with an understanding of the need for greater government involvement and activist countercyclical policies in *all* fields of economic activity, not just in the monetary policy practiced by central bankers.
    As for Obama, I’m sure you know that Krugman is harshly critical of Obama’s performance and believes Obama has been getting some extremely bad advice. In fact, Krugman recently opined that Obama seems weirdly attracted to the worst kinds of advice and to advice that runs contrary to his own most fundamental values.

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  22. questions says:

    As an extra bonus, in fact, there’s pretty profound support for Obama’s careful shepherding of change lurking in Krugman’s post.
    If the policy world pushes too hard, too fast on entrenched interests, the interests rebel, reject, vote out the dems, and shove in 62 or 63 Republicans, many of whom are likely unready for prime time.
    They will not be nimble, responsive, or well versed in policy matters.
    This could be a problem if we actually need to DO something.
    Of course, according to the Bernstein post, many Republicans really don’t want to do anything. At least, until they themselves are suffering.

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  23. questions says:

    That’s not at all Krugman’s point, though.
    It looks like the basic point is this: for the most part, a nimble government with nimble thinkers who are somewhat removed from the political process but are supported by other nimble thinkers might be able to craft nimble and flexible policy moves to keep up with most events.
    Some events will outstrip even the most nimble and quick and smart thinkers.
    The policy constraints of structural preferences for non-nimble thinking are vast, though. Entrenched academics, entrenched financial interests, and even entrenched policy makers make the status quo bias insuperable all too often.
    Textbooks get fixed in students’ heads and in the heads of their profs, departments hire the “in thing” and ignore challenges, policy makers emerge from this moribund universe and pass on their lack of wisdom with no humility.
    Legislators represent the entrenched in other moribundity.
    All this status quo, ill-thought out, incomplete, non-responsive, non-nimbleness is FINE in normal circumstances. Non-crises require non-emergency measures. The status quo is fine during what Thomas Kuhn calls “normal science.”
    But sometimes the anomalies build up, periods of abnormal activity, or revolutionary thinking, start calling out to policy makers. At first, the anomalies are ignored, and after a time it becomes too stupid to ignore those same anomalies.
    Suddenly, the theory changes, the institutions long locked in stupid, petrified, career-preserving, status quo formaldehyde suddenly are beset by “young Turks” and the field opens up again.
    I have no idea if Krugman has read The Structures of Scientific Revolutions, but I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s a standard text at this point, and well worth paging through to see what he seems to be suggesting spelled out in a longer written piece instead of in a quickly tossed out blog post. (Oh, no! A moribund standard text!)
    If this read is correct, then basically, we’re kind of stuck with status quo bias until it doesn’t work anymore.
    But not just til it doesn’t work anymore; rather, til it fails so badly that you have to be a fucking idiot to think that it does work. And even then, we have a whole lot of fucking idiots in the policy world!
    When I post about “overdetermined” social change and political action, this is the basic point I’m making; here, though, I’m using Kuhn’s jargon instead of mine.
    We’re not going anywhere til it’s so clear that we are going somewhere that only a complete idiot could deny the motion. And some idiots will deny, no matter what.
    The need for policy shifts is screaming at us, the institutions and entrenched interests and theoretical guidance might not be quite there yet.
    We can’t really move faster than our institutions, and this is part of Krugman’s concern. He had hoped to have such nimbleness in the financial sector, so far removed from the world of political intrigue, that the future could be predicted and dealt with, no problem. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way.
    And so, back to the drawing board, or back through another crisis that coulda, shoulda, woulda, but didna…..
    Or maybe couldn’t have been avoided.
    The revolution in our thinking does indeed happen in every field at some point.
    Events do outstrip, sometimes.
    But nadine, really don’t crow at this because if the Krugman piece is correct, it’s a human tragedy of epic proportions. It means that we WILL have periodic horrific episodes in which people will suffer horribly, and we will have these episodes because we’re too damned stupid to let go of cherished notions and entrenched selfish wicked stupidity.
    It’s truly sad, and sadly true. Perhaps.

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    questions, when a pundit begins musing on how failure was inevitable no matter what policy was adopted and has deep, deep structural foundations, etc, that is usually an excellent sign that the policies that were followed had been recommended by said pundit, who is now trying to extricate himself from accepting any share of the blame for their failure.
    The good news is that even Krugman now admits that Obama’s economic policies have failed.

    Reply

  25. questions says:

    In a way, this Bernstein piece fits with the Krugman lament about the inevitable structures of economic misery…..
    http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/12/bargaining-advantage-of-not-caring.html
    “I think Bouie is on the right track here, but I think even more to the point is that most Democratic constituency groups have real policy demands, and that they’re very eager to have those demands fulfilled. My sense is that a lot of Republican constituency groups have more symbolic demands.
    Therefore, at the end of the day, a lot of Republican constituency groups are willing to go along with an all-or-nothing strategy on most issues, while Democratic constituency groups are perfectly willing to bargain for as much as they can get.”

    “A lot of liberal commenters noted, and I think were in some cases surprised, that moderate Republicans weren’t willing to cut a deal on ACA (or the banking bill, or climate), since given the political situation those Republicans could basically write their own ticket. I think the answer may be that those moderate Republicans just didn’t have important constituency groups with specific, discreet policy demands in that area. Not just in health care, but on quite a few issues that Democrats consider critical — because Democratic constituency groups consider those policy areas critical. ”
    *****
    So there are structural differences among the constituents of the two parties such that dems are structurally determined to be willing to bargain for partial results, while Republicans lack that kind of constituent pressure.
    Dems want the gov to do things, and so the MCs on the dem side try to get things done.
    Republicans want negative liberty for the most part, and so their MCs have no reason at all to give in to half measures, to agree that some health care reform is good, even the stuff they proposed while Clinton was going at it.
    Without constituent pressure, not much happens.
    This is a really nice look at how party differences, constituent pressures, and ideology shape policy outcomes within the democratic process.
    And it’s a far better read of the situation than all the Obama-is-the-worst nonsense that passes for political discourse in the popular press and on the professional left.
    Bernstein really should be on everyone’s bookmark list.

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    From Nov. 26, Krugman doing some interesting soul searching about cycles and instability and inevitability…..
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/26/the-instability-of-moderation/?src=twt&twt=NytimesKrugman
    “But watching the failure of policy over the past three years, I find myself believing, more and more, that this failure has deep roots

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    “It might need to be explained if it were true.
    However you forget that these cables, as Murray explains, are not revealing the “truth”, but rather what US diplomats think their bosses would like to hear.” (alexno)
    But their bosses in the White House did not want to hear the Arab message on Iran and resolutely ignored it. The White House wanted to hear how the Arabs wanted to help solve the pressing I/P conflict. Care to explain why so few diplomats anted up and told the White House what it wanted to hear?
    Boy, we must have one dumb crop of diplomats, huh?
    After a while, this devolves into a game of “who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?”
    The jig is up, alexno. Better think up a new line because “linkage” just went up in smoke.

    Reply

  28. kotzabasis says:

    Well, well Steve you may keep your powder dry but without realizing that on this issue your powder has no fire, as WigWag

    Reply

  29. nadine says:

    nice post, questions.
    “You are a citizen. Act like it. American political parties are extremely permeable: get active. If things don’t go your way, get more active. If you’ve been active, stay in the game. Expect disappointments — you are one of 300 million, and many of them disagree with you.”
    Why, Bernstein sounds positively tea-partyish, doesn’t he?
    “And don’t kid yourself — the other side doesn’t get what they want, either. Liberals are frustrated now, and conservatives excited by the results of the recent elections — but ask any conservative if they’re happy about public policy over the last any number of years, and you’ll find that George W. Bush wasn’t really a conservative, and Trent Lott wasn’t really a conservative, and Tom DeLay betrayed conservatives, and Newt Gingrich, and if they’re old enough, Ronald Reagan.”
    Actually, they usually call Ronald Reagan a conservative, though they still gripe about his failure to disband the Education Department.
    “It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of democracy to believe that one can ever fully win, just as it’s an illusion that the other side has ever fully achieved what it wants.”
    Very true. But when you fall hard for a candidate who runs as a messiah, you’re bound to be pretty disappointed in the results. Hint: look for a working pol next time. Don’t fall for the fresh face promising miracles.

    Reply

  30. questions says:

    Jonathan Bernstein on Obama’s being a president not a king and our being citizens, not subjects, and the fact that we each of us lives with some three hundred million other people and no one is going to be satisfied.
    Get active, quitcherbitchin’, and be a citizen.
    A beautiful post.
    http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/12/be-citizen-not-subject.html

    Reply

  31. questions says:

    Back to structural unemployment….
    What do we call this:
    “The real threat, economists say, is that America, like some of its Old World peers, might simply become accustomed to having a large class of permanently displaced workers.

    Reply

  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…and hinted at being a setup (by Steve Clemons)”
    Typical Nadine horseshit. Steve posted Zbig’s reservations, without expressing support, and hinted that he disagreed with Zbig.
    Amazing that a shameless liar persists in lying to an audience that has repeatedly expressed the knowledge that they know they are being lied to by a shameless liar.

    Reply

  33. nadine says:

    “Pentagon Papers treatment?
    Actually, the media noise surrounding this round of leaks is much louder than it was following the earlier round of leaks.” (Dan Kervick)
    That’s true, Dan. The media noise is louder about this round. But if you remember, Steve Clemons compared the first Wiki dump to the Pentagon Papers, and he was not alone. While this current dump, which is being eagerly read for embarrassment/gossip material, and is being given large media play, is being downplayed (by the White House) and hinted at being a setup (by Steve Clemons).
    For contrast, when the Climategate emails & files were dumped, the New York Times threw a little hissy fit of media purity and refused to print the material, calling it “stolen” material. (Actually, it had rather clearly been gathered in response to a FOIA request which was never fulfilled).
    One is really forced to the conclusion that the New York Times bases its publication decisions entirely on whose ox is gored by a release. If the cause of Anthropogenic Global Warming is harmed, they don’t publish. But if American national security interests are harmed, they publish gladly, proclaiming their patriotism all the while.
    This is not the first time. Remember how they published the anti-terrorist SWIFT tracking program, despite pleas from both sides of the aisle not to expose the program, which was effective and operating under proper Congressional oversight.
    Reminds me of the old Cole Porter song, “I’m always Faithful to You Dear In My Fashion”

    Reply

  34. questions says:

    Fascinating discussion of the Tea Party w/its historical roots in anti Democratic Party responses to dems in the White House. Recounts the eternal return of the same conspiracy theories and anxieties of loss of one’s own gov’t….
    “All of this points in one direction. The growth of the tea party movement isn’t really due to the recession (in fact, polling evidence shows that tea partiers are generally better off and less affected by the recession than the population at large). It’s not because Obama is black (white Democratic presidents got largely the same treatment). And it’s not because Obama bailed out General Motors (so did George W. Bush). It’s simpler. Ever since the 1930s, something very much like the tea party movement has fluoresced every time a Democrat wins the presidency, and the nature of the fluorescence always follows many of the same broad contours: a reverence for the Constitution, a supposedly spontaneous uprising of formerly nonpolitical middle-class activists, a preoccupation with socialism and the expanding tyranny of big government, a bitterness toward an underclass viewed as unwilling to work, and a weakness for outlandish conspiracy theories.”
    Link is to page two where this quotation is. The whole article is really interesting. Found via Jonathan Bernstein who has a few nice pieces up as well…..
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/08/history-of-the-tea-party?page=2

    Reply

  35. Don Bacon says:

    WikiLeaks website has been shut down temporarily, after Amazon censored it. Joe Lieberman apparently put pressure on Amazon to pull the site. But the cloud service provider isn’t talking. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers accuse Amazon of being selective with its freedom of speech defenses.

    Reply

  36. questions says:

    I think this Steve King clip is a good example of the point I’m making above —
    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/the_other_thing_rep_king_said_about_pigford_video.php?ref=fpb
    Johnny the undeserving son of a farmer, crack dealer, money stealer….
    And King is from Iowa, which is one white state.
    Indeed, King IS my point.
    Do these people have even the slightest idea what motivates them?

    Reply

  37. Don Bacon says:

    FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
    TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7463
    Jan 26, 2008
    (S/NF) Pres Sarkozy reiterated his strong concern with Iran

    Reply

  38. questions says:

    Agendas…..
    We live in a high-diversity, low-trust society. And those who live in less diverse places have even lower trust because they fear creeping diversity.
    Because the diversity is experienced most directly by accent, gesture, social space/sight/sound differences, by written and oral language differences, we are especially mutually irritated. It’s all these seemingly small differences that call attention to themselves but are odd to point out. So we don’t point out the gesture and accent irritations, we come up with substitute terms like “lazy” or “genetic” instead. Far easier to freak about “genetics” than to freak about the way you wear your hat, the way you sip your tea…. Even though, really, it’s the hat and the tea that are bothersome.
    Given the general distrust of whatever is identified as other, we have a truly fascinating phenomenon with national politics — party-switching by behavior but not by action.
    Nixon, the Republican, can do the Nixon in China thing and start the EPA. Clinton, the Dem, can cut welfare, fuck over workers with NAFTA, and complain about Sistah Souljah. Bush II can put in the Medicare drug bennies, and Obama can fight extra wars, cut SoSec, and celebrate national torture month all while corporatizing education.
    We don’t trust Obama because he’s a “socialist” but we want a range of socialist programs of one sort or another. So we get a Repub to do our socialism, a Dem to do our corporatism.
    Further, because we don’t trust one another, we want a special kind of socialism, the kind that sends bennies only to deserving people like we who sip their tea most properly.
    Of course the health insurance from work system started as a response to wage issues, BUT, it works quite nicely to guarantee that only those who sip their tea just so have access to health insurance. We thus share only with people who crack their eggs on the small side (or is it the big side? I can never remember unless I’m actively cracking an egg — something I don’t want to do near my computer for fear of getting salmonella everywhere. (Food safety, anyone?))
    So we have this odd dynamic in which we want more lefty policy, but we vote in more righty concentration of wealth just to make sure that the unworthy don’t benefit.
    Now the Tea Party is going to work to “cut government” in such a way that there will still be bennies going to the right people or it’s going to be booted out. That would seem to suggest things like religious tests for services, or some other legitimation process for handing out all the goodies we want.
    The Dems will hand out benefits to anyone who comes, so they really have to be removed, under this broad read of the voting public.
    The success or failure of the Tea Party is going to depend on how well it can concentrate its giveaways to the “deserving.”
    Sarah Palin could start a “SarahSeal” that goes on the products and services of deserving companies and then there’d be an easy way to make sure that only the tea sippers of the proper sort share in the wealth of this nation.
    It’s worth remembering that no matter how corporate Obama gets, he will always be too “urban” (!!!!!), too “other”, too “Socialist/Marxist” for this nation to trust. And every corporate step he takes will make him too corporate, too.
    The Republicans know this because it’s their game, playing the “other” off the “same”. And they will force Obama over and over to choose between policy that is actually good for the country (mild socialism of a mild redistributionist and regulatory bent) and legitimacy (the widespread belief that he is actually a natural born citizen, a corporate capitalist of the finest sort, and one who sips his tea just so).
    If Obama gives us the policy we need, he’ll be a socialist and lose legitimacy. If he stays legit enough not to quit, then he’ll be giving us bad bad bad policy.
    Cutting the fed wages is one of these choices he has to make because it’s in the structure of his presidency.

    Reply

  39. Dan Kervick says:

    “It had to be abandoned when it became clear even to this White House that engagement was an embarrassing failure.”
    The plan was effectively abandoned the day he was elected. Nothing that has happened since then was serious. They have been following a roadmap that predates Obama, and that prescribes a steady diet of covert regime change operations, sanctions, lies about Iran-North Korea connections and co-opting the IAEA.
    It was made very clear by the people Obama put in charge of Middle East foreign policy in the fall of 2008 – Gates, Clinton and Ross – that there was never any real plan to change the agenda that had already been established under the Bush administration.

    Reply

  40. questions says:

    OT, but delightful nonetheless….
    The putback pressure is now hitting the prime market as well. A lot of money in them there putbacks….
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-01/bank-of-america-s-sloppy-prime-mortgages-increase-pressure-for-buybacks.html
    Maybe it’s time for a big bank collapse.
    Or maybe the banks and the hedge funds could strike a deal.
    Protection from the gov in exchange for HUGE investment in goodworks. The banksters could save money, save their souls, save the country, and still have enough left over for a nice retirement.

    Reply

  41. Don Bacon says:

    The wikileaks dump, including irresponsible remarks from fat-ass ME potentates, didn’t “massively undermine” the truth that the majority of Arabs, according to a recent Zogby poll, think that a nuclear-armed Iran would be good for the Middle East.
    Zogby: “In addition, there was also increased talk about a proposal for a nuclear free zone in Middle East which highlighted Israel’s nuclear program, through a campaign led by Egypt and the Arab League, which is headquartered in Cairo. On May 28, there was a seeming breakthrough when the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference called for taking up the issue of creating a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East in 2012, in a move supported by the Arabs states, the U.S. — and Iran.”
    Israel refuses to comply with the Arab request.

    Reply

  42. alexno says:

    “And, pray, how does Mr. Murray explain that the
    most violent and hysterical demands to bomb Iran,
    now!, come not from US diplomats, but Arab
    leaders?”
    – Nadine
    It might need to be explained if it were true.
    However you forget that these cables, as Murray
    explains, are not revealing the “truth”, but rather
    what US diplomats think their bosses would like to
    hear.

    Reply

  43. nadine says:

    “What they show is …that diplomats as a class very seldom tell unpalatable truths to politicians, but rather report and reinforce what their masters want to hear, in the hope of receiving preferment.” (Craig Murray)
    That’s unintentionally very funny, alexno, considering that the Wikileaks dump is massively undermining the view of the Mideast promulgated by the Obama White House, which was NOT promoting the danger of Iran, but rather the primacy of the I/P conflict, which had to be solved before anything else could be even addressed.
    And, pray, how does Mr. Murray explain that the most violent and hysterical demands to bomb Iran, now!, come not from US diplomats, but Arab leaders?
    Mr. Murray may have stumbled over a few facts in the Wikileaks cables, but he has dusted himself off, and is proceeding as if nothing had happened.

    Reply

  44. nadine says:

    “The whole famous “engagement” policy, for example, was a planned fraud. It was to be announced, and then rapidly followed-up by an announcement of its failure. Ratcheting up sanctions and regime change efforts was the plan from the beginning.” (Dan Kervick)
    Dan, Dan. You are clinging to straws. Engagement wasn’t a planned fraud — heck, I would think better of Obama if I thought it was, it would show some self-awareness. Unfortunately, engagement was a real planned policy, which Obama actually thought stood a real chance of working. It had to be abandoned when it became clear even to this White House that engagement was an embarrassing failure.
    For how many years did you want Obama to stand there sticking his hand out while Ahmedinejad laughed at him and spat in his face? You really wanted our diplomats to continue ‘engaging’ regardless with absolutely no Plan B?

    Reply

  45. Dan Kervick says:

    JohnH,
    While I don’t think there are many wows so far, I do think the leaks add more accumulated evidence to the picture of Obama’s foreign policy that has already taken shape since January, 2009. The policy is in most of its essentials entirely continuous with the Bush foreign policy. The much-ballyhooed breaks from the Bush agenda which formed much of the substance of Obama’s election campaign have been revealed over time as cosmetic and insincere sops to get votes. It has been business as usual since the election.
    The whole famous “engagement” policy, for example, was a planned fraud. It was to be announced, and then rapidly followed-up by an announcement of its failure. Ratcheting up sanctions and regime change efforts was the plan from the beginning.
    The most sincere statement this administration ever made was the day Rahm Emanuel called the left “retards”.

    Reply

  46. alexno says:

    For those who think there are black ops behind the
    Wikileaks release, read a professional (ex-)
    diplomat:
    “Web commenters have noted that the diplomatic
    cables now released reflect the USA’s political
    agenda, and there is even a substantial wedge of
    the blogosphere which suggests that Wikileaks are
    therefore a CIA front. This is nonsense. Of course
    the documents reflect the US view

    Reply

  47. JohnH says:

    Dan–Lack of ‘wows’ is merely the US media effort to paper over the import of the leaks. I think there are ‘wows’ in the papers. For instance, the US Ambassador to Honduras actually admitting that the coup was a coup, in contrast to Obama administration policy of papering it over. Also, the extent to which the US government pressured Spain and Germany to circumvent justice in the abduction and torture of an innocent German, as well as US government threats against Spanish political candidates who were anti-war. The confirmation of suspicions that the British investigation of the Iraq War castrated itself to protect Bush. And the revelation that Obama’s “engagement” of Iran was just a ploy to garner support for harsher sanctions and eventual war.
    Maybe we suspected all of this, but the leaks provide inside witnesses to the abuses of power that the US government would never tolerate if anyone but Israel did it.

    Reply

  48. nadine says:

    “Frankly, I don’t see the need to roll out the old conspiracy theories for “revelations” such as these. After all, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” (APS)
    No reason at all, unless you’re a conspiracy nutter. In which case, it’s a “revelation” that confirms the conspiracy (everything is) and all you need to do is cleverly figure out whether the FBI, the CIA or the Mossad is behind it all.

    Reply

  49. APS says:

    So, there isn’t 100% confluence between US and Israeli interests. Wow, what a shocker. Same could be said for any country. And so, the Sunni Arabs view Iran as a major threat and want us to take out their nukes. Again, no great surprise here. Any poli-sci freshman could have pegged that one. Only now its out in the open.
    Frankly, I don’t see the need to roll out the old conspiracy theories for “revelations” such as these. After all, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    Reply

  50. Dan Kervick says:

    Pentagon Papers treatment?
    Actually, the media noise surrounding this round of leaks is much louder than it was following the earlier round of leaks. I can only base my impression on the amount of coverage I hear on my car radio, see on television, or read on mainstream media web sites. But this latest WikiLeaks dump appears to be receiving 24/7 coverage and is being treated like something close to a major crisis

    Reply

  51. DonS says:

    “Media Pushes Narrative That Arabs Want War With Iran, Ignores Cables That Show Arabs Urging Restraint ”
    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/12/01/media-iran-ignoring-warning/
    . . . and the resident Neocons unsurprisingly flog the same.

    Reply

  52. YY says:

    What is truly surprising is the absence of common sense in widely communicated instructions of fantasy spy vs spy wishes such as to obtain iris scans and credit card numbers. Would not UN officials not be so easily fooled into looking into the routine retinal scan next time they go through JFK’s VIP immigration controls? Credit card numbers, while easily obtained by people you buy stuff from, when secretly stolen from you, constitute criminal thief like behavior. Instructions to your underlings to steal is simply lacking in any sort of common sense understanding of what is acceptable. To top it off this and other evidence of feckless “diplomacy” is made available widely in a monstrous database, limited in security by the sheer number of people given access, just because of a literal and naive interpretation of the recommendations of the 9-11 commission (in and of itself a set of problematically political recommendations)
    My guess is that the notion of middle management and ability to make mid level decisions have died in US organizations. So you’re left with the top level decisions by people too busy and with their unique limitations, and entire organizations running on autopilot below them and complaining of the stupidity of what they are asked to do.
    Why is it that America now looks as if it is a country where the lawyers have lost what ethics they had and are asleep anyway, politicians are opportunistic to the point that nothing is done except in service of incumbency, and leaders are getting bad advice based upon bad information and faith. This is sad sad sad.

    Reply

  53. nadine says:

    Wigwag, Unbelievably, Robert Gibbs came out today and tried to downplay the impact of the Wikileaks dump, saying over and over that “we’re not scared” of “one guy and one website”. UFB. The entire US diplomatic corps is compromised by a massive data dump — which is STILL in operation, Assange is promising more! — and Gibbsy claims it’s no biggie?!!!
    Do you have any idea how many people we have embarrassed among our allies? I don’t, but can only imagine that it is many, many people, few of whom will talk to us in the future. But I know who knows — the US State Dept. who must be simply fuming.
    I tell you what, I think President Obama has picked the wrong set of enemies. First he hung the CIA out to dry with his release of the so called ‘torture memos’, and now he does it to the State Dept. These people know how to get back at those who do them dirt.
    One more amusing note about Wikileaks – compare the ‘Pentagon Papers’ treatement the first dump received, and the ‘no biggie’ treatment this dump received, with the huffy ‘ewww, it’s stolen property from hackers’ treatment the Climategate dump received from the New York Times and other liberal outlets.

    Reply

  54. JohnH says:

    Nadine should have said, “Zionists, socialists and the Islamists have this in common: once they have achieved power, it is not their aim to ever share it again with anyone else. This means they are fundamentally undemocratic.”
    When have Zionists ever been willing to share power with the other half of the population–the Palestinian residents of Israel and the Occupied Territories?
    More proof that Israel is a democracy in name only.

    Reply

  55. nadine says:

    “There are many different kinds of Islamists. Just as some Europeans belong to Christian Democratic parties and yet are not fanatical medievalist Christian zealots, so it is also true that some Muslims are members of Islamist parties, but are not make crazy Nazis. Turkey’s Islamists are mostly moderate, modern, globally extroverted and democratic, and their ascendancy provides a refreshing alternative to both the despotic and backward monarchies that still prevail in the region and the quasi-military rule Turkey has been saddled with since Ataturk.”
    There are many different kinds of socialists too, Dan. Some are revolutionaries who advocate a violent overthrow of bourgeois society; some are Fabian socialists who want to implement socialism from inside a democratic system, working bit by bit until the whole socialist platform is in place.
    The socialists and the Islamists have this in common: once they have achieved power, it is not their aim to ever share it again with anyone else. This means they are fundamentally undemocratic. As Erdogan himself has said: “Democracy is like a streetcar. Once you arrive at your destination, you get off.” Any philosophy that rejects the compromise and power-sharing inherent in a democratic system, but seeks total power has a name: totalitarian. Actually, considering the similarities, one can understand the current Red-Green alliance.
    I do not consider that Nazi-level anti-Semitic propaganda like “Valley of the Wolves” is consistent with a “moderate, modern” outlook. (Part II is under production). Nor do I consider open and ever escalating support of Hamas to be a sign of democracy. Erdogan just threatened to go to war with Israel if they attacked Hamas again! This is your moderate? or, having declared that the current Turkish regime is moderate, are you just determined to ignore all evidence to the contrary?

    Reply

  56. Dan Kervick says:

    “So you praise Islamists as democrats and ignore the obvious signs that they are totalitarian religious fanatics who routinely promote Nazi-level hatred of the Jews.”
    There are many different kinds of Islamists. Just as some Europeans belong to Christian Democratic parties and yet are not fanatical medievalist Christian zealots, so it is also true that some Muslims are members of Islamist parties, but are not make crazy Nazis. Turkey’s Islamists are mostly moderate, modern, globally extroverted and democratic, and their ascendancy provides a refreshing alternative to both the despotic and backward monarchies that still prevail in the region and the quasi-military rule Turkey has been saddled with since Ataturk.

    Reply

  57. nadine says:

    “One more thing; the last time WikiLeaks released data it was about Afghanistan and Steve wrote two posts comparing the data dump to the release of the Pentagon Papers and he implicitly compared Julian Assange to Daniel Ellsberg. Of course Steve liked those released documents because he believed that they supported his point of view about the Afghanistan war. Now that the new cables released by WikiLeaks disprove much of what Steve has been saying, the references to the Pentagon Papers and Daniel Ellsberg are gone and instead Steve is promoting Brzezinski

    Reply

  58. nadine says:

    “Comparisons of contemporary Turkey to Nazi Germany are fantastically absurd and nearly delusionary.”
    Unfortunately, not at all. The delusion is ignoring Turkey’s Islamist lurch because you’ve decided it is “Islamophobic” to believe in the threat of Islamism. So you praise Islamists as democrats and ignore the obvious signs that they are totalitarian religious fanatics who routinely promote Nazi-level hatred of the Jews.
    Under Erdogan, Turkey has become an openly declared ally of Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. Allowing such a power to remain in NATO and be handed control of modern American missile systems is arming our enemies. It is insane.

    Reply

  59. Dan Kervick says:

    Comparisons of contemporary Turkey to Nazi Germany are fantastically absurd and nearly delusionary.

    Reply

  60. Dan Kervick says:

    “I must be missing something here…how exactly is this obvious observation supposed to be explosive?”
    Agreed. It’s an utterly banal observation.

    Reply

  61. nadine says:

    “HuffPo:
    In an explosive WikiLeaks revelation, Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, the head of the Political Military Bureau of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, while discussing Israeli requests for U.S. military aid, “acknowledged the sometimes difficult position the U.S. finds itself in given its global interests, and conceded that Israel’s security focus is so narrow that its QME [Qualitative Military Edge] concerns often clash with broader American security interests in the region,” according to the State Department.”
    I must be missing something here…how exactly is this obvious observation supposed to be explosive? Did HuffPo just notice today that the US has an alliance with Saudi Arabia as well as with Israel?

    Reply

  62. Pahlavan says:

    Wig, There is a saying which goes something like this: They asked the fox who is your witness? The fox said: My tail! my tail!

    Reply

  63. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If I had a donkey that brayed that much, I’d take her out to the east forty and shoot her. The occassional he-haw is cute, and serves to remind you that theres an ass in the corral. But a constant din just ain’t worth the feed bill.

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  64. WigWag says:

    To help reorient our friends in the realist foreign policy camp towards reality (there should be some connection between a realist outlook and reality; shouldn’t there?) I have prepared a little quiz that I hope they will find educational. I am confident that if the realists study really hard and do well on the quiz that they will have taken a decisive step towards conquering the strange affliction that distorts their foreign policy judgement.
    1) Who likened the Iranian leadership to a snake?
    a. John Bolton
    b. The King of Saudi Arabia
    c. Shimon Peres
    d. Dennis Ross
    2) Who said

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  65. Carroll says:

    “Assange believes that info major dumps will cause a conspiracy-driven organization to turn inward and restrict its info flow, thus curtailing the conspiracy. We see that now with OMB directing government agencies to reduce the three million people who unaccountably have access to the kinds of intelligence we’re seeing.”
    …Don
    Only one problem..that doesn’t make sense…the conspiracy won’t be curtailed by turning inward and restricting it’s info flow…it will just restrict the info, not
    change the conspiracy.
    “And you’re full of shit. This “dump” doesn’t discredit the truth, it reinforces the lies.”……POA
    Exactly
    The ‘selected’ releases to the MS Press insured all the conversation would be about Iran, with just enough diplomatic name calling thrown in for
    fluff. Also by releasing these cable ‘first’ it insured that regardless of what might be released later, if anything, the Iran subject would the main thing remembered by the public’s and MSM’s 5 minute attention span.
    I’d be very surprised if all this Assange most wanted by Interpol isn’t just a cover. The guy doesn’t travel on a flying broomstick, he could have and could be picked up anytime.

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  66. Don Bacon says:

    HuffPo:
    In an explosive WikiLeaks revelation, Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, the head of the Political Military Bureau of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, while discussing Israeli requests for U.S. military aid, “acknowledged the sometimes difficult position the U.S. finds itself in given its global interests, and conceded that Israel’s security focus is so narrow that its QME [Qualitative Military Edge] concerns often clash with broader American security interests in the region,” according to the State Department.

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  67. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The Arab countries have made it clear that they are primarily concerned with Israel’s real nukes and not Iran’s nonexistent ones…”
    And where are the “leaked” documents of correspondence between the Arab states and the US that convey those concerns??? Are we to believe there weren’t any? Yeah, right.

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  68. Don Bacon says:

    Of course Zbig doesn’t have evidence that the docs were planted, it’s only a supposition. Covert ops are covert, nobody has evidence.
    Calling Steve’s comment that the docs lack context is not silly. Obviously it’s a true statement.
    And now we hear from WigWag that cut the head off statements aren’t that important because these diplomats and rulers speak with “forked tongues.” I agree, but that’s not unusual for government employees anywhere. And it’s a good reason why we shouldn’t take seriously anything they say, in comparison with what they do.
    The Arab countries have made it clear that they are primarily concerned with Israel’s real nukes and not Iran’s nonexistent ones, and the Arab people would welcome Iran nukes as shown in a recent poll.
    As for the new WigWag crusade against realists, a realist is one who is inclined to literal truth and pragmatism. What’s wrong with being realistic? As for any “common wisdom” definition of realist, who cares. It’s like liberal and conservative, other labels that don’t really mean anything. It’s the issues that are important.
    Q: “Kind of hypocritical don

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  69. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And it is truly odd that the wiki-leaks site was not simply shut down, as the DHS has demonstrated it is perfectly capable of doing. If this “dump” posed such a danger, why was it ALLOWED to happen?

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  70. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…the last time WikiLeaks released data it was about Afghanistan…”
    It also seemed to exonerate the United States from torturing in Iraq, seemingly discredited the Lancet Report, and advanced the ridiculous notion the Saddam DID have WMDs, and, in fact, we found them.
    There is a good deal of BULLSHIT in these so called “leaked” documents. Undeniably stinky, planted, utter and total bullshit that seeks to rewrite history.
    “It’s no wonder that realists like Zbig Brzezinski are engaging in speculation that the leaks are a set-up; they disprove much of what he and his intellectual brethren have been saying for the better part of two years”
    And you’re full of shit. This “dump” doesn’t discredit the truth, it reinforces the lies.
    And we are to believe its just a coinky dink that this “dump” comes at a time the lyin’ lets-bomb-Iran scum on the right are re-ascending the ladder of power, and the fuckin’ racist monsters in Israel have driven the final nail in the two state solution??

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  71. WigWag says:

    “My powder is dry on the interesting subject that Zbignew Brzezinski raised on PBS NewsHour. He suggested that in this enormous Wikileaks data dump of largely trivial cables, there are selections of highly pointed and embarrassing material. Brzezinski asks if someone with designs has planted this or selectively leaked to the operation.” (Steve Clemons)
    If Zbig has evidence that the WikiLeaks documents were “planted” or “selectively leaked” he should provide it; otherwise his comments are nothing but idle speculation. I could speculate that Brzezinski is suffering from the early signs of dementia, but without seeing his medical records or speaking to his family about whether his car keys can frequently be found in his refrigerator, my speculation wouldn’t amount to very much. Only the very gullible would consider my speculation about the former National Security Advisor’s mental health seriously.
    The difference between the documents and cables released by WikiLeaks and Zbig’s speculation is precisely the one that Steve Clemons mentioned; the leaked cables are real data points; Zbig’s comments are nothing.
    Steve laments that the leaks are unaccompanied by a “larger contextual framing.” But Steve’s comment is silly.
    Of course the WikiLeaks cables lacks contextual framing; the released cables are, as Steve himself calls them, “raw data.” Raw data doesn

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  72. Bob Morris says:

    Also, it seems odd that Assanage would move
    Wikileaks to the Amazon cloud after the DDOS attack
    as that would seem to make it easier for the US to
    shut it down

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  73. samuelburke says:

    some of these wikileaks write-ups are way better than others.
    from Justin Raimondo…
    ” listen to William Kristol, the little Lenin of the neocons, as he
    dispenses advice to the Obama-ites on how to deal with
    WikiLeaks:

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  74. Don Bacon says:

    First, I was impressed with Zbig’s insights and not with Hadley’s lack of them. Intell services will hear from Zbig the idea to do black ops? Zbig thought that was comical, correctly. Why anybody would pay this guy Hadley for advice is beyond me, but that’s not my business.
    Obviously these dumps have been directed against Iran,Turkey and China. Looks fishy. Gives WigWag something to crusade on. But there will be more, so the jury’s still out.
    Neither gentleman had a clue as to why these dumps are occurring. Julian Assange isn’t doing this, at the risk of his life, only for the fun of doing it. Assange believes that governments and other large organizations are conspiracies, and that they can’t be hurt be random disclosures of their nefarious deeds.
    (Assange is a patriot, so the governments are out to get him. There’s now an Interpol alert.)
    Assange: These organizations operate using complex information networks, similar to a human’s blood network, and a cut on the finger isn’t going to affect the body. But a major info dump, like a severed artery, will cause major damage if strong action isn’t taken.
    Assange believes that info major dumps will cause a conspiracy-driven organization to turn inward and restrict its info flow, thus curtailing the conspiracy. We see that now with OMB directing government agencies to reduce the three million people who unaccountably have access to the kinds of intelligence we’re seeing.
    Meanwhile we are learning a lot, and a lot of what we thought we knew is being documented. The Pakistan support of the people killing not only their own troops, for heavens sakes, but also US troops.

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  75. charlie says:

    The only country NOT being embarassed by this: Israel.
    What great allies they are.
    I really wonder who has killed more Americans: the State of Israel or the PLO?

    Reply

  76. samuelburke says:

    Karen Kwiatkowski has this over at Lewrockwell dot com
    “There is talk that the data released this week actually helps
    Israel

    Reply

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