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musical interlude CX

TPP: Not the best option [ Supachai Panitchpakdi / Nikkei Asian Review ]


Former director general of the WTO writes about the TPP, saying it is overly ambitious and not as good as other, more conventional regional trade pacts that are in the works.


[ via Naked Capitalism ]

Most importantly, Panitchpadki points out that there are existing alternatives that are a better match for existing norms of international trade, so if the TPP were not adopted, no harm would be done.

He also mentions some doubtful aspects of the TPP that are now becoming familiar:

  • The heavy handed role of political and national-power considerations
  • The far-reaching expansion of benefits to IP owners at the expense of their trade partners
  • The unpredictable investor-vs-state dispute mechanisms

These ambitious experimental features are expected to undercut the power of nations to look out for their own, and may well backfire on signatories — hence the argument that a more conventional trade agreement is better.

Inquiry alleges Pentagon munged Intelligence [NYT]

FILE - This file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, which is consistent with AP reporting, shows a convoy of vehicles and fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters in Iraq's Anbar Province. The Islamic State was originally al-Qaida's branch in Iraq, but it used Syria's civil war to vault into something more powerful. It defied orders from al-Qaida's central command and expanded its operations into Syria, ostensibly to fight to topple Assad. But it has turned mainly to conquering territory for itself, often battling other rebels who stand in the way. (AP Photo/militant website, File)

Nobody expected them to show up in a fleet of Brand New Trucks…

From the Mistakes Were Made department:

The New York Times reports an inquiry, in which a DIA analyst alleges that his agency’s findings were misrepresented during a routine game of “Telephone”.

Presumably, had US foreign policy leadership been passed unadulterated information, they would not have supported ISIS’s allies and opposed ISIS’s enemies? The article does not speculate.


[ via Stop Making Sense ]

CIA funded socialist literary activity to fight communism


So it turns out that Uncle Sam’s intelligence appendage was used to bankroll socialist intellectual activity to fight communism.

[via NC]

Disclosure: Time to come clean. I am in the market for funding. CIA — You have my number, call me. $$$.

musical interlude CIX

Joseph Stiglitz interview [gawker]

The Nobel Prize winning economist talks about the US economy, inequality, fiscal stimulus, taxation, etc.


Heroes of Silicon Valley, En Garde! [ Bertrand Russel / zpub ]

I like to say that the so-called problem of unemployment is silly, as the number of hours in a workday can vary. So imagine the mix of wry amusement and disappointment when I find out that some jerkoff named Bertrand Russel wrote the same thing 83 years ago.

When read from beginning to end, I see his essay as a challenge to the aura of dignity that lately comes to those who spend their hours banging away at keyboards in exchange for stock options of indeterminate value. Instead, Russel parades the deeply cynical thought, (or is it deeply idealistic ?!), that the real value lies in the disordered activity of free-range humans, should they manage to escape our carefully cultivated desire for productivity.


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