Links 1/2/14

Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth’s magnetic field Frontiers in Zoology Chuck L: “IgNobel award candidate. Shorter: dogs shit in alignment with the Earth’s magnetic field.”

The Madness of the Planets Nautilus (Chuck L)

The 124 States of America: What the USA would look like if all the secessionist movements had been successful
Daily Mail (Lee)

The ‘Average Women’s Magazine Cover’ Parody You Need To See Huffington Post (Carol B). Hate to tell you, but only clue I saw to it being a parody is the really obvious fake boobs (as opposed to mildly obvious fake boobs) and lousy makeup.

Attempt to correlate epigenetic changes with aggression in adults Nature (Nikki)

Customs officials destroy flute virtuoso’s instruments Boston Globe

How Memory Can be a False Witness Big Think

Daunting Calculus for Maine Shrimpers as Entire Season Is Lost New York Times. Francois T: “These stories will pop up with ever more frequency in the future. Considering that over 1 billion people strictly depend on fisheries for most of their protein intake, this could turn very ugly in the not-so-long run.”

China’s growth and manufacturing output decline as property prices soar Guardian

Hyundai and Kia brace for sluggish 2014 Financial Times

Japan ‘rekindling spirit that led to global war’ Telegraph

Exxon’s Russia Ambitions Show Drilling Trumps Obama-Putin Spats Bloomberg

Eurozone rate divergence disappoints ECB Financial Times

The Bête Noire of the French Establishment Counterpunch (Carol B)

Are You or Have You Ever Been a Member of the ASA? New York Legislators To Move To Ban Funds To Schools Associated With Israeli Boycott Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

Syrian Opposition Condemns Russian Oil Deal OilPrice

Syria chemical deadline ‘missed’ BBC. This was expected.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower New York Times. The editors call for clemency.

Human Behavior Trove Lures Economists to U.S. Tech Titans Bloomberg. Lambert: “What could go wrong?” Plus you have the second-order effect, that these economists in the employ of Big Data will pimp for their sponsors in policy forums.

Snowden’s biggest revelation: We don’t know what power is anymore, nor do we care Mark Ames, Pando. Recaps a lot of important history on spying overreach.

Obamacare Launch

Justice Sotomayor blocks Obamacare contraception mandate Christian Science Monitor

The Obamacare We Deserve Michael Moore, New York Times. Pulls his punches.

Legal recreational pot industry opens in Colorado Associated Press

Does America’s Future Contain Elite Public Universities? Brad DeLong (Chuck L)

One of these things is not like the other … Sober Look

2014 outlook: Sugar high Tracy Alloway and Michael Mackenzie, Financial Times (Scott)

OVERTHROW THE SPECULATORS Chris Hedges, TruthDig

Nouriel Roubini’s 2014 Outlook Is Only A Tiny Bit Gloomy Business Insider

The Top 25 Most Censored Stories of 2013 Project Censored. gonzomarx points out we covered many of them!

Pomp and Exceptional Circumstance: How Students Are Forced to Prop Up the Education Bubble Boston Review. From November, but a good overview.

Antidote du jour:

cute wolves desktop wallpaper

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61 comments

  1. jjmacjohnson

    The magazine cover photography is extremely poor quality in the parody. Plus the design is not crisp enough too. Could be the lack of glossiness but as a person who has worked in the field I am unimpressed.

  2. Andrew Watts

    RE: Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower

    Pravda isn’t the only one in favor of clemency. A former director of Her Majesty’s Secret Service recently came out in favor of amnesty. This took place well after Alexander and his lackeys argued against the idea of granting him amnesty. Whatever files British intelligence decrypted when they grabbed Miranda they must not have liked very much.

    Odd. Usually differences of opinion between our countries are handled quietly concerning these sensitive matters. I have to wonder if American intelligence (…) was actually stupid enough to lie to our British friends about the specific contents of what Snowden absconded with.

    1. different clue

      These official media “recommendations” of amnesty or clemency should be viewed as the start of a longer psy-op targetted at Snowden to trick him into coming to Brittain or America or some other country where he may be guantanamized or murdered. He should not come to any country where he cannot be defended against Western intelligence agencies and Western assassination programs. If he is too naive to stay in Russia, he is too naive to live.

      1. Mildred Montana

        “Quantanamized”! I’ve never read or heard that before. I like it. A new word enters the lexicon. Thank you, different clue. And thanks also (I guess) to GW Bush and Obama, both of whom have ensured that the word will always have a poignant meaning.

  3. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Ban Funds to Schools Associated with Israeli Boycott/Jonathan Turley

    “I stand with Israel as an American, I stand with Israel as an elected official, and I stand with Israel for the 6 million.”–Klein quote.

    Perhaps Mr. Klein would be happier standing IN Israel.

    If Israel ever threatens to secede from the United States, I think we should let them go.

    1. Optimader

      +100
      What country does he “serve”? The nonjewish holocaust victims recede to mere incidental footnote status in the 20th century history’s signal signal to noise due to asshats like this.

  4. Andrew Watts

    RE: Snowden’s biggest revelation: We don’t know what power is anymore, nor do we care

    There are a few problems with this article. The FISC was originally meant to handle the issuing of warrants when it was founded. They did not approve a general warrant that covered the entire population. Their particular role was changed in 2008. The judges of the FISC were forced to consider the scope of entire surveillance programs. IMO they are not competent enough in the technical matters to render these judicial rulings. Whether they should be making these decisions is another topic for debate.

    The other major gripe I have is the use of James Bamford as a source for intelligence material. Unlike other authors like David Kahn, Bamford had an amicable relationship with the NSA for much of his career. Kahn was forced to hide much of his material in the bibliography of his books with the original documentation and extensive footnotes. As much of his manuscripts were heavily censored. Apparently American intelligence didn’t bother to read the bibliography. On the other hand, Bamford played footsy with the NSA and was given “unparalleled” access by the NSA director (Hayden) for a few of his books. Any person that close is hardly somebody I consider a reliable source for impartial material.

    Considering we don’t know exactly what Mitchell was doing during his life in Russia, that story never got an ending. Everybody simply assumes he became a drunk. Only the Russians know for sure.

    “The Snowden leaks are overwhelming us in their complexity and in their scope. So far, though, there is little sign of a new politics coming together as there is a high-pitched Twitter spat over personalities and hero-worshipping.”

    The individuals who’ve been following this since the Patriot Act was passed are hardly surprised by what our intelligence agencies are doing. The Snowden revelations have been more like confirmations to those people. The general public is playing a game of catch-up with the civil libertarians, hackers, conspiracy theorists, and other social misfits who’ve been following this issue for years.

    The ongoing process of forming a politics is going to take some time. We have a pretty good start on that through proposals to reform the FISA court, limit the scope of surveillance programs, toughen encryption standards, etc. If all else fails we can rally behind legislation that would cut the funding to the intelligence community. This should probably be a last resort though.

    What a funny sentiment coming from Mark Ames. He’s been outstanding among those people getting into the cult of personality Twitter wars. Glad to see he’s now focusing his efforts on the real targets.

  5. AbyNormal

    re: how-memory-can-be-a-false-witness
    oh i smell a rat…this is as dangerous as anything ive read during our financial blowout

    gota do the work…no way around it
    “Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak knits up the o’erwrought heart and bids it break”
    o’erbilly Shakespeare

    “if the human race lasts long enough, they’ll come a day when everyone’s brain is modified to suit the corporate needs”
    rjs

    1. Patricia

      I agree. These supposed experts have not yet learned basics, such as that traumatic memory is laid differently than memories made in normal course.

      For their proposal to mean anything, they would have shown that the drug (injected into the brain) erased memory when administered within a couple days after traumatic experience. Because of the differences in ways memories are stored, they would almost certainly have not been successful, but at least a semi-intelligent attempt would have been made.

      By the time people show up with PTSD, the memories are not only deeply engrained but held throughout the body, not just in the amygdala.

      Ignorant arrogant people messing with the brain, where have we heard that before? Pffft

      1. AbyNormal

        hey Patricia thanks for the share.

        did you read this link? and i’d love to hear what you think
        http://www.nature.com/news/behaviour-and-biology-the-accidental-epigeneticist-1.14441
        left with a nasty gut wrench…corporate funding in all behavioral projects is the Only money available and what could go wrong?
        example:
        “Szyf and Tremblay reported that men with a history of chronic aggression dating back to kindergarten had significantly lower blood levels of immune molecules called cytokines than normal controls from the cohort9
        . These molecules are typically activated during the body’s response to stress, and animal studies have demonstrated a link between aggression and lower levels of a cytokine called interleukin-6, which was also lower in the chronically aggressive men. In a second study, Szyf and Tremblay showed that members of the Montreal Longitudinal Study with a long-standing history of aggression had a distinctly different pattern of DNA methylation in the genes encoding the cytokines, compared to men with a less aggressive behavioural profile10”

        (now what do we Know multi-nationals will chemically do with this…like my buddy said, “if we live long enough…”)
        .

        1. Patricia

          Aby, I don’t know if you’ll come back to this thread again, but in case you do, thanks for the link. I hadn’t read it and it’s fascinating.

          I agree with it, for the most part, although I don’t see why it would require one to conclude that Augustine was correct about human nature (I reallllyyy don’t like his thought). Simply, what happens in creatures’ earliest days/years sets their paths. Of course it’s true prenatally, but also in the first yrs, mammals are still being “firmed up” (especially humans/monkeys), so how they are treated will affect them from the genes on up and back. It’s common sense, really, ISTM.

          If society took it seriously, pregnancy and baby-care would be supported completely differently, yeah.

          Intercession mitigates, but the farther away it is from those early years, the more work it takes and to less effect. And I don’t think there is any short-cut for the remedy: focused love and attention for a long period of time.

          If there were ways to help the remedy along with replacement hormones, serotonin, or whatever, that would be sweet, but the idea of using electricity or medications injected into the brain is plain ridiculous. When people come up with that crap, I assume that they are actually looking to make the problem go away at any costs to the survivor because it is so disturbing to their own sense of order…or something.

  6. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you so much for the link to the article on the planets from Nautilus. Fascinating. When it comes to such matters, sometimes I feel like an ant in an anthill in the Kalahari desert trying to understand that there are such things as supercomputers and the Fermi Lab, let alone the physics of how the BIOS of a supercomputer really works. Ditto at the subatomic level. Not that I won’t keep trying, of course.

  7. bob

    Re- The Top 25 Most Censored Stories of 2013

    21. Conservatives Attack US Post Office to Break the Union and Privatize Postal Services

    Hey Lambert, the reason your computer from Amazon was late getting to you is because the private sector does not do “postal service” as well as the USPS. Not because the NSA rerouted your packages.

    Not one “liberal” has tried to use the story of delayed private sector shipping over christmas as a cudgel to beat the conservatives with.
    Side note- Is the NSA allowed to re-route USPS packages? I bet they’re not….there is quite a bit of law on the USPS. The NSA opening letters. or packages was in the past a HUGE demonstration of their overreach.

    FedEx, UPS? No such laws. They’re private. Worried about the NSA? UPS and FedEx aren’t.

    1. bob

      I’d also like to add that in my personal experience, the USPS is giving huge subsidies to FedEx and UPS. At several smaller post offices I noticed that there was space “reserved” for UPS and FedEx packages. As explained by one postal worker- “oh yeah, that’s their space. They come in and out all day. It’s not space for box holder delievery, it’s a handoff point between fedex and ups trucks.”
      Can’t they afford their own terminals? Can I rent secure storage at the post office? Better than a bank.

      1. different clue

        Another reason might be that if the USPS is destroyed, the possibility of sending something by tamper-sensitive letter is removed. It would be harder for the NSA or whomever to open, read, and reclose a million letters than a billion emails.

      2. Susan Pizzo

        You must have seen Chris Hedges’ latest:

        “U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon have called for a national infrastructure bank. The U.S. Postal Service would fund the proposed bank. The Postal Service—which from 1911 until 1967 provided basic checking and savings services to the public—with its offices in nearly every community has the physical infrastructure to jump-start a national public bank. Deposits would be invested in government securities. These securities would be used to finance infrastructure projects. And the proposal would not require raising taxes. The plan, which I doubt the banking lobbyists and their lackeys in Congress will ever permit, would in addition to saving the Postal Service itself provide access to banking for the one in four households that cannot get such services.”

        http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/overthrow_the_speculators_20131229

  8. Ex-PFC Chuck

    Shorter planets piece: We ‘re just fleas on a 3dimensional table of colliding billiard balls and sooner or later our time will come to be knocked off.

    1. diptherio

      Perhaps science is finally ready to shake off its old prejudices. Secular science ditched the idea of a god, but kept pretty much all the other superstitions; the belief in order and harmony as the underlying reality of the universe is one of the most deep-seated of these superstitions. And not only does our belief in order belie our subconscious servitude to ancient dogmas, it also shows that we still do not understand the most fundamental aspects of our sensory apparatus.

      This line from the article is a perfect example: “We are back to a probabilistic view of the solar system, in which nature builds some inherent uncertainty into the system.”

      You see, the author still does not understand what ‘uncertainty’ is. To him, it is something that exists in external reality. But in actual fact, the terms ‘certainty and ‘uncertainty’ refer not to external reality, but to the particular ways in which external reality either matches or fails to match the mental maps that we use to explain the world to ourselves. We project a system, a grid, onto the chaos that is reality. Where the reality seems to line up nicely with our grid, we call it ‘certainty’ and ‘order’; where reality does not line up with our projected grid, we call it ‘uncertainty’ and ‘disorder.’ But certainty and uncertainty, order and disorder, are not attributes of material nature. Rather, they are statements about our perceiving apparatus, our mental maps. In truth, the cosmos is chaos, through and through, and it is we who have created order and disorder, certainty and uncertainty.

        1. diptherio

          Thanks, I had missed that. I’ve been blowing through the Illuminatus! trilogy which is like taking a literary master-class on the nature of reality. Good stuff.

        2. Jim S

          I’m glad to see someone else stumping for Sheldrake. I’ve linked to his EU2013 talk a couple of times this past year.

          Regarding the unstable motions of planets, dare I mention Immanuel Velikovsky? I dare; has no one else read him, or is the taboo against his name too strong?

          (Also, I would like to re-read my copy of the Illuminatus trilogy, but I have no idea where it’s gotten to…)

        3. Flying Kiwi

          A disappointing talk by Sheldrake.

          His concept of ‘morphic resonance’ is nothing more than Richard Dawkin’s suggested ‘memes’ as extended to biology etc. by Susan Blackmore in her 1999 book “The Meme Machine”.

          If “Big G” varies if we pass through “clouds of Dark Matter” then the fundamental Gravitational Constant isn’t rendered inconstant as Sheldrake suggests, merely variable (and predicatably so) according to its environment just as the ‘speed of sound’ is affected by atmospheric pressure. I suggest it would be even more interesting to discover if there is any correlation between this variation in Big G and the measured variation in the speed of light, as I suggest any local change in gravity is also going to affect the speed of light.

          The basic question is “does nature really build some ‘inherent uncertainty’ into the system” or is it merely a case that ‘certainty’ is a matter of calculation presently beyond our capacity and/or things affecting it of which we are unaware. Nothing in the article seems to suggest that Jupiter or any other planet might go wandering off for no reason at all. Merely that the reasons are currently not obvious to us. Even Quantum Uncertainty may very well be a case of our being unaware of all the influences on the quanta.

          150-years ago much of the opposition to Darwin’s hypothesis of Evolution came from scientists not for religious reasons but from the simple scientic fact that there was no known mechanism by which the sun could have shone at a steady rate for the millions of years required for Evolution. Nuclear physics, which came along 50-years later, made Evolution far more feasible.

          1. optimader

            Kiwi,
            I agree Sheldrake is a hash, but a point of clarification
            “the ‘speed of sound’ is affected by atmospheric pressure.”= NO.

            http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/sound/souspe.html
            http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-speedsound.htm

            The speed of sound : s= [squ](E/D)

            E is the elasticity(Young’s modulus)
            D is the density.
            For air, E = 1.41P (approx.)
            Since pressure and density go hand in hand, barometric pressure does not effect the speed of sound.

            Density varies inversely by temp(Kelvin), so the speed of sound varies by the squareroot of temp.
            S1/S2 = [squ](T1/T2)
            Speed of sound and speed of light vary with density of the medium. Interestingly, speed of sound goes to zero in a vacuum and the speed of light goes to it’s maximum in a vacuum.
            Going off track here just a bit, the difference in speed of light in slightly different glasses is why fiber optic cable works.
            Great efforts to engineer a core glass for F.O. that approaches speed of light in a vacuum . Big implications for electronic trading platforms.

          2. Jim S

            Ah, “clouds of Dark Matter”! Of course! Usually we take this sort of explanation without evidence to be “rationalization” or “wild guessing”, but in this case it makes perfect sense to discount the simplest explanation in favor of a theoretical “Dark Matter” that has not been observed yet (I never liked Ockham much anyway, did you?).

            (Hi optimader!)

      1. optimader

        Heisenberg is out for a drive when he’s stopped by a traffic cop.
        The cop says, “Do you know how fast you were going?”
        Heisenberg says, “No, but I know where I am.”

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Memory…a false witness.

    And words lie.

    You see only what the film makers what you to see.

    Hearsay is hardly reliable.

    So, what are we left with?

  10. Charles Yaker

    re article in Telegrapg concerning “Alluding to the potential for wider conflict in the region, Mr Liu said: “The international community should stay on high alert.”
    Mr Abe’s Yasukuni visit added to tensions between Japan and China, which are engaged in a diplomatic dispute over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.”

    According to Eamonn Finleton “In the jaws of the Dragon” 2008 this is an annual visit and the controversy (he prefers theatre) has been going on for years.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If it’s about dying for one’s country, they should also honor Japanese housewives, people of Hiroshima as well and workers at Fukushima.

  11. Optimader

    Re: The ‘Average Women’s Magazine Cover’ Parody You Need To See Huffington Post (Carol B). Hate to tell you, but only clue I saw to it being a parody is the really obvious fake boobs (as opposed to mildly obvious fake boobs) and lousy makeup.

    Meeeowwhissssseoow
    Their real

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        How is HuffPost any different than other parts of the U.S. msm? I guess the CSM commands respect and are part of the MSM, but outside of that, the HuffPost is just part of the rank and file.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No they aren’t.

      See the hard semi-circles at the top? Fake fake fake. Real boobs don’t show hard tidy geometric edges.

      Living in Manhattan, you learn to recognize plastic surgery. I haven’t sought this knowledge out, I’ve had the signs pointed out repeatedly by various sources, and with boobs, by men more often than women. Most of the boobs on magazine covers these days are visible fakes. They don’t even Photoshop out the signs.

  12. Thorstein

    There is a comment on Brad DeLong’s blog that improves substantially on his plan for Berkeley: Instead of giving money to writing teachers or the English department, give that money to the Business School.

    And instead of beefing up the drama department, why not simply create a Berkeley version of the Hasty Pudding Club? Going further, I seriously doubt very many of the children of Asia’s super-rich want to study pre-med or computer science. Why should a wealthy child want a career working for a hospital administrator or a social media marketing director? And how will economics ever help a wealthy graduate make connections in B-school??

    Medicine, computer science, and economics are all useful disciplines for those whose lot in life is to serve the super-rich, but why would the super-rich want to learn those skills themselves? They have people for that.

  13. Hal

    Re epigenetic changes in primates and humans:

    It seems that the closer to the tropics an animal lives, the earlier the young animal can be abandoned to fend for itself due to abundant food resources.

    Might this be reflected in human cultures?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Sure it does, not in the same way. Human offspring are really stupid for a long time to get through the birth canal. There is a certain amount of food security which shapes family units, physical size, and even natures of religion (desert, forest, or urban). Historically, rice growing is pretty reliable which means there is enough nutrition so babies don’t die, but there is still only so much food to go around which means people don’t necessarily have the protein which lets them get big. In China, the non-rice growing regions the people are large, and the people in the rice growing regions tend to be shorter, smaller.

      The Romans wrote about the tall, stocky Germans who would come out of the forests. In good years, they would get big and breed, and in bad years, babies died and weren’t competing for food. The tribes on the Steppes of Asia did the same thing. Mongols, Turks, Cossacks, and pretty much anyone who tried to take over Iraq/Iran/Anatolia area. The Vikings had the same issues. They came from a warm period in that part of the world where babies didn’t die, so people had to leave.

      Forest cultures where food is abundant promote monogamous relationships because stress isn’t there, there is time for relationships to develop, but desert-like conditions produce cultures with harem like situations where a patriarch was directly in charge of a family unit. Mormons and Arab Nomads spring to mind.

      Even here in the U.S., slavery developed in the South but not in the North. An argument could be made about where the English settlers came in England, but slaves would die before working Yankee soil because slaves don’t innovate (why would they) and the Yankee soil required innovation to work. The red clay of the Southeast may seem heavy, but anything will grow. The Piedmont Plateau and the Appalachians in the Mid Atlantic have close to highest if not the highest natural plant diversity level in the U.S. Its not too hot, and there aren’t enough freezes before the plants can go dormant. Spanish Moss dies. Slaves can work the Southern soil and raise a wide variety of crops which makes cashless societies function. One can’t get good help today because people aren’t paid enough.

      In the nicer areas of the U.S., religion is an Easter and Christmas event with a few additional rituals performed, Bar Mitsvahs, first Communions, the Airing of Grievances, and watching Doctor Who. In the poorer areas of the country where people are dependent on direct charity, religion takes on an important aspect because it provides something which can’t be taken away. Look at the defenses of that lunatic from that show about rich guys being happy being poor.

  14. Hugh

    It is always interesting to see how much that is misleading and neoliberal Brad DeLong can pack into a title: “Does America’s Future Contain Elite Public Universities?” First off, he’s not talking about America’s future but Berkeley’s. Second, “elite public” is oxymoronic. On the one hand, he wants to turn Berkeley into a finishing school for Asia’s superrich. On the other, he wants Berkeley’s grads to support the university from the comfort of their well paid elite sinecures. There is nothing “public” about any of this. What it looks like more than anything is the privatization of the school, and its conversion into an institution of and for the elites.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Might as well open up some branch locations in Asia.

      But since it’s all about money, you won’t see that happen in, say, Haiti.

  15. ex-PFC Chuck

    The link on epigenetics and criminal behavior is fascinating. Another take on the origins of such behavior from a very different perspective, done about a generation ago, is the work of Lonnie Athens, now a professor at Seton Hall. It’s described in the context of Athens’ life story in Why They Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist, by Richard Rhodes. Athens grew up in a family dominated by a very physically abusive father and credits a couple of mentors and friends who played a role at critical times in his life for steering him away from a similar path, and onto one of trying to understand how people could become like his dad. Rhodes also has a compelling personal history; as a preteen he was nearly killed by an arch-typically evil stepmother who severely beat and nearly starved him and his older brother. This experience led him to a lifelong pursuit of an understanding of the origins of evil behavior. Among his books are the definitive texts for the general audience on the development of nuclear weapons: The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Dark Sun.

    1. optimader

      The Making of the Atomic Bomb
      One of my favorite books by a favorite author.. The history of nuclear physics

      http://richardrhodes.com/books.html
      Rhodes is a brilliant, his work is meticulously documented and written in an intellectually available and engaging manner.

  16. Alexander will NOT go back to being Janice Lester.

    Gary Busey clapping GIF for Ames for pointing out the historical continuities in officials denouncing state overreach and crime.

    Up to now the public disclosures focused on the NSA’s international delicts: breaches of diplomatic immunity and human-rights violations. That’s enough to get the top three echelons purged in discreet disgrace. But that was always bound to be the least of it – NSA are military pukes, after all, so war crimes and aggression are their mission.

    So it’s good to see denunciation of the most serious crimes by rights defender Applebaum and Der Speigel, the new global paper of record. We now have documentary evidence of unlawful and wanton appropriation and sabotage of property; direct participation in extrajudicial killings; maybe even wilfully causing serious injury to health with indiscriminate RF weapons.

    These are internationally wrongful acts of the US government, making the state responsible for reparations, restitution, compensation, and satisfaction, and subjecting the US to countermeasures. NSA’s domestic legal authority is irrelevant. Injured states can haul the US into arbitral panels or the International Court of Justice to fix terms and liability for principal and interest. The US quietly complies in the end.

    The acts of individual officials breach peremptory norms of international law, making them crimes in universal jurisdiction with no statute of limitations. Cognizant officials become enemies of all mankind, fugitives everywhere on earth. Maybe their government protects them. Maybe it sacrifices some scapegoats. But Alexander steps outside the US and he’s fair game for any foreign prosecutor, ad-hoc tribunal, or the International Criminal Court.

    The bill of indictment writes itself. NSA staff are now implicated in drone murder, rendition, and the crime against humanity of the US torture gulag. You’re not Captain Kirk of Starfleet anymore, you’re a criminal scumbag, down there in the shit with the stinking grunts taking trophy fingers and raping cute girls.

  17. Tyler

    An economic depression is characterized by its length; by abnormally large increases in unemployment; as well as shrinking output as buyers dry up and suppliers cut back on production and investment.

    The national unemployment rate has been over six percent since 2008. Are we in a depression?

    1. Hugh

      Yes, we are. The top 20% are not. The top 1% are on the upside of a big bubble in equities. That’s why stock markets are hitting all time highs even as the much of the economy stagnates or deteriorates.

  18. JohnB

    In Ireland there is a ‘Job Bridge’ scheme for taking people off unemployment and giving them unpaid internships, and it is being completely abused (and abuse of it is being promoted by business lobbyists and government) basically to provide slave labour to businesses in Ireland, and to allow government to strike some people off of the unemployment figures.

    There’s a story in this, if someone wants to do a bit of digging, and there are probably a lot of people who can contribute to and provide evidence of abuse, from their experience as interns, and even the ability to name-names and specific companies/businesses – it’s probably not easy work, and it’s not something I know a lot about myself, but I think that if the research was put in, it’s probably a story ripe for picking.

    There’s a prominent Irish message board here, with a thread on it, which I occasionally browse, and maybe is useful for some sources:
    https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=88268262&postcount=850
    https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056987239&page=57

  19. readerOfTeaLeaves

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/03/big-bang-blueprintderegulate-finance-national-archives

    From the archives of Maggie Thatcher’s era, in which we were all viewed as ‘peasants’:

    “A fairytale ending to the Thatcher revolution in the City of London was predicted by John Redwood, one of the ideological driving forces inside the government.

    The outspoken eurosceptic, later to become Welsh secretary, was head of the Downing Street Policy Unit throughout 1984 and an enthusiastic advocate for deregulation of financial services.

    In an extraordinary parable, composed for the faithful within the prime minister’s office, Redwood set out the rationale for what would become known as the big bang – the opening up of the Stock Exchange to competition.

    Given that the speech refers to most of the population and journalists as “peasants”, it is not surprising that his imaginative call to arms has remained secreted inside prime ministerial files for almost 30 years.

    Entitled Tilting at Castles, it opens with the traditional: “Once upon a time – or about a year ago, to be more precise – there lived a noble and chivalrous group of knights in a big castle called the stock exchange.

    “… And of course they loved feasting and jousting and pillaging – well perhaps we’d better not be too explicit. Outside the stock exchange castle lived a great population of subject peoples and peasants. They were all forced to send their savings, the results of their labours, to institutional barons….

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