Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior

If you see a behavior that seems to you to be counterproductive, perhaps you have misunderstood what that behavior is meant to produce.


US strikes Syrian airfield in first direct military action against Assad

The Guardian has a series of articles US strikes Syrian airfield in first direct military action against Assad.

The European commission head, Jean Claude Juncker, responded that “he understands efforts to deter future attacks” and that the EU stood ready to play its role in finding a political solution to the crisis.

If the rebels led the gas attack to get the USA to retaliate against the Syrian government, then our retaliation will only encourage more gas attacks by the rebels.

Will the USA take responsibility for encouraging more such gas attacks in the more likely reality that the latest gas attack was by the rebels who wanted to encourage the USA to launch attacks against rebels’ enemy, the Syrian government? Will we gladly accept strikes against our Navy in retaliation for our encouraging these gas attacks war crimes?

I know there is an urge to avoid analysis paralysis in our military response, but to lash out at the victims instead of the perpetrators is a very counterproductive response if the intent is really to protect the lives of the citizens of Syria.

This is why I have assigned this article to the category of Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior.

If you see a behavior that seems to you to be counterproductive, perhaps you have misunderstood what that behavior is meant to produce.

What this behavior is meant to produce is the overthrow of Assad and the building of the pipeline through Syria that the Saudi’s so desperately want. The Saudi Arabian government wants a pipeline through Syria to ship their oil directly to the European market. Exxon wants to profit by the opportunity to manage a new pipeline as part of their agreement with Saudi Arabia to manage the oil sales of Saudi Arabian oil. These two want their choice of pipeline in order to cut Russia out of the European market. Russia and Assad of Syria want to build a Syrian pipeline to help ship Russian oil to market.

The lives of people in Syria play no role in the what Exxon and Saudi Arabia want. The Saudis are the biggest backer of terrorism in the world, if you want to know how much they care. One might even say that the USA is complicit in war crimes. What about our corporate media that is paid to cover this all up? Will the citizens of the USA be forgiven beacuse they have plausible deniability, “How were we to know?”


It Is FBI Director James Comey Who Should Be Investigated

Truth Dig has the article It Is FBI Director James Comey Who Should Be Investigated by Juan Cole.

In fact, I can’t make any sense of his actions at all. Why taint Clinton with nothing investigation that went nowhere? Why protect the Trump campaign by keeping knowledge of the Russia investigation from the public? Why drag the Russia investigation on from last July till now (surely the transcripts and emails either provide evidence or they do not)?

This is a perfect example of Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior.

If you see a behavior that seems to you to be counterproductive, perhaps you have misunderstood what that behavior is meant to produce.

Neither Juan Cole nor I have figured out what this behavior was meant to produce. Clearly it isn’t for producing any of the obvious results that we can think of.


Wolf Richter: How Much Money Laundering is Going On in the Housing Market? A Lot

Naked Capitalism has the article Wolf Richter: How Much Money Laundering is Going On in the Housing Market? A Lot.

The US housing market has been a perfect platform to launder large amounts of money, no questions asked. Brokers, banks, and other industry professionals played along. There were no reporting requirements. Everyone in the world knew it. And they came to launder their cash by buying expensive homes.

I hadn’t thought about this activity until reading about it in this article. It is valuable information because it may give a hint at a bubble that is about to burst. As a participant in the economy, it is always nice to know when it may be wise to take cover.

As an aside, this may explain why 45 thought this was an opportune moment to get out of the luxury housing market and take a safe job as President of the United States.

I am going to file this under Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior.

If you see a behavior that seems to you to be counterproductive, perhaps you have misunderstood what that behavior is meant to produce.

In case you wondered why there were people who were willing to pay exorbitant (and seemingly counter-productive) prices for luxury homes, now you know what they were trying to produce. They were paying to get their money laundered.


Airstrikes Against Syria are a Trap, Warns Former ISIS Hostage Nicolas Hénin

Democracy Now has an interview in two segments that make a very compelling case that our strategy for dealing with Syria and Isis is completely counter-productive. The segments are Airstrikes Against Syria are a Trap, Warns Former ISIS Hostage Nicolas Hénin and Former ISIS Hostage Nicolas Hénin: Welcoming Refugees is the Best Strategy Against ISIS.

Here are just a couple of snippets of what is in the transcripts of this interview.

I mean, one must be totally stupid to believe that we punished Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, invading Iraq and Afghanistan. And even the opposite: The real success on 9/11, this is not the collapse of the twin towers; the real success of 9/11, this is the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. And this was not made by the terrorists. This success is only due to the victim. The Americans were victims of the terrorists, but they offered to their aggressors their success. And this is something that we shall always keep in mind every time we are hit by a major terrorist attack: What want our aggressor us to do? What would you like me to do, and how shall I react to displease him?
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“Welcoming refugees is not a terror threat to our countries; it’s like a vaccine to protect us from terrorism, because the more interactions we have between societies, between communities, the less there will be tensions,” Hénin says.
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AMY GOODMAN: What would you say to young Europeans who want to join, who what to become jihadists?

NICOLAS HÉNIN: This is a very important message. Basically, ISIS will recruit you, telling you jihad is cool, because, yes, it’s cool, if you have no life, no girlfriend, no job, no money, nothing in your home country, and ISIS promises you, what, adventure, engagement, a girl, a car, a weapon, power, money, whatever. So, they all play like jihad is cool. And my answer is: ISIS is a scam, because ISIS does not really fight Assad, does not protect the Muslims in Syria, but kills, to wide extent, a number of Muslims in Syria. ISIS is a disaster for the Syrian people. So, for those who want to join ISIS, I tell them, “I understand the reason for your rage, because, yes, there are many reasons actually to be unhappy about both your life in the West or both the situation in Syria and these civilians being massacred in huge numbers. But ISIS will just make you make this crisis bigger.”

There is somewhat of a trick you have to play with the following videos to see the parts that correspond to the transcripts. When you get the video playing, you will see a little dot on the time lines. The first one has the dot about ⅔ of the way along the timeline -at about 31:04. If you hover over the dot, you will see the headline of this blog post. Drag the left big dot to the small dot to skip the part of the video unrelated to this post.

In the second segment the little dot is at 40:38 along the timeline. As the video starts to play, drag the big dot to the little dot.

The title of the book that Nicolas Hénin has written about his experiences is Jihad Academy.


Here’s Why the Latest Conservative Talking Point About the $15 Minimum Wage Is Meaningless (and Here’s What You Can Do About It)

Civic Skunkworks has the article Here’s Why the Latest Conservative Talking Point About the $15 Minimum Wage Is Meaningless (and Here’s What You Can Do About It) – August 12, 2015 11:53 am

“It’s a sad fact that bullshit travels faster than truth on the internet, but if we all work together, we can stop the conservative agenda from drowning out our good news with their meaningless noise.”

There are two follow-up posts as of this writing.

Fox Business Twists the Truth Seven Times in 100 Seconds on Seattle’s Minimum Wage – August 13, 2015 12:52 pm

The Data on That Minimum Wage Report Continues to Fall to Pieces – August 14, 2015 10:54 am

This is a good series of articles to remember. Put it in your arsenal next time someone asks you to just tell them when did Faux Noise ever lie. You can also use it to cast aspersions on the “scholarship” of The American Enterprise Institute. It isn’t scholarship unless they are trying to teach how to lie with statistics.

Here are some laws to remember.

Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior

If you see a behavior that seems to you to be counterproductive, perhaps you have misunderstood what the actor’s real goal was.

Greenberg’s Law of The Media

If a news item has a number in it, then it is probably misleading


Pavlina Tchernerva Has Insights On Fixing The Eurozone and Greece 1

Not only does economist Pavlina Tchernerva analyze what is going on with the Eurozone/Greece economic crisis, she identifies what the fix to the situation is. We have this solution available to us in our own system, but we just refuse to use it.

The interview segment starts at 17:09 minutes into the video. To go directly to the interview, use the link YouTube Video starting at 17:09 minutes.


This is the time to cite Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior.

If you see a behavior that seems to you to be counterproductive, perhaps you have misunderstood what the actor’s real goal was.

In both cases, the Eurozone and the USA, the behavior is actually accomplishing the divestiture by the governments of public resources so that the greedy oligarchs can purchase them at fire-sale prices. We call it privatization rather than admit that it is the equivalent of rape and pillage by the rich perpetrated on the rest of us.


House Rejects Trade Measure, Rebuffing Obama’s Dramatic Appeal

The New York Times has the article House Rejects Trade Measure, Rebuffing Obama’s Dramatic Appeal.

House Democrats on Friday thwarted … his chance to secure a legacy-defining accord spanning the Pacific Ocean.

I went back and checked. As far as I can tell, this was intended as a news story. It was not printed on an op-ed page, so I don’t think they warned you that it was an opinion piece. I wonder if you can detect from that opening to the story whether or not The New York Times has an opinion about the trade deal and whether or not they are keeping that opinion suppressed so that they can just bring you the news.

Ironically, President Obama should shake the hands of every one of those Democrats for saving him from the fate of leaving a horrible legacy.

More ironically, Obama refused to enlist the support of the people to get his programs passed. When he went against the people, they showed him what power they have that he failed to use for his own purposes when he needed it.

Sometimes, I still just cannot understand what this President is thinking. That just made me think to classify this blog post under the category Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior.

If you see a behavior that seems to you to be counterproductive, perhaps you have misunderstood what the behavior was trying to produce.


The Lessons Richard Bowen’s FCIC Testimony Should Have Taught the Nation 1

William K. Black has written another astounding piece on the New Economic Perspectives web site.  The piece is titled The Lessons Richard Bowen’s FCIC Testimony Should Have Taught the Nation.

The financial crisis was driven by history’s three most destructive epidemics of financial fraud:  appraisal fraud, liar’s loans, and the sale of fraudulently originated mortgages to the secondary market through fraudulent reps and warranties.  One cannot understand, effectively investigate, or prosecute the senior financial officers who led these fraud epidemics without a detailed technical understanding of the fraud schemes and the financial markets. This first column is intended as a resource for those willing and able to make the investment towards achieving that understanding.  Because people like me and Bowen no longer train FBI agents and prosecutors, and because the Obama administration’s most senior officials have been unremittingly opposed to prosecuting the financial officers that led the three fraud epidemics, no FBI agent or prosecutor has the necessary technical understanding.  My second column explains why this makes the FBI, the SEC, and the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) failure to draw on Bowen’s expertise all the more harmful and indefensible.

No spoiler alert is required either about Holder’s reaction to Bowen providing the Department of Justice (DOJ) with a criminal case against Citi’s controlling officers on a platinum platter.  Holder, as always, refused to prosecute the banksters whose frauds drove the financial crisis.  He eventually brought a civil action to get some useless fines from Citi rather than from the Citi officers who looted Citi, Fannie and Freddie, and Treasury.  Holder also failed to thank Bowen when Holder announced the civil settlement with Citigroup and refused to use the golden opportunity of the press conference announcing the settlement to ask other whistleblowers to come forward.  All of this, of course, is SOP for Holder and Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s choice to be his successor.  Lynch failed to prosecute HSBC or its responsible officers for its extraordinary crimes on behalf of genocidal regimes, terrorism sanction busters, and massive money laundering for the Sinaloa drug cartel.  You can only read it in right wing publications, but she is also accused of not speaking to either of the two key whistleblowers about HSBC.  Lynch’s nomination is being held hostage by the Republicans for all the wrong reasons.

The piece is long, and I must admit I had to stop before the end and before I vomited.  However, the piece is not that technical.  I understood it fully and I am no accountant nor an economist.  Why even a Nobel Prize winning economist could understand this article if they would only deign to read it.  The trouble is that these prize winning economists make their theories about how an honest market would work, while having no appreciation that massive fraud is actually how many markets work.  It never occurs to them to listen to the law enforcement people who understand fraud when they see it.  They also don’t listen to banks’ own experienced bank enforcement executives who shout out about the fraud, and are summarily crushed by their fraudulent bosses.

I included in my excerpt the paragraph that mentions Loretta Lynch so that I can refer back to it anytime I need to explain why I am dead set against her nomination for Attorney General.

You’ll have to read at least enough of the article to understand why I categorized this article under Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior. You won’t have to read much to be hit over the head by the figurative 2 by 4 of the reasons.


Obama Official: Congress Should Freeze Its Iran Penalties

ABC “News” has the AP story Obama Official: Congress Should Freeze Its Iran Penalties.

The administration argues that congressional action now would scuttle delicate international negotiations underway in Switzerland to reach an agreement that would prevent Iran from being able to develop nuclear weapons.

“If we are able to secure a comprehensive understanding, we will structure the nuclear-related sanctions relief in a way that is phased, proportionate and reversible,” said Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. “We will need to see verified steps on Iran’s part before sanctions are lifted and we believe that powerful U.S. legislative sanctions should not be terminated for years to come so that we continue to retain important leverage years into a deal.”

He said if a deal is not reached, the administration would work with Congress to ratchet up sanctions pressure on Iran.

Well, this shows that the Obama Administration is only half as insane as the Republicans (and too many Democrats) in Congress.

Iran came to the table despite sanctions, not because of them.  Do we want them to back out of the deal just to prove what I said (and Fareed Zakaria said)?

See my previous post Netanyahu enters never-never land.

Iran proposed to cap its centrifuges at very low levels, keep enrichment levels well below those that could be used for weapons and convert its existing enriched uranium into fuel rods (which could not be put to military use). Peter Jenkins, the British representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the Inter Press Service , “All of us were impressed by the proposal.” But the talks collapsed because the Bush administration, acting through the British government, vetoed it. It was certain, Jenkins explained, that if the West could “scare” the Iranians, “they would give in.”

What was the result? Did Iran return to the table and capitulate? No, the country withstood the sanctions and, unimpeded by any inspections, massively expanded its nuclear infrastructure. Iran went from 164 centrifuges to 19,000, accumulated more than 17,000 pounds of enriched uranium gas and ramped up construction of a heavy water reactor at Arak that could be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

As I have  said before, the truth must be told at least as often (if not 10 or 100 times as often) as the lie.  I can’t do it all by myself, but I can do my share.

Iran is currently helping Iraq (and us) by fighting against ISIS in Iraq. To show our appreciation for the help, we threaten to impose tougher sanctions. If there were anything we could do to convince Iran that they needed nuclear weapons to get any respect from us, the Congress seems hellbent on doing it.

So I categorized this current post under Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior – “If you see a behavior that seems to you to be counterproductive, perhaps you have misunderstood what the behavior was trying to produce.”

Perhaps a comment on the ABC story on the ABC web site has the answer:

The Republicans want to scuttle any possibility of a deal with Iran, because then they can say that Obama failed. Worse, the Millenialists and Christer nuts in the Republican Party want Iran to develop the Bomb, and use it as an excuse for Armageddon.

 


Are the Republicans and Netanyahu Actually Heroes?

I read this response to an article on The Daily Kos.  I’ll call it Are the Republicans and Netanyahu Actually Heroes?  I think the following paragraph excerpted from the comment best summarizes the point the commenter was making:

When a segment of the Iranian ruling establishment thinks that the correct strategic choice is always on the opposite side of what the Jewish guy thinks, or in this case what the conservative Christian Republicans think, it’s not that hard to picture them being maneuvered into accepting whatever Rouhani’s guys agree to in Geneva.  Picture Rouhani sending a trusted emissary to talk to the Majlis hardliners and all he’ll have to say is “you should support this deal because the Republicans and the evil Jooz are against it.”  As soon as they hear “Jooz,” half of those hardliners will all be falling over each other to support the deal. (using the mis-spelled version of the word to convey the very real and very dispiriting but also very predictable anti-Semitism involved).

My response to this possible ploy was  the following:

Should we Forgive The Republicans and Netanyahu

This convoluted strategy almost sounds plausible.  If the Senate, the House, and Netanyahu are all part of a carefully orchestrated scheme from the Whitehouse to get the Iranians to accept the deal, will it even be possible to make this public after the deal is signed?

If it can’t be made public for fear of losing the deal, will the Republicans and Netanyahu have sacrificed their careers for the good of the nation and the world?

If the Republicans are willing to sit in prison for three years for violating the Logan Act just to achieve a deal on nuclear proliferation, they will deserve secret medals of freedom from Obama.

This definitely puts this idea in the class of examples of Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior.