Links 6/28/13

We had a mess yesterday in the Links 6/27 comments section but the problem (keep your fingers crossed) seems to be limited to that post. My astrologically-minded buddies say Mercury just went retrograde, so blame it on the stars.

Chinese Tourist Finds And Returns A Bag Of Diamonds Worth $32 Million (May S)

US charges Sinovel with trade secret theft Financial Times. OMG, alleged IP theft is now “attempted corporate homicide”? So why isn’t servicers stealing people’s homes “attempted murder” too? Well, some animals are clearly more equal than others. See also the press release.

China’s Sinovel Indicted in the United States for Stealing AMSC Trade Secrets NADAQ. Lambert points out LONG list of Democratic party “supporters”.

China Bad-Loan Alarm Sounded by Record Bank Spread Jump Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Restricted web access to The Guardian is Armywide, officials say Monterey Herald (1 SK)

Ecuador Scraps Trade Pact Over U.S. Threats in Snowden Case Bloomberg (martha r)

Hong Kong lawmakers blast US request for Snowden arrest as ‘sloppy’ South China Morning Post (martha r)

Who stays off the data radar? mathbabe. I have one buddy who was conscientious about it even back in the mid-2000s: paid for everything, even his electrical bill (which he managed to set up in a name pretty different than his own, think John Jones being billed as James Joyce) in cash; had clients buy all his tickets, very late to get a cell and then got a prepaid, never never shopped on line, used coffee shops with free WiFi only for years (finally did break down and get DSL but he paid that in cash and I’d bet he had his phone set up in a name-variant too).

Believe it or not, China likely allowed Snowden’s exit as a favor to the U.S. Washington Post

BREAKING: CIA Admits to SSCI Millions of Its Official Records Are Badly Inaccurate Marcy Wheeler

Web pioneer Berners-Lee accuses West of hypocrisy over internet spying and insists internet freedom must be safeguarded Daily Mail (May S)

Former US general James Cartwright named in Stuxnet leak inquiry Guardian (Chuck L)

Condi’s Anthem, SCOTUS Edition cocktailhag, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Here’s How Texas Republicans Will Crush the Wendy Davis Abortion Filibuster Mother Jones

The most unfortunate anti-gay logo and slogan in the history of politics AmerciaBlog

City settles Occupy ‘sucker punch’ case Newsday. Hhm, $55,000 for an unprovoked sucker punching that led to unconsciousness (research is showing more and more that head injuries that severe leave lasting neurological damage) but $75,000 for being arrested and put in jail overnight for dancing on a subway platform?

Thou Shalt Not Speak Its Name: California Man Barred From Mentioned the First Amendment or Free Speech in Trial Over Protest In Front of Bank of America Jonathan Turley (Chuck L). Consternation over this in comments yesterday, but so shameful as to warrant more opprobrium.

Rubbish tips: How NY threw book at two garbage men Financial Times. More tinpot tyranny.

America Is Raising A Generation Of Kids Who Can’t Think Or Write Clearly Clusterstock (May S). Finally, a long-overdue recognition of the downside of demonizing the humanities.

Public Research for Private Gain East Bay Express (Martin L). Ugh.

Fiscal Drag and 2013Q1 Growth EconBrowser

Runaway CEO Pay Gets a Free Pass Other Words

This Startup Wants Your Teen Child for Unpaid Labor ValleyWag (diane)

Secrets and Lies Golem XIV (rich)

How low can gold go? FTAlphaville. This is all technical trading stuff which works until it doesn’t. My very unscientific finger in the air answer: the recent low in gold was during the crisis, IIRC around $670. If you use a CPI based inflation calculator, that’s around $725-$730 in current dollars. And remember, the question is “can” not “will” so this is not a forecast!

Mega bank rejects AIG bid to reopen MBS settlement Reuters

White House Makes Shortlist for Bernanke’s Job Wall Street Journal. Warning: most of the names on the list are pretty horrifying.

U.S. Suit Accuses Corzine of a Failure at the Helm New York Times and Corzine Charged in MF Global Collapse Wall Street Journal. The suit makes the issue that freaked investors out, the failure to segregate funds, its centerpiece.

Antidote du jour:


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  1. from Mexico

    @ “Restricted web access to The Guardian is Armywide, officials say”

    The article reports:

    Sources at the Presidio said Jose Campos, the post’s information assurance security officer, sent an email to employees early Thursday saying The Guardian’s website was blocked by Army Cyber Command “in order to prevent an unauthorized disclosure of classified information.”

    This is tantamount to believing that by pissing in the ocean, one can influence the level of the ocean.

    No reality and no common sense can penetrate the minds of these control freaks, or disabuse them of their delusions of grandeur.

      1. from Mexico

        I think you attribute more sanity to these people than what exists. The emperor really is naked.

        Beyond the conviction that they can control the flow of information and thus control what people believe lays an even greater delusion, and that is that if they can control what people believe they can control reality itself.

        1. Inverness

          Whether or not they believe they can control such a flow of information, this is a huge gift to private contractors like Booz Allen, who care a lot more about profits than anything else. Don’t forget, so much of our intelligence is getting outsourced, these days.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      “Control Freaks” is a kind assessment.

      Call them what they are Sociopathic Narcissists, and the top layers of our government, Military, CIA, NSA, and corporate culture are riddled with them, because they always gravitate to power, and they are ruthless in pursuing it.

      “Criminal Scumbags” would also be more accurate than “control freaks.”

      1. from Mexico

        Pathology is indeed one way to explain violent, beligerent, aggressive, and controlling behavior that appears to be not just unadaptive, but self-destructive as well. But where does this behavior come from? The materialists have a hard time explaing its origins and existence. As Reinhold Niebuhr pointed out:

        The false abstraction of “economic man” remains a permanent defect in all bourgeois-liberal ideology… It understands neither the traditional ethnic and cultural loyalties which qualify a consistent economic rationalism; nor the deep and complex motives in the human psyche which express themselves in the desire for “power and glory.” All the conflicts in human society involving passions and ambitions, hatreds and loves, envies and ideals not recorded in the market place, are beyond the comprehension of the typical bourgeois ethos.
        –REINHOLD NIEBUHR, The Irony of American History

  2. Inverness

    Re: kids that can’t write. Well, neither can many adults. This is beyond diminishing humanities programs, which is just a symptom of a vast cultural problem of purging intellectuals (McCarthyism, etc). American culture has a numbing effect, and has historically been interested in quick solutions.

    This has been going on for decades, and a good resource is “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” by Richard Hofstadter. The roots of this issue run deep, and simply blaming teachers or cuts to philosophy departments doesn’t get to the root.

    There is little depth in the public sphere. Instead of patiently exploring themes and ideas, they are dismissed in the blogosphere and on TV news with a quick quip or a clever put-down. Why wouldn’t our writing reflect that?

    Also, there’s the toxic effect of the latest new thing in the classroom, which leads to great contracts for Apple and Microsoft, and exaggerated claims about their classroom effectiveness. This, too, has historical context. The general population has always been turned on by fads in learning. In the 50’s, there was a serious discussion about how TV could replace actual instructors. Now, it’s online learning, as if real human beings can be so easily replaced. Profits before learning, always.

    Technology is pushed in schools, as if laptops, smartboards and ipads are magic wands. They can be helpful tools, but there is little space for people to think beyond sound bites. Try getting kids to focus on note-taking and essay writing on their personal computers, when facebook is just a click away. Who could blame them?

    In classrooms (including college ones), laptops mean that students are social networking while they could be paying attention and sustaining thought, and pursuing genuine ideas. So, that fragmentation of the American mind has just sped up exponentially.

    1. Leviathan

      I have two teenage boys. The amount of research and writing they do for school is very limited, but it is exceedingly precise. They attend an excellent public school in Chicago’s suburbs, so I can’t say about the general high school. In my opinion, they would be better off writing more in a less programmatic way. They really need to get those muscles built up. However, if you are not going to give students the amount of writing they need (because teachers don’t want to read/grade it) then at least teach them the proper technique. This they do, but it requires highly skilled teachers who are no doubt in short supply and command 6-figure salaries when available. There is no other way. Writing is very labor intensive, and teaching it is doubly so.

      1. Inverness

        I disagree that teaching writing is so labor-intensive, nor there is such a shortage of good teachers. More attention could be directed towards the teaching of writing, but there is a lot of fluff, related to standardized testing that instructors must wade through.

        Successful students usually have parents who promote learning and culture at home. This is an issue of economic justice.

        Of course, we rarely focus on what goes on at home, yet home life and economic status are huge determinants! Teachers cannot rectify whether or not students have a safe, quiet place to do their homework, nor a home which has the economic security to promote learning over mere survival. These are much higher predictors of academic success than teacher quality, an argument that has been pushed by the teacher reform movement.

        Finally, I’m surprised I’ve met so many talented teachers, considering the degrading conditions under which we’ve had to work with — test scores published in the LA Times, union-busting, teaching to the test, and a curriculum laden with Common Core newspeak babble.

      2. Ned Ludd

        “However, if you are not going to give students the amount of writing they need (because teachers don’t want to read/grade it)…”

        If a teacher assigns a paper to 50 students (two classes of 25 students); and spends just ten minutes reading, commenting on, and marking up each paper; that is over eight hours of work to grade just one assignment. My sister left teaching partly because she felt she could not do her job well, given the increasing number of students assigned to her classes.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Only if you a are poor man.

            For anyone in the 0.01%, the siesta is still good as money is still being made when he/she (xy) naps.

    2. David Lentini

      I agree wholeheartedly, Inverness. Hofstadter is a great author to start with. I also recommend the writings of Mortimer J. Adler, especially his How to Read a Book, which, in the editions published before 1972, includes an extensive discussion of the limited education in reading in American schools.

      Much of this mess can be laid at the feet of the original education reformers of the late-19th Century, who forced public schooling into a Taylorist business model to produce compliant workers. These groups inagurated a technology-driven educational model that we’ve been stuck with for a century now. Diane Ravitch’s book Left Back and Raymond Callahan’s Education and the Cult of Efficiency give excellent overviews of the history of this debacle.

      At the college and graduate level, the upheavals in the ’60s and ’70s and the change in undergraduate attitudes are well described by Alan Bloom (The Closing of the American Mind). But Bloom’s comments are largely anticipated by Adler (above), and Robert Maynard Hutchins, who, as the president of the University of Chicago from 1929–1950, tried to create a far more integrated intellectual euducation for the undergraduates. The “Common Core” that I took as an undergraduate there from 1981–1985 is but a pale gesture to Hutchins’s and Adler’s failed attempt at reform.

      Having looked at his problem for many years now, I’ve come to understand that Amerian society is, as Hofstadter argues, anti-intellectual at its heart. This problem exists across the entire political spectrum from Right to Left. Americans (broadly speaking) are too wedded to religion and miraculous thinking, too worried about using education as a means of social indoctrination, and too obsessed with wealth, to create a society that values real intellectual development and achievement.

      We’ve had periods where these influences have waned; hopefully when the current “greed is good” culture has collapsed we’ll get another chance. Until then, my wife and I plan to send our kid to Montessori and then home-school using the classics. Anyone interested can check out the “Report of the Committee of 10” and Adler’s Paideia programs to get an idea of our own vision.

      1. Inverness

        I think you are making a sound decision. Schools have been adopting an aggressively corporate stance, and there is little room for teacher creativity. No, the new educational stance drips with contempt for teaching professionals. You simply follow the packaged reading and writing programs, and the supervisor ticks off whether you connected the dots. Principals needn’t have any teaching experience, nor study of educ. theory. They can simply graduate from academies.

        I’ve met student teachers who are now trained in graduate school to create multiple choice assessments which look like state assessments. Just copy and paste questions from past exams, and add an essay (the only aspect worthy of being graded).

        As far as the great books — in high schools across the country which have adopted the Common Core standards, only 30 percent of the literature in English classrooms will be fiction, because non-fiction is deemed more useful. Poetry, novels…who needs them, when you’re getting them ready for Wal-mart?

        1. David Lentini

          Oh, I don’t I know it! My wife teaches middele school, and I’m on the local school board. I also follow Diane Ravitch’s ‘blog. Our entire culture is under assault from corporations.

      2. Bruno Marr

        I’m in general agreement with your penultimate paragraph: America being anti-intellectual. However, it doesn’t apply to folks who see through the veil of celebrity worship, buying things versus being something, etc. American university are, currently, the best in the world. (Although many of the “best and brightest” are foreign born.)

        I do a lot of research in a college library where I see Oriental students ALL semester long and American students during Mid-Term and Finals, mostly. Part of this is because the Oriental’s are here on student visa’s, which don’t allow them to work off campus, while the American students are busy working jobs to keep their student loans to a minimum.

        My point: America has created a culture that minimizes educational opportunity, marginalizes educators, and skews the remuneration of educational skill/training. (A Wall Street Cheat can make more money than a highly trained Cardiologist.) We have a culture that gives advantage to Three Card Monte

      3. ambrit;

        Mr. Lentini;
        Stick to your decision about your childrens home schooling. We had to do similarly in the ’80s with our three children. Montessori is pretty good, but was too expensive for a crypto-hippy family back then. We dredged up our own curriculum and did fairly well. (Old New York State textbooks were quite good. Don’t ask me how they ended up in the swamps of Louisiana. I don’t know.) Be warned though, this is a labor intensive task. Getting the kids interested enough to self motivate is the hard part. Some things will never be interesting to young people, others ‘sell themselves.’ Once you get them going though, just get out of the way. Our Claire loves language. She would spend an entire day going over english and literature if we let her. We had to impose some limits, as in mandating a certain amount of time for other subjects. The best part is, for better and worse, you and your children will understand each other. Happy trails!

        1. David Lentini

          Thanks, Ambrit. My ace in the hole is being married to a certified teacher who not only also taught Montessori but also was a happy Montessori student. That being said, that will our pre-K and kindergarten education; after that it’s home and the classics.

        2. Klassy!

          Some things will never be interesting to young people, others ‘sell themselves.
          God, the school “reformers” need to hear this lesson. The whole idea that a teacher should be able to keep a child “highly engaged” at all times drives me crazy.
          And, really, how can someone be “highly engaged” at all times. It’s like everyone being above average.

      4. Max

        I went to a very highly respected engineering school for undergrad that gets a lot of funding from industry for labs and materials and such. One time while I was in my senior lab I overheard another student complaining about the upper division English course we were required to take. He was reading Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” and didn’t understand why we had to read a book “about a guy that turns into a bug. Why would I want to read about a fucking bug? I came here to learn how to do shit.”

        Completely unrelated fact: 1/3 of the electrical engineering graduates at my school end up working for the defense industry.

      5. Paul Niemi

        And I agree with you, David. Now we have persons declaring the Humanities dead, and that is puerile. By the way, I was also an undergraduate there from 1980 to 1984.

          1. Paul Niemi

            Burton-Judson, Mead House, but I remember the flood at the Shoreland, when someone dropped a typewriter down a ventilator shaft.

    3. Garrett Pace

      Concomitant with writing ability is purpose – a goal, a desire to express something.

      If grade-seeking hoop-jumping and technical description are the only goals of writing, it’s a small wonder that writing is done poorly and without enthusiasm. What’s the incentive to do it well?

      People don’t develop skills unless they have a vision about how they are used. Until there’s something you want to write well, you will not bother to learn to.

  3. Inverness

    Re: kids that can’t write. Well, neither can many adults. This is beyond diminishing humanities programs, which is just a symptom of a vast cultural problem of purging intellectuals (McCarthyism, etc), quick-fixes, and a mistrust of the life of the mind. American culture has a numbing effect, and has historically been interested in quick solutions.

    This has been going on for decades, and a good resource is “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” by Richard Hofstadter. The roots of this issue run deep, and simply blaming teachers or cuts to philosophy departments doesn’t get to the root.

    There is little depth in the public sphere. Instead of patiently exploring themes and ideas, they are dismissed in the blogosphere and on TV news with a quick quip or a clever put-down. Why wouldn’t our writing reflect that?

    Also, there’s the toxic effect of the latest new thing in the classroom, which leads to great contracts for Apple and Microsoft, and exaggerated claims about their classroom effectiveness. This, too, has historical context. The general population has always been turned on by fads in learning. In the 50’s, there was a serious discussion about how TV could replace actual instructors. Now, it’s online learning, as if real human beings can be so easily replaced. Profits before learning, always.

    Technology is pushed in schools, as if laptops, smartboards and ipads are magic wands. They can be helpful tools, but there is little space for people to think beyond sound bites. Try getting kids to focus on note-taking and essay writing on their personal computers, when facebook is just a click away. Who could blame them?

    In classrooms (including college ones), laptops mean that students are social networking while they could be paying attention and sustaining thought, and pursuing genuine ideas. So, that fragmentation of the American mind has just sped up exponentially.

  4. Massinissa

    Re: College grads cant write

    I dont really care for the premise that kids cant write because of inadequate college level liberal arts funding.

    Clearly the problem is more based on middle and high school de-funding. I dislike the excessive concentration on STEM as much as anyone, but lets put the blame where it deserves here. Folks should be taught to write in middle and high school more than college.

    1. Massinissa

      That should have been Re: College Students cant write, but the difference is minimal I suppose

    2. diptherio

      Agreed. If you can’t construct a readable essay by the time you get to college, it’s just about too late. I was shocked by how poor the writing skills of my classmates were in college.

      My state university implemented a writing assessment requirement for graduation about half-way through my college career. I was in student government when it happened and one of our senators wrote a resolution opposing the new requirement…which contained not one grammatical sentence.

      I blame, in part anyway, our reliance on standardized, “fill in the bubble” tests. Scantron must die!

      1. David Lentini

        But don’t forget the teachers colleges, graduate schools of education, and the educations of the elementary and secondary school teachers all come from our colleges and universities. The failures in our elementary and secondary schools are very much the result of the failure of our colleges and universities to propagate a culture of intellectual excellence.

        It all rolls down hill until it piles up high enough to become the hill.

        1. neo-realist

          Isn’t it more like the failure of our elementary and secondary schools to properly teach reading and writing skills caused the “failure of our colleges and universities to propagate a culture of intellectual experience”?

          I do remember, when I was in a public high school back in the 70’s, that my mother, a public school teacher-3rd, 4th graders, went to a parents/teachers meeting to ask why the teachers did not seem interested in good grammatical writing, and she was told in so many words that they were more interested in the substance of what the kids were saying rather than the structure of how they expressed it.

          1. David Lentini

            And where did those ideas come from? The ed. schools and graduates schools of education. They aslo arrived from the younger teachers themselves, who brought those prejudices from their undergraduate experiences.

    3. JCC

      I recently asked a couple of Jr. High School aged daughters of a coworker of mine if they diagrammed sentences in their English Classes. They both looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

      I was taught basic sentence structure by my 5th grade teacher, to include complete sentence diagramming (catholic school). Times have changed.


  5. diptherio

    Dwarf bunnies! I did portrait photography once upon a time, and got to work with a bunch of these little guys for Easter shoots at the mall. Unfortunately, they are only useful for photography while they’re scared sh!tless, since then they’ll just sit and quiver wherever you place them. Once they’ve gotten used to being handled and no longer fear for their lives every time you open the cage, they’re useless. Soooo cute, though.

    1. AbyNormal

      hmmmm, males live with a few issues:

      – the male’s scrotum is in front of the penis;
      – the penis has no bone (baculum) unlike the rodent penis; and
      – they will redigest first-time droppings (called cecotropes) to obtain the most from their plant diet.

      Make me, oh God, the prey of the Lion, ere you make the rabbit my prey.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Gibran sounds like Issa or maybe Ryokan…I forgot which offered his leg to the mosquitos around his bed.

        I guess them mystics all sound alike.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think cecotropes would wash down nicely with the Koryak people’s urine magic (or is it magic urine) with a little help from Fly Agaric.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It is impressive how the shaman awes his people with his magic urine (and makes them drink it) after taking fly amanita himself.

            You would think you are in the presence of god or something.

          2. F. Beard


            You remind me of Brainwave by Poul Anderson; vastly increasing the IQ of a shaman did no good since there was nothing to work with in his brain.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think most of the college grads I’ve run across in my life tend to relate to others through their relative positions in an IQ/intellect pyramid/totem-pole.

            It’s always ‘Is he smart or with higher IQ than me?’ – and it’s a constant, non-stop, often unstated/under-stated battle.

            It’s rarely ‘Is she more empathetic than me?’

  6. from Mexico

    @ “Ecuador Scraps Trade Pact Over U.S. Threats in Snowden Case”

    “The Weary Titan staggers under the too vast orb of its fate,” Joseph Chamberlain said of a British empire in rapid decline in 1902.

    “They who are in the sinking scale…do not easily come off from the habitual prejudices of superior wealth, or power, or skill, or courage, nor from the confidence that these prejudices inspire,” said Lord Bolingbroke of that same era.

    The literature on perceptions suggests that the beliefs of national leaders are slow to change, including their beliefs about the relative power of states in the international system. Kenneth Boulding in “The Learning and Reality-Testing Process in the International System” argues that such adjustments rarely occur, if at all. “Most national leaders,” asserts John Stoessinger in Nations in Darkness, “will not examine their prejudices and stereotypes until they are shaken and shattered into doing so.”

    Just a few weeks ago China’s president Xi Jinping made a tour of Latin America, including stops in Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago. The following films, as propagandistic they might be, nevertheless make no bones about what Jinping’s quest in Latin America was all about: Getting an inside track on Latin America’s vast natural resources.

    As this article explains, the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States was to achieve “ample regional integration.” Even though Correa might be the new bad boy on the scene, it would be a mistake to assume he speaks only for his tiny nation.

    Brazil, the article goes on to explain, insinuates the reasons that underlie this alliance:

    Venezuela, including Orinoco, has the largest petroleum reserves in the world. It also ranks third in bauxite, fourth in gold, sixth in natural gas and ninth in iron. Brazil ranks first in gold, niobium, tin, and also has important deposits of thorium, cobalt, molybdenum, diamonds and titanium. But most important is that the region shared by Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana has the largest deposits of uranium in the world.

    1. peace

      Ecuador taunts U.S. by offering human rights training

      Aljazeera: Ecuador decries US ‘blackmail’ over Snowden

      In a jab at the US government, [Ecuador’s Communications Minister] Alvarado said his government was prepared to offer $23 million – the equivalent of what Ecuador gains from the trade pact – in aid to the United States government to fund human rights training.

      The funding would be destined to help “avoid violations of privacy, torture and other actions that are denigrating to humanity”.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Chinese leader’s name is Jinping?

      I thought the finest, Ming-China erotic novel was called JinPing Mei?

  7. John L

    Wendy Davis’s pink shoes spark sales boom and abortion debate on Amazon
    As usual with Amazon, it’s about the comments:
    ” My wife bought a pair of these to wear around the house and for trips to the store and things like that. I prefer that she remain barefoot, but some unenlightened liberal types insist that the naked foot isn’t healthy or clean or some such. If bare feet were good enough for Jesus, they’re good enough for my wife, I say. Anyway, letting her get these shoes was a huge mistake. Suddenly she insists that one child is enough for us and now she’s reading books instead of cleaning the house and having my dinner ready when I get home. She says she doesn’t need to ask me who to vote for anymore and told me to clean my own guns. I had a happy home until these shoes came along. I would write more but I’m coking dinner for myself while my wife is down at the Capitol telling our governor that she should make her own decisions about her body. These shoes are homewreckers plain and simple.

      1. Bill the Psychologist

        But he’s mighty cute, particularly since he got his nose job (although I like big noses on guys)……

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Thanks for the Taibbi link. It’s a truly great, important post. At least some Americans can still write and Matt is among the best. Who else routinely comes up with lines like this?

      We? Wow. That’s a scene straight out of Malcolm X. (“What’s the matter, boss, we sick?”) As a journalist, when you start speaking about political power in the first person plural, it’s pretty much glue-factory time.

      1. JTFaraday

        I also like the article Taibbi links to by Jeff Cohen, founder of, “Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting,” who points out the following:

        “The truth is that many of the greatest journalists in our country’s history — from Ida B. Wells to I.F. Stone — were accurate reporters of fact, but hardly dispassionate. And mainstream outlets have always had hybrid reporter/ columnists offering both fact and advocacy; one of the most famous, David Broder, graced the pages of the Washington Post for years, including its front page.

        Broder was a reporter, columnist and TV talking head — yet no one questioned whether Broder was a genuine journalist. That’s because, unlike Greenwald, the reporting and opinions of a David Broder were militantly pro-establishment, pro-bipartisan consensus…

        The reason Glenn Greenwald’s credentials as a journalist are being questioned by some mainstreamers is not that he blurs the line between journalist and advocate. It’s because of the anti-establishment content of his journalism and advocacy.”

    2. mk

      “In 2001, after wrapping up the second season of The West Wing, Sorkin had a drug relapse, only two months after receiving a Phoenix Rising Award for drug recovery; this became public knowledge when he was arrested at Burbank Airport for possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana, and crack cocaine. He was ordered by a judge to attend a drug diversion program”

      What an asshole, he should be in jail himself.

        1. Lambert Strether

          mk: Without a link to your comment or some verbiage to find it, I can’t be sure, but it looks like there is no comment by mk on sorkin now.

          Adding: I am 100% sure that I replied to mk, and yet my comment is not indented beneath theirs.

        2. Lambert Strether

          I now reply again to mk, to see if there is an issue with my earlier reply being the last comment on the thread.

          Will this be indented?

          NOTE I hate to pollute the thread like this, but here is an opportunity to check a bug in near real time. No copy cat crimes, please!!!!

          UPDATE No. My reply to mk is dumped at the end of the thread, and not indented. Please return to your regularly scheduled programming. Do not adjust your set.

  8. John L

    Comment wierdness

    Just added comment on Wendy Davis’s shoes from my Kindle, and here on my PC the comment doesn’t show up, even after deleting browser history, closing reopening tab.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Gold at $670 would be a great buy.

      But it low from the 0.01% and sell high back to them @ $6,700…there is craazyman’s ten bagger.

      What’s not to like about gold?

      1. craazyman

        I need a 100 bagger now, since I lost so much money in gold. I had to leave new Yark and now living in 1 room outside of Gary Indiana eating oatmeal, using local library for internet. It was a 5 standard deviation event and it didn’t go the way they said it would. I don’t blame Jesse, since he wasn’t giving advice, but I sure thought it was going up. Him and Martenson and Shedlock. I would be careful taking investment advice from any of them. I include James Grant the interest rate observer in that company too. Sometimes its better just to throw a dart and close your eyes. That’s how they do it on Wall Street and when it hits your butt you have to pay up.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Well, don’t give up like that gambling failure, Einstein.

          I am sorry, Mr. One Stone, but in gambling, it’s not insane to keep betting the same number hoping for a different result. It’s what you are expected to do, what you have to do.

          And trust me, life is a gamble – that’s why someone are born into billionaire families while some into debt-slavery.

          1. craazyman

            speaking of Eiinstein it occurred to me the way to get rich quick is make your investment then get in a rocket that goes nearly the speed of light and come back in 10 minutes. A year will have gone by on earth. if your bet paid off during that year, stay on earth with your money. If it didn’t, make another bet and get back in the rocket for 10 more minutes. Eventually you’ll get lucky and it’ll only take an hour of your time, or even less. That’s efficiency!

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I like that idea.

            It’s better than to say, the government can places bets in the stock market before the government, for example, releases its monthly employment numbers.

            It may sound strange, but a government is a sovereign and placing bets before releasing information is something it can allow itself to do.

            It doesn’t really need to print or spend into exist new money.

          3. optimader

            but in gambling, it’s not insane to keep betting the same number hoping for a different result. It’s what you are expected to do, what you have to do.

            Prime B..
            RE: betting the same number…Unless previous bets affect (improve) the probability on future bets (not independent events), you might as well bet any ‘ol number

  9. diptherio

    At first, my reaction to the garbage men getting fined and fired over the $10 tip was going to be, “that must be how the city affords all the settlements over police misconduct.”

    But then I got to this part:

    In a signed statement, Mr Torres said he asked a person who lived in the house “about the $20 that the resident’s girlfriend said she would leave for me”.

    It is unclear whether the girlfriend had promised any money. It’s also unclear how the city found out about the matter. But the garbage collectors apparently managed to make extra dough. Mr Torres said in his statement: “The resident informed us that he had only $10. Bracone and I then removed all the waste, after which the resident gave Bracone and me $5 each.” [emphasis added]

    Having had a fair amount of experience with con-artist types both overseas and here in the US, this raised a red-flag for me. Telling some guy that “your girlfriend said she’d give us twenty” and then taking whatever he’s got sounds like an easy short-con to me. If he balks it’s easy enough to say “musta been someone else.” And let’s remember, these guys were both making 6 figure salaries, which makes them firmly middle class even in NY (right?).

    Not saying their crooked, just wouldn’t be surprised.

    1. annie

      conventional mode of paying off sanitation etc: put bill(s) in envelope, letting them see you drop envelope. they pick it up as if it’s trash. no cash passed by hand.

      1. John L

        Well, back in NJ cash passed by hand to sanitation workers was normal for large items, recyclables in the garbage, contractor waste, etc. But these guys were working for private local sanitation companies. Cash in an envelope was for the owner of the sanitation company paying the mayor under a diner table to get the contract in the first place.

  10. peace

    Thank you for linking to the social contract reaffirming story about the person returning lost diamonds

      1. peace

        @ John L

        Good point.

        I was going to caveat my comment with “I know the good deed was related to respect for property rights instead of respect for human rights.” Hopefully they weren’t blood diamonds.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Yes, thank you. A pilgrimage – whether for a society or an individual – begins with a single step. Changing the dominant narrative helps.

      1. danb

        I know what you mean, but changing it is not a single step. Resisting the dominant narrative is. Then as resistance spreads the new narrative takes form, probably one among many. Even tiny acts of resistance followed by acts of compliance are tiny steps forward.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I learned the other day looking at Mimbres pottery that jackrabbit ears are more triangular whereas bunnies’ ears are more rounded.

      Is that the case?

  11. Jackrabbit

    Believe it or not, China likely allowed Snowden’s exit as a favor to the U.S.

    I will choose not to believe it.

    Snowden’s admission to the SCP that he took the job at Booz specifically to gather intel makes overt support from frenemies like China and Russia virtually impossible. But that doesn’t mean that these countries are going to do the US any ‘favors’.

  12. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Thou Shalt Not Speak Its Name: California Man Barred From Mentioned the First Amendment or Free Speech in Trial Over Protest In Front of Bank of America

    I was walking down the sidewalk yesterday, and I saw a police officer taking chalk and marking the tires of cars.

    I wonder if this is a crime in CA?

  13. Peter Pan

    So in San Diego, if a child is motivated by Michelle Obama’s message to get exercise, decides to create hopscotch lines or four square lines in chalk for the purpose of participating in a fun exercise, then that’s an act of vandalism?

    This must be true since the art, message, content or intent of the chalk is not protected by the 1st amendment. Right?

      1. AbyNormal

        Ha! Good One sd!

        “But if sedentary behavior makes us fat and physical activity prevents it, shouldn’t the “exercise explosion” and the “new fitness revolution” have launched and epidemic of leanness rather than coinciding with an epidemic of obesity?”-g.taubes

        (vandalism…’Sorry [M.O] I painted the word ‘twat’ on your garage door.’-d.shrigley)

  14. Ann

    Any chance there will be coverage here of the immigration bill? (Apologies if it’s been addressed and I’ve missed it.) As most here probably know, the bill, which passed the Senate yesterday, contains provisions to increase the number of H1B visas offered to non-US workers. I would tend to see this as one more sign of economic trouble for the US, but I’d love to hear NC’s perspective on it.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    White House short list for the next central banker – are they still discriminating against robots?

    Will we live to see a robot central banker ever?

    1. F. Beard

      Maybe at a museum someday since central banking is obsolete and soon to be abolished.

  16. financial matters

    “”if the reason for abjuring low-inflation monetary stimulus is because it causes dangerous asset bubbles, then for goodness sake do it without causing asset bubbles. Little is beyond the wit of man. Unless you are a defeatist.””


    Money, Taxes and What We Can Afford
    May 14, 2013 by Dan Kervick

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Instead of cheap credit, just pay workers more.

      I am sorry, it’s not you can do both, but all hear is the former. It makes me think it’s a diversionary move…something that would come from those working undercover for the 0.01%.

      and instead of printing more money, just go after tax-evading offshore money, and past ill-gotten gains (and related wealthy inequality).

      Again, it smells like more rear-guard action from the 0.01%.

      1. financial matters

        I don’t see it so much as ‘credit’ as I do productive use of resources. Also I think household credit is very different from government credit. Government spends money into the economy. This can be given to the 1% as what seems to be happening with QE or it can be divided more evenly such as with a job guarantee program which would lead to a better balanced economy.

        “”Every country can always afford to employ unemployed resources and unemployed people, and if its privately-owned economic systems show themselves manifestly incapable of doing that job completely and effectively, then government must be used to summon these resources into action. Anything less is a waste.

        So the reason we can *afford* to develop and improve our countries has little at bottom to do with the monetary system. We can continue to develop and improve our countries because we haven’t run out of material resources and human resources; because we haven’t run out of the capacity to invest our nation’s resources intelligently in building a better future; because real progress is better than stagnation and decline; and because our systems of governance are still effective enough to accomplish the job so long as they are prodded and animated by an energetic, organized and mobilized public that knows what it wants.

        However, once we run out of intelligence, or run out of the willingness to cooperate, then it won’t matter any longer how rich we are in resources and people, or what kind of monetary system we have. Social isolation, ignorance, lack of community spirit, lonely rage, and the prevalence of radically individualistic laissez faire outlooks that atomize and weaken the public are all forms of national poverty. If we continue to succumb to pervasive corporate entertainment-system messages that encourage us to think anti-socially and individualistically, to despise our remaining democratic institutions and our fellow-citizens, to worship interpersonal domination and subordination, to disdain equality, to wallow in shallow and imbecilic barbarism, and to value forlorn self-assertion over cooperation, then we will horribly degrade the value of the resources we still possess in abundance.””

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          For us to cooperate, to do away with individualistic thinking, to avoid disdaining equality…all that, then we would say a job guarantee program is another diversion.

          We should ask for GDP sharing.

          1. financial matters

            Please break this down. GDP is just running in place and has nothing to do with productivity. Hiring the unemployed is no diversion.

            A job guarantee would more productively replace unemployment benefits but in both instances the results are the opposite of ‘trickle down’ and result in more real input into the economy.

            GDP represents churning not getting the money into the right hands..

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            When you bring down a mammoth, it’s team work. It’s not about who is stronger.

            Everyone gets to share in that GDP, equally – it’s teamwork.

            It’s better than to say, we guarantee you a place in the hunt, but you get to eat only so much…after the big guys have eaten.

          3. financial matters

            OK, good points. I see the big guys as representing the rentiers. They need to be euthanized. Killing the mammoth is hard enough as it is..

  17. nsa

    will you please stick to subversive behaviors as you are wasting valuable taxpayer money having us track your “formatting”.


  18. petridish

    RE: Public Research for Private Gain (Ugh doesn’t begin to say it.)

    First, the obvious question–Where the hell is Jerry Brown? Did I miss his funeral?

    Second question–Is there ANYTHING that Richard Blum, husband of that esteemed public servant Dianne Feinstein, doesn’t want want to suck dry? Thank God Twinkies will be reintroduced to the market soon. Now if we can only get a close associate of Richard Blum to eat a bunch of them….

  19. Ottawan

    For schadenfreude purposes:
    A disaster photo-op goes well with most of the mainstream press, just not with the actual residents:

    “PM Harper’s wife was cleared to come through the area for a set up photo op. The city found a pile of garbage in a neighbour’s yard and asked if they could help. I said it wasn’t ours and to ask further down. The MLAs and the PM’s wife formed and assembly line and made it look like they were hard at work… but it was all just a set up.
    One of the PR people came over to the pile of tools we were cleaning and just helped herself to a screw driver so Harpers wife looked like she was dismantling something. Didn’t ask.. just took it.
    We were not the house they were helping… or pretending to help. My friend that lived there marched over and made his opinion’s on the entire situation here, in High River and all other’s affected well known and he got his screw driver back. He asked them where they were to help 3 to 4 days ago when they were knee deep in water. He said, “We don’t need people down here for a photo op… we need help!”

  20. rich

    Nearly One in Five Members of Congress Gets Paid Twice

    They draw government pensions from previous work in addition to their congressional salary. The practice is called “double-dipping.”


    Detroit Retirees Fret About Medicine in Orr Benefit Plan

    Detroit city retiree Rose Roots worries about the cost of prescription drugs, gasoline and house repairs. She never imagined anyone would cut her pension.

    “It’s unbelievable that this day and time, in 2013, workers are threatened with being stripped of part of their pension and health benefits,” said Roots, a 76-year-old who worked three decades for the employment and training department. “Bankruptcy is one thing, but to start a remedy going after retirees?”

    Shrinking benefits for 30,000 employees and retirees is part of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to avoid the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy by erasing a $386 million deficit and reducing long-term debt of at least $17 billion. Orr proposes switching many retirees to federal health-care programs and eliminating pensions for employees with less than 10 years of service. His plan would also mean undetermined cuts to retirement checks.

    The notion that pensions could be trimmed or wiped out is culture shock in the birthplace of the U.S. auto industry, where union strength dominates politics and negotiated benefits gave workers comfortable, middle-class lives over decades.

    “That’s the way it’s always been,” said retiree Catherine Phillips, 55, who said she went to work for the city at 22 on her mother’s advice because of superior benefits. “I’m the first generation in my family who will not be comfortable. I’m going to be on edge.

    ‘‘Are they going to stiff me of my pension, of my health care?”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe they are betting the reward will be well worth the risk.

      Gambling may be in Ecuadorians’ blood, as the first known culture in that area is called the Las Vegas culture.

  21. Jackson Bane

    Now the CFPB is being accused of “spying” on the people. Well, at least they are protecting some of the chosen people (military) from the whys and wherefores of financial weaponization.

  22. wunsacon

    I have a theory about torture. It could explain why the USG is schizo. (On the one hand, many argue it doesn’t work. On the other hand, many argue it does work.)

    Let’s speculate about the mindset of the people who do it: This is war. Now do a cost-benefit analysis — but *without* the cost. That is, forget about how many innocent (or “less-innocent”) unimportant scum you mistreat. That’s very little cost. And if you get more info than you would’ve otherwise, that’s a benefit. The cost-benefit ratio says “do it”.

    So, just imagine:
    – Torture DOES “work”.
    – We don’t want foreigners to use it against us.

    If you stipulate the two foregoing facts, then doesn’t the schizo behavior of the USG make sense? Even if TPTB think it “works”, they have to convince others it doesn’t.

    Remember, too, the Vietnam Phoenix Program and the Battle of Algiers. (Thank you, wikipedia.) If torture didn’t work, why would authorities use it over and over?

    So, I hate to say it. But, I suspect “torture works”. (Again, the definition of “success” depends on your goals, moral values, etc.)

    1. sockeater

      Murder works too. Rape works. Child molest works, it that’s what floats your boat. All of those things worked at Abu Gharaib, Camp Nama, and Camp X-Ray. But those things are crimes. The schizo irrationality of US officials is not about efficacy – it’s simply criminals afraid they might lose the impunity that the United States command structure promised them.

  23. Hugh

    Education like so much else has been corporatized which just so happens to facilitate its privatizing/looting. Local, state, and federal bureaucracies as well as ideologically oriented education departments have all gotten in on the action. Education in the classroom remains unequal and chronically and severely underfunded. The whole educational mission has changed from creating an informed citizenry in a democracy to producing unthinking fodder, whether as workers or consumers, for the corporations. Its social purpose has not so much been lost as stabbed, shot, and smothered out of existence.

    I would say the education system itself is structured to foster anti-intellectualism. And this extends right up to the top. Universities are some of the most anti-intellectual places I have ever seen. Intellectualism is about asking questions. Academia is about avoiding them, or asking only minor ones. Intellectualism is about challenging the status quo. Academia is about maintaining it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘I am intellectual…very intellectual.’

      ‘Really? How do we know?’

      ‘Well, I have answered a lot of questions in my life. You know, lots of tests, quizzes and exams. You name it, I have answered it.’

      ‘Really? You are intellectual because you answered a lot of questions? Do you ask questions much?’

      ‘Huh? Teachers make up questions. My job is to answer them. My job is not to come up with questions. Boy, are you dumb!’

  24. Hugh

    Yellen, Summers, and Geithner, the modern financial version of Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf Man.

  25. EmilianoZ

    The website still has problems. Everytime I visit, I get some error message involving

    Anybody knows what that is?

    1. diane

      I never receive error messages (viewing and commenting with all scripting disabled) but I’ve been having a problem for at least a week with posting a comment which shows as posted in the sidebar when I’m on the main page, but when I click the comment link, or the thread link I posted the comment to, it won’t refresh to show the comment until quite a few minutes afterwards.

      For instance I posted a comment a few moments ago and I can’t view it on this thread currently, although from the main page it shows as having posted. I never had that problem before the recent switch.

      1. diane

        (sheesh, given my comments directly below, I guess I should clarify that, the lack of viewing ability didn’t have to do with looking on the wrong thread for it. By the time I looked for the comment, I knew it had been made on this thread, and despite ‘refreshing’ the page, it wouldn’t initially show, even though the comment showed as having posted on the main page.)

  26. diane

    Given the verified NSA Microsoft connection and almost a given Oracle database CIA connection, where those two entities are totally predominant in terms of email and financial accounting (and related: detailed vendor/customer/investor/lender contact info and tangible/intangible asset details, etc.) databases and software (likely near 100%) for publically traded companies, and private corporations, one’s imagination could exhaust itself.

    And no small wonder that Silicon Valley is filled with ex engineers with stories to tell about beneficial and useful technology which was stopped in its tracks, either via acquisition and subsequent shut down, or other dubious, if not totally illegal in many instances, means. For example, there were a spate of San Jose Mercury News (which at one time was at least not quite so fawning and bought under Knight Ridder (though yeah, they did unforgivably f u c k Gary Webb)) articles in the late nineties which discussed how major Law Firms got away with forcing engineer inventors out of running their own companies by representing both the VC firms and the inventor, as I recollect.

    I also recollect a newspaper article (think it was the Mercury also) around that time about how teeny eeny and ‘helpless’ the SEC office was which was supposed to oversee the Silicon Valley region with the most Publically Traded Corporate Domiciles (versus State of Incorporation (usually the teeny eeny weeny state of Delaware)) in the country.

    1. diane

      (meant to post my above comment on the How Much Are the NSA and CIA Front Running Markets?)

      1. diane

        (to clarify, it was my error, I had the Links window open also and inadvertently posted the comment on the Links thread.)

  27. ppppp

    Re: Sinovel
    If we get “attempted corporate homicide,” then maybe we can also have a corporate death penalty. When’s the last time a corporate charter was revoked? I am ignorant, which is why I ask.

  28. rich

    Hey, MSM: All Journalism is Advocacy Journalism. By Matt Taibbi

    Did he also “veer into” a long career as a shameless, ball-gargling prostitute for Wall Street? As Jeff Cohen eloquently pointed out on HuffPo, isn’t Sorkin the guy who’s always bragging about how close he is to top bankers and parroting their views on things? This is a man who admitted, in print, that he only went down to Zucotti Park after a bank C.E.O. asked him, “Is this Occupy thing a big deal?”

    (Sorkin’s reassuring response: “As I wandered around the park, it was clear to me that most bankers probably don’t have to worry about being in imminent personal danger . . .”)

    And when Senator Carl Levin’s report about Goldman’s “Big Short” and deals like Abacus and Timberwolf came out, it was Sorkin who released a lengthy screed in Dealbook defending Goldman, one I instantly recognized as being nearly indistinguishable from the excuses I’d heard from Goldman’s own P.R. people.

    But the biggest clue that Sorkin’s take on Greenwald was no accident came in the rest of that same Squawk Box appearance (emphasis mine):

    I feel like, A, we’ve screwed this up, even letting him get to Russia. B, clearly the Chinese hate us to even let him out of the country.

    I would arrest him . . . and now I would almost arrest Glenn Greenwald, who’s the journalist who seems to want to help him get to Ecuador.

    We? Wow. That’s a scene straight out of Malcolm X. (“What’s the matter, boss, we sick?”) As a journalist, when you start speaking about political power in the first person plural, it’s pretty much glue-factory time.

    Read more:

  29. diane

    Re Public Research for Private Gain

    In a unanimous vote last month, the Regents of the University of California created a corporate entity that, if spread to all UC campuses as some regents envision, promises to further privatize scientific research produced by taxpayer-funded laboratories.

    I guess (not at all shocked if so) that means that Jerry Brown and Lt. Guv. Gavin Newsom, as ex officio regents, were either among those unanimous voters, or abstained from voting, as I see nothing in the bylaws that precludes ex officio regents from voting .

    And this part about Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Dick, was priceless (bolding mine):

    Some of the regents would like to institute a powerful business entity like Newco at UC Berkeley. Regent Richard Blum, the husband of US Senator Dianne Feinstein, called Berkeley’s tech transfer office “an absolute disaster” at the last regents meeting. To back this up, Blum related a story about an invention developed by a faculty member affiliated with the Blum Center for Developing Economies, an institute he created through a large private gift to the university.

    “We went to the center [Berkeley’s tech transfer office] to license this thing, and they said, ‘Well we don’t want to license it, we don’t want to put the money up to get the patents, and we don’t think it’s worth it.’ I said, ‘Okay, that’s fine, I’ll put up the money, and not for me personally, I’ll put up the money for the [Blum] center to get it.'”

    According to Blum, Berkeley’s tech transfer office staff bungled the invention’s transfer to private industry and the faculty inventor was excluded from further participation. “Next thing I know is this group takes this project, doesn’t tell us what they’re doing with it, licenses this to somebody, and won’t even tell us who they licensed to develop the product.”

    A basic web search shows, however, that Blum got much of this story wrong. The invention in question, a hardware and app combination that turns a smartphone into a mobile microscope called the Cellscope, has, in fact, been commercialized, and the inventor, Daniel Fletcher, a professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley and a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is still very involved in the project.

    In essence, the UZ Senator’s husband, Dick, lied, imagine that.

    1. diane

      And speaking of DIFI[BLUM], the linked two part series currently showing below the piece, by Joaquin Palomino and Robert Gammon:

      06/12/13 Tunnel Vision Part One: Delta in Peril
      How Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant water tunnels could devastate the largest estuary on the West Coast.

      06/19/13 Tunnel Vision Part Two: Rivers in Peril
      How Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant water tunnels, along with legislation in Congress, could ultimately spoil the last of Northern California’s wild and scenic rivers.

      references our NSA & Co. Protectoress quite a bit, reminding me of Yasha Levine’s 02/13/10 piece:

      Senator Feinstein Teams Up With Billionaire Farmers And Corporate Raiders To Mount Hostile Takeover of California’s Water

  30. mookie

    I’ve a small child with whom I’ve enjoyed every Pixar movie save The Incredibles (ugh), and I’ve no doubt we’ll enjoy Monsters U, but Eileen Jones hits it out of the park here:
    Monsters Ugh Eileen Jones – NSFWCorp

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