Links 7/18/13

Valley fever: An incurable illness in the dust BBC

Plant-eating dinosaurs replaced teeth often, carried spares PhysOrg

Amazing Demo of a Water-Repellent Spray You Can Actually Buy Big Think. I thought one advanced crowd-control device was fluid that lowered friction so far that it made it difficult for people to stand and walk. Would this reduce its effectiveness?

Faith and Works at Apple New York Review of Books. The religious conceit is off-putting, but the tech substance is solid.

Why my peaceful little town is saying no to giant McDonald’s Guardian. This is SO Australian! Americans would never be this persistent or community minded. Read and circulate!

Russian Courts Battling For Authority Over Consumer Bankruptcy Credit Slips

China defies IMF on mounting credit risk and need for urgent reform Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Is the West Turning Away from Middle East Energy? OilPrice

Malala Yousafzai: Taliban commander Adnan Rasheed’s astonishing letter apologising to Pakistani girl they shot Daily Mail. Proving that the non-apology apology is a universal form of political communication.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

NSA’s phone and web snooping more far-reaching than thought Financial Times

Snowden could leave Moscow airport in next few days Financial Times

Bipartisan House panel slams administration on surveillance Politico

I Hereby Resign in Protest Effective Immediately Common Dreams. In case you missed it. It has gone viral.

Snoop Snoop Song: A Conversation with Glenn Greenwald Harpers (Deontos)

Is Edward Snowden Protected By International Law? Huffington Post (martha r)

Ruling That Struck Down Military Detention Power Rejected Bloomberg

FEMA hacked: Anonymous hacks US server in defense of Snowden and government transparency Global Post

The Arms Race at Home New York Times

Tell the Senate: Support the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act Jeff Merkley (furzy mouse). Yes, I know, MoveOn, but even MoveOn can be on the right side of things….

Book Review – Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America Jeff Kaye, Firedoglake (Carol B)

VA gubernatorial nominee Cuccinelli’s ongoing effort to ban BJs AmericaBlog. Only in the US….

Hunger Strike in the Empire of Dungeons Glen Ford (diane)

Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman:

Ugly echoes of the Subway Vigilante case in George Zimmerman’s acquittal Guardian

Key Mistakes Sway Jury in Zimmerman Trial Truthout (Robert R)

Trayvon and White Madness Glen Ford (curlydan)

Highest-paid public employees, by state Dallas News (furzy mouse). If this wan’t a month old, I’d put it up as a post.

Slow talks could hasten Detroit bankruptcy filing Associated Press (martha r)

Intel cuts 2013 revenue forecast as PC industry sags Reuters

Septaper doubts as US housing fades MacroBusiness

David Brooks Wonders Why Men Can’t Find Jobs: Comedy Ensues Matt Taibbi (mookie)

City of Demons Yasha Levine, NSFW (mookie). Unlocked only on the 18th and for part of the 19th, so read pronto!

Regulatory Rift Develops Globally Over Financial System Wall Street Journal

Treasury secretary rebuffs finance reform critics in Congress Financial Times (furzy mouse(. Lew can’t even be bothered to lie well. He was nowhere to be found when Gensler was trying to get Dodd Frank implemented more or less as written on derivatives reform.

Antidote du jour:


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    1. Paul Tioxon

      This is now the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, on S Broad ST., where Questlove went to school and made a man out himself by his creative will. It was the former Ridgeway Library, for the Library Company of Philadelphia, founded by Ben Franklin. Built in the 1870’s, it was abandoned and left to rot, like too much of the older buildings in the city. Through herculean efforts by many citizens, it was reclaimed and put to good use. It has seen many young men and women graduate to jobs and careers not in factories or cubicles but into alternative possibilities. The building in its opulent design of a Greek temple lets those who go to school there know that do count for something and here is a place that will stand for centuries, go out and live like you will make a mark on the world that will do the same.

      Questlove has exceeded expectations, no matter how high they were to begin with, but unfortunately for him, there are constant reminders beyond his control that are not the product of a neurotic mind. Instead, the social reality of hatred and institutionalized violence, whose platform has expanded beyond the police to the empowered but not well regulate citizenry.

      The armed stand your ground citizen has internalized the message of hate and suspicion and actualized a real war of all against all. With no exit plan and the legal authority of a armed cop, no one has to retreat, and a simple encounter can leave one man dead and another justified in a death match that can only be described as legalized entrapment. Setting someone up randomly on the street in a confrontation where one party knows that he is armed and after scouting another person , confident that the other is not armed, a confrontation provoking a defensive response will leave the armed, stand your ground deputized citizen alive and the other wounded or dead. This is the libertarian algorithm for roaming death squads in aggregate, the brave new NGO: A deregulated citizenry, armed and absolved from personal responsibility.

      The military has an iron bound chain of command for a reason. The organized power to fight and kill must be tightly reined, not for the reason of command and control of the battlefield for strategic troop movement alone, but also for the time between battle and during the time of civil peace. You can not socialize men for war and prepare them to fight and die and expect them to behave as if that never happened when they walk amidst civil society. The command structure channels the violence and clamps down on the soldier’s mind to act only under strict orders. The police are a para-military organization requiring similar structures to channel the violence under strict rules of engagement.

      The Constitution in the 2nd Amendment enumerates a “Well Regulated Militia” for the same reason. While it is important to own and bear arms, using them must be as tightly regulated as an army or the police. The deregulation of the citizenry hopes that socialization to judiciously and unilaterally use a gun on the street will come from some unknown process or perhaps some vague NRA gun safety lessons. I don’t know. It is not apparent to me where a place flooded with armed and legally consequence free people bumping into one another under suspicious conflict can possibly not be a social nightmare.

    2. Reality

      Questlove was responsible for the arraignments in “dave chappelles block party”

      The lawyers are still trying to work out the royalty streams, and it seems the credits. Lots of people who appeared don’t show up in the written credits.

      Chappelle also has some very inside insight on hollywood and politics.

      If you watch it, watch for Questlove. He’s playing drums as well as managing an ego parade that no one else could/would. He never misses a beat.

      It’s a masterwork. Chappelle is funny too.

  1. Johnson

    Concerning NeverWet, I don’t know if it would help against Instant Banana Peel, but it would probably keep pepperspray and CS gas from sticking to your clothes. I wonder if you can use that stuff on your skin?

    1. tim

      If that is the same stuff that my father-in-law bought recently, and it looks the same, the wear resistance is not good. Can be rubbed off with your hand when put on stainless steel.

  2. Ned Ludd

    In Spain, people open up libraries as the government closes them down.

    The library support group re-opened Las Palomas under their own steam last December – “we just walked round the corner and the door was open”, Ms Calvo says with a big grin. Improvisation and goodwill have replaced public funds, with 8,000 books donated by local families, and shelves, pot plants and furniture from nearby schools. […]

    In the giant dormitory town of Guadalajara, locals are now funding the library’s book budget (which had shrunk from €150,000 to zero in 2012) and in Barcelona, at the Josep Pons library, volunteers manage the day-to-day running of it.

    In the hamlet of Yaiza in the Canary Islands, an internet forum debate where householders discussed what they most missed in the village concluded, 18 months later, with them organising a library with 4,500 books on its shelves.

      1. jrs

        I suspect libraries collect that info in the U.S. – and you just KNOW Amazon is in bed with the snoops. The books themselves are still private (they dont’ even know how long you spent on each page!).

        But if libraries are being run pure anarchist style, hahaha, what can I say :) Flying the black flag. The problem with such endeavors is usually sustainability though, initial enthusiasim is a lot easier to come by than long term follow through with little money.

        1. Ned Ludd

          I agree with you about sustainability. Additionally, in a volunteer project, people often sign up and then do not show up for their shifts. Some type of coöperative structure might be more sustainable; a household could commit to a certain number of hours of work each month in exchange for the ability to check books out of the library.

        2. Ulysses

          This reminds me of my favorite memory of the Cornell student takeover of campus buildings during the height of the anti-war protests in 1972. The engineering students were freaking out at even the loss of one day of access to their precious library journals and books. The students occupying Carpenter Hall organized an impromptu sign-out desk through a window, to the relief of the “nerdy” engineers. The University administration later acknowledged that not a single volume went missing or was damaged as a result of this “anarchy.”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Those living by writing shall perish by writing.

        Oral story telling – that is a lot safer, I think.

  3. Ned Ludd

    Former President Jimmy Carter: “America has no functioning democracy.” The article is in German, and the translation is from Google Translate. This is the original German:

    “Amerika hat derzeit keine funktionierende Demokratie”, sagte Carter am Dienstag bei einer Veranstaltung der “Atlantik-Brücke” in Atlanta.

    According to its Wikipedia entry, “Atlantik-Brücke (German, Atlantic bridge) is the leading private non-profit association to promote German-American understanding and Atlanticism.”

    1. petridish

      Loved the translation, particularly this sentence:

      “Carter was the 39th President of the United States, who ruled from 1977 until 1981.”

      “Ruled.” Good word. Certainly don’t hear it put quite that way very often here in the “homeland.”

    1. Chris Rogers

      Yep, the two most honest Democrat’s you’ll ever meet in your lives – no untruths will be uttered out of these donkey’s mouths.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Welcome back to the Donkey Age.

          No one honks at any one else and you never see any donkey road-rage on the dirt path.

          1. F. Beard

            What? You’ve never heard a “He-Honk” from a donkey?

            Save it Beefy. While Buddhism denies that suffering exists except subjectively, Christianity goes about reducing it. So what will those with a real choice choose? Self-delusion or objective relief?

            1. skippy


              “Christianity goes about reducing it – suffering.”

              skip here… Every bit of history is contrary to this opinion.

              In fact.

              The wreaking ball of monotheism that sprang forth from the Proto Indo – European region has claimed more lives than the rest of the world put together. Got factual evidence out the wazoo, you know me.

              skippy… your bigoted gloating is quite hard to swallow regardless of your position on MMT. In fact, it is – folks like you – that instill a FEAR of what would be, could be wrought with such a tool… utilized broadly. Out of the frying pan and straight to something worse than your metaphysical hell, because all life would suffer, not just our species…

              1. F. Beard

                Well, Stalin and Mao accounted for about 50,000,000 so I find it hard to believe you.

                Here’e some more bigotry: It wasn’t Buddhists that first landed on the Moon or that have done much else either. If a belief system can’t even deal with physical reality, I’d say it’s been discredited. You?

              2. F. Beard

                In fact, it is – folks like you – that instill a FEAR of what would be, could be wrought with such a tool… utilized broadly. skippy

                Oh, you mean “666?”

                But according to The Book of Revelation it will be believers who won’t be allowed to buy or sell.

                And actually skippy, I advocate private monies too which every MMT supporter I’ve talked to resists.

                But you want neither? Gonna start advocating a return to the gold-standard, are you?

              3. skippy


                Firstly you know my position on object fetishes with regards to stores of value, mental dead end. So your attempt to smear is off base, if not clumsy.

                Secondly you use numbers with out validation but, just for your information, you would have to go back thousands of years and adjust for population. As in how many out of the total population was killed vs. just big numbers.

                This is compounded by death not associated with war or conflict. You would also have to include all the effects of western market based actions ie. slavery, environmental reduction of indigenous populations resources, introduced illness with forethought, general western populations living standards diminished by regional or international conflict, etc.

                Thirdly I’m not defending any – belief – system. Just pointing out the vulgarity that simmers just underneath all that advertising as compared to, in this case, Buddhism. How many wars have they fought, invasions of force, use excessive negative reinforcement coupled with love[???] whence surrender is given [freely????].

                Lastly my one and only expectation is – continuity of life – for all living things. How this can be arranged is the problem set we all face, regardless of beliefs. One is a priority and the other a mental dalliance afforded by conditions that allow such leisure.

                Skippy… Monotheism has has rule of the roost for some time now… its bastard child neoliberalism… is an evolution of it. One of your first intellectual steps once your abdication – to a tomb of writ – from antiquity was cemented and by your own admission imo. Funny that.

                PS. When is the last time you saw a Tele evangelistic Buddhist ripping people off, profiting off financial destruction and saying its gawds work, pedophile rings, splintering into tens of thousands of sects, fight to the death between themselves over interpretations, grant sovereign status to bloodlines by genetic association, tax its followers, condemn humans from the moment of birth and lastly… in an orgy of death and destruction… usher in the “New World Order” after rapture… a kingdom built upon the greatest genocidal event since an asteroid hit this orb (that’s if the asteroid was influenced).

  4. sleepy

    The highest paid public employee in Nevada is a med school plastic surgeon, and New Hampshire’s is a hockey coach? lol.

    While it certainly shows skewed priorities, it should be noted that the vast majority of the salaries of those highly paid football and basketball coaches comes from private athletic boosters, and not the state payroll departments.

    1. wunsacon

      Could you cite an example please?

      Also, if huge taxpayer sums weren’t already spent on stadiums and other facilities, would the “private boosters’s” money go to that first before coaching salaries?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Shame on those public 0.01%, probably secretly praying to their MMT-idol every night.

        1. F. Beard

          MMT is definitely part of the solution which is why you slyly attack it every chance you get?

          Who’s your boss, Beefy? Red with horns, is he?

      2. Lambert Strether

        Let the boosters pay for everything, including the stadiums. Then maybe the universities could get back to their putatively central missions of teaching and research.

        Friggin jock sniffers.

            1. F. Beard

              Seriously, I never heard it before you. And I’m not much given to sarcasm except when criticizing the money system.

      3. sleepy

        Sure, it’s done at virtually all schools. An example: head basketball coach Josh Pastner at the Univ. of Memphis, a $1.7 million salary 2 yr. ago (since then a new contract at c. $2.4 million annually.

        “I would be remiss if I didn’t extend a thank you to the private sector for helping facilitate the funding to keep our staff in place,” Johnson concluded. The University of Memphis will pay approximately $150,000 of Pastner’s contract each year.”

        I have no disagreement with your point about stadium funding, etc. My point was not to say these salaries are OK just because the state doesn’t pay them. As I said they reflect skewed priorities in any case.

  5. Andrew Watts

    I don’t believe I will be making any more replies on the Snowden affair. Under the best of circumstances I hope they have been informative. At the very least it’s been entertaining.

    (Yves/Lambert: Thank you for enduring my idle speculation.)

    RE: Snowden could leave Moscow airport in next few days

    Interesting. Thus far I’ve been using the expected time frame for the approval of Snowden’s asylum request as a proxy metric for how valuable Russian intelligence thinks his information is. Given that they’d need an unknown amount of time for his debriefing.

    Initially when Snowden landed in Moscow it was reported that the process would only take 2-3 weeks. Within a short amount of time of Snowden finally deciding that he was going to file a temporary asylum application that timetable was revised upward to three months. Shortly after Greenwald’s ill-advised comments about how he had a blueprint to the NSA it was reported it could be up to a year, or possibly an indefinite period of time.

    How long the process will actually take is probably dependent on how cooperative Snowden is upon leaving the airport. Undoubtedly it will be under the close supervision of the FSB. That’s assuming that Russia doesn’t hand him over to the United States. But I don’t think that will happen.

    1. Synopticist

      Snowden has made some pretty dumb moves in my opinion, but that’s come from choosing his advisors poorly. Assange and Greenwad? 2 attention seeking drama queens with their own agendas, desperate both to stamp their own mark on an affair that has NOTHING to do with either of them.

      So he’s stuck in Russian limbo, with hyper-emotional Glen making outlandish threats on his “behalf”, no doubt scared sh*tless of the FSB and depserate to get away. He should be drinking cocktails in Cuba or Carracas, or eating fresh Icelandic cod by now.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Yeah, I’m not a big fan of Greenwald either. I fully expect the Russians to attempt to manipulate him by masquerading as Snowden via whatever communications they have between themselves. Maybe someone should cordially inform Greenwald of this. Somebody from the US government perhaps?

        From this point on it’ll be a waste of time to try to unwind the bullshit that will be spewed in public. The only time we will be hearing from Snowden is when he will be reading from a script.

      2. LucyLulu

        I don’t think Snowden was left with a whole lot of options in the advisement department, thanks to being cornered by our government into taking up residence at the Moscow airport. You’d think that if he has high-value secrets the US government would do something to facilitate his exit to a less threatening country. And given the intensity in which they’ve pursued him, they must be pretty damn worried about the documents he managed to obtain.

        Regarding Inglis’ Congressional testimony (FT link) about NSA surveillance being extended to 2-3 hops from suspected terrorists:
        Three hops provides extensive reach, given that on average any two people can be reached in 4.3 hops, per Atlantic Wire’s coverage.

  6. F. Beard

    Re City of Demons:

    Babylon the Great is a wicked city that will be destroyed in the (near?) future. It sits on seven hills, if I recall, and so does LA? And, of course, LA also sits on a convenient active fault line.

  7. Jagger

    Matt Taibbi’s article on David Brooks is as usual, very funny and unfortunately true. In particular, I liked the following line:

    —-If you need a job badly enough, you’ll take a job offered by Hermann Goering, Hannibal Lecter, Naomi Campbell, anyone.—-

    I don’t quite get the reference to Naomi Campbell amonst the likes of Goering and Lector but maybe that is why the line is so funny. Although he could have added the NSA to the list.

    1. Chris Rogers

      Naomi Campbell, the UK supermodel – whatever that implies, has a bit of a reputation as being a complete and utter bitch to those unfortunate enough to have had to work for her.

      Basically, she’s a spoiled brat on steroids with bubblegum between her ears – her ghosted novel, The Swan. was utter tripe, much like she herself is – however, in the land of the superficial, Campbell is a megastar – check out the semi-finalists in the UK version of The Apprentice to get a handle on how matters have digressed in my nation – disgusting people, much like the ‘twat’ Taibbi’s referring too in his wonderful article.

    2. Massinissa

      To be fair, I wouldnt mind having a job for Goering. He apparently was a funny, charming guy, although terribly lacking in the brains department.

      In world war one, when he was an ace fighter pilot (He was good at piloting: Bad at actually doing much of anything else), when he shot down an Australian plane, he landed and gave the pilot (still alive) his Iron Cross for his heroism. Its not an urban legend, its well documented.

      It would certainly be better than working for Goebbels. Did that man ever smile in a way that didnt send chills down peoples spines?

      1. Charles LeSeau

        Tough call. If you read Speer’s book, Göring comes across as one of the most ostentatious jerks one could think of, even in wildest fiction, and similar in many ways to the trashy excesses of today’s American nouveau riche, if it can be believed. Speer was architect for all the bigwigs’ personal houses at Berchtesgaden, and I guess Göring’s was crazy glitz glam trashland. He was disliked by the flyers in Jagdgeschwader 1 (Richtofen’s) in WWI too, and apparently exaggerated his kill claims, so anything chivalrous about his flying has to be tempered by that, as they were about as chivalrous and blue blood a squadron as could be imagined. His defense at the Nuremburg trials did show a very entertaining sense of humor, apparently, although I’m personally unfamiliar with how or why. (I remember reading that statement in one of those Time-Life WWII books about the post war period, and that’s all I have to go with on that point.)

        I unfortunately share his birthday, along with that of HAL-9000, Rush Limbaugh, and PW Botha. At least I have John Singer Sargent, Jack London, Henny Youngman, and Joe Frasier on my side. :)

        1. Massinissa

          Good GOD, PW Botha and Rush were born on the same day?! Damn thats unlucky.

          My birthday hasnt hosted very many notables, but at least, other than Michael Bloomberg, it hasnt had many scumbags.

          And yeah, I was giving Goering too much credit. He was mostly just a nice guy to important people, i.e. he was a brown-noser. Wouldnt have gotten the position he did otherwise. On second thought working for him might not have been such a great idea. Still would choose that over Goebbels though, for what its worth.

          1. Charles LeSeau

            Oh, I dunno. You might have been on the right track. I was trying to think of all the negatives about working for Goering, but of all the high-ranking Nazis, I’d choose him or Speer if I absolutely had to have one as boss for some weird hypothetical reason – and yes, absolutely not physically deformed and mentally twisted Dr. Goebbels and his Schtepford Frau Magda for any reason other than to figure out a way to save the kids and family dog.

            I’ve had employers who were probably bigger assholes than Goering was IRL though, including a loud-mouthed reactionary Greek-American bar owner who didn’t do anything all day except collect money from other people’s labor yet felt compelled to comment on how “the poor don’t want to work,” and whose opinions of people were colored by something very similar to a high school “coolness” quotient – e.g. looks, clothes, pop tastes, income, etc.

            Ultimately for me it would be a matter of how much I could hang around someone with that much power but who was that full of himself. I’ve got little threshold for it nowadays.

        2. Jeff W

          I’m going along, reading your comment, and then…Wait, HAL 9000? That’s my birthday! No joke, really. How weird! (You can add Kirstie Alley and Howard Stern to the list.)

          1. Charles LeSeau

            Birthday brother! We’ve also got Kreskin, but YMMV on whether that’s good or bad. :)

            But that supervillain list is pretty awful by just about any standard: Goering, Botha, Limbaugh, HAL 9K.

        3. F. Beard

          Ha, ha! I never thought to check until now.

          Gary Cooper and me!

          (I need look no further.)

    3. petridish

      I think Naomi Campbell was arrested a while back for assault. She threw a cell phone or something at her maid or another one of her employees and hit him/her.

      Not bothering to look for a link–it’s just not that important.

  8. Bev

    Group shot of the Zimmerman jury


    In Zimmerman’s trial, the “prosecution” rested from Day One

    Did George Zimmerman’s prosecutors try to get him off?
    By Jarvis DeBerry, | The Times-Picayune
    July 16, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin, a New Orleans attorney complained to me Monday, because the prosecution didn’t want to win a conviction. The attorney, who has worked at Tulane and Broad as an assistant district attorney and as a defense lawyer, called me to say that he’s handled hundreds of homicide cases over his career and that he’s never seen prosecutors who want to win make the series of missteps that the Florida prosecutors made. So he’s convinced they lost on purpose. He offered six reasons for his belief that the state threw the case.

    1) Prosecutors didn’t demand a change of venue. The recusal of the Seminole County district attorney and multiple judges from that county is proof that the case was a political hot potato and that there was a fear that there would be negative political ramifications following a Zimmerman conviction. Therefore, the state should have moved to have the venue changed.

    2) They let jurors they didn’t want stay. Prosecutors tried but failed to have two jurors removed for cause. They could have had those two removed anyway by using their peremptory challenges, but instead, they let them stay on. Here’s a discussion at Slate Magazine about Juror B-37 in particular and the peculiar decision by prosecutors not to have her removed. A day after the trial she reportedly contacted a literary agent to “write” a book about the trial. But after social-media outrage, that literary agent has now decided against the deal.

    Read more.


    Was there a mole on the Zimmerman jury?

    Look who’s talking: Was there a mole on the Zimmerman jury?
    July 17, 2013
    By Steve Schneider

    Duped: Judicial Watch Hoaxes Media on Zimmerman Trial
    OIA Docs GOP Travel, Not “Justice Department”
    By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

    GOP Bills Smear Campaign as “Research”

    There was a smell about the Zimmerman case. We wondered why the Federalist Society, known for orchestrating the 2000 stolen election, crushing 9/11 investigations and lawsuits and acting as the primary proponents of government spying were so interested in the killing of a 17 year old in Florida.

    Veterans Today has caught the GOP, Judicial Watch and the Heritage Foundation falsifying, redacting and misrepresenting government documents to rig a murder trial, to smear the Justice Department and forward a “police state” agenda.

    There is no doubt that the fraud exposed below, one intended to foment racial strife and and violence was also intended to rig the Zimmerman trial to ensure a “not guilty” verdict.



    What a cursory read will show is that these were redacted, not by those issuing the documents, however.

    What Judicial Watch failed to redact was that the travel they are saying was the Justice Department was actually the Congressional Research Service, travel done at the request of the Republican majority in the House.

    This is the same group that has tried to use their own travel, their own documents to attack Attorney General Holder.

    More than that, documents show that staffers were on Republican Party business, and met with Republican National Committee leaders, not as stated on the vouchers, clear evidence of fraud, but to plan attacks on the administration using their own falsified docs as “proof.”


    The two groups found to have planned this fraud are the Heritage Foundation, an extremist “pro-police state” think tank and “Judicial Watch,” a misnamed GOP front group.

    Billing political travel is a felony.

    Working for a political party while on the US Government payroll is also a felony.

    Organizing these felonies is “conspiracy,” also a felony.

  9. Jackrabbit

    City of Demons

    Very informative. Ending with:

    So far everyone’s been freaking out that the NSA indiscriminately spies on the electronic communication of millions of Americans. And that is horrible. But the question should be: What is the purpose of the NSA surveillance? Who does it benefit, and who is targeted?

    These are key questions. It’s not difficult to surmise that the spying is (mostly) NOT about anyone’s individual privacy but about slyly and surreptitiously undermining democracy.

    I think there is a growing realization about this – especially in light of how misleading was the propaganda ‘flak’ that was initially deployed:

    – If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”
    – Congress approved!
    – Prevented 50+ attacks!
    – Strictly regulated! TRUST US – we work for you :)

    For those who did not immediately break out in laughter: We have come to learn that these points amount to a self-serving white-wash. And THAT is very, very troubling.

    1. from Mexico

      Jackrabbit says:

      It’s not difficult to surmise that the spying is (mostly) NOT about anyone’s individual privacy but about slyly and surreptitiously undermining democracy.

      I don’t see the distinctin between the two.

      Destroying individual privacy = underming democracy

      1. Jackrabbit

        There is a strong link between the two but I see it as a matter of intent. Any kind of spying violates privacy but HOW that information is used reflects intent.

        I would bet that there would be MUCH more interest in the personal preferences of a potential supreme court nominee than a nursing student.

    2. Jackrabbit

      The knee-jerk reaction was to deny that there is a problem and insist that everything is legal.

      But the hard work comes after recognizing that there IS a problem. Really effective oversight (if it can be done at all) will mean things like:

      – intrusive inspections
      – some means of ensuring that inspectors are independent and objective
      – multiple independent verification mechanisms
      – holding people accountable (really)
      – protection for whistle-blowers

    3. petridish

      So, what’s to be made of Janet Napolitano’s job change from head of DHS to head of the University of California?

      Whatever it is, it can’t be good.

      I’m thinking the country will not be able to look for the seeds of revolution in Berkeley this time around.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        People should be very careful about deciding whether to get a college degree or not and where to get it.

        Right now, I wish I could get rid of those degrees (shame on me for getting them), but like an incurable case of egotitis, it’s impossible.

        I am branded for life.

        Let that be a lesson to you kids.

        1. F. Beard

          Don’t worry about it. Your education hardly shows (except for odd facts, here and there.)

            1. F. Beard

              What is desirable in a man is his kindness, And it is better to be a poor man than a liar. Proverbs 19:22

              But Beefy provokes me like very few do.

              My fault though.

              Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me;
              It is oil upon the head;
              Do not let my head refuse it,
              For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.
              Psalm 141:5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

              1. AbyNormal

                fortunately for me im learning more from the folks that irk me most…but you know about all that’ )

                The King of Ghargaroo, who had been abroad to study the science of government, appointed one hundred of his fattest subjects as members of a parliament to make laws for the collection of revenue. Forty of these he named the Party of Opposition and had his Prime Minister carefully instruct them in their duty of opposing every royal measure. Nevertheless, the first one that was submitted passed unanimously. Greatly displeased, the King vetoed it, informing the Opposition that if they did that again they would pay for their obstinacy with their heads. The entire forty promptly disemboweled themselves.

                “What shall we do now?” the King asked. “Liberal institutions cannot be maintained without a party of Opposition.”

                “Splendor of the universe,” replied the Prime Minister, “it is true these dogs of darkness have no longer their credentials, but all is not lost. Leave the matter to this worm of the dust.”

                So the Minister had the bodies of his Majesty’s Opposition embalmed and stuffed with straw, put back into the seats of power and nailed there. Forty votes were recorded against every bill and the nation prospered. But one day a bill imposing a tax on warts was defeated — the members of the Government party had not been nailed to their seats! This so enraged the King that the Prime Minister was put to death, the parliament was dissolved with a battery of artillery, and government of the people, by the people, for the people perished from Ghargaroo.
                Ambrose Bierce/the devils dic.

      2. jrs

        Oh no way, the colleges are the system. They depend too much on military money (it’s what funds much scientific research, this doesn’t mean the research isn’t valuable – it just means they shut up). Heck, they depend too much even on Monsanto money at this point (maybe more Davis than Berkeley on that one).

        Notice how little outrage there is even against the slide into a full on police state among the official intellectual class. Full on fascist totalitarianism around the corner and barely a peep from them – only those well outside the system scream there heads off about it. Thanks for nothing you sold out defenders of what were supposed to be our values: democracy, civil liberties, an open society – for a pockeful of silver.

        1. jessica

          “Notice how little outrage there is even against the slide into a full on police state among the official intellectual class. Full on fascist totalitarianism around the corner and barely a peep from them – only those well outside the system scream there heads off about it.”

          Not a coincidence. The higher up in the knowledge worker class someone is, the more likely that they are being paid to produce not-knowing rather than knowing, particularly not-knowing about the systematic nature of the problems we face.

          1. from Mexico


            It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The academe, unlike the Church, was supposed to be above corruption.

            There have always been apostates and heretics from that one true faith of Modernity and Enlightenment. Take Reinhold Niebuhr, for instance:

            The notion of sinful man was uncomfortable for my generation. We had been brought up to believe in human innocence and even in human perfectibility. This was less a liberal delusion than an expression of an all-American DNA. Andrew Carnegie had articulated the national faith when, after acclaiming the rise of man from lower to higher forms, he declared: “Nor is there any conceivable end to his march to perfection.” In 1939, Charles E. Merriam of the University of Chicago, the dean of American political scientists, wrote in “The New Democracy and the New Despotism”: “There is a constant trend in human affairs toward the perfectibility of mankind. This was plainly stated at the time of the French Revolution and has been reasserted ever since that time, and with increasing plausibility.” Human ignorance and unjust institutions remained the only obstacles to a more perfect world. If proper education of individuals and proper reform of institutions did their job, such obstacles would be removed. For the heart of man was O.K. The idea of original sin was a historical, indeed a hysterical, curiosity that should have evaporated with Jonathan Edwards’s Calvinism.

            Still, Niebuhr’s concept of original sin solved certain problems for my generation. The 20th century was, as Isaiah Berlin said, “the most terrible century in Western history.” The belief in human perfectibility had not prepared us for Hitler and Stalin. The death camps and the gulags proved that men were capable of infinite depravity. The heart of man is obviously not O.K.

            –ARTHUR SCHLESINGER JR., “Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr”

      3. diane

        The lack of outrage about her appointment, and also about Ray Kelly and [William] Bill Bratton being at the top of the list for her replacement, made my skin crawl.

        The timing may have had something to do with it, but for those who make it their business to report on what’s going on in [The Empire of] California – [ValleyWag]Gawker, for one supposed major bipartisan tell all site – it stunk like a nasty, maggot ridden, rotted potato.

        But then, Mr. Nick [[ValleyWag]Gawker] Denton is (bottom line) a middle aged, Devout Free Trade Capitali$t, with predominately very young (and therefore far, far more naive in terms of hard knocks experiences at the hand of someone, or some entity, trusted to be what they presented themselves as) writers dependent on his approval to pay their rent, or perhaps to even be considered as pay worthy (a ‘quaint,’ tried and true, Capitali$t Algorithm) when all is said and done.

    4. Jackrabbit

      Even I have fallen into the trap by mistakenly describing a scenario for undermining democracy as (merely) spying on those who are powerful. Such a description vastly understates the risk.

      In fact, if Snowden’s revelations are true, collection and storage of data on everyone for a lifetime (or more) allows someone with access to this info to know virtually everything about someone’s personal life, family history, and who they are/were close to.

      The danger is not so much that they might spy on some powerful people as much as that pervasive surveillance allows for routinely delving into extensive histories of people that are leaders or emerging leaders. That allows for enemies lists – and friend lists as well.

      Imagine that you don’t get that promotion, or nomination, or your political opponent gets three times as much money for their campaign. You have no idea why. Furthermore, your blog gets few readers and your worthy non-profit gets few donations – all because everyone can see that no prominent people (who may have better info than most) are getting involved, and they know that who and what they support goes on their nsa record.

      While it MAY SEEM to many of those that are constructing this surveillance system that they are working for a noble cause (security) there appears to have been little consideration of the risk of dystopia until Snowden blew the whistle.

    5. charles sereno

      The Seduction of a Hegemon (A Fable)
      The US pays billions of dollars to Egypt. In turn, Cleopatra introduces Caesar to the pleasures of her Court System. Supreme, FISA, Florida Circuit Courts follow suit.
      Moral: Be careful with whom you consort.

  10. Jane Doe

    I like the Zimmerman articles today.

    they both get at the heart of the issue, which is not just about Zimmerman, but a system that from police investigation until now has focused on excusing the racism involved in the case by denying its existence

    Terms like ‘reasonable doubt” in cultural blackhole that is racism simply doesn’t mean the same thing as it does in non-racial context. Continuing to argue as we do like there’s not this racism intensely hiking the standard of reasonable and changing other processes, like excluding racial evidence at trial about profiling, only serves to make sure there will be more Trayvon Martins.

    1. susan the other

      It is as if the objective of the Zimmerman trial was to exhonorate Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. Preserve it for future uses. When in fact George was nothing more than a stalker and a paranoid racist. But I remember Derschowitz saying that they could never convict George under the law. So maybe it was a lost cause. In which case, the Federal Government must step in. Or all blacks must leave Florida.

      1. diptherio

        All I can think is that the message has now been sent: if you shoot a black man in Florida, you’ll get away with it, just so long as you claim to have felt threatened.

        Where is the Supreme Court in all of this, exactly? How is ‘stand your ground’ not a violation of equal protection, when a person can be legally murdered for the crime of being ‘intimidating’ (i.e. black)? Then again, stop-and-frisk has survived this long, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

        1. jane doe

          I believe these laws will eventually be challenged if the date keeps coming in that their application is dicriminatory, but we shall see.

          1. neo-realist

            Lets see how the Michael Dunn case goes. At least there were witnesses (but black ones!) that observed the shooting close up and could testify that they did not have a weapon in the car, did not attempt to attack Dunn and arguably could be accused of poor music taste and an inconsiderate volume level.

    2. petridish

      From the Truthout article:

      “The entire trial from start to finish was sanitized of any mention of race.”

      Except, I guess, for the “creepy ass cracker” comment which made Trayvon Martin seem like the only racist there that night. Why did they let that in?

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks to the readers who provided the links. That story makes me so upset I’m not actively seeking out material on it.

      I don’t recall if it was in one of the links today, but the part I find particularly disgraceful is that the prosecution so clearly punted the trial. The jury selection was bad enough, but I read somewhere (and this of course makes COMPLETE SENSE) that you can’t plead self defense even under Stand Your Ground if you were the one who was the aggressor (to my pet example, you pick a bar fight, the guy fights back and you wind up knocking him down and he dies of the resulting head injuries).

      So you have terrible prosecution and bad instructions to the jury, and the case can’t be tried again thanks to double jeopardy….and you have to listen to all these horrible people defending the verdict.

      1. bob

        Horrible people defending the verdict and putting forward the claim that they are actually the “oppressed”.

        Zim’s father was a county judge. It was bound to end his son walking and a few civil servants fired, and a few others promoted.

        Re-read his Honor’s letter to the editor in the local paper before the trial– “…was not following..”

        Care to rephrase that?

        His Grandfather on the same side was intel. Want to know how a filthy local story became a national press sensation that had no actual reporting of relevant facts? Who would know how to manage that?

        1. AbyNormal

          The Rose That Grew From Concrete: we wouldn’t ask why a rose that grew from the concrete for having damaged petals, in turn, we would all celebrate its tenacity, we would all love its will to reach the sun, well, we are the roses, this is the concrete and these are my damaged petals, don’t ask me why, thank god, and ask me how…
          Lesean Parish Crooks

      2. caazyman

        It’s not just a racial thing. I was in my gym a few weeks ago and heard two trainers there — two dudes from Harlem pretty ripped and muscular — talking about a guy one knew from the ‘hood’.

        The guy being talked about was an MTA employee expert karate black belt walking on 125th near the Metro north station late one night, accosted by a group of muggers, a circumstance about which there was evidently little evidentiary dispute or argument.

        He gave them the Kung Fu treatment, apparently with considerable skill. One of the “victims” subsequently died from injuries received while attempting robbery/assault and battery on the MTA Karate guy.

        Somehow the MTA Karate guy ended up charged with manslaughter — evidently because he knowingly used excessive force in self defense — was sent to trial, convicted and is now serving 10-15 years.

        I heard that and I was just staring into space thinking just “Shit. Everything is completely insane “. And all the dudes on all sides were “African American”.

        All the nonsense spewed about the Zimmerman situation would fill the Atlantic ocean. So glad I don’t have a TV.

      3. LucyLulu

        The aggressor does have a duty to retreat, if retreat is available. Stand your ground was initially designed to provide additional ability for abused women to claim self-defense. Zimmerman claims that Martin threw the first punch, though. Following somebody is not illegal and thus doesn’t qualify as “aggression”. Nevertheless, the whole trial stunk. Whether intentionally or not, the prosecution bungled the case, and it seemed hard to believe that such a high profile case wouldn’t merit the best prosecutors available. There were major mistakes in evidence collection. And quelle surprise, minorities are much less likely to successfully claim justified use of force.

  11. rich

    US High Technology Gulag Redux

    Published on Jul 15, 2013
    If You Have Nothing to Hide, You Have Nothing to Fear
    If You Believe in the LIES You have Been Told, You Have Nothing to Fear
    very day, people leave a digital trail of electronic breadcrumbs as they go about their daily routine. They go to work using electronic fare cards; drive through intersections with traffic cameras; walk down the street past security cameras; surf the internet; pay for purchases with credit/debit cards; text or call their friends; and on and on.

    There is no way to predict in advance which crucial piece of data will be the key to revealing a potential plot. The standard operating procedure for the Domestic Surveillance Directorate is to “collect all available information from all available sources all the time, every time, always”.

    1. optimader

      If You Have Nothing to Hide, You Have Nothing to Fear

      Paraphrasing GOrwell, if you don’t make the rules you don’t know if you have something to hide….

  12. diptherio

    Re: Treasure secretary rebuffs finance reform critics in Congress -FT

    This line, buried at the end of the article really blew me away:

    In a White House ceremony on Wednesday, Mr Obama said the CFPB had already managed to get back more than $400m in refunds from “unscrupulous lenders” for “6m Americans”.

    Wow…so the CFPB has been able to get back an average of $66.66 to people wronged by unscrupulous lenders. How the f@#% is Obama trying to spin that as some kind of victory? Does he think no one can do simple math? Astounding in it’s audacity…

    1. ambrit

      Oh, wait a minute. Is that number right? $66.66. The Number of the Beast? You really can’t make some of this stuff up! If you can take the racialist element out, todays narrative would warm the cockles of a Chiliasts heart!

      1. F. Beard

        Speaking of which, the tattoo craze fits hand in glove with the Mark of the Beast, no?

        In my day, a tattoo meant one was either stupid or in the Navy or both.

        1. ambrit

          Dear Beard;
          In my youth, tattoos were usually worn by sailors or soldiers. Having seen a lot more of the world than us stick in the muds, they were usually portrayed as potential subversives by the ‘powers’ so as to short circuit any enlightenment they might impart to the homebodies. Be that as it may, tattoos themselves are literal marks that define the person. One is the individuals hoped for self branding. The other the herds cultural boxing in. Even though fictional, my favourite tattooed person is Ray Bradburys “The Illustrated Man.” Every picture tells a story…
          Stay well.

  13. Hugh

    David Brooks is just repackaging the jobs/skills mismatch wheeze in a cultural wrapper.

    What Apple and the Catholic Church have in common is not religion but an authoritarian power structure.

    Glen Ford nails it. Many whites may think that the Zimmerman case had nothing to do with race, but just because they think this doesn’t make it so. The racist atmosphere that suffused the shooting, the police response, and the trial might have been invisible to many, but, as Glen Ford points out, was tangible and something most African Americans have had to deal with everyday of their lives.

    That the overwhelming number of highest paid state employees are coaches is a ringing indictment of college athletics (professional in all but name), the corporatization of universities’ educational mission, and the upside down priorities of state government. It is evidence for why we need a return to 90%+ marginal tax rates, and for these to be leveled on all income from whatever source.

    It would be useful if someone made a list of all the information the government has been proven to be collecting and is likely thought to be collecting on all of us.

    Photographing US mail
    Email metadata, (content?)
    Telephone metadata, (content?)
    Internet histories
    Photographing car license plates
    GPS and car computers
    DNA sampling on arrestees
    Criminal histories, anything from convictions to traffic stops, all levels of government made available to all levels of government through fusion centers
    Military records
    IRS data?
    Medical data?
    Employment/unemployment records
    Library histories
    Credit histories
    Loan and bank histories
    Satellite and increasing use of domestic drones

    I am sure there are others, but this gives some idea of just how intrusive and complete a portrait the government can have of any American, and eventually of every American. It is quite simply a more complete history of you than you have of yourself, although with even more uncorrected and uncorrectable errors.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘That the overwhelming number of highest paid state employees are coaches … is evidence for why we need a return to 90%+ marginal tax rates.’

      So that governments which enthusiastically advance their bread-and-circuses agenda by co-opting sports with lavish public funding, can receive even more funding and more control over us?

      Thanks, but I prefer not to hand over more money at gunpoint to institutions with demonstrated malicious intent.

      1. Massinissa

        To be fair, I figure the ones who would be getting the 90%+ marginal tax rates would be the ones who de facto own the government anyway. So they would at least have to pay to keep it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          GDP sharing would be like taking those 90% rate tax money and evenly distributed to all taxpayers, without the government touching a cent of it.

          When you put it this way, very few wannabe-power-wielders who oppose the current power-wielders are interested in GDP sharing. Why would the Chinese communists oppose the KMT in the 1930’s if they couldn’t be the KMT in the 2010’s? And you wonder why very-smart-but-not-wise communists can be Bolsheviks one day and billionaires the next day?

          Just be wary of people bearing the MMT horse.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            …horse gift.

            In any case, many will come to you offering salvation in order to

            1. to apotheosize themselves


            2. to midwife a new monster into this world


            3 to impose their theocracy.

            1. F. Beard

              3 to impose their theocracy. BeefforBrains

              Actually Beefy, all the TRUTH needs, at worst, is a level playing field. Don’t you agree?

        2. jrs

          Yea, the control isn’t just driven by a lavishly funded government, although there is that, it’s also driven by extreme wealth inequality, in fact I don’t think it would exist in a more egalitarian society period. Besides we’re always told high tax rates on the rich won’t be enough to fund much anyway, so then let’s have them, to fund nothing, just to prevent them from controlling everything.

    2. psychohistorian

      I am not sure we should take 90% of income but I am sure the public commons should take 90% of inheritance.

  14. Tokai Tuna

    The military can now use troops on the streets to seize U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers. Does the ravaged middle class imagine this is a demagogic promise of order and social justice? Depends on which hillbillies you talk to, but I imagine a massive number of flag waving goons are too angry to stop what is happening and may end up as what they hate.
    That’s what happened in history class.

    1. jrs

      It can also strip search them … before it strips them of due process I mean – it can just strip them.

    2. ambrit

      Dear TT;
      Most real Hillbillies I encounter, as opposed to Beverly Hillbillies, are quite anti-State in outlook. It comes from a lifetime of being treated like poor white trash, if you are white, or like n—–s, if you are black, by most of the organs of the State. Something like Pavlovian Conditioning I would guess.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Serving the empire, for many, is the only to move up and be taken care of – if you have served it well, contributed enough – when old.

        1. ambrit

          Dear MLTPB;
          Too true that. A young man I work with who got blown up in the Afghan War, literally so, said that if the government ever seriously cut back on the V.A. or pensions for enlisted ‘lifers,’ all H— would break out.

  15. rich

    Chase, Once Considered “The Good Bank,” Is About to Pay Another Massive Settlement

    Chase is turning into the Zelig of the corruption era. In virtually every corruption scandal, the bank is in the background somewhere. The HSBC money-laundering mess? Chase was reprimanded for similar abuses. The Madoff story? They’re under investigation there. MF Global? As banker to Jon Corzine’s notorious firm, they were part of a $546 million settlement to return money to MF Global’s outraged customers. Jefferson County? That was them. And again, you might have heard of Abacus, but Magnetar was just as bad. Not that anyone’s counting or anything.

    Memo to colleagues on the White House pool: could someone please ask the president if Jamie Dimon is still his favorite banker?

    Read more:

  16. ScottS

    So that’s how H-1B visa fraud is done! I, Cringely

    This is alleged H-1B visa fraud, remember. In order to hire an H-1B worker in place of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, the hiring company must show that there is no “minimally qualified” citizen or green card holder to take the job. Recruiting such minimally qualified candidates is generally done through advertising: if nobody responds to the ad then there must not be any minimally qualified candidates.

    It helps, of course, if nobody actually sees the ads — in this case reportedly hundreds of them.

    Fantastic article about H1B abuse and how big heavies (Microsoft and IBM) in the tech industry are breaking the law to depress employee wages. Complete with lex pornigraphicus (the indictment of the guy who took money for the ads but never placed them).

    Fun pigfight to watch among the completely deserving. Pass the popcorn.

    1. ChrisPacific

      There is no requirement to demonstrate that no US applicant was available in order to hire somebody on an H1-B visa (that’s the requirement for sponsoring them for an employment-based green card). For an H1-B the main requirement is paying no less than the market rate. The indictment states this accurately but the blogger has it wrong. So if it’s fraud it’s green card fraud, not H1-B fraud.

      The blogger is correct about one thing, which is that companies don’t really care if they get any responses to the ads. In fact it’s more convenient for them if they don’t. In comparison to an H1-B, sponsoring someone for a green card is significantly more work and expense and there is very little in it for the employer in most cases (for one thing, H1-Bs are tied to a specific employer, while green cards are portable, so they lose some leverage). The only real benefit is that they get to keep people for the long term, while H1-Bs can’t be extended beyond a few years. So they typically already have a good candidate for the job, namely the person who has been doing it for years already as an H1-B. They might be legally obliged to cut them loose in favor of a ‘minimally qualified’ American if one should apply, but that doesn’t mean they’d be happy with that as an outcome.

  17. Kim Kaufman

    “Tell the Senate: Support the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act Jeff Merkley (furzy mouse). Yes, I know, MoveOn, but even MoveOn can be on the right side of things….”

    Well, this isn’t actually MoveOn. Or it’s what’s left of MoveOn… MoveON has basically become a petition factory. Anyone can go onto their petition site and start a petition. You push it out with all your contacts – they collect all the data – and you can’t get it. Only if a petition gets a certain number of signatures do they help. I suspect they consider all the newly collected names theirs and send out MoveOn fundraising emails to them. And then they can say “we have x million members.”

  18. charles sereno

    Breaking News: The AP has just reported a story about Mr. Lady (sorry, suppressing guffaw). The facts that seem secure are that Mr. Lady (arrgh) is 59 years old, a former CIA station chief in Milan, presently vacationing in Central America. It seems a Panamanian border guard activated an alarm when Lady attempted to ‘crossover’ from Costa Rica. Latest reports are that Panama officials are ‘straightening out’ this awkward situation. (Mr. Lady is at large from an Italian court which has convicted ‘him’ for ‘rendition’ activities) Speaking on condition of anonymity, a high Italian official has confirmed that an Alitalia Leonardo Flapper aircraft is on standby to transport Mr. Lady back to Italy to serve his sentence. Undoubtedly, there will be further developments to this story.

    1. psychohistorian

      There won’t be any rendition if Italy wants any IMF money to keep their country afloat.

      But it would be fun to see Italy have some balls against the American empire.

  19. LucyLulu

    Wow, seems to be a big day for news, though first link is from 7/15 (and apologies if posted previously, didn’t see it):

    Snowden Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

    This must fry Obama’s ass.

    “In his letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Stefan Svallfors, a professor of sociology at Sweden’s Umeå University, added that awarding the prize to Snowden would “also help to save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute that incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award U.S. President Barack Obama 2009 award.”

    While EU is scrapping GM crops, BASF is moving operations to US. On le souviendra:

    Europe keeps looking better all the time. France passes Glass-Steagall type legislation:

    Ex-CIA chief, convicted in absentia in Italy on 2003 rendition and torture charges, arrested in Panama. Some denial noises coming from Panama but all the news outlets are going with the story:

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