Links 6/8/13

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North Sea cod stocks ‘are recovering’ BBC

California Prisoners Are Free to Read as Much Werewolf Erotica as They Want Atlantic (Valissa)

No Accident: Resilience and the inequality of risk OxFam (TripleCrisis)

News Corp could face new police investigation Telegraph

Time for the US to rethink its LatAm Strategy Triple Crisis

Cuba’s Other RevolutionCounterPunch (Carol B)

So About That Cyberwarfare Summit With China… DSWright Firedoglake (Carol B)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

On whistleblowers and government threats of investigation Glenn Greenwald

Obama “Welcomes” the Debate His Secrecy Makes Impossible Jon Walker, Firedoglake

The New York Times Quietly Softened Its Scathing Obama Editorial Gawker

Spy chief Clapper denies misleading Congress about spying on Americans Yahoo (Lambert)

10 Things Americans Underestimate About Our Massive Surveillance State Alternet

Anonymous Just Leaked a Trove of NSA Documents Gizmodo

Why It’s Unlikely Tech Companies Didn’t Know About NSA Spying Huffington Post

Administration Says Mining of Data Is Crucial to Fight Terror New York Times. Um, dictation masquerading as an article….

NYT/Sullivan email exchange. In case you missed it…

Despite Naming Coincidence, Palantir Says It’s Not Part Of PRISM Program TechCrunch (Richard Smith)

Lessons for journos in the NSA revelations CJR. Warns journos to be careful when using cellphones but does not give specific advice as to how to communicate more anonymously

Exclusive: Leader of Anonymous Steubenville Op on Being Raided by the FBI Mother Jones (furzy mouse)

Heckling Mrs. Obama is entirely productive Ian Welsh (Carol B)

Obama Takes Excited Daughters Out For Day Of Drone-Watching Onion (Lambert)

California Dreaming Trudy Lieberman, CJR (Lambert). Looks at whether the claims that the health care plans published in California under the ACA really are cheaper than current plans.

The Boom and Bust Cycle of Tax Shelters and Intimidation of the IRS Linda Beale

Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio backs down on immigration. Will others follow? Christian Science Monitor

Dozens Of US Marines Nabbed In Massive SoCal Crime Ring Clusterstock (furzy mouse)

Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom Guardian

Outside the Box: Austerity hampered job growth MarketWatch

Home Loan Rates Near 4% Send Buyers Scurrying: Mortgages Bloomberg

Blowing Bubbles Global Economic Intersection

Antidote du jour (martha r):


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    1. Paul Tioxon

      Trayvon Martin could certainly have a second helping of Obamas, oh wait, a white racist hunted him down and shot him to death on a public sidewalk. Oh well, another pseudo radical meme goes down in flames. You know, all of the assholes coming out of the woodpile blaming everything that occurs between January 20, 2009 and now, as a neo-liberal trojan horse attack on the unwitting are so very much like the assholes who credit Ronald Reagan with tearing down the Berlin Wall with his bare hands and personally dragging The Soviet Union into the dustbin of history. Hmm? Could it be the same people???

      Yea, who needs a guy who wants to stop Blacks from catching bullets in the face of school closings in poor urban school districts? The ones getting shot, that’s who. As for collapsing school districts, they are also shutting down the once immense Catholic parochial school districts across the Nation, including my former high school, that used to educate over 6,000 students, in one building on any given day at its peak. (And Lordy, hundreds and hundreds of them were African-American. I blame President Richard Nixon, hell, I blamed him for everything bad that happened 40 years ago, but rightly so on my part.) They are dropping like flies and placing an increasing burden on public school districts that were subsidized for every Catholic school kid whose parents paid the property taxes but sent their kids for 12 years to Catholic school instead of public. That free ride is over.

      There is lot more to neo-liberalism, suppressed wages and hollowing out of the middle class than what is talked about outside of Catholic Parishes and other invisible communities that exist in plain view. But, I can understand the limited inbred mental capacity of white racists can only handle so much hate at time. You know, big pharma probably has a pill for that,why don’t you take one, better yet, take a whole bottle. The bigger the dose the better the cure. And don’t forget to wash it down with some Jack Daniels.

  1. YankeeFrank

    “Heckling Mrs. Obama is entirely productive.”

    Yes it is. I read so many sad individuals that almost seem embarrassed for the people who stand up and demand things from our dear leaders. Or they claim its fame-whoring or some such nonsense. Others however, understand that it takes guts to stand up to such powerful people and speak one’s mind, in public, where one is likely to be booed by the sycophants and authority-worshipers and possibly even be arrested or beaten. We need more of this, not less. Lots more.

    1. Inverness

      Mrs. Obama’s glamour makes her seem above reproach to many. They would rather fetishize her arms, stylish gowns, and stage presence than accept that she is a political actor, legitimizing the Obama regime.

      I love the argument, “but Obama’s done so much for gays already!” You never stop at the Voting Rights Act — you understand institutionalized prejudice, and keep fighting.

      I find many Americans conformist by nature, and would rather align themselves with the well-heeled than some lone protester, which is odd, since most of us don’t have much in common with the elite power-player Obamas.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Agreed, I’ve never understood the swooning over and imitation of her attire.

      1. TK421

        What little the Obama administration has done for gay Americans has been done because it was dragged there kicking and screaming.

        1. juliania

          This administration goes nowhere kicking and screaming. It only did that legislation in order to divide, and halfheartedly at that.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Is there anything more entertaining than watching people discover who Obama/the Obama’s really is/are?

      Evolving position on gays. “Change takes time”!!!!


      1. Doug Terpstra

        Yes, the heckling isn’t nearly as noteworthy as Michelle’s petulant response that people should see — “This is one thing I don’t do well” as she walks from the podium (and I’m so outta here, you ungrateful lesbos!). Searching for a word that rhymes with ultra-rich …

        If you’re whoring for bribes, you’d better expect some heat. Apparently, she doesn’t have the same thick snakeskin as the spokeswhore-in-chief.

          1. from Mexico

            And now Glenn Beck joins the fray:

            Glenn Beck: Michelle Obama’s Heckling Reaction Shows She’s a ‘Monster, Lady Macbeth’ — VIDEO


            What ends up happening in these situations is the same thing that ended happening with Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem.

            The controversy over Arendt’s book came about because she reported the testimony given in the trial about how elite Jews had collaborated in the destruction of rank and file Jews, and how many of those collaborators had wound up in influential positions in Israel. So as she wrote in her postscript:

            Even before its publication, this book became both the center of controversy and the object of an organized campaign. It is only natural that the campaign, conducted with all the well-known means of image-making and opinion-manipulation, got much more attention than the controversy, so that the latter was somehow swallowed up by and drowned in the artificial noise of the former.

            So we see the exact same phenomenon happening here, the substantive points the heckler was trying to make getting subsumed in an orgy of partisan histrionics. And of course none of this happens by accident.

          2. TK421

            “Is there anything more tribalistic than a blue dog Democrat?”

            Probably a rhetorical question, but: no, there is not.

    3. from Mexico

      Here’s a video of the event that spurred on this debate:

      And as one can see from the video, the parvenu queers, exception queers and court queers — I suppose what could be called the LGBT 1% — are firmly in the rider’s seat. It is a triumph of elite-network politics.

      Another strong indication that the exception queers are fully in control came yesterday, when the Pride SF board announced that it had declined to reinstate Manning as grand marshal.

      The decision came after a raucus public meeting last Friday, when the anti-Manning forces could muster only 3 speakers to make the case against Manning, versus 150 who were there in support of him.!/news/local/Supporters-Push-Manning-for-Pride-Grand-Marshal/209769621

      Nevertheless, the 3 carried the day over the 150 with the Pride SF board.

      The Pride SF board decision is an indication of the juggernaut which the forces of visible government and democracy now find themselves pitted against. One can only wonder why it is that in this war of visible government vs. invisible government, of democracy vs. dictatorship, both of the current poster children for visible government and democracy – Bradley Manning and Glenn Greenwald – are gay.

      But the forces of invisibe government and tyranny also have a LGBT constituency, and the Pride SF board and organizers of tony events like the one where Michelle Obama was heckled, in their jihad on visible and democratic government, have many powerful allies. And they hail from both political parties.

      This became all too clear over the past few days after Greenwald’s revelation of the government’s super-secret, but massive and unprecedented, snooping into the telephone calls and internet communications of hundreds of millions of innocent Americans. As Greenwald put it, Big Brother is watching, and “the Obama administration has been very aggressive about bullying and threatening anybody who thinks about exposing it, writing about it, or even doing journalism about it, and it’s well past time that that come to an end.”

      As the dark clouds gather over America, Greenwald continues, what we see are Democratic stalwarts like Diane Feinstein and Barak Obama marching in lockstep with some of the most right-wing Republican reactionaries in US politics today – e.g., Lindsey Graham, Saxby Chambliss, and Mike Rogers. So the threats against Greenwald are coming from both sides of the aisle. And this bipartisan jihad on visible government and democracy has made it clear that it intends to make the same example of Greenwald and his whistleblower source as Obama is making of Manning and Julian Assange.

      But Greenwald remains defiant and undaunted as he has thrown down the gauntlet:

      And so whatever the justice department wants to do they can beat their chest all they want, and people like Diane Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss can have press conferences threatening people for bringing light to what it is they are doing, but the only people who are going to be investigated are them, and it’s well past time these threats start to be treated with the contempt that they deserve, and that’s certainly how I intend to treat them moving forward, with more investigations and disclosures.

      Folks like Obama, Feinstein, Chambliss, Rogers, and Graham, as Greenwald goes on to note, believe they can invoke the word “terrorism” or “security threat” and that gives them license to do anything. Greenwald intends to show them otherwise, that the ability to brandish some overhyped security threat conveys neither immunity nor impunity from moral principles.

      Bradley Manning and Glenn Greenwald: Profiles in Courage against creeping fascism. And they both just happen to be gay.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Very well said, fM. Gays surely have their mettle tested more than others and maybe reveal greater divergences as a result. Those like Manning and Greenwald come thru the fire with tempered character and courage, while the one-percenters you describe have surrendered to brown-nosing and kissing-up and kicking-down in order to cling to their wretched rung on the ladder. Sad.

      2. Jackrabbit

        This is an important point, but it deserves to be broadened.

        The leaders of most major social sub-groups are focused on working with TPTB and with-in the confines of the status-quo.

        These ‘leaders’ rarely want to support anything that is controversial or deviates from the narrow interests of their group so as not to put their _mission_ at risk.

        The result is a set of special interests that competes for access and favor so as to achieve marginal benefits while acting in a larger sense as a support for the status-quo.

        1. psychohistorian

          You can put the Xtian religions in this category. They bought and continue to buy relevance with fealty to ongoing inheritance and accumulating private ownership of property…..our class system that has failed us.

    4. Ned Ludd

      “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

      “This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

      Frederick Douglass, an address on West India Emancipation, speech delivered at Canandaigua, New York, August 3, 1857

  2. AbyNormal

    Spy chief -Satan’s CLAPper- denies misleading Congress about spying on Americans
    (feexd it’)

        1. Valissa

          “Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.” –John Lennon

    1. Lambert Strether

      Here’s the Clapper video:

      Why’s Clapper scratching his head? Some kind of tic? When I first saw this, I thought the head-scratching was due to clumsy splicing, or it was some kind of parody. But no. It is real!

  3. Skeptic

    Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

    Obummah biggest fraud ever. He said:

    “I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 per cent security and also then have 100 per cent privacy and zero inconvenience,…”

    So, to get that last .00000005 of security, we have to give up ALL our privacy. Probably, the first 99% of security is provided by being identified by photo ID or passports, normal security checks, etc.
    But to achieve 100% security which is probably impossible, you have to go to draconian measures, strip people of their constitutional rights and run a Police State which is their objective.

    I hope some security expert will closely analyse the ramifications of this statement and how it plays out in the real security world. The Law Of Diminishing Returns is at work when you strip people of Privacy to obtain Security.

    1. Ned Ludd

      At reddit, there is a chilling comment on how surveillance escalated in the country where the commenter now lives. “[T]he purpose of this surveillance from the governments point of view is to control enemies of the state. Not terrorists.”

      With this tech in place, the government doesn’t have to put you in jail. They can do something more sinister. They can just email you a sexy picture you took with a girlfriend. Or they can email you a note saying that they can prove your dad is cheating on his taxes. Or they can threaten to get your dad fired. All you have to do, the email says, is help them catch your friends in the group. You have to report back every week, or you dad might lose his job. So you do. You turn in your friends and even though they try to keep meetings off grid, you’re reporting on them to protect your dad. […]

      1. Joe

        I agree Ned, this has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with citizen control and intimidation.

    2. Walter Map

      You do realize, of course, that none of this has anything to do with “security”, any more than the military has anything to do with “national defense”. If “security” were the goal they would operate much differently, so “security” cannot be the goal. Civilization is marching briskly into a very dark place, from where it never may return.

      Just so we’re clear about that.

      1. PQS


        If, as Senator Feinstein and others have loudly bleated, all this spying had ACTUALLY resulted in foiling “major terror plots” they would have used that information on the evening “news” for propaganda for weeks and weeks. Instead, we’ve heard very little about any “plots” being unmasked. Much more about FAILURES like the Boston Bombers and “lone gunmen” going crazy.

        Their story stinks. And every Founding Father would agree.

        1. spooz

          From Counterpunch:

          We Oppose the Surveillance State
          An Open Letter to Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
          by NORMAN SOLOMON

          includes a link to a public “Panel and Forum on the Disappearing Civil Liberties in the United States” being held on Tuesday, June 11th in Berkley, panel includes Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

        2. Ms G

          Certain media outlets have wasted no time rising to the occasion — to defend Obama’s petulant and defensive speech yesterday parroting the lie about surveillange having anything to do with catching “terrorists.”

          For example, the NY Post’s editorial praising BHO’s screed against “media hype” trotted out a “story” about how PRISM allowed authorities to nab a guy who “planned to attack New York” [my paraphrase].

          So there — 100% surrender of privacy is TOTALLY worth it!

          I haven’t seen this story anywhere else and if the NYPD and FBI’s track record is any indication — manufacturing suspects with ham-handed entrapment techniques — there is little reason not to doubt much of its content.

          Still, it is amusing to watch the Post jump in “presto” to lend credence to the fakery that is the so-called “war on terror.” (Granted, the Post jumps on any opportunity to gin up negative images of Muslims, because they are the “enemy of Israel.” So this is par for the course.)

          1. Ms G

            Is this the same guy who claimed to take on the prison-industrial complex and the war on drugs? He must have a Sybil problem.

    3. Doug Terpstra

      The Neo-Orwellian term is “Big Bro'”.

      Speaking of Orwellian, Washington officials have used ‘Reprehensible, Reckless, Illegal’ as adjectives to describe the NSA surveillance leak — no, not the illegal surveillance, but the leak. It makes me nostalgic for Nixon years (and the innocence of youth).

      As Lambert noted, the silence of Opologists on this is deafening. Has anyone broached the word impeachment yet? I supposed despite the latest crimes, most of us frogs are still too busy enjoying the hot tub.

      1. Ms G

        For some odd reason it seems in this country that impeachments (and similar removals from office) — see, e.g., Spitzer, Clinton, Petraeus — occur only when the lies (or secret doings) concern behavior that offends certain sensibilities — not stuff like the use of office to destroy the republic.

  4. Chris Engel

    Krugman made this post about who is the backstop for ECB if any losses incur:

    But then he made a correction stating:

    Correction: There is not, I’m told, any formal Treasury backing for the Fed; there were informal assurances early in the crisis, and everyone takes it for granted that any losses that exceed the interest the Fed normally turns over would be made whole, but in principle the Treasury could let the Fed go bust.

    But Bob Eisenbeis writes this about an accounting change at the Fed that went on in 2011:

    Under normal conditions, the U.S. Treasury treats Federal Reserve earnings remittances as income for purposes of scoring the budget, even though those transactions are technically just an intra-governmental transfer of funds. It is like shifting coins from one pocket to another and recording the transfer as income. How will the debiting of the new negative liability account be treated for budget scoring purposes? Will it be treated as an expenditure? Will it be treated as an increase in the public debt? Clearly the negative liability account represents a claim on future remittances that the Treasury is willing to forego.

    So what this accounting change did, according to Eisenbeis, was enable the Fed to absorb losses by foregoing future Treasury remittances through a contra-liability account.

    In other words, the Treasury doesn’t need to, operationally, provide any backstop because the Fed can just screw with the accounting and absorb the losses as if they count against future payments to Treasury.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘In principle the Treasury could let the Fed go bust.”

      … if ‘go bust’ means ‘become insolvent,’ something that is likely to occur in coming years as price losses on the Fed’s 53-to-1 leveraged portfolio wipe out its thin capital, and then some.

      Consider the parent entity, though. When its immense future promises are quantified using accrual accounting, the US government is insolvent NOW, to the tune of tens of trillions. That don’t stop it from going about its busybody business, though. All that governments care about is liquidity: cash flow.

      Ordinary businesses fail when they lack the cash to meet liabilities. But for the Federal Reserve, $1.2 billion of its liabilities (more than it stands to lose on its portfolio) consist of currency: Federal Reserve Notes. These notes are irredeemable: they only can be exchanged for more notes, not for the Treasuries or gold which nominally ‘back’ them.

      An entity with substantial irredeemable liabilities (which of course derive from abuse of sovereign privilege) is hard to put out of business, even when it’s manifestly, flagrantly insolvent. The Ivy League eggheads of the Fed are concerned about personal embarrassment and loss of professional reputation. Being hauled into bankruptcy court ain’t a credible threat.

      Ultimately, the Fed’s Achilles heel is likely to be its $3.3 trillion off-balance-sheet custody account for other central banks. A run on this account by perfidious foreigners likely would overwhelm the Fed’s ability to stop it by simply flashing its PhD Deputy badge and barking ‘Halt!’

      1. Chris Engel

        But can’t we agree that technical insolvency is basically irrelevant because the central bank is perpetually liquid and doesn’t rely on anyone else for financing?

        The way I see it, this acocunting change in 2011 represented a preparation for when the Fed does face accounting losses on its operations. Because it will just forego FUTURE remittances through a contra-liability account that will tally it but not hold Treasury’s books accountable for it. It’s all accounting, it’s all the spreadsheet.

        I’m not 100% sure, but from the Fed release back in 2011 and Eisenbeis’ analysis it seems to be the case.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Yes. Technical insolvency is irrelevant … except to the extent people start pointing fingers and snickering at the Fed’s ‘insolvent ain’t bankrupt’ Enron accounting. They got nothin’ …

        2. anon y'mouse

          technical insolvency is irrelevant, when they want to expand spying capabilities or buy the military some expensive new toys.

          but it becomes an issue when they want to cut social programs.

          kids must starve here so other kids can be bombed out of existence.

        3. psychohistorian

          Look at that technical insolvency in a larger context and you will see the coming set up for resolving the current currency war.

          Only the losers will be left holding US dollars as all the smart money is moved into the “new fiat money arrangement” or commodities/property just prior to the precipitating crash.

  5. AbyNormal

    HeY FuzzY…is meth & x really DoD property?? and do the boneheads really wanna go there???

    re: “The sting, dubbed “Operation Perfect Storm,” also netted 92 stolen vehicles, methamphetamines and ecstasy, and 10,000 rounds of ammunition and high capacity magazines. The value of the stolen goods was estimated at $1 million, according to authorities.”

    ~I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.~
    hinton, the outsiders

    1. optimader

      “..Shoot, a fella’ could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.>

      ~Major T. J. “King” Kong

  6. LucyLulu

    Ned Ludd posted on this yesterday and it needs reposting in case anybody missed it. It finishes connecting the dots with the NSA surveillance.

    Back in 2006, Mark Klein, an AT&T technician and whistleblower from San Francisco came forward to provide testimony in a case alleging violation of customers’ privacy, Hepting v AT&T, filed by Electronic Frontiers Foundation. It reads like the DaVinci code. In 2002 an NSA employee first showed up at his office to interview somebody for a tech job whose work was secret. He would come to find out about room 641A, a large room barred access to all but that one employee. It sat in their facility that housed their switching hubs and routers for the internet backbone, the fibreoptic cable that transports the largest volumes of internet traffic, the internet superhighways. This backbone carried not only AT&T but the internet traffic of Qwest, Sprint, Verizon’s predecessor, among others. AT&T would merely grab it’s packets and allow the rest to continue on its way.

    Klein managed to see a copy of the wiring diagrams for room 641A which sat directly above AT&T’s equipment. He realized that splitters (like the ones installed for cable TV to allow duplicate connections in your home) had been installed and that copies of all the traffic was being fed upstairs to room 641A. The NSA was receiving a copy of all of the traffic and had installed a semantic traffic analyzer made by Narus. He discovered there were likely several other similar locations around the country. The fibreoptic splitters use prisms to refract light to duplicate the signal, hence PRISM.

    Is all this bizarre coincidence? I think not. They may well be using a similar strategy to capture traffic of Google, Apple and others without their knowledge. The NSA could even capture the traffic offsite altogether. The tech companies may well be in the dark about the surveillance.

    Ned Ludd’s link from 2007 story:

    More detailed account and discussion of legal implications (28 pages):

    I don’t want to post the link as it will probably send my post into cyber netherland, but Wired originally broke the story.

    1. LucyLulu

      And for anybody whose been asleep the last couple years, a link to an article about the NSA’s new datacenter in Utah. With the capacity to monitor all this traffic, the NSA needs some place to store and process the data.

      Upon opening this fall, at 100,000 sq. feet and capable of storing 5 years of global internet traffic, it will be home to the most powerful supercomputer the world has seen yet.

      1. Susan the other

        About Salt Lake City. In 1945 Hill AFB was considered to be the most secure AFB in the US; it would be “shut down last.” A lot of GIs flocked there to get jobs. Because it’s so hard to storm by enemy countries, not enemies within however. Situated between two massive mountain ranges and monitored beyond belief. And remember, taking land requires troops, not missiles. So of course national security dictates that something as important as information be cloistered safely away. Not that I like it when I get surveilled for typing this stuff. But it is true.

    2. Joe

      I’ve been an Electronics Tech for 30 years and worked for Mitsubishi Wireless, Bellsouth and AT&T. I’ve worked in tech support, what the telcos call translations and in central offices (equipment buildings).

      There is no way the government is doing what they are doing without these companies complete cooperation and support.

      1. Ned Ludd

        Companies are legally required to give the U.S. government data as decreed by the secret FISA court. However, according to The New York Times, tech companies worked to facilitate this process and make it easier for the government to access their data. “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”

        In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.

        It is clear why the tech companies have been fixated on the phrase “direct access”. There is no direct access to the servers. Instead, people called “collection managers” instruct equipment (that the companies voluntarily installed for the government) to access the servers for them.

        In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing “collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,” rather than directly to company servers.

        1. LucyLulu

          I saw that, too. (I’ve been obsessed with this.) But thinking like the government, wouldn’t it be even better if the companies weren’t in on it? Less people who know means less people who can blow the whistle. Furthermore, in the Hepting v AT&T case I posted a link to above there was discussion in the decision about the companies admitting/denying existence of surveillance on their systems and its ramifications on the government’s ability to declare ‘state secrets’ privilege (see pp. 432-3). That decision was in 2006 and it may well not be the final word on the subject. I didn’t look for updates and I’m not a legal researcher. Besides, now we have FISA (yeah folks, a secret court, for secret activities) whose proceedings are secret. I mention it because perhaps that played a role in the companies’ statements. Perhaps they’d been told what they were required to say.

          I also saw an interview with either Wyden or Udall, can’t remember which. He said Congress did NOT know about this. He said he only knew because he had specifically sought out the info and had asked a lot of questions when the Patriot Act came up for renewal. He was then not allowed to divulge the information. It was the senator who said the public would be stunned if they knew the extent of the surveillance. He said he was sure that the Intelligence Committee had been filled in but that general Congress members had not. They had only gotten extremely vague details.

          In other words, Obama lied when he said Congress knew and had approved it. Shocking, absolutely shocking. And the interview was on MSNBC!

      2. LucyLulu

        Can you explain to me why not?

        Say, for example…….. There’s a cable (ok, sure, more than one) coming across the Pacific from China to California carrying internet traffic. Or a major backbone between NY and Chicago. Somewhere, enroute, a switching station is built that picks up and copies all traffic and routes it on to Utah. If they wanted just Google traffic, let’s say, the station could be located down the street from Google. (Did you know Google’s global HQ in CA is bounded on one side by NASA research facility and US national forest on another? Ain’t that convenient?) It would work the same way that a person could snoop on his neighbor’s (who uses a different ISP) internet traffic by hooking a splitter onto the snoopee’s ISP’s line running through the snooper’s backyard (a known example, actually they hooked up to the neighborhood switching station to snoop, but trying to keep example more true to theory). It could be then searched for all packets contained his IP address in the header (assuming cost and concerns over legality are not issues). Similarly, instead of hooking onto local neighborhood lines, the NSA concentrates on large backbones or lines to megaservers like Google. And instead of a limited search for one specific IP address, they would have the capacity to do multiple searches and cross search against gazillions (techie term) of databases. (BTW Lambert, you can’t use html tags to hide text in data packets. Everything, including text and hiding tags, is merely converted to a string of 1’s and 0’s. The “hiding” of text is rendered by the client computer’s browser software, after the data has flowed through the computer’s networking card. One would have to use encryption.)

        My networking skills are sorely lacking and I’m sure you can run circles around me. I haven’t ruled out that there is a hole in my theory. If so, I’d like to know where.

        1. Joe

          LucyLulu was that question for me?

          My take on it is that you can grab the raw data all you want but because everything is multiplexed; unless you also have the very precise timing info from the telcos, you will never put it back together.

          Pretty much all telecom data (and voice calls are converted to digital data once they hit the network) is multiplexed into a massive wad of data. Think of taking tens of thousands of letters, shredding them into tiny bits, mixing them together in a box and shipping the box to the city of destination. To put that massive wad of pieces back together requires a key so that that data can be reconstructed into a useful form. That key is precise timing information provided by and synchronized to electronic clocking devices across the telcos network.

          If you don’t have that timing you can’t reconstruct doodly squat.

          You can’t sniff the timing off the network unless the telcos give it to you.

          1. Joe

            Also… I forgot to mention, that timing data travels separately from the multiplexed data on its own private network. It never appears on the public network. You can’t get at it.

            I think that there are only two places that I can think of where they can grab all this data. One is from and with the cooperation of the telcos or the other is from and with the cooperation of the internet/tech companies. Probably both.

            We know the telcos are cooperating by handing over the metadata, it’s probably a safe bet that they are handing over the timing as well if asked (ordered? ha, ha). Who knows? All three branches of government and most corporations are controlled by liars, we may never know.

          2. bob

            This is something that is very hard to explain to people. The simplest words I have been able to come up with are-

            With IP data, you can’t “listen” to a “link”, you have to listen at a “node”.

            That also means you have to listen to EVERTHING at that node and the parse out what you don’t want.

          3. LucyLulu

            Thanks for the very clear explanation Joe, and you too, Bob. So many experts on NC! My theory sounded good, as long as it lasted. I knew packets got disassembled and reassembled, but you’re saying there is proprietary timing depending on the provider. I thought they were merely numbered in sequence. One more question, if I may. Is the timing info for each ISP/telco a constant? In other words, if you can get a hold of that info for a particular host (or is it per connection perhaps?), do all their packets/datagrams/frames/manila envelopes :) use the same timing protocol?

            Bob, I’d say that getting ALL traffic isn’t considered a bug by the NSA, but a feature. Have to fill up that 5 zettabytes (= 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes = 5 billion trillion bytes) of storage with something.

          4. bob

            Again, I’m not that up to date on telecom tech, but it’s by design that you can’t listen to a “link”. Once you insert a listening device between to nodes, you have created another “node”.

            On a smaller scale, dealing with very little data, it can probably be done. On a larger, city sized router, it’s impossible to parse out one phone call broken into thousands of different out of time data packets.

            You would have to have access to all the data to begin the process of re-assebling it into a coherent form.

            William Binney is good to listen to for an explination. He thinks in a completely different logic than normal people.

            That’s the “problem” that Binney and others like him were brought in to solve- How do we parse this giant data store?

          5. Joe


            I couldn’t quite figure out where to reply so I hope you find this : )

            I’m pretty rusty because I haven’t worked for in telephony for last 7 years and I was a tech, not an engineer so…

            AT&T runs an extremely tight, highly secure network. They monitor it all, at all times. If you are accessing it, they will know it (my impression from experience). All the tools (software) that I used to access the network were compartmentalized (to task at hand), password protected and all network access logged.

            What I remember is the clock on the demultiplexer has to match the one on the multiplexer exactly. It is probably no problem for the government to do that. The point I was trying to make was that I don’t think that anyone can do that without the telcos knowing/approving. You have to be able to access the timing off of the satellite. Who the hell knows, it could be a government owned satellite???

            A network engineer would know all this for sure but I wasn’t that level.

          6. Mark P.

            [1] What Joe and Bob said is correct and to the point.

            Especially the point Bob made is central: ‘With IP data, you can’t “listen” to a “link”, you have to listen at a “node”. That also means you have to listen to (hoover up)EVERTHING at that node and parse out what you don’t want.’

            [2] But there’s one more piece of the picture.

            Joe writes: ‘I think that there are only two places that I can think of where they can grab all this data. One is … the telcos … the other is … the internet/tech companies. Probably both.”

            Joe is probably wrong here. There are not only the telcos and the ISPs, but also a third actor — the phone-billing service companies.

            Of particular interest is Amdocs, the largest such company in the world and ultimately based in Israel, although they’ve covered their tracks on that since 2006, which was the last time there was public excitement about about communication surveillance, and are now officially based on the Island of Guernsey —


            “Amdocs Limited is a provider of software and services for communications, media and entertainment industry service providers. The company develops, implements and manages software and services for business support systems (BSS), including billing, customer relationship management (CRM), and for operations support systems (OSS). Amdocs is the market leader in Telecommunication Billing Services which forms the major strength of the company. Its products consist of software developed to provide customer experience systems functionality for service providers. The software systems support the customer lifecycle: revenue management, customer management, service and resource management and service delivery.

            “Its traditional clients are telecommunications “Tier-1″ and “Tier-2″ providers such as AT&T, BT Group, Sprint, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Bell Canada, Telus, Rogers Communications, Telekom Austria, Cellcom, Comcast, DirecTV, Elisa Oyj, TeliaSonera and O2-Ireland. The company also offers outsourced customer service and data center operations. Headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri, Amdocs has more than 20,000 employees and serves customers in more than fifty countries (the Registered office of the company is in the Island of Guernsey). “

          7. bob

            Mark, that’s the scariest part to me, that the NSA is “outsourcing” all of this data collection and monitoring.

            Narus is another isreali company that makes the vaccums that exist inside telco central offices. Now part of Boeing…on paper. About the same timeline.

            The CO equipment dates back to Mark Klein at the AT&T offices in San Franscisco in 2003.

            It’s also important to note at this point that even regular old copper line phone calls are converted to IP within the office for the purposes of routing.

            Every piece of “data” getting to your home or office passes through one of these CO’s. Yes, Time warner can use and At&T switch. As from above, data includes phone calls.

            This is why in 2003 when they were caught installing this equipment the people that know the “theory” of IP communtications went nuts. You have to gather EVERYTHING off the switch in order to find anything. If you are looking for one person’s email…you need to be listening to everything. You have to get everything, looking at everything, and then throw out what you don’t want in order to get to what you are looking for.

            The “routers” are very dumb machines. That’s not to say that they aren’t high tech, they are. But their goal is speed. The data arrives at the router as data, all email, phone calls, etc. It’s all passing through a machine who’s only goal is to move it to the next adress. There is no “phone wire” going into the machine. There is no “overeseas calls only” port attached. It all goes in as IP traffic and leaves at IP traffic. No difference between phone, business email or porn.

            I’ve had this argument with dozens of people since 2003. “well, they’re just looking at the foreign phone calls”

            Taken at face, these people seem to think that this is a telegraph system where you can hook into the line that says “overseas”. It doesn’t work like that in a large city in this day and age. NY is a hub for a lot of Europe bound stuff, That europe bound stuff passes through the same swithces as the upper east sider calling their dry cleaner, or possibly the person in Kansas looking at

            In order to get to the point where you can “listen” to the overseas calls, you would have to gather all of the calls, email, etc and then look at each one.

            Look at each one. They are looking at everything.

            Only after looking can you determine where the traffic is headed. At this point, you can *begin* to identify data that might be an overeseas phone call. More analysis is required.

            By admitting they were “listening” to overseas calls, they were admitting that they were listening to all calls, by definition.

          8. bob


            Wrong word. This word also tripped up Binney and he had to change his very careful wording.

            They are collecting and analyzing everything. I would call that “listening”, but in the context of phone calls, no they don’t have a guy hunched over a desk listening and transcribing every phone call.

            Phone calls are a little more difficult. In the NSA rhelm, they probably just use voice recogition software.

            In the FBI rhelm, where they need to be able to provide information to courts, they need to have a person listen, trascribe and then swear on his work in order for it to be eligable as “evidence”.

            In both the NSA and FBI, data(email, text) is much easier to parse. It doesn’t need to be interepreted. It “speaks” for itself.

            Computer “power” is cheap, people are expenisve.

          9. subgenius

            nice exposition Bob…but are you aware that educating Alices might get you in hot water with Chuck and Eve?

        2. Ned Ludd

          A secret FISA court cannot make a company turn over information that they do not have. Similarly, the government cannot copy information from the Internet that was never sent. However, when tech companies collaborate with the government, they can track things that the government wants tracked and retrieve information from their users’ web browsers that the government wants retrieved. They then have the information the government wants, they give the government access to this information in response to a FISA court order, and it is all legal.

          Also, analyzing data can be extraordinarily complicated, even when you know how it is structured; ask anyone who has worked on a legacy system after the original programmers left. If the company does not cooperate, the problem becomes horribly complex for the government. It is like trying to spear fish from Niagra Falls; much easier to catch them upstream. You end up involving a lot of people to analyze the raw data streams from telecom pipes. The more accurate you want your analysis, the more complicated it becomes, the more bugs in your code, and the more people who get involved. A lot of traffic is being encrypted now, which just makes everything an even bigger PITA if you are fishing from the raw streams.

          Getting a company to cooperate is similar to recruting an informant. There are risks and benefits. The company can suggest ways to track its users that the government had not though about; the company is going to be a lot more familiar with their internal systems and the data they are tracking. The amount of information that an individual tech company tracks is immense, and they are always researching ways to analyze and monetize this information. They know not only how to give the government what it wants, but they also can suggest things that the government had not thought to ask for.

          1. Ms G

            Ned, great information about the mechanics. “Collection managers” … the bagmen of Total Information State.

        3. Ned Ludd

          A new slide revealed by The Guardian shows that the NSA does collect “communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past”. PRISM, however, is a separate program.

          • Collection of communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past. (FAIRVIEW, ██████████, BLARNEY, ████████)

          • Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple

          You Should Use Both

          1. Ned Ludd

            I made a mistake typing up the slide. Under PRISM, “U.S. Providers” should be “U.S. Service Providers”.

          2. Chris Engel

            There’s doubt being cast now on Greenwald’s reporting:


            The Washington Post has backtracked from its initial report on PRISM. At first, the paper claimed the Silicon Valley firms “participate knowingly in PRISM operations.” But then — without explanation — the newspaper quietly removed that language last night. It also abandoned its original claim to have confirmed that the NSA is “tapping directly into the central servers” of the companies.

            Guardian is sticking by its reporting, but there’s a source familiar with PRISM who says it’s all a misunderstanding.

            Not sure what to think. Standing by for more info.

          3. Ned Ludd

            My comment above shows how the NSA can directly access all the data without, from a technical standpoint, having direct access to the servers. From The New York Times:

            In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.

            The data is deposited in the same way that a web server “deposits” data on your computer when you request it. It is all automatic, as The Washington Post article makes clear. The “collection managers” are people in the NSA who request the information from the servers.

            It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing “collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,” rather than directly to company servers.

            When you go to, you do not directly access Google’s internal servers. You (or your web browser) sends “tasking instructions” like a GET request to a web server, which will then “request data” from internal data servers. Those internal servers than “deposit” this information on the web server, which sends it back to you.

          4. TK421

            “there’s a source familiar with PRISM who says it’s all a misunderstanding”

            Well why would they lie?

    3. bob

      First up- Wired. I can’t think of a group more gov friendly than the “journalists” that work there.

      Both Manning and Swartz were ratted out by “reporters” working for Wired. That’s not a very good track record. 2 of the biggest cases in the past few years and Wired is at the middle, offering whatever help they can.

      Adrian Lamo ratted out Manning.

      Quinn Norton ratted out Swartz. She was also his “soul-mate” at the time.

      Both still work at Wired.

  7. Ned Ludd

    Greenwald remarked that he has been using Cryptocat for encrypted chatting. “@kaepora I’ve become a huge fan of Cryptocat this week, by the way”. I’m not familiar with Cryptocat. According to the website: “Cryptocat is free software that aims to provide an open, accessible Instant Messaging environment that encrypts your conversations and works right in your browser.”

    Also, it is apparently a good idea to go to Hong Kong when filing a story about top secret documents. In his Piers Morgan interview, text appears in the corner (when Greenwald is fullscreen) that shows that Greenwald was in Hong Kong.

    Last Sunday, Greenwald wrote, “The combination of extensive travel and being quite consumed with a story I’m working on has prevented me from writing for the last couple of days.” I would speculate that he traveling to meet his source(s) in order to avoid U.S. surveillance and ensure the safety of his sources.

    1. Inverness

      Who isn’t a little worried about Mr. Greenwald these days? He’s a treasure, but I worry what could happen were he to step on US soil.

      1. AbyNormal

        i worry too Inverness.

        Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, they are the only ones who ever have.
        m. mead

    2. ambrit

      Mr. Ludd;
      I would ask; Why Hong Kong?
      A semi-autonimous enclave of arguably the biggest and ‘baddest’ authoritarian state in the world. Are the Chinese having some fun at the NeoLib Empires’ expense? Is this payback for the recent economic sabre rattling by the NE? Just possibly, Mr. Greenwald was talking to some of Microsofts “Great Firewall of China” developers. The same paradigm applies to the GFC and PRISM.
      All the same, I hope Mr. Greenwald stays off of aircraft of any sort for the near future. He’s too valuable to lose.

      1. Ned Ludd

        Hong Kong is controlled by an authoritarian state whose intelligences agencies do not appear to be on good terms with U.S. intelligence agencies.

        Anyplace else, all of Greenwald’s movements would be tracked. If a government, such as Brazil, refused to officially turn over information to the U.S., the NSA could still track his communications and the CIA could track him using their informants who work in hotels, airports, airlines, media organizations, foreign government offices, foreign intelligence agencies, etc. If you had tens of billions of dollars at your disposal, who would you have on your payroll? How much would you be willing to pay for Greenwald’s phone records, his email records, and information about who Greenwald is meeting?

        I would guess that Hong Kong is a nightmare for U.S. intelligence surveillance because the controlling government is not friendly, potential informants have to balance reward versus a serious risk to themselves from their own government, and it is easy to get lost in a crowd. Greenwald could quietly disappear in the early morning hours to another country, via one of the world’s busiest airports, and be back in Hong Kong by midnight. The US government would not even know he left the country. It would be near-impossible for anyone but the Chinese government to track his movements.

        1. Chris Rogers

          As someone who’s resided in Hong Kong since prior to the Hand Over in 1997, in my own opinion nothing much as really changed, its still a Colony, which the exception that instead of the Brit’s having ultimate authority, the Mainland Chinese now have the same said authority.

          Further, since I arrived, its always been necessary to carry an ID Card – although the police rarely check Westerners or African American’s – God help you if you look like a Mainland Chinese, Vietnamese or a multitude of ethnic Asian mixes – police ID checks being a regular occurrence.

          Freedom of the press exists – as does self censorship, together with freedom of speech and freedom of Assembly within reason – indeed, a few years into the Millennium more than 1 in 7 of the population took to the streets in protest at the government – try much of this in Singapore and your either on a oneway ticket out of the country, taken to Court under various libel laws, or whipped – in a nutshell, many freedom we used to take for granted in the West exist in Hong Kong – even basic democracy at a local level, but not at a national level, the Chief Executive being chosen by the Chinese and a number of business interest groups.

          As for freedom of movement and access to the Internet, well I think its a given most understand we are being watched, by whom exactly remains a mystery – so not sure if the Chinese authorities would actually have an interest in Greenwald if he’s here – and its quite easy to get lost once in the Territory.

          its also got a large Gay community – no surprises there if you know where to look.

          Obviously, matters are different once you actually enter the Mainland, i.e., censorship of the Western Media exists, their always seem a large police presence in places like Beijing and Shanghai and no doubt communications are not secure.

          Despite China being a totalitarian state, resistance to the state authorities is greater than found in say Singapore – people actually protest and sometimes the State take notice, on other occasions its a news blackout and brutal suppression – much like the US-authorities attack’s on the Occupy movement.

          China also has a smaller prison population that the USA, despite being approx. 3 times larger in terms of population, it has the death penalty and probably about the same number of state executions as the States – indeed, even financial fraudsters sometimes get a bullet to the back of the head – basically its the State instructing the money men who’s actually still in charge – corruption is rife, but probably on par with DC if we are realists and accept US democracy is corroded from top to bottom.

          So, in reality, Greenwald if still in HK would have greater freedom than if he was in the USA, indeed, the Chinese would probably support his ‘pissing’ into the tent as it aids their own propaganda.

          So, if Glenn is here, I hope he’s letting his hair down a bit and enjoying a beer somewhere in Wanchai – such is Hong Kong.

          The US Consulate by the way is quite large and HK still has a solid Foreign Press Club, however, since the Handover, its noticeable its got smaller and, so perhaps not a haven for spooks, but the spooks are here nonetheless – they’d have trouble keeping pins on Greenwald as long as he’s not utilising digital forms of communication – throw away mobiles being easy to get hold off.

          So, as daft as it sounds, we are probably freer here in Hong Kong than you chaps in the USA – I don’t think drones are too welcome either.

          As another aside, the USA is none too keen of attacking those with nuclear weapons – so how it gets away with what it does in Pakistan beats me.

          Anything else I’m happy to comment on and well done Mr. Greenwald, he’s stirred up a bit of a hornets nest, regrettably he’s accused of being a malcontent and trouble maker, rather than an actual patriot.

          1. Ned Ludd

            Thanks for your insight into Hong Kong. Would it be possible for Greenwald to stay and travel around Hong Kong using only cash? Could he check into hotels, buy throwaway mobiles, get Internet access, enjoy a beer, travel on transit, rent a car, and fly out of the country without showing his ID card and having his name attached to what he is doing?

          2. Chris Rogers

            HK is a cash-based society, the Chinese like cash, rather than credit.

            Wanchai is still a bit of a ‘red light’ district and you can check-in to sleazy hotels if with a call-girl, no ID required – lots of WiFi hotspots in bars and clubs – you cannot leave HK legally without being registered – many ports exist though, so you can work the rest out yourself.

            In a nutshell, a good place to hang out if you don’t want anyone to know who you are.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I may be worrying needlessly, but can they be sharpening the ‘you can criticize the government from abroad’ knife?

          4. Propertius

            As another aside, the USA is none too keen of attacking those with nuclear weapons – so how it gets away with what it does in Pakistan beats me.

            Because Pakistan doesn’t have the sort of delivery systems China does. I should think that would be obvious.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Dear Ambrit,

        They are building the Great Fall of China.

        When it happens, you can see it even from the Moon….maybe the only thing big enough to see from the Moon.

        1. ambrit

          Dear MLTPB;
          OOOOO… Will we next be serenaded with the martial tunes of that great NeoLib production: “Springtime For Obama?”
          The possibilities are endless, the realities finite.

    3. Jim Haygood

      ‘It is apparently a good idea to go to Hong Kong when filing a story about top secret documents.’

      It’s more than just a good idea. In stylized terms, Greenwald’s choice was ‘Go to Hong Kong, or go to prison.’

      Consider a long-ago, pre-Patriot Act analogy, back when the U.S. Constitution was still in effect:

      Kissinger convinced [Nixon] that not opposing publication [of the Pentagon Papers] set a negative precedent for future secrets. The administration argued that Ellsberg and Russo were guilty of a felony under the Espionage Act of 1917, because they had no authority to publish classified documents.

      Ellsberg and Russo were not acquitted of violating the Espionage Act; they were freed due to a mistrial from irregularities in the government’s case.

      Glenn Greenwald likely can never return to the United States. Don’t shed tears for his exile, though. No one regrets being absent during other episodes of national socialism. Those stuck in Obama’s panopticon without means of escape are the ones to feel sorry for.

    4. bob

      Privacy…there’s a app for that.

      Greewald approved.

      If you want to attract the attention of “the authorities” the best was to do so would be to open an encrypted channel from the US to another country.

      This cloak and dagger BS is exaclty that…BS. Made for a spy movie with very little relevance to anyone in normal life.

      Before worrying about who might be listening to the communitcation streams out of your computer, you should look at who has DIRECT access to your computer and operating system. M$ and APPL.

        1. Ned Ludd

          I am using Ubuntu right now, but unfortunately Ubuntu is getting cozy with Microsoft. Because of their lack of respect for users’ privacy, Richard Stallman, the founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, thinks installing Ubuntu is a mistake.

          Eventually, I will install Linux Mint or Debian, to replace Ubuntu. Both Ubuntu and Linux Mint† are based on Debian, but Debian can be a bit tricky to install since they place non-free software outside of their official repositories. Also, with Debian, you must choose:

          a) stable and old (mostly for servers)
          b) testing and new (which breaks occasionally)
          c) unstable and cutting edge (for Debian developers and people who like the challenge of trying to keep their box running)

          † Linux Mint has both a Debian edition and their main edition. Their main edition is built on Ubuntu (which is built on Debian).

          1. Chris Engel

            openSUSE is nice :)

            why so partial to debian? is it just apt-get?

            don’t touch ubuntu, it’s bloatware to say the very least, but it’s also what Redhat used to be in the 90’s: what noobs use who don’t know how to linux :P

          2. Ned Ludd

            Red Hat in the 1990’s and RPM Hell: you would have to hunt down an endless chain of rpm’s to update a single piece of software, and every new rpm necessitated even more rpm’s you had to update. Then you run into conflicts…. ugh.

            I have heard openSUSE is nice. And yum and other software does for rpm files what APT did for deb packages. But I have grown used to apt-get and its kin, and the Debian ecosystem is pretty diverse, largely thanks to Ubuntu. Before Canonical revived the Debian ecosystem, it seemed to be dieing a slow death.

          3. Propertius

            you would have to hunt down an endless chain of rpm’s to update a single piece of software, and every new rpm necessitated even more rpm’s you had to update. Then you run into conflicts…. ugh.

            Which is why God invented YUM.

          4. Ned Ludd

            God invented APT. YUM is an idol in APT’s image.

            (just kidding, I have never used YUM and would probably still be using Red Hat had it existed back then)

      1. Ned Ludd

        Microsoft and Apple don’t employ a violent police force and keep a solitary cage ready to confine me in if they see me as disruptive or uncooperative.

        In September 2012, KteeO and her colleague, Matthew Duran, were imprisoned and sent to solitary confinement at Seattle Federal Detention Center for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury. They weren’t being tried for any crime, but refused to testify because of their political ideals. […]

        What heinous crime could justify the use of solitary confinement to get KteeO and Matt to cooperate?

        In this case, it was a few acts of vandalism during a May Day protest last year. […]

        The suspects are alleged to be a group of anarchists, as are KteeO and Matt. Matt and KteeO believe they were brought in to testify based solely on their shared political beliefs with the suspects, and that the FBI is on a witch hunt to track down political dissenters.

        ReasonTV interviewed Matthew Duran and Katherine “KteeO” Olejnik.

        1. Ned Ludd

          I agree with diptherio that it is good to switch to free software. To be clear, I was not being dismissive of the threat of proprietary software. I was responding to bob’s suggestion that “before worrying” about the NSA, we should worry about corporations. We should worry about both; the government is extraordinarily dangerous, and bob’s comment sounded dismissive of the government threat.

        2. bob

          Look at what they did to the guy in Califonia who found a misplaced prototype iPhone. They stormed his house, appl and local authorites together.

          As for linux…meh. I think you just have to assume everything you do on a computer these days is recorded, full stop. Does linux make that a little harder? I’ve heard the intel agencies are quite apept at using linux. I can’t out spook a spook.

          Google, with Android, is the most worriying to me currently. They are now both an operating system (open source…yay!), a telecom, and an ad agency.

          By putting the OS and the telecom carrier under one roof they making MS wish it had waited to put the OS and the browser under one roof.

          Wait…didn’t Google do that with android? Ms caught a ton of flack for doing that, settelement still in the press in the EU…but google’s “not evil”, so we have that + google ads sitting in our pockets.

  8. Ned Ludd

    On reddit, someone living in one of the Arab Spring countries commented on how surveillance escalated in their country. From the details about trying to visit a doctor, I would guess they live in Bahrain. Someone from Iran responded:

    The post-election Iranian uprising in 2008 did not succeed mostly because it was impossible for the people to organize. All communication was being monitored. Phone calls, texts messages, facebook, twitter, everything. All signs of dissent were immediately dealt with harshly. The state crushed the movement, even though there were literally millions of people out on the streets protesting. They just couldn’t get organized. People would agree to assemble the next day at a certain city square, and immediately riot police and pro-government militia would be deployed to exactly that spot, waiting for the crowds. The government had bought a sophisticated surveillance system from Nokia-Siemens that let them collect and mine an immense amount of personal data. I imagine PRISM is infinitely more powerful.

    Stop this before it’s too late. You may think your country is immune to the kind of savage insanity that rules the Middle East now, but so did the Iranians in the 1970s.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ned, it is sad that in that story, Facebook/twitter/cellphone-relying protesters looked like amateurs compared with Stone-Age-like flyer/pamphlet-passing protesters of not too long ago.

  9. annie

    so why did the guardian have greenwald’s new revelations about obama’s directive for cyber warfare as its lead story last night and early this morning, and now this has been pulled. story exists only on greenwald’s own guardian page.
    and the nyt hasn’t mentioned a word about it.

    1. ScottW

      Just went to the Guardian at 10:04 a.m. EDT and the story is still there on the main page as well as the order. The NYT’s is probably holding the story because they were scooped and the admin. is making threats if they run it. Since cyber attacks has been characterized as the number one threat to the U.S., and the order demonstrates we are planning to carry out the attacks ourselves, it seems like fairly big news. And with the Chineese coming to town . . .

    1. Ned Ludd

      It could be that the reporters intentionally released their NSA stories to coincide with the meeting. If the U.S. government attacked The Guardian in the same way that it attacked Wikileaks, the meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping would result in people drawing obvious comparisons.

      Wikileaks struggled to stay online Friday as corporations and governments moved to cut its access to the Internet, a potentially crippling blow for an organization dedicated to releasing secret information via the web. […]

      Manchester, New Hampshire-based company EveryDNS, which had been directing traffic to the website — stopped late Thursday after cyber attacks threatened the rest of its network. WikiLeaks responded by moving to a Swiss domain name, — and calling on activists for support. Two companies host the Swiss domain name, one of which is in France. The other is in Sweden.

      Officials in France moved to ban WikiLeaks from servers there, with Industry Minister Eric Besson calling it unacceptable to host a site that “violates the secret of diplomatic relations and puts people protected by diplomatic secret in danger.” […]

      Wikileaks has been brought down numerous times this week by what appear to be denial-of-service attacks…

      The attacks started Sunday, just before WikiLeaks released the diplomatic cables. To deal with the flood of traffic, WikiLeaks moved to Inc.’s Web hosting facility, which has vast numbers of servers that can be rented at need to meet surges.

      Amazon booted the site on Wednesday after U.S. Congressional staffers started asking the company about its relationship to WikiLeaks.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        How does DDOSing Wikileaks really impact its ability to communicate truth? Anything that can be disseminated in text form can simply be emailed to waiting journos/bloggers or posted to a blogging site like this with commenting enabled. Bigger stuff can be distributed via torrents.

        Information cannot effectively be quarantined, erased or censored in RT. As far as we know. Here. Today.

        1. Ned Ludd

          The New York Times, which posted some stories based on the diplomatic cables, ignored cables that were scandalous for the U.S. establishment. If I recall correctly, one story focused on how a diplomatic cable showed how dangerous Iran was. Since the main WikiLeaks site was offline, people were unable to read the cables that WikiLeaks thought were the most interesting.

          Once the main site was back online, people assumed they already got the story from The New York Times, who was a recognized partner in the publishing of the cables. They no longer sought out the WikiLeaks site for additional material. The information is out there; you just have to keep people distracted long enough until they lose interest.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            Yes, the impacts from stuff of marginal general interest or import could probably be attenuated. Blockbuster-type revelations–the really big lurid stuff surely won’t be blunted or deflected by such means. The temporary loss of availability of stuff like of the Wikicables searchable database would hurt, but those can be mirrored 1000 times over. Everyone seriously interested should always make a point of having a local copy so no amount of DDOSing will affect them in any case. One can make it less convenient to access but never make it impossible. If Wikileaks plan around being dependent on having their own domains as conduits without always having good, ready alternatives, they’ve not planned properly.

            Nowadays data, once escaped outside authorized hands, can never be recovered or suppressed. It’s like trying to unring a bell–never happen.

          2. Ned Ludd

            True, but throughout my activist career, I have often had good information. Getting people to act on it requires striking when the iron is hot. The U.S. government would prefer that scandalous information is keep secret, but once out there, their Plan B is to spin it and delay (with empty promises and commissions and toothless investigations and symbolic legislation) until people’s passion for change cools and the moment where change was possible passes.

    2. Susan the other

      which meeting is so understated on the msm that you can miss it altogether if you yawn or blink…

  10. Optimader

    Hugh says:
    June 8, 2013 at 2:34 am
    I came late to this. Hannah Arendt in Origins of Totalitarianism wrote about how the totalitarian apparatus was layered so that outwardly it could project a reassuring sense of normalcy to the normal non-totalitarian world. This strikes me what Obama is doing in telling us not to make too much of all his spying programs.

    The world at large, on the other side, usually gets its first glimpse of a totalitarian movement through its front organizations. The sympathizers, who are to all appearances still innocuous fellow-citizens in a nontotalitarian society, can hardly be called single-minded fanatics; through them, the movements make their fantastic lies more generally acceptable, can spread their propaganda in milder, more respectable forms, until the whole atmosphere is poisoned with totalitarian elements which are hardly recognizable as such but appear to be normal political reactions or opinions. The fellow-traveler organizations surround the totalitarian movements with a mist of normality and respectability that fools the membership about the true character of the outside world as much as it does the outside world about the true character of the movement

    Arendt also said that the more one penetrated inside the totalitarian movement the more it operated outside of all concepts of law and lawlessness, outside of the law because any law, any rule, any standard would be a limit on its power and a potential challenge to it, but also not simply lawless since it purported to operate according to some unfalsifiable historical or biological process.

    Instead of saying that totalitarian government is unprecedented, we could also say that it has exploded the very alternative on which all definitions of the essence of governments have been based in political philosophy, that is the alternative between lawful and lawless government, between arbitrary and legitimate power. That lawful government and legitimate power, on one side, lawlessness and arbitrary power on the other, belonged together and were inseparable has never been questioned. Yet, totalitarian rule confronts us with a totally different kind of government. It defies, it is true, all positive laws, even to the extreme of defying those which it has itself established (as in the case of the Soviet Constitution of 1936, to quote only the most outstanding example) or which it did not care to abolish (as in the case of the Weimar Constitution which the Nazi government never revoked). But it operates neither without guidance of law nor is it arbitrary, for it claims to obey strictly and unequivocally those laws of Nature or of History from which all positive laws always have been supposed to spring

    So Obama and the elites do not revoke the Constitution. It simply doesn’t apply to them. They reassure us they do what they do to keep us safe, despite the fact that we don’t feel safer. But safety is unfalsifiable since no matter how unsafe we feel they can always argue that we would be even more unsafe without them. Perhaps too today’s kleptocrats have gone beyond Arendt because it is not clear they ascribe to any belief in some overriding historical or natural process beyond their own right to dominate the levers of power and wealth. Perhaps that is their totalitarian fiction, that they are indispensable and that this justifies their criminality. Or perhaps their brand of “capitalism” is their fictional process which justifies all. Or American exceptionalism. Who knows?

    To finish, I would put out two thoughts.

    First, two rules of thumb: For every spying program you hear about, there are twelve you haven’t; and spying programs never die. Even for those “closed down” and defunded, the data is simply shipped somewhere else and folded into a new or existing spying program.

    The other is about Obama and secrecy. From Hannah Arendt:

    The only rule of which everybody in a totalitarian state may be sure is that the more visible government agencies are, the less power they carry, and the less is known of the existence of an institution, the more powerful it will ultimately turn out to be. According to this rule, the Soviets, recognized by a written constitution as the highest authority of the state, have less power than the Bolshevik party; the Bolshevik party, which recruits its members openly and is recognized as the ruling class, has less power than the secret police. Real power begins where secrecy begins.


    1. Optimader

      Last night i forced myself to flip on the rerun of washington week in review. Worst expectations of that toxic mix of trivialization and superficialization. The clip of an annoyed Bho indicating that he is perfectly happy to have the discussion with the american people (while he turns over heaven and earth to findd the “traitor”) but we must all recognize that we cant have 100% security and 100% freedom at the same time. Gee, did i miss that referendum?

      1. Optimader

        The delusion of 100% security is that nothing can be

        Danger is real.
        Fear is a choice.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          But luckily, they have discovered that that is 100% correlation between the level of a civilization and the Down Jones index (and the S&P 500 index).
          {You can check yourself if you don’t believe me)

          Apparently, our civilization is ready to scale higher highs.

          1. optimader

            Problematic word, that.

            The sign said:
            Hold stick near centre of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion.
            ‘It seemed to me,’ said Wonko the Sane, ‘that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a packet of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.’

            ~D Adams

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thank for the input.

            I believe culture ranks below civilization, or so I am told by anthropologists.

            Maybe I will change that to ‘our culture is about to take off to higher highs.’

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘The totalitarian apparatus was layered so that outwardly it could project a reassuring sense of normalcy to the normal non-totalitarian world.’

      Case in point: California’s Senator Diane Feinstein, former mayor of alternative-leaning San Francisco. Questioned about NSA spying on citizens, she said:

      “As far as I know, this is the exact three-month renewal of what has been in place for the past seven years,” Feinstein asid. “This renewal is carried out by the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] under the business records section of the PATRIOT Act. Therefore, it is lawful. It has been briefed to Congress.

      Briefed to Congress for seven years … but as Senator Wyden pointed out, Congress is gagged from discussing it with the voters.

      When critical public policies are shrouded in secrecy, such that voters are NOT ALLOWED to know what their representatives are authorizing, ‘democracy’ is a malevolent farce.

      This is why I no longer vote. Voting for representatives who are passing secret laws and receiving secret briefings behind your back is as irresponsible as signing a blank check.

      Stop lending your endorsement to a sham democracy, which gleefully treats it as your acquiescence to being abused and oppressed.

      1. Massinissa

        OF COURSE Israels Senator Diane Feinstein would be for more govt spying. I would actually be spitting my milk out if she was outraged at this. At least she is being truthful.

        As for not voting… I dont know. Maybe I should do that. I voted for the first time this September, for president I put down Jill Stein (No way in hell am I going to vote for one of the two ‘lesser evils’. I hate that schtick.), and for everything else I just voted straight democrat, though it was just local positions, nothing national.

        Personally I would rather just vote, but vote for a party that has no hope in hell of winning, but I suppose in a way that gives the process legitimacy. Even though it should be the opposite, since the entire system is designed to exclude third parties.

        1. Jim Haygood

          ‘As Greenwald tweeted after [Feinstein’s] news conference: “The reason there are leakers is precisely because the govt is filled with people like Dianne Feinstein who do horrendous things in secret.” ‘

          ‘A short drive from [Feinstein’s] mansion overlooking San Francisco Bay, hundreds of us will be meeting June 11 at a public forum on “Disappearing Civil Liberties in the United States.”

          ‘One of the speakers, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, could explain to you how the assaults on civil liberties and the wars you keep supporting go hand in hand, undermining the Constitution and causing untold misery.’

        2. optimader

          Oligarchy loves for people not to vote. There is always a choice, pick a third party candidate.

          1. Massinissa

            I agree Opti. Haygood and George Carlin, among others, make convincing arguments, but I would still rather vote third party like I did this past year than just not vote.

            Half the country doesnt vote, and we all know how well thats worked out so far.

          2. AbyNormal

            “The Ephebians believed that every man should have the vote (provided that he wasn’t poor, foreign, nor disqualified by reason of being mad, frivolous, or a woman). Every five years someone was elected to be Tyrant, provided he could prove that he was honest, intelligent, sensible, and trustworthy. Immediately after he was elected, of course, it was obvious to everyone that he was a criminal madman and totally out of touch with the view of the ordinary philosopher in the street looking for a towel. And then five years later they elected another one just like him, and really it was amazing how intelligent people kept on making the same mistakes.”

  11. diptherio

    Grassroots Economic Organizing 14th Anniversary Newsletter:

    Lots of good stuff on worker-owned/managed businesses. Reports from all over the country and the globe. Anyone interested in co-ops should definitely have this site bookmarked. It’s a treasure trove of useful information and experience from the front-lines in building a new economic paradigm. Between GEO and the old Changing Work magazine, Len Krimmerman and company have been covering this beat for 30 years. Check it out.

  12. rich

    West Palm may outsource CRA work; current director plans to bid for contract


    West Palm Beach is preparing to outsource its Community Redevelopment Agency, and CRA director Kim Briesemeister has already told her staff that a private company she runs in Broward County will bid for the contract.

    Sources with knowledge of the situation told The Palm Beach Post that Briesemeister also told the staff she has the support of city commissioners and she believed her company, Redevelopment Management Associates, would win the bid.

    But city officials denied Friday that the deal is fixed for Briesemeister, and she and two CRA employees denied that she told her staff she would win.

    Briesemeister said she spoke to city commissioners to see if they’d be receptive to putting out a bid.

    “I did not say I’d win the bid,” Briesemeister said.

    Briesemeister, the architect of the revamped waterfront, Northwood Village and a failed deal with Digital Domain, has been employed by West Palm Beach since 2004. City spokesman Elliot Cohen said her annual salary is $128,000.

    In a deal in place since 2009, Briesemeister works 20 hours a week at West Palm Beach while she also runs her private company, which contracts with Pompano Beach and Oakland Park to manage their CRAs.

    Under state law, local governments can designate community redevelopment areas that need improved roads, parking, affordable housing or other infrastructure for economic development. They are funded by taxes based on the increased values of property in the designated redevelopment areas.

    West Palm Beach has two community redevelopment areas managed by its CRA, which has an annual budget of $25 million.
    Briesemeister also said she spoke with city ethics officer Norm Ostrau, the Office of Inspector General and state ethics officials and that “they told me there is no conflict as long as I participate in the bid like anybody else.”

    why don’t they just start a friends and family slush fund for the politicians and insiders…read the comments……

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think the best surveillance system a Big Brother can wish for is one where the people VOLUNTEER their own secrets.

      I understand that is a very trendy, hip thing to do among the younger generations.

      Maybe it’s the holes in their brains from not eating organic, maybe it’s all the TV watching or celebrity gawking. Too much loud music? Too much drinking? I don’t know. Life is a big mystery.

    1. AbyNormal

      i still get a rise out of CBs pushin on strings
      “which assets central banks should dispose of, and in which order;”

      When you know what a man wants you know who he is, and how to move him. (or get an idea how to sidestep his wrath)
      martin, a storm of swords

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think we know all men want the same thing.

        Maybe some men are different…they are not beasts…maybe.

          1. AbyNormal

            security they’ll rise again

            Why are women… so much more interesting to men than men are to women? v.woolf

          2. AbyNormal

            too funnee Prime!
            can’t speak for woolf but aby’s an animal…she’ll swirl whatevva ‘ ))

    1. optimader

      “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience… You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”
      ~BHO, June 7, 2013

      Gee, did I miss the national referendum on the “choice” for 100% Security State vs 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience? In a remedial rhetoric class, that’s called Fallacy of False Dilemma.

      It’s been a challenge, but BHO has finally succeeded in recasting Richard Nixon’s legacy from unhinged paranoid to civil libertarian.
      Nixon Personal Privacy

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Last night, when I went to bed, I thought to myself, it was not ‘No one has, is or ever will,’ it was just ‘no one is.’

        I thought that’s was odd.

        Normally, that would have kept me up all night. But I was too tired.

        But now, thinking about it, it still sounds weird.

        1. optimader

          BHO has proven to be an uncreative thinker-speaker who learned to get along by parsing a surprisingly limited non-extemporaneous “legalese” vocabulary.
          It is of course disappointing that it’s worked so far

  13. financial matters

    Home Loan Rates Near 4% Send Buyers Scurrying: Mortgages Bloomberg

    “”The average buyer, getting a 3.81 percent mortgage rate, can afford a $279,000 house, 45 percent higher than the U.S. median home price, according to a June 4 note to clients written by Shan and other Goldman Sachs analysts””

    I always thought that to find the correct pricing for housing, the average house had to be affordable for the average person. Median household monthly pretax income in the US is about $4166.

    Banks will apparently lend up to 35% of this amount although since this is pretax, 25% is probably a more sustainable number and also these figures are only for principal and interest and not taxes and insurance.

    $279000 3.81 30yr 1300
    $279000 3.81 15 yr 2000

    If my calculations are correct the above article is inferring that the average cost of a home is $153450

    153450 3.81 30yr 715
    153450 3.81 15yr 1120

    .35 x 4166 = 1458
    .25 x 4166 =1041

    It would seem that the average person could reasonably afford about $1000/mo in principal and interest which would be pretty close to accurate for an average house price around $150,000.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am not sure when you say the median house price is $153,450, by your calculation (based on the statement that $279,000 is 45% higher than the median price).

      I think you get that doing this: 279,000 x (1.00 – 0.45)= 153,450.

      I would do this instead: 279,000/(1.00 + 0.45) = 192,413

      1. financial matters

        Appreciate that, I felt a little challenged in that calculation, even though I’ve already had 2 cups of coffee.. ;)

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re welcome. I have made enough mistakes myself and been lucky enough to for others who care to help out:}

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          By the way, it looks like the way to get the economy going, revive the housing market and generate employment is to scare more people into buying homes by jacking the rates even higher.

          1. financial matters

            There may be some sort of meeting of the minds there with people wanting to get in and people that have been sitting on the sidelines for a few years wanting to get out.

            Also I don’t see how this buying up of homes by hedge funds and then packaging them into REITs is going to end well. Sounds too much like the preceding securitizations of mortgages. They still have to find enough employed people to afford the rent. And the homes are going to be buried in another misleading trust.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I have a feeling the same guys are involved this time as the last time.

            Maybe they can just repeat this many more times.

  14. PQS

    As Charlie Pierce pointed out, We are not “trading” our privacy and civil liberty for security. We are SURRENDERING it.

    From his blog:

    “Civil liberties are not something you get to “trade,” not least because they don’t all belong to you. They belong to me, too, and to the woman at the next table here at the Commonwealth Avenue Starbucks — Oh, c’mon, you knew where I was anyway, NSA guys. — and to the four people who just walked down the street past the big plate-glass window. You give yours away, you’re giving mine away, too, whether I want you to do so or not. Therefore, we all surrender those civil liberties. We do not trade them because we don’t get anything back. And it’s not like we can cut another deal later to get them back.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s important our kids are conditioned to ‘surrender’ their privacy as young as possible, preferably by making it a chic thing to do.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      As a woman on the street put it when Bush signed the first Traitor Act, “Well, we’ve got to give up some liberties to protect our freedom.” So there.

    3. Ned Ludd

      The question of civil liberties can often muddle the debate. If a liberty is something you have, can you give it away? Should you be responsible with it? Is having liberty a privilege?

      A better framework, I think, is to see a civil liberty as another name for a restriction on state power. Giving up civil liberties means giving the state more power. If the discussion is brought back to the question of power and how much power the government should have, it will harder to obfuscate the issue by confusing liberties with commodities that can be traded away.

  15. diptherio

    Holey Buckets! While listening to this Robert Anton Wilson talk from, I would guess, the middle ’80s, I hear him reveal that co-founder of the Discordian religion Malaclypse the Younger “now runs the computer department at Bank of America.”[!!!]

    subgenius, if you’re reading, were you aware of this? Maybe BofA’s ridiculous malfeasance is part of a sabotage plan put in place by guerilla ontologists…who knows. This sh*t is deep…

    1. subgenius


      who do you think invented ninja loans? it was the only way to slack your way to a house…

  16. Nyeve

    Now that we know the NSA has done the unthinkable, it raises interesting questions. If we could look at the date, it seems likely we would see that the graph of connections between people is a scale-free network. But what do patterns of, say, corruption look like? At an abstract biology level, do patterns of corruption look like patterns of disease?

    1. bob

      Unthinkable? Pardon, but no. A lot of people “thought” it, they were labled crackpots.

      As has been pointed out, there is proof dating back to at least 2003.

  17. AbyNormal

    pardon me but i need help…(city issues)

    is our pic of the day a donkey, mule, jackass or burro
    (im so very confused and why does it have to be so difficult)

    1. Susan the other

      burros are the smallest, usually grey and shaggy; mules are the pack animals of choice, bigger and stronger

    2. diptherio

      Pretty sure that’s a donkey. The black “collar” markings are the give-away, and the above commenter is correct to point out that a mule wouldn’t have any young’uns.

  18. Susan the other

    So captured by the NSA hacking us all (which they have been doing without pause since 1960 when we launched Echelon), nobody is commenting on The Guardian article by Deborah Orr which was killer. She quotes John Gray, “The crash (2008) was a write off. (We still need) to evaluate how wealth is created and distributed.” But as always the ball gets dropped. How the neoliberals rail against the welfare state while producing the exact conditions that make it necessary. Good essay. Always, these peep shows of truth just pull the curtain back only so far. Instead of saying we need a new financial structure which enhances the state and restricts private capital, the conclusion of the article is left to your imagination. Unfortunately. Because that is key – how wealth gets created and distributed. Maybe we could surveil this topic.

  19. tongorad

    This is not a school: PA Parents United statement on district layoffs

    Parents United for Public Education

    Statement on District layoffs, June 7, 2013

    3,000 layoffs. Aides, secretaries, nurses, librarians, art and music teachers, classroom teachers, assistant principals, counselors—people who have worked in our children’s schools for years, keeping schools running smoothly and keeping our kids safe, teaching them to read music, administering medication, guiding them through applying to high school and college, and helping them acquire research skills.

    Parents are appalled at this action, which will hurt everyone in our city in many ways. When 3,000 people lose their jobs, the economic and personal consequences borne by those individuals and their families are not only devastating on an individual scale—they ripple out. These layoffs will undermine school communities and neighborhoods, and ultimately our city and state economy as well.

    And what will happen to our schools?

    Maximum class sizes, no sports, arts, music, librarians or guidance counselors for children. No supervision during lunch or recess. No secretary to take care of all the administrative office functions. This isn’t what school is supposed to be. This is not a school.

    This is a failure of leadership and funding at the city and state level.

  20. rich

    High prices are driving more motorists to rent tires

    Socked by soaring tire prices and short on funds, growing numbers of Americans are renting the rubber to keep their cars rolling.

    Rent-to-own tire shops are among the newest arrivals to a sprawling alternative financial sector focused on the nation’s economic underclass. Like payday lenders, pawn shops and Buy Here Pay Here used-car lots, tire rental businesses provide ready credit to consumers who can’t get a loan anywhere else. But that access doesn’t come cheap.

    Customers pay huge premiums for their tires, sometimes four times above retail. Those who miss payments may find their car on cinder blocks, stripped of their tires by dealers who aggressively repossess. Tire rental contracts are so ironclad that even a bankruptcy filing can’t make them go away.

    Still, with payments as low as $14 a week, rent-to-own — long the province of sofa sets and flat-screen TVs — is proving irresistible for consumers desperate for safe transportation.,0,1748795.story

    1. AbyNormal

      When the soul suffers too much, it develops a taste for misfortune.
      camus, the first man

    2. Massinissa

      Capitalism never ceases to amaze me how it finds new ways to funnel wealth upward

      1. Ray Duray

        Re: “funnel wealth”

        Pardon me. I’m a little hard of hearing. Did you say funeral wreaths?

        If so, when the poor die, the rich will make money selling them funeral wreaths. And then the rich will make money on the Visa card charges that put the wreath on credit.

        Lather, rinse, repeat.

        Capitalism, it’s love in so many ways.

  21. Jim Haygood

    More ‘Monica missiles’ from the Drone Laureate, reports the Guardian:

    The prime minister of Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador in anger after an American drone attack killed nine people in North Waziristan.

    The missile strike, on a compound near the Afghan border on Friday evening, was the first US drone attack in Pakistan since Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday. There was no information about the victims.

    In his inaugural address, Sharif called for an immediate end to US drone strikes.

    Had a bad day at the oval office? Head down to the Situation Room, pop a brewski, and snuff some Third Worlders … the blast that refreshes!

    1. Massinissa

      And 10-20 minutes later, when people decide its safe to go pick up the dead and dying, you can do it again in the same spot!

  22. Ray Duray

    Re: “North Sea cod stocks ‘are recovering’ BBC”

    I’ll believe it when they start pulling up two meter long specimens weight 80 kilos.

    The specimens shown in the BBC video really reminded me of Prof. Daniel Pauly’s “Shifting Baselines” concept:

    Almost every caught cod on display in that BBC video was a juvenile which had never spawned. That does not a successful recovery make.

  23. skippy

    @Ray Duray… What most don’t understand is when a single species is pushed to far, it never recovers, because the entire system is effected.

    The Mediterranean and European coastal waters will never be the same as they were 40 years ago [never], this has been extensively studied.

    Yet as a world dies… people anguish over binary values within black boxes and what future they might have… ><

    skippy… BTW Flashmob Carmina Burana… if you can't find beautiful… create it…

    1. Ray Duray


      Re: “What most don’t understand is when a single species is pushed to far, it never recovers, because the entire system is effected.”

      This is a concept best exemplified by one of a greedy humanity’s biggest commercial mistakes, the collapse of the Grand Banks cod fishery. This is a resource the fed Europe for 500 years before insane, unregulated greed wiped out the most prolific fishery on the planet.

      And now the blue collar workers from New Brunswick have migrated to Ft. MacMurray in Alberta and are engaging in slow-motion suicide for the planet’s atmosphere.

      Re: “The Mediterranean and European coastal waters will never be the same as they were 40 years ago [never], this has been extensively studied.”

      I live in Oregon. What we’re facing here is a growing dead zone in the ocean and increased ocean acidification. The coastal fishery is in collapse as the ground fish are depleted. And the acid is preventing oyster sprat from developing. This is not a complete disaster yet but there is no Oregon ground fish in the markets and the commercially grown oysters have tripled in price in the past 5 years.

      The end of the world isn’t here yet, but it is in sight.

      By the way, if you haven’t caught it yet, George Monbiot’s RSA speech from last week is highly recommended:

Comments are closed.