Links 6/16/13

Must Cats Die So Birds Can Live? New York Magazine

Financial market barometer stays set for storms FT


Everyone who enters Taksim Square will be treated as a terrorist: Turkish EU Minister Hurriyet Daily News

Turkish police disperse protesters in Gezi Park after PM’s ultimatum Sunday’s Zaman (see also “taksim“; pics; RT live blog; Al Jazeera live blog).

Turkey protests: Istanbul erupts over Gezi Park clearance BBC

Sex as a police punishment Hurriyet Daily News (blog). Not “sex.”

World exclusive: Iran will send 4,000 troops to aid Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria Robert Fisk, Independent

Chemical weapons experts still skeptical about U.S. claim that Syria used sarin McClatchy

New Report: How the U.S.-EU Trade Deal would Grant Sweeping Corporate Privileges Public Citizen

Spanish austerity cuts put lives at risk, study finds Reuters. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

Dumb and Dumber Tax Hikes in Italy; Grand Coalition Splintering; Another Italy Convulsion Coming Up Global Economic Analysis (cf. Made in Italy).

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

NSA admits listening to U.S. phone calls without warrants CNet. “[S]ecretly interpreted federal surveillance law”. “The disclosure appears to confirm some of the allegations made by Edward Snowden.”

Source: Obama Considering Releasing NSA Court Order NPR. Visionary minimalism

Obama to defend U.S. surveillance programs in G8 talks, White House says Reuters. Kiss (US-served) cloud computing good-bye!

PRISM: The Difference between Orders and Directives emptywheel (commentary on
this AP story).

Web companies begin releasing surveillance information after U.S. deal Reuters

The Real War on Reality Opinionater, Times

NSA Architecture of Oppression cryptome

The left turns compliant on violating civil liberties Dana Milbank, WaPo

Snowden Leak ‘Bad News’ for U.S. Businesses, Hayden Says Bloomberg

Tracking Edward Snowden, from a Maryland classroom to a Hong Kong hotel WaPo

For Snowden, a Life of Ambition, Despite the Drifting Times. I’d sure like to have “drifted” my way to a six-figure job in Hawaii. Just saying. Oh, and “hundreds” of documents. Pass the popcorn. (But why not just release them all?)

Introducing Project Loon: Balloon-powered Internet access Google Official Blog

Why real wages are falling Stumbling and Mumbling. “You cannot understand economics without understanding power.” Truer words.

Rising Income Inequality and the Role of Shifting Market-Income Distribution, Tax Burdens, and Tax Rates EPI

From the comments — on dynamism Marginal Revolution

Are Long-Term Unemployed Taking Refuge in Disability? Online WSJ. No.

IMF Article IV on the US: “deficit reduction in 2013 has been excessively rapid and ill-designed”  Econbrowser

What Sweden Can Tell Us About Obamacare Times

Al Gore says Obama must veto ‘atrocity’ of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline Guardian

‘I have a moral obligation to make my wife as comfortable as possible’: 66-year-old man arrested for growing marijuana for his sick wife Daily Mail

Chicago schools facing cuts under new funding system WBEZ. Less for public, more for charters.

The lost city The Age. Mahendraparvata.

Greatest Moments In Stanley Cup Finals History The Onion

Guest post, The Vortex: A Cookie Swapping Game for Anti-Surveillance mathbabe. #SafeData!

Antidote du jour:


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Richard Kline

    “Must cats die so that birds may live?” Better they not be born.

    I adore cates, but that said they’re the most relentless and efficient slaughterers in the mammalian world. They don’t kill to eat, they kill for pleasure, and whenever possible. It’s how their neurology is wired. Think about that the next time you’e cuddling Fluffy . . . That was the name of my neighbor’s fat, smart, grey cat, who’d walk along the driveway calmly tdum-dee-dum-tdum-tdumm and with no warning leap more then five feet straight up to pluck passing birds from the air to their doom.

    1. Richard Kline

      Sea otters are physical proof that there is a higher karmic state than humanity.

    2. scott

      Not all cats prefer birds. Our outdoor cat has killed all the rats that used to nest in my attic and those of my neighbors. He leaves birds alone, though he did bring me a parakeet ALIVE which somebody had abandoned, which is now living in a cage somewhere.

    3. F. Beard

      The solution might be to raise cats and birds together?

      But a solution is coming regardless:

      And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Isaiah 11:6

      The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord. Isaiah 65:25

      1. Antifa

        I’ve heard . . . that at the Moscow Zoo you can see lions laying down with lambs every day. Lots of ’em.

        It’s different lambs every morning, but still.

    4. LizinOregon

      I continue to be amazed at man’s ability to hate cats. What other species has been subjected to so many genocide attempts through time? Yes, they are superb hunters and their humans could be more responsible. But it is the human destruction of this planet that is killing birds by shrinking their habitat and polluting their migration routes, which doesn’t seem to rate much attention.

      Let’s focus on the real problem.

      1. Klassy!


        As for the otters– they wondered “Besides endless frolicking, what can we do to be even cuter? I know. We’ll hold hands as we sleep!”.

      2. Crazy Horse

        The real problem is all those mirrored skyscrapers with banksters hiding in them. They kill as many birds as cats, and don’t even derive pleasure from it—.

      3. Elliot


        Also: I just love how suburbia (paved, sprayed, automobile-filled, mowed, overly-lit, wetland-removed suburbia and cities moan on and on about cats killing birds, and leave themselves out of the equation. Take away habitat, poison the food and the water, remove nesting sites, poison the air, cut down the trees, pave over the ground where insect food might be…………. and blame it on the cats. It’s the same small-plumbing thinking that leads rural males to want to kill off the wolves… can’t have any non-dominatable creatures running about.

    5. PunchNRun

      As a cat maintainer as well as bird ogler, let me ease the sting of your words just a bit. Cats appear to remain close to the feral state, much more so than than do dogs for example. We must expect that they will do what obligate carnivore hunters do, practice practice practice. Because to lose one’s edge is to starve. You call it hunting for pleasure and quite rightly, but always be aware that “pleasure” is wired-in. As eating sugar is for me.

      Cats have been introduced into environments far removed from their native lands by agricultural humans who value them for keeping the rodent population down so that stored foodstuffs are less spoiled. Cats “value” these humans for baiting the rodents — and birds — to make them more abundant and easier prey.

      “My” cat remains indoors. She watches the birds through the windows. If rodents venture indoors, they are hers. Otherwise she is a spectator only. There are grain farms in the area, and the managers still encourage “barn cats” to control pest populations. These are widely distributed but sparsely populated and I do not begrudge them their barn cats. However urban and suburban humans who promote the current overpopulation of domestic cats by feeding them and allowing them free range outdoors are causing considerable damage to populations of wildlife that live in balance with the food supply, by artificially maintaining an overpopulation of predators which would be few and far between in an ecosystem with normal dynamic balances.

      1. Richard Kline

        A fine summation, and you note, as I did, that cats are neurologically wired to catch prey. That said, the conclusion isn’t there. Cats have been maintained as symbiotes to kill grain-seeking rodents, but as I feel sure you are aware several recent studies have confirmed the larger point: cats kill anything that moves that’s small enough to do in. Rodents, birds, lizards, pups, any mammal they can reach. They don’t bring the evidence home but in a small percentage of the kills, but it’s clearly been demonstrated that loose cats vastly surpress all small wildlife in their vicinity.

        I love the little critters, and your prisoner cat doesn’t get to participate as much as some. There are some fraidys with damaged neurosystems which are slow and indifferent in their pursuit; they’d starve if their symbiote didn’t feed them. But in the main, they’re broadcast killers; because that’s what they’ve been evolved to be.

    6. nick b

      Where I live, you’d have to be one cruel cat owner to let your cat out of doors. The coyotes make appetizers out of them in short order. Maybe that’s why we have lots of birds?

    7. frosty zoom

      “I adore cates, but that said they’re the most relentless and efficient slaughterers in the mammalian world.”

      yep, cats, the inventors of icbms, reapers and predators, sarin…

  2. Goin' South

    Re: “why not release them all”–

    I’m sympathetic to Silber’s point. Who made Greenwald and the Guardian the new Masters of Info?

    But there may be a reason for this trickle down release method that I could support. While Greenwald uses the elitist “we know better” language that rightly pisses off Arthur, it could be that Snowden, Greenwald and possibly others who are managing this process aren’t stating the real purpose behind their method. Maybe this is what they’re hoping to do:

    Release a little. Let the government and corporate officials come out and lie in response to questions raised by the release.

    Release some more that exposes those lies and raises some more questions.

    Rinse and repeat.

    It’s a worthy goal to expose just what kind of corrupt liars are in charge of these institutions. If that’s at least part of the reason that Snowden and Greenwald are playing this strip-tease, then that’s worth it.

    1. from Mexico

      Well if nothing else, maybe it’s the old Chinese water torture strategy.

      If they slowly keep the documents trickling out, it keeps the story in the news.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Declan McCullough’s Cnet article details how national security officials are tripping over their own shoelaces in the process of progressive disclosure:

      Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s disclosure that NSA analysts can listen to calls without court orders “simply based on an analyst deciding that” came during a House Judiciary hearing on Thursday that included FBI director Robert Mueller as a witness.

      Mueller initially claimed that, to listen to a phone call, the government would need to seek “a special, a particularized order from the FISA court directed at that particular phone of that particular individual.”

      “Is information about that procedure “classified in any way?” Nadler asked.

      “I don’t think so,” Mueller replied.

      “Then I can say the following,” Nadler said. “We heard precisely the opposite at the briefing the other day. We heard precisely that you could get the specific information from that telephone simply based on an analyst deciding that…In other words, what you just said is incorrect. So there’s a conflict.”

      ‘A conflict’ — well stated, sir. A fine euphemism for ‘You’re a lying P.O.S.’

      For petits citoyens, this sort of verbal flimflammery can get you charged with the federal crime of lying to a law enforcement officer. Obviously Mueller, who heads the FBI, doesn’t consider being held in contempt of Congress as a credible threat.

      ‘L’etat, c’est moi,’ comrades.

      1. from Mexico

        Yep. In our wonderful democracy, the police, prosecutors and judges have immunity from prosecution, with said immunity increasing as one moves up the pecking order. Immunity from prosecution, of course, very quickly translates to impunity.

        1. MaroonBulldog

          Yep. And the purpose of a search warrant originally was (and still is) to indemnify the searching officer against civil liability for trespass claims (unless they serve it at the wrong address and falsely imprison several occupants, a la “Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.”)

          But who needs indemnity when fact of the trespass is classified information and the victim will not even know about it?

        2. Nathanael

          The immunity was invented by judges. It has no legal basis.

          I still wonder how they got away with that.

          1. Nathanael

            FWIW, they appear to have established the various pernicious immunity doctrines during the Gilded Age.

      2. Eureka Springs

        Think about it… What sort of spin-treatment would Nadler or any congresscritter received if two weeks ago he walked out of a secret meeting and disclosed this honest information?

        1. Jim Haygood

          What sort of spin treatment would we get, using the ‘NSA defense’ (quoting the Cnet article):

          A requirement of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act is that the NSA “may not intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States.”

          A possible interpretation of that language, some legal experts said, is that the agency may vacuum up everything it can domestically — on the theory that indiscriminate data acquisition was not intended to “target” a specific American citizen.

          Now try defending yourself against, say, a weapons brandishing charge using the ploy of the government’s “legal experts”:

          “Yeah, sure. I was waving my Glock pistol around and said I’d blast the shit out of everybody. But I didn’t target anyone. So you gotta acquit me, yer Honor.”

          HA HA HA. With an outburst like that, you’d be lucky merely to be convicted, rather than dragged out on the spot in contempt of court.

          But for politicians (particularly constitutional lawyers), semantics is a ever-ready tool to invert and nullify any statutory prohibition. They can do whatever the hell they want.

          1. MaroonBulldog

            Yep, “Loopholes” is the major topic of law school study, and many law professors approach statutory construction courses with the attitude that their eductional mission is to teach students “not to let these words stand in your way.”

      3. Doug Terpstra

        Greenwald’s progressive revelation strategy is far more effective than a one-time dump. It keeps the story alive and keeps criminals paranoid and trapped by their own bungled cover up and continual stream of lies. It also makes their mangled attempt at pretext for a diversionary war on Syria more obvious and suspect.

  3. Ned Ludd

    During the election last year, I noticed that people who displayed anti-war bumper stickers or yard signs were always right-leaning libertarians, based on the other signs and stickers that I saw, and never progressives or liberals. I did not see any anti-war signs or stickers around any of the food co-operatives, which used to be one of the spots where Greens, anarchists, and other leftists posted flyers and propaganda†. This is a Democratic town (the urban area near where I live), now dominated by corporate liberals, where Republicans have not held a seat on the city council for as long as I can remember.

    I would guess that there is a lot of overlap between people who are anti-war and people who are against NSA spying, since both stances betoken skepticism towards state violence. The crosstabs of the latest polls on the NSA surveillance are all based on party, not ideology – which makes it impossible to know how liberals, conservatives, leftists, and right-leaning libertarians split on the issue. My guess, based on anecdotal evidence, is that young adults (people in their 20’s) who identify as libertarian are more likely to be anti-war and anti-surveillance than young people who identify as liberals or leftists.

    † In the anarchist community, we referred to our own signs and newsletters as propaganda. “Propaganda” was used descriptively, not pejoratively.

    1. Ned Ludd

      Also, we had anarchist newspapers, not newsletters. I have spent too much time volunteering at liberal advocacy groups; it has muddled my brain.

    2. LucyLulu

      Ron Paul followers are anti-war and anti-surveillance. And the Guardian has reported a poll showing that young people are more more likely to be opposed to surveillance than older generations.

      That being said, we have our own peculiar subset here on NC like myself that follows none of these norms. Anti-war, anti-surveillance, older and otherwise non-subscribers to Ron Paul ideology. I call it socially libertarian and fiscally progressive, or a community/democratic vs. an individual/authoritarian orientation.

    3. from Mexico

      It is extremely difficult for an individual to transcend tribal loyalties and interests (such as partisanship to either the Republican Party or Democratic Party) in favor of more universal principles, such as bonafide equality before the law or equal freedom of speech and privacy rights before the law. It seems it is far easier for most tribes to get outraged when it is their own cow being gorged.

      Do the right libertarians rise above partisanship and tribalism? I would say no. As evidence I would cite this article:

      Even though I perceive the author of the article being just as tribalistic, partisan, and over the top as Rand Paul, it seems Paul is far more interested in the rights of Christians than he is of atheists or Muslims, and far more interested in pandering to the radical Christian right than he is about protecting the rights of LGBTs.

      1. from Mexico

        From the video we can hear Paul say:

        In Egypt, in Pakistan they burn our flag. I say not one more penny to countries who are burning the American flag.

        To begin with, notice the logical fallacies Paul employees:

        Anecdotal Evidence: Discounting evidence arrived at by systematic search or testing in favor of a few firsthand stories.

        Composition: Assuming that characteristics or beliefs of some of a group applies to the entire group.

        Hasty Generalization: Drawing a general conclusion from a tiny sample.

        Jumping to Conclusions: Drawing a quick conclusion without fairly considering relevant (and easily available) evidence.

        Biased Generalizing: Generalizing from an unrepresentative sample to increase the strength of your argument.

        Confirmation Bias: Cherry-picking evidence that supports your idea while ignoring contradicting evidence.

        Spotlight: Assuming an observation from a small sample size applies to an entire group.

        Next, notice how Paul fails to point out that flag burning is held to be constitutionally protected free speech in the United States, and yet he expects the governments of other countries to deprive their citizens of this right. And all this is being heralded under the banner of “Faith and Freedom.”

        The cognitive dissonance is deafening.

        1. CRLaRue

          Where do you draw the line? After 36 years of trying to wake the American public to the banking cabel that has destroyed your republic you f–k one sheep?

      2. Ned Ludd

        Libertarians, especially young libertarians, don’t trust Rand Paul.

        Rand Paul: The Guy Every Libertarian Hates

        Most support seems to be tactical, recognizing that a Senator can push an issue, like drones, into the spotlight. Rand Paul, of course, is an opportunist, trying to use libertarians the same way that Obama used progressives.

    4. taunger

      I think “progressives” and under 35 leftists in my area are uniformly anti-war; anti-surveillance is not as much an issue, although that may be projection of my own feelings of futility on surveillance. Certainly neither socialists nor libertarians will get anywhere on use of state coercive powers without the help of the other; please don’t derogate my brothers in arms.

      1. Ned Ludd

        I didn’t disparage anyone. I was making a guess based on my observations and am interested in other others’ observations.

        I wrote my comment after reading Dana Milbank’s article (which is more about Democrats than the left), followed by another Washington Post article, which remarked that Edward Snowden “leaned libertarian”. Anti-war activism and passionate civil liberties advocacy seem increasingly common among young, right-leaning libertarians.

        I wholeheartedly agree that tactical alliances between anti-imperialists and civil libertarians on both the left and the right are vital. I wrote my comment to encourage people on the left to consider this type of tactical engagement with right-leaning libertarians.

  4. Richard Kline

    And re: Rachel @ mathbabe: ” . . . [B]eing completely anonymous is difficult, but being someone else and hiding with misinformation is easy.” Exactly. Love the concept, i.e. spoof the sniffers. You go, girl!

  5. Mario Panziero

    On Spain-Austerity endangering life: that’s unconscionable and appaling. That, of course, must not become an easy excuse to justify the use of violence against financers, economists, lawyers or the 1%,or anybody else, but how many divisions do Cyprus, the Cayman Islands, BVG, Luxembourg et al have? That just to give a carefully pillaged message: if the system goes beyond control, trouble will eventually go above and if history is of any guide, there will be no hiding places, once the mob awakes.

    1. nobody

      It’s a shame that the title of the piece does not properly match the content or the truth about things. It should have been something more like “Spanish austerity cuts are killing people, and are going to kill a lot more.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Hopefully my comment added a little amplication. The same goes for austerity everywhere, of course. Decreased life expectancy is the unstated policy objective.

  6. Jessica

    “What Sweden Can Tell Us About Obamacare”

    manages to compare Swedish healthcare to Obamacare without mentioning the direct effects of American insurance companies and Big Pharma or the broader effects of their power. Thus, the main problems seem to be doctors and patients. This is a remarkable, yet typical, example of the way that the knowledge worker class is tasked with creating unknowing. The author of the article most likely would not have such a prestigious position or the chance to write an Op-Ed in the N.Y. Times if he wrote directly and honestly about who really runs the American healthcare system.

    1. Stephanie

      oops…just thought to check the date (from the 11th). It may have already been posted here.

  7. Hugh

    The income inequality article is a good review of things we have been saying here for the last few years: increase marginal rates substantially and apply them to all income(90% or more for incomes of you fix the limit. I find over time I keep decreasing them, currently I am thinking on any income above $750,000).

    On a related issue not mentioned in the article, estate taxes also need to be vastly increased for estates over a few million, as in between 90%-100%. It is important to look not just at income but wealth inequality, that is the effects of high income over time.

    1. from Mexico

      The trick is to see that the rapid growth of inequality and of the police empire, secret or otherwise, go hand-in-hand. As Christian Parenti put it in Lockdown America:

      In fact, Reagan created whole new classes of poor and desperate people. It was in response to the social crisis, crated by the elite response to the profit crisis, that a new wave of criminal justice crackdown began.

    2. taunger


      even among the dedicated NC commentariat, I rarely see anyone with the focused solution of confiscatory marginal tax rates. I agree this is the way – please, let’s remember to sing it load and regularly.

        1. F. Beard

          Very inefficient and wasteful since Federal taxation DESTROYS money.

          One should prevent the unjust income and wealth distribution to begin with rather than engage in spiteful destruction.

          What’s next? Make-work “jobs” because Progressives are too timid to do the right thing and simply give people new fiat?

          1. Andrew Watts

            Taxation is just another way of distributing wealth. It doesn’t destroy wealth any more then it creates it. That said, I doubt any significant changes to the tax code are going to happen any time soon. Try getting your neighbors interested in tax code revision and have fun looking at their blank faces. It’s been awhile since the last time I checked, but payroll taxes were carrying a little over a third of the federal budget. Even though poor Americans don’t pay income taxes they are still subject to the regressive payroll taxes.

            Wages will continue to fall as there is no force that is pushing them upward.

          2. F. Beard

            Taxation is just another way of distributing wealth.

            Not unless it is combined with new spending to compensate for the destruction of purchasing power. Otherwise it is merely the punchline of this joke:

            God grants wishes to an American, a Frenchman, and a Czech.
            The American says: “My neighbor has a beautiful house. I want an even better one.”
            The Frenchman says: “My neighbor has a beautiful wife. I want an even better one.”
            The Czech says: “My neighbor has a beautiful pig. Kill it.”

          3. Hugh

            Taxation, spending, legislation, and regulation are all ways government effects redistributions of society’s resources in principle to realize society’s goals of the society we want. So yes, changes in taxation can change a particular distribution. The problem is today we live in a kleptocracy and these powers of government rather than serving the needs and aspirations of the many are being used to loot them for the benefit of the few.

    1. anon y'mouse

      thanks for this. for the last 10 years, I have been telling anyone who would listen that all they needed to read to understand the current climate in the U.S. is 1984, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451.

      we may have begun now into Philip K. Dick territory.

  8. JohnDT

    Iran will send 4,000 troops to aid Bashar al-Assad.
    Why is the ‘Independent’ so cynical about the future of the Mid East? the butchering of tens of thousands of civilians? Hopes for reforms and the peoples sacrifices to enjoy democratic regimes? Iranians years-long interventionism throughout the region? Russian growing military role in the region? The potential impact of oil supply disruption on the struggling global economy? The negative impact on the peace prospects?
    Is there a great alternative? What will be the cost of keeping out of this one?
    As for facts:
    – Iran has had military forces in Syria for several DECADES.
    After the official defense pact btw the countries was signed in 2006, multiple military camps have been built and multiple efforts to shift the strategic balance of power, in favor of the brutal dictators/theocracies, have been launched. (e.g. Camp Zabadani of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and a few in Damascus)
    – Iran and Syria have been arming, funding and training Hezbollah with long range missiles for years. Thousands of Hezbollah fighters have been fighting in Syria for months and thousands of Syrians and Iranians have lived and operated in Lebanon (settlements anyone?).
    Sure, let Assad, the Ayatollahs and Russia build their power from Lebanon and Syria, through Iraq to Iran, and watch the Sunni regimes collapse, then calculate the alternative costs to Europe and beyond.

    Some old reminders:

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      What will be the cost of keeping out of this one?
      Seems to me you interventionists have the burden of proof on your side.

      Need I remind you that we overthrew Iran’s democracy in 1953, and have been behaving like the sorceror’s apprentice in the Middle East ever since?

      As for Matthew Levitt:

      In other writings, Levitt has called for the United States to employ “all elements of national power” to counter extreme Islamist ideologies. “Fortifying our defenses at home and pursuing our adversaries abroad is simply not enough,” he wrote in a 2010 WINEP strategic report. “Our ultimate adversary is not the individual bomber, but the radical ideology that propels him to carry out an act of terrorism.”

      Our wars for oil and Israel are the best friends radical ideologies have.

      1. from Mexico

        @ ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© says:

        Our wars for oil and Israel are the best friends radical ideologies have.

        But according to the article from The Independent , since “The very Sunni-Wahabi Islamists who killed thousands of Americans on 11th September, 2011 – who are America’s greatest enemies as well as Russia’s – are going to be proxy allies of the Obama administration,” Israel supports Assad. So Washington and Israel have parted ways on this one:

        It is a sign of the changing historical template in the Middle East that within the framework of old Cold War rivalries between Washington and Moscow, Israel’s security has taken second place to the conflict in Syria. Indeed, Israel’s policies in the region have been knocked askew by the Arab revolutions, leaving its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, hopelessly adrift amid the historic changes.

        Only once over the past two years has Israel fully condemned atrocities committed by the Assad regime, and while it has given medical help to wounded rebels on the Israeli-Syrian border, it fears an Islamist caliphate in Damascus far more than a continuation of Assad’s rule. One former Israel intelligence commander recently described Assad as “Israel’s man in Damascus”. Only days before President Mubarak was overthrown, both Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called Washington to ask Obama to save the Egyptian dictator. In vain.

        So Israel is balking at Obama’s siding with Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups in both Egypt and Syria. So I wonder, if Obama and his fellow neocons can’t blame this one on the Jews, then who will they find to pin this impending military and foreign policy disaster on?

        1. Massinissa

          Israel supports Assad? Are you insane?

          If they support Assad then why have they shot bombs at him a few times?

          Assad is Israels man in damascus? How can he be Irans AND Israels man in Damascus AT THE SAME TIME? The israeli’s are smarter than to think Irans puppet is their puppet.

          Mexico, this article does not make any sense at all, nor does it provide any substantial proof besides anecdotes.

          Israel has simply been sort of quiet about the conflict because they want the US to do it. That doesnt mean they support Assad. Destroying Assad is a blow to Iran, and everyone knows Iran is Israels greatest annoyance.

          1. from Mexico

            The theory put forth by the article is that Islamic extremism, at least for anyone who has to actually live in the neighborhood (like Russia and Israel), poses the greatest threat.

          2. Massinissa

            And I agree with that.

            But I see no evidence that the majority Israeli establishment thinks the same way.

            The article merely did assertions. They were not truly backed up, Mexico. Be careful not to be caught in journalistic hype.

          3. Massinisa

            And uh Mexico, pardon me for questioning your sanity so rudely.

            I should have chosen my words more politely. I do apologize.

        2. from Mexico

          Or, as Gorbachev famously said in 1986: “We are going to present you Americans with a terrible dilemma. We are going to deprive you of an enemy.”

          Obama’s handlers know that without there being some arch-enemy out there, the dreams of full spectrum dominance, over both Americans and non-Americans, are over. So if the “threat to the life of the nation” does not exist, then Obama has to create it.

          This is where, according to Hannah Arendt, the secret police come in handy. “The chief value” of these secret agencies, she writes in The Origins of Totalitariansim, is “in their unsurpassed capacity to establish and safeguard the fictious world through consistent lying.” At “no moment and under none of the most various circumstances has it been possible” for Bolshevism or Nazism “to do without some such fiction.” The existence of a “ficticious global conspiracy” is the very lifeblood of totalitarian regimes, as is “the struggle for total domination of the total population of the earth…: if they do not pursue global rule as their ultimate goal, they are only too likely to lose whatever power they have already seized.”

          1. Jim Haygood

            ‘So if the “threat to the life of the nation” does not exist, then Obama has to create it.’

            Exactly as stated in Report From Iron Mountain (1967):

            An effective political substitute for war would require ‘alternate enemies,’ some of which might seem farfetched in the context of the current war system.

            However unlikely some of the possible alternate enemies we have mentioned may seem, we must emphasize that one must be found, of credible quality and magnitude, if a transition to peace is ever to come about without social disintegration.


            Fortunately, the omnipresent and eternal threat of terrorism was discovered just in the nick of time after the Soviet Union bit the dust.

      2. wunsacon

        Check out the title:

        >> MPs fear that UK will be drawn into growing conflict

        I’d like to hear the thought process about being “drawn into growing conflict”. Maybe it goes something like: “Oh! Oh! Oh! We’re being ‘drawn in’. We have no choice but to say ‘yes’ to violence.”

    2. Massinissa

      Assad is bad..

      But do you really think creating an Al Qaeda state would be any goddamn better?

      And forgive me but I dont remember Iraq or Afghanistan having positive humanitarian outcomes. Not to mention that the puppet state we created in Syria cant control the terrorist militias that overthrew Gaddhafi. It has been 2 years since they won and they STILL have not disbanded. Theyre behaving like petty warlords.

      Interfering would be irresponsible. Liberal Imperialists like yourself play with peoples lives to gratify your ego’s.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Massinissa;
        You have delved to the bedrock, and defined the basis of Assads’ “raison d’etre,” Realpolitik.

      2. Nathanael

        Al-Qaeda doesn’t bomb its *own* cities from the air.

        So yeah, actually, an al-Qaeda state would be better than Assad.

        At this point, though, Assad is backed by Russia. And the US has dithered long enough to lose any chance to intervene in an *effective* military fashion. So this is a replay of Cold War proxy wars. Yuck.

    3. Nathanael

      4000 is not a large number of troops considering the size of the Iranian Army.

      Mor importantly, however, the Iranian Army has stayed out of foreign entanglements for several hundred years, sticking strictly to defending Iran against invasion. This could actualy cause serious upset within the Army and domestically if it happens.

  9. craazyman

    this is high-attention link material. some dude with an iPhone caught the florida bigfoot on camera! this is real stuff from mainstream media, not some nutty fat guy in a gorilla suit posting his juvenile adventures on Youtube for laughs. get ready for ontological shock and awe, if you dare . . . but be sure you’re sitting down with sedatives at the ready, because you might think you’re losing your mind. don’t worry about that, you’re mind will fly home eventually, after an adjustment process.

    1. AbyNormal

      bahaahahaahaaaa but seriously, couldn’t that be a hairy zombie.

      There’s a fascinating frailty of the human mind that psychologists know all about, called “argument from ignorance.” This is how it goes. Remember what the “U” stands for in “UFO”? You see lights flashing in the sky. You’ve never seen anything like this before and don’t understand what it is. You say, “It’s a UFO!” The “U” stands for “unidentified.”
      But then you say, “I don’t know what it is; it must be aliens from outer space, visiting from another planet.” The issue here is that if you don’t know what something is, your interpretation of it should stop immediately. You don’t then say it must be X or Y or Z. That’s argument from ignorance. It’s common. I’m not blaming anybody; it may relate to our burning need to manufacture answers because we feel uncomfortable about being steeped in ignorance.
      Neil deGrasse Tyson, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

      1. diptherio

        When Robert Anton Wilson was asked if he had ever seen a UFO he responded with something like, “I’ve seen thousands…I see stuff in the sky all the time and don’t know what it is.”

        1. AbyNormal

          If instead of saucers, if UFOs looked more like breasts, I’ll bet there’d be a lot more people trying to take pictures of them.
          Kintz, Who Moved My Choose?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change by Deciding to Let Indecision Into Your Life

    1. AbyNormal

      Thanks Gonzo…i Always appreciate your post.
      unfortunately we can’t ‘try this at home’…

      “For instance, a Transition group in Brixton raised £130,000 to install the UK’s first inner-city, community-owned power station, consisting of 82kW of solar panels on top of a council estate. A group in Derbyshire created a food hub that makes it economically viable to grow food in back gardens for sale, as an affordable alternative to supermarkets. And groups in Totnes, Stroud, Lewes, Brixton and Bristol launched their own local currencies. Taken on their own, these initiatives may not make a vast difference. “But when there are thousands of communities worldwide all weaving their bit in a larger tapestry,” Hopkins says, “it adds up to something awe-inspiring and strong.”

      here’s a small example why and a hint of whats to come:
      Oregon Man Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail — for Collecting Rainwater on His Property

      “Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
      Frederick Douglas

        1. AbyNormal

          your absolutely correct gonzo…its possible!
          there are more of us and our needs will unite us.

    2. Susan the other

      Nice to read about Transition Towns. Lots of them in the UK and the EU. This can’t be good for the TAFTA negotiations, Public Citizen above (Trade Deal Would Grant Sweeping Corporate Privileges). If EU countries are not happy about NSA spies the EU restricts trade in telecommunications and IT which is probably the most profitable trade out there; then the chapter in TAFTA establishing the extrajudicial tribunal to impose fees for lost profits to investors is considered outrageous (just think how they could screw up Transition Towns by claiming they weren’t buying enough trade goods and so their behavior amounted to an illegal boycott, etc.); and the whole European backlash over GMOs. In fact local currencies and coalitions could bring down the whole tenuous global trade frenzy. Wouldn’t that be nice?

  10. diptherio

    Re: The Real War on Reality

    A must read, imho. It’s good to be reminded of all the other pieces of the puzzle that other whistleblowers and hacktivists have sacrificed to bring us.

    An anecdote: fairly early in my local Occupy, a couple of well-dressed folks in their mid-twenties showed up with clipboards, asking questions. I engaged them in conversation and discovered that they worked for an “national environmental group” who I had never heard of. They said that they were interested in finding ways that the Occupy movement could be “channelized and directed” to achieve the greatest impact. They basically said that their group had plenty of money to throw around but needed more bodies. “Good luck with that one,” I told them.

    They gave me a flyer for their org (now lost, damn it) with a generic enviro message and their website address. I checked out the website and it seemed like a shell. No real info, just boilerplate “save the planet” stuff and a quote from Steve Running, a local scientist who was part of the IPCC panel, saying that this org was the most effective anti-global warming group he knew of (or something like that). Neither the flyer or the website looked like they had had much work put into them.

    I guessed that they were checking us out on someone’s behalf, and definitely not who they said they were. They never showed up again. I also found it strange that they were using a quote from Steve Running specifically, since I don’t know how well known he is outside the local area (and this was a supposedly national org) It all seemed pretty contrived. I don’t find reference to my Occupy in the G.I. files, but that just means these two probably weren’t working for Stratfor, but it might well have been Endgame Systems or someone similar (creepy name, that, eh? makes you wonder if the Alex Jones crowd might not be on to something.)

    This article also makes Naomi Wolff’s recent speculations seem much less far-fetched, although if Snowden was working for the other side, you would think that the PTB would have already discredited his info.

    1. Susan the other

      Thanks for Missoula’s Radio Free America. Loved it. Thinking of moving to Missoula since I am a perennially hopeful spirit. And about this cancer broadcast, which tells it straight about pharma’s cluelessness, I have known this for decades. They now know, for instance (I stopped the tape at @ 45 m. so maybe they covered it…) that Linus Pauling was right. Vitamin C does clock cancer cells – the the catch is you have to have it intravenously. I fully concur with the sugar ban. Cancer and sugar are one. Cancer is the physical manifestation of a sugar high. Just don’t eat that shit. Ever There is a lot of common sense that has been intentionally ignored. And best practices have been compromised. Surgery, as primitive as it is, is still a good first step. When the breakthroughs come, I for one do not want big Pharma to take the credit, the patent, and all the profit and the trade deals. I want big Pharma dead and fucking gone from its own metastasis by then. Which should be right about now. The great US patriotic profit motive is also analogous to a sugar high. No?

      1. Susan the other

        Sorry Dr. Bowdler. I keep mixing up free speech with the control of mindless propaganda, which control we all know does not exist. So forgive my verbal shortcuts please.

      2. diptherio

        It’s a great place to live if you can make your living someplace else (i.e. e-commuting). Good jobs are not exactly our forte.

    2. Chris Rogers

      I think this programme should come with its own health warning, having listened to approx. 2 hours of this radio broadcast, and a quick sceptics research on a Dr. Burzynski – only US$200,000 for a coarse of urine – can’t say I was too impressed!!!

      Why do I come to this conclusion, science I suppose and the fact that in the UK the NHS presently is not about boosting the profits of Big Pharma – and, whilst I’m fully aware that Medic’s can be as stupid and crass as many other professions – plenty of evidence to support this – I’m still of the opinion that on the whole, Doctors in my own country at least, actually do desire to uphold their oaths – they are a conservative bunch though, but I’d rather go to a NHS Consultant than that quack in Texas any day of the week.

      1. diptherio

        Burzynski’s antineoplastons have shown no negative side effects and considerable beneficial effects for many people. That urine may be involved at some stage of production hardly means it’s bunk science. Premarin, one of the most common forms of hormone replacement therapy, is made from the urine of pregnant horses.

        And Burzynski is only one of many (the program is four hours long and profiles two other practitioners in depth. Both of them offer their therapies free of charge and both were equally prosecuted by the Feds. Both of the other therapies are herbal and have shown no negative side effects. I’m a skeptic too, but I’ve grown equally skeptical of federal bureaucracies.

      2. Yves Smith

        Burzynski is the functional equivalent of a scammer:

        I’m supportive of the view that there are a lot of good non-conventional medicine approaches to cancer and I know of people who’ve had results conventional medicine would consider remarkable (complete remission from mestatization to multiple organs). But the show really hurts its case by featuring Burzynski.

        1. Chris Rogers


          Have to agree with you on this, Burzynski is a charlatan and the large focus of the show on him made me question the veracity of this particular programme.

          I have no issue with diet, no issue with hemp – a miraculous plant that it seems madness to ban research on or actually grow, it really has amazing qualities.

          No mention was made of Aspirin, I think LSD or natural derivatives were mentioned.

          Also, for what its worth, I’ve never been treated by the US health service and only have personal knowledge of the UK NHS and its Hong Kong equivalent – whilst I know many who have died from cancer, just where I’m living now I know one person who has survived lung cancer – five years plus, and another who’s survived colon/bladder cancer – none of which when discovered were above a T2 and all treated conventionally.

          Again, and looking at the USA and Big Pharma, it really is profit driven, but this is not the case in the UK, quite the reverse.

          Anyway, the show was ruined for me by a focus on Burzynski, who I’d never heard of until listening to the broadcast – it took less than 30 mins. online to determine how much of a ‘shit’ this person is.

  11. Eureka Springs

    The first thing people who want to reduce the demand for cats should do is build a much much better mouse/rat trap.

    And I wonder just how much larger the bird population is in the modern US.. considering a few things such as massive big grain agro food supply and the fact nearly everyone I know buys bird seed in 50 lb. increments every week or so (and has a humming bird feeder or two)?

    Yes, my cat eats a bird a day, and a couple rabbits a week in Summer, but it’s part of the mouse/rat bargain. She’s a rodent terrorist, but she’s my terrorist.

    1. optimader

      cats are 100% organic mouse traps..

      I had two cats that were behaviorally a bit of a metaphor.

      One cat was very gregarious and worked the neighborhood for food handouts. Eh would show up a the door fat and happy to see the world go by.

      The other cat was paranoid of his own shadow –he was the hunter/killer who stuck to the yard and would have the decapitated mice lined up at the back door like trophies..

  12. nobody

    Regarding the “Sex as a police punishment” in Turkey piece, perhaps it would be worthwhile to retrieve, from the archives here, the piece David Graeber wrote about the NYPD using sexual assault as a strategy against peaceful protesters:

    A few weeks ago I was with a few companions from Occupy Wall Street in Union Square when an old friend — I’ll call her Eileen — passed through, her hand in a cast.

    “What happened to you?” I asked.

    “Oh, this?” she held it up. “I was in Liberty Park on the 17th [the Six Month Anniversary of the Occupation]. When the cops were pushing us out the park, one of them yanked at my breast.”

    “Again?” someone said.

    We had all been hearing stories like this. In fact, there had been continual reports of police officers groping women during the nightly evictions from Union Square itself over the previous two weeks.

    “Yeah so I screamed at the guy, I said, ‘you grabbed my boob! what are you, some kind of fucking pervert?’ So they took me behind the lines and broke my wrists.”


    Arbitrary violence is nothing new. The apparently systematic use of sexual assault against women protestors is new. I’m not aware of any reports of police intentionally grabbing women’s breasts before March 17, but on March 17 there were numerous reported cases, and in later nightly evictions from Union Square, the practice became so systematic that at least one woman told me her breasts were grabbed by five different police officers on a single night (in one case, while another one was blowing kisses.) The tactic appeared so abruptly, is so obviously a violation of any sort of police protocol or standard of legality, that it is hard to imagine it is anything but an intentional policy.

    For obvious reasons, most of the women who have been victims of such assaults have been hesitant to come forward. Suing the city is a miserable and time-consuming task and if a woman brings any charge involving sexual misconduct, they can expect to have their own history and reputations—no matter how obviously irrelevant—raked over the coals, usually causing immense damage to their personal and professional life. The threat of doing so operates as a very effective form of intimidation. One exception is Cecily McMillan, who was not only groped but suffered a broken rib and seizures during her arrest on March 17, and held incommunicado, denied constant requests to see her lawyer, for over 24 hours thereafter. Shortly after release from the hospital she appeared on Democracy Now! And showed part of a handprint, replete with scratch-marks, that police had left directly over her right breast…

    I’d like to emphasize this because when I first mention this, the usual reaction, from reporters or even some ordinary citizens, is incredulity. ‘Surely this must be a matter of a few rogue officers!’ It is difficult to conceive of an American police commander directly telling officers to grope women’s breasts—even through indirect code words. But we know that in other countries, such things definitely happen. In Egypt, for example, there was a sudden spate of sexual assaults by security forces against protestors in November and December 2011, and followed a very similar pattern: while women activists affirmed there had been beatings, but relatively few specifically sexual assaults during the height of the protests, starting in November, there were dozens of reports of women being groped or stripped while they were being beaten. The level of the violence in Egypt may have been more extreme, but the circumstances were identical: an attempt to revive a protest movement through re-occupation is met by a sudden ratcheting up of tactics by the security forces, and in particular, the sudden dramatic appearance of a tactic of sexual attacks on women. It is hard to imagine in either case it was a coincidence. In Egypt, no serious observer is even suggesting that it was.

    Of course we cannot how such decisions are made, or conveyed; in fact, most of us find it unpleasant even to contemplate the idea of police officials ordering or encouraging sexual assault against the very citizens they are sworn to protect. But this seems to be precisely what is happening here.

  13. AbyNormal

    uhoh kulturCritic’s on a roll this mornin…

    At this point in our inglorious, star-mangled history, I am not quite sure which is the more psychotic behavior of empire: 1) its willful ignorance, even public denial, of human induced climate change, 2) its belligerent efforts to control all remaining global resources, 3) its relentless destruction of the natural world and its delicate ecosystems, 4) its determination to mitigate global over-shoot through a violent RIF of the ‘unwashed masses’, or 5) its perserve attempts to protect the sanctity and secrecy of its own conspiratorial mischief in these and other matters….

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Once more and yet again, “sheeple” is both insulting to those who need to be won over, and a counsel of despair as well. If TINA is a problem, and it is the problem, then show the alternative, and stop whining that people won’t lay down their lives and toss their hostages to fortune on the basis of ill-defined possible futures.

        1. charles sereno

          Minor point about mixing metaphors. Sheep are a mixed lot. I, for one, baa as a matter of democratic disagreement. I would object to having my baa characterized as a whine. I suspect Walter Map might agree.

      1. AbyNormal

        one of my favs
        First of all, the eternal “left vs. right struggle” in American politics has now all but officially been revealed for the sham, bullshit, attention detractor it always was. The 20-30 something’s have long since stopped paying attention to anything at all other than their i-phones and social networking groups, and all the rest of us are focused on either consuming our last remaining dollars on the next great luxury item that the mass media has convinced us we’ve just got to have, or watching our last remaining dollars in savings being consumed by the officially unrecognized cost of living increases for basic staples.

  14. Jackrabbit

    NSA admits listening to U.S. phone calls without warrants

    At the Senate Hearing this week, Gen. Alexander was asked directly if Snowden could do what he said he could do. Gen. Alexander answer was that he knew of no way that an analyst could access info in the manner described by Snowden.

    In a way it was a fudge: a bit of “No” and “I don’t know” at the same time.

    But it defies logic that he DIDN’T know after Snowden went public with what he could do -AND- if he really didn’t know, then he just seems incompetent.

    1. Jackrabbit

      As I recall, the question was asked in a very direct way, which to me seemed as though the Senator already expected that the answer would discredit Snowden.

      I made note of the answer on NC soon after it was given (here’s my comment) because it seemed… noteworthy.

      So now we know that Snowden was right. Yet, just as with Clapper, there is accountability.

      It seems to me that for a program(s) that is barely legal – if it is legal at all – that any President (especially a Constitutional Lawyer!) – acting in good faith would hold the leaders of such a program to the highest standard.

  15. Walter Map

    The more “security” Americans get, the less secure Americans are, and the latest revelations about national security have made Americans very insecure.

    If you look closely, the U.S. has been an oligarchic empire for all its history. Note slavery, “Manifest Destiny”, genocide of Native Americans, and dozens of incidents of 19th-century and 20th-century military adventurism. The Constitution is a design for an empire and explicitly institutionalizes expansionism: hence the early insistence on a Bill of Rights.

    Empire is antithetical to democracy. Democratic forms have largely been sops to the people and are only entertained if they do not hinder imperial goals too much.

    All presidents have been aware of this. Many of them, like Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR have deplored it and opposed it in policy actions. Banksters have figured prominently in the complaints. All have capitulated since Eisenhower. Since then, Democrats have been willing to mitigate these circumstances somewhat with certain social programs. Republicans have not.

    The real difference now is that the U.S. has at long last dropped the old pretence to being a “free country”. It has indirectly announced that it no longer seeks the willing cooperation of the general population but instead intends to coerce and brutalize it into submission. It now pursues totalitarianism openly, and operates openly for the benefit of the state syndicate and its transnational corporate sponsors. All others now have the tacit political and economic status of livestock. An impoverished and dispossessed people will not argue much with its masters.

    The Snowden scandal is only the latest in a series and can be expected to be supplanted in the news by additional scandals, just as Snowden supplanted Manning. The state syndicate isn’t terribly concerned that present trends may be reversed by the voters because they’re picking the candidates, in a pattern familiar to older Russians.

    It hasn’t even gotten ugly yet, much less weird ugly. That’s still to come.

    Back in the U.S.

    Back in the U.S.
    Back in the U.S.S.R.!

    1. Susan the other

      So Walter. it interests me that your naughty comment about the USSA was not put in detention. Some people just get away with stuff. Gee, go figure since we have a surveillance state that can zero in on a fucking ant hill.

      1. Nathanael

        See, the thing is, the security state is actually really badly run and incompetent.

        Sure, it could “disappear” Lambert. But it’s more likely to go after some random mistargeted person. We have a *much less professional* police state than, say, the former USSR.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      “The more ‘security’ Americans get, the less secure Americans are” Yes, that’s a self-licking ice cream cone, a key design pattern for market state rental extraction.

  16. Ned Ludd

    “5 unions–DISK, KESK, TMMOB, TTB, TDB–announce general strike starting Monday to protest #Turkey’s protest crackdown.” – Emre Peker, WSJ/Dow Jones reporter based in Istanbul.

    1. Jim Haygood

      After they played Nadler some samples from his ten-terabyte digital dossier, it probably was the prudent thing to do.

      Gives a whole new meaning to the image of ‘a dark Cloud hanging over me,’ don’t it?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        What I felt. That was a pretty craven walk-back. “Have always believed” had the air of a man with his arm twisted behind his back. That said, no way to prove it.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Nadler’s statement:

      “I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.”

      Is not sufficient to ‘walk back’ his remarks at the hearing which made it very clear what he had heard at the confidential briefing and his certainty of a ‘conflict’ with public statements:

      “We heard precisely the opposite at the briefing the other day. We heard precisely that you could get the specific information from that telephone simply based on an analyst deciding that…In other words, what you just said is incorrect. So there’s a conflict.”
      (emphasis is mine – and anyone that is interested should also view the video of the hearing to see his body language)

      Also, the CNET article noted that:

      “Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the head of the Senate Intelligence committee, separately acknowledged that the agency’s analysts have the ability to access the “content of a call.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Good points. “Have always believed” on warrants kinda slams the door, doesn’t it? At least as far as Nadler’s statement, not necessarily to be confused with reality.

        1. Nathanael

          Nadler spoke very carefully. His emphasis was actually on what he did not know and was not able to verify due to the government’s lying and secrecy. Lots of people have misinterpreted his statement.

      2. Expat

        James Bamford, the investigative journalist who writes about the NSA, seems relevant here. He reminds us that a couple of years ago the agency got in a bit of hot water when the story broke that NSA agents were not only listening to conversations between Americans in Iraq and their stateside lovers, but sharing the “best” conversations among themselves.

        This and other obserations are still posted on the Book TV website:

  17. MIWill

    re: Chemical weapons experts still skeptical about U.S. claim that Syria used sarin

    Hello?..Yes, this is Colin….You want…eh, ..what is it?…well, I’m retired, and I…but, well I…ok.

  18. Herman Sniffles

    At fairs in Medieval Europe there was often a device on display called a Cat Organ. Cats were secured to the front of the device with twine, lined up in a long row based on the pitch of their yowl. Then the person who played this interesting if somewhat inhumane musical instrument pushed down on foot pedals that slammed wooden hammers down on the cats’ tails.

  19. Valissa

    Morris the cat runs for mayor of Mexican city
    Put forth as a candidate by Chamorro and a group of friends after they became disillusioned with the empty promises of politicians, Morris’ candidacy has resonated across Mexico, where citizens frustrated with human candidates are nominating their pets and farm animals to run in July 7 elections being held in 14 states.

    Also running for mayor are “Chon the Donkey” in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, “Tina the Chicken” in Tepic, the capital of the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, “Maya the Cat” in the city of Puebla and “Tintan the Dog” in Oaxaca City, though their campaigns are not as well organized as that of Morris.

    US, China Agree To Hate Each Other As Friends
    Regarding the theft of advanced military designs, Obama said he was willing to overlook it in the interest of moving forward diplomatically.

    “Let’s be honest,” he said, “they’re plans for the F-35 and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. China would do more damage to itself by building them than any of these vehicles would ever do to us on the battlefield.”

    Famed Milwaukee tavern rehangs bras on ceiling

  20. skippy

    Climate Commission report says 80 per cent of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground

    Video: Former Defence Force chief Admiral Chris Barrie and the Climate Commission’s Will Steffen join ABC News Breakfast. (ABC News)

    Related Story: Top scientists agree climate has changed for good

    Related Story: Heatwave exacerbated by climate change: Climate Commission

    The latest Climate Commission report has warned that 80 per cent of global fossil fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground if the planet is to avoid dangerous climate change.

    skippy… ***Everything*** in compressing event horizions… will be a derivitive of this factor…

    1. optimader

      unclear what they assume constitutes “reserves”

      2. Reserves vs. Resources

      So, independently of climate policy, how can we estimate production of oil, gas, and coal in the long run? Economists have shown surprisingly little interest in this problem, but many geologists and engineers have been fascinated by it.

      First we need to distinguish two terms, reserves and resources:

      Reserves refers to oil, gas, and coal that have been discovered and characterized (proved), and that one could produce and sell at a profit now. People distinguish between the oil (or gas or coal) in place, and recoverable reserves that make an allowance for what is left behind when production is finished. Proved, recoverable reserves for oil, gas, and coal have been tracked at the national level for many years.

      Resources refers to oil, gas, and coal that are of economic interest. This is a broader term than reserves. At the national level, resources are not well defined or tracked, and they are subject to political winds. In practice, resources means whatever a speaker wants it to mean. As a result, the statement in the President’s recent State-of-the-Union Address, “We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years,”conveys little information.

      The boundary between the reserves and resources is not fixed. New technology and higher prices can cause resources to shift to the reserves category. For one example, because of new horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing technology, some shale gas can now be counted as reserves rather than resources. As another example, high oil prices have enabled production from the Canadian tar sands, and Canadian oil reserves are now 3rd largest in the world.

      Perhaps surprisingly, reserves can also shift to resources. In 1913, US coal reserves were 4Tt (trillion metric tons). A hundred years later after 60Gt of production, American coal reserves are now 240Gt. The early reserves criteria were too optimistic—seams as thin as 1 foot down to a depth of 4,000 feet down were counted. However, this coal was not mined a hundred years ago, and it is not mined now. Over time, as it has became clear that the criteria were too optimistic, the US Geological Survey tightened up the rules, and other countries followed their lead.

  21. humpback

    adzieję prędko spośród tego skorzystać. humpback
    Definitywnie gwoli posła bagatelką powinno znajdować
    się umówienie na audiencję u kanclerza koronnego, ba, przypuszczalnie
    co więcej przy
    samego króla. Tym bardziej, że, jak wywniosk.

    1. charles sereno

      What’s the mystery?
      This is from Google translator:

      Ada quickly take advantage of this. humpback
      Definitely because Mr trifle should be
      to arrange an audience with the Chancellor of the Crown, nay, perhaps
      moreover the
      the King. All the more so, as wywniosk.

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