Daily Archive: 08/16/2011

Aug 16 2011

Remember Neville Thurlbeck?

Oh my yes.  You remember Silverstone don’t you?

Things are not happy in the Formula One Teams Association, there’s also the fact the Concorde Agreement has expired and is extended only through a letter, not a contract, through 2012 following a heated dispute that led many teams to threaten to go CART.  While nominally guided by Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren and Ross Brawn of Mercedes the FOTA is widely viewed as a tool of Bernie Ecclestone who has a distinct conflict of interest and a hazy history of influence on the FIA itself with his cozy relationship to Max Mosley the fifth columnist Nazi’s son who got the boot for his sexcapades.

Interestingly enough this was the scoop of the recently deceased and unlamented News of the World who published sick Nazi Sex Orgy by Neville Thurlbeck so who knows what to think?

Well, Neville’s in trouble again-

Rupertgate Friday – “For Neville”

By Gordonskene, Crooks&Liars

July 22, 2011 03:58 PM

As was reported yesterday, there are now growing questions over the honesty of the testimony given by James Murdoch during the Inquiry hearings on Tuesday. One centers around Neville Thurlbeck, who was a registered unpaid Police informant and has been a key suspect in the phone hacking scandal and an e-mail and attached file that carefully listed transcribed hacked messages.

Murdoch denies any knowledge of the e-mail, however former NoTW editor Colin Myler and former head of legal affairs for News Of The World Tom Crone claim the younger Murdoch had full knowledge of the “For Neville” e-mail and file and has been lying to the Commission. If this winds up being true, and Murdoch is found to be lying, it tosses an enormous question mark over the entire testimony on Tuesday and puts James Murdoch in the position of being arrested and held for further questioning.

Well today…

Former NOTW Employees: James Murdoch Knew Another Reporter Was Involved In Phone Hacking

Jillian Rayfield, TPMMuckraker

August 16, 2011, 12:56PM

The e-mail, from 2005, contained transcripts of 35 hacked phone messages from Taylor’s phone, and identified them as “the transcript for Neville.” The Guardian identified “Neville” as News Of The World reporter Neville Thurlbeck.

According to (James) Murdoch’s testimony to Parliament, he gave the go-ahead for the settlement without knowing about the “for Neville” e-mail, and believed the phone hacking to be limited to “rogue reporter” Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who had both already been convicted.

But Crone and Myler allege that in a June 2008 meeting, they told Murdoch of the e-mail. Crone, who wrote the letter to Parliament, said that he does not have any notes from his meeting with Murdoch at the time, but the “sole reason” for the meeting was to explain the reason for settling — which was the e-mail. “My invariable practice when seeking authority for settlements would be to take a file of the relevant documents with me to such meetings so that, if asked or if necessary, I could illustrate whatever I was saying by reference to something in writing,” Crone wrote.

Letter Suggests Hacking ‘Widely Discussed’ at News of the World

By PAUL SONNE, JEANNE WHALEN and BRUCE ORWALL, The Wall Street Journal

AUGUST 16, 2011, 12:41 P.M. ET

LONDON-News Corp. came under fresh attack Tuesday as new, written evidence submitted to a U.K. parliament committee suggested that voice-mail interception was “widely discussed” at its News of the World tabloid and showed several former executives bluntly contradicting recent testimony by Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch.



Mr. Murdoch said Messrs. Crone and Myler briefed him on the case during a meeting on June 10, 2008. He said he doesn’t recall receiving any briefing before this date, and doesn’t recall either Mr. Crone or Mr. Myler showing him any documents during the meeting. He said the executives recommended settling the case because “there was evidence” that Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator, “had carried out this interception on behalf of the News of the World.”

“Let me reiterate that I have no recollection of any mention of ‘Thurlbeck’ or a ‘for Neville’ email. Neither Mr. Myler nor Mr. Crone told me that wrongdoing extended beyond Mr. Goodman or Mr. Mulcaire,” a private investigator on the tabloid’s payroll, Mr. Murdoch said.



The new evidence comes as the latest twist in a scandal over allegations that the News of the World tabloid paid bribes to police and intercepted the voice mails of celebrities, politicians and crime victims. News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal.

Aug 16 2011

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Paul Krugman: Downgrade of US Credit Rating Is Baseless Р­and Outrageous

Standard & Poor’s has gone ahead with the threatened downgrade of the United States’ credit rating. It’s a strange situation.

On one hand, there is a case to be made that the madness of the right has made America a fundamentally unsound nation. And yes, it is the madness of the right: If not for the extremism of anti-tax Republicans, we would have no trouble reaching an agreement that would ensure long-run solvency.

On the other hand, it’s hard to think of anyone less qualified to pass judgment on America than the rating agencies.

The people who rated subprime-backed securities are now declaring that they are the judges of fiscal policy? Really?

Dean Baker: President Obama Joins the Cult of Economics Deniers

President Obama has abandoned evidence-based economics to return the US to growth in favor of the politics of deficit-cutting

A front page story in Sunday’s New York Times gave the country the bad news. President Obama is no longer paying attention to economists and economics in designing economic policy. Instead, he will do what his campaign people tell him will get him re-elected, presumably by getting lots of money from Wall Street.

The article said that President Obama intends to focus on reducing government spending and cutting programs like social security and Medicare. This is in spite of the fact that: “A wide range of economists say the administration should call for a new round of stimulus spending, as prescribed by mainstream economic theory, to create jobs and promote growth.”

In other words, President Obama intends to ignore the path for getting the economy back to full employment that most economists advocate. Instead, he is going to cut government spending – because his chief of staff and former JP Morgan vice president Bill Daley and his top campaign adviser David Plouffe both say this is a good idea.

New York Times Editorial:  The Clear Case for the Gas Tax

Unless Congress extends it, the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gas tax will expire on Sept. 30. Allowing that to happen would be tremendously destructive. It would bankrupt the already stressed Highway Trust Fund, with devastating effects on the country’s highways, bridges, mass transit systems and the economy as a whole.

Reports suggest that some House Republicans may push to let the tax lapse or use the threat of expiration as leverage in the budget wars. This is a dangerous idea. If anything, the tax should rise to maintain a system that constantly needs upkeep – the backlog of bridges needing repair is estimated at $72 billion – creates jobs and encourages drivers to buy more fuel-efficient cars.

Steven Rattner: Republican Extremism, Bad Economics

IN the middle of all the debt default drama and stock market turbulence, the leading Republican presidential candidates have begun to fill in the shadowy outlines of their positions on major economic issues.

And what a picture it is, a philosophy oriented around shrinking the role of the federal government in every imaginable way, by slashing spending, cutting taxes and halting or rescinding regulations. Their mantra is repeal and retrenchment, devoid of new initiatives or a positive agenda.

Some of these views are to the right even of the Tea Party; they amount to the most radically conservative positions of any set of candidates at least since Barry M. Goldwater in 1964.

John Nichols: FDR Went to Wisconsin to Battle ‘Economic Royalists,’ But Obama Avoids the State and the Fight http://www.thenation.com/blog/…

President Obama is interrupting his long vacation to bus across the battleground states of the Midwest this week, on an officially “non-political” journey that his aides obviously hope will renew a connection with the people who overwhelmingly elected him president in 2008. It is an essential endeavor, as Obama’s uncertain tenure has frustrated voters who once saw him as a transformational leader but now wonder whether there is a point to his presidency.  

The disconnect between Obama and his base has grown more profound this year, as he has focused on the compromises of Washington while working people in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and other states have engaged in “Which side are you on?” fights against a Republican austerity agenda that threatens the very underpinnings of civil society and democratic experiment.

Eugene Robinson: Straw Poll Winner – Obama

Ames, Iowa – Strolling through the pageant of unhealthy food and unsound ideology that is the Iowa Straw Poll, amid the good-natured Republicans who swept Michele Bachmann to an impressive victory, I couldn’t help but reflect that this quadrennial exercise is one crazy way to pick a major-party candidate for president.

You’ll note that I used the words “Michele Bachmann” and “president” in the same sentence. That someone with views as extreme as Bachmann’s could win — and that Ron Paul, who seems to inhabit his own little reality, could finish second — would seem to rob the straw poll of all but comic value, making it analogous to the opening joke a dinner speaker might tell to warm up a stone-faced audience. But the ritual is serious business, as poor Tim Pawlenty found out. Less than 24 hours after he finished a distant third in the straw poll, “former candidate” became his new honorific.

Long before the results were tallied, it seemed clear that Pawlenty was in trouble. Like the other candidates who participated Saturday, he had a big tent on the grounds of the Iowa State University coliseum where voters could enjoy free food and entertainment. People were happy to line up for the Famous Dave’s barbecue that Pawlenty was serving, but they didn’t stay long — and when they walked away, they weren’t wearing the green Pawlenty T-shirts that signaled support. By mid-afternoon, volunteers were glum.

 

Aug 16 2011

The Economic Bad News Just Keeps Coming

The robust economy of Germany is starting to feel the effects of the economic crisis of its partner nations in the Eurozone and is showing signs of drastic slowing

Growth in the German economy slowed sharply between April and June and was weaker at the start of the year than previously thought, figures show.

The (German) economy grew by just 0.1% in the quarter, according to figures from the national statistics office. Growth in the eurozone as a whole also slowed.

Germany had been driving the economic recovery in the eurozone.

The figures come as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy begin crunch talks.

The two leaders are discussing ways to solve the eurozone debt crisis that has threatened to engulf Italy and Spain and has sparked turmoil on global stock markets.

Figures also released on Tuesday showed that eurozone economic growth slowed to 0.2% in the second quarter, down from 0.8% in the previous three months.

The slow down has had its effect on markets in Europe and early trading in the US:

The news led European indexes lower. Germany’s DAX fell 2.6 percent, the FTSE in Britain was 1.3 percent lower, and in France the CAC 40 was down 1.9 percent.

In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 80.68 points, or 0.70 percent, at 11,402.22. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down 11.02 points, or 0.91 percent, at 1,193.47, and the Nasdaq composite index was down 26.38 points, or 1.03 percent, at 2,528.82.

“German G.D.P. data is the catalyst this morning that got us off to a bad start,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vt.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France were to meet later Tuesday to discuss measures to contain Europe’s fiscal crisis. A joint news conference was scheduled at noon E.D.T.

Another component of the down turn is the idea of issuing bonds backed by all Eurozone nations to ease the crisis has been poo-pooed by both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy but they may have no other choice:

The euro bond concept is gaining traction among economists and other outside experts like George Soros, the billionaire investor, as a way of preventing borrowing costs for Italy and Spain from rising so much that the countries become insolvent, an event that could destroy the common currency.

Debt issued and backed by all 17 members of the euro zone, euro bond proponents say, would be regarded as ultrasafe by investors and could rival the market for United States Treasury securities. The weaker euro members would benefit from the good standing of countries like Germany or Finland and pay lower interest rates to borrow than if left to face investors on their own.

“It may well be in order to calm markets right now,” said Jakob von Weizs√§cker, an economist for the German state of Thuringia who has proposed a way to structure euro bonds so that countries would be encouraged to reduce their debt.

On the “bright side”, there is Nouriel Roubini:

.Karl Marx was right that globalization, financial intermediation, and income redistribution could lead capitalism to self-destruct

Now a combination of high oil and commodity prices, turmoil in the Middle East, Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, eurozone debt crises, and America’s fiscal problems (and now its rating downgrade) have led to a massive increase in risk aversion. Economically, the United States, the eurozone, the United Kingdom, and Japan are all idling. Even fast-growing emerging markets (China, emerging Asia, and Latin America), and export-oriented economies that rely on these markets (Germany and resource-rich Australia), are experiencing sharp slowdowns.

Until last year, policymakers could always produce a new rabbit from their hat to reflate asset prices and trigger economic recovery. Fiscal stimulus, near-zero interest rates, two rounds of “quantitative easing,” ring-fencing of bad debt, and trillions of dollars in bailouts and liquidity provision for banks and financial institutions-officials tried them all. Now they have run out of rabbits.

Fiscal policy currently is a drag on economic growth in both the eurozone and the United Kingdom. Even in the United States, state and local governments, and now the federal government, are cutting expenditure and reducing transfer payments. Soon enough, they will be raising taxes.

Aug 16 2011

On This Day In History August 16

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

On this day in 1896, Gold discovered in the Yukon.

While salmon fishing near the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory on this day in 1896, George Carmack reportedly spots nuggets of gold in a creek bed. His lucky discovery sparks the last great gold rush in the American West.

Hoping to cash in on reported gold strikes in Alaska, Carmack had traveled there from California in 1881. After running into a dead end, he headed north into the isolated Yukon Territory, just across the Canadian border. In 1896, another prospector, Robert Henderson, told Carmack of finding gold in a tributary of the Klondike River. Carmack headed to the region with two Native American companions, known as Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie. On August 16, while camping near Rabbit Creek, Carmack reportedly spotted a nugget of gold jutting out from the creek bank. His two companions later agreed that Skookum Jim–Carmack’s brother-in-law–actually made the discovery.

Aug 16 2011

Civil Rights and Comic Books: What’s on YOUR Laptop?

The Beauty Platform and Sequential Art

First they came for the guys and gals

   with skeevy comic books.

But I don’t buy skeevy comic books,

   so I shut up and kept my head down.

Then they came for the guys and gals

   with graphically violent comic books.

But I don’t buy comic books with graphic violence{1},

   so I shut up and kept my head down.

Then they came for the guys and gals;

   with “adult” gay and lesbian comic books.

But I don’t buy adult gay and lesbian{1} comic books,

   so I shut up and kept my head down.

Then they came for the guys and gals

   with “excessively” adult comic books of any sorts.

But I don’t buy excessively adult adult  comic books of any sort,

   so I shut up and kept my head down.

Then they came for the guys and gals with politically and socially radical comic books.

And the legal precedent was already set, so it was an open and shut case.

And that’s what I’m in for.

……………………..

That is, in any event, the dystopian future scenario. Right now we are still in a position to push back against the “North American Taliban”, and that is what the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund aims to do.

{1. OK, ok, on some of these sites my sig says otherwise with respect to yuri manga, and some science fiction dystopian manga has some pretty graphic violence, but stick with me here for dramatic effect}

Aug 16 2011

Countdown with Keith Olbermann

If you do not get Current TV you can watch Keith here:

Watch live video from CURRENT TV LIVE Countdown Olbermann on www.justin.tv

Aug 16 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Gorbachev says Bush warned him of ’91 coup

AFP – 7 hrs ago

The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, said Monday that former US president George H.W. Bush had warned him about his safety a few weeks before Communist hardliners staged their August 1991 coup.

The ex-Soviet president and Nobel Peace Prize winner said on the eve of the failed plot’s 20th anniversary that Bush had relayed the message in a telephone conversation amid signs of Communist Party discontent with liberal reforms.

The revelation came in a wide-ranging newspaper interview in which the 80-year-old Gorbachev again lamented his inability to save the Soviet empire from disintegration and blasted his democratic rival Boris Yeltsin.