Links 6/29/13

Octopus Houdini escapes boat via tiny hole TreeHugger (Lance N). Missed this in my inbox, still fun

Two-headed turtle hatches at San Antonio zoo Associated Press (Lambert). So where does this put us in the countdown to the opening of the seven seals?

Trans-Pacific Partnership and Monsanto NationofChange (Elizabeth M, AbyNormal)

Real progressives believe in breaking up Google Financial Times. Where do I sign up?

Japan’s Shoppers Start to Buy, Tentatively New York Times

Viva la Siesta: Should Southern Europe Really Be More German? Der Speigel. Of course, that assumes southern Europeans work fewer hours than their northern counterparts, which at least in the case of Greece, is simply untrue.

Anglo Irish Bank scandal ‘damages democracy’, Angela Merkel says Guardian. Wow, how much hypocrisy can you pack in one statement? Merkel is in the process of stripping democracies of national sovereignity (and hence democratic rule) as a condition of assistance. And it was the Troika, under German influence, that forced Ireland to assume the liabilities of its bust banks.

After sticking it to Ireland a few years back, EU “fixes” the bank bailout plan Walter Kurtz

Mervyn King Was (Eventually) the Right Man for the Job Clive Crook, Bloomberg. King was openly critical of banks and pushed hard for a UK version of Glass Steagall, but was stymied by Treasury.

Egypt Protests Take Deadly Turn, Prompting U.S. Warning Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Senators accuse US of using ‘secret law’ to collect data Guardian

NSA leaker’s father says son would return to face charges, US renews calls for his return Washington Post. This looks seriously not good for Snowden.

Ecuadorean Disarray Clouds Snowden Bid Wall Street Journal. In case you missed this bit of the story….looks like the Wikileaks folks didn’t have all the moving parts figured out.

Diplomats from Several Countries Set Up Meeting to Discuss Snowden Case SoftPedia (1 SK). Another bad sign.

Trapped in Transit: Orwellian Moscow airport hotel Associated Press (Lambert)

Probe of Contractor Vetting Snowden Sees Falsified Data Bloomberg

“Intelligence,” Corporatism, and the Dance of Death Arthur Silber (1 SK)

Exposing the Dark Forces Behind the Snowden Smears Max Blumenthal, Alternet

The Government’s Mass Spying Is An Affront To Democratic Values. Let’s Also Not Pretend It’s An Effective And Efficient Way Of Keeping Us Safe George Washington. A good compilation in case you know any people who believe otherwise

The Wonderful American World of Informers and Agents Provocateurs NationofChange (furzy mouse)

License-Plate Readers Let Police Collect Millions of Records on Drivers Cryptogon (Scott)

Some Thoughts On The Snowden Fallout Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

Why Ignoring the Demographic Time Bomb Would Be Easy for House Republicans Jon Walker, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Tinpot Tyrants:

Federal Prosecutors Seize Creamery’s Accounts Under Terror Financing Law Jonathan Turley

Off with his head Michael Smith (Carol B)

WikiLeaks Volunteer Was a Paid Informant for the FBI Wired

Is Philadelphia the Next Chicago? Dissent (Paul Tioxon)

FBI Document—“[DELETED]” Plots to Kill Occupy Leaders “If Deemed Necessary” WhoWhatWhy (furzy mouse)

Central banks sell record sums of US debt Financial Times

Chicago PMI: Largest Monthly Drop In Four Years Clusterstock

Housing Recovery Elusive for U.S. Homebuilders Barry Ritholtz

New Bank of America whistle-blower emerges: More customer abuse secrets Dave Dayen, Salon (Deontos)

FHA Swamped By Defaults; Congressional Report Shows FHA Could Suffer Losses as High as $115 Billion; Shut Down Fannie, Freddie, FHA Michael Shedlock

Bank of America Moves Mortgage Jobs To India Bloomberg (1 SK). Wonder if this also helps them in shielding records from discovery….

Save If Failure Impending James Kwak

Capital adequacy and hidden risk VoxEU

The Expendables: How the Temps Who Power Corporate Giants Are Getting Crushed ProPublica (Carol B). This is actually not news, but does warrant more attention than it gets. One of my sisters-in-law was a manager at GM for seven years…but was formally a temp. This was in the early 1990s. And many IT staffers are hired through agencies, albeit under contracts rather than as temps, but the effects are similar: they don’t get benefits and have a no-value-added middleman profiting at their expense.

Reflections on Violence New York Review of Books

The Weirdest Languages idibon (Lambert)

Antidote du jour:


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    1. Charles LeSeau

      That piece is funny and well written. Reminds me of R. Crumb’s comic piece on his visit to the Oscars and what a twisted event it was to see from the inside – fake trees brought in to make the LA environment look like it actually had some flora, protesters roped off behind police out of view, applause signs during ceremony, vainglorious glad-handing power glamour freak show backstage, hard-faced mafiosi-looking dudes in tuxes everywhere, etc.

      So much of the media world is just an alien, machine-tooled this is your reality and what it means to be normal driver for millions and billions of eyes to see. Yeesh. Maybe normal should be the new weird.

  1. MIWill

    Whoa, look at the time! It’s almost 7:00am, and I haven’t recited the pledge of allegiance yet.

    Last week I got caught doing it sitting down; that turned out to be a bad day.

    1. lakewoebegoner

      i’d be happy if people and businesses who insist on flying the flag have the decency to fly one that’s not faded and tattered.

    2. AbyNormal

      my father was suspended for wearing corduroy’s and no belt…grade school Decatur, GA. USA.
      his first year of high school he was expelled for refusing to stand allegiance to ‘Dixie’. po ole dad was immediately shipped off to his older sister in CA, whereby my ‘normal’ genes began rearrangement from some groovy grape drink served in Dixie cups : ))

      Look Away Look Away Look Away…

      1. nonclassical

        ….good on ya’ Aby…and one of my friends-mentors was “on the bus”…

        “I make many mistakes, it’s true…but I must make mistakes to do what I do…”

        (never cared for that part)

  2. carol

    Re: Probe of Contractor Vetting Snowden Sees Falsified Data Bloomberg

    “Snowden’s disclosures have drawn attention to the government’s vetting process and to the companies that gain from reviewing the backgrounds of some 4.9 million workers authorized to access classified materials.”

    some 4.9 million workers with access to classified materials!

    Given the scale of the spying of innocent people, i.e. the combined collection of all kinds of data from our lives, this is a ridiculous high number of people with access.

    Also, there are only very, very few whistleblowers out of that huge group of some 4.9 million. The horrible treatment of whistleblowers seems having the fearfull effects the US government wants.

    1. Freddie Green

      This angle of blame is such crap. Part of the reasons for extensive background checks is to exclude labor from jobs. That’s it, period, it’s not about “public trust” it isn’t about “security” anywhere near the level imagined. One noticible glorious action of the military state was to start firing NASA scientist with decades of work behind them by “digging up some dirt” through background checks.

      1. Massinissa

        What kind of dirt did they find on those scientists to possibly warrant their firing?

        Things they did in college or what?

      1. psychohistorian

        And let us not forget that all these folks reflect their ownership.

        The class based system led by the inherited rich have been in control for centuries and they delude folk into thinking that they remain the best “leadership” our species can produce. I think we are seeing the limitations to that Big Lie which is in bed with the hypocritical leadership of those Big Lie faith based.

        Reduce inheritance to levels that do not allow influence on social organization……legislate social equity, that is what well intentioned social organizations do.

  3. Cletus

    “FHA Swamped By Defaults; Congressional Report Shows FHA Could Suffer Losses as High as $115 Billion; Shut Down Fannie, Freddie, FHA ”

    I realize that even though you dislike a person or entity does not make what they’re saying false, but I had to stop reading Mish’s article when it referred to both Issa and the Heritage Foundation.

    With both of those names, the grain of salt I would have to swallow with the article was the size of a softball, and simply wasn’t worth the effort.

    I’ll assume the headline is correct (except, perhaps, for the conclusion it draws).

    1. Freddie Green

      This entry isn’t completely false, it just isn’t true.
      It’s got the Government over here, free market over there nonsense. The Government “threw money at Fannie Freddie and the FHA” and they need bailing why? Hedge fundie types keep blogging the lies, they can’t seem to remember what the victims role was. They don’t matter anyway. The Hedgies keep saying the Gov’mint was mucking things up by affordability mandates. So we’ll call them “underwater” instead of “unaffordable”. Issa will show contempt for homeowners, but then he’ll be a bitch boy champion of so-called Gov’mint waste… delightful!

  4. from Mexico

    @ Snowden

    Things just keep getting curioser and curioser.

    There’s a theory that humans abhor a vacuum of information or knowledge, and when they are confronted with a knowledge void, they fill it in with speculation or superstition, regardless of the dearth of evidence.

    This seems to be what is happening with l’affaire Snowden. Reading the commentary this morning, there’s lots of speculation and very little actual knowledge, so imaginations are going into overdrive.

    It seems like Ockham’s Razor is in order.

    1. charles sereno

      Occam is probably the biggest hat sans cattle in Philosophy. If he were alive today, politically he’d be a Tea Partier or Neoconservative. True, we don’t have the documentation on him that we do on his earlier Scholastic seniors. Nevertheless, by any measure, he was a lightweight. The whole Neoplatonic, Augustinian, Franciscan school of which he was a remnant was always infected with “eccentricity” for lack of a more discourteous term. Wilhelm (joke: he spent a lotta time in Germany) was a lesser light IMUHO (“U” stands for “utterly”).

      1. Mish fan

        While I agree w Mexico’s point re speculation, I agree w u re occam razor. People use it before they seriously investigate various explanations. In practice, it’s a hinderance to truth rather than an aid.

        The “simplistic” explanations are often less painful. (. And crooks use it as cover. ). I think that’s why it’s popular.

        1. nonclassical

          truth…..truth….I keep asking Lambert if there is such a thing…he keeps avoiding….and if it isn’t occum, it’s “perfect storm”….

      2. from Mexico

        @ charles sereno says:

        True, we don’t have the documentation on him [Ockham] that we do on his earlier Scholastic seniors. Nevertheless, by any measure, he was a lightweight. The whole Neoplatonic, Augustinian, Franciscan school of which he was a remnant was always infected with “eccentricity” for lack of a more discourteous term.

        So Ockham was a scholastic? And the Franciscans were Neoplantonists?

        If one wanted to take reality and turn it on its head, one couldn’t do a much better job than that.

        Nominalism in this sense was a Franciscan theology. It destroyed the [social and ecclesiastical] order of the world that scholasticism had imagined to mediate between God and man and replaced it with a chaos of radically individual beings [in which] all animate and inanimate beings were equally the creatures and creations of God.

        The church attempted to suppress nominalism, but these efforts had little impact. Ockham’s thought was censured in 1326 and repeatedly condemned from 1339 to 1347, but his influence continued to grow, and in the one hundred and fifty years after his death nominalism became one of the most powerful intellectual movements in Europe.

        –MICHAEL ALLEN GILLESPIE, “The Theological Origins of Modernity”

        And it was the theology of Saint Francis and Ockham that informed and inspired the Rev. Martin Luther King:

        America has strayed to the far country of racism and militarism. The home that all too many Americans left was solidly structured idealistically; its pillars were solidly grounded in the insights of our Judeo-Christian heritage. All men are made in the image of God. All men are bothers. All men are created equal. Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth. Every man has rights that are neither conferred by, nor derived from the State–they are God-given. Out of one blood, God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. What a marvelous foundation for any home! What a glorious and healthy place to inhabit. But America’s strayed away, and this unnatural excursion has brought only confusion and bewilderment.

        –REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., “Why I am opposed to the war in Vietnam”

        So tell me, charles sereno, do you believe Martin Luther King, whose theology and philosophy mirrors that of Saint Francis and Ockham, would “politically be a Tea Partier or Neoconservative” if he were alive today? Do you believe King was “a lightweight”?

        1. charles sereno

          Sorry for the late reply. I implore anyone to make sense of your quotes in regard to the topic (Occam), but I’ll try to answer your questions: 1) Ockham was a scholastic philosopher; 2) The medieval Franciscans were more closely related philosophically (via Augustine) to Neoplatonism; 3) I don’t think MLK’s philosophy mirrors Ockham (I don’t know that he studied or referenced him); 4) I definitely don’t think MLK is a lightweight or would be a Tea Partier or Neoconservative. BTW, if you’re on to OFM philosophers, check out Bonaventure’s arguments against the eternity of the world vs. Aquinas’ rehashed Aristotelean version. Classier and definitely more entertaining.

  5. diptherio

    Re: FBI Document—“[DELETED]” Plots to Kill Occupy Leaders “If Deemed Necessary”

    Wow. I’m not too surprised that gov’t agents would plot to kill non-violent protesters, but I am surprised that this got declassified. Fortunately for the PTB, as Alan Dulles once said, “the American people don’t read.”

    Notice that the title on the Memo is DOMAIN PROGRAM MANAGEMENT/DOMESTIC TERRORISM. Whaddaya wanna bet that the terrorism reference is aimed at the Occupy protesters and not the folks plotting to kill them. Typical.

      1. diptherio

        I believe it was G. Gordon Liddy who described the CIA’s actions in Guatemala as “using terror and terrorist tactics” to impose their will on the population, so you may have a point there.

      2. Klassy!

        As far as the question about the murder plot, I am unable to comment further, but rest assured if the FBI was aware of credible and specific information involving a murder plot, law enforcement would have responded with appropriate action.
        This statement, coming from the FBI, lacks credibility because when has credibility ever been a condition for them when it comes to in(ves)stigating terror plots?

        1. fresno dan

          There was a NYT article about a week ago about how the FBI investigates shooting done by FBI agents – of course, in 20 years of so they have found zero incidents in which the FBI was at fault.
          In Maryland about ?4? years ago, there was a case where the FBI stopped a car, with one agent telling a passinger to “freeze” and the other saying hands up, with one agent shooting the passinger in the face. Independent investigation by Maryland police found the FBI investigation non credible and contradicted by numerous facts. OUTCOME???
          Nothing, of course. Why do you ask>

    1. Massinissa

      To be fair, this knowledge is several months old, but if many of yall have not heard of it its good that NC put it here. Old information is only old if you have heard of it, I suppose.

      But I like how the gov deleted the reference to what department specifically was going to do the killing.

      Btw: Can you say ‘MLK’ or ‘RFK’? This kind of stuff really has to make one wonder about all the assassinations in the 60s.

      1. BondsOfSteel

        It’s even more chilling since the NSA revelations.

        The NSA said that their domestic spying was to stop terrorist plots… but we have lots of evidence that the FBI and other government agencies classified the peaceful Occupy protesters as terrorists. Even going to the extent of talking about assassinations.

        Did the NSA also spy on Occupy? I’d bet dollars to doughnuts they did.

        1. Massinissa

          Of course they did: They clearly spy on everyone else.

          They probably spy on every tea party gathering, every large pro-choice protest, you name it. If its political they probably have their eye on it.

          Just in case.

        2. JerryDenim

          No need to bet. How else was was the FBI, DHS and some shadowy scary-ass banker-scum ‘private/public’ Fascist intelligence force known as the ‘Domestic Security Alliance Council’ (DSAC) busy investigating and surveilling those planning Occupy Wall Street when it was still in its genesis phase, early August 2011, more than a month before Occupy Wall Street debuted its first small feeble protest? The powers that be are really nervous, paranoid, and dangerous! Snipers for law-abiding peaceful American citizens? Yeezus! Now the shadow government has the eyes and ears every tweaked out paranoid crazy man has always dreamed of. When you start getting twitchy way high up in your ivory tower all of the little people down below start to look like enemies so why not eaves-drop every conversation, web-search and social media exchange? Yves reported on it here last December:

          I think with what we know it is safe to say that reading this blog or anything even remotely anti-establishment, like or The Guardian is more than enough to land you firmly in the digital crosshairs of the NSA ‘terror’ dragnet. Dissent of any form is not allowed any longer in the democratic US of A. FOIA disclosures and Ed Snowden have officially warned you.

          I say fuck ’em, but what else can I do with an anti-establishment web history dating back to 1993?

      2. nonclassical

        …perhaps you should discuss this with one who met RFK 3 days prior to watching assassination on television, after winning Cal…the “Ambassador” and all…here’s what I have turned up after staying tuned since:

        by the way-he flew into Sea-tac in American Airlines jet (no AA jetway-stopped at our Eastern Airlines dock, with full entourage of family, reporters…limo into town for short talk-back to airport…off to Portland, train to Cal-here’s his incredible speech, that set him apart from all other candidates-won hearts of millions, who stood the length of his death train ride across the country:

        Bobby’s death is thought by some to be a result of his intention to reopen investigation into death of JFK, which is most summarily defined here:

  6. deep breaths

    Bad sign, Why? IMO internationalizing the Snowden case is a smart move, though it will slow the action down. Russia has consistently maintained its disinterested public stance, saying that action wrt Snowden should be under the purview of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. This opens the door for Snowden to get a laissez-passer under the 1951 refugee convention, and Snowden’s got a good case as a person in fear of persecution and torture for his opinions. As a rights defender (acting to promote freedom-of-information and privacy rights of the ICCPR and UDHR,) Snowden is in the remit of the special rapporteur on rights defenders, and subject to corresponding protective initiatives of the EU, the OAS, and international NGOs. Non-refoulement protects Snowden from being returned to a state known to torture rights defenders, e.g Bradley Manning, and espionage charges are classic persecution tactics used by police states fighting for impunity. Times have changed since Agee had to run around desperately shopping for jurisdictions.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We are all relying on press reports, which of course may prove to be unreliable, but if they are accurate, Snowden looks to be checkmated. That would explain his father trying to intermediate in public (which frankly looks wrongheaded, he does not appear to have legal advice, but that’s a separate matter).

      The critical bits of the state of play:

      1. Snowden is stuck in the Russian transit zone. Putin coyly says that’s not our business, we can’t do anything about him. BUT…..

      2. Snowden cannot leave the transit zone (except perhaps being returned to the US on his expired passport, I think the usual procedure if someone shows up at border control with no valid entry docs is either to send them home or put them on a return flight to where they came from) unless he gets either:

      a. Valid transit documents or

      b. Has an official representative of a country escort him (a diplomat works, not sure who else can escort him).

      3. Ecuadorean diplomats have been trying to get to see Snowden. Russia has been denying them access which means

      4. Snowden is Putin’s hostage.

      Hence the Moon of Alabama recommendation, that Snowden cut a deal with the Russians.

      I don’t see how the UN intercedes given where Snowden is. As we say here, “possession is 90% of the law”.

        1. Synopticist

          He should have gone straight to Cuba or maybe Iceland or Sweden in the first place. I’m not a fan of Assange (the person that is, I love the idea of Wikileaks), but I reckon he took some dumb advice from him.

          It’s always all about Assange if you have any dealings with Assange.

          1. neo-realist

            Cuba, yes, but not Iceland and Sweden for I believe them to be toadies to the US, particularly Sweden with its rendition cooperation.

    2. ommm

      So what Putin’s up to? The question probably turns on his reading of the 1951 convention’s Chapter V, Administrative Assistance. Wherever Snowden is residing, that jurisdiction has specific obligations: to issue him travel documents; to arrange assistance (can’t boil it down so I’ll quote Article 25) “When the exercise of a right by a refugee would normally require the assistance of authorities of a foreign country to whom he cannot have recourse, the Contracting States in whose territory he is residing shall arrange that such assistance be afforded to him by their own authorities or by an international authority.”

      Russia looks to be arranging such assistance now, on a public, multilateral basis that slows the process to a crawl. So is Putin working the system to exploit an asset? Or is he leaving administrative assistance to an international authority, the UNHCR, to pre-empt US espionage accusations? Dunno.

      But like B says, NSA’s screwed either way. And as punctilious Vlad, Putin gets to uphold the freedom-of-movement provisions of Helsinki Convention Basket III against an evil repressive US police state trying to conceal its crimes. The US beat Russia over the head with Basket III for 15 years. And now Putin’s got himself his very own Scharansky. I can’t blame him if wants to have some fun.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, Putin’s official statement when he first spoke about Snowden was very clear: Snowden in not in Russia. So Putin has absolutely no obligation to do squat for Snowden.

        However (and I am not sure how, but I did read this) he seems to be preventing Ecuadorean diplomats from seeing Snowden in the transit zone. You are apparently allowed in (unless you are an employee there) only if you really are transiting, as in on your way from A to B and not entering Russia. An Ecuadorean diplomat could presumably do that (fly through Moscow en route to somewhere else) but it may be that they aren’t willing to go that far (as in fly diplomats all over the world to help a non-citizen) and I infer Russia won’t let the Ecuador representative stationed in Moscow pop in and out of the transit zone to see Snowden.

        1. Lambert Strether


          The Russians rejected Ecuador’s requests to let Snowden leave Moscow, or to let an Ecuadorean government plane pick him up there, the official said.

          Granted, not precisely the transit zone…

    1. diptherio

      Today’s word is “SNAFU”: Situation Normal, All F#@%ed Up.

      It’s been like this for awhile. JFK and MLK were both likely assassinated by gov’t agents, and that’s just for starters. Spend some time going through the National Security Archives and get ready to have your mind blown. Assassinating a few protesters wouldn’t even come close to the most f’d up thing US intel agencies have done and/or contemplated.

      This kind of thing is SOP for the PTB, and has been for quite some time.

      1. Massinissa

        You mention MLK and JFK, but didnt you forget RFK?

        No offense to JFK, but RFK was sort of more awesome.

        But anyway, its public knowledge how many foreign coups the USA has been involved in. Why people continue to be naive about the possibility of assassination domestically, or for that reason even things like domestic spying, is honestly beyond my rational comprehension.

        I hardly think this spying shit is any more for our ‘protection’ any more than overthrowing Mossadeq, Arbenz and Alende were.

    2. nonclassical

      ..perhaps you should read and find out: ($4.07, free shipping) ($4.13, free shipping) ($10.29) ($3.97, free shipping) ($8.12)

  7. from Mexico

    @ “ ‘Intelligence,’ Corporatism, and the Dance of Death”

    Arthur Silber said:

    The State’s foreign policy efforts are unquestionably devoted to maintaining the U.S.’s advantages — but the advantages they are most concerned about are access to markets and, that’s right, making huge amounts of money.

    This reminded me of what President Franklin D. Roosevelt supposedly quipped in 1939 of the US-installed puppet dictator in Nicaragua, Anastasio Somoza: “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

    While there might have been some truth to that notion then, there certainly is not anymore. The authoritarian regimes which are being installed around the world today — including those within the US, Russia or China — serve the interests of the members of a transnational capitalist class, who have no national loyalties whatsoever.

    This is where the world systems analysis of folks like Immanuel Wallerstein and Samir Amin is invaluable, because without it folks get duped into thinking their national interests are being represented, and fall for the rally-round-the-flag gimmick. (If people could shed their nationalistic framing of events, they might see l’affaire Snowden in a completely different light.) Carlos Slim doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the national interests of Mexico, and the same can be said about Lloyd C. Blankfein’s concern for the national interests of the United States. Ljubiša Mitrović calls them the “comprador bourgeoisie,” and as he explains:

    Comprador bourgeoisie is the upper layer of the bourgeois class…. It is not national in character and is socially irresponsible. It is a blind servant of foreign capital, ruthless in the exploitation of the domestic workforce and dictatorial in relation to its fellow countrymen. Its homeland is where its interests are. It is the agent of the megacapital in the function of global economy. It is a “Trojan horse” of the foreign TNCs [Transnational Corporations]… Its god is the god Mammon, the capital. Its aim is to amass capital, and it puts profit above individuals. It is a predatory class of the nouveau riche and often bon vivant and parasitic upstarts. It is a peculiar jet-set of bandit economy…..


    1. diptherio

      Thanks for that link. Insightful analysis and some chuckle-inducing misspellings, such as “the restauration of capitalism” which serve as inadvertent absurdist counterpoint to the grim realities detailed therein.

    2. thesystemoftheworld

      I recently finished Wallerstein’s After Liberalism, interesting stuff, still mulling it over. I tend to agree that with the rise of global capitalism and global corporations, zooming out past the national level and looking at “world systems” is a useful, if challenging, exercise.

    3. Jim

      From Mexico said:

      “(If people could shed their nationalistic framing of events they might see l’affaire Snowden in a completely different light).”

      But what if nationalism is much more than the sovereign state and is also a form of consciousness–a way of cognitive and moral organization of reality in which economic growth is primarily a benefit to nations and not necessarily individuals?

      And what if the spread of capitalism cannot be explained by an increase in the economic rationality of individuals but is the result of the increasing power of a mode of collective consciousness in which economic rationality is subordinated to the power and dignity of the nation and the power and “dignity” of national institutions like the NSA?

      What if modern capitalism owes its existence to this type of nationalism?

      1. Synopticist

        “What if modern capitalism owes its existence to this type of nationalism?”

        So what if it does? You could certainly make that argument 20 years ago, but the point is, both capitalism and the nation state have changed. The international oligarchs, the comprador bourgeoisie, have won.

        The 0.01%, in the western world, have adopted the attitudes that used to be found among elites of second and third world countries-contempt for their countrymen, loyalty to foreign capital, ruthlessness in their social irresponsibility, willingness to use their power to prevent reform etc etc.

        Personally, I wouldn’t necessarrily date the start of this change to the Thatcher-Regean era, but perhaps a little later, to the period of the Russian oligarchic looting, and the globalization of the early-mid nineties. Those guys really showed our somewhat stale, western elites just how much they could get away with if they really went for it.

        Concurrently, with globalisation , they were realising that they could slowly do to the middle class what they’d earlier done to the organised working class, just with different tactics. And that was mostly through finance.

  8. Freddie Green

    What Rham did in Chicago is the same as is proposed or being tried in DC. “Kids” like Rhee just outright attacking black neighborhoods and being celebrated by fronts like ‘Fast Company’
    Philadelphia closed 23 schools but then built a $400 million dollar prison. Hedges sounds more accurate every day.

    1. Massinissa

      It honestly surprises me that many on the left essentially accuse Hedges of fearmongering.

      Honestly, I wonder if the situation isnt worse than even people like Hedges think.

      1. Synopticist

        I can understand the US left shunning him pre-2007, but not since. He’s wasted over there. I wish he’s come over to Europe and make some noise, we’d lap him up.

        The first video of Hedges I ever saw was recommended to me by a fairly right wing, old stuffy Brit, who was totally blown away by him.

        1. nonclassical

          …Hedges fits perfectly…bridges from Vietnam era secrecy-propaganda…”Phoenix Project”, anyone??

          Hedges’ books prescient…and puts his butt on courthouse steps-arrest too…

    2. CB

      And a new “fusion” center, which is being presented as strengthening local law enforcement, making Phila safer. Actually, domestic spying is what it is. The Stasi right here in South Philadelphia.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        Here’s more on that fusion center:

        The center is one of 78 in the country. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended and funded fusion centers after determining that lack of intelligence-sharing was a contributing factor in the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. Situated at the former U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps complex around 20th and Johnston Streets, the refurbished complex now houses the Philadelphia Police Department’s Real-Time Crime Center, which aggregates the video feeds from police surveillance cameras around the city. It also is home to the Homeland Security Unit and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Unit Area, among others, and employs about 135 staffers. “This is the one stop-shopping for regional information exchange,” Nutter said at Friday’s event. In addition, the center will communicate with the other fusion centers around the country. The Department of Homeland Security pledged to commit personnel, training and technical assistance to the center. Stacy Irving, senior director of crime-prevention services in the Center City District, said the center was one of the first to begin its operations in partnership with the private sector, such as the University of Pennsylvania.

  9. Synopticist

    “Anglo Irish Bank scandal ‘damages democracy’, Angela Merkel says”
    What she means, of course, is that it damages her chances of re-election. Which almost amounts to the same thing for Angie.

  10. Benedict@Large

    Regarding closing down Fannie & Freddie, these two were fine before the TBTF banks knew for sure that Uncle Sam would bail them in a failure. Now that they know, hell, there’s a few more pennies of profit to be scraped off the taxpayer w/o any additional risk, so shut the mothers down.

    1. nonclassical

      fanni-freddi good for repubLIEcon corporate scapegoat…but follow the $$$$ to how little actual subprime they held…

      and how they were forced to continue buying mortgages from TBTF, even when there were those who wanted to stop…in various states….bushitters intoned inter-state commerce act violations, subterfuge…Enron should have
      been enough warning….

  11. Jackson Bane

    If I think about using chalk to write anti-bank slogans outside of Citi, Wells Fargo, BOA or Capital One, is that considered a thought crime, or terroristic threat under hidden statutes of the Patriot Act?

    1. Massinissa

      If I instead use the chalk to write pro-bank propaganda, would I still be arrested, or would I be commended?




      Actually yeah, I would probably still be arrested.

  12. stevewarton

    Hours “working” is not a valid measure to compare nations – unless you can get a very good measure of “working”.

    2 examples:
    1. Lived in Taiwan a few years back and everyone worked 1/2 day on Saturdays. When the opposition tried to get rid of it there was a huge uproar about national competitiveness. But in reality no one actually did much work on Saturdays .. but it shortened the weekend and did not give them time to do much else. Once the Saturday work was ended a whole new business in weekend getaways and trips developed.
    2. A friend worked for a software company notorious for its overtime. The she got a new manager who basically and it a rule that everyone left at 5 pm. She said productivity shot way up .. and little things like the breaks you might take during the day because you knew you would have to work overtime ended. So in less time, the same amount of work got done.

    1. JTFaraday

      Cultivating good will increases productivity with the vast majority of people. Duh.

      That management so often does otherwise just reinforces my conviction that all too much of the punitive workplace is due to sadism, the desire to command and punish, more than the desire to be productive.

      We live in a sick culture. And it is a former slave state, something we like to live in denial about.

  13. Benedict@Large

    Re: License-Plate Readers Let Police Collect Millions of Records on Drivers

    Well ain’t that just peachy? You see, a friend just got busted by one of them on her motorcycle. Trouble was, she wasn’t there. Upon closer examination, yes, same model, correct plates, BUT … wrong exhaust pipes. So, what happened. My take: The private company who runs this show (you KNOW it’s gotta be a private company) got a photo from one of these cams, but couldn’t read the plate. They went to the DMV data base for one, same model and locale, and Photoshopped the plate number in. Turns out the prosecutor is saying that there’s LOTS of these false positives showing up in court. Case thrown out, but THESE are going to be the records our government is going to keep on us? Lovely.

    1. Synopticist

      Private companies, incentive to cheat, may need a lawyer to disprove it, Photoshop. Yeah, kinda obvious when you think about it.

    2. psychohistorian

      It is amazing how many of the newbie PHP WordPress gurus have never heard of referential integrity. Clean data costs too much and what is wanted is the fig leaf of due process

      Maybe we need to publish a new maxim. Instead of Garbage In/Garbage Out (GIGO) we now have Garbage In/Convenient Lies Out (GICLO)

      Human evolution at its finest hour…..grin

  14. diptherio

    Oh Lordy…has this been linked to yet? Seems to sum up a whole bunch of disparate conversations we’ve been having on this site:

    Bank of America Said to Send Property Reviews to India

    Bank of America Corp. opened a unit in India to review home-valuation reports as it seeks to rebuild share in U.S. mortgages at a lower cost, said four people with knowledge of the move.

    What genius plan will they come up with next?

    1. Susan the other

      Their cute little title insurance corporation (FNF) which is probably going to try to insure all those clouded titles created by MERS and fraudulent securitization will also be shipped off to India where Appleberry Fudge-pie will not be able to answer one single question.

      1. Oh Lordy

        As the victim, er, softwar development mgr of offshoring efforts at several companies, even mgrs who try to make this work will fail.

        At this point, I’m giving up on our species. I want to go farm somewhere on a native american reservation or something…somewhere out of the way, if there is such a place.

        1. nonclassical

          ..some tried that in 60’s-70’s….wisest decided best to drop through cracks in system-live-learn…turn to philosophical enlightenment…perhaps sail away…

  15. Susan the other

    Re today’s antidote:

    It is sad to think
    Something as sweet as a guinea pig
    Is a ground device.

  16. barrisj

    Well, HE’S BACK!! Yes, M. Le Dopeur Extraordinaire, upstaging the 100th TdF, gives an interview in Le Monde claiming that he is still the Tour recordholder, but this time he’s saying that he’s the best of the dopers from that era. By His Lanceness’s logic, since all Tour participants doped, the race was an accurate measurement of which of the teams most effectively doped, and which lead rider therefore maximally benefited from PEDs. “I’m the One!”, sez Lance. Such a horrid swine and douchebag, determined to take everything and everybody associated with professional cycling down with him. Call out the sappers, I say.

    1. Ms G

      Lance The Fraud Armstrong told Le Monde yesterday or the day before that it is impossible to win at cyclisme *without* doping.

      What a card!

  17. Susan the other

    And speaking of haiku Lambert, The Weirdest Languages post, do linguists ever look at the pure logic of the thing being communicated? Syntax aside, semantics is logical even in spite of our forcing it to use good grammar. But probably more so when it can free form itself. Just my attitude. A haiku puts together two separate things into a metaphor that is far more meaningful than word order as is demonstrated by so many haiku poems having no verb at all. And then from that pure logic of unseen and otherwise unsensed similarities, comes a new idea, a new word, a new pictogram, a new idiom. Blah blah. Thanks for the article.

    1. nonclassical


      remember that a haiku is a picture of an action=calligraphy….no abstract past-future context…

  18. Susan the other

    Monsanto World

    The death wish floats
    On soft wind and rain today
    Tomorrow we eat.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      To paraphrase the infamous scene from the film ‘Animal House’: “Thank you, may I have another?”

      … Beautiful Haiku, Susan.

    2. charles sereno

      Here are some haikus from a wonderful artist who we lost so young. He wasn’t a native, but he had a Hawaiian soul.

      Unsuspecting dog
      Little does he know,
      Manong in the shadows

      Home from the fields
      Someone has a-painted my door.
      A stranger sings in my bathroom.
      Whoop, wrong house.

      Moonlit night
      Ten Samoans
      I am trapped.

      No urinals
      Only Kleenex and the smell of heavy perfume.
      Where am I?

      A lonely figure in a non-existent line
      I wait for hours
      Oh, banks closed on Saturdays!

      Ten-foot waves wash into shore
      Undertow and shifting sands

  19. AbyNormal

    O M G ! you don’t want to miss this…

    Rest enough for the individual man, too much and too soon, and we call it death. But for man, no rest and no ending. He must go on, conquest beyond conquest. First this little planet and all its winds and ways, and then all the laws of mind and matter that restrain him. Then the planets about him, and, at last, out across immensities to the stars. And when he has conquered all the deep space, and all the mysteries of time, still he will be beginning.

    1. nonclassical

      “the artist deludes his creative intuition at the exact moment he becomes aware of the impression he is about to make…”

      (mirror, best instructor)

  20. michael hudson

    Right, Yves. The octopus video is like bankers getting around the leaks in the tax code and regulatory rules with flexibility.
    The difference is that octopi don’t design the holes in the boats — bankers do design the regulatory framework.

    1. nonclassical

      ..the U of Missouri Kansas City MH??…hmmnn…thanks for all you do, when it’s you…

  21. Yan

    re: viva la siesta.
    As a spaniard I can tell you this article is so full of shit as a whole that one wonders if the author has ever been to Spain, aside from germanic enclaves in the balearic or Canary islands. You can feel the author’s lack of sense on what life is about. The barbarians will never learn. They still think they are far superior because of a senseless lifestyle evolving around stupid jobs.

    Anybody living above paris is truly a barbarian. I am all in favor of creating a latin empire and leaving the Euro: it will hurt the barbarians far more than it could hurt us (we are already screwed, anyway).
    It is time to start another war with the north and hopefully wipe out a few idiots before they can cause more damage. There is a reason why Calvin was expelled from wise lands…and there is also a reason the people of geneva partied for a whole week after his death.

    1. Massinissa

      Latin Empire? Like the that owned Constantinople?

      You may want to try another name: The Latin Empire was sort of embarassing.

      As for everything else, including leaving the Euro, I agree completely.

      The entire article is basically ‘blame the victim’ nonsense. Spain didnt even have a deficit of any sort until they had to bail out their damn banks, so categorizing them as ‘lazy’ is beyond the damn point. Such a facile explanation is obviously a scape goat for the structural problems caused by having most of europe on the same currency.

      1. Synopticist

        That’s Germany’s most grown up, serious, balanced, reliable and influential newspaper, that is. God preserve us.

        1. Inverness

          I think some are missing something important from the article, and are too dismissive of it, without acually some crucial points. Der Spiegel is criticizing austerity, and has produced articles which have done so, for awhile. Remember the article on “Mommy Merkel, trying to get everyone to swallow bad medicine?”

      2. Inverness

        Der Spiegel doesn’t use the perjorative term lazy, although you’re correct that some context (ie; that Spaniards now work more than Northern Europeans, and the huge debt came after joining the Eurozone) would have been helpful.

    1. AbyNormal

      all those prez COMBINED
      (feex’d it for ya)

      EPA Ups Allowable Residue of Monsanto’s Toxic Herbicide on Food
      In a little reported development, the Environmental Protection Agency last week issued a new rule raising the allowable concentration of Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate, otherwise known as Roundup, on food crops, animal feed and edible oils.

      Despite the proven risk, this ruling is clearly a result of successful lobbying effort on the part of the Ag Giant to raise the residue limits of this toxic chemical.

      “Glyphosate has been shown in several recent studies to be an endocrine disruptor,” writes the Cornucopia Institute, in a statement about the news. “According to the National Institutes of Health, endocrine disruptors could have long-term effects on public health, especially reproductive health. And the ‘dose makes the poison’ rule does not apply to endocrine disruptors, which wreak havoc on our bodies at low doses.”

      They continue:

      A June 2013 study concluded that glyphosate “exerted proliferative effects in human hormone-dependent breast cancer.” An April 2013 study by an MIT scientist concluded that “glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins,” and pointed out that glyphosate’s “negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.”

      The new regulations permit concentrations higher than the levels some scientists belive are carcinogenic, the Food Poisoning Bulletin adds.

      Under the new regulation, fruits can have concentrations from 200 ppb to 500 ppb glyphosate, oilseed crops can contain up to 40 ppm (40,000 ppb) glyphosate, and root crops such as potatoes and beets can contain 6000 ppb glyphosate. Animal feed can contain up to 100 ppm (100,000 ppb) glyphosate.

    1. Hugh

      Re the weirdest languages article, it is another example of Chomskyan linguistics chasing its tail. Any analysis that concludes that the languages with the most native speakers Mandarin and the overall speakers English are weird is fatally flawed.

      As Susan the other notes and generative linguistics misses, so-called “syntactic” information can be conveyed not just by semantics alone, but also by the discourse structures different languages use.

      The methodology was flimsy. A large group of languages was taken and then whittled down to a much smaller number. There is also the question of what constitutes a language. Chomsky in one of his more insightful moments joked that a language was a dialect with an army, that is that language-hood is defined not by linguistic criteria but by social and political ones. There are hundreds of Bantu dialects in Africa. If these were taken as languages and each language given equal weight, “weirdness” could be largely defined in terms of how similar to Bantu a language was. And while English is often taken as monolithic, there is in linguistics a decades-old movement called World Englishes which looks on it as a collection of dialects. This can get really ridiculous. I once read an article in some EU publication where the author was arguing that Alsatien, a variety of German spoken in Alsace, should be considered a dialect of French since it was spoken in France.

      Chomskyan linguistics and its offshoots have been beset by the contradictions inherent in their foundational myth that a particular kind of “language” is “hard-wired” into us resulting in language “universals” which can be represented by the particular units and hierarchies these theories use. They have been belied from the outset by how a language can change overtime: Old English to Middle English to Modern English or how a language like Latin or Bantu can fragment into many different, new languages: “differentiation through space and time”.

      1. charles sereno

        I’m a softie on Chomsky’s linguistic views because of my great admiration for his unsurpassed social and geopolitical analysis. His work in linguistics certainly is no mean accomplishment. I would point out that, in a logical train of thought, there can be “butterfly” events that can majorly affect the conclusions. That is the sense in which I disagree with his linguistic theories. The resulting structure itself, or rather its modular parts, are not to be lightly thrown away. Two things happened after his “Syntactic Structures” (1955). Utterly ridiculous behavioral accounts of language acquisition were vanquished when Sir Noam unhorsed Sir BF Skinner. As inevitably happens, Sir Noam himself inspired challenges and that was to the good.

        1. charles sereno

          Re The Weirdest Languages
          This stuff used to irritate me. Now I just get a laugh. Modern medieval-robed monks debating angels on needles after hundreds of years of enlightenment. The greatest human invention, language, is a sacrosanct sacred cow. The only one immune to reform! Dumbos, do something about it! Have you heard? In the 15th century, Koreans came up with a terrific written script, Hangul. Guess what happened? The stupidos continued with their imported, inferior Chinese characters for hundreds of years thereafter in thrall with “tradition” until the late 20th century. In China, in 2 generations Mandarin was alphabetized and promulgated for almost a billion people. And this is the tip of the iceberg. None of these data-collecting linguists (and I totally admire them) seem to aspire to reforming phonetics, morphology, grammar, or even semantics. Hey, mathematics could have kept the Roman nomenclature. After all it was “traditional” as well. There’s no reason why a universal language, based on data gleaned from sources such as the WALS plus logical, efficient reforms could not become a work in progress. Such an uber-language would simply become at first a 2nd language as it developed.

          1. charles sereno

            In apology, I normally try to be as brief as possible. It happens that I occasionally get crazy. Begging the reader’s indulgence, I wrote a Fable recently. I tried it on a few friends expecting a guffaw. I got polite smiles at best. Beaten down but undeterred, I’m going to inflict it on tolerant NC readers.
            A long time ago (late 4th Mill BC), writing was invented in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Although both streams arose independently, they shared a common inspiration –
            Picture–>Idea – which resulted in (less iconic) Cuneiform and (more iconic) Hieroglyphics. Some of it had to do with writing materials. The Mesopotamian script was inscribed on damp clay with a stylus, driving the script toward a more abstract, less iconic, representation. In my fable, I poke fun at iconicity in general.

            How Iconicity Fell out of Favor
            Way back when, an Inventor appeared before the Ruler and said –“My invention seems a little complicated, but once you get it in mass production it could take off. It goes like this. First you get some wet clay and knead it just like dough for a loaf of bread and then flatten it out like it’s gonna be a little cake. Next, when your Minister of Information announces the latest Royal Decree, I’ll make some scratches on the little cake. Then I’ll put it out in the sun to dry…” The Ruler interrupts–“You’re wasting my fucking time. Get to the point or it’ll get to you.” “Yes, your Majesty. After the cake dries, I’ll look at the scratches and that’ll help me remember the Decree.” As the Inventor is dragged off to be beheaded, he yells–“Sir, my scratches will be Bigger every time your Name is mentioned!” The Ruler was not moved. That’s how iconicity fell out of favor.
            Moral: Bigger is not always Better.

        2. Hugh

          Generative linguistics like Chomsky’s are forms of grammatical determinism. They are too categorical, too rule driven. Having some relational (syntactic) information held at the semantic and discourse levels violates their supposedly inviolable, hard wired hierarchies. However, it is precisely because there is a lot of play in rules and categories that languages have the flexibility to change, something that these generative grammars never really grasp.

      2. Tim Mason

        The quip about dialects and armies is usually attributed to Max Weinreich, and works almost as well the other way round (an army is a bunch of thugs with a language of command). Pierre Bourdieu took it out for a run in his ‘Language and Symbolic Power.’

  22. aletheia33

    to spread the word:
    ”this chance to own the airwaves won’t come again”–

    ”Prometheus Radio Project, … is offering intensive support to groups interested in starting stations. Tired of corporate media? This is your chance! Sign up for updates to learn more about how to start or support a new community radio station. Fill out an Applicant Group Profile by June 30, 2013, to get Prometheus’ support. In a major city, a station can reach over 100,000 local listeners, plus stream online. Get on it — this chance to own the airwaves won’t come again!”

  23. another

    Snowden’s father is quoted in the Washington Post piece:

    “If folks want to classify him as a traitor, in fact, he has betrayed his government. But I don’t believe that he’s betrayed the people of the United States.”

    Snowden betrayed the NSA in an attempt to preserve the USA.

    NSA or USA?
    That’s the choice we all face.

    1. nonclassical

      ..perhaps Texass can buy up all those used one-way glass border guardhouses from Deutchland, now they no longer need them…?

  24. Herman Sniffles

    Mike Shedlock said “…government can never allocate money better than the free market.”

    Sounds like when Earl Butz wanted to sell off all our lovely National Parks to the private sector back in the 70’s. One wonders what they would look like now. Or how about a free market war? That could be interesting. You ready to sign up, Mike? You’ll have to pay for your own Google War Helmet (with glass) you know. Would we have the interstate highway system if Eisenhauer hadn’t used the gov & taxes to build it for us? How many toll booths would be located between LA and NY? And who would own them now, you think maybe Goldman Sachs? Or how about the Space Program, which is just about the only thoughtful, decent thing human civilization has done in the last 100 years, and which gave us both the modern computer age and the ball point pen? What would our society look like right now without Social Security or Medicare? Oh that’s right, those silly OLD people can always get their food out of the dumpsters behind all those private enterprize buildings. Rotten squished bananas and half empty cans of grape drink build character, we understand that now because of all the free enterprise right-wing think tanks. I think J.K. Galbreath once said that we all buy $40k SUV’s with four wheel drive just so we can drive over the pitted streets that could all be fixed if we each just paid another $1000 in taxes.Hooray for Ronnie Ray-gun’s self fulfilling bullshit prophesy. And thank God for guys like Milton Friedman who understood that we are not a society at all, we’re just a bunch of nasty primates trying to screw each other at every turn. As thou sewes, so shall thou reap.

    1. F. Beard

      Shedlock is in favor of backing gold with the taxation authority and power of government so that makes him, sadly, a fascist.

      1. Mish fan

        Maybe I’m misreading him for years. But, it seems mish hasn’t learned from paper gold shenanigans and all the other manipulated markets that the problem isn’t the choice of “base currency” — especially since ‘gold std’ is just another fiat — but in the laws, regulation, and enforcement practices of the Greed Über Alles types running the circus. Nothing will change so long as the system does not actively work against selfish behavior.

      2. Howard Beale IV

        Since he was recently quoted by Heratland Institute of the infamous “Unabomber believes in Global Warming” screed, he jumped the shark ages ago.

  25. Hugh

    Since NC’s move, I often get a “Can’t show page” message when I click on NC stories. Usually when I click once or twice on “refresh” they load. I had not had problems loading comments until today. I tried to submit a comment for the article on languages a couple of times, but I got the “Can’t show page” message. I eventually did a test message which went through and appended my comment to that. It also went through. Now both have disappeared. I hope Yves’ IT people are aware that these problems are occurring and are doing something about it. Or maybe this is another case of devolution.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is not the new host’s fault.

      Immediately prior to our move, the site was and continues to be under persistent low level attack. This does NOT look to be denial of service. It looks like it’s a monster uptick in spamming from China, from many spammers in different locations.

      The level of the spamming was so great it was making the site sluggish to the point of not being usable (all comments get checked by software, Akismet, befor they are allowed through). It even produced a site outage. And more spam was getting through too.

      The old tech guy implemented Cloudflare right before the move because it could block the spam better (as in more efficiently somehow, this is above my pay grade). But it seems to be causing other problems, as in these brief outages.

      The new host has pinged Cloudflare with polite techie versions of “WTF?” If we don’t get this sorted in the next day or so, he’ll come up with another solution (as in get us off Cloudflare).

      1. barrisj

        I’ve resorted to hitting the “stop loading” icon on the link bar to make that annoying “connecting…” whirlagig thingy go away, then complete either a comment or continue reading links.

      2. nonclassical

        ..conspiracy diagnosis, please??….spam, spam, spam, spam…?? Is NC dangerous to someone’s agenda??

  26. Klassy!

    Great. My kitties are begging me for a pet hamster now. “But look how cute he is! We’ll take care of him. Promise!”.

  27. frosty zoom

    here’s the WEIRDEST language of all in action:

    “It is transparent – that’s why we set up the FISA court..”

  28. Hugh

    The FBI memo about killing leaders of Occupy is old news, but it raises questions, such as why those who came up with this idea weren’t fired or charged with conspiracy to commit murder. It says a lot about how advanced an authoritarian surveillance state we have that such memos almost get lost in the background noise, that they are part of the new normal.

    This kind of memo along with the rest of the surveillance state shows that the rich and elites are arming themselves and planning for what they see as an inevitable war against us. They have no intention of surrendering democratically either their stolen wealth or their power. I have said this before, but the rich and elites are incapable of reform and can only be overthrown. This overthrow will be violent, and almost all the violence of it will emanate from them.

  29. mookie

    posted these on a links thread late last night, re-posting in case anyone is interested.
    Small Government, Huge Hypocrite Yasha Levine, NSFWCorp

    Ames caught between distaste for the messengers, appreciation of the message:
    Edward Snowden’s Half-Baked Revolution Mark Ames NSFWCorp
    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

  30. barrisj

    right, for the final sportif bulletin of the evening, we had the spectacle of listening to the ESPN braying claque of Serena Williams’ supporters crowing over her “victory” against pre-senior Kimiko Date-Krumm in – what, maybe 40min., to take Williams to the next round. Right, and after losing the match, Date-Krumm’s agent said that she would be filing for her Japanese old-age social insurance benefit. Well done, Serena…USA! USA! USA!.. And, there you have it, sports fans.

  31. AndyLynn

    re: Federal Prosecutors Seize [South Mountain] Creamery’s Accounts Under Terror Financing Law

    i can see South Mountain out my kitchen window, and the Creamery in question is one of the *best* in my local area. great folks – that apparently got some *very* bad advice from a bank teller who either didn’t know the law (one can apply for an exemption) or just didn’t want to do the paperwork.

    so they are technically guilty, but what i don’t understand is why their $63k is being seized – rather than getting a sternly worded warning to “cease and desist” such activity, and to file the required paperwork. (there is *no* intimation that they were avoiding tax or up to something nefarious.)

    with all the local/state/federal/international laws that apply, we are *all* guilty of some (likely unknown) infraction. we now live in a landscape of arbitrary selective prosecution.

  32. LucyLulu

    English version of Spiegel article on NSA Surveillance of NSA

    More threats are being issued on the EU trade deal. My hope for the NSA Surveillance State being reined in lies primarily with the backlash from the international community.

    Top quote from recent responses to relevations, from Luxembourg’s foreign minister:

    “If these reports are true, it’s disgusting. The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies.”

    Wow, even those across the pond have figured out our political games.

    “Even as a Green Party politician, I wasn’t impressed with Mr. Obama’s focus on fighting global warming. While his renewed enthusiasm is appreciated, it served as a distraction from the criticism he is currently facing for allowing invasive state surveillance. He cannot simply change the subject.”

    NY Times Editorial on Response by German People to NSA
    Germans Loved Obama, Now We Don’t Trust Him

    There goes Obama’s legacy. Gee shucks.

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