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Links 8/23/13

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Starting with a little self-promotion…

Foreclosure Fiasco The American Prospect. Like Yves, I’m angered but not surprised that the conduct of foreclosure mills has not roused state Bar Associations to do much of anything.

Elizabeth Warren’s secret Salon

Obama Vows to Shame Colleges Into Keeping Costs Down NYT. Full plan here. More of the nudge-ocracy, and bound to be particularly ineffective, if this is correct about how colleges could easily game the rankings. If you really wanted to nudge things in a decent direction, you could auto-enroll debtors into income-based repayment, but that’s not in there. Better than that (and just as possible, given all the money already spent on various credits and nudges and things)…

Start funding college like high school David Sirota

‘I am Chelsea’: Read Manning’s full statement NBC

What Happened to Clemency NYT. Just in case you were wondering about a Manning pardon. Obama doesn’t “do” pardons, for anyone, really.

Larry Summers Decided to “Take the Gloves Off” In Fed Campaign Atlantic Wire. I guess this is why we got that “Yellen is too prepared and professional!” nonsense article the other day.

2009 And All That Paul Krugman

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch:

David Miranda wins partial court victory over data seized by police Guardian

Lavabit founder: ‘My own tax dollars are being used to spy on me’ Guardian

Laser listening: Could you eavesdrop on the Guardian? BBC

Obama, Surveillance, and the Legacy of the March on Washington The New Yorker. “The moral arc of the universe is long, and it bends toward irony.”

FBI suspected William Vollmann was the Unabomber Washington Post

Advocate of Secret Infiltration, Cass Sunstein, on Obama’s “Committee To Make Us Trust the Dragnet” Emptywheel. Also, Peter Swire, who ran HAMP, is on the committee. Confidence-inspiring.

If chemical attack proved, France says, nations should respond ‘with force’ Washington Post. Syria.

Council Overrules Bloomberg on Police Monitor and Profiling Suits NYT. Quite a victory, as I understand it.

Mortgage Rates Up on Taper Timing Speculation Freddie Mac. Refis are basically dead.

360 Mortgage Grows Dramatically in Three Years Housing Wire

Assured Guaranty, JPMorgan Agree to End Mortgage Suits Bloomberg

Home ownership: how the property dream turned into a nightmare The Observer

Sen. Warren: Local gov’t should keep tabs on bank foreclosures Worcester Telegram & Gazette

NASDAQ Halts Trading in Stocks, Options Amid “Issue” Bloomberg

Koch Brothers Will Not Buy Tribune Papers Politico

Fired Walmart Workers Arrested at Rally Announcing Labor Day Deadline The Nation

Daily Beast Publishes Piece Suggesting Prison Is Pretty Great For Transgender People Media Matters

Filner Will Resign Political Wire

California discourages needy from signing up for food stamps LA Times. This is a Schwarzenegger/minority veto legacy that Jerry Brown hasn’t exactly been swift to remedy.

Smear Campaign: Daily Show creator Lizz Winstead’s documentary about reproductive rights Boing Boing

Why an Iraqi Single Mom is Suing George Bush for War Crimes YES Magazine

Antidote du jour:

guinea-pig-language-sound

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153 comments

  1. gonzomarx

    Baker banks on the Bristol pound to make his dough

    Britain’s first independent city-wide currency goes from strength to strength as it approaches its first birthday

    http://tinyurl.com/lmshue4

    though Lewis and Brixton also have local currencies

  2. carl

    In the FBI’s defense, when I saw the Harper’s article linked elsewhere under the headline “FBI Suspected Author Was the Unabomber” I thought to myself “Hmmm… Vollmann maybe?”

    His book about freighthopping was a snooze, but _Europe Central_ will break your heart.

    1. Montanamaven

      When the book came out I called it nudgeonomics. So nudgeonomics is the economic theory used in a nudgeocracy. “Revenge of the Nudges” will be opening next summer. I better stop.

      1. Mark Pawelek

        Written by 4 people: Duncan Campbell, Oliver Wright, James Cusick, Kim Sengupta. I’d say that’s unusual. I guess they had to decide what to leave out. Duncan Campbell is either a thorn in GCHQ’s side or has the most elaborately constructed bio of any spook ever planted by the ‘security services’.

        1. ginnie nyc

          No. Duncan Campbell is the bona fide article. He’s been writing on security issues, and winning awards, for over 30 years. He was formerly the Guardian’s chief military/security reporter.

    1. Jeff W

      The wording in The Independent’s piece

      The Independent is not revealing the precise location of the station but information on its activities was contained in the leaked documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden.

      Information about the project was contained in 50,000 GCHQ documents that Mr Snowden downloaded during 2012. Many of them came from an internal Wikipedia-style information site called GC-Wiki. Unlike the public Wikipedia, GCHQ’s wiki was generally classified Top Secret or above.

      seems telling in what it is not saying: that it got the information directly from Edward Snowden himself—which is consistent with Snowden’s statement that it did not.

      While Snowden says directly, in Greenwald’s post, that the source is the UK government itself, Glenn Greenwald leaves it to his readers to infer, noting that “the class of people who qualify [as “either seeing the documents or getting confirmation from someone who has”] is very small, and includes, most prominently and obviously, the UK government itself.”

      Greenwald does not even hint that, if the UK government is the source, it might have gotten the documents from the recent detention and questioning of David Miranda, or, conversely (per Yves’s margarita recipe theory of document transfer), that it could not. Previously, he had said (Tuesday, on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360) that he wasn’t going to talk about what Miranda was carrying “because that’s our work product as journalists,” and, presumably, in any event, there is no reason for him to tip his (or David Miranda’s) hand regarding what those documents seized were (or weren’t).

  3. Hugh

    Re Obama’s NSA review panel, we have two hardline intelligence people in Michael Morrell, a recent acting head of the CIA, and Richard Clarke, the White House counterterrorism guy under Clinton and both Bushes, and a White House neoliberal/neocon toady in Cass Sunstein. Swire has written on privacy in the cyber age but not in so far as I know in any critical way of the types of programs the NSA and other government agencies are running. Far from being outside experts, all four are consumate insiders. They just happened not to be working for the Obama Administration at the moment.

    It’s also important to remember that this panel may only look at the 215 telephone metadata collection programs and not Prism and all the other programs and capabilities we have been learning about through the Snowden leaks.

    1. from Mexico

      This nonsense cannot last. I don’t think Obama has the slightest notion of his place in history, or the mayhem he is sewing.

      The Realist theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1931 wrote an insighful article which took dead aim at the liberals of Obama’s stripe. His timing could not have been better:

      Recently a well-known liberal clergyman returned from Europe and reported that he was highly gratified to find so many evidences of conciliation in Europe’s political and religious life. He gave it as his opinion that the Continent was slowly but surely approaching the longed-for goal of harmony and peace…. The dogma is that the world is gradually growing better and that the inevitability of gradualness guarantees our salvation….

      The real fact about our civilization is that it is flirting with disaster. There is as yet no proof that we have the social imagination to bring the economic intricacies of our common life under the control of reason and conscience…. We conduct our international relations, in other words, with a social imagination hardly worthy of primitive savages….

      The romanticism of the liberal church…fails to understand the diabolical aspects of human life, particularly those aspects which are revealed when the selfishness and greed of individuals are compounded and express themselves in the predatory group. The fact is that all large economic and political groups are much more predatory than they are social in their dominant passions. That is what gives modern society its great moral problem….

      The liberal church is easily fooled by the little amenities which have always veiled the nakedness of the lust for power. It is fooled as well by the superficial harmony of interests which society creates by subjecting the interests of one portion of the population to the interests of another. Any contemporary view of any society reveals a kind of peace; but it is a peace without justice and the battle is bound to be reopened. When it is reopened those who have taken a superficial view of the situation are inevitably betrayed into a position of hostility toward those who disturb the peace rather than toward those who would like to perpetuate privilege by the perpetuation of peace.

      http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1410

        1. from Mexico

          I think he’s talking about human nature. Here’s another quote from the article:

          But if it [the church] deals realistically with the facts of human nature, it could create an atmosphere in which the eternal struggle could become a series of tensions rather than open conflict. It could do this merely be helping people to see themselves as they really are, by destroying their illusions about themselves, by puncturing their nice self-deceptions. It would need only to make the insights of the gospel available and in performing this task it could avail itself of the unmistakable evidence of modern psychological and economic sciences. Religion is very easily used to obscure rather than to reveal the primitive forces which control so much of human action.

          Niebuhr at this point in his life was quite aware of the corruptibility of religion and philosophy for the purposes of evil. But notice the naive faith in the social sciences. This, after all, was before all the cruelties of Taylorism and scientific management came to the fore. It was before the deep flaws of classical economic theory became so apparent during the Great Depression. It was before science was used to justify the Holocaust.

          Twenty years later when Niebuhr wrote The Irony of American History this optimism in science had faded. He inveiged against the radical individualism and materialism inherent in classical economic theory. “The justice which we have established in our society has been achieved,” he wrote, “not by pure individualism, but by collective action.” “[I]f justice is to be maintained and our survival assured, we cannot make individual liberty as unqualifiedly the end of life as our ideology asserts.” And concerning the rank materialism in American life, he wrote that “we are rather more successful practitioners of materialism as a working creed than the communists.”

          Speaking more generally of science, Niebuhr asserted that “scientific cultures are bound to incline to determinism.” And referring to the totalitarian regimes in relationship to our own technocratic society, he adds that: “One has an uneasy feeling that some of our dreams of managing history might have resulted in similar cruelties if they had flowered into action. But there was fortuneately no program to endow our elite of prospective philosopher-scientist-kings with actual political power.”

          By the way, F. Beard asked a question the other day that I believe is important: “Did Niebuhr every write about the banking system?” But I’ve never found where he did.

          1. Hugh

            “The justice which we have established in our society has been achieved,” he [Niebuhr] wrote, “not by pure individualism, but by collective action.”

            This is important. The rugged American individualist, Ayn Rand’s John Galt, the libertarian nirvana are all class war myths to convince Americans not to engage in collective action which might change anything.

            1. jrs

              More and more I doubt collective action *can* change things like the NSA. Collective action can get what it gets: if one wants to collective act for a higher minimum wage or against chained CPI or to lessen Chelsea Manning’s sentence, if done on a large scare it might work. They’ll throw bones. It’s happened historically (and even Manning poses no risk of leaking again, they’re only being punative – that’s why even that might work).

              But what if stuff like the deep state is fundementally on the deepest level what the U.S. government does? What if it is it’s reason de etre? Can you stop the U.S. government from getting militarily involved for capitalist and national dominence reasons? But what if that’s it’s reason for being? It might scale back if it though it had to cut spending, but it wouldn’t stop. What if the deep state, monitoring everything for the interest of the system (plus the crony contractors) is the same way?

              Oh I’m happy to see any backlash due to Snowden, don’t get me wrong! But then I don’t only ask whether a cause will succeed, as Chris Hedges said sometimes there is no choice but to fight a losing cause.

              1. hunkerdown

                They throw bones in an attempt to quiet the dogs. What happens when the dogs keep giving chase gets a bit more complicated.

                1. skippy

                  There’s a plethora of stansafarains that want to cash’s in on all that sacrifice, teach the unwashed Duty to the Future, just scratching like a meth addict to ply their hard won wares for a pay day.

                  skippy… the neocons home base product… after some contact with their creature of the ME… Breathed into thingy is very cost effective…

                2. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

                  We humans can’t tame ants (this can be shown by going to Africa and ordering ant armies to back-off). From there the necessity to sometimes exterminate ants. I’ve been there myself in a limited way: it’s either me/us, or the ants … But I’m not a professional ant killer. Somehow, the vicious “cy-borg-like” ants manage “command and control” of “their forces”, seemingly with no generals, which makes things worse for the humans (I sure know).

          2. allcoppedout

            I can’t remember anything direct, other than on Jews getting into banking and irrational prejudice against them because of this. Markham discusses what he might have made of modern banking in ‘Distinguishing Hope From Utopian Aspiration’ in ‘Reinhold Niebuhr and Contemporary Politics:God and Power’
            edited by Richard Harries, Stephen Platten (2010).

            Taylor’s scientific management was no science – all but the dullest business school plodder knows that – the laughable human relations school being even worse. A mate of Chomsky’s did good summarising demolition work. I’m afraid critique of such strawmen is part of the problem.

            We need a return to the essential freedoms and prerequisites of democracy. If a scientific economics was possible it would be looking for direction other than in soaked-up tradition or what CH Waddington called COWDUNG – the conventional wisdom of dominant groups.

            The hideous truth seems to be we need to vote out the existing “constitution”, facing much the same combinations of instruments of torture and ignorance as science. Those who link science to totalitarianism have a good point, but lack of clue on what science is does not help. I’d have more realistic hope when I start to see supposed progressives demonstrating understanding of argument, how little they have thought it through and consequenty why we lose through it.

            1. Hugh

              A scientific economics is not possible. The economy is a social construct created to fulfill certain social purposes. Unfortunately for us, these purposes are currently kleptocratic looting and class privilege. In any case, it can not be understood independently of its purposes, and those purposes change, evolve, or as now devolve over time.

              Certainly, science and scientific approaches can be used to suggest how these purposes might best be accomplished, but only suggest. This is very different from current situation where economists treat the economy as an independent phenomenon in much the same way a physicist would study say, an electromagnetic field. Even so, a large dose of skepticism is needed where “scientific” measures are applied to the economy. We have only to look at GDP, stock market levels, and unemployment rates to see that these “objective” measures far from measuring how well the economy is meeting its social purposes as generally conceived, are used to mask how it has massively failed them to the benefit of a few.

              1. psychohistorian

                I think people need to understand that there is no one answer, most problems are interrelated with others and new problems will develop later today…

                IMO, what is needed is a core set of slowly evolving guiding principles and a more responsive and continually evolving set of rules, expectations, benefits and resources.

                One of the vehicles to fuel that evolution I believe is replacing the drivel of TV with programs that look at our world and the choices we face as a species…..study the future. Studying the future forces people to examine the interrelationships of multiple factors and better evaluate and innovate the choices we have. I studied and used an engineering tool called Field Anomaly Relaxation (FAR) 40 years ago that begs for computerization and mass participation and discussion of our possible futures.

                Why don’t we study the future anymore?

                See a 40 meg PDF summary I did of the study here: http://www.bycycleinc.com/FAR/WholeSystemEarth.HTML

              2. MikeNY

                Hugh — you are quite right in your comment above. One big reason that economics will never be a “science” is the fact of human freedom, and the contingency of history.

                From Mexico — I have been reading rather a lot of Niebuhr, and I’m astounded at how good he is, and how amazingly relevant. Thanks for the tip.

              3. skippy

                “A scientific economics is not possible” – Hugh

                Not entirely correct imo.

                Carrying capacity has always been the foundational behavioral motivator behind all human actions, hence this one observation of scientific measurably proceeds all other human values.

                skippy… engineering is the application of science, in order to leverage that capacity, in the name of days values… fracking over water, fookemshima over the future, monoculture over pollinators, billions of years of derivative debt bets expectations sucked through a straw like some fat kids synthetic pig fat milkshake – there’s your freedom in action.

                PS. If we were truly free… we could choose whether to be born or not… the fossil record is not kind in this regard.

                1. Charles LeSeau

                  If we were truly free… we could choose whether to be born or not… the fossil record is not kind in this regard.

                  Yes. Having a child is actually a pretty roundly dictatorial decision by the parent(s). On the other hand, we can always opt out once we’re here, as grisly a thing as suicide can be. This is why I’m fully supportive of Kevorkian and the abolition of suicide laws or laws preventing assisted suicide. One of my chess heroes, Boris Spassky (who famously lost his world champ title to Bobby Fischer), suffers from lifelong depression and is a big humane suicide advocate.

                  1. skippy

                    Bad husbandry for the slaves methinks… job creators have to draw the line somewhere…. a moral dilemma which would reduce the asset valuation… see Jefferson’s plantation.

                    skippy… bet ya a fobbing he cut out those parts in the bible… too keep the nightmares hooves at bay…

                    1. Charles LeSeau

                      These days I wonder… Once you own everything there is to own, how many slaves do you need, and is there even a need to sell stuff to people anymore if they’re not immediately useful and you’ve achieved max profit?

                      Maybe we should get it over with and pick 7 owners of us all, one for each continent among the greatest “producers,” and 6 of them can good-naturedly rib the guy who gets picked to lord over Antarctica.

            2. skippy

              Management disseminates science for – its – political reasons. A rock does not pick its self up and bash someones head in thingy… or crack open bone marrow… yet its a rock…. shezzz~~~

              skippy… personally moving to the opinion that religion is a Cult of Bi – Polar OCD sufferers…. keying on the suffering part… see PIE sacrifice.

              1. allcoppedout

                You are right it was billed as such Mexico and some of my former colleagues taught this to students – against all the research evidence. My ‘warning’ is entirely as a friend to your cause. Taylor was an odd mix of democrat and obsessive (really weird stuff by all accounts) – his work is regularly taught now without the mass of evidence it was fraudulent, taken up by Nazis and seen before him in such vile episodes as Red Rubber. The standard farce has ,it taken up and ‘humanised’ via Hawthorne experiments (utter farces) and onto systems theories, socio-technical and so on. There is no science in any of this rot I recognise as a biologist-chemist and plenty of research supports this. My argument is not against you in any sense, of course – its just that better identification of the enemy is needed. That science and technology have been corrupted into the establishment is not in doubt – but this is a domesticated form feeding at the establishment zoo.

                Hugh gets it about right – if you like, deconstructive aspects of science could suggest different starting points and expose what GDP is. All current use is unwarranted abstraction – Gaussian copulas and other maths do little other than form common valuation languages in practice, rather than evaluate real risk. Economists use unemployment without recognising the great harm it does or how it is all their schemes make the poor suffer – frankly they need therapy – but the probably already use it to evade responsibility for the pain they cause.

                Heterodox economists make much of the need to stop teaching muck like Taylorism and various neo-classical dross – but in practice most university lecturers teach from text books and never read anything critical themselves. My own stunt is to throw the set text in the bin on day one – but this is not as easy or heroic as it sounds. I have to find some way for the kids in front of me to pass, and the easiest way is to copy out old drivel – and I may be teaching on a common programme with 4 other lecturers using the textbook.

                I do a version of Hugh’s kleptocracy – detailing the theft of liquid assets. Some in class claim this is all about meritocracy, so I run a gambling class (I always win, I’m ‘smarter’ than them – actually I control outcomes). They don’t like it, but get the points – mostly – the money in the game is never real but I’ve had one or two claim it was. A key point comes when I’m asked what use what I teach is in such a bent world. Most grab I’m telling the truth and warning what will happen in practice – but some can’t grasp that we live in an edifice of lies and can be very nasty and dangerous. The shock that school has conned them on ‘honesty is the best policy’ is too much for quite a few.

                The easy way to teach the critical side is to be it in a department that does so – but this is preaching to the converted. I do teach my students not to talk about Critical Theory in job interviews, and how to put together the kind of dross they are likely to be asked for. The squid has its suckers in deeper than most think.

                I’ve been around a few ‘radical’ blogs looking for signs of argument that might change outcomes and that seems to have scientific understanding – there is precious little and even knowledge of psychology (profoundly not a scientific discipline in the main) is limited to platitudes like halo and horn effects (also business school textbook dross).

                Friends have written textbooks taking a more radical and truthful stance, but they are not used much – the teachers would need to do too much work. I’m freelance now – and was asked to bring ‘some Steve Keen’ to a 102 economics course – easy enough except for the need to return constantly to basics on counting and sums.

                There is more than Hugh says on science in economics – but we struggle against school teaching, not very bright students and a lot more.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Anything that starts with “Obama vows…” should trigger not just an eye-roll but an involuntary retch reflex. The man is obviously an organic sociopath constitutionally incapable of shame. Perhaps worse are the lemmings who swallow his swill.

          1. jrs

            Obama vows = Obama will do the complete opposite. But not before the methane release from Obama’s uh … mouth, yea that’s it.

          1. Yalt

            And, specifically, a race into the most lucrative degrees and professions, since the primary metric is the average salary of a school’s graduates. It’ll be the death of any notion of higher education as education and not just job training.

            I mean, if anything should be clear from recent history it’s that we need to defund the arts and sciences, the humanities, and throw all the money at the business schools, right?

            The whole announcement was cringe-worthy. “Good value.” “Return on investment.” Education as a strictly economic proposition. Whatever can’t be put to immediate use in the accumulation of capital has no value. Philosophers, anthropologists, historians can go to hell.

            And I can see the point. What good fortune for those in power that people do not think.

        2. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

          To shame effectively, you need to be perceived as having the “moral high ground”. I think Obama’s stock (market-value) is slowly melting away.

            1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

              Let’s say, a duck who is caught in a massive series of flip-flops (or worse), “say&forget”s etc. etc., thusly losing his charisma over the Americans most resistant to “hypnotic suggestion” aka/ “mesmerization” aka/ “animal magnetism”.

      1. shutter

        “I don’t think Obama has the slightest notion of his place in history, or the mayhem he is sewing.”

        Nor does he give a shit.

      2. Walter Map

        Obama isn’t a liberal. He’s a totalitarian corporatist.

        Maybe you should look up ‘liberal’ in a dictionary. Until then stop using words when you don’t know what they mean.

        1. Charles LeSeau

          Ya, hmm.. Careful of pulling out dictionary definitions. In semantics we can’t always wring detailed definitions from high abstraction* terms. “Liberal” is fairly abstract, actually. Without going into how that works too much, I think it’s one of those words that has assumed a kaleidoscopic meaning these days depending on which person you talk to, but mostly it’s distinguished around here I think from “leftist/socialist/communist, etc.”

          So liberals (and less abstract but still abstract, “neoliberals”) are what I take NCers to call something in the political spectrum of mainstream Democrats – economically pretty conservative as long as they’ve got a nice job and aren’t struggling personally, economically liberal if they’re on welfare, tepidly supportive of unions again depending on circumstance, but “liberal” about the social concerns that we’re allowed to hear about on the news: Gay rights, gun control, abortion, race relations & affirmative action, marijuana legalization, schools, medicine, global warming, etc. Depending on personal circumstance, people both strongly support and strongly oppose some of these things, which again is why our word is high abstraction.

          The caveat seems now (especially with the NSA stuff) that some enormous percentage of the Democrat/liberal pool is dependent on the party line or media line for their opinions, further made difficult by the fact that the party pays lip service to social issues while doing just about nothing about them or foisting on the public liberal-sounding policies that are actually more like double crosses (the ACA).

          That’s my take on what means what around here, anyway.

          _____________________________
          *I recommend Stewart Chase’s book The Tyranny of Words or SI Hayakawa’s Language in Thought and Action.
          _____________________________

          A ladder of abstraction from low (specific) to high (abstract) in Hayakawa’s book using as an example a cow goes as follows:

          1. Process cow: So infinitely detailed and constantly changing that we cannot describe it all, including atomic structure, biological processes, etc…

          2. What we perceive as a cow without describing it in words, i.e. object of experience, empiricism, etc.

          3. “Bessie” – A specific cow we know, that one over there..

          4. “Cow” (catchall for any cow of any type)

          5. “Livestock” (already so far removed from cow specifically that it could refer to things that aren’t cows at all, so a dictionary definition wouldn’t cut it.)

          6. “Farm Asset”

          7. “Asset”

          8. “Wealth”

          1. Walter Map

            You’re making this way too complicated, no doubt as a way to confuse the issue and avoid the issue while never actually getting to the point.

            Now go put your clothes back on.

            1. Charles LeSeau

              I’m not sure if it’s worth responding to you further, but it’s not complicated. Semantics are part of my job, I used to edit dictionary definitions and am familiar with the problems with them, and the word is abstract and vague by definition.

              Per your problem with Obama being described as liberal, I get what you mean and I agree as far as it goes, but I’m merely pointing out that leftists sometimes deride “liberals” too, and I’ve seen it here many times. If that is all you want to take away from this, fine, but since you were talking dictionary definitions – which means exactly semantics – I also commented on that. Let’s take your advice though.

              Dictionary dot com:

              lib·er·al [lib-er-uhl, lib-ruhl]
              adjective
              1.
              favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
              2.
              ( often initial capital letter ) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
              3.
              of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism, especially the freedom of the individual and governmental guarantees of individual rights and liberties.
              4.
              favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
              5.
              favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
              _____________________________

              Aside from the nonspecific nature of “progress” or “reform” in the first definition (what kind of progress? what kind of reform? Benefiting whom? Go to the definitions of those things; they are abstract as well), note the 3rd and 4th entries especially. They are almost exactly how conservatives describe themselves.

              If we strip the word “liberalism” from #3 and ask conservatives if they favor “freedom of the individual and governmental rights and liberties,” just how specific is that? (I’ve done this exact thing many times by the way with multiple dictionary definitions of the same sort, and never had a failure from a conservative to apparently self describe themselves as liberal without knowing it.) Lots of conservatives – again, every one I’ve met – will say they favor those things exactly. Likewise, lots of self-described liberals will say the same. Go to TPM or Wonkette, and there are hordes of soi dissant liberals of the O-bot variety.

              The definition of “liberalism” on the same site, an “-ism” construct, is a lovely example of dictionary self reference: When you click the link to “liberalism” from “liberal” it sends you right back to “liberal” in the 1st and 3rd definitions, the 4th is about a protestant movement (most modern-day liberals aren’t particularly crazy about religion, no?), and the 2nd is almost a perfect definition of libertarianism’s supposed stance.

              I personally wish the word would go away.

        2. Alexa

          You’re right that “liberal” has been hijacked, or redefined by the DLC/corporatist/Third Way wing of the Democratic Party.

          And conservative Dems often favor the even more meaningless term, “progressives.” (Which is not to say that I never fall into the trap of using this term, myself.)

          I’ve often wished that someone (somewhere) would hold a very serious discussion of the true “meanings” of both terms.

          In the meantime, I try (with little success) to avoid the use of both terms.

          ;-)

          1. Charles LeSeau

            Right. I look at the word in its actual high abstraction meaning as a mirror that almost everyone sees themselves in. What it means more generally nowadays is “leftist” to a conservative and “bourgeois” or even “corporate right winger” to a leftist who chooses to use it derisively. Chomsky prefers “neoliberal” for the latter, and I prefer it too, because the conservative definition rules in our culture.

            To discuss things properly we need to mix up both high and low abstraction ideas. Both are useful, but I usually take into account who is talking to me and from what viewpoint when I hear others say it.

            A quick web article, How to Stupidize People on how all of this works, from an interesting UK site.

            http://www.anxietyculture.com/stupidise.htm

              1. Charles LeSeau

                TRVTH. But that’s why we talk further to arrive at any conclusions beyond the simple terms themselves. It’s still okay to use them. General terms – left, right, conservative, liberal, smart, dumb – are useful shortcuts in general conversation, but not very specific, so we need to suss out what people mean when they use them. I’ve read Mexico’s posts, and when he says Obama is a “liberal” I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean the same thing as when my dad says it.

            1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

              Over here in Canada, we have a “Road-of-the-Four-Bourgeois”, in French, naturellement.

        1. Walter Map

          It’s a right-wing propaganda thing.

          The idea is to persuade people that Amerika’s problems are the result of liberal policies, and that conservatism, neoconservatism, and corporatism have nothing to do with it.

          Ignorance is strength, y’know.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Obama appoints a panel of foxes to investigate his henhouse crimes. The final report will be a superb doorstop. (Was fellow Nobel-laureate Kissinger unavailable?)

  4. Hugh

    The thing to keep in mind about the selection of the next head of the Fed is that Obama does not give a rat’s ass about what the public thinks about this. He will appoint whomever he wants. The only thing that he is concerned with is whether he can get the Senate to confirm an abrasive and odiously destructive ass like Summers. The delay in announcing his choice may indicate that Obama is still counting votes in the Senate and deciding whether Republicans will try to block Summers or not.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With Summers, you will never see any spring.

        It will be one winter after another, until all wheels fall off.

      2. chris

        and before that – Ronald Reagan:

        “… In 1982, while still a graduate student at Harvard, Summers was brought to Washington by his dissertation advisor Martin Feldstein, the supply-side economist, to serve on Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors. Those first years in the Reagan administration were crucial in the right-wing war against New Deal regulation of the banking system and financial markets–a war that Reagan’s team won, and that we’re all paying for today.”

        http://www.thenation.com/article/summers-conundrum

    1. Walter Map

      The thing to keep in mind about the selection of the next head of the Fed is that Obama does not give a rat’s ass about what the public thinks about this. He will appoint whomever he wants.

      Absurd. Obama will appoint whomever the banksters believe will be in their best interest. Obama is first and foremost a bank employee.

      Yellen is under consideration only to create the pretence that banks might be reregulated, but that is clearly a false hope even if she were to be appointed.

  5. ex-PFC Chuck

    re Laser Listening – I recall reading about this technique nearly a quarter century ago. In the late 90s I had a brief consulting gig sponsored by the government but administered by an NSA subcontractor and the meetings were held at its facilities. No office or conference room was on the outside perimeter of the building; only access corridors were. Furthermore, access doors to all conference rooms were near a corner, and inside the door was a curtain configured to block an outsider’s view into the room when someone was entering or leaving. Think of it being like an air-lock entry, only in this case it was a “vision-lock.”

  6. cornered

    Re YES and the US government’s rear-guard battle for aggression with impunity, the government’s latest cheap trick buys time for its criminals at home at the cost of bolstering universal-jurisdiction admissibility of the subject crimes.

    Universal jurisdiction kicks in when a state triggers unwillingness criteria like those set out in Rome Statute Article 17 clause 2. State-imposed impunity makes US government criminals fair game for special tribunals and national courts worldwide.

    The US is running from the Rome Statute but the International Criminal Court is only one venue. After World War II, UN member countries decided to codify the Nuremberg Charter and the work is almost complete. Most-wanted fugitive George W. Bush will never venture abroad again.

  7. cornered

    Re YES and the US government’s policy of aggression with impunity, the government’s latest cheap trick buys time for its criminals at home at the cost of bolstering universal-jurisdiction admissibility of the subject crimes.

    When a state triggers unwillingness criteria like those set out in Rome Statute Article 17 clause 2, everybody gets into the act. State-imposed impunity makes US government criminals fair game for special tribunals and national courts worldwide.

    The US is running from the Rome Statute but the International Criminal Court is only one venue. After World War II, UN member countries decided to codify the Nuremberg Charter and the work is almost complete. Most-wanted fugitive George W. Bush will never venture abroad again.

    1. Danb

      Good observation on responsibly and lowering estate taxes. In the article she also is not opposed to casinos because “they create jobs”. There are numerous howlers in the essay: Warren says, “I’m very optimistic about the direction Mary Jo White is taking the SEC.” The essay writer says of Warren, “the hope is that the prodding will spur the regulators into action, or at least keep them alert.” The big spin line is at the end: Jeff Connaughton, a former chief of staff to Sen. Ted Kaufman says, Warren should, “Run for president.” So remember Yves essay from two days ago, “Progressives Are Lame.” I know many here in MA who feel giddy about Warren as they did about Obama in 2006.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe, just maybe, we can start talking about why we don’t always want to ‘create jobs.’

        1. Yalt

          That’s be great…if it also involves a discussion of how we’re going to help people survive without them.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            GDP sharing.

            Hedgies can be the poets they have always wanted to be and still get the same money…as before they started singing poems and as everyone else.

            1. Yalt

              I’ve been calling for that for years now.

              But it’s probably just my class background talking; I’ve somehow failed to grasp the necessity for compelling the working class to do what they really would want to do anyway, lacking the capacity for leisure after all….

      2. Walter Map

        In the article she also is not opposed to casinos because “they create jobs”.

        Presumably she is also not opposed to the mafia, because they also ‘create jobs’.

        One supposes she would also be in favor of exterminating people who don’t have jobs because that would reduce the unemployment rate.

        1. Yalt

          I spent two summers working for the Mafia. Had a union (Teamsters), was well paid considering my lack of experience (my first job, the summers before and after my senior year of high school), worked damn hard but was pretty well treated on the whole. I may, in retrospect, have been involved in laundering some small bills but other than that I didn’t even have to do anything reprehensible. Played my small role in an American tradition and maybe even added a tiny bit of atmosphere to some people’s enjoyment of the game. As job creators go they were pretty benign, at least in that particular incarnation, and I have fewer regrets about that job than probably any private-sector job I’ve ever had.

          Didn’t find out I’d been working for the mob until later but can’t say I was particularly surprised.

    2. Alexa

      Thanks, Tyler Healey.

      I’ve also posted the Warner Amendment on a few occasions, but didn’t recall that Senator Warren voted for it.

      I am concerned that some activists believe her to be considerably more “liberal” than she actually is.

      She was heavily recruited by both Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, which raises a major “red flag” with me.

  8. Expat

    Re: “Obama Vows to Shame Colleges Into Keeping Costs Down”
    For an excellent take down of Obama’s embarrassing school bus tour, here’s an interview with Diane Ravitch, the erstwhile right-winger who saw the light on privatizing education: http://ianmasters.com/ August 22, Part 3

    As she points out, Obama’s solution has nothing to do with the problems faced by students, faculties or universities. Like “No Child Left Behind,” which shovels tax dollars into the pockets of the ever more burdensome investor class with no public benefit, Obama’s plan for higher education would divert even more money to the investor class and away from the essentials of education.

    In other words, the plan is just what we have come to expect from Obama.

      1. Massinissa

        Im hoping fooling them 10 or more times will work to not have them fooled an 11th time, but im not crossing any fingers…

      2. Walter Map

        The problem is not so much with the voters as with the candidates. For example, major party presidential candidates are exclusively selected by corporatists, and they really don’t care which one you vote for.

    1. curlydan

      Great interview with Diane Ravitch! Gives a good overview on the state of education. As with everything else in the USA, the goal is to “monetize the enterprise”.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Students are not customers!

        Maybe teaching should be all voluntary…too sacred to mix it with money.

        The Teach Corps.

  9. Dikaios Logos

    For the next 27 or so hours, NSFW Corp. has its paywall down for a piece by David Sirota on why your congresscritter has no interest in crossing the NSA:

    https://www.nsfwcorp.com/scribble/5695/f3cf4b5670fff686e04e6a27898d3230b64b808e/

    Shorter version: lots of congresscritters, including the most strident red state types, have lives that they want to keep secret. How many gay southern senators are there? At least a couple, by a fell well informed estimates.

    1. Synopticist

      Good article.

      The thing is, the NSA don’t know what Snowden downloaded, but they DO know that the Russian FSB will get all of it. Jesus, what a clusterf*ck.

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        What leverage to the American people have on their elected officials in Washington, DC ?

        1. Bruno Marr

          Well, Nancy Pelosi is up for re-election in her California District 7 (essentially, San Francsisco). A district so compact that a “outsider” could easily mount a challenge with sufficient “feet on the ground” (volunteers).

          Pelosi’s monetary advantage to appeal to voters through media could be countered easily with face-to-face contact.

          It’s clear she’s nervous about her position on NSA surveillance; she recently backtracked with an “extremely disturbing” comment on the latest NSA revelations. (Sorry, too late, Nancy. You can’t be trusted!)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You know what they say about free market and competition.

            Competition will only whomever we elect better.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Schneiderman is a giddy schoolboy, whose adulation of Obama is clearly genuine. He just can’t wait to try out his new kneepads if only Obama would glance his way. What a pathetic disappointment he turned out to be.

      I can’t begin to fathom Obama’s weird hypnotic hold on people, so contrary to objective reality. As charlatans go, is he really so exceptional? Was there an invasion of body-snatchers and some of us proved immune? I’m glad we have a reverse-osmosis water purification system at home. I’m now wondering about gas masks.

  10. rich

    Judge orders $9-million bond for cancer doctor, says he can’t practice medicine

    “The weight of the evidence against Defendant is significant,” Cox wrote, later noting: “This is not the typical type of health care fraud case where a health care provider is alleged to have over-billed for services actually performed or billed Medicare for services that were not actually performed. Rather, the Government alleges that Defendant has intentionally misdiagnosed patients with cancer and then actually provided them with unnecessary treatments that are essentially poison.”
    According to a court documents, Fata billed Medicare more than $150 million for services since 2009, and collected $65 million of that. Most of his billings were fraudulent, the government alleges, claiming that Fata billed for services that were medically unnecessary and unwarranted.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20130813/NEWS03/308130110/Fata-bond-hearing-cancer

    there has to be a better way….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      $150 million?

      Someone fell asleep on the watch. Can one doctor really ‘work that hard?’

      After the first million, someone should have called the doctor asking him if he’s getting any sleep.

      1. Joe

        My dentist has his offices in his house. I’ve done some computer work for him after hours on a few occasions. He took me out in his rather large garage one time and showed me his collection of antique automobiles. They all are perfectly restored condition and he doesn’t drive any of them (I asked). He encouraged me to check them out on the Internet when I got home, so I did.

        One of the cars is a 1968 Ford GT40. Estimated value is 2.5 million dollars. My best back of envelope calculation of the value of the whole collection is around 10 million dollars.

        Damn near anyone with a doctorate in any medical field is making way,may too much money.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If only a whistleblower would leak their medical school application essays, almost all said they wanted to help the world…a few might have been more upfront about making money for themselves…sorry, for their families (how can you argue with that?)

        2. Jagger

          I just got quoted $1700-$2000 for one root canal and a crown. $110 to find that out. He also mentioned I probably should have the same thing done for 6 other teeth. I really should have never left Germany. Although on the bright side, thank god I am getting old.

    2. craazyboy

      Subject: Better Way
      Disposition: File in trash can

      Proposal:

      Hire a temporary Indian programmer to write a Medicare database query returning all doctors billing in excess of $500,000 per annum. Write a management report using this data which can then alert management to situations which may require additional investigation. Do not just send the report to be archived in Utah.

      Estimated time to completion: A leisurely two days.

      Estimated cost: There is a 45% off sale on Indian programmers due to the Indian rupee dropping 45% over the last couple years. SWAG – 16 hours @ $10USD/hr, total $160USD.

      Risks: Trade deficit increases by $160USD

      Mitigate risk: Contract job to IBM for $6400. They will forward the work to the Indian programmer. GDP increases by $6240 and an indeterminate number of American jobs are saved.

      Proposal Author: None of your faaaking business.

      1. psychohistorian

        Nicely put.

        F Beard and the faith breathers would say you just don’t have enough of that faith stuff.

        Glad to see it.

        1. hunkerdown

          Au contraire. Methinks the author nipped out for a pint or seven before writing up the 100% faith-based “Risk mitigation” section. Dealing with IBM is anything but that, and unless that indeterminate number could be negative…

      1. Doug Terpstra

        I can’t bring myself to dignify the WH’s democratic pretense by registering and signing petitions, which is the equivalent of a monarch’s suggestion box that empties into the lavatory. It’s also like the charlatan’s mailroom: checks from the faithful are reverently placed in the bank deposit bag, while prayer requests are chucked into the dumpster.

  11. allcoppedout

    Vollmann got less than half of his FBI file. When the declared bit is full of such dross you’d think we could get the rest. No such protections – I was only able to get 8 pages of a police report into matters in which I was the victim, with 12 redacted. No national security was involved.The dangerous thugs were kept completely appraised of my complaints, ‘fortunately’ fire-bombing someone else’s house not mine

    I’m not much concerned with the current Internet trawling as something new – these gossip-based systems are ancient. My own work-in-progress, well-back-burnered behind the day-job is a novel about a financial cop who can no longer cope with material about the real villains of deep politics and shadow banking he is expected to bury. If you think about nearly 800 pages on Vollmann, what is held on the financial wizards and wide boys of mineral exploitation? Where could you take such information? My guy is forced to take it into a rip-off plot in the Kivus of DRC. To express the slightest interest in prosecuting the obvious criminality is to render oneself unemployable …

    Three Days of the Condor is an old film we are living. Hollywood couldn’t make it now.

  12. Klassy

    Speaking of nudgeocracy, will Cass Sunstein be reviewing ways to nudge us to get on board with total surveillance? Democracy can run so much smoother once you stop resisting. Or, more importantly, actually don’t have any opportunity to resist.
    Christ, you can’t make this stuff up. Cass Sunstein reviewing the NSA programs.

  13. Joe

    From today’s Guardian:
    US house sales fall by 13.4% casts shadow over economic recovery

    “Sales of new single-family homes in America fell sharply in July to their lowest level in nine months, casting a shadow over the country’s housing recovery.

    Sales dropped 13.4% to an annual rate of 394,000 units, the Commerce Department said on Friday. The government also revised sharply lower its estimate for home sales in June.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Connect that with the other link, home ownership: how the property dream turned into a nightmare, maybe we will see fewer new housing victims.

      For the about-to-be or already-are victims who bought the last 3-4 years, this falling house sales news could have come earlier.

    2. rich

      You’re Fired! American Homes 4 Rent Dismisses 15% of its Workforce

      Single-family landlords have struggled to turn a profit while acquiring homes faster than they can fill them with tenants. Hedge funds, private-equity firms and real estate investment trusts have raised more than $18 billion to purchase more than 100,000 rental houses in the past two years. American Homes 4 Rent, founded by B. Wayne Hughes, is the largest single- family landlord after Blackstone Group LP’s Invitation Homes, which has spent more than $5 billion on 32,000 homes.

      American Homes 4 Rent executives Peter Nelson, Jack Corrigan, Sara Vogt-Lowell and Janice Stack didn’t respond to e- mails and telephone messages seeking comment on the firings.

      Craig Smith, 55, a property-compliance inspector from Columbus, Ohio, said he received a termination notice after nine months with American Homes 4 Rent. Smith, who earned about $50,000 a year, said he saved the company money by finding more than $7,000 in invoice errors last month alone.

      “It’s a complete shock,” he said in a phone interview. “I was out working and they called me to the office and told me I was cut.”

      http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2013/08/23/youre-fired-american-homes-4-rent-dismisses-15-of-its-workforce/

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Were these buyers of fire-sale single-family homes also involved in ‘manufacturing’ them into fire-sale quality?

        That would be very intelligent, smart and educated of them to find a way to make money whichever way the wind blows.

        But not wise though.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Mike Krieger’s revision of the American dream: “to one day be able to move out of your parent’s basement and rent from Blackstone” (or other feudal slumlord flush with Benny’s newly-minted dollars).

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Lavabit founder: My own tax dollar are being used to spy on me.

    I am not so sure if he is ‘seeing’ properly.

    Perhaps it’s part of the inflation fighting campaign by the government when he was taxed.

    And those newly created spy jobs and/or newly purchased surveillance hardware – well, they are part of the stimulating the economy effort.

  15. Jim Haygood

    The ‘don’t be evil’ company gets paid to be evil:

    The NSA paid millions to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency’s activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian.

    The technology companies, which the NSA says includes Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook, incurred the costs to meet new certification demands in the wake of the ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Fisa) court.

    The material provides the first evidence of a financial relationship between the tech companies and the NSA.

    An NSA newsletter entry, marked top secret and dated December 2012, discloses the huge costs this entailed.

    “Last year’s problems resulted in multiple extensions to the certifications’ expiration dates which cost millions of dollars for Prism providers to implement each successive extension – costs covered by Special Source Operations,” it says.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/23/nsa-prism-costs-tech-companies-paid

    Google: more evil than Microsoft?

    Snowden reports; you decide!

    1. curlydan

      If you need a post-lunch cleansing (i.e. puking), check out this TED talk on “everyday compassion at Google”. As an employee at a large corporation, I was subjected to this drivel with a roomful of colleagues, and I swear I felt like I was the only one who was even mildly questioning this crap.

      http://www.ted.com/talks/chade_meng_tan_everyday_compassion_at_google.html

      “Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow,” Chade-Meng Tan, talks about how the company practices compassion in its everyday business — and its bold side projects. One of Google’s earliest engineers, Chade-Meng Tan is now Google’s Jolly Good Fellow — the head of personal growth at the groundbreaking search company”

      1. jrs

        Oh corporate propaganda at some of the big companies (the truly big ones) can be pretty bad. Corporate propaganda at a bank had us repeating inspirational words (ready for the Obama “Hope” and “Change” campaign I guess). I’d leave the “motivational meetings” feeling profoundly demotivated, depressed, and unable to work. Because it felt like a full frontal assault on my mind by meaningless, not even well done and sophisticated, but just stupid propaganda. And I deeply resented the attack when I all I wanted was: do work, collect paycheck.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      No prosecutions, no convictions, no pardons required…for the real criminals, that is. Jon Corzine is the Obama regime’s DOJ poster child.

    2. jrs

      But he does immunity:

      “The Department of Justice has filed a Grant of Immunity for war crimes against George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld.

      http://www.examiner.com/article/doj-pursues-immunity-for-bush-and-six-others-for-iraq-war-crimes

      The day after Manning was sentenced. A truly great person and humanitarian gets a 35 year sentence, and war criminals like Cheney, Rumsfield, and Wolfowitze – get total immunity. Read it and weep.

  16. Jess

    For those who missed it —

    TBogg, notorious Obot/Dem apologist and master of the ad hominem attack on those who disagreed with him, announced last week that he was retiring from blogging. His last column was yesterday.

    I, for one, can say I’m happy to see him go. (Have a suspicion Lambert will not miss him, either.)

    OTOH, it makes me think of how much things have changed over at FireDogLake over the years. A partial list of the “no longer there” now includes:

    Spencer Ackerman
    Christy Hardin Smith
    David Dayen
    Blue Texan
    Pam’s House Blend (which, in fairness, wasn’t there that long, but still)
    Plus two very popular contributors who passed away, Scarecrow (John Chandley) and Southern Dragon (Richard de Berry).

    Long way from the Oxtown Gazette to The Seminal to MyFDL.

    1. kokuanani

      Don’t forget Marcy Wheeler ["empty wheel"] who used to be associated w/FDL.

      I too am not sad to see tbogg depot Although his snarks were great, especially those relating to Palin, he was SO much of an Obot and attacker of anyone not of that persuasion, and he becane increasingly useless.

      I love bassetts, but even they couldn’t make up for his ceaseless Obama defense.

    2. Klassy!

      I became aware of his presence when a commenter accused me of being him (don’t ask. It was all very confusing). So, after that from time to time I would check out what he was writing. Besides all that goes with being an Obot, he was a genuinely bad writer.
      Of course he was hampered by the fact that his arguments had no basis in reality.

    3. jrs

      Now that Obama is as bad and in some ways worse than W or any Reps, what is there to write about really? You can only do so many “dumb Republican” pieces before it gets old and pointless. It’s like what we’d write if Greens took the Presidency and both houses of congress. Hello darkness my old friend …

    4. Hugh

      Also Ian Welsh. I remember him as being part of a group of us who, in 2007-2008, were eating our metaphorical popcorn and speculating on which event would send the economy over the cliff.

      I had heard about Southern Dragon’s death but not Scarecrow’s. I am sad to learn of it. He was deeply troubled by the system but still believed in it, as I did not. But he was invariably honest in his opinions, as few are, on the web. Christy Hardin Smith was another FDL alumna who was like that too.

  17. rich

    Blame the High-Frequency Traders for Yesterday’s Nasdaq Mess

    While both could be part of the problem to some small extent, they are not the root cause. The real issue is something no exchange wants to discuss and, in fact, may be legally unable to discuss under non-disclosure agreements. Whatever the case, it has resulted in the Rube Goldberg system that keeps dollars flowing into exchange coffers via tape revenue while catering to high-frequency trading firms (HFTs) that enhance volumes.

    An unfair market

    Note that I said enhance volumes, not liquidity. Higher liquidity has been the argument that the exchanges use to justify systems that benefit HFTs. To wit, who among you would think that there should be three tapes (NYSE is Tape A, Amex is Tape B, and Nasdaq is Tape C) to deliver “live quotes” to market participants? Who, other than Rube Goldberg himself, would design a system that shares a portion of the revenue derived from the sales of this data with HFTs? Who would have thought that it’s a good idea to let HFTs clog these data pipes with bids, offers, and canceled orders in millionths of a second in an attempt to get paid for providing liquidity rather than taking liquidity?

    There are so many questions as to why, but each comes back to this: The markets are not set up to be “fair and orderly” for investors; they are set up for the benefit of very fast, sophisticated pickpockets.

    Consider yesterday’s outage and the idea that it was a “market participant” who took down the Nasdaq’s ability to disseminate quotes. This participant is likely to be a very large firm that the Nasdaq didn’t want to lose as a customer along with all the tape revenue that it generates. So the “market participant” remains nameless, because if named and thus shamed by the Nasdaq, this customer could simply shift over to the NYSE and take hundreds of millions of tape revenue with it.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/blame-high-frequency-traders-yesterday-nasdaq-mess-162509029.html?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Whatever the technology, my default intuition, until proven otherwise, is always ‘the NSA (or Monsanto) has more to spend than me and will have it better and fancier.’

      Makes one long for a universal ban on science and technology until we find cure for human lust and greed.

  18. Hugh

    The Guardian has announced it will be “partnering” with the New York Times on Snowden GCHQ documents to avoid possible prior restrain issues in the UK. If this is limited to GCHQ documents only, this is a smart move. More extensive file sharing would be more problematic. The New York Times remains a neoliberal/neocon rag, and we have to assume that if all Snowden documents were shared with them, they would in turn share them back to the White House and the NSA, letting them know the potential scope of the Snowden disclosures and giving them time to develop disinformation campaigns against them.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/23/guardian-news-york-times-partnership

    Also I love the admission today that US surveillance guidelines have not been updated in 30 years. This simply underlines the fact that the surveillance state does not give a sh*t about privacy or overreach issues. And why should it? Its whole reason for being is to strip away privacy and be as intrusive in its surveillance as possible. It gives the lie to Obama’s argument that everything has been done the right way, when much of that “way” dates back to a time when the net was just something a few geeks were playing around with.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/23/nsa-analysts-broke-rules-spy

    1. jrs

      The New York Times has sat on security state leaks before. The more cooks there are in the kitchen, the worse things seem to get for transparency.

    2. tawal

      Instead of the NYT, why don’t the team up with the Brazilian paper that GG provided info to earlier?

    3. tawal

      Instead of the NYT, why doesn’t the Guardian team up with that Brazilian paper that GG did earlier?

    4. Lambert Strether

      I think for the Times to be involved, it must be really bad. Much worse than we know or even imagine (since I’m never cynical enough). Exactly because the Times has sat on stories before.

  19. Invient

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/23/uk-government-independent-military-base?CMP=twt_gu

    Summary – The Independent recently published information that they claim came from Snowden which could endanger the public… Snowden refutes the attribution. The speculation being the Independent obtained the documents from a government source as they now know what is on the documents and therfore have the ability to pick out and release dangerous documents if it means it maximizes the governments power. Discredit their discreditor at all costs, including the publics.

    1. jrs

      Yea Greenwald is denying those leaks are Snowden’s and implying they are govt. leaks. But I really dont’ think he makes a good case they are. What if you were a legitimate leaker of this information, would you want anyone to know who you were? Greenwald doesn’t comment on the truth of the leaks though surely he knows.

      1. Mark Pawelek

        I think the independent were duped. I don’t see that it’s Greenwald’s duty to check 50,000 documents so that he can verify the independent’s story.

        PS: Many of those documents may be encrypted PDF’s. The whole can’t easily be turned into text unless you OCR the encrypted PDF’s. Once they’re text it just a massive document database – easy to search for anything.

  20. Joe

    From today’s Guardian UK:
    Gold Jumps Near $1400 After Home Sales Plunge

    “Gold prices are rising sharply after the U.S. government reported that home sales plunged last month, raising concerns about the housing market’s recovery.

    Gold for December delivery rose $25, or 1.8 percent, to settle at $1,395.80 an ounce Friday, the highest price since June.

    Traders bought gold after the Commerce Department reported that new home sales fell 13.4 percent last month. That shook investors’ confidence in the housing recovery and the broader economy.

    Gold tends to rise when traders anticipate weakness in the economy and a slower wind-down of the Federal Reserve’s economic stimulus program. That could weaken the dollar over time, making gold more appealing.

    Silver rose 70 cents to $23.74 an ounce.

    Beans and grains rose.

    Crude oil rose $1.39 to $106.42 a barrel.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Inca called gold the sweet of the sun and the tears of the moon.

      Maybe we value the sun and the moon a little more today.

  21. skippy

    Cough… Yves… ahem…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4J6Uyv0JDY

    Turn the lights down
    Way down low
    Turn up the music
    Hi as fi can go
    All the gang´s here
    Everyone you know
    It´s a crazy scene
    Hey there just look over your shoulder
    Get the picture?
    No no no no …….(yes)
    Walk a tightrope
    Your life-sign-line
    Such a bright hope
    Right place, right time
    What´s your number?
    Never you mind
    Take a powder
    But hang on a minute what´s coming round the corner?
    Have you a future?
    No no no no …….(yes)
    Well i´ve been up all night again
    Party-time wasting is too much fun
    Then I step back thinking
    Of life´s inner meaning
    And my latest fling
    It´s the same old story
    All love and glory
    It´s a pantomime
    If you’re looking for love
    In a looking glass world
    It’s pretty hard to find
    Oh mother of pearl
    I wouldn’t trade you
    For another girl
    Divine intervention
    Always my intention
    So I take my time
    I´ve been looking for something
    I’ve always wanted
    But was never mine
    But now I’ve seen that something
    Just out of reach – glowing -
    Very holy grail
    Oh mother of pearl
    Lustrous lady
    Of a sacred world
    Thus: even zarathustra
    Another-time-loser
    Could believe in you
    With every goddess a let down
    Every idol a bring down
    It gets you down
    But the search for perfection
    Your own predilection
    Goes on and on and on and on
    Canadian club love
    A place in the country
    Everyone’s ideal
    But you are my favorita
    And a place in your heart dear
    Makes me feel more real
    Oh mother of pearl
    I wouldn’t change you
    For the whole world
    You’re highbrow, holy
    With lots of soul
    Melancholy shimmering
    Serpentine sleekness
    Was always my weakness
    Like a simple tune
    But no dilettante
    Filigree fancy
    Beats the plastic you
    Career girl cover
    Exposed and another
    Slips right into-view
    Oh looking for love
    In a looking glass world
    Is pretty hard for you
    Few throwaway kisses
    The boomerang misses
    Spin round and round
    Fall on featherbed quilted
    Faced with silk
    Softly stuffed eider down
    Take refuge in pleasure
    Just give me your future
    We’ll forget your past
    Oh mother of pearl
    Submarine lover
    In a shrinking world
    Oh lonely dreamer
    Your choker provokes
    A picture cameo
    Oh mother of pearl
    So so semi-precious
    In your detached world
    Oh mother of pearl
    I wouldn´t trade you
    For another girl

    skippy…. I for one… and would offer… not the only one…. are a slave to your…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH1CMCtV4to

  22. Hugh

    I just got through reading the piece in the Independent on a GCHQ base in the Middle East tapping into undersea data and communications cables. In the coverage of the bank crisis in Cyprus, it came out that the UK has large bases on the island with effective sovereign rights over them. This would be precisely the sort of place the UK would use for such activities both for control over the bases, proximity to the Middle East, and proximity to the underwater cables going from the Middle East to Europe. Not sure why the Independent treats this as such a hush hush security matter. It might pose a diplomatic issue with the government of Cyprus but that would not be a security issue.

    The Independent article, by the way, is a hit piece. I can see why Greenwald would think it was churned out by UK government services. It suggests but does not explicitly say that the information for the article came from Snowden, something which both Snowden and Greenwald deny. It suggests that Greenwald is prosecuting a vendetta against the UK government and that the Guardian is more nearly aligned with the UK government’s position on the Snowden files. It talks a lot about the harm that these files could do to the UK, echoing the government line, but the only “harm” I can see so far comes from its own publishing the existence of a UK spying base in the Middle East. And it doesn’t take a genius to narrow down the possibilities.

    I think Greenwald is correct that this is a government leak, not a whistleblower, because, as I said, the article reads like a hit piece. If it were from a whistleblower, it would not be taking such egregious shots at Greenwald, and to some extent, Snowden.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/23/uk-government-independent-military-base

  23. Glenn Condell

    ‘Start funding college like high school David Sirota’

    Can’t get Salon to load, always a problem with that site, so I’m unsure of Sirota’s thesis, but any college funding model is unsustainable if admin still consumes the bulk of resources. College administrators paid like high school principals; I’d like to see that.

    Front page news story in the Sydney Morning Herald today:

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/tertiary-education/uni-bosses-earn-10-times-more-than-staff-20130824-2sihh.html

    At my place the senior people awarded themselves a 14% increase last year, before donning the armour to go into battle against our request for a pay-rise that keeps us at least abreast of inflation. They even have the hide to use their own failure to manage our finances (a $113 million dollar income shortfall) to justify their refusal.

    Now that the finance and personnel committees of the senates and councils of our major educational and cultural institutions are stacked with non-elected bankers and economists, we are seeing the crooked stratagems and ethic-free philosophy of the financial world trickle down to torture us.

    Restructuring is now at epidemic levels across these sectors, and the key feature, apart from creating a well-paid top heavy admin enforcer group, is the practice of ‘re-describing’ everyone’s job, and ‘inviting ‘ them to apply for it.

    Excellent for preventing the natives from getting too restless, and working so far.

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