Links 6/23/13

Plants ‘do maths’, scientists say BBC

Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable Amazon (Richard Smith). I never knew there was such a thing as collectors’ cable.

Facebook Is Now Just Giving Away Your Information Gawker

Anger mounts after Facebook’s ‘shadow profiles’ leak in bug ZDNet (frosty zoom)

EU data authorities threaten to fine Google Financial Times

Monsanto Points to Sabotage Wall Street Journal. Will Japan and the EU will buy what Monsanto is selling?

Over 500 Killed in India’s Monsoon Floods Wunderground (Lambert)

China Poses Global Growth Risk as Li Squeezes Credit Bloomberg

Spanish bullfighting stung by austerity Washington Post

Extra capital for UK banks. How not paying tax helps. Faisal Islam

Propaganda Reporting – Kerry’s Failure in Qatar Moon of Alabama

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

After NSA leaks, secretive court gets rare scrutiny Washington Post

Pelosi booed at NN over Snowden Susie Madrak. See 44:00 to 51:00. Starts with pretense that FISA Court is more than a fig leaf….

Lawyers eye NSA data as treasure trove for evidence in murder, divorce cases NBC (Propertius)

NSA leaks: US and Britain team up on mass surveillance Guardian

PRISM andrevv (Richard Smith)

Lengthy Battle on Arrest Seen in Leaks Case New York Times

On the Espionage Act charges against Edward Snowden Glenn Greenwald

U.S. publicly increases pressure on Hong Kong to arrest Snowden Washington Post. Get a load of the Orwellianism in the third paragraph

Obama’s crackdown views leaks as aiding enemies of U.S. McClatchy. Matt Stoller on Twitter called this “creepy” and Lambert adds the story is creepier than the headline.

I wanna be a non-juror Michael Smith. On another star chamber, grand juries. Worse than you probably imagined.

What Gives? Obama Appointee, U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter Wants To Lock Up Legal Pot Growers in Montana for Good Alternet (RR). Your tax dollars at work…

Cops accused of stiffing family for vet bill after shooting their dog Raw Story

Motivated home buyers skip the bidding wars Los Angeles Times

On the Failure of Ben Bernanke’s Non-Standard Monetary Policies… Brad DeLong

Unwinding quantitative easing VoxEU

Dead Being Billed for Life Insurance Yahoo (Lambert). Insurers catching up with banks in their “stealing from customers” operations.

This week in the War on Workers: If you’re not born rich, how do you rise? Laura Clawson, Daily Kos (Carol B)

“I Am Sorry That It Has Come to This”: A Soldier’s Last Words Gawker (Lambert). Today’s must read

Antidote du jour:


And a bonus antidote, from Richard Smith, a negative G dog:

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    1. from Mexico

      This is good news.

      I imagine any one of the South American countries that have taken a stand against neoliberalism — Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia or Ecuador — would receive him with open arms. Snowden is a hero to the Latin American left.

      1. Butch in Waukegan

        Associated Press:

        . . . Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency cited an unidentified Aeroflot official as saying Snowden would fly from Moscow to Cuba on Monday and then on to Caracas, Venezuela.

        1. John Funk

          Darn, I thought Ex-Frannie May colleague Tommy Donilon was going to compel them to render unto Ceaser. I also wonder if Snowden’s home has been seized.

      2. Massinissa

        Speaking of South America, Mexico I would like to say sorry for being overly cynical on Roussef and would like to thank you for sharing all that information.

        Sorry, its just hard to not be overly cynical these days.

        1. AbyNormal

          i learn alot from your post as i do fromMex’s! its natural to tweak responses overtime, but i for one hope you don’t tweak the sharing of your compassion driven intellect.

          muchas gracias for the mind expansions

        2. from Mexico

          @ Massinissa

          No apology needed.

          Let’s just hope Roussef’s up to the challenge.

      3. JGordon

        Rather than neoliberalism I think we should just start calling it “the powerful screwing weak”. Neoliberalism is just current in-vogue intellectual and academic justification the powers that be came up with to justify screwing people over and ruining the planet. If we defeated neoliberalism today they’d just come up with another ideology to rationalize their unholy, wretched inhumanity by tomorrow. So that’s why it’s important to get away from these -isms and find the root of the problem.

      4. Miguel Gustav Jones

        If Ed Snowden makes it to his final destination, I think he will go down in history as the first person to seek political asylum from the United States.

        1. George Donaldson

          Many Americans sought asylum in Canada, and some in Sweden, during the U.S. war against Vietnam.

        2. optimader

          (Lee Harvey) Oswald arrived in Moscow as a tourist on October 15, 1959. The next day he applied for political asylum and Soviet citizenship. His request was turned down, and he was told to leave the country on October 21. That day he cut open the veins in his left hand in protest and was taken to hospital. He asked the Supreme Soviet for political asylum several more times, and on October 31 was said to have thrown up a row in the American Embassy, publicly renouncing his U.S. citizenship and slapping his passport down on e ambassador’s table.

  1. Paul Tioxon

    Well, it only makes sense that those men who knew too much and were recruited by garden variety “last to know” types, will be the first to bail out of the sinking ship. And, after all, we did profit from the treasure trove of intel from the Mitrokhin KGB Files. And as we all know, payback is a bitch.

    The follow up book up book after “THE SWORD AND THE SHIELD”, “THE WORLD WAS GOING OUR WAY: THE KGB AND THE BATTLE FOR THE THIRD WORLD”, decodes the strong ties that bind Syria with Russia.

    Maybe Snowden and Assange should team up for an American owl of Minerva Epic: “THE WORLD WAS GOING OUR WAY: THE NSA AND THE BATTLE TO KEEP THE BLACK BUDGET BLACK”.

  2. AbyNormal

    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The United States government charged former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden with spying on Friday, apparently unaware that in doing so it had created a situation dripping with irony.

    At a press conference to discuss the accusations, an N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers by announcing the spying charges against Mr. Snowden with a totally straight face.

    ***“These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”***

    Seemingly not kidding, the spokesman went on to discuss another charge against Mr. Snowden—the theft of government documents: ***“The American people have the right to assume that their private documents will remain private and won’t be collected by someone in the government for his own purposes.”***

    ***“Only by bringing Mr. Snowden to justice can we safeguard the most precious of American rights: privacy,”*** added the spokesman, apparently serious.

    I don’t think there’s a punch-line scheduled, is there? montyfuckingpython

  3. AbyNormal

    And now for something completely different: a man with a tape recorder up his brother’s nose.

    m.p’s flyin circus ;o)

    1. AbyNormal

      the above post is a reply to my comment that got hungup (cause i cursed)…so here’s the uncursed version bahahahaaa

      WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The United States government charged former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden with spying on Friday, apparently unaware that in doing so it had created a situation dripping with irony.

      At a press conference to discuss the accusations, an N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers by announcing the spying charges against Mr. Snowden with a totally straight face.

      ***“These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”***

      Seemingly not kidding, the spokesman went on to discuss another charge against Mr. Snowden—the theft of government documents: ***“The American people have the right to assume that their private documents will remain private and won’t be collected by someone in the government for his own purposes.”***

      ***“Only by bringing Mr. Snowden to justice can we safeguard the most precious of American rights: privacy,”*** added the spokesman, apparently serious.

      I don’t think there’s a punch-line scheduled, is there? montyfu***cingpython ;o))!

      1. craazyman

        Nothing makes sense anymore.

        It occured to me this morning that anti-gun nuts don’t mind if the government has all the guns, because only the government can be trusted with firearms, but go ballistic if it has all the data, because the government can’t be trusted with data.

        And the NRA gun wackos don’t mind if the government has all their data, because it protects them from terrorists, but go ballistic if it has all their guns because then they can’t mount a rebellion if they have to protect themselves from tyrrany.

        It gets confusing.

        “Don’t know why, I should even care/
        It’s not dark yet/ but it’s gettin there”

        -B. Dylan

        1. colinc

          NOT craazy you are! Everything has been NON-sense for a very long time and the constiuency has been deliberately distracted and deceived so they would not notice. This indoctrinated human condition is terminal and the terminus is in sight. Today is the best day of the rest of our lives.

        2. AbyNormal

          craazy, a part of me says, ‘its not funny Aby…its really happening and what we have to look forward to’. but if i don’t locate a giggle in the irony(s) of all our horrors (policies), then i fear what really will become of me on the darkside.

        3. ohmyheck

          As about as crazy as the fact that U.S. taxpayers are paying the U.S. Government and its private contractors to spy on them.

        4. Massinissa

          As a pro-gun rights socialist, I agree with you completely. The gun nut right and the bourgeois left are both really weird to me.

          To be fair though, lets be honest: LARGE parts of the bourgeois pro-obama left has so goddamn much trust in the government theyre willing to let it have all the guns AND all the data. My father falls in this category, unfortunately.

          Obamabots: A greater threat to our liberties than tea baggers?

      2. optimader

        …Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible….The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.

  4. diptherio

    Thanks for linking to the MT Medical MJ article on Alternet. The Fed’s actions here raised a lot of ire, and not just from the pot-head lefties. State’s rights folks were p-o’d as well. Steve Bullock, our then state AG, received a fair amount of heat for not stepping up and trying to stop it, though it’s still unclear to me what he could have done.

    This is what the boot of the authoritarian state on your neck feels like. Your citizens work hard to address an injustice and create a piece of grassroots legislation, which is subsequently voted into place by the populace. Then the Fed’s come in and say, “we don’t give a rip about your democratic process, our corrupt leaders in Washington have decided that your democracy is not reaching the proper decisions so we’re gonna nix it, deal.” Then a bunch of people get locked up and everyone is scared shitless.

    Not much talk about trying to revive the Medical MJ industry, lately, at least not around these parts…wonder why that is? And while Cotter pushes harsher sentences for terminally ill patients in MT, over in Colorado any adult can “legally” roast a bowl (that’s smoking pot, for you squares). What the F ever happened to “equal protection under the law”?

    1. AbyNormal

      my apologies for being off topic here but i is sooo excited…guess what i got at the candy store (library) yesterday? (thought of you trekkin round the area’)
      Days and Nights on the Grand Trunk Road/Antony Weller
      (holy cow didn’t know he’s a GA boy and shares my birthday too…

      1. diptherio

        I hadn’t heard of Mr. Weller before, but checking him out on-line just now, he sounds pretty cool. And the book sounds like it should be a good read. I’ve never ventured down south of the border to India, since I am ‘allergic’ to extreme heat and large crowds. Bhārat, I am told, has both in abundance. I’ll just pick of a copy of Days and Nights and call it good :)

  5. allcoppedout

    Love the notion of Tier One capital as losses that can be claimed against future tax on profits not yet made – what would such capital be worth in a liquidation? We will build up our capital by making losses – is all accounting now based on ‘The Producers’?

    Good luck to Snowden. It is very sad we can’t stand up for him. One wonders what Western democracies can stand up against.

    1. Massinissa

      Ill tell you what they CANT stand up against: Dictatorial abd Fascistic tendencies.

      Of course, America isnt a real democracy anyway, so its hardly surprising. Sad that most of Europe is going the same way though.

    2. nick b

      That one was a head scratcher. The idea of carrying losses forward for use against future gains is not uncommon. But counting such as capital? This assumes the certainty of being profitable enough to use the losses. Um, ok.
      “Yes! we lose money on every trade! but we make it up in volume!” [/sarcasm]

  6. diptherio

    Re: Today’s must-read

    The comments section is somewhat depressing. Almost no one seems to focus on what is, for me, the most important part of his note, for those of us who were not personally connected to him (i.e. the political part):

    The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

    I hope that he recorded somewhere what exactly he is referring to here. Not because I want to rubberneck, of course, but because without disclosure there can be no remediation. The war crimes that Somers was made to commit need to be known so that those who gave the orders, those that commanded and allowed these things to happen can be tried and (hopefully) executed. In general I am opposed to the death penalty, but for this I make an exception.

    Sadly, if the Gawker’s comments section is any indication, Somers’ suicide and accompanying note will simply become a heart-wrenching human interest story. So much the worse for soldiers everywhere, and for those who suffer under their oppression.

    1. John Funk

      Watching Chris Matthews and his talking jackasses celebrate a genocidal assault is too much. Everyone knows what war is, but they refuse to acknowledge it. They don’t give a fuck about people in this country, they kill at will in others.

    2. John Funk

      Why is it a mystery? How badly are Americans in denial about what war entails? While My Lai was but routine, and those accused serving less time in prison then Bradley Manning has, what peculiar form of derangement do we see here in dying America?

      1. optimader

        ..How badly are Americans in denial about what war entails?..

        Hardly a uniquely American phenomena

    3. scraping_by

      Yes, the neoliberal fog machine not only uses American soldiers to destroy and intimidate people outside The Core, it uses them for domestic political fog, too.

      Chicken hawks used to be blatant about it, howling that ending unjust, unwise, and unwinnable wars was ‘not supporting the troops’ or worse, ‘betraying those who had fallen.’ This made no sense even then, obviously killing more to honor those killed being a ghastly parody, but the MSM kept this going without question for years.

      Today, it’s photos of soldiers reuniting with their families after deployment. This provides not only a Daily Antidote form of sweetness by connecting uniforms and small kids. Lots of smiles and hugs. And I don’t think they even get model’s fees for it. But it does make it a family friendly war is heck sort of Disney thing.

      The rise of private charities to look after soldiers wounded in foreign wars should be a red flag. Aside from the obvious scams, and I suspect a few of them are, it’s a popular grasp on the idea that the government is using these individuals and then throwing them aside.

    4. aletheia33

      in a talk i listened to on youtube (sorry, don’t recall which one) lawrence wilkerson says that abu ghraib was nothing exceptional and there have been/are many, many abu ghraibs. as the u.s. for decades has trained so many armies and police in south america (and presumably elsewhere, i’ve only seen the material on s.a.) in the most efficient police state techniques, doesn’t one have to assume that our government’s own torture programs are quite advanced?

      one does hope he could have recorded what he did and witnessed, and one might wish he could even have gone public with it somehow.

      makes one realize how unlikely this is–how could one expect traumatized vets to act as truth-bringers and take on what is being done to snowden and manning?

      and one wonders what important information is contained in the files of the VA therapists.

      …and how it could be possible for vets to obtain the relief that survivors of trauma, including abuse by one’s own government, are known to obtain from telling their stories, testifying to their victimization–when that very testimony is taboo and there is no theatre or arena of public justice where one can relieve oneself of the shame of one’s victimization by one’s commanders.

      in argentina during the height of the disappearances, worried soldiers who were assigned to torture details were sent to the army priests, who gave them absolution. those boys were good catholics, presumably.

      in what way is the u.s. government now distinct from the worst police state regimes? i ask this seriously. the u.s. seems to have been accomplishing the same work with greater skill and discretion than any other government for quite awhile now.

  7. goo goo da da

    A lot of US government Orwellian nonsense comes from apparatchiks trained to ignorance and trying to parrot phrases that they hear. “Commitment to the rule of law.” That poor anonymous chickenshit goober in the Post is babbling like a baby aping how your mouth moves. He hasn’t the faintest idea what he’s talking about. He has no clue what the rule of law says. “Most precious of American rights: privacy.” Poor pig-ignorant rube wouldn’t know Article 19 from a bar of soap. He wouldn’t know Article 17 if it bit him on his floppy little dick.

    US attorneys in particular are trained to be ignorant of international law, because the state is desperately trying to squirm out from under it. Bmaz at emptywheel is a classic example – well-meaning, but his entire identity is wrapped up in not thinking impure thoughts about the state’s duties under customary and conventional international law. He can’t help it, he’s brainwashed to run in the US procedural hamster wheels, round and round. In this sense US officials and wannabes are more parochial than the average North Korean diplomat.

    But this is how acculturation works. Long before Americans have the education to comprehend human rights and rule of law, they’ll adopt it subliminally by mimicry, and little by little it will sink in and destroy this NSA Gestapo regime.

    1. b2020

      Agreed on bmaz. Between him and M. Wheeler’s incessant gotcha parsing at the surface, the point is lost too often.

  8. nick b

    Today’s ‘must read’ is truly that. I’m rendered speechless by this man and his farewell. Rest in peace, gentle soul.

    1. Bill

      ” Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war.”

      A heartbreaking note from a true hero.

      Just as I retired in ’04 as a civilian Clinical Psychologist for the Army, we were just starting to see the first PTSD cases come in then.

      After 3+ deployments, there are many many more 10s of thousands of damaged people who fit the description Mr. Somers so heartrendingly paints above.

      And the military will never treat them effectively, as it has “managed care”, which limits the number and kinds of treatments.

      These people need a lot of skillful talking therapy (months and even years for some), both individual and in groups made up of others with the same experience.

      The military will never pay for that, but will give them drug cocktails to numb them and make them more depressed and suicidal.

      Suicides don’t cost the Military Industrial Complex much.

      1. Bill

        “we were just starting to see the first PTSD cases come in then.”

        To clarify, from Irag that is.

        1. Ken Loen

          Every day, every Sunday morning particularly, we keep seeing glorification of militarism. The millions and millions who protested what they knew was going to happen were simply ignored. The media has relentlessly tried to bury and push away the toll that hasn’t been fully paid. It’s another day and we already have more wars on the way.

          1. Bill

            Yes, glorifying and romanticising the military is a big mistake.

            We have become once again a heavily militarized culture since 911. That means the terrorists have won.

    2. Susan the other

      I know. If you read the posts first, you can digest something that toxic later in the links, for a while. But still there is no answer to your heartbreak. I am crawling around on the floor because of Daniel Somers’ letter. I am so bereft of power to help him and those like him I am crushed. I am so sorry it has come to this too. I am ashamed to be an American.

  9. Jesper

    The story of a Whistleblower in Ireland:

    The story in short:
    She claims to have noticed that sales revenue was being booked incorrectly and as a result commission payments might have been incorrectly paid out. She reported it and is now facing jail-time.

    What MIGHT possibly be an issue is that the revenue she believed to be booked incorrectly might have been booked where it was booked to reduce corporation tax liability. This would be accomplished by booking a sales outside of Ireland as having been made from Ireland and therefore any and all profits from this sale would be booked in low-tax Ireland. IBM might reason that by paying out commission as if the sales were being done by sales-people based in Ireland then it could blame any uncovered wrongdoing on individual sales-people defrauding IBM (getting commission they were not entitled to).

    There has been a story about Google booking revenue from the UK in Ireland when the sales appear to have been made by sales-people in the UK.

    From the outside it is difficult to know what the story is. Although I have to admit I found it strange that the burden of proof has been shifted from the accuser to the accused.

  10. Elliot

    What a lovely, compassionate, expressive face that elephant has.

    That’s good news for Ed Snowden.. long may he run (free).

    1. AbyNormal

      your right…her force is emotive (so i looked it up’)

      Within minutes of the birth, the mother and other females trumpet, rumble and scream, oozing temporal secretions down the side of their faces. During these initial minutes the mother also attempts to help the new-born rise to its feet. This is a matter of survival since the new-born must stand to drink its mother’s milk. Without this necessary food, the calf is sure to perish. (may consume 11.4 litres of milk a day)

      Blood is inherited and virtue is acquired.
      venezuelan proverb…YouGotItSnowden!

  11. Ned Ludd

    Glenn Greenwald was on Meet the Press this morning. I did not see it; but I plan to watch, when it’s posted on-line, to see this exchange:

    Sam Stein:david gregory asked @ggreenwald if he should be charged with a crime?

    Sam Stein:Gregory sorta backtracked there, said he wasn’t embracing the idea that @ggreenwald committed a crime. just posing the qs others have asked

    Greenwald already responded on Twitter: “Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?”

    1. Ned Ludd

      The video is here:

      David Gregory: To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?

      Glenn Greenwald: I think it’s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themself a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, the idea that I’ve aided and abetted him in any way. The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama Administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the emails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced, being a co-conspirator in felonies for working with sources. If you want to embrace that theory, it means every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information, is a criminal. And it’s precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States.

      An earlier clip from Gregory’s interview with Greenwald is here. “I don’t know what government officials are whispering to you, David, but I know that the documents that I have, in my possession, and that I have read from the NSA tell a much different story, which is that there was an 80-page opinion from the FISA court that said that what the NSA is doing, in spying on American citizens, is a violation of both the Fourth Amendment and the bounds of the statute.”

      As a sidenote, Pete Williams, the NBC News Justice Correspondent who Dick Gregory talked to after Greenwald’s segment, was Dick Cheney’s press secretary and Cheney’s legislative assistant when Cheney was in Congress. “In 1989, when Cheney was named Assistant Secretary of Defense, Williams was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. While in that position, Williams was named Government Communicator of the Year in 1991 by the National Association of Government Communicators.”

      1. Hummus Binge

        Gregory’s a funny cartoon. In real life, he’s quite wealthy, Bethesda, private skool for the kids enjoined with other youth of the powerful and priveledged, wife ex-Fannie attorney, pledge allegiance to Lockheed Martin or GE, etc
        Nothing specifically evil with some of that. One can only wonder how a disk jockey feels when they mouth the lines. Whether it’s war in Iraq, or inflicting terror on debtors, it’s a smooth delivery. Perhaps, like actors that are playing a role, that they’ve otherwise decided is most important to play well – has nothing to do with whether they actually endorse specific activity.
        ie. Gregory could have said: “Glen why aren’t you reading my prompter?”

        1. Ned Ludd

          Oops, my mistake. I was discussing David Gregory and Dick Cheney and I got my D’s mixed up.

    2. Ned Ludd

      Apparently, Chuck Todd made similar insinuations later in the segment. “Gregory’s colleague Chuck Todd wondered aloud how much Greenwald was ‘involved’ with Snowden. ‘Did he have a role beyond being a receiver for this information?’ he said.”

  12. PQS

    Re: Heartbreaking read.

    I, for one, am going to go with George Carlin and start using the term “shell shock”. That’s what we used to call it before the psyciatrists got involved.
    “PTSD” sounds too anodyne. Shell shock more accurately captures the horror of war.

  13. Montanamaven

    From the comments section (evenharpier) of the Greenwald piece we get a look at the committee to oversee the executive branch situated within the executive branch. This “Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board” was what Pelosi was touting at her appearance at “Netroots Nations” which should more accurately be called “Networking Nation”.
    For more on the committee to protect our privacy. Bwahahahahaha! “Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board”

      1. Montanamaven

        Oh, these names are so much better than mine. Mine was too polite. By the way, this is not to say that moments of goodness are not present. I discovered Gar Alperovitz (“Making a Place for Community” and “Unjust Deserts”) at one of these conventions. But these moments are just a sop to would be well meaning liberals and meant to hint at radicalism without any action. Talk about kayfabe! Basically a trade show with no nifty gadgets.

    1. Hugh

      It is hard for me even begin to fathom what the purpose of a Democratic Trojan horse like Netroots Nation might be. It is like a bad joke someone repeats each day. It never gets funny, let alone funnier, but it does raise the question of what pathology is involved in the over and over telling of it.

      So some participants booed Pelosi. Gosh, now they can all go home and pat themselves on the back. But why was Pelosi even invited to anything that has “netroots” in its title? Who would go to a meeting that would have Pelosi as a speaker? Strip off the BS and there is very little difference between Democrats and Republicans, between Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell. Both are corporatist, anti-progressive, anti-99% high level officials of kleptocracy. If I would not go to listen to McConnell’s bilge, why would I go to listen to Pelosi’s lies?

  14. brian

    “Collector’s Cable” Well, suckers are born often, some with their own credit cards. A flexible cable is wonderful, but copper is not the best connector, and since there is no indication of any silver content, this one shouts;
    “Hey Rube”

    1. bob

      $9,999.00 new. For an ethernet cable.

      Assume $5 for the cable, and a brick of silver weighing almost 500 oz, or 30 lbs.

  15. goo

    Thanks omh, great article on the universal disgrace of US government conduct, with one honest mistake in it:

    “human rights are not directly conferred upon them constitutionally — and can be suspended by the Executive Branch or the high court at any time, if it is deemed (often secretly) to be in the best interest of the “defense” of the nation”

    Nobody confers human rights. You get them at birth with your navel. The human right at issue here, privacy, is part of US common law and of the common law of every state as UDHR Article 12. It is binding law equivalent to federal statute as ICCPR Article 17. Privacy is derogable in case of emergency ONLY under the conditions set out in CCPR Article 4:

    1 . In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.
    …[list of non-derogable rights]
    3. Any State Party to the present Covenant availing itself of the right of derogation shall immediately inform the other States Parties to the present Covenant, through the intermediary of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, of the provisions from which it has derogated and of the reasons by which it was actuated. A further communication shall be made, through the same intermediary, on the date on which it terminates such derogation.

    This is why the UDHR makes human rights education a duty of states, so states can’t bullshit their population. In practice, the only way Americans get any human rights education is in the International Baccalaureate. But the documents are written to be understood by anybody in the world so it’s easy to pick it up.

  16. AbyNormal

    America Feeds the Rich
    Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump, Tenn., is the ugly face of the feed-the-rich public policy. He is a seventh generation millionaire agri-businessman. He raked in $3.5 million in federal farm subsidies from 1999 to 2012. That averages out to $269,000 a year in farm welfare. It makes him one of the largest farm welfare recipients in Tennessee history as well as among members of Congress.
    This politician, who thrived on the government dole, raking in $738 a day in farm welfare over the past 13 years, is among the loudest advocates for increasing subsidies to agribusiness by about $10 billion and slashing food stamps by $20 billion.
    That would take food from 2 million poor people. They get an average of $133 a month in food stamps. That’s less than $5 a day for the poor – not the $738 a day that Fincher got.
    Fincher justified taking food out of the mouths of poor people by quoting the Bible, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, to be specific: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.”
    Citing that verse shows a frightening level of cluelessness. First, Fincher took it out of context. It was intended as an admonishment of those who’d stopped working in anticipation of the Second Coming, not as a castigation of generic non-workers.
    Second, 49 percent of those receiving food stamps are children. Would Fincher have five-year-olds work for their supper? How about infants?
    Finally, the food stamp program encourages work, and the number of recipients who do tripled in the first decade of the century.

    (mustn’t leave out the Dems contribution)
    I was actually more disturbed that the Democratic Senate Agriculture Committee would vote for a $4.1 billion cut in food stamps — even though the average benefit is about $1.46 per person, per meal, and a recent Institute of Medicine report demonstrates that benefit levels are already too low to stave off hunger. The cut “would mean $90 less a month for 500,000 families already struggling to make ends meet,” according to Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. Berg noted that an amendment by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand would have prevented the SNAP cuts “by instead cutting subsidies for crop insurance companies, many of which are foreign owned.”

    Vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires… How avant-garde!
    rice, interview with the vampire

      1. AbyNormal

        this is starting to remind me of the time we lost that drone over/to iran and obamamama answers reporters questions about it with (and i quote) “YES AND I WANT IT BACK”.

        America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.

        1. from Mexico

          I’m beginning to wonder if this rather indirect route Snowden is taking from Hong Kong to Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and finally to Ecuador is because everybody is clamoring for a piece of this action.

          Outside the United States, there’s a global courtroom of public opinion, and the verdict is in: Obama has zero moral authority.

          In the game of moral one-upmanship, opportunities like this to spotlight your opponent’s moral depravity don’t come along every day.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            This farce exposes Obama is a naked emperor leading a confederacy of dunces. If only our leaders had the vision and courage of Irish legislator, Clare Daly, who stated so boldly that Obama is a “war criminal” and “hypocrite of the century”. So refreshing.

            See also “Stasi In The White House” by Paul Craig Roberts on Obama’s galling speech at the Brandenburg Gate.

            Obama spoke lofty words of peace, while beating the drums of war in Syria and Iran. Witness Obama’s aggressive policies of surrounding Russia with missile bases and establishing new military bases in the Pacific Ocean with which to confront China.

            This is the same Obama who promised to close the Guantanamo Torture Prison, but did not; the same Obama who promised to tell us the purpose for Washington’s decade-long war in Afghanistan, but did not; the same Obama who promised to end the wars, but started new ones; the same Obama who said he stood for the US Constitution, but shredded it; the same Obama who refused to hold the Bush regime accountable for its crimes against law and humanity; the same Obama who unleashed drones against civilian populations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen; the same Obama who claimed and exercised power to murder US citizens without due process and who continues the Bush regime’s unconstitutional practice of violating habeas corpus and detaining US citizens indefinitely; the same Obama who promised transparency but runs the most secretive government in US history.

            Obama has taken hypocrisy to new heights. He has destroyed US civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. In place of a government accountable to law, he has turned law into a weapon in the hands of the government. He has intimidated a free press and prosecutes whistleblowers who reveal his government’s crimes. He makes no objection when American police brutalize peacefully protesting citizens. His government intercepts and stores in National Security Agency computers every communication of every American and also the private communications of Europeans and Canadians, including the communications of the members of the governments, the better to blackmail those with secrets. Obama sends in drones or assassins to murder people in countries with which the US is not at war, and his victims on most occasions turn out to be women, children, farmers, and village elders. Obama kept Bradley Manning in solitary confinement for nearly a year assaulting his human dignity in an effort to break him and obtain a false confession. In defiance of the US Constitution, Obama denied Manning a trial for three years. On Obama’s instructions, London denies Julian Assange free passage to his political asylum in Ecuador. Assange has become a modern-day Cardinal Mindszenty …


    1. from Mexico

      And according to this report, the US is in a “stupor” that so many countries in the world are willing to defy the demands of the United States.

      Jen Psaki, who is accompanying John Kerry on a trip to India, said she didn’t understand why Snowden can continue traveling in different countries without the necessary documentation. “Persons sought for diverse felonies like Mr. Snowden should not be allowed to fly on any international flight, other than to transport him to the United States,” Psaki said.

      1. Massinissa

        American Exceptionalism at work!

        America can break any goddamn international law they want, but when any other country does it, it is an OUTRAGE!

        Cry me a river, America. Follow the rules before expecting others to do so.

    1. petridish


      Today Americans are watching true patriotism–real time.

      I don’t pray often, but today I have asked God, if there is one, to keep Edward Snowden and his WikiLeaks guardians and Glenn Greenwald safe, to deliver them from the evil that this government has become.

      Perhaps, then, Daniel Somers, Michael Hastings, and the many more like them whose names we have either forgotten or will never know will not have sacrificed in vain.

  17. aletheia33

    HKSAR Government issues statement on Edward Snowden
    The HKSAR Government today (June 23) issued the following statement on Mr Edward Snowden:

    Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.

    The US Government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR Government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government’s request can meet the relevant legal conditions. As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.

    The HKSAR Government has already informed the US Government of Mr Snowden’s departure.

    Meanwhile, the HKSAR Government has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. The HKSAR Government will continue to follow up on the matter so as to protect the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong.
    Ends/Sunday, June 23, 2013
    Issued at HKT 16:05


    1. Hugh

      That has got to be one of the funniest “go and f*ck yourself with a mad procupine” press releases I have ever come across.

      It is interesting how all the MSM media on Sunday were running the line of the “damage” Snowden has done to the country as opposed to the damage the government has inflicted on us with these spying programs.

      As I have said before, these spying programs are not about protecting us. The powers that be never raised a finger (OK, none if we don’t count the middle one) to protect our jobs, our homes, and our retirements. If they have not protected us in these things, they certainly are not going to bother “protecting” us with these programs. These programs are plain and simple about control, by them of us.

      1. AbyNormal

        What the United States does best is to understand itself. What it does worst is understand others.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Well said, Hugh. I especially liked the request for irrelevant additional information on closing the barn door after the horse has escaped—how deliciously sweet!

  18. scraping_by

    From the NBC News trial discovery article:

    ‘The assertion in the motion that “at the outset, the government does not possess the CSLI data,” is intriguing, as it clearly refutes the notion that the NSA obtains location data as part of its routine records acquisition from telephone companies.’

    At this point, a simple assertion is not the sort of proof that ‘clearly refutes’ a claim. Especially not an assertion by people who’ve been caught out lying from beginning to end. The MSM lays down again.

    The whole security breach story has been one fallback position after another. No idea on the merits of the defendant’s case otherwise, this one could come back in another few years. When the public discourse devolves to sex, war, or racism, you’ll know the evasions have about run their course.

  19. Lambert Strether

    For the Sabbath Day gasbags pontificating about oaths:

    1. Glen

      Good point, it’s Obama and those chuckleheads in Congress that have broken their oaths to protect and defend the American Constitution.

    1. AbyNormal

      asian evening openings should be interesting…reading around the web left me with that old feeling of lookin to squeeze under my desk for optimal viewing of vaporizations

      The BIS is in stark conflict with the International Monetary Fund and most Anglo-Saxon, French, and many Asian economists, as well as the team of premier Shinzo Abe in Japan. What is emerging is a bitter dispute over the thrust of global economic policy at a crucial moment.

      Critics say the BIS is discrediting monetary remedies before it is clear whether the West is safely out of the woods. It may now be much harder to push through fresh QE if it turns out that the Fed has jumped the gun with talk of early bond tapering

      Scott Sumner from Bentley University said the BIS is wrong to argue that delaying exit from QE and zero rates is itself dangerous. The historical record from the US in 1937, Japan in 2000, and other cases, is that acting too soon can lead to a serious economic relapse. When the US did delay in 1951, the damage was minor and easily contained.

      Prof Sumner warned that Europe risks following Japan into a deflationary slump if it takes the advice of the BIS and persists with its current contraction policies.

      it’s a bond world after all
      it’s a bond world after all
      it’s a bond bond world :-/

    2. kevinearick

      BIS sees the writing on the wall…and the upper middle class is about to see the cliff edge….funny, the middle class is demonstrating against itself now, globally…the revolving ‘elite’ scapegoat class simply takes advantage of ignorance…the problem is not monetary…the problem, from Bank’s perspective, is labor; if you are in control of both labor rates and mortgage rates, who is to blame if wage arbitrage deflation fuels mortgage ponzi inflation? Who is still buying all the crap, and how close are they to their destination?

      Funny, in a last-man-standing ponzi, everyone loses, because the many coming in at the bottom replace the few thrown over at the top, until deceleration, when the bomb goes off.

      Senate deliberations/clowning should be quite interesting, especially the Shumpter. Even Putin is getting an education now. And DeLong still wants a better a bigger, albeit fiscal, punch bowl…which, of course, must be followed by a bigger monetary punch bowl.

      The machine is on auto, and the getaway car is all fueled up. Unfortunately, space is limited…

  20. Synopticist

    That Moon of Alabama piece is interesting.
    In my lifetime I’ve seen the western powers pull some exceptionally dumb moves, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever known a policy as stupid as arming al qaeda in Syria.

    It’s like the word “blowback” has never been coined. Madness. Insanity. It makes the idiot decisions made in Iraq (disbanding the army and police, encouraging shiite death squads etc) look like reasoned policy responses.

    1. scraping_by

      Possibly we have people who believe they thrive in chaos. Keep the pot boiling. Our Prez gets mileage out of a wag-the-dog war, help with Make It Go Away for the NSA disclosures.

      The smaller European nations think they will please the source of all good things. Qatar and the House of Saud think in terms of a Wahabi claiphate they control. And the government of Israel needs enemies, being right wing looters.

      Indeed, as the House GOP showed, even blowback can be useful, depending on how low you want to go.

    2. Massinissa

      It reminds me of the book 1984, how Oceania went from being allied to Eastasia and at war with Eurasia, to suddenly being allied to Eurasia and at war with Eastasia. And any evidence to the contrary was flushed down the Memory Hole.

      We are now allied with Al Qaeda, whereas they were previously enemy #1. Hell, they still ARE enemy #1, supposedly, but not in practice, since we are you know, giving them weapons. In practice, maybe they never even were.

      The plutocracy has no shame, and worse, openly flirts with its own destruction.

  21. diane

    I read the below referenced 06/23/13 article, specifically the phrase: Gary Marsh, the University of Pittsburgh researcher who led the study … and thought I sniffed $$$$$$Non-Profit!!!!$$$$ UPMC (University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center/Vampire $quid, both in the Med [Non Profit!!!!!] In$urance Biz (I’ve heard some ugly conversation as the to the lengths that UPMC’s Insurances Division will go to, to prevent coverage, and am still bewildered as to just how a Major Medical Care Facility (let alon any Medical Care Entity) can also legally ‘major’ in the Medical In$urance Indu$try, particularly an EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION’S Non Profit!!!! ), and theHealth Care Indu$try!!!!™), although, UPMC is not at all mentioned in the article (bolding mine):

    06/23/13 Families skeptical of Pratt cancer study findings

    Some relatives of workers who died of brain cancer a decade or more ago are dissatisfied with the study, saying it failed to prove that the deaths of their loved ones were part of a broader problem.

    Todd Atcherson, whose father, Charles Atcherson, died in 1998 after working at Pratt & Whitney for about 25 years, said the enormous scope of the study – health and work records of more than 200,000 employees were reviewed – fail to explain the deaths of his father and a small group of other workers at the North Haven plant.

    “They skewed out the numbers so far, they lost focus of five people who worked in the same site and all died,” he said.

    Shea said she believes the researchers are “way off.”

    “I couldn’t believe they couldn’t come up with anything,” she said.

    The study, released last month, was launched “in response to the perception of an unusual occurrence” of glioblastoma, a common and aggressive malignant brain tumor, at the North Haven plant. It found the incidence rates of glioblastoma at the site weren’t related to workplace exposures.

    Sure enough, I did find that, likely high percentage of, $12 million dollar research study (see article) UPMC connection:

    Currently, Dr. Marsh’s group is conducting an historical cohort study of nearly a quarter million jet engine manufacturing workers for the Pratt & Whitney Company, a mortality surveillance system for the Owens Corning Company, and an historical cohort study of pharmaceutical workers for the Eli Lilly Company. The Pratt & Whitney study is a collaborative effort with the Department of Neuro-Oncology within UPMC and the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition, the group recently began working on the pilot phase of a large, multi-year historical cohort study of workers exposed to tungsten and cobalt that will be funded by the International Tungsten Industry Association. Dr. Marsh’s group is hoping to secure federal and PA State funding for the conduct of the main epidemiology study.

    1. diane

      03/08/13 Medical ethics focus of insurance dispute between [Non Profit!!!]UPMC and Highmark

      Health law experts say UPMC is taking an unusually harsh step — and a calculated public relations risk — by barring certain Highmark customers the ability to visit its physicians and clinics, even if they want to pay cash.

      Further down in the piece:

      … it’s another, more unusual thing for a hospital to formally bar a certain group of patients.

      “It’s not considered morally praiseworthy, but it’s also not prohibited,” …

      (Bracketed title insert and bolding mine. This is not, in any way a defense of Highmark, they are besides the point here.)

  22. Glen

    Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable Amazon (Richard Smith). I never knew there was such a thing as collectors’ cable.

    The world of high end audio is full of extremely expensive snake oil items such as $650K turntables, $500K speaker systems, $13K speaker cables (just two per set so you can throw down more bucks on these to get your 7.1 wired up).

    Audiophile geeks have always been willing to spend crazy bucks for gear – in fact, like a lot of hobbies in life, it’s what you spend not the actual listening experience, but I’ve noticed lately that high end prices in this hobby, like many other luxury goods have gone completely crazy bonker nuts.

    There’s not much of a profit margin left to small companies in putting some item in Walmart so increasingly these companies have to appeal to the multi millionaires and billionaires that have way more money than they ever need, and who revel in spend crazy stupid money for bragging rights.

    This, like many other areas of our economy are launching into a death spiral of increasingly more expensive goods/services, followed by less people able to afford them, followed by even more expensive goods/services. One can easily see this playing out in the American heathcare insurance industry despite Obama’s best efforts to force everyone to enroll with the exact same companies that created this f&*ked up heathcare mess.

  23. AbyNormal

    Bahahaahahaha i just p’d myself

    More on the One Percent
    If you enjoyed reading my forthcoming JEP paper, you might also enjoy It’s the Market: The Broad-Based Rise in the Return to Top Talent by Steven N. Kaplan and Joshua Rauh, which emphasizes complementary themes. An excerpt:

    We believe that the U.S. evidence on income and wealth shares for the top 1 percent is most consistent with a “superstar”-style explanation rooted in the importance of scale and skill-biased technological change. In particular, we interpret the fact that the top 1 percent is spread broadly across a variety of occupations as most consistent with an important role for skill-biased technological change and increased scale. These facts are less consistent with an argument that the gains to the top 1 percent are rooted in greater managerial power or changes in social norms about what managers should earn.

    1. Massinissa

      How in gods green earth do these propagandists write this shit with a straight face?

  24. barrisj

    “SNOWDEN IS SELLING US SECRETS TO CHINA!!” No, wait, “SNOWDEN IS SELLING US SECRETS TO RUSSIA!!” No, wait, he’s going to…Ecuador?? “Selling US secrets to…Ecuador?” No, wait, he’s – oh, seeking asylum. Wait, isn’t there a Cuban connection somewhere there? “SNOWDEN IS SELLING US SECRETS TO CUBA!!”
    YESSS!, now that’s more like it! Ah, those eternal verities!

    1. Massinissa

      I like how Snowden can sell secrets by…

      Putting secrets up for free on the internet?

      1. Massinissa

        Bullshitting for five years has gotten tiring for him, so he doesnt try hard at this. And anyway now that he has been elected twice, and also has his own goddamn religion of Obamabot-ism, he knows he can say and do whatever with no repercussions at all.

  25. diane

    For anyone on dial up who has a hard time watching video, there’s some coverage of the Pelosi booing at Politico, which unlike some of the Video Headlines, and text coverage – at Raw Story for instance – was not as glossy. It noted this glaringly twisted comment Nancy made (bracketed comment mine):

    “I look forward to working with all of you,” Pelosi continued. “Now that the public knows more [and we go after Snowden with all we’ve got, like we did Manning] – it gives us an opportunity for some of the things we’ve been advocating for a while.”

    which, according to Politico, was apparently made right before she won over the majority of netrooters !!!! (sooprise!) and all appeared well again:

    She continued by saying the real problem is the vast outsourcing of government programs to contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton, where Snowden worked —a line that earned her applause from the audience and allowed her to recover control of the crowd.

    “The real problem is outsourcing our national security,” she said, to applause from the audience.

    No, that is a secondary problem, the larger problem is the massive privacy violations by Public Servants of the citizens they’re supposed to be serving, and of citizens of other countries, no matter who is doing the surveillance. (And yes Nancy, I’m sure correcting outsourcing is on that Dem to do list, right along with providing jobs and ending Corporate Tax Evasion. The State you represent, California, is a perfect example of your [BiPartisan] Advocacy, a cesspool of homelessness, unemployment and inequality, Nancy.)

    If that is how it ended, UUUUGHHHHHH to the majority of netrooters, but then what can be expected from a group that seems predominately made up of Managerial Class, wanna be Dem In$ider$.

  26. rich

    The NYU Scandal Has the Same Cast of Characters as NYSE-Grasso-Gate

    Three well known figures on Wall Street find themselves entangled in NYU’s mortgage-gate, exactly one decade after their roles were scrutinized in the biggest New York Stock Exchange scandal since the Senate hearings of the early 1930s exposed the shady dealings of its members.

    In 2003, Wall Street super-lawyer, Martin Lipton, was advising his friend, Richard (Dick) Grasso, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, on a massive compensation plan while simultaneously serving as counsel to the Stock Exchange’s committee on governance and as Chairman of its Legal Advisory Committee.

    Joining Lipton in the unpleasant public spotlight was Kenneth Langone, Chair of the Exchange’s Compensation Committee, which had awarded Grasso $130 million in compensation and benefits for the three-year period of 2000 through 2002. That sum represented 99 percent of the Exchange’s net income for those three years according to then New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in a court filing.

    Members of the Compensation Committee included executives of the very firms regulated by the Exchange who had excellent reasons to want to curry favors with Grasso. Laurence D. Fink, CEO of the money management firm, BlackRock, was one of the members of the Compensation Committee. At the time this was playing out, the New York Stock Exchange was a not-for-profit institution subsidized by the taxpayer.

    A few days before Labor Day in 2003 (timed to dampen media reaction), the Board of the Exchange issued a press release indicating it had paid a lump sum of $139.5 million to Grasso. Shortly thereafter, the Board learned that Grasso was owed another $48 million under his 2003 contract, which Lipton, according to an internal review, said “had been earned by Grasso and was legally his.”

    All of this is occurring with Lipton chairing the Board of Trustees at NYU (a post he has remarkably held, uninterrupted, for the past 15 years) and Kenneth Langone and Laurence Fink serving as Vice Chairs on NYU’s Board. Langone and Fink also serve as Co-Chairs of the NYU Langone Medical Center. In 2010, a unit of NYU bought the Dean of the Medical Center, Robert Grossman, a $6.15 million condo to live in and, as of August 2011, was paying him $3,488,960 in annual compensation.

    There was something of a snap public survey in the comment section of the article at the New York Times last Tuesday, July 18, with 473 readers commenting. Most were outraged. Beth from Chicago wrote: “I have sacrificed tremendously – giving up vacations and more – so my daughter can go to that school. It is outrageous that NYU is giving these administrators forgivable loans for vacation homes. How can they live in luxury on the backs of their students and the parents that sacrifice for them?”

  27. restaurante timisoara

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