Links 6/18/13

Theo the ‘cat burglar’ steals child’s artwork and hand puppet BBC (Lambert)

NYC airport builds turtle barrier to guard runway Twin Cities (Chuck L)

Drunk British Man Survives Fall From 15th Floor Apartment Balcony Gawker

Dramatic Loss in Snowfall for Los Angeles-Area Mountains Predicted Science Daily (furzy mouse)

Leprosy Genome Sequencing Reveals Disease Has Hardly Changed Over Past 1,000 Years Huffington Post (Carol B)

Elizabethan child actors ‘kidnapped’ BBC

International Cities Are Turning Into ‘Elite Citadels’ Clusterstock

A new cross-border tax-haven database and its significance Columbia Journalism Review (Lambert)

China Banking Stress May Come Faster on Cash Crunch, Fitch Says Bloomberg

European car sales fall to lowest level since 1993 Financial Times

Biggest protests in 20 years sweep Brazil Reuters

This Vine Captures How Gigantic Last Night’s Protests In Brazil Were Clusterstock

Nicaragua OKs plan for cross-country canal, environment be damned Gristmill Some readers deemed this plan to be crazy, but it seems to be lumbering forward.

Why Further Sanctions Against Iran will be Counterproductive OilPrice

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Edward Snowden Live Chat Guardian. The big story Monday, in case you missed it. Lots of harrumphing from detractors, see here for an example. Wonder if there is a generation or culture gap, that people who are more heavy internet users would be read the tone differently.

Mike Gravel, Senator Who Disclosed Pentagon Papers, Backs Edward Snowden Huffington Post (Lambert)

Make privacy part of the transatlantic trade talks Yochai Benkler, Financial Times

Police Commissioner of Largest U.S. City: “NSA Should Come Clean About Domestic Spying” George Washington

The Truth: The NSA Has Been Working on Domestic Spying for Ten-Plus Years Rayne, emptywheel

T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless Shielded from NSA Sweep Wall Street Journal. Neglected to include this last week. Less helpful than you might think since they can work back from call recipients.

‘Tis of thee Steve Waldman. Read this.

Supreme Court Decision Will Likely Reduce Prescription Drug Prices Jon Walker, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Supreme Court Rules That Pre-Miranda Silence Can Be Used In Court Huffington Post. Great, now YOU have to recite Miranda to the cops.

Taking the extreme out of extreme poverty Daily Kos

Top Court Quashes Arizona Voter Law Wall Street Journal

Obama says Bernanke has ‘stayed a lot longer’ than he wanted at Fed Reuters. I heard from well placed people a while ago that he was definitely leaving. And I’m also hearing that Turbo Timmie has the inside track to replace him. Ugh.

Monday DeLong-Being-Stupid Self-Smackdown Watch: Expansionary Fiscalists vs. Expansionary Monetarists and the Federal Reserve’s Shift from a Time- to a State-Based Policy Rule: Will It End Our “Lost Decade”? Brad DeLong. He deserves big points for a self-smackdown. As much as DeLong is a crazymaking Democratic party tribalist, he regularly admits to error, and that’s all too rare for Serious Economists.

Free, Unregulated Markets are Not Always the Answer: Seven Important Examples of How Markets Can Fail Mark Thoma

Myerson’s misses the Miasma that is Modern Executive Compensation William Black, New Economic Perspectives

Corrupted credit ratings: Standard & Poor’s lawsuit and the evidence VoxEU. A really fine little piece. I almost cross posted it.

Have We Hit Peak HFT? Advanced Trading

Why Safer Food Workers Mean Safer Food Working In These Times (Carol B)

Walmart vs. Costco: How Do They Really Compare? AOL Jobs (Carol B)

It’s not personal, it’s just business Daily Kos. Notes from the underclass

Antidote du jour (fotojazz):


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  1. Ned Ludd

    In Brazil, TV Folha reporter Giuliana Vallone was shot in the face with a rubber bullet.

    I kept watching the shock troops, because there weren’t any protestors in the street. Nobody was throwing rocks at them. Then a shock officer stayed in front of the others holding the shields and pointed his gun at me. That had happened several times that day, and I didn’t think he would shoot. But he did.

    Click (CC), in the lower-right edge of the video, to turn on English subtitles.

      1. Klassy!

        Don’t these journalists understand it is safer to stay inside, wait for the official government response and then report that?
        If they want to report on the protests, at least wait until they find a protester worth discrediting. The government should take care of that too.

  2. dearieme

    “Who gets to decide? The totality of the officeholders who’ve been elected democratically – for better or worse – to make these decisions?”

    But if the spying apparat has got the dirt on those lawmakers, by virtue of its spying, it’s unwise to treat them as independent legislators. Even more so for the President; the many things he’s strived to keep secret about his circumstances are presumably all known to the spies.

    1. diptherio

      Anyone who is engaged in any kind of political or business activity should be concerned. 12,000 employees at Booz Allen alone have the ability to wiretap any US citizen without a warrant (at the very least read emails and see phone metadata). Any guesses as to how much money a person would have to pay one of the less scrupulous employees to dig up some dirt on your business or political rivals? Hell, you might even find someone who’ll do it for a bottle of champagne…

        1. Susan the other

          This is an astounding opportunity for a new market of counter-surveillance electronic gadgets as well as some do it yourself surveillance gadgets. Spying anyone? I’d love to target the financial sneaks.

          1. diptherio

            Maybe NC should start a contest. Who can hack Jamie Dimon’s email first? I’ll put a ten spot towards the prize money. hehehe

  3. Screwball

    From the Obama says Bernanke has ‘stayed a lot longer’ than he wanted at Fed – Reuters.

    “I heard from well placed people a while ago that he was definitely leaving. And I’m also hearing that Turbo Timmie has the inside track to replace him. Ugh.”

    Really? Interesting little tidbit, but really just speculation and/or rumor. Care to elaborate on something as important as this?

    I seriously hope you are wrong. Geithner is one of the biggest financial terrorists in history. If that gets me on the NSA watch list, I don’t care. I will consider moving to…anywhere, if that weasel dick gets the position. Given his ties to Rubin, I won’t be surprised.

    Furthermore, if there are still any Obama apologists who follow the financial world, and we get a Geithner/Fed appointment, that should reduce his base to about zero.

    I’m sure there could be a worse appointment, but I don’t know who it would be.

    1. AbyNormal

      at this time in history, Tim [Satan’s Tail] Geithner would finalize tptb’s supremacy

    2. BondsOfSteel

      Yes. I think Bernanke has done an amazing job of providing monetary stimulus and navigating the financial crisis. This has been impressive in a zero interest rate environment. (Just look at the other central banks to see how much better we’ve done.)

      My only complaint is that as a bank regulator, he hasn’t been as aggressive as he should.

      Geithner, OTOH, has failed in providing adequate fiscal stimulus _AND_ in regulating the banks. The failed housing programs… Treasury. The weak Dodd-Frank rules… Treasury. The crappy settlements without investigations… Treasury. Most of the ‘get out of jail free’ cards are coming from the Treasury.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      I’ve been sworn to Marianas Trench rules, but the report on Bernanke leaving was based on knowledge of where he is going next year. That’s pretty definitive. So I’d be careful about impugning my sources as “mere rumor”.

      Re Turbo Timmie, much simpler. There’s a huge constituency on Wall Street that wants him, and the Rs will confirm him much more readily than Yellen. And look how Timmie has pointedly not attached himself to anything that would preclude him going to the Fed. No boards or permanent jobs. He’s “working on a book” and I assume giving speeches.

      1. Screwball

        Understand. It’s easy to get frustrated. Giving us Geithner is rubbing our nose in it. Mine is getting sore.

        Thanks for what you do. I’m just another pissed off American.

  4. lil brooks

    Re Waldman, Why are we letting government asskissers like Josh Marshall tell us what the law is and is not? In fact, NSA surveillance is illegal. It improperly derogates the universal human right to privacy, ICCPR Article 17 and UDHR Article 12. Interception of diplomatic communications breaches the Vienna Convention. The Paquete Habana, 175 U.S. 677 (1900), makes international law an integral part of US law, so Article 17 is equivalent to federal statute and Article 12 is an inseparable part of the federal common law and of the common law of every state. Snowden’s action to denounce NSA crimes is protected by ICCPR Article 19, the universal human right to seek and obtain information, and by his duty to stop government officials committing crimes.

  5. j

    this link is broken – Free, Unregulated Markets are Not Always the Answer: Seven Important Examples of How Markets Can Fail

    1. sleepy

      Good–that’s his base.

      Hope they stay away from the polls in droves in 2014 and 2016–at least stay away from the two parties.

    2. from Mexico

      Very interesting.

      I think the surveilance state thing has the potential to inflict some serious damage on Obama, because it has salience not only with the Republicans (as most of the so-scandals cooked up by the Republicans do), but with much of his Democratic Party base as well (as most of the so-called scandals cooked up by the Republicans do not). There seem to be people from all across the political spectrum who are still committed to democracy and visible government.

      And salience sometimes is as great a factor as sheer numbers. If you take a look at the comment threads, they seem to be running about 20 to 1 in favor of Snowden and against the enemies of democracy and visible government. That may be anecdotal evidence that, when it comes to the non-elite, the issue is far more salient for the pro-Snowden crowd than it is for the anti-Snowden crowd.

    3. jrs

      This is good. People say the battle is already lost, but it’s not. If the youth are opposed there is hope (though I know *they* have plenty of means to try to destroy this small hope). That and the rest of the world outside the U.S. is our hope. Because much of the thought process of this country, I no more understand at this point, than I understand “good germans”.

      1. JiyoungAlligator

        I am a 31 year old working in the TV industry, and I hang out alot with alot of mid-late 20 year olds (most of them in white collar jobs.)

        Alot of them have been disillusioned with Obama a while ago. And while they are concerned about government surveillance, they aren’t willing to sacrifice time and money to change it. (After all, they have student loans to pay off)

        Also, apathy is the coolest ‘tude to have when it comes to political issues (my brother’s 24, a true millenial, hates getting passionate about political issues), and that’s why I think Snowden came off as preachy in the interview to alot of millenials I know.

        Of course, I’m sure the guys who are active on reddit or 4chan are alot more passionate about surveillance (those sites are dude heavy), and they may be the agents of change. But, don’t expect much from the instagram/tumblr/pinterest/vine crowd (And, they are the majority).

        Attitudes and values change between generations (as it does with taste in music.) Just because they don’t trust Obama anymore does not mean they will do ‘anything about it’.

        Here’s a link to Grimes’ Oblivion (’s No.1 track of 2012)

        1. craazyman

          INtrsting perspectives. It’s AARP/Bob Dylan DAy in the peanut gallery . . . Hahahahah

          Well, my sense of humanity
          has gone down the drain
          Behind every beautiful thing
          there’s been some kind of pain

          I just don’t see
          why I should even care
          It’s not dark yet
          but it’s gettin’ there.

          -Bob Dylan, Not Dark Yet

        2. craazyman

          here’s the video of the master himself! usully the media companies ferret out these links and take them down, it is hard to get Dylan youtube clips

          If this doesnt send somebody fumbling for the Lexapro I don’t know what will , , ,

          Not dark yet but it’s gettin there: this is before he started singing completely through his nose.

  6. craazyman

    Steve Waldman’s essay is exceptionally good. He has described the numbing mind journey of the road we’re on.

    For some reason when I think of how America works now I think of the of lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Idiot Wind”:

    * *
    I woke up on the roadside daydreaming about the way things sometimes are
    Visions of your chestnut mare shoot through my head and are making me see stars
    You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies
    One day you’ll be in the ditch, flies buzzing around your eyes
    Blood on your saddle.

    Idiot wind blowing through the flowers on your tomb
    Blowing through the curtains in your room
    Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
    You’re an idiot babe
    It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.


    1. Jim Haygood

      Well Clapper from intel after torturing a thief
      Looks up at his hero the Commander in Chief
      Saying, Tell me great hero, but please make it brief
      Is there a hole for me to get sick in?

      The Commander in Chief answers him while chasing a fly
      Saying, Death to all those who would whimper and cry
      And dropping a barbell he points to the sky
      Saying, The sun ain’t yellow, it’s CHICKEN

      — Dylan, Tombstone Blues

        1. craazyman

          holy cow I didn’t realize that was mostly from tombstone blues, now that I looked it up and reminded myself.

          No wonder it’s so good! whoa, Jim, I thought you were channeling the kiroke lyrics gods there.

          Where’s today’s protest music? I’m so out of touch I have no idea. all I hear is the boom-boom-boom stuff at the health club about fornicating. it doesnt’ matter if it’s a male or female singer. song after song after song. If you can even call them songs. they sound like wake up music from an alarm clock.

          1. AbyNormal

            rage against the machine
            No Shelter Ringtone
            “No Shelter”

            The main attraction – distraction
            got ya number than nnumber than numb
            Empty ya pockets son; they got you thinkin that
            What ya need is what they sellin
            Make you think that buyin is rebellin
            From the theaters to malls on every shore
            Tha thin line between entertainment and war
            The frontline is everywhere, there be no shelter here
            Speilberg the nightmare works so push it far
            Amistad was a whip, the truth was feathered and tarred
            Memory erased, burned and scarred
            Trade in ya history for a VCR

            Cinema, simulated life, ill drama
            Fourth Reich culture – Americana
            Chained to the dream they got ya searchin for
            Tha thin line between entertainment and war

            There be no shelter here
            Tha frontline is everywhere

            Hospitals not profit full
            Yet market bulls got pockets full
            To advertise some hip disguise
            View tha world from American eyes
            Tha poor adore keep fiendin for more
            Tha thin line between entertainment and war
            They fix the need, develop the taste
            Buy their products or get laid to waste
            Coca-Cola is back in the veins of Saigon
            And Rambo too, he got a dope pair of Nikes on
            And Godzilla pure muthafuckin filler
            To keep ya eyes off the real killer

            Cinema, simulated life, ill drama
            Fourth Reich culture – Americana
            Chained to the dream they got ya searchin for
            Tha thin line between entertainment and war

            American eyes, American eyes….
            View the world from American eyes
            Bury the past, rob us blind
            And leave nothin behind

            Just stare
            Relive the nightmare.

    2. blackDogBarking

      The American Life, 1965 or so to present — also, indoor plumbing in Alabama, 2013:

      Ah get born, keep warm
      Short pants, romance, learn to dance
      Get dressed, get blessed
      Try to be a success
      Please her, please him, buy gifts
      Don’t steal, don’t lift
      Twenty years of schoolin’
      And they put you on the day shift
      Look out kid
      They keep it all hid
      Better jump down a manhole
      Light yourself a candle
      Don’t wear sandals
      Try to avoid the scandals
      Don’t wanna be a bum
      You better chew gum
      The pump don’t work
      ‘Cause the vandals took the handles.

      1. blackDogBarking

        Prolly should give BD credit here, just cuz I happened to be listening to the song atm doesn’t mean everyone is. Or does it? Hmmm …

        Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dylan.

    1. Massinissa

      The Soviet Union had a similar percent of their population in prison (Only very very slightly higher, like a fraction of a percent more), but at least they were not trying to CRIPPLE THEIR OWN EDUCATION SYSTEM. They at least had the decency to wait until children finished their goddamn education before throwing them in the gulag.

      As a student of history, im very surprised that such a formerly great country is decaying so QUICKLY. Most other empires that become the dominant power, with some notable exceptions (the Qin dynasty of Shi Huangdi that first united China being the one that first comes to mind, though to be fair its influence in terms of governance essentially lasted thousands of years, and the Han dynasty was pretty much the same territory with a different family on top), most nations that become the dominant hegemon take at least a century to decay.

      America has had truly phenomenally rapid moral and institutional decay in a short four decades. The pace of decay is positively bewildering.

      1. Walter Map

        I’m depressed.

        I’m going to turn off my computer and go watch ‘Sneakers’.

        I heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed, life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears.”But doctor” He says, “I am Pagliacci.” Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        European car sales fall to the lowest level since 1993.

        That would good news under GDP sharing.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I recall Han Wudi retained Qin’s Legalist policies but mixed it with Confucianism to make it more palatable.

        But before that, his father and grandfather favored Taoist wu-wei minimal-state-intervention policies that laid the foundation for Wudi’s imperial expansion.

      4. tongorad

        The systematic dismantling of our public education system is a story that doesn’t get enough attention.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The tragedy is that some of those guys leading the dismantling are actually products of our public education system.

        2. Neal Deesit

          “Within one generation, in five easy steps, not only have the scholars and intellectuals of the country been silenced and nearly wiped out, but the entire institution has been hijacked, and recreated as a machine through which future generations will ALL be impoverished, indebted and silenced. Now, low wage migrant professors teach repetitive courses they did not design to students who travel through on a kind of conveyor belt, only to be spit out, indebted and desperate into a jobless economy.”

        3. Neal Deesit

          “Within one generation, in five easy steps, not only have the scholars and intellectuals of the country been silenced and nearly wiped out, but the entire institution has been hijacked, and recreated as a machine through which future generations will ALL be impoverished, indebted and silenced. Now, low wage migrant professors teach repetitive courses they did not design to students who travel through on a kind of conveyor belt, only to be spit out, indebted and desperate into a jobless economy.”

          How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps

      5. Chris Rogers

        Regretfully, the state of decay/implosion you mention is not happening rapidly enough for many of us posting on these boards.

        I note, the Roman Republic lasted a good 500 years, followed by an Empire that took another 400 years to give up the ghost in the West – not withstanding that other half of the Empire in the East, which outlasted Rome itself – a bit of a side track I know, but since that period in time, all successor Empires have taken far less time to collapse – the British Empire being a case in point, which lasted from its inception in the late 17th Century, to the mid 1950’s.

        Still relevant and a good read is Kennedy’s “The Rise and fall of the Great Powers,” which was a ‘must’ read for our masters in the late 80’s and very early 90’s – evidently, our neoliberal/neoconservative friends got carried away by Fukuyama’s “End of History” – which really is not a ‘must’ read, and yet our masters embraced it as if there was no tomorrow – which is exactly how TPTB are behaving, how else can you explain their greed and desire to destroy our planet.

        Hopefully, God willing, the entire rotten edifice of the USA will implode before my own demise and then we can all start again, or at least I’d like to think so!

          1. diptherio

            “…how else can you explain their greed and desire to destroy our planet.

            There is no desire to destroy the planet, only greed. Destroying the planet is just a side-effect…imho

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s not unlike accidental scientific discoveries.

            ‘Oops, I think I accidentally invented a lethal virus but I didn’t know it before I released it!’

        1. neo-realist

          I fear that if we obliterate everything, the few people that have guns will start us at year zero with Pol Pot style guerilla peasant fascism.

          Maybe something along the lines of Polish solidarity movement revolution at the least might keep some structures in place that will undergird the social and economic security of Americans when transitioning over.

          1. Aristophon

            Well don’t worry about “Pol-Pot style peasant fascism” happening at *my* trailer park here in Arkansas. The slogan of my commune’s revolutionary justice brigade is “Pot for every peasant and a chicken in every pot.”

  7. sleepy

    What an ungodly court decision re Miranda rights.

    Never imagined that Miranda warnings themselves created your 5th amendment rights. I thought those rights pre-existed in the Constitution. Oh well, you learn something new every day.

    1. Eureka Springs

      The Carmen Miranda decision. Bizarre. Kennedy must have had a bunch of fruit (with flies) on his head while penning it.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you don’t say you don’t want to be recorded or eavesdropped, you lose that right, I believe.

      So, here is it – I don’t want to be listened to or recorded without my explicit permission, anywhere or on any medium.

      1. jrs

        As the NSA I have taken note of that and matched it up with your IP address, full name, and SSN. Glad to be of help, that’s we’re here (we’re always here).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am impressed with the fast service.

          And people complain about inefficient public sector?

        1. charles sereno

          Thanks!!! I mistook Wolf for Klein. I totally admire Klein and I was utterly dismayed when I (mistakenly) thought she was the author of Wolf’s piece. O happy mistake!

      1. The rabbit hole

        I’ve read the Naomi Wolf’s facebook note on Snowden, excerpts:

        I hate to do this but I feel obligated to share, as the story unfolds, my creeping concern that the NSA leaker is not who he purports to be, and that the motivations involved in the story may be more complex than they appear to be. This is in no way to detract from the great courage of Glenn Greenwald in reporting the story, and the gutsiness of the Guardian in showcasing this kind of reporting, which is a service to America that US media is not performing at all. It is just to raise some cautions as the story unfolds, and to raise some questions about how it is unfolding, based on my experience with high-level political messaging.

        Some of Snowden’s emphases seem to serve an intelligence/police state objective, rather than to challenge them.

        a) He is super-organized, for a whistleblower, in terms of what candidates, the White House, the State Dept. et al call ‘message discipline.’ He insisted on publishing a power point in the newspapers that ran his initial revelations. I gather that he arranged for a talented filmmaker to shoot the Greenwald interview. These two steps — which are evidence of great media training, really ‘PR 101″ — are virtually never done (to my great distress) by other whistleblowers, or by progressive activists involved in breaking news, or by real courageous people who are under stress and getting the word out. They are always done, though, by high-level political surrogates.

        Now, if she is right, who is Snowden’s control ?
        Considering Snowden’s meteoric rise in coverage by the media, what ever he say can’t be just silenced like any other not so famous protagonist of the current system. Bloomberg news started to see that danger (

        This is a media war. To the victors belong the spoils.

        At least we know Snowden’s side viewpoint on Dick Cheney:

        “It’s important to bear in mind I’m being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney,” Snowden wrote in response. “This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead.

        “Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and [Rep. Peter] King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.”

  8. rich

    ICIJ releases offshore leaks database revealing names behind secret companies, trusts
    Users can search ICIJ information about more than 100,000 offshore entities and discover the networks around them

    When Bernard Madoff built his $65 billion house of cards; when food distributors passed off horsemeat as beef lasagna in Europe; and when Apple, Google and other American companies set up structures to channel their profits through Ireland — they all used tax havens.

    They bought secrecy, minimal or zero taxes and legal insulation, the distinctive products that tax havens market and that allow companies to operate in a fiscal and regulatory vacuum. Using the offshore economy is akin to acquiring your own island where the rules that most citizens follow don’t apply.

    The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists publishes today a database that, for the first time in history, will help begin to strip away this secrecy across 10 offshore jurisdictions.

    The Offshore Leaks Database allows users to search through more than 100,000 secret companies, trusts and funds created in offshore locales such as the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands and Singapore. The Offshore Leaks web app, developed by La Nación newspaper in Costa Rica for ICIJ, displays graphic visualizations of offshore entities and the networks around them, including, when possible, the company’s true owners.
    Attacking Apathy

    The data are part of a cache of 2.5 million leaked offshore files ICIJ analyzed with 112 journalists in 58 countries. Since April, stories based on the data — the largest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organization — have been published by more than 40 media organizations worldwide, including The Guardian in the U.K., Le Monde in France, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Germany, The Washington Post and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

    ICIJ’s investigation — called Offshore Leaks by the Twittersphere and the public —has shaken the political and economic establishments from South Korea to Canada, sparking investigations, resignations and a renewed sense of urgency among world leaders that this is the time to rein in offshore abuses .
    EU Commissioner Algirdas Semeta said the ICIJ’s investigation has transformed tax politics and amplified political will to tackle the problem of tax evasion – knocking down what the EUobserver called “a wall of apathy” in Europe that had thwarted previous attempts to attack offshore secrecy.

    “I personally think Offshore Leaks could be identified as the most significant trigger behind these developments … It has created visibility of the issue and it has triggered political recognition of the amplitude of the problem,” he told EU Observer.

    with all this secrecy how do you ever really know the people are getting honest representation?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Horatio, there is more tax-evading money offshore than is dreamt of in all your MMT-inspired fantasies.

    1. Valissa

      The NSA scandal is very popular with cartoonists

      Tone deaf prez×394

      New boss, same as the old boss×350

      Who ya gonna call

      Snowden, part 1

      Snowden, part 2

      1. Valissa

        Because there are so many good cartoons on this subject…

        Then and now×385

        Now playing

        Fun with branding, part 1

        Fun with branding, part 2

        Fun with branding, part 3

          1. Valissa

            Yup, and I’m sure it was the best money can buy!

            Whose heart did he get?

            Cheney heart transplant challenge, part 1

            Cheney heart transplant challenge, part 2

            Same old Cheney

            OR this?

  9. AbyNormal

    Mark Blyth: Austerity, The History of Dangerous Idea

    Behold, the Spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love!

    Every seed is awakened and so has all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being, and we therefore yield to our neighbors, even our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves, to inhabit this land.

    Yet, hear me, people, we have now to deal with another race – small and feeble when our fathers first met them but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule.

    They claim this mother of ours, the earth, for their own and fence their neighbors away; they deface her with their buildings and their refuse. The nation is like a spring freshet that overruns its banks and destroys all that are in its path.

    We cannot dwell side by side. Only seven years ago we made a treaty by which we were assured that the buffalo country should be left to us forever. Now they threaten to take that away from us. My brothers, shall we submit or shall we say to them: ‘First kill me before you take possession of my land”
    Sitting Bull

    1. Susan the other

      Funny you should mention Mark Blyth. I was just thinkin about him: (paraphrasing liberally here) ‘… They take us to war because the economy fails and then the economy fails because they took us to war…’ So to just let my thought stray, it looks like war is no longer a solution for an economy since ours tanked so disasterously using all the old methods… and maybe that’s where we need to start. Retool the military to fight pollution; instead of “nation building” we should start rebuilding the environment. As Waldman says in his essay, “Violence in the service of good should be a delicate thing.” And Snowden? He seems like a delicate thing to me. I feel like some one is using him with a light touch.

      1. AbyNormal

        you paraphrase like he speaks…not above, not below but right atchya ‘ )

        this video should make its rounds throughout all schools…actually as a public service, it should air interrupting ALL ‘reality’ tv!

  10. AbyNormal

    You have the right to
    remain Silent & Frozen in fear
    Anything you Say
    Anything you Do Online
    Anything you Tell your Doctor
    Anything you Tell the IRS
    Anything you Text
    Anything you Talk About on the Phone

    1. Susan the other

      but should you ever be so diligent as to attain political power it will all be used to put us in jail; that’s why we built so many nice new air conditioned prisons

    2. jrs

      Plus your DNA, it can also be used against you. NSA is surely in the DNA databases … if your DNA has managed to fall into anyone’s hands, I bet they know. But Angelina Jolie says to get genetic tests ….

      NSA = genetic code for the totalitarian corporate state.

    3. Lambert Strether

      This is a public service announcement
      With guitar
      Know your rights all 3 of them
      I say
      Number 1: You have the right not to be killed
      Murder is a CRIME!
      Unless it was done by a
      Policeman or aristocrat
      Number 2: You have the right to food money
      Providing of course you
      Don’t mind a little
      Humiliation, investigation
      And if you cross your fingers
      Wang! Young offenders! Know your rights
      Number 3: You have the right to freeeee
      Speech as long as you’re not
      Dumb enough to actually try it.
      Know your rights
      These are your rights
      All 3 of ’em
      It has been suggested
      In some quarters that this is not enough!

  11. Jackrabbit

    NSA has compiled the list of attacks that their surveillance programs have help to prevent. He will talk about only T W O of them in public.

    “In recent years these programs, together with other intelligence, have protected the U.S. and our allies from terrorist threats across the globe to include helping prevent … potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11,”
    (emphasis is mine)

    This is NOT nearly enough information. When and where were these attacks supposed to occur ? What were the nature of the planned attacks? Just what role did NSA intel programs play? Minor, supporting, or crucial to stopping the attack?

    The Bullsh!t way that this has been presented leads me to believe that:
    – there have been very few attacks prevented in the recent past
    – NSA info was mostly not crucial to preventing attacks
    – most planned attacks were very small
    – most planned attacks were overseas
    The only significant attacks planned within the USA in which NSA info played a significant role was the TWO that Gen. Alexander will talk about publicly

    1. Jackrabbit


      Gen. Alexander: Just over 10 [planned attacks] had a US nexus


      The question: How much of s215 (PRISM) was essential to stop an attack in the US; is circumvented (someone else jumps in with BS answer)


      They claim that data is destroyed after 5 years
      (how do we know?)

      Questioning from Michelle Bachman:

      Does the NSA have this data… have this capability…etc.
      Is answered: NSA doesn’t have that… NSA doesn’t do that…

      But what about NSA contractors and foreign intelligence services that NSA has close connections with? What data is shared? How do contractors/foreign services handle data?

      Bachmann refers to Snowden as a traitor.

    2. Jackrabbit

      It sooo funny how s215 refers to “business records” when in actuality it is effectively personal information.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The NSA is probably already doing the background check.

        Maybe they are not just sharing.

  12. barrisj

    CNBC rocking out with story of “thwarted NYSE bomb plot”, thanks to the ever-vigilant NSA. So, drilling down into Gen. Keith Alexander’s claim at a Congressional hearing, we read that a “known Yemeni terrorist” had emailed “his contact” in Kansas City about a “nascent” plot to bomb the Exchange. Now, can anyone tell me exactly what “nascent” means in this context? I read it as saying that a FBI informant hadn’t as yet been put on the case to solicit the KC person’s “help” in obtaining “bomb materials”, at which point a dramatic arrest takes place, with yet another “terrorist plot” foiled just-in-time. Look, all this bollocks about “thwarted terrorist plots” is yet more waffle to disguise the bigger picture: NSA 24/7 all-in surveillance is primarily used against ordinary criminal activity, mob-related or white-collar crime, essentially doing warrantless snooping preliminary to obtaining warrants from a federal judge, where sources of information are rarely challenged, and investigators can move ahead regardless of any 1st or 4th Amendment strictures. Next stop: “Minority Report”.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I can help with that. “Nascent” means that the FBI has not yet supplied them with the bomb-making materials, and has not yet located a supplier for their uniforms.

  13. rich

    Obama’s Soft Totalitarianism: Europe Must Protect Itself from America

    Is Barack Obama a friend? Revelations about his government’s vast spying program call that assumption into doubt. The European Union must protect the Continent from America’s reach for omnipotence.

    But is he a friend? The revelations brought to us by IT expert Edward Snowden have made certain what paranoid computer geeks and left-wing conspiracy theorists have long claimed: that we are being watched. All the time and everywhere. And it is the Americans who are doing the watching.

    On Tuesday, the head of the largest and most all-encompassing surveillance system ever invented is coming for a visit. If Barack Obama is our friend, then we really don’t need to be terribly worried about our enemies.

    It is embarrassing: Barack Obama will be arriving in Berlin for only the second time, but his visit is coming just as we are learning that the US president is a snoop on a colossal scale. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she will speak to the president about the surveillance program run by the National Security Agency, and the Berlin Interior Ministry has sent a set of 16 questions to the US Embassy.

    A Monitored Human Being Is Not a Free One

    What, exactly, is the purpose of the National Security Agency? Security, as its name might suggest? No matter in what system or to what purpose: A monitored human being is not a free human being. And every state that systematically contravenes human rights, even in the alleged service of security, is acting criminally.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When someone in a lab coat says ‘I am studying you,’ most animals and plants in nature take that as a threat.

      ‘I am monitoring you, Nature!’

  14. Susan the other

    Delong on the Fed and monetary stimulus without fiscal stimulus? Like waiting for Godot. But there are ways around the reluctance of Congress to do anything that brings economic recovery forward prematurely thereby stealing from the future – like securitization fraud and massive derivatives on the future.

  15. Susan the other

    One more thing. Mark Thoma. 7 Ways to Leave Your Lover. Take advantage of of the unexplained lack of information about “bad assets” because it is a form of reverse blackmail to freak out about risk and make a run on the banks or shadow banks … and we all know that that lack of information is a true mystery. So we also know that someone is very afraid. Thoma even says “Amazingly this problem has not been resolved.” Gosh I wonder why. Could it be because ownership and chain of title have been illegally atomized in an effort to make everything into a tradable commodity? The cure is to just scrape all this rot out and incinerate it.

  16. Garrett Pace

    A peculiar commentary about how our privacy is being violated by Google, Twitter, etc. whether or not they share

    ” Between career officials at the N.S.A. and marketing managers at social-media companies, I trust the former more than the latter to maintain my privacy and use the information they have on me with maximum restraint.”

    Except Google won’t blow up your car with a missile. And is still marginally accountable to the law. And Google isn’t spying on NSA – the information is only flowing one way here.

    I agree at how troubling it is that we passively accept being harvested for information. But c’mon.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Ah! The Lesser of Two Evils mentality rears its Cthulu-like head again! A fine example of why I hardly ever read The New Yorker anymore. If anybody wants to read a funny and topical New York-based magazine, I’d recommend Gawker….

  17. AbyNormal

    “Man is the cruelest animal.”

    Florida’s Governor Signs Business-Backed Bill Banning Paid Sick Leave
    – Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a bill on Friday that blocks local governments from implementing paid sick leave legislation, the Orlando Sentinel reports. He made his decision quickly, only taking four of the 15 days he legally had to review the bill before he signed it. In signing the bill, Scott sided with big business interests including Disney World, Darden Restaurants (owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster), and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. The bill is part of a national effort to pass so-called “preemption bills” that would block paid sick leave legislation that is backed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing group that coordinates conservative laws across states. The state’s House Majority Leader, Steve Precourt (R), who was instrumental in putting forward the preemption bill, is an active ALEC member. The bill has made moot a 2014 referendum in Orange County that would have decided whether to require paid sick leave. More than 50,000 voters had tried to get the measure on the November 6 ballot but the County Commission voted it off. It made it on the ballot in 2014 thanks to a three-judge panel.

    be afraid floridians & ‘visitors’:

    Florida Covered Up the Worst Tuberculosis Outbreak in 20 Years

    Nationally (including Florida), the most common subtypes of influenza detected this season been influenza A H3, followed by influenza B.

    In week 22, one of eight specimens submitted for influenza testing at BPHL tested PCR positive for 2009 influenza A H1N1.Influenza B, influenza A H3 and 2009 influenza A H1N1 have all been detected since October 2012. All of these are seasonal strains of influenza.

    1. Lambert Strether

      That’s appalling. They just incentivized sick people to work in the fast food industry.

      I suppose over time this is good, since natural selection will allowed to operate at its full scope, but still….

      1. AbyNormal

        jeeze your not kidding…how about food handling at schools & hospitals? remember last year this was the state that started tent cities for tuberculous patients (while denying the outbreak)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Man has not always been the cruelest animal.

      From about dot com on Huaca La Florida (not to be confused with the state of Florida):

      Much discussion appears in the literature concerning whether the pyramid constructions of La Florida are evidence of the control of a ruling class (social ranking) or a communal effort by neighboring villages.

      It has been estimated that the construction of such complexes would have taken a thousand people working every day for over 16 years. The massive size of the construction, the amount of effort invested in the recovery of the building materials, leveling the terrain, and the preparation of the plaster which covered the structures speak for activities organized at a regional level. The size and complexity of these buildings, some archaeologists think instead that these complexes were actually the result of a regional state with a ruling class.

      However, some archaeologists think that the pyramids were not ordered to be built by a ruling class controlling and mobilizing labor, but instead a communal effort by many people from the surrounding villages. People from these villages lived a quite simple life made of farming activities and trade and exchange between the coast and the highlands

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Certainly we won’t be able to offset non-cheap oil and consumerism by paving more roads.

  18. Hugh

    One of the sops to Congress was that the NSA did not spy on it. This supposedly made some members feel better about the NSA programs. But like so much else in this story, it is a contentless statement. What does it mean exactly? A few official numbers? Just members, not staffs, not family? Just offices, not homes? Just telephones, not internet connections? Who would do this and how would they determine what was what? And finally as mentioned in the blurb to the WSJ article above, none of this exemption covers the numbers and internet accounts of those calling Congress, not the lobbyists, nor the mistresses, nor the drug dealers, nor the bagmen. If the NSA is spying on everyone else than there is no way for it to avoid spying on Congress. But if the saps in Congress want to believe they’re exempt, well, that’s fine with the NSA.

    It is always about the definitions. Most people assume that when they hear statement A, it means what most people would commonly assume it to mean. But in fact in situations like these, every word has to be questioned because, by adjusting the definitions, the actual meaning can be the polar opposite of that conveyed by the usual meaning of the words.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The lesson Julius Caesar learned was that his NSA should have monitored Roman senators.

    2. Valissa

      One of the sops to Congress was that the NSA did not spy on it. This supposedly made some members feel better about the NSA programs.

      More kayfabe! ‘We’re not spying on you’ & ‘awwww we feel better now’… and the MSM eats it up! Does anyone actually believe congress critters are not also being spied upon? At least as far back as the days of J. Edgar Hoover members of congress, cabinet members and other high ranking officials had intel gathered on them, all the better to be able to control them politically via blackmail.

  19. Hugh

    Re Miranda, we live in a two-tiered legal system. The rich and powerful are above the law and so do not need Miranda. Miranda affords protection to the rest of us, the schlubs, and why would the powers that be want that?

    It is important to understand that Miranda covers custodial interrogations, that is police questioning you while you are in their custody. Such interrogation is inherently coercive because you can not walk away from it. Miranda was supposed to be a counterbalance to this. It did not confer rights, but was a reminder, in a coercive setting, of rights we already possessed.

    As with the greatly expanded public safety exception exampled in the Tsarnaev case and the shifting of the onus from law enforcement mirandizing a suspect in custody to suspects having to proactively invoke their Miranda rights at the outset, we have to all intents and purposes returned to the pre-Miranda era. Miranda warnings were not supposed to be a sometime thing. They were supposed to be foundational principles of police conduct. Now they are not. They can be delayed indefinitely. It was a judge not law enforcement who “mirandized” Tsarnaev. Now we not the police must invoke our Miranda rights. Silence is not only insufficient (Berghuis v. Thompkins) but can now be used as evidence of guilt. We are not that far off from the Kafka-ized state where when accused by the powers that be, we can excercise one of two options. We can admit our guilt or we can remain silent in which case our guilt will be assumed.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Boy: If you don’t say you are giving me the silent treatment, it’s not a silent treatment.

      His ex-girl friend: I am not talking to you!

    2. Hugh

      I glanced through the Salinas v. Texas opinion. The petitioner Salinas agreed to accompany police but was not in official custody at the time of his questioning. This is actually a pretty fine line. It is the difference between you can come down to the precinct and answer questions or we can arrest you and take you down to the precinct for questioning. The Court is saying that in the first there is no coercion although most people would I think feel coerced in such a situation. But as this was defined as “precustodial”, the Miranda warnings did not have to be given.

      The case also revolves around another fine point. The petitioner was asked by the police whether ballistics would tie the shot gun shells found at the scene of a double homicide to his shot gun. At this point, the petitioner did not answer but “[l]ooked down at the floor, shuffled his feet, bit his bottom lip, cl[e]nched his hands in his lap, [and] began to tighten up.” The Court is saying that it was not enough for Salinas to go silent at this point. He had to invoke his Fifth Amendment right and then go silent.

      This puts the ordinary citizen in an impossible situation. On the one hand, “A witness may not employ the privilege to avoid giving testimony that he simply would prefer not to give”, so we can not simply refuse to speak to the police, but if we do, “it is settled that forfeiture of the privilege against self-incrimination need not be knowing.” Is it any wonder then that someone questioned by the police should admit to having heard and seen nothing, to knowing nothing? Why enter into such a mare’s nest if it can be avoided?

  20. bob

    Business Insider-

    Why is it necessary to allow at least 17 java scripts to run on my machine to “view” a story there?

    Is it even really there?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m not defending it, since we have a lesser version of that happening here. Some of it is the damned “yeah your readers did look at it” software to keep a tally of impressions for the ads (display ads pay based on how many impressions are “served” to readers). One of our tasks with our new webhost and tech person is to get our ad service to do this in a way that loads the readers’ browsers a ton less (we can see from our analyses that most of the loading time is on the client/browser side. Some we can’t influence, but the stuff related to ads we can once we start art-twisting our ad service).

      1. bob

        I know you have a few “add-ons” but it’s manageable, and your “content” comes from “”.

        When I go to BI with noscript, I see nothing. I’ve tried several times to go through the list and determine what is necessary to be able to see the story. I quit after about 5 minutes each time.

        It’s worse than advance. Now that I think of it…what’s their relationship?

  21. rich

    SEC Uses HFT Firm-Designed Tool To Find That HFT Doesn’t Cause Flash Crashes

    Just when one thought the SEC has hit rock bottom in stupidity, corruption and porn-addiction terms, to paraphrase the beloved Dennis Gartman, it whips out a shovel and starts digging.

    Today’s case in point: a report by the agency that Mary Schapiro made into Wall Street’s punching bag (and whose legacy her Morgan Stanley-friendly replacement is set to perpetuate) according to which “unexplained rapid price drops in single stocks have generally been triggered by human error, not nefarious trading activity or high-speed trading algorithms gone wild, an official at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday.”

    Not HFT-driven flash crashes you say? Reuters reports:

    “What we are seeing is the result of sloppiness, combined with a lack of checks and balances,” Greg Berman [formerly of RiskMetrics] said at a Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association conference. “In this day and age, there should be no excuse for these types of mistakes, especially considering the significant negative impact that these events have on investor confidence.”

    Most rapid price spikes are caused by old fashioned human mistakes, such as “fat finger” errors, where a trader may accidentally add an extra zero to an order, or by portfolio managers accidentally requesting a large order be immediately executed rather than meted out in a managed flow, Berman said.

    “Contrary to public speculation, these types of events do not seem to triggered by proprietary high-speed algorithms, by robots gone wild, or by excessive order cancellations.”

  22. ScottS

    U.S. SEC to seek admissions in some settlements -White

    WASHINGTON, June 18 (Reuters) – U.S. securities regulators will try to extract admissions of wrongdoing from defendants in some settlements, potentially resulting in more cases going to trial, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White said Tuesday.

    So the noodle-lashings will continue until TBTF ends.

  23. sandy

    What happen to majority rule? What happen to us as a people
    to decide? Where are our RIGHTS? What is privacy anymore?

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