Links 7/4/13

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Dear patient readers,

We are trying some tech fixes, so bear with us.

1. Days before the site migration, we saw a big uptick in what looked like site attacks, except it was from a whole bunch of different IPs in China. This made the site slow down to be almost unusable at times. Our old tech guy tried implementing Cloudflare, which was able to block more of the intrusive accessing of the site, BUT also produced intermittent short outages (like 5 mins) for some users (including moi). These nasty site scrapers appear tohave robots on thousands of machines just repeatedly pulling down bad directory listings as well as normal pages of the site. Our new webhost has heard of this kind of behavior against porn sites (as often the same url will have different content later on) but rarely on a site with articles that seldom change. He’s implemented a fix for that so hopefully you won’t be having random brief outages.

2. We are implementing some comment fixes to try to end or at least substantially reduce the disappearing comment problem. It turns out Akismet (which is widely used to block spam) is the problem, and we are testing another way to deal with spam.

3. I notice some of you started to make fun of the spam that Akismet was letting through, the “great blog” sort. Please don’t. They are spamming to put the URL of whatever they are promoting in the URL line. If I delete their comment (the fastest way to get rid of the problem) it messes up the thread if you’ve commented UNLESS I also delete your comment, but I have to delete YOURS first and then theirs (reverse order up the reply chain) not to mess up the rest of the thread. So please DO NOT feed trolls or spammers.

Man Arrested Two Times in 3 Months for Having Sex With the Same Horse Gawker. Um, see Zoo

Climate extremes are ‘unprecedented’ BBC

Humans: the real threat to life on Earth Guardian. More resource consumption by the current population level (ie rising standards of living) will produce the same outcome.

The Drone Strike Push Notifications Apple Doesn’t Want You To See Fast Company (Deontos)

Ex-NYU professor arrested for stalking Citigroup’s chief economist Daily News (Scott). Oh, and NYU is trying to expunge her, see Here’s The Heleen Mees PhD Thesis That NYU Doesn’t Want You To See Clusterstock

New research suggests economic stagnation is no excuse for climate inaction PhysOrg

China Introduces Death Penalty for Serious Cases of Pollution OilPrice

Caught on tape: What Rupert Murdoch really thinks about bribing public officials Independent (Chuck L)

Egypt Has a Coup Morsi Departs:

What REALLY Caused the Coup Against the Egyptian President George Washington

Ouster of Egypt’s Morsi creates headache for the U.S. Agence France-Presse

Elections Promised as Constitution Is Suspended New York Times

Morsi Is Out: Images From the Egyptian Leader’s Final 48 Hours Mother Jones

Egypt: The 2013 Military Coup Moon of Alabama

Obama avoids calling Morsi ouster a ‘coup’ Financial Times. Get the subhead: “US law requires cutting aid in case of coup.” Translation: we want to buy the new incumbents as quickly as possible.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

So who, exactly, re-routed Evo Morales’s plane? MsExPat, Corrente. My bet is Nato did it. I’m told this story is getting more prominent play in Europe than the Morsi ouster.

Morales’ flight over Europe, minute by disputed minute Washington Post. Classic. Someone, or several someones, tried mudding the record (don’t tell me this doesn’t happen, I’ve been a bit player on some stories where I’ve seen this done deliberately).

France apology in Bolivia jet row BBC

U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement New York Times

Circumventing Invasive Internet Surveillance with Carrier Pigeons laetus in praesens (Deontos)

NSA Wiretapping Public Service Announcement Real News (Inverness)

Ecuador says it found a hidden microphone at its London embassy Reuters (furzy mouse)

Mastercard and Visa Start Banning VPN Providers TorrentFreak. You know this has to be in response to official pressure…

Al-Qaeda sought to benefit from WikiLeaks documents, prosecutors say and The Guardian: Small British paper makes big impact with NSA stories Washington Post (furzy mouse). OMG, WaPo trying increasing desperate strategies to discredit the Guardian and Snowden. Guardian “a small paper”?

Hints surface that NSA building massive, pervasive surveillance McClatchy (Lambert)

NSA/GCHQ – The New Praetorians and the New Cold War Golem XIV

Nobody Pays Any Attention To What I Say Paul Krugman

Health Law Delay Puts Exchanges in Spotlight New York Times. Confirming Lambert’s reporting….

Health-Law Penalty Delay Clouds Individual Mandate Wall Street Journal. The Journal smells blood, but that is their bent.

If You Haven’t Figured Out How to Make the Employer Mandate Work Yet, How Will Another Year Help? Jon Walker, Firedoglake

What Happens in Detroit Won’t Stay in Detroit Bloomberg

Occupy Oakland protesters awarded $1m over police violence during arrests Guardian

A View from South Philly CounterPunch (Carol B)

A Pledge To Be Responsible Tim Duy. OMG, lunacy! Dudley says the Fed is gonna tighten (wellie I’m not respecting their nomenclature, they seem to think “tightening” is limited to increasing the Fed funds rate) in anticipation of overheating in 2014. Huh? This a stock and housing market centric view of the world. I’d love to know how we are even remotely at risk of “overheating” in the real economy (and remember, I was never a fan of QE BUT we are where we are….you don’t take someone in the hospital whose muscles are atrophied because you’ve given them the wrong meds and dump them out on the street and tell them to walk home).

Fed Ready for September Taper After Shocking Market, Meyer Says Bloomberg

MISS: ISM Services Index Falls And Misses Expectations Clusterstock

Fed delays swaps rule for Goldman Sachs MarketWatch (1 SK). Of course, announced on one of the slowest news days of the year….

REDISTRIBUTION AND THE HOLLOW MIDDLE CLASS Tomas Hirst, Pieria

Antidote du jour (martha r):

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And of course…..Happy 4th!

io0703_Fireworks

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143 comments

    1. sleepy

      I got a beef with Carolina wrens. For such a tiny bird, they sure make a loud racket in spring and early summer–and they crank up early too, about 4:30 AM.

    2. sleepy

      I’ve got a beef with Carolina wrens. For such a tiny bird, they always manage to create quite a loud ruckus outside my window in the pre-dawn hours–say, 4:30 AM–in spring and early summer.

      Bought one of those plastic owls to scare them off. Wouldn’t you know it though–it got tipped on its side and the wrens then made a nest in the hole in the bottom, lol.

  1. psychohistorian

    So Apple will let you have a game app that lets you play drone master and blow up things but will not allow an app that pushes out public information about US drone strikes.

    The climate change article is just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended). It is looking like in 5-7 years we could have runaway changes (high fear factor).

    Welcome to your future where perverted reality is just not quite evenly distributed yet. Maybe we should be celebrating Independence from reality day.

  2. Ben Johannson

    ….you don’t take someone in the hospital whose muscles are atrophied because you’ve given them the wrong meds and dump them out on the street and tell them to walk home.

    I’m going to steal this analogy, thanks.

    1. David Lentini

      you don’t take someone in the hospital whose muscles are atrophied because you’ve given them the wrong meds and dump them out on the street and tell them to walk home.

      Sure you do; it’s called American for-profit health care. My wife and I are still stunned when we recall how our local hospital very bluntly gave my invalid mother 24 hours to leave when she decided to refuse further treatment for her lymphoma.

      1. LucyLulu

        A decision more than likely made by your mother’s health insurer (payor), not the hospital or her doctor. When one is discharged from the hospital is invariably determined by insurers…….. As soon as they give notice they won’t be paying anymore, patients not so coincidentally no longer need the services provided by the hospital.

        (In reality, the criteria used by insurers for that level of care are aligned with the needs of the patient, but not always. I also happen to believe that hospitals are unhealthy places, and that stays should be kept as brief as possible. If people checked out the preventable mortality rates for hospitals published by Medicare, more would agree. They average about 15% of surgical admissions.)

  3. ambrit

    Friends;
    I wonder if we could have an “Anti-Independence Day” holiday? Sort of like Alices’ “Unbirthday.” (More likely, a “Freedom From Responsibility Day.”)
    Oh well. Off to work. Hope I don’t run into one of those holiday roadblocks the local cops have become so fond of lately.

    1. rjs

      actually, i appreciated the “great blog” sort on my guest posts; on some, they were virtually the only comments i got…

  4. F. Beard

    re: REDISTRIBUTION AND THE HOLLOW MIDDLE CLASS Tomas Hirst, Pieria:

    There would be far less need for redistribution if we did not allow legal but unjust wealth distribution in the first place. I am speaking, of course, of the money system whereby the banks and the most so-called “creditworthy” are allowed to steal the population’s purchasing power, allegedly for the general welfare.

    Endogenous money is a good thing. Asset-backed money is a good thing. These are why the current system has produced so much wealth. But because the current system is not ethical, it has not distributed that wealth justly.

    We can do better. Note that Equity is on the same side of the balance sheet as Liabilities. This means that Equity is also backed by Assets (duh!). This means that “money” can be issued as Equity (ownership), not just as Liabilities (debt). This means that a debt-free private money form is possible and in fact already exists. That money form is common stock, also know as “shares.”

  5. from Mexico

    @ “What REALLY Caused the Coup Against the Egyptian President”

    George Washington writes:

    Indeed, the American government has been providing arms, money and logistical support to Al Qaeda in Syria, Libya, Mali, Bosnia and other countries – and related Muslim terrorists in Chechnya, Iran, and many other countries. So moderate Arabs all over the Middle East and North Africa are becoming furious at U.S. interventionist policies.

    The US oligarchy has a long and sordid history of inciting and exploiting culture wars and religious, ethnic and racial strife. As the Rev. Martin Luther King explained: “These persons gain prominence and power by the dissemination of false ideas, and by deliberately appealing to the deepest hate responses within the human mind.”

    In the Middle East and central Asia, Afghanistan served as the recent prototype. Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency program to arm and finance the Afghan mujahideen prior to and during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, 1979 to 1989. The program leaned heavily towards supporting militant Islamic groups rather than other, less ideological Afghan resistance groups. In the late 1980s, Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, concerned about the growing strength of the Islamist movement, told President George H. W. Bush, “You are creating a Frankenstein.”

    1. from Mexico

      It is the poor rural people of the Islamic world who pay the highest price for the US’s promotion of Islamic extremism. Greg Mortenson here describes the delitirous effect the US’s support of Islamist extremism has had on the poor rural people of Afghanistan:

      Well, I’ve worked for now 17 years in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. And originally the Taliban were somewhat, as you mentioned, somewhat more ideological… What’s interesting, too, is having been on the ground for many years, I’ve seen a shift in where people are starting to turn against the Taliban in the last two years. As a militant entity, they had a lot of support. But they’re not able to deliver healthcare, education, roads, and the things that most people want, and peace. And there’s been quite a shift in the public sentiment towards the Taliban over the last two, three years….

      The Taliban, when they recruit, they go into areas that are impoverished. They give people $500 to $1,000. They– there’s a lot of pressure also that if people don’t give their son up for the Taliban, the– there’s extortion or they’ll start intimidating or harming the people. And the other thing is many of the despot mullahs keep the people illiterate, and they learn, these young boys, learn how to read the Quran, but they don’t learn how to understand Arabic….

      This is more, a little bit more ideological, but one thing the Taliban are doing very deliberately is driving a wedge through society by destroying the relationship between the elders and the youth. And they’re taking the young boys and the men out of the villages, put them in areas where there’s no outside influence, and indoctrinate them. They can do it very quickly and effectively…

      http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01152010/profile2.html

      1. from Mexico

        Here’s more from Mortenson:

        And so I try to listen. And I ask widows and women in rural areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan what do you want? I want to help you, but what do you want? And you’d think most women would say, “I want a good husband. I want a big house. I want prosperity.” But what most women tell me are just two simple things. They say, “We don’t want our babies to die, and we want our children to go to school.” And of anything that really drives me, those are the two things that really keep me on because I think we need to listen to those women. What they want most of all is, you know, what any mother around the world wants. And you don’t want your baby to die or your child and you want your children to go to school.

      2. from Mexico

        And here’s more from Mortenson describing the kind of folks Obama has allied himself with in his war to impose neoliberalism on the Middle East and central Asia:

        Well, they want to isolate and marginalize people so they can indoctrinate them as very virulent, militant kind of ideology. Many of the suicide bombers are younger. Some of them are mentally handicapped. They’ve also removed them totally. They’ve drugged them. They’ve beaten them. And then they take them, they strap them in with a suicide jacket, which is sewn in. You can’t actually take it off your body. And then they’re given orders to go out and you know, they’re, said they’re going to receive a lot of benefits and their families.

        1. diptherio

          Maybe you didn’t catch it, but Greg Mortenson’s school-building turned out to be mostly a fraud. 60 minutes did the investigative report, and it was pretty shocking. That doesn’t mean that nothing he ever said has any merit, but quoting him as an authority after the revelations about the Central Asia Institute (CAI) is something you might want to avoid.

          1. wunsacon

            Heh… My internal BS meter started grumbling while I read that transcript excerpt, even before you reminding me who Mortensen was. (And I rarely hear a peep from my meter when reading comments from Mexico or others on this site.)

            1. from Mexico

              What specifically set off your BS meter? Exactly what is it that Mortenson said that you disagree with?

              PBS did a documentary that goes into far more detail than what Mortenson did, and it makes many of the same points he did:

              FRONTLINE/World: Children of the Taliban
              http://video.pbs.org/video/1134781691/

              It’s not possible to respond to either your or diptherio’s comment, because neither one of you challenge the content of what Mortenson said.

              1. wunsacon

                >> What specifically set off your BS meter?

                Here’s what probably started it: “But they’re not able to deliver healthcare, education, roads, and the things that most people want, and peace.”

                Uh huh. So, those people over there can’t deliver healthcare, education, roads, and *peace*? Very ironic, for at least two reasons:
                – Sounds like some “first world” nations I know of.
                – How *are* people supposed to “deliver” *peace* when they’ve been used as a weapon between superpowers? They are a “weaponized people”.

                So, when I hear this quality of criticism levied at our enemies, I start thinking “it’s propaganda” and “what in this narrative is maybe being emphasized to ‘sell’ me something?”

                >> Exactly what is it that Mortenson said that you disagree with?

                You’re asking me to disprove the statements from this guy? Shouldn’t you be proving them, with other sources? And if you have those other (trustworthy) sources, why not cite them instead of him?

                I haven’t read anything about this guy since that 60 Minutes piece. If that’s a different guy or you know better about something, kindly share.

              2. from Mexico

                • wunsacon says:

                Here’s what probably started it: “But they’re not able to deliver healthcare, education, roads, and the things that most people want, and peace.”

                Uh huh. So, those people over there can’t deliver healthcare, education, roads, and *peace*?

                But Mortenson didn’t say “those people over there.” He said that the Taliban — religious militants and fundamentalists — can’t deliver these things. He said that the Islam of militant fundamentalists is antithetical to traditional, mainstream Islam. This is an argument, by the way, also made by John Gray in Al Qaeda and What it Means to Be Modern. Mortenson’s argument is that the Islamic street has rejected the militant, fundamentalist Islam being proselytized by the Taliban and other extremist groups. This is the same argument made, by the way, by Adam Curtis in The Power of Nightmares.

                • wunsacon says:

                You’re asking me to disprove the statements from this guy?

                No, I asked you to be more specific about what your objections were than “my internal BS meter started grumbling.”

                • wunsacon says:

                Shouldn’t you be proving them, with other sources? And if you have those other (trustworthy) sources, why not cite them instead of him?

                Shouldn’t you be citing evidence to prove the larger hypothesis, the one formulated and evangelized by the New Atheists, which is that war is caused predominately by religion, as opposed to being caused by other human motivations, such as material interests or secular ideologies?

                The Guardian published a commentary on this subject a couple of days ago. It states the New Atheist position and then allows four religionists to respond, which is then followed by a very lively debate in the comments section (over 1600 comments):

                “Doesn’t religion cause most of the conflict in the world?”
                http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/02/religion-wars-conflict

                Just in case there’s any doubt as what my position is, I acknowledge that religion can cause war, but I believe the overwheming majority of war is caused by the pursuit of material interests. TPTB, of course, like to dress up their material pursuits in religious garb. “It is a common phenomenon for a ponerogenic association or group to contain a particular ideology which always justifies its activities and furnishes motivational propaganda,” notes Andrew M. Lobaczewski. “Even a small-time gang of hoodlums has its own melodramatic ideology and pathologial romanticism.”

                As to other sources which flesh out what Mortenson is saying, here’s another excellent video:

                TALIBAN USE OF CHILDREN
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7baMe2xxRTQ

                • wunsacon says:

                I haven’t read anything about this guy since that 60 Minutes piece. If that’s a different guy or you know better about something, kindly share.

                Well again, I prefer to focus my attention and energies on the message and not the messenger.

                Convicted criminals are trotted out every day in this country by prosecutors to give testimony in courtrooms, which I think goes to illustrate that even convicted criminals can have something credible and worthwhile to say.

                1. wunsacon

                  >> I prefer to focus my attention and energies on the message and not the messenger.

                  His message sounds like propaganda. And on top of that, a story came out on national media claiming he’s a fraud. Despite this, you’re going to still express that preference — with *this* messenger??

                  You’re able to cite other sources. Great. So, drop that other guy. Not doing so risks damaging your own credibility.

                2. wunsacon

                  So, first you write:

                  >> Exactly what is it that Mortenson said that you disagree with?

                  If I’m to “disagree” with something, then surely you’d want some proof of that. Correct? That’s why I wrote this:

                  >> You’re asking me to disprove the statements from this guy?

                  And, in direct response to that, you wrote this:

                  >> No, I asked you to be more specific about what your objections were than “my internal BS meter started grumbling.”

                  C’mon, man! You asked me both. (And I answered both.)

  6. diptherio

    Is it just me or does the Bloomberg article about Detroit rub anyone else the wrong way? I understand their argument, that “screwing” investors now will make it harder to attract money in the future, but surely forcing pensioners to take cuts is even worse (if only from the ethical, and not the financial side of things). What I always ask about situations like this is who is actually involved. My guess would be that holders of Detroit’s bonds are considerably better off financially than the city’s pensioners. So we have yet another case of robbing the poor to pay-off the rich (sounds a bit like Cyprus, no?).

    Bloomberg’s analysis, to my mind, is shameful: apologetics for injustice.

    1. financial matters

      I think the problem comes down to fraud again similar to the MBS http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/07/david-dayen-a-revealing-episode-in-dc-groupthink.html

      I thought this was a pertinent comment to the article…

      “”Rob:

      Nope–ALL of these pensions all assume 8%+ annual returns to remain solvent. Retiring after 20 years and then getting the equivelent of a $5M 401k despite only putting in close to $50k of your own money is always a recipe for disaster. Pensions were always a horrible idea–they simply postponed economic issues (ie increase pay in the short term) while the costs show up long after mgmt is gone or were used to get votes (ala government unions).

      Healthcare is definitely a huge problem but not the reason detroit is going bankrupt (might be why the US govt goes bankrupt, though)”””

      Pension funds should be invested in safe sound investments and there is no way these can be found at 8%. So this feeds into our ongoing process of musical chairs to see who is going to get the real money. It is in short supply.

      We need to restructure toward productive investment and transparent and realistic pension funds. Many were underfunded/raided based on these unrealistic and ultimately unpayable promises.

  7. diptherio

    Thanks for looking into the comment black-hole. This one, apparently, WP thinks is already posted…but I’m not seeing it anywhere, so trying again…

    Is it just me or does the Bloomberg article about Detroit rub anyone else the wrong way? I understand their argument, that “screwing” investors now will make it harder to attract money in the future, but surely forcing pensioners to take cuts is even worse (if only from the ethical, and not the financial side of things). What I always ask about situations like this is who is actually involved. My guess would be that holders of Detroit’s bonds are considerably better off financially than the city’s pensioners. So we have yet another case of robbing the poor to pay-off the rich (sounds a bit like Cyprus, no?).

    Bloomberg’s analysis, to my mind, is shameful: apologetics for injustice.

  8. diptherio

    After submitting the following comment, the page is reloaded with “confirm=spammer” appended to the end of the html address. Thanks for looking into the comment black-hole, btw.

    Is it just me or does the Bloomberg article about Detroit rub anyone else the wrong way? I understand their argument, that “screwing” investors now will make it harder to attract money in the future, but surely forcing pensioners to take cuts is even worse (if only from the ethical, and not the financial side of things). What I always ask about situations like this is who is actually involved. My guess would be that holders of Detroit’s bonds are considerably better off financially than the city’s pensioners. So we have yet another case of robbing the poor to pay-off the rich (sounds a bit like Cyprus, no?).

    Bloomberg’s analysis, to my mind, is shameful: apologetics for injustice.

  9. from Mexico

    @ “So who, exactly, re-routed Evo Morales’s plane?”

    Doesn’t all this fall under the rubric of threats and intimidation? A demonstration of just what the US is capable of? Of sending a message to the world that the US will stop at nothing to silence Snowden, and let this serve as an example of what we’re capable of doing and will do to anyone who dares help Snowden?

    Outside the United States, Snowden has far more moral authority than Obama. Obama is attempting to compensate for his moral dificit by cranking up the violence and intimidation. But this will not work. The only way to earn moral authority is through moral acts, which Obama seems to have no concept of.

    1. Synopticist

      Forcing a presidents plane to land is totally unbelievable, and the people who did it know that. It’s unprecedented. I’m stunned.

      1. Inverness

        Yes. Imagine if the New York Times had the courage to call it what it was — a kidnapping.

      2. psychohistorian

        The spoiled brats that are the global plutocracy of the Wester Bloc have executed a bully event to show how strong and powerful they are.

        If we never set limits on inheritance we will continue to be ruled by these perverts.

    1. F. Beard

      Changing metaphors (correct me if I’m not using the correct word, English majors?), the banks hold the economy hostage. So until that hostage is freed, we are not truly free to act.

      So what say we free the hostage?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      If someone has gotten used to the crappy meds, you don’t take him off them suddenly (I’m on a prescription right now my doctors aren’t sure I should have been put on, not a terribly big deal one, but now that I’m on it they think it will be more trouble to me than it’s worth to get me off, so I know this place). And the rationale for ending QE according to the Fed is not that it is failed but that we are in danger of overheating.

      Reality is path dependent. We have to move from where we are, not where it would be better to have been. The Fed has already produced a bigger interest rate increase on the long end than it wanted (see its remarks about “oh we don’t want to kill the housing ‘recovery’) but it is not backing off. It wants out and from everything I can tell, this is for political, not economic reasons. The Fed thinks it has done a great job.

      Bernanke was doing QE in 2010 yet calling for budget cuts. This is what we have passing for economic thinking at the Fed.

      1. scraping_by

        You could actually trace it back to April 2009 when the Fed’s Open Market Operations started inflating the DJIA. A relative trickle of money, but definitely pennies from heaven. Helping the zero sum game at the NYSE grow a positive sum.

        Before some free market cultist asks, no I didn’t go all in for index funds and triple or quadruple my money. My only avenue that way was Vanguard, and their management fees would have taken all but 3% a year of any increase. And, I knew I didn’t know when the music would stop.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You can get doubles and triples as ETFs, but you had better either go for a big index (less volatile) or be very confident re times, because the doubles and triples will kill you over time (they decay over time, but it’s driven by volatility).

  10. Z

    I wonder how long will it take before Egypt … who is very dependent upon the Israeli’s client state’s (the U.S.) foreign aid to feed their peoples … will fully realize that it is in their best interests to threaten Israel to get the foreign aid from d.c. that they so desparately need to maintain order? And if the new Egyptian government starts going down that path, will they be able to control the rage that they will need to allow to foment in order to pose a credible threat of war with Israel and then be able to pull back on it once they get their aid from Israel’s client state? And still maintain power?

    The U.S. government has less leverage than they let on. Of course, their most reflexive … and amoral … hope to control the situation is what it has always been in the Middle East: bribe a strong-arm ruler into representing U.S./Israel’s interests while oppressing their own people. But that game has gotten way old and holding down the people of Egypt without actually doing much to improve their lives isn’t likely to work this time.

    Z

    1. gordon

      “…what it has always been in the Middle East: bribe a strong-arm ruler into representing U.S./Israel’s interests while oppressing their own people”.

      Not only the ME. This is the strategy the US learned in Latin America many, many years ago and has since been using all over the world as though, eg, “Egypt=Brazil”. But they’re not the same places, so the strategy doesn’t work so well over there. Nobody in the US Govt. has worked this out yet.

      But the most revealing remark from the US Govt. re: Egypt is attributed to Obama by the Guardian: “Democracy is not just about elections”! Right, so now it’s official.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/03/egypt-obama-us-mohamed-morsi-crisis

  11. John Zelnicker

    “Our new webhost has heard of this kind of behavior against porn sites…”

    Perhaps they are confused by the name “Naked” Capitalism. :-)

    Wonder what they think they will see. The possibilities are mind-boggling.

      1. charles sereno

        Thanks for that.

        “What has been will be again,
        What has been done will be done again;
        There is nothing new under the sun!”
        (Ecclesiastes 1:19, NIV. Attn, F. Beard)

        Comments: 1) Notice early use of the “wave” at the end; 2) Ginger Rogers was an unheralded prima ballerina of the mid 20th century. She also had the great accompanying facial gestures.

      2. charles sereno

        Ground control to major Massinissa
        Can you hear me?
        Can you…

        [Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!]

        OK, Ok, already. What for I should do? Try again? OK.

        Thanks for that, major Massinissa.

        “What has been will be again,
        What has been done will be done again;
        There is nothing new under the sun!”
        (Ecclesiastes 1:19, NIV. Attn, F. Beard)

        Comments: 1) Notice early use of the “wave” at the end; 2) Ginger Rogers was an unheralded prima ballerina of the mid 20th century. She also had the great accompanying facial gestures.

        1. Massinissa

          Her singing was sort of weird in this piece, it wasnt like that in other productions she was in.

          But in it Ginger certainly had as impeccable control over what she showed on her face, as you say.

          And I wouldnt say she was quite unheralded, mostly just forgotten. She was very popular in her own era. She just didnt have the kind of long lasting appeal to have her work remembered through the ages. Many people dont: Even people with even more talent are often forgotten by posterity. Just the way history works, I suppose.

        2. Massinissa

          She wasnt quite unheralded, she was very popular in her own era. She just doesnt have the broad appeal necessary to have her work heralded down the ages. Shes not alone in that: Even people with extraordinary talent are often forgotten by most of the world within a century of their deaths. Just the way history works, I suppose.

  12. Walter Map

    Re: Humans: the real threat to life on Earth

    Given present trends, humanity can be expected to have the same destiny as every other population that has exceeded the capacity of its ecological supports: it will suffer a massive die-off, and the remainders will be a mess, forced to adapt at a very high cost to salvage what’s left.

    There does not appear to be any means of even slowing down present trends appreciably, much less reversing them. Comparisons of the rates of destruction of ecological capability with the rate of population increase suggest that the population probably won’t reach 10 billion before it crashes. Some scenarios delay or mitigate the coming crash somewhat, and with low probability, but the possibility of actually preventing it is vanishing small. Projections worsen when factoring in additional possible catastrophic events, like nuclear war, meteor strike, plagues, and so forth.

    The masters of mankind of certainly aware of these facts and can be seen to be preparing accordingly, so as to try to ensure their own prosperity once the great culling commences. Totalitarianism is pursued in order to maintain control as the inevitable catastrophe evolves.

    Why, when the situation is so clear and alarming, does it remain so stubbornly intractable to change? It’s because those who have power in the world want it to be this way.

    It’s surreal, knowing what’s coming, watching it coming year by year, and being unable to do anything about it.

    1. charles sereno

      Re: The threat to life on Earth for Humans
      One possibility, maybe a probability, that’s not been given enough attention is the the following, metaphorical scenario — it just takes a “match” to ignite an uncontrolled, unplanned fire. With billions of people around, many with grievances, and ever increasing off-the-shelf, powerful-beyond-imagination technological “matches” in the works, the natural initial advantage of offensive vs. defensive tactics may inevitably end the game after the very first move. Consider the stupidity of the War on Terror and Homeland Security. About 50 years ago, it occurred to some not necessarily deranged people to plant bombs on airplanes. It happened to be a spectacular way to gain media attention. More people could be efficiently killed by foolproof means, but without the necessary, attendant publicity. In the aftermath, trillions of dollars have been wasted in devising fly swatters to combat a few errant insects. Folks, the problem is plain to see. This is not the way to keep evermore dangerous “matches” from the public. I believe there’s a slight chance to continue our civilizing progress. It will take a wake-up call.

    2. sd

      And the meek shall inherit the earth…

      Sometimes the best action you can take is to simply step aside.

    3. Lois

      I agree that reaching 10 billion before the crash is unlikely. That which can’t continue, won’t. I am always struck by the inherent contradiction in articles like this. Even people who are trying to sound the alarm won’t come out and say that people are going to die. They will lay out the ridiculously huge energy and water requirements needed to keep current consumption going at higher population, but then act like that the population trends will just keep going as they have. Such a taboo against just stating the obvious.

    4. charles sereno

      (I’ve tried multiple times. I hope I’m not embarrassingly duplicated, given the Troubles.)

      Re: The threat to life on Earth for Humans
      One possibility, maybe a probability, that’s not been given enough attention is the following, metaphorical scenario — it just takes a “match” to ignite an uncontrolled, unplanned fire. With billions of people around, many with grievances, and ever increasing off-the-shelf, powerful-beyond-imagination technological “matches” in the works, the natural initial advantage of offensive vs. defensive tactics may inevitably end the game after the very first move. Consider the stupidity of the War on Terror and Homeland Security. About 50 years ago, it occurred to some not necessarily deranged people to plant bombs on airplanes. It happened to be a spectacular way to gain media attention. More people could be efficiently killed by foolproof means, but without the necessary, attendant publicity. In the aftermath, trillions of dollars have been wasted in devising fly swatters to combat a few errant insects. Folks, the problem is plain to see. This is not the way to keep evermore dangerous “matches” from the public. I believe there’s a slight chance to continue our civilizing progress. It will take a wake-up call.

  13. Mark

    If you are using WP, I suggest try the Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. It won’t stop all of them but it should help reduce some of the bot comments.

    1. prostratedragon

      The end of an intermediate verse:


      Who needs old equities
      When one can pile on fees
      And rates that merely tease
      To fleece them all?

      Does need a big finish, eh?

  14. efschumacher

    On Mail Covers and Big Brotherly Love: I smell a business opportunity here. So wouldn’t it be possible to set up a mail routing network that operates analogous to TOR, with letters and communications wrapped in a matryoshka doll set of nesting envelopes randomly addressed via different routing offices in different countries? Then nobody knows without opening them the original source of the letter, they only know the last hop.

    1. Gordon Cook

      Yves – given that you are the single best source of alternative information about our oppressive dangerous and corrupt financial system, and the current revelations about NSA and OBozo, has not it occurred to you that the problems you are experiencing may now be coming from the security-corporate industrial complex?

      Seems they will stop at nothing. I have had an interest in authoritarian states ever since by PhD in Russian History Duke University 1972.

      1. psychohistorian

        I agree with your assessment that NC is being targeted.

        I wonder what it is costing them to do this hassle factor number on Yves/Lambert and the background techies? It seems like some sophisticated script hacking.

        I wonder if anyone will ever write up the network wars that are being waged at this time? Maybe call it the Sniffer Monologues……

        1. Lambert Strether

          Today’s problems are caused by experimentation with NC’s existing spam filter, which (as it turns out) seems likely to have caused some of the disappearing comments problems. I’m with Yves on this; let’s not flatter ourselves that we’re more important than we are. After all, when my head swells too much, I find it hard to get through doorways and such.

  15. man

    Mees — who once founded a female-empowerment organization called Women on Top — was arrested at 11:45 p.m. Monday.

    seems like rich independent intelligent women still want to win powerful men at top….
    sorry if i offend anybody

    1. Gordon Cook

      About a half hour ago I made a comment as to my ideas about the possible source of the web site problems Yves is reporting.

      I don’t see it here yet. Wondering why. I have commented here before…. not often however. 40 minutes ago I was booted from a different drive but all else is the same …. my physical address last changed in 1976.

      The gist of the comment as to the source of the attacks…. the US Government.

      Yves you deliver a message that our rulers do not want us to hear. why would NSA and its ilk not attack the site and raise your cost of operation as much as they could? To say i am discouraged is to put it mildly.

      Thank you for all you do.

      Gordon Cook, Editor and publisher of the COOK Report on Inernet Protocol since 1992. PhD in Russian history, Duke university 1972

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The bots are all in China, so this isn’t a US deal, this is just garden variety site scraping. This sort of thing is more common that you realize.

        Trust me, this site does not rise to the level of being an official annoyance. The banks got away with a quiet coup in 2008, and NC caviling about it isn’t a threat.

        I’ve also called attention to the trouble you are having to our tech people. Very sorry.

        1. diane

          I don’t think he was neccesariily referring to commercial spam bots so much as intent to thwart, which, as anyone in touch knows is a potential reality.

  16. Jackson Bane

    Al Qeada has an online magazine? They were planning to use troves of diplomatic cables to plot attacks? A video considered “factual” and written statements that are hard to verify and other digital media conveniently seized in the raid on Bin Laden’s compound. Wow, sounds like a real strong case. Remember the Pentagon tried to blame “foreign financial terrorsts” for the entire financial crisis. ‘Bin Laden Home Mortgage’ – that type of thing.

  17. wunsacon

    >> The Drone Strike Push Notifications Apple Doesn’t Want You To See Fast Company (Deontos)

    Apple is evil.

    No more Apple products for me.

  18. charles sereno

    There has to be someone out there who has noted this. I just haven’t yet seen it. Portugal’s Prime Minister is presently in a lot of hot water. No, that’s premature. Mr McGregor hasn’t got him yet. (Pedro Coelho, Peter Rabbit)

    1. LucyLulu

      All better now. Pedro is sticking around along with the remaining ministers. They heard that Portugal is already “showing signs of recovery”, joining the rest of the EU (except for those oppositional and profligate Greeks who shall be punished again accordingly). They need only make some tweaks to the austerity programme prescribed by the Troika, in its infinite wisdom, and they too can see the prosperity being enjoyed by those living in the UK.

      They obediently refused to allow Morales to enter their air space. They shall be rewarded accordingly. The US is posting excess jobs. And jobs are fungible, right? 7.5% yields are not so high, only a couple points over 5%.

      1. charles sereno

        There are “tweaks” and “tweaks.” Depending on the part of the anatomy, sorry, economy, it can be excruciatingly painful. Everyone knows that Pedro Coelho is translated as Peter Rabbit, right? I know Mr McGregor is pretty lame. You’d have to stretch him into a Valkyrie in drag.

  19. jrs

    Re REDISTRIBUTION AND THE HOLLOW MIDDLE CLASS funny how even people like the writer of the article think that the disppearance of middle wage jobs somehow just happens. It can’t ever be seen as designed can it? No matter how many trade treaties they sign, they must do economic analysis and know the effects of what they are signing right … but always the feigned innocence, how could anyone have known? No matter how many H1Bs they approve which they can’t but know will lead to further loss of jobs. Somehow it just appears as a phenomena of nature.

    And that view allows BOTH political parties in the U.S. to continue existing. Allows the belief that they all do what they can but the economy collapsed, but there is gridlock, but unemployment remains high. It can never be seen as: we knew the end results of the world the trade treaties were creating was the hollowing out of the middle class, we aren’t dummies, we have plenty of people who can do a basic predictive analysis, we knew and voted for it.

    1. Hugh

      Yes, by describing economics as if it were a natural process, agency and with it accountability are lost, I would say deliberately. I would add to your list anti-unionism, deregulation, and a 30 year policy at the Fed to suppress wages leading to the current massive wealth inequality.

  20. rich

    Judge’s loan modification order sends bank scrambling

    A Palm Beach County judge’s order requiring a bank to modify a homeowner’s mortgage instead of foreclosing has lender lawyers scrambling for a do-over and defense attorneys at attention.

    The order, signed by Judge Howard Harrison last month in a Royal Palm Beach foreclosure case, specifies payment amounts, a fixed 3.15 percent interest rate for 40 years, and requires the bank to mitigate damage done to the homeowner’s credit — details foreclosure defense attorneys said they have never before seen in a ruling.

    In fact, several said they were surprised and intrigued by the unusual order, which attempts to enforce a trial loan modification the homeowner received in 2009 but which may ultimately overstep the judge’s legal authority.

    “It seemed like the bank was trying to get payments out of the homeowner but never really had any intention of modifying the loan,” said attorney Jeff Harrington, who is defending homeowner Paul Posti. “Our argument is, if you look at it closely, it’s a binding contract.”

    The bank has asked for a rehearing in a 64-page request that includes the assertion that a trial loan modification is not an enforceable contract.

    “We disagree with the ruling in this case for a number of reasons, including that compliance with the decision would require us to violate several federal laws and it imposes a modification with terms that were never agreed to by the Bank,” Wells Fargo said in a statement Wednesday.

    http://4closurefraud.org/2013/07/04/wachovia-vs-posti-judges-loan-modification-order-sends-bank-scrambling/?

    1. financial matters

      With all the blatant servicer fraud it would seem that more of these types of cases could get legs..

  21. diane

    Just tried to repost (for the third and fourth time now) a pretty innocuous, factual (regarding job reqs and backed by job search site data) addition to a comment I had made at 2:54 PM on yesterdays Links page (a one sentence addition, no swearing, even tried to insert spaces into the URL so that it didn’t read as a URL, (which has been repeatedly eaten, all of my other posts yesterday appeared.

  22. Hugh

    The French apology in the Morales affair is completely hypocritical. They did what they did and they would do it again, and oh, sorry for any inconvenience.

    William Dudley, the President of the New York Fed (Geithner’s old job), was a chief economist at Goldman Sachs. This should tell you everything you need to know about him.

    We live in a surveillance state. The government’s iron law is “All your information are belong to us.” Email, snail mail, telephony, any electronic record of you anywhere, the government is not spying on all this for your security, but for the security of the ruling classes, the rich and elites. This is part of the class war they are and have been waging against us all. None of this should surprise us. For the powers that be, terrorism is just a convenient pretext for erecting a vast spying apparatus to control their real enemies, us, the 99%. It’s funny actually that only a few years such statements would be seen as the height of tinfoily paranoia, but now they barely raise an eyebrow.

    Another dim-witted, self-congratulatory column from Krugman. The Wall Street Journal named him the most influential business thinker. Here are the top 10 of 15:

    1.Paul Krugman
    2. Joseph Stiglitz
    3. Bill Gates
    4. Michael Porter
    5. Thomas Friedman
    6. Eric Schmidt
    7. Richard Branson
    8. Malcolm Gladwell
    9. Robert Reich
    10. Jack Welch

    Write your own joke. Krugman and Stiglitz are both Establishment liberals dedicated to the preservation of the politico-economic system which is killing and looting us. And the list goes down from there. Predatory billionaires (although interestingly no Soros or Buffett) and various hack journalists. I don’t know that I would qualify Porter as liberal. He is certainly neoliberal, and Reich is another typical Establishment liberal.

    I agree with Walter Map about the Guardian article. It blows its conclusion. It ends rather limply with the possibility of catastrophe but whereas it quantifies (without any exposition of methodoly) how much water it takes to create a variety of products, it does not hazard a guess at what world population is likely to be in 2100 with such a catastrophe. We are likely to hit 9 billion by the early 2040s and humanity will be lucky to count even 1 billion by 2100 (due to disease, war, and starvation), unless we radically curb population growth and unsustainable patterns of consumption. Events in Egypt can be seen as the initial bubbling up of the problems which could well consume us: high population, high inequality, declining arable land, higher food and energy prices, all leading to increased poverty and social unrest.

  23. diane

    Testing. Are posts which regard Palantir now being considered spam? (Even when the word Palantir isn’t mentioned?), or was it the Booz Allen connection?

  24. JTFaraday

    re: If You Haven’t Figured Out How to Make the Employer Mandate Work Yet, How Will Another Year Help? Jon Walker, Firedoglake

    “The fact that after three years they haven’t figured out how to make it work well is worrying. The problem might not be with their previous plan to implement this provision but that the very poorly designed employer mandate is unworkable.”

    Maybe the real reason is that they discovered employers were turning everyone they could into part-time employees in order to evade the mandate, and they decided the political fallout from this would be worse than saying they couldn’t implement it in time.

    While this won’t stop that process it might prolong it thereby better enabling it to creep by under the radar.

    Also, needless to say, the greater the number of part time employees, the more participants in medicaid.

    Which they may not be what they want either given that the whole purpose of this bill was to compel the purchase of private insurance plans, not to give people coverage.

  25. JTFaraday

    re: If You Haven’t Figured Out How to Make the Employer Mandate Work Yet, How Will Another Year Help? Jon Walker, Firedoglake

    Maybe the real reason is that they discovered employers were turning everyone they could into part-time employees in order to evade the mandate, and they decided the political fallout from this would be worse than saying they couldn’t implement it in time.

    While this won’t stop that process it might prolong it thereby better enabling it to creep by under the radar.

    Also, needless to say, the greater the number of part time employees, the more participants in medicaid.

    Which they may not be what they want either given that the whole purpose of this bill was to compel the purchase of private insurance plans, not to give people coverage.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I keep looking for hard numbers on the thirty hour thing, and plenty of right wing sites quote CEOs saying it’s going to happen, but so far as I can tell, the only hard evidence of industry practice is at universities, where the parasitical and overpaid administrative class is putting it to the adjuncts, but good.

      1. JTFaraday

        Well, that’s because so many schools have policies in place that limit the number course hours they can teach already.

        That’s why so many of them cobbled together courses at 2 or 3 or 4 different schools already.

        So, now you just have these schools and those that were less restrictive previously bringing themselves in line with current “best practices.”

        It’s also much easier to ensure that you don’t schedule, say, retail employees for more than 29 hours a week than it is to hire a full curriculum, which needs to be mostly finalized about 6 months advance of the semester for student registration.

        That’s why you can take the adjunct case as the leading edge of where this is going.

      2. ambrit

        Mr. Strether;
        Re. “I keep looking for hard numbers on the thirty hour thing.” That could be by design. If I remember correctly, most “official” research on such subjects is funded by either Big Government or Big Business. (The identity of the “funder” of the entity from which the research comes is usually a big “tell” for the underlying biases upon which said research is based.) So, the “official” silence. (I don’t travel in rarefied circles, so I could be wrong.) There could be research on this subject which is “proprietary.”
        All I have to offer is anecdote, but, such were the origins of now established dogmas. (Most religions are anecdotal in nature I propose.) The anecdotes I’m hearing from around the retail world are generally pointing towards the Thirty Hour concept as the “Coming Wave.” The Thirty Hour Movement, henceforth referred to as THM, also helps disguise the miserable jobs creation record of the present Pure Capitalism administration. As anyone here who has had contact with people labouring under this system knows, it also sows anxiety and confusion; both useful tools for the control of the working masses.
        The essential bit of misdirection being practiced here is that employment is being treated as a purely “Free Market Capitalism” commodity; subject to the laws of “Supply and Demand.” This completely ignores the social function of employment. So, I am not in the least surprised to hear about a scarcity of resources in regard to information about the THM. There is too much to hide.

        1. Lambert Strether

          We have posters here who work with those numbers, like Hugh. I’m sure looking for this effect is on his list.

          Adding… The place I’d go to look for evidence is retail or HR trade journals; if they’re working out ways to make “the coming thing” happen, then that would be a good indicator — better than the pronouncements of reactionary pizza CEOs, or career “progressive” tribalists amplifying those same pronouncements.

          1. ambrit

            Mr. Strether;
            (A bit late, or early, getting back on this, but…)
            I dunno about the HR trade journals. If the mass of HRs are anything like the few HRs I have known, then they are more like pre-programmed functionaries. Trade journals would be heavy on execution, and light on theory. The elite masters would be very interested in hiding any “agendas” from even their minions. But, as far as reverse engineering goes, yes, such publications can be “mines” of information.
            Early shift today. See ya later cher.
            BTW, any word from LBR lately?

  26. diane

    Testing. First Re post of the below comment, from a proxy server:

    Just tried to repost (for the third and fourth time now) a pretty innocuous, factual (regarding job reqs and backed by job search site data) addition to a comment I had made at 2:54 PM on yesterdays Links page (a one sentence addition, no swearing, even tried to insert spaces into the URL so that it didn’t read as a URL, (which has been repeatedly eaten, all of my other posts yesterday appeared.

  27. allcoppedout

    I focused on the ‘stalker’s’ PhD for signs of scholarship. I am unenlightened, but that’s the general outcome on social science doctorates. Lots of maths covers-up a lack of qualitative effort. This is the system.

    I turn up to work hoping what I get will pay off what’s left of the mortgage and such. I want a very different system and pretty much everything runs against personal scientific and moral value. Tough.

    So the Chinese are up to something. “We” are reacting because foreign savings might otherwise buy the land beneath our feet from under us. One might say oil wealth is up to the same trick. A few months maths and I’m back to the same thoughts.

    Back to the day job, less assured than ever no one is coming up with any rational programme that might stir my slumber before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I took a look as well and I agree with your conclusion. Lots of regression analysis followed by a series of unjustified leaps from correlation to causation supported by plausibility arguments, and no discussion at all of possible limitations and sources of error.

      I didn’t think any of the conclusions were particularly revolutionary though. In fact the conclusion that it was all China’s fault might be seen as quite useful by the establishment, in a kind of Bart Simpson, “I didn’t do it” sense. I can think of plenty of reasons why they might want it expunged (if I’d awarded a Ph.D. to someone who wrote that, I wouldn’t want it widely known either) but none related to the scandal. Surely the work should stand or fall on its own merits?

  28. Dana

    Re: mail monitoring – back in the late 20th century, not long after we’d moved to a new address, our 9-digit zip code was changed. There’d been no new construction in the neighborhood, no zoning changes. Is there any reason *other* than monitoring, for this to have been done?

  29. diane

    Whatever the comment fixes were to correct the disappearing comment problem, I’ve never had the problems I’ve had today (not that I wasn’t having a few problems (though most of those were time delay) previously.) this is my seventh post of the day. The first six (very short, and no links, or other html coding) were eaten.

    If I’ve been put on a spam list for some reason, under the new fix, it would be nice to know.

    1. AbyNormal

      this is a test BOO!
      if this get thru, your not alone Diane
      my post have gone poof too

      1. charles sereno

        Omigod, does this mean the only thing coming through will be from Mexico??? (f M, that was a joke. I do read every one of your comments. I learned discipline in parochial school. Sorry, that was another bad joke.) Seriously, I think you’re appreciated here at NC.

        1. AbyNormal

          your too kind charles!
          i consider myself tolerated among great minds here.
          most day’s i get ta learning so many new things i get all excited and my fingers just take off…like they got something to share :-/

          seriously, there is no blog like this …Hat Tip to All

  30. bob

    “What Happens in Detroit Won’t Stay in Detroit Bloomberg”

    Truth in a headline. If they allow the Bondholders above the pensioners, none of the money will stay in detroit.

    Why doesn’t anyone try to break down where these muni bond holders live? I know it would be hard, but it would be very enlightening. I bet an awful lot of them are suburbanites who howl at the “unions” and yet willingly lend their money, at a very good rate, to the city.

    If the bondholders get their way, the money will leave the city. Pensioners are much more likely to live within the city and to spend their money there.

    The end is amazing-

    “It’s critical that Detroit not pull anyplace else down with it. ”

    Yes, now Detoit is the center of the world, as indicated by the graphic appearing in the story. The only way to save Detroit, and the world as we know it, is to screw over the pensioners, not the bondholders who put their money at risk, willingly.

  31. AbyNormal

    bahahahahaa i just emailed Akismet to see if i fell into one of their blackholes…my emails have all showed up at once!

    sorry Folks

    1. skippy

      The web seems like a house with all the media devices ON… then someone turned on the toaster…

  32. AbyNormal

    WoW!

    Edwin Khodabakchian says:
    July 4, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    (I am the co-founder/CEO of feedly)

    Sorry for all the frustration :-( I am sorry we failed you so many times!

    I have logged a bug for the team to review and improve the index page.

    We have also invested a lot into a pure web version of feedly http://cloud.feedly.com which addresses some of the rough edges you ran into.

    We still have a long way to go. We are going to continue to listen and iterate.

    If there is *anything* I/we can do to help, my email is edwin@feedly.com

    Happy July 4th.

  33. William D. Markle

    Just want to remind Ives that NC has been blocked in China since the new site work was implemented. NC has always been reliably available, anytime in the last four years, so the recent blocking must have somethng to do with recent site channges. I hope there is a way to still receive NC. I have told students in China, and everyone everywhere, actually, that Ives and NC are a national treasure. I would like to be able to still read. I can only send this reply, because I am in the US for a few weeks.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I appreciate your enthusiasm for the site, but everyone seems to want to blame the new webhost for long-standing problems or ones independent of the migration.

      With all due respect, you have the timetable wrong. We were told were were blocked in China BEFORE we moved.

      In addition, we also started getting the bot attacks from China a few days before we moved.

      Finally, we have been blocked in China before, we’ve gotten reports of that in the past (although not in the last two years).

  34. Lambert Strether

    Readers, if I were a spam detection algorithm watching for bots or penny-a-comment Bangladeshis trying to bust into the big league commentariat, some of the things that might trigger me are:

    1) Multiple attempts with the same or more or less the same content;

    2) Multiple attempts in a short amount of time with the same handle and/or email address but a different IP address, or a proxy;

    3) Short, script-kiddie like probes, like “testing”

    Basically, a posting signature that looks like you’re doing everything possible to get your comment through, after the system resists and rejects you.

    CALM *** **** DOWN. We have technical people looking at improving the way spam is detected and prevented right now, so let’s not add noise to the system (and noise to the thread, too).

    In addition, you’re actually increasing the likelihood that you’ll be flagged as a spammer thereby (a) generating yet another round of complaints and (b) making more work for the admins.

    Anyone remember how this story turns out?

    1. skippy

      Anyone remember how this story turns out? – Lambert

      The Philosopher: Winnie.

      “And why do bees exist? To make honey, I guess. And why does honey exist? For me to eat it – I think so.”

      skippy… Disney estimates that merchandise based on the Pooh characters brings in as much revenue as merchandise featuring the characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto combined.

        1. ambrit

          Isn’t that what bees do also?
          Plus, I just can’t resist the worker bees Pooh dynamic.

    2. Nancy E. Kramer

      On your hosting I would suggest
      1 and 1 http://www.1and1.com
      Servint http://www.servint.net

      Servint has CPanel while 1 and 1 has a proprietary panel.
      I host a WordPress blog on each.
      Never had any trouble with either of them but they
      don’t get your traffic. I also moderate my comments ie I approve every one but this might not work for a busy site like yours. American Dream Cars is a busy site

      but it is not based on WordPress. Both have 24/7 support. Both companies only do web hosting.

      1 and 1 is one of the largest hosts in the world. I have hosted sites with both of these companies 9 plus years as a customer so have some experience with them.

      On your denial of service attack, it may be negative Search Engine Optimization to make your blog appear a low quality site to Google. Something like that was done

      to my American Dream Cars site the last two years. Doing this increases your bounce rate which is a negative quality signal to Google. The Chinese botnet was probably

      hired by someone in the USA who is out to get you. Probably lots of folks want to silence you and your site.

      I hope this comment gets through. Never have suceeded in getting one through to your site.

    3. diane

      I’ve been pondering for hours now, how to respond to your kindergarten ‘lesson’ Lambert, since clearly AbyNormal and I were the only two you could be responding to, as we were the only two who were noting a problem.

      Perhaps I’ll clarify far more later, but I call bull.

      For now:

      You are not a spam detection algorithm, are you, Lambert?

      Those on dial up have floating IP addresses which change every time they log onto the computer (I think you are aware of that) If I have to answer my phone, that means that I will be logging back on with a different IP address. Since I was actually very patient (over two days) trying to share something I think is very relevant, there is nothing I can do about my changing IP address, and actually don’t want to. I could understand if the problems I was having had been the norm, but they were not, they were brand new. I initially addressed the issue in a manner that has worked for me far more times than not, and I actually (EARLY ON) was able to post a message that my comment had been eaten, that message was ignored.

      It’s quite clear, that for some time now, you have not been on the painful receiving end of trying to make a comment you feel has much value, that has been consistently blocked no matter how patient one is with trying to give the benefit of the doubt as to why such a normally accepted comment on the site one has been consistently posting at with very, very rare prior problems of disappearing posts. This: especially when the problems occur after it’s been noted that corrections to disappearing comments are being made; and especially when one has already successfully posted a message that their comment disappeared and gave it a day before they attempted to, once again edit the comment for what they felt might be the problem.

      Pooh? …….indeed, the pedantry has a stench. Script kiddie[s] indeed, when it was actually helpless and frustrated adult sarcasm (at least on my part).

      1. diane

        As to (bolding mine):

        if I were a spam detection algorithm watching for bots or penny-a-comment Bangladeshis trying to bust into the big league commentariat

        Uuughhhh, …having it both ways? One might not suspect that something is happening to their posts made on the big league commentariat when they never ever comment in the manner of commercial spam comments on the big league commentariat?

        And, thinking on it even further, I have never seen the word “Testing” used in a commercial spambot comment, and I’ve seen a ton of them by now.

        1. diane

          (For anyone who might be curious as to the post I was attempting to make, it was initially made midday, on the third, and two reposted versions of it were released late yesterday (it would be nice, for historic purposes to actually have the date and time a post was recovered from spam included along with the attempted post date and time (most especially when there is a very long time gap between the two). After all, if some comments had been posted at the time they end up being noted as having been posted, the conversation might have been totally different); it was an addition (finally visible in delayed, reposted versions, but not the original) to this 07/03/13 comment)

      2. Lambert Strether

        The point (explained to skippy at the time) of the Pooh imagery, is that Pooh and Piglet are following their own tracks; some posters complaining about spam were in fact doing the very things that would cause a spam algorithm to flag them as spam. There was no allusion to any particular commenter; I know how to do that, if I need to. As for “script kiddies,” look it up. That’s what their spam can look like; I’ve seen it. I see the same behaviors described in that comment over and over again. It’s not about you.

        Shorter: “I display a general garment and you claim it’s cut to your fit? What a fascinating revelation.”

        1. skippy

          Hay, I was just being cheeky.

          skippy… Funny that Disney does not [yet] own A.A.M. work, although it is their biggest cash cow, got to feed them lawyers some how…. snicker…

      3. Howard Beale IV

        Or those who use Tor, where you can dynamically change your IP address to be in chicken fscking-porn loving Germany, or Ikea-founding Sweden, or who knows where the fsck else….

    4. Ray Duray

      Dear Lambert,

      I understand your’s and everyone else’s frustration with the comments section. I’ve had the system munch a few of my missives.

      It would be my thought that there are some good models out there for comments that seem pretty well behaved. The Disqus system, which floats on the cloud and it used by any number of various websites as it comments management software seems quite robust today. It might be worth looking into.

      Other than that, I would be in the camp to say that given the choice between having the commetariat P.O.ed because of constant harassment due to lost comments vis-a-vis having reader power through the occasional spam message, I chose “Freedom”. :) Spam is not a crushing oppression. It’s merely an annoyance.

      ***
      As a general notion on the management of the comments section, I would say that the tendency to want to automate the detectiona and deletion of span is not nearly as good in my mind as is the system of having volunteer moderators “Mods” who are part of the community and act as arbiters of community standards with admin authorities over whether or not certain abusers have their comments censored off the boards, or are banned from the board for a time certain or forever. I can think of several communities where this works pretty well. Wired.com, FireDogLake and my favorite example, Weatherunderground’s Dr. Jeff Masters blog run remarkably effective and non-frustrating moderation systems.

      See Dr. Master’s blog here:

      http://tinyurl.com/cltcx

      Hope this was of some use. I for one certainly appreciate the efforts you ae going through to make the NC board useful. I find the comments section invaluable for introducing new ideas to all of us. Thank You.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Ray,

        I don’t think you begin to appreciate the level and nature of the spam we have. We have over 1200 spam messages a day. That is 3-6x the amount of reader comments. And they aren’t cute and short like the ones that have been getting through lately. Most are extremely long, incoherent, and full of links. No one would read the comments if we didn’t have anti-spam software.

        As for moderation, we aren’t doing that. I like having a robust comments section. There is simply no way we’d get enough volunteers to do this for free on a fast enough turnaround basis not to put off readers, and schedule management would be a nightmare for me (and what happens if we can’t fill a slot? That means readers get pissed or I have to do it). And this site doesn’t produce enough in revenues to support that (and if I did have that much money, it would be much better spent on more content, like having Dave Dayen post here regularly).

        As for Disqus, first that puts our comments section in the control of a third party service. Second, readers who frequent sites that use Disqus tell me they HATE it. Every time Disqus has been mentioned as an option it has been quickly shouted down.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I know at least one site where a single comment on moderation policy is a banning offense.

          I know other sites that got rid of comments entirely because maintenance was too onerous.

          On both counts, NC is much more generous, admirably so.

          There is also, even as we speak a tech person working on the problem. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the contribution buttons are to your right.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            And I’m glad to see my snarky comment edited out. I’d just hit my head on a low hanging branch mowing the lawn and was grimpy :^(

            And nice addition with the “Confirm you are NOT a spammer” tickbox, that should work on a lot of the autogenerated spam.

  35. Yalt

    Happy last minute of the Fourth to all (in the EDT anyway).

    I just stood in the rain and watched a local ‘burb shoot a hundred thousand dollars worth of fireworks into a low cloud ceiling where no one could see them explode.

    A more fitting patriotic display, I cannot imagine.

  36. Paul Tioxon

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56543985-78/data-utah-center-nsa.html.csp

    Protests around the nation today against the NSA spying and unconstitutional activity on the Fourth Of July. The Data Center in Utah was the site of street action, as was the City Of Brotherly and Otherly Love. From the local paper coverage:

    Besides the protests, websites such as Reddit, Mozilla, DuckDuckGo, and others have taken action in the digital world. Mozilla started the website https://optin.stopwatching.us, which has garnered nearly 550,000 signatures from individuals and groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, calling on Congress to reveal the full extent of NSA surveillance. The NSA addressed the rallies in a statement on its website in advance of the holiday. “The Fourth of July reminds us as Americans of the freedoms and rights all citizens of our country are guaranteed by our Constitution,” the statement said. “Among those is freedom of speech, often exercised in protests of various kinds. NSA does not object to any lawful, peaceful protest. NSA and its employees work diligently and lawfully every day, around the clock, to protect the nation and its people.”
    Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130705_Philly_marchers_protest_NSA_surveillance.html#rke3bbqxekFwH1Pb.99

    1. Bruno Marr

      We know that, stupid. It’s the local militarized police that do the objecting. The NSA sits in D.C. directing it all.

  37. Ching

    Re: China introduces death penalty for serious cases of pollution

    The problems in China cannot be solved by having more draconian laws. It is about the moral awareness and standards of the people. The prevailing societal acceptance of ‘sub-rules’ as the modus operandi for all forms of human interaction and transaction perverts all moral norms. Only when ‘sub-rules’ no longer exist that environmental problems can be solved.

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