Links 6/25/13

Report finds one in three women abused Aljazeera (Paul M)

Warming oceans make parts of world ‘uninsurable’, say insurers Financial Times

How Google pulled the plug on the Peak District Independent (Chuck L)

Is China Central Bank Back-Dating Info to Cover for Unprecedented Credit Bubble Global Economic Intersection. Holy shit, I hadn’t seen how large the volume of short-term financed products was relative to the size of the economy. This is bigger than US subprime (which was to a significant degree NOT repo financed) + asset backed securities CDOs right before the crisis. And those exposures were spread across multiple economies (mainly US, but significant European, UK, and even meaningful uptake of real dreck in Australia). This by contrast is all in China, a much smaller economy than these combined.

Good explanation for tight interbank liquidity conditions in China – finally Sober Look

Shanghai stocks resume their epic bear market MacroBusiness

US factory boss held hostage by workers in Beijing Associated Press. Used to be Taiwanese bosses in Pearl River factories….

On Bullying Friends Bruce Krasting. I’ve long said the US could use access over dollar clearing services (essential for any international bank) to enforce rules globally. But no, we won’t use it for better bank regulations, we’ll use it for tax avoidance, and that for individuals (as opposed to the corporate variety. Not that I’m defending the underlying practice, just sayin’ this is again (even in the realm of the monied) the US going after comparatively small fry (plus you have to wonder if this isn’t also to promote US banking interests, since privacy has been one of the big draws of the Swiss private banking business. Don’t kid yourself that Citigroup, another big player, is any cleaner. It has long been a favorite of Latin American flight capital, a lot of which isn’t terribly savory either).

The United States and Europe have nothing to fear from a Syriza government: Our op-ed in the NYT Jamie Galbraith and Yanis Varoufakis

Heathrow warns of investment threat Robert Peston, BBC. Some relevance to US.

Irish blood is boiling: the second installment FT Alphaville

Rousseff calls for vote to quell protests Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Snowden sought Booz Allen job to gather evidence on NSA surveillance South China Morning Post (furzy mouse)

Snowden a PR nightmare for the US Daily Kos (ohmyheck)

US Must Not Hunt Down Whistleblower Edward Snowden Amnesty International (1 SK)

‘Meet the Press’ Pundit With Financial Ties to NSA Misleadingly Slams Snowden Nation (Lambert)

David Gregory Dances To Power Ed Maloney

10 Questions for NBC Host Who Shamelessly Suggested Greenwald Be Arrested for NSA Leaks Salon

U.S. Said to Explore Possible China Role in Snowden Leaks Bloomberg. Does this look as desperate to you as it does to me? This story broke more than two weeks ago. I guarantee the NSA has been all over every communication Snowden made that they can lay their hands on prior to his departure from Hawaii. They would have been screaming from rooftops by now if they had any real evidence of ties to evil foreign powers (you’d at least hear security state mouthpieces like Feinstein making claims that they’d seen damning evidence). So it’s not hard to guess that anything they try to trot out will be innuendo or tarted up.

Edward Snowden ‘has not entered Russia’ – Lavrov BBC. US statements looking increasingly screechy. Guardian report suggests he indeed was not there (you gotta love the way the Guardian owns this story).

CIA rolls out ‘new and improved website’ Agence France-Presse

Perfecting The Surveillance Society – One Payment At A Time Testosterone Pit

How Barrett Brown shone light on the murky world of security contractors Guardian

Australian government shelves data retention plans CNET (Lambert)

Is Your Smart Meter Spying On You? George Washington

Meet The Press – June 16, 2013 Bobblespeak Translations (Lambert). Yes a week old but still good.

You Can Be Fired For Being A Victim of Domestic Violence In All But Six States ThinkProgress (Carol B)

The Great U.S. Worker Sell Out Through Comprehensive Immigration Reform Economic Populist (Timothy G)

The Public Option “Alternatives” Are Proving to be Mostly Worthless Jon Walker, Firedoglake. Huh? Why is the Obama magic sparkle pony being mentioned now?

Supreme Court Grants Cert in Two Slips-Worthy Cases Credit Slips (Lysa)

For the Republicans, an idea whose time has come David Kaiser (Chuck L). Far more alarming than its anodyne headline.

Central banks want stocks lower MacroBusiness versus Two Fed Presidents Emphasize Stimulus to Persist After QE Taper Bloomberg. Two very different readings of the same speeches. FT more of the MacroBusiness school: Fed fights back against ‘feral hogs’

Who does it hurt? The IMF on fiscal consolidation Triple Crisis. Wonky title but short and readable, addresses cui bono from austerity squarely.

Some Unemployed Keep Losing Ground Wall Street Journal

Mass Layoffs at a Top-Flight Law Firm New York Times

Unemployment and family separation affect grandchildren PhysOrg

Bridgewater funds take a battering MarketWatch. Hate to confess but this cheered me up.

Regulators Are Said to Plan a Civil Suit Against Corzine New York Times. Haha, Gensler is going to go out swinging.

Antidote du jour (Lysa):


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  1. Skeptic

    Mass Layoffs at a Top-Flight Law Firm New York Times

    How can you tell when a Lawyer is lying: his/her/its lips are moving.

    Well, from that story: ““This is not about cost-cutting but about the future of the firm and strategically positioning us for the next five years,” Mr. Wolf said.”

    Why should we then believe the above statement by Mr. Wolf?

    Something like 90% of cases never go to trial. The main job being to move Paper back and forth in the Courts and rip off the “clients” on both parts of the action. Then, at some point, a non-trial resolution is found. I was once waiting for a pre-trial conference in a Federal Court while two opposing lawyers who were also waiting but without the paying clients present chirped away at each other like well-fed Lovebirds as the billing meters ran. If either or both of the clients had been present it would have been total different behaviour. And if it ever does go to Court, the Judge and lawyers put on an expensive show for the duped, gullible, Perry-Mason-believing clients.They will all have a good laugh about the dumb clients at the Golf Club.

    So, if it is mostly Paper that moves and produces the billing $$$, why not form that Paper digitally in low cost countries and then just transmit to a US born and present lawyer in the States who can file it with the Court and show up there if needed? Most of this Paper is standard stuff, fill in the blanks with a bit of alteration here ‘n there. No Louis Brandeis needed. So, buy that Paper in Mumbai not Manhattan!

    ( I suggest that anyone wishing to understand America today and the accelerating diminishing of the Rule of Law, step over to your local Federal Court for a day and bring your children. You may hear some juicy stuff in the washroom during recess. Folks in Boston might want to attend the hypocritical trial of Whitey Bulger who is being tried for murders aided and abetted by the same FBI now hunting Snowden. Lots of Lawyer bucks there to stuff in the GDP tank. )

    May litigation never darken your door. Things have not changed much since Charles Dickens who reported on the Courts wrote BLEAK HOUSE:

    1. armchair

      It sounds like Mumbai would be a great place to get involved in corporate espionage. I bet you could get the family jewels for a steal of a deal.

    2. wunsacon

      Anecdote: Over 20 years, I’ve heard a friend and small business owner tell 3 or 4 stories of discontent dealing with lawyers (different each time) and no positive ones. If not for my friend’s intervention and diligence documenting everything himself, each of those cases would’ve resulted in more $$ for lawyers on both sides.

  2. Massinissa

    @The United States and Europe have nothing to fear from a Syriza government

    THAT IS EXACTLY WHY I AM HIGHLY SCEPTICAL OF SYRIZA. Cant believe he is saying that like its a good thing! Syriza will be no more socialist, or even left wing, than the greek PASOK, or Frances Socialist party.

    More importantly… Theyre pro-Euro. How the hell can they do anti-austerity policies while remaining in the Euro? I dont see how that is possible! Germany practically dictates their budget!

    I have very little hope for Syriza. And quite frankly, this op-ed by varoufakis has done nothing to change my mind. Rather, it made me doubt Varoufakis’s integrity, since this op-ed is practically propaganda.

    By the way… Fighting fascism with food stamps, probably wont work…

  3. Klassy!

    David Gregory: Besides his treason remark, the other infuriating statement was that Glenn is a polemicist with “a point of view”. This is the ultimate smear in Gregory’s mind. I don’t know if it is willfull ignorance or simply the fact that he honestly believes that jounalism is about access to those in power and uncritically reporting (or simply providing an outlet for) what elites have to say. Does he really believe that he does not have “a point of view” or does he just know what side his bread is buttered on? He represents the worst of the worst.
    It may be lazy to say these are the worst of times for the mainstream media, but you have a post from Danny Schecter. He was once employed by ABC, as was Bill Moyers.

    1. diptherio

      It may be the worst of times for the MSM (though the book American Aurora chronicles another REALLY bad time, in our country’s infancy), but it’s the best of times for alternative media, this here blog being but one fine example.

      So I guess we should say, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times…

      1. from Mexico

        As the recent protests in Brazil highlighted, it’s a big problem, one which has no easy solutions.

        The US electronic media in comparison to Latin America’s is, believe it or not, fair and even-handed. Privately-owned TV stations throughout Latin America are in the hands of the most fanatical reactionary right-wingers imaginable. Folks in the US don’t realize how bad it can get. Not even Hugo Chávez dared take on the media giants, so private television in Venezuela remains, to this day, a hotbed of right-wing extremism and disinformation.

        What was done in Venezuela and Brazil was not so much to regulate TV programming, but to fund public TV stations to offer an opposing viewpoint. This is about the only way to break the monopoly of right-wing disinformation, as TV regulation opens one up to charges of authoritarianism and curtailing the freedom of speech.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And TV is powerful, in general and in all modern countries, because the children have been ‘educated’ into believing they need to consume its content.

    2. optimader

      Glenn G. does indeed have a point of view, but he has certainly been clear about differentiating his POV and facts.

      That is what is lost on for-hire ciphers like D. Greg and the rest. They obfuscate or ignore fact and present POV as matter of fact, in my opinion…

      1. Klassy!

        Yes, I wasn’t saying that Glenn does not have a point of view. Gregory just does not understand that he does too.

    3. fresno dan

      The only question is: Is Gregory TOTALLY moronic, or is he in on the conspiracy (the conspiracy to make the story about EVERYTHING BUT SURVEILLANCE OF AMERICANS who are under no suspicion that would …uh, warrant a search warrant)

      The term military industrical complex should be updated to the GE/Bloomberg NBC/defense contractor AndreaMitchell/Greenspan/Chelsea Clinton nexus
      and the phrase “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” updated to “afflict the afflicted the comfort the comfortable” (or just f*ck the 99% for short)

      To get back to my question, I suspect Gregory really has not read any of the long articles, and really CAN’T ask any probing questions about what NSA is doing – but he has to fill the air time. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a conspiracy – if you choose to hire the dim, you are going to get Snowden’s girlfiend covered instead of the rape of the constitution.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Agreed, moron seems fair. I recognize his entitled jock get away with it intellectual mediocrity from past experience. He, like most of the ruling class, are inheritors of their positions or leverage their ability to suck up to power, dress decently and not offend into a cushy position as a placefiller in the machine. Look in his eyes, there’s that unconcealable soulless vacuous, intellectually dead lack of any spark they all evince.

          Intellectual mediocrity may not be a strict prerequisite for getting a lucrative placefilling gig in the fascist corporatocracy, but it’s at least a valuable asset. Bright people never can quite be trusted.

    4. optimader

      Re: Gregory Dances..
      A good link, the video just speaks to what a fake he is.
      He dances like Tina Fey (Liz Lemon) when she is parodying a socially crippled person dancing after one too many glasses of wine.

      Part of the tell on this Gregory is his spineless deflection after Greenwald Owns him in response to his question about “aiding and abetting” (no assumptions there, eh?)

      Of course it’s all in the way a question is framed and the tone. In this case it is rather transparent that DG was put up asking his question in a very antagonistic and accusational manner.

      A real journalist would at least frame it w/some shred of civility along the lines of ” Mr Greenwald, would you care to respond to those who are suggesting that you blah blah blah..

  4. diptherio

    Re: U.S. Said to Explore Possible China Role in Snowden Leaks; Bloomberg

    If Snowden was a Chinese spy, he is the worst spook of all time. I’m don’t really know all that much about spycraft, but it seems to me that issuing press-releases and getting your face splashed across every front page in the world would be somewhat…uh…unhelpful.

    If he was a Chinese spy, one would think he’d just lay low and pass on the information quietly, but hey, what do I know?

    1. YY

      If he were working for the “enemy” one should not expect the enemy to extradite him. If the enemy were friends and therefore one should expect cooperation in handing over the culprit, it does not make sense to talk of security breaches. Unless the enemy is the US public from whom information need to be withheld, or that the enemy consist solely of bad guys/terrorists/existential evil. Who needs the Onion when the US political elite go absolutely incoherent in their efforts to control public sentiment.

      1. Expat

        Agree. If you want to hear a journalist struggling against another journalist, James Bamford, to fit Snowden into the espionage profile, try this: June 24, Part 1.

        And this is Pacifica in LA, KPFK.

    1. charger01

      I repectfully disagree. Today’s antidote is perfect analogy to Jon Walker’s article.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The horse might like getting all tricked out. Secretariat was famous for posing for the camera when he realized he was being photographed.

  5. from Mexico

    @ “Rousseff calls for vote to quell protests”

    Surprise! Surprise! Who doesn’t like Rousseff or her proposal to have a popular referndum to determine the future direction of the country other than Alberto Ramos, “chief Latin American economist at Goldman Sachs”?

    Lula ran for president four times before he was successful, and each time his platform was less radical. Finally, on his fourth try, he made a Faustian bargain with some of the oligarchs. And he and the people of Brazil paid a heavy price.

    Now it’s time for the country to take the next step towards a more fair, just, and democratic society.

  6. diptherio

    Addressing Wartime Sexual Violence at the UN Security Council ~The Disorder of Things

    Nearly all contributors to the debate resorted to the language of ‘tactics’ or ‘tools’. William Hague said that rape is used to “tear apart lives and achieve military objectives…in just the same way that tanks and bullets are”.[1] At least three speeches used the phrase ‘bodies as battlegrounds’. The resolution itself is more open, mentioning not just “method or tactic of war” but also any use “as a part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilian populations”, which more closely captures the diversity of forms. One of the problems of this framing was clear in the comments of the Rwandan representative, who suggested that the simplest way to end conflict-related sexual violence was to end the conflicts, since they were the cause, thus neglecting the continuum of gender violence and the problem of the post-war (topics neatly picked up by María Cristina Perceval of Argentina, who spoke of wartime gender violence as “a savage extension of daily violence” and as “woven into the social fabric”).

  7. nick b

    re: smart meters. My utility company popped a smart meter on the side of my house early this past sunday morning. So this article was timely for me, thank you!
    As I read about the concerns, I wondered how concerned I should really be. The worry about criminals seems small to me. If criminals are determined to target my home, and can get past the security system and the dogs, well, i guess that’s what insurance is for?

    Additionally, we as a family go nuts trying to conserve and use as little electricity as possible. Perhaps a better understanding of our usage would lead to better usage and some (oh please) savings on my utility bill?
    I have no plans for any kind of grow operation either. So what am i missing? I have a ton of other stuff to worry about. Should this be on my list? I even wonder if my utility co would allow me to have it removed at this point?

    1. Eureka Springs

      Months after our electric “co-op” hired out of state guys who all looked like former Green Bay Packer linebackers to install smart meters they asked for and received a 9 percent rate hike. The new meters, btw, were paid for with stimulus money. Now the “co-op” is building a large windowless structure near the main office for which they will tell no one what it’s for. (my guess is faceborg/Axiom like servers)

      Me and my blender have nothing to hide, but it is clear to me my blue tooth blender or refrigerator in this day and age should be considered a part of “papers and effects” especially inside my home. The utility company is not trying to save you energy/money anymore than they should have NSA powers to know your every watt usage.

      Those smart meters should have been solar panels and insulation or low watt bulbs.

      1. E. Gerry Spaulding

        After they do the solar and efficiency and bulbs and renewables, the smart meters will tell your co-op exactly who is out of power the next time one of those micro-bursts pass through the valley, getting everyone back online and typing as quick as can be done.
        They do provide some margial benfits to both the co-op(utility) and the membership(consumer).
        Be concerned as always.
        But it’s an electric co-op. Doesn’t get any better than that.
        Ask your Director or Trustees about the meters. You have a right to know, and you have a vote.
        Have the Cooperative Research Network at NRECA investigate these issues directly.
        It may be an added layer of expense for the membership, but adding security to the data and getting health concerns addressed is what the cooperative movement should be all about.
        It’s YOUR electric co-op.

    2. firstname lastinitial

      Your real worry is the criminals of FBI, DEA, and the police. The next time you accidentally piss off some government parasite, the meters will help the SWAT team catch you in the shower or when you go to sleep. The government will load them with all kinds of surveillance devices, just like they did to your phone, in case they want to blackmail the wife and kids.

    3. Expat

      Smart meters are like genetically modified crops in the sense that the technolgy benefits businessmen but they have to get it past regulators and, unless businessmen can stop it, past the public.

      Smart meters are designed to address a huge design flaw in behemoth power plants: the fact that the plants over-produce power during the night. Since US politicians sent American manufacturing jobs overseas, there are no longer enough customers for this power. An electron produced but unpaid for is lost profit.

      With smart meters, utilities can force ordinary people to pay for this business error. What needs to be done is an honest assesment of utility capabilities and demand. Renewables, which are smaller, more easily situated and more flexible, may obviate the “need” for smart meters in most areas.

      Since businessmen, entrepreneurs and the regulators they own are inherently dishonest, it’s unlikely that anything will be done to address this issue in a way that benefits the public.

      However, because, like most products peddled by American businessmen, smart meters lower the quality of life for consumers, perhaps health and privacy concerns can shame politicians into modifying this attempt by the electricity industry to inflate their profits.

      1. nick b

        Be assured I will be watching the utility bill closely.
        My ultimate plan, limited only by funds, is to use geothermal and solar to remove us as much as possible from the grid. My state is not great on promoting alt energy through government subsidy. I’m hoping through vision, or necessity, this will change.
        Thanks for some perspective on this.

        1. jrs

          Some may be better than others, but I get the feeling NO states are actually good at promoting alternative energy (at least in terms of installing your own solar). California has a reputation of being good and giving a lot of breaks, but I hear it’s still really not, that it still in many ways discourages this.

      2. Smelton Fisk

        These are guys are the ‘Smartest Guys in The Room’, as the movie title went. Remember, these traders were laughing about people losing power. The same thing happened at Fannie Mae, people laughing at people losing their homes, although I don’t think that was in a movie yet. Who knows, in each case they could have been laughing with, and not at, the losers needed to make the scheme profitable. Some of the worst IT jobs in the world are at major utility companies, management is there to write checks to IBM, Oracle, software companies that tailor product, etc. The in house abuse of the actual workers is brutal, perfect for the class A sociopath.

      3. Ed S.

        Had the PG&E “SmartMeter” installed about 18 months ago — noted an immediate and dramatic increase in electric costs.

        Biggest surprise — tiered pricing based on usage over the course of a month. Neat trick — if it’s cold (or hot) the first 10 days of the month, you get put into a higher “tier” for the balance of the month. And the tiers are dramatically different — as I recall something like 4x from bottom to top.

        Sweet deal — for PG&E

        1. diane

          I was lucky enough to be home when they installed them where I live, so I still have an analog meter; unfortunately, all my neighbors weren’t home, and their meters are on the other side of one of my walls.

          I called the California PUC to bitch about both the required payment of $75 to ‘reinstall’ an analog meter, even though there was no reinstallation, and the permanent monthly fee for not having a smart meter – the response was pretty much: tough shit.

          The PUC lackey also told me that the Smart Meter Installation forcing (without even asking tenants and residents) came down from DC (and yes, to my recollect Stimulus funds were used for one time temp installation workers although thousands and thousands of meter readers will ultimately lose their shirts across the country).

          Then there is a whole large and hidden story about those companies ([Robber Baron] Oracle, being one of them, in Maryland, I believe) involved with the devices.

          1. diane

            A few smart meter links:


   Articles cover more than just Maryland.

            06/21/13 When ‘Smart’ Meters Kill: The Story of Larry Nikkel — Details Emerge of Vacaville, CA Smart Meter Fire Death

            03/09/12 A Primer on FCC Guidelines for the Smart Meter Age

            09/06/10 Consumers Resist Smart Meters After $3.4 Billion Stimulus Push

            09/20/10 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. teams with Accenture, Oracle for Maryland smart meter project

            (As to [Robber Baron] Oracle, as it turns out, looks like Oracle is involved, from early on, all across the country, not just Maryland, including California’s PG&E:

            01/22/08 Pacific Gas and Electric Company Relies on Oracle to Power Nation’s Largest Smart Meter Initiative

            Tampa, Fla., Jan. 22, 2008 – DISTRIBUTECH — Oracle announced that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is using Oracle® Utilities Customer Care and Billing on an Oracle enterprise grid to power the largest smart meter initiative in the United States to date, helping businesses and households become more energy-efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

            That Oracle/PG&E connection did not show up when I did extensive searching during the time the meters were being installed in the California North Bay Area, I would have definitely made note of it.)

  8. Z

    I just thought of an excellent way for us subjects to ridicule and taunt our rulers: wear Edward Snowden masks!

    Cause we are all Edward Snowdens now …


    1. Bruno Marr

      …that just might give them the opportunity to arrest you for “interfering with Justice”.

  9. Herman Sniffles

    Oh my god, 30 year fixed mortgage rates at 4%! It’s the end, folks! Hang on tight my friends, this 747 is going down nose first in a ball of flames! Geesh, I remember in 1979 (or thereabouts) I was selling real estate in Davis, California. Interest rates were at about 7% and $60,000 houses “across the railroad tracks” (where people who work at the university simply won’t live – at least not faculty) were going up about $1000 a month. Every time interest rates went up a half a percent there arose a cacophony of shouts and screams “It’s going to crash!” “Sell your house NOW!” But of course it didn’t crash, and now those same houses are pushing half a mil; and of course somebody else owns mine. And I must admit that a year later when rates hit 10 1/2% the real estate market sure as heck did slow down a lot. It was actually like somebody flipped off a light switch, suddenly the market just turned off. But it didn’t crash, it just leveled out for a few years (so I bought a commercial fishing boat with the proceeds from selling my house and discovered a whole new – but exciting – way to go broke). And with a few very rare exceptions that’s what housing does in America. It goes up in fits and starts, and then it levels off. In the 60’s house prices just sat flat for years and years. I remember my parents talking about it (Hey, shutup in there! We’re watching Leave it to Beaver!). So what’s more likely now, another 100 year crisis or a continued rising market as interest rates slowly ratchet up over the next few years? When was the last times 30 year money SURGED wildly up to the ungodly and unheard-of rate of 4%? Well, how about 1958. And of course that was just a terrible time to buy. That’s when my parents gradjitated from Stanford and bought their first house in Menlo Park for $9,000. Boy am I glad they sold it for $11,000 and moved to the valley! Call me when rates hit 10 1/2%.

    1. Bruno Marr

      Well, 1960’s aren’t the Oughts. And University towns (Palo Alto, Davis) aren’t Anywhere, USA. And if you think the foreseeable future is the same as the past, then I’ve got a bridge to sell.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Herman, real estate is about location, location, location.

      The best locations are NSA-free neighborhoods.

      Do you have any available there?

    3. Ed S.


      1) Past performance is no guarantee of future results
      2) Substitute Dayton and Flint for Menlo Park and Palo Alto and rerun your calculation.

    1. Z

      He’s probably waiting for his asylum to be granted from Ecuador. I sure hope he gets it there …. or some other country with an ounce of integrity and a sense of justice.


      1. Jessica

        I am sure there are plenty of nations with both the integrity and the sense of justice. The problem is that they have to weigh the cost to their own people of pissing off the Hegemon and its Noble Peace Prize winning drone-wielding president.
        I too hope that some nation gives him asylum soon.

  10. Jagger

    What is the solution to this privacy business? Clearly corporations and governments are converting information into dollars and/or power. Who owns this information, the individual or the organization? If the individual, should the individual have the right to either sell the information or keep the information private?

    Do we have a Plato or Aristocle to solve this problem? Of course even when we have obvious solutions, how do we get those with power to implement when it isn’t in the best interests of those with power?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What can you do about being spied on by your smartphone?

      Are you being outsmarted by your smartphone?

      Are you being outsmarted by your smartcar?

      Are you being outsmarted by your smartrobot?

      Are you being outsmarted by your smartgirlfriend?

      What is that saying – light chasing light doth the light of light deceived?

      Maybe we stop relate to others on a smart-basis; maybe we throw away our unconscious smart-totem-pole and stop trying to climb it.

      Perhaps that would wise-smart, instead of unwise-smart.

      Still, with such low levels of smartness and wisdom we humans are given to work with, we have confront the truth – the human world consists of

      1. sincere fools
      2. insincere fools.

      Sincere fools are the ones who believer the human world is divided into sincere and insincere fools; insincere fools do not believe or are ignorant of it.

      1. Massinissa

        Totally need one of those SmartGirlfriends. If the government wants to watch me in bed, they can be my guest ;D

        As long as they dont watch me anywhere else, anyway. A man needs to have some privacy sometimes!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I know what you mean about SmartGirlFriends.

          But many of us are not worthy though, besides being outsmarted eventually, if not sooner than that…much sooner.

        1. diane

          Smart devices just like that megalomaniac, Petraeus, slobbered over last year at an In-Q-Tel [of Sly Con Valley, California] summit.

          03/15/12 CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher

          “Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Petraeus said, “the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.”

          And while smart meters weren’t directly mentioned in that wired piece (though alluded to, re the article’s smart home link), I’ll bet they were a core part of it, especially with Oracle (emanated from CIA beginnings) involved at such an early stage. While Oracle office software is so shitty that apparently Oracle wouldn’t use some of it (heard that from an ex Oracle employee), the Oracle ‘masterpiece’ is the data basing.

  11. from Mexico

    Some folks may be interested in what is being said in Latin America regarding Snowden, since it gives a different viewpoint than that being proselyzed by the MSM in the United States.

    Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa said yesterday that “we will analzye the Snowden case with utmost responsibility” and will make what we believe to be the best decision with “absolute sovereignty.”

    The Ecuadorian offical Ricardo Patiño held a press conference yesterday in Hanoi in which he said that the United States had refused numerous times to extradite fugitives back to Ecuador. “The United States has exercised its sovereignty and refused the extradition of numerous persons accused of felonies. There are cases in Ecuador linked with bank fraud. We are respectful of the sovereignty of other countries, and hope the US respects the sovereignty of Ecuador,” said Patiño.

    Another article charges that the US government, without the minimum of scruples, gives protection to Ecuadorian citizens charged with crimes, including ex-president Jamil Mahuad Witt (charged with fraud and savage political repression), bank fraudsters Roberto y Willian Isaías Dassum (charged with defrauding the Ecuadorian people of $264 million), and ex-Director of intelligence for the Ecuadorian army and undercover agent for the CIA, Mario Raúl Pazmiño.

    Juan Carlos Donoso and Mauro Cerbino, two prominent academics in Ecuador, have also gone on the record urging the Ecuadorian government to grant political asylum to Snowden. Asylum for Snowden, they argue, is more justified than what asylum for Assange was.

    1. Bruno Marr

      In the end, Snowden’s asylum may be ephemeral. At some point he may be given up for a bigger “fish of the Day”.

  12. diane

    Re Economic Populist’s linked 05/30/13 piece The Great U.S. Worker Sell Out Through Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

    The Senate Judiciary Committee vote makes it clear. Democrats will throw American labor to the globalization labor arbitrage wolves at a glance. The vote was 13 to five and all Democrats voted to labor arbitrage American workers with nary a nod to labor economic facts, along with three Republicans, Hatch, Graham and Jeff Flake. Strange but true that the party of labor loves to wrap global labor arbitrage, outsourcing and U.S. worker displacement in an immigration framework to hid what they are in fact doing. If you ask one Democratic Senator how many jobs there are in tech and how many foreign workers they approved each year to be brought in, not one will admit they add more foreign workers than there are new jobs.

    Yep, it went from full DemRat approval in that Senate Judiciary Committee, one month ago, to full DemRat approval in the entire Senate, yesterday:

    06/24/13 Is Probably Going To Win Its Immigration Fight

    Just in regarding that fat immigration reform bill: a preliminary vote in the Senate shows “15 Republicans backing the measure and no Democrats opposing it, …. Zuck (and friends), looks like you did it.

    Facebook, Google, etcetera, are a Branch of the UZ Government. Any perceptive person would get a huge whiff of this by the stunning amount of tax evasion, privacy violations, and blunt force, no explanation required blacklisting these companies have perpetrated over and over and over again. Any perceptive person would get a huge whiff of this by viewing the neighboring and historical poverty and predominately Black and Hispanic populations which surround FaceFiend Headquarters, in [East] Menlo Park, California. Any perceptive person would get a huge whiff of this by visiting the Google/Singularity/Moffet Field/NASA/Peter Thiel/Palantir/CMU[ AI] Extension/etcetera “Park” just off of highway 101, in Mountain View, California.

    And there is no ultimate difference between the Republican and Democrat parties, both have betrayed – and are stunningly punitive and vicious against – those they’ve sworn to serve, if that isn’t treasonous, I don’t know what is. Whichever few well intended remain, if there are any remaining congress persons who actually care to do the right thing, need to perhaps start their own ‘third party.’

    1. jrs

      The tech companies get cheap skilled labor, in return they pay off the government with our personal data. All unfair trade certified, what’s to complain about?

    2. jrs

      seriously though, they have told all the young to go into STEM fields (don’t be “stupid” and get a “useless” liberal arts degree – go into STEM to get ahead like all the “disciplined” “smart” people do), and meanwhile they are outsourcing the jobs. Time for tech people to start retraining yesterday?

        1. hunkerdown

          I thought “insourcing” was the game of hiring *citizens* at discount prices now that their expectations have been arbitraged downward and their productivity Taylorized and/or cattle-prodded upward…

    3. jrs

      Not to blame the victim too much but there is a degree in which tech workers are to blame for this. That old dinosaur union the AFL-CIO makes noises to defend them. Where are the tech unions that should be fighting these battles? Oh right they’re aren’t any!

      Because uniquely gifted STEM grands don’t need old fashioned things like unions standing up for them, that’s so passe, it’s about individual acheivement not collective bargaining. Yes well … we’ll see how that works out. Maybe at least thank the AFL-CIO when the door hits you on the way out?

      1. diane

        Oh yes, there definitely seems to be a huge anti-union emphasis among too many with their shirts comfortably on in the valley, who bite that flattering carrot in front of an ass that they are so brilliant that they don’t need the support of their fellow workers.

        I would guess though, that even if that attempt had been made, they would have been squashed trying to unionize, it would have been considered near as unacceptable as unionizing legal, finance, or accounting employees, how would the powers that be enforce those life sucking 90 hour weeks before tossing out their remains under the bus.

        I’ve heard that in the corporate finance and accounting departments, one doesn’t dare discuss not voting for Rethuglican ‘ideals,’ or the concept of paying a fair share of taxes; so one could imagine what sort of punishment using the U word might solicit. Since there is such a predominant Libertarian (in the Ayn Rand sense of the word) ‘ethic’ amongst the Tech Oligarchs in the valley, I imagine they hold the same studded whip over their tech workers, as to unionizing.

  13. from Mexico

    And when I was in Bolivia a few months ago, practically everyone was bending my ear, expressing their outrage over the US’s refusal to extradite ex-president Gonzalo Sánchez de Losada, accused of crimes against humanity and the murder of 67 persons in October, 2003.

    The military chiefs responsible for the massacre have already been sentenced to anywhere between 10 and 15 years in prison.

    The US rejected the request for extradition, arguing that a civil authority, in this case Gonzalo Sánchez de Losada, cannot be held responsible for decisions made by military personnel.

    “Do you think the US government is going to return felons accused of crimes against humanity? Impossible,” Bolivian president Evo Morales said. “It is not possible to dignify a letter, a note from the United States,” he continued, “that the civil government cannot be held responsible for the actions of the military.” Morales charged that the United states had been converted into “a refuge for criminals” and “a paradise of impunity.”

    1. Massinissa

      Ah, the extraordinary hubris of american exceptionalism.

      Apparently, rules are only for the ruled, and not for the rulers, like the American Empire.

    2. from Mexico

      The Brazilian news agency Agencia Brasil is reporting that the Government of Ecuador has confirmed that it will grant asylum to Snowden:

      Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador’s minister of Exterior Relations, said “The man who tried to give transparency to facts that affect everyone is being persecuted by those who should have to explain those facts to governments and citizens,” according to the report.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Ecuador – the tiny mouse that roars.

        Meanwhile, the sleeping communist lion in China appears to be in a coma…

        How can they say they aspire to lead the non-aligned nations?

        1. Massinissa

          About the same way the USSR did even though they had a bunch of east european colonies.

          Though at least the USSR had some balls, yeah?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I still think China looks worse off than the US, for those who had previously thought they could look to the former for leadership. They, meaning, a lot of people in the developing countries.

          2. Massinissa

            Every CCP member since Deng Xiaoping has pretty much been an ideological clone of him.

            What was it he said? “To be rich is glorious”? That sort of exemplifies the mentality of the modern chinese elite, or the worlds elite for that matter.

          3. hunkerdown

            MLTPB, there is a difference between a culture that values face and one that values boots in faces. One is going to use soft power to a much greater extent than the other.

      2. from Mexico

        I did a search and can’t find any other news agencies reporting that Ecuador has granted Snowden asylum.

        So I don’t know quite what to make of this report.

  14. barrisj

    The Supremes – in the usual 5-4 split – gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by striking down the Sect. 4 clause which called out individual states for egregious denial of voting rights to minority citizens. Roberts et al now call on Congress to “update” the list, stating that all those states on the “bad-guy” list now have markedly improved access to the ballot for their citizens, and no Federal protection is needed any longer. Which in fact invites those states to reconsider “voter fraud” laws that would de facto disenfranchise minority citizens once again. The Roberts Court continues to turn a blind eye to any legislation – state or federal – that tries to mitigate or reverse decades of race-based discrimination, virtually declaring there is no such thing as racism which can be corrected by law. “Race-neutral” in fact and in deed is denial of race-based practices, past or present.
    Here is a summary of their decision:

    Supreme Court limits key part of Voting Rights Act
    Ruling from deeply divided court will free mostly Southern states from seeking federal preclearance for voting changes, or require Congress to intervene

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have a couple of questions for the Supreme Court.

      If the system is designed so that banks should be saved first before the 99.99%, does that violate the equal protection clause?

      And if the preferred method of saving the banksters is by putting the burden on the backs of savers, is that discriminatory or is that cruel and unusual punishment?

    2. barrisj

      And, what’s worse – as other commentors have pointed out – The Roberts Court is bloody-minded about ignoring various post-Civil War Reconstruction Acts, the 13th Amendment, and the 15th Amendment, all enacted for specifically righting wrongs or preventing further wrongs based upon racial bias and the colour of a citizen’s skin. Another shameful decision by this narrow-minded, spiteful Court. And full marks to Justice Ginsburg for her heroic dissent, which totally excoriated the majority. Read excerpts here:

      The Best Lines From Ginsburg’s Dissent on the Voting Rights Act Decision
      Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a fiery dissent to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision Tuesday striking down the part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that determines which cities and states need to seek approval from the Department of Justice before changing their voting laws. The provision was designed to focus attention on areas with a history of discrimination. “Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the VRA,” Ginsburg wrote.

      Here are five key excerpts from her dissent:

      (full dissent here:

      1. diane

        What is going to be near as disgusting, is all the [Trojan Horse] Obama Bot DemRat ‘Sites’ with their faux outrage, when the reality is they never heard a Post Racism!!! Lie they didn’t fully rally behind (both, by silent, covert omission, and by loud, overt commission).

        The DemRat’s own, Unaffordable to 99%, “Techie” Snooping Wonderland {favorite stop over for billionaire DemRat contributions) in Silicon Valley, California, generally ‘sports’ around a 2.5% – 3.5% Black population (a reduction from prior years, and a feature, not a bug) compared to a national average of around 13%.

        Pretty sure tomorrow’s major antidote to the Obamabot’s faux fury though, will be found at Black Agenda Report.

      2. Expat

        The Klan in Black strikes again. Will the White House and Congress call for totally-deserved impeachment, finally? The Senate Judiciary committee should immediately announce hearings, preferably to be held throughout July and August, with the intention of impeaching the courtcritters. But I wouldn’t hold my breath….

    3. Matt Elkers

      Someone told me in 1900 that white people made up 33% of the planet, today it is only 5%, what kind of affirmative action laws do we need to pass globally so that white people are only 1%? What do you think the global population percentage of white people should be? 2%, 10%?

  15. optimader

    Physiques in a time before high fructose corn syrup

    In 2005, an 83 year-old World War II pilot is surprised to see 16mm footage of his 1944 Spitfire crash for the first time.

    SPITFIRE 944 was put on YouTube as part of the Sundance Film Festival Memorial Day observance through from May 22 through June 5, 2013 (UPDATE, ShortsHD is allowing the film to stay on youtube for the moment:) The Sundance portal is here:

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      First, they fatten you up with high fructose corn syrup.

      Then, they make money off you trying to lose weight.

      Wash, rinse and repeat.

      They get you coming and going.

      ‘You have to pay a tax to be born.’

      ‘You have to pay a tax to die!’

      People wonder whether deflation or inflation will hurt the 0.01% most.

      Well, neither. They are good at going both ways as they can move positions at luminal speed.

      And they will make money off austerity as well as under MMT.

      1. Massinissa

        Not only just those, but they will be fat and happy under pretty much ANY form of capitalism.

        The history of things like Reformism and Gradualism have been pretty disappointing.

        Not that revolutions have any better of a track record though…

      2. Charles LeSeau

        First lines, How to get Ahead in Advertising (one of my favorite movies ever)

        Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Let me try and clarify some of this for you. Best Company Supermarkets are not interested in selling wholesome foods. They are not worried about the nation’s health. What is concerning them, is that the nation appears to be getting worried about its health, and that is what’s worrying Best Co., because Best Co. wants to go on selling them what it always has, i.e. white breads, baked beans, canned foods, and that suppurating, fat squirting little heart attack traditionally known as the British sausage. So, how can we help them with that? Clearly, we are looking for a label. We need a label brimming with health, and everything from a nosh pot to a white sliced will wear one with pride. And although I’m aware of the difficulties of coming to terms with this, it must be appreciated from the beginning, that even the nosh pot must be low in something, and if it isn’t, it must be high in something else, and that is its health-giving ingredient we will sell. Which brings me to my final question: who are we trying to sell this to? Answer: we are trying to sell this to the archetypal average housewife, she who fills her basket. What you have here is a 22 year old pretty girl. What you need is taut slob, something on foot deodorisers in a brassiere.

        Larry Frisk: I, uh, I’m not quite sure we can go along with that, Mr. Bagley. I mean, if you look at, like, the market research…

        Denis Dimbleby Bagley: I don’t need to look at the market research. I’ve lived with 13 and a half million housewives for 15 years and I know everything about them. She’s 37 years old, she has 2.3 children, 1.6 of which will be girls, she uses 16 feet 6 inches of toilet tissue a week and fucks no more than 4.2 times a month. She has 7 radiators and is worried about her weight, which is why we have her on a diet, and because we have her on a diet we also encourage her to reward herself with the little treats. And she deserves them, because anyone existing on 1200 calories of artificial synthetic orange-flavoured waffle a day deserves a little treat. We know it’s naughty but you do deserve it, go on, darling, swallow a bun! And she does, and the instant she does, the guilt cuts in. So here we are again with our diet. It’s a vicious, but quite wonderful circle, and it adheres to only one rule: whatever it is, sell it. And if you want to stay in advertising, by God, you’d better learn that!

    2. AbyNormal

      your post are mostly so educational…i really appreciate it Opti. (of course the wave handler shimming you outa bed is still stuck in my head hehehehehee) lookin forward to te spitfire utube.

      1. optimader

        ..your post are mostly so educational..

        I apologize for that, I just post what strikes my fancy, hopefully there is the occasional gem in the coal!

        A segue for a hat tip to Yves and Lambert for hosting the liberal bandwidth to tolerate pretty high deflection content on the best “financial website” I’ve stumbled across.

        … Aby, here is a favorite “go to site” of mine from your home State that drills down to the basic nature of things.

        If you’re patient w/ it, a lot to learn, I use it as a reference regularly.

        1. AbyNormal

          ‘mostly so educational’…hoped that statement would tickle your right brain hemisphere. another thank you for another ‘happin’ link! (you know i grew up with ga tech in my backyard’)

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Optimader, my fellow non-TV-watcher, I have done some research, and while evidence is sketchy, I have tentatively compiled a list of historical non-TV-wathers:

      – Hittite king Mursilis
      – that yogi from the soapstone seal from Mohenjo-Daro
      – the old Sipan lord
      – George Washington
      – the guys who painted at El Castillo Cave
      – King Mu of Zhou
      – Princess Ukok
      – Haiku poet Issa
      – Augustus the Strong
      – the El Dorado zipa of the Muisca float
      – all the Venuses of Valdivia, I suspect.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There may be more.

        I sense the list is just the tip of an iceberg…a huge iceberg.

        Perhaps we non-TV-watchers are not weird…maybe we are not alone.

      2. Massinissa

        Mursili the Second was a boss. Im happy to be in any kind of list where he appears.

      3. optimader

        You forgot Aby’s original philosophical role model, Helen Keller.

        So to be clear, I do graze on digital TV, for example last night I watched:

        1/2 hr of NHK News and heard Tritium is leaking out of the Fuckushima site into the Ocean.. Gee, who woulda guessed that would happen after Tepco put the Yakusa in charge of the cleanup program??.. (I imagine CNN etal missed that fluff piece?)

        ~10 min. of Charlie Rose, (about all I could stomach of O’Donnell, Miller and Mud) and the only one not reading the talking points, Spencer Ackerman
        “..Continued coverage on the aftermath of the NSA leaks with Norah O’Donnell, co-host of CBS This Morning, John Miller of CBS News, Spencer Ackerman, National Security editor for The Guardian and Philip Mudd, former deputy director of National Security at the FBI and the Counterterrorist Center of the CIA..”

        But then I detoxed w/an episode of Nurse Jackie (from the library) before turning on a favorite radio station from Buenos Aires: Try it. (I happen to use a Slimserver and wirelessly serve to my stereo, but you can listen on a computer or “line out” from it’s soundcard or a G4 phone to your stereo.)

        Tonight I’ll watch my all time favorite detective show Maigret.

        My point is, I don’t have a fundamental philosophical issue w/ “TV” perse, but It is truly a co-opted wasteland that one has to pick and choose at one’s own discretion.

    1. Massinissa

      Its actually a pretty nice looking coat.

      And at least its not made of pubic hair from around the genitals.

      Thank god.

    2. nick b

      I hope that fur is farm raised. The idea of hairy men shot in the wild for just their fur represents a sickening and frightening development for those of us whose genetics lean toward hirsute.

      1. AbyNormal

        STOP please…what would be the season for the wild ones
        (i can hardly see the screen to type)

        1. nick b

          NO! no ‘season’. Be humane: think alpaca farm. We live around the corner from one. They always put up signs inviting all for the shearing. It’s a great family event.

  16. Smelton Fisk

    I wonder how many abused spouses, the ones with a penis, are out there? Some guys probably Stockholm syndrome the deal a bit, but man, sometimes, hell hath no fury in the other direction.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Them remind me of the US beating up on little countries like Grenada.

      Sure, part of it is to warn other countries.

      But some of it has to do with picking victims you are confident of success…thus women, children and weak nations.

      1. Massinissa

        Which is why we only pick on folks like Iraq and Libya, as opposed to nations like Iran, who, you know, could actually fight back.

    1. diane

      (Oooops, sorry! That was meant as a second posting attempt, under barrisj’s supreme court ruling post above, after the first post I made initally didn’t show up.)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Commonwealth bureaucrats at their finest! Any American who has contended with them will tell you they are the most fearsome species on the planet, with an unsurpassed ability to stymie, delay, and harass you, delivered with a cut glass accent and perfect diction.

  17. Larry

    Brazil has a history of their most revered public figures, soccer players, speaking out politically – probably the most famous being Sócrates. Compare and contrast to US athletes and the like.

    Romario: and his column at the Guardian

    Neymar, the next big thing:

    And then Pele:

    1. Frank Keys

      Fronts like Brookings can just mutter the following: more cops, roll the tanks in, or divert the poor from their “criminal” commerce. Duplicitious, doublegoodspeech. Camden, Detroit, and other Indian reservations are their for a reason, despite worthless drivel on helping them pull themselves up by their own soccer cleat straps.

  18. Hugh

    When David Gregory was NBC’s White House Correspondent during the Bush Administration, people on the web actually held out some hope for him because he would occasionally ask a real question of Bush. These were sporadic flickers of integrity at best against a backdrop of hackery. In any case, when Tim Russert, NBC’s top courtier journalist and a heart attack waiting to happen, had his inevitable heart attack and died, Gregory was in line to replace him at Meet the Press. And any pretense of journalistic integrity evaporated. Since then, Gregory has been a dutiful toady and sockpuppet to power. He is and will be nothing else.

    As for the coverage of the Snowden affair, it continues to be a highly illustrative exercise in state propaganda. It is all about the “PURSUIT!” and bringing him to JUSTICE. They even trotted out a clip of a straight faced Obama, in a memorable bit of stage acting, invoking the RULE OF LAW. Equally ridiculous was Rachel Maddow not doing any reporting but for 5 minutes asking questions each more idiotic than the last, all on the level of “And if pigs could fly, might Snowden have fled Hong Kong on one?”. Then there are the pundits who maintain breathlessly that Russia could should be pressured into “extraditing” Snowden even though the US has no extradition treaty with Russia. Or that the US was THIS close to extraditing Snowden from Hong Kong. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell aka Mrs. Allen Greenspan opined about serious consequences if Russia or China or whoever did not cough up Snowden. Maybe the US would nix a plan for a Chinese company to buy an American ham processer. Hoo, the burn! Of course, almost certainly a violation of the WTO but hey, this is war!

    About the only bit of fleeting sanity I found in this circus of noise was someone on CNN asking a pontificating Ari Fleischer demanding Snowden’s extradition from Russia what if the case were reversed and a Russian had outed Russian programs to spy on everyone worldwide, should the US extradite him/her back to Russia? After a moment of brain freeze Fleischer confidently responded that the two cases were different because, well, because.

    The closest I can come to describing what is going on is that our elites are throwing a collective tantrum. Embarrassing as it is, it is, nevertheless, a tantrum with a purpose. It is drowning out any discussion of the massive unConstitutional spying programs Bush and Obama, Democrats and Republicans, have been running against us. I expect a lot more of this because the essence of propaganda is repetition. The bigger the lie, the more it must be repeated.

    1. barrisj

      Also, it is instructive to look under the tent to see exactly how the so-called Congressional “oversight” committees do their work re: the security and spy agencies. An excellent source for information is Steven Aftergood’s Secrecy News blog, which has published this note on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Lady Di’s bailiwick. A good read:

      A Candid Look at the Senate Intelligence Committee

      Much of the continuing controversy over intelligence surveillance policy revolves around whether the sweeping collection of U.S. telephone data by intelligence agencies violates constitutional norms. But it is also an occasion to assess the quality of intelligence oversight, and to review the performance of oversight mechanisms in representing the public and defending its interests.

      So it was disappointing to read that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has blocked its former general counsel, Vicki Divoll, from speaking to Talking Points Memo (TPM) on the record about how the Committee functions.

      “TPM was reporting a story based on interviews with members of Congress and current and former aides about the successes and pitfalls of intelligence oversight on Capitol Hill,” wrote Brian Beutler of TPM DC.

      “The goal was to answer some basic questions for readers: How does a classified process differ from public oversight? What challenges do the combination of government secrecy, classified briefings, and strict committee protocols present to legislators trying to control the nation’s sprawling intelligence apparatus?”

      A Committee spokesman told TPM that this kind of information was “committee sensitive” and that therefore Ms. Divoll’s remarks on the subject should not be made public.
      In an earlier era — twenty years ago — it was still possible for a staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee to speak candidly in public about the strengths and weaknesses of intelligence oversight.

      The intelligence oversight process is constrained by size, time, personnel and secrecy, wrote Mary K. Sturtevant in 1992, when she was a Senate Intelligence Committee staffer.

      “Because of the classified nature of the programs we review, we are especially reliant on information provided by the very Community we hope to oversee,” she wrote. “We lack alternative sources of information and points of view on intelligence budget requests, as there are few constituents with legitimate access to intelligence programs who wish to bring information forward to the Committees.
      One problematic aspect of congressional oversight of intelligence that is not often addressed is the heavy, disproportionate representation of former intelligence community employees (like Ms. Sturtevant and Ms. Divoll) among the professional staff of the oversight committees.

      On one hand, this is perfectly understandable since such former intelligence employees bring much-needed subject matter expertise to the task of oversight, along with an existing security clearance. On the other hand, they may also possess a narrow, compliant perspective and a set of personal interests that limit their effectiveness, particularly if they ever hope to return to the ranks of their former employers. Meanwhile, it is hard to think of an intelligence committee staff member who joined the committee following a career devoted to civil liberties, government accountability or personal privacy.

      Congressional “oversight”: an oxymoron of the first order, surely, when discussing the covert work of the spy agencies.
      Everything is dumped into the “Confidential” or “Secret” lockbox, and that only leaves whistleblowing as the last resort for bringing hugely important issues such as NSA spying writs to public attention and airing. I’m afraid the “Snowden, Snowden, who’s got the Snowden?” sideshow has already diverted attention from where it should focus: gross overreach by NSA and its confreres in government and the – cough, cough – “private sector”.

    2. tongorad

      “I expect a lot more of this because the essence of propaganda is repetition. The bigger the lie, the more it must be repeated.”

      I reckon repetition works just fine for small lies too. Hopefully at some point we’ll turn on the corner on this moment. And then we’ll look back at what has to be the most widespread use of propaganda in human history with disgust and disdain, for both the creators and consumers of all this utter bollocks.

  19. Foppe

    Can I be the first to say WTF?

    Still, the spokesman for Mr. Corzine, Steven Goldberg, said that the trading commission’s anticipated lawsuit “is not surprising considering the political pressure to hold someone liable for the failure of MF Global,” the largest Wall Street bankruptcy since the 2008 financial crisis. Lawmakers and even some agency officials, he noted, have publicly condemned the firm.

    “Political pressure to hold someone liable for the failure of MF Global” as opposed to holding nobody responsible? Awesome persecution complex there..

    1. AbyNormal

      good catch Foppe…we can’t allow ourselves to go numb, while leaders advance American the Unaccountable.

  20. Hugh

    I agree with Massinissa above Varoufakis and Galbraith. It is the cognitive dissonance of the Establishment liberal: We need change! Therefore we should support someone else who will give us more of the same!

    I also agree with barrisj. Roberts has had it in for anti-discrimination laws since the June 28, 2007 in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 concerning segregation in schools, or the June 29, 2009 June 29, 2009, Ricci v. DeStefano (opinion by Kennedy) turning Title VII discrimination on its head, both 5-4 decisions.

    Roberts piously swore in his confirmation hearings that he would uphold stare decisis. Only a loon would have believed him then and his track record of overturning precedents speaks for itself. For the current case Shelby County (AL) v. Holder, all you really needed to know was that it involved an anti-discrimination law and Roberts wrote the opinion (yet another 5-4 decision).

    Roberts was going to hate the idea of preclearance because he thinks racism no longer exists (Hey, we have a black President!). He is also Mr. Federalist Society so when it serves his purpose he is all for putting these issues back on the states and localities. And finally he doesn’t believe in general redresses of blanket wrongs. He hides behind the notion that there most be a specific harm to a specific individual before the Court should get involved. This fits in well with kleptocracy, of course, since kleptocrats as a class wage their war against so no specifics just endless looting. In

    1. Expat

      Important point about the Federalist Society. The ALEC of the judiciary. When the dust settles and historians look at our era, will it be the Federalist Society or neoliberalism that will get called out for the impoverishment of America and the installation of the kleptocrats?

    1. mookie

      U.S. exec. Chip Starnes held hostage by factory employees in China for 5th day CBS

      “A local union official representing the workers in talks with Starnes, Chu Lixiang, said the workers were demanding the portion of their salaries yet to be paid and a “reasonable” level of compensation before leaving their jobs. Neither gave details on the amounts demanded.

      Chu said Starnes hadn’t paid the workers for two months. She said they feared the plant was closing and that he would run away without paying severance.”

  21. rich

    Secret files reveal how pay-to-play works in N.J.


    Political donations have long been the entry fee for doing business in New Jersey.

    “I don’t think it’s any secret that in one way or another, payments of money are made in order to curry favor with politicians here every day,” said Stier, the court-appointed head of Birdsall. “What you’ve seen here may be just the tip of the iceberg. And I say that because historically in New Jersey, these kinds of cases have surfaced over and over again.”

    He said the state’s investigation was “incomplete” and must turn its focus on how the political system operates.

    “It’s my hope and expectation that the Attorney General’s Office will do everything that they can to clean up the marketplace,” Stier said, including the politicians “who are getting the economic benefits of it.”

    But campaign finance experts said wrongdoing on the part of politicians can be hard to prove because they rarely create a paper trail, and then plead ignorance.

    “There is usually no smoking gun,” Schluter said. “All you need is a wink and a nod. Anybody in politics in a certain community knows who needs the money and how it’s going to get there. It’s just unspoken.”

    But pay-to-play only works with two willing dance partners, said Holman, one of the original architects of New Jersey’s law, and Birdsall would not have invested so much money in politicians unless those politicians knew why it was being given.

    1. Cynical Slack

      wow. We know it happens but it’s cool to read about it. The capo di tutti real estate/fire sector doesn’t need predestian techniques, having purchased access well in advance.

  22. EmilianoZ

    Ellen Barry, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Moscow Bureau Chief of the NYT, about Snowden in Moscow:

    If Snowden’s been at Sheremetyevo all this time but FSB did not approach, it’s like a hungry man looking at a hamburger and not touching it

  23. AbyNormal

    new Frontline tonight 10e

    Rape in the Fields: A report on sex assaults and rapes experienced by maigrant women who work in the fields and packing plants.

    “Now, should we treat women as independent agents, responsible for themselves? Of course. But being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them.”
    J. Valenti, The Purity Myth

  24. AbyNormal

    Researchers at North Carolina State University have taken the first step toward creating an army of unstoppable cyborg cockAroaches.
    the team hopes to eventually be able to use remote-controlled cockroaches to search for survivors in dangerous situations like collapsed buildings.

    perfect…lets get this done and turn a battalion lose on bankers, financiers & politicians

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