Links 7/2/13

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I saw Google Reader die. I was looking at feeds up to its end (which was actually 5 minutes after midnight, PDT). First the feeds didn’t load but the frame with my chosen sites and folders was there. Then all you got was the Google page telling you in terse corporate speak that the service had been discontinued. Google is evil.

Unclean at Any Speed: Electric cars don’t solve the automobile’s environmental problems IEEE Spectrum

How Secret Spying Programs Affect the Clinically Paranoid Scientific American (Lambert)

The Reddit sleuths who brought down a meme empire DailyDot (Lambert)

French competition watchdog probes Apple resale practices Financial Times

Obama says Nelson Mandela showed the power of ‘acting on our ideas’ Los Angeles Times. OMG, the quote is so vile I can’t bring myself to read the article. Well into Mandela’s prison term, in the later 1970s, the US was still firmly on the side of SA government (Carter’s crowd-pleasing rhetoric was not borne out by action; the US remained supportive of the SA government). People who supported the ANC were depicted as Commies. Reagan also supported apartheid. And now, having actively opposed the ANC, Obama is now dispensing revisionist history by the shovelful?

Likonomics: what’s not to like Free Exchange

Inside China’s Bank-Rate Missteps Wall Street Journal

Egypt’s army gives politicians ‘last chance’ to end crisis Financial Times

Egypt’s Morsi rebuffs army ultimatum BBC

What Is Next For Egypt? Moon of Alabama

Of Public Phones and Besieged Humans Yanis Varoufakis

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Rafael Correa not considering Snowden asylum: helping him was a ‘mistake’ Guardian

French parties join calls to give Snowden asylum The Hill (Lambert)

Snowden makes multiple asylum requests Financial Times

Snowden Sends a Communique from Moscow MsExPat, Corrente. Some important pieces re Snowden’s predicament, along with Edward Snowden’s Moscow stopover became end of the line … for now Guardian

“The entire point of the Fourth Amendment was to ban this kind of general warrant” – Marcy Wheeler interviewed Corrente

‘Total Surveillance’ Officially Brushed Off In Germany Wolf Richter. Curious as to whether German readers think Merkel will indeed be able to simply ignore this one.

Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow (martha r)

Buzzfeed’s Snowden and Greenwald Smears Under Fire DSWright, Firedoglake

Border security plan would boost top defense firms Washington Post

San Diego Jury Acquits on All Counts Occupy Chalk Protestor Targeted by Bank of America TruthOut. Get this part: “…presiding Judge Howard Shore condemned the media after the acquittal for sensationalizing the case.” Huh? A case this patently ridiculous deserved to be pilloried in public. How about starting a campaign against the judge?

The Chart That Says The Gold Sell-Off Still Has A Long Way To Go Clusterstock

Manufacturing ISM Rebounds Slightly but Employment Drops; ISM at a Glance Michael Shedlock

Real-estate valuation, current-account and credit growth patterns, before and after the 2008-09 Crisis VoxEU

Drop It: You Can Call for Helicopter Money but Drop the Call for “Coordination” Scott Fulwiler, New Economic Perspectives

Blackrock: ETFs are the true market FT Alphaville. Izabella Kaminska makes clear that the lady doth protest too much, and my investor buddies weren’t impressed either. From AU via e-mail:

U.S. mutual funds and other institutional pools that are professionally managed (pension funds etc.) control ten times the assets that U.S. ETFs do if one looks just at holdings of U.S. corporate equities (L. 213 of FoF), and some unknown portion of those assets is being traded on an individual stock basis on the basis of macro themes. An example would be a PM at a mutual fund company selling XOM (etc.) and buying PHM (etc.) to try to time a turn in the business cycle, which PMs do all the time. And, we’re not even accounting for hedge funds trading individual equities to express macro themes. Now, I’d agree that ETFs probably are the “true market” in times of macro-level stress, panic, euphoria, etc., but I think BlackRock in general needs to come down from its Jerry Maguire moment and take a deep breath.

Then there’s the fact that ETFs can only ever be a “true market” for that macro-level segment of price discovery. Stock-specific (“idiosyncratic”) information will always be expressed first in the price of the stock itself because that’s where the trader who possesses that information has the most “edge.” So BlackRock needs to check itself a little bit here. Obviously they’re just beating their chest because their existence was threatened by what happened last month and they’re trying to project strength…but still.

Oh, and then there’s the fact that ETFs cease to be a “true market” when they’re afflicted by liquidity issues — the elephant in the room.

As Bond Market Tumbles, Pimco Seeks to Reassure Investors New York Times

Adventures with “free” checking, transatlantic edition Felix Salmon

Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of Fees New York Times (Carol B). Another American disgrace. Chip cards were well established as a way to pay workers with no bank accounts in South Africa in 1997. Are there any readers here who are familiar with the fees in SA? I bet they are vastly lower than here.

Antidote du jour (Tatyana Zherebtsova):


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  1. rjs

    when i refreshed google reader when i woke up @~3:30, it was still available;
    surprised me to see “Gaius Publius: A Primer – What’s in a “Tar Sands” Pipeline?” on top, with a 2:42 time stamp…

    but it must have been a glitch; i just refreshed it again, & got the “Thank you for stopping by. Google Reader has been discontinued” message…

      1. rjs

        i just added another reader to those i’m trying out, & its a bit more complicated than the straight copy the new readers could do for you while google was still functioning…if anyone who has downloaded the google reader takeout wants help with that (under windows), let me know..

    1. Disingenous


      Google didn’t “purge” adult content, they just decided that no one but google should be allowed to get paid for it.

      The spin of the headline is maddening. They take the moral high ground by stealing from the “adult” minded people.

  2. AbyNormal

    The Bat that flits at close of Eve
    Has left the Brain that won’t believe.
    The Owl that calls upon the Night
    Speaks the Unbeliever’s fright.

    1. Susan the other

      The expression on that fledgling owl is proof it’s not culture. Its genetics. Chomsky’s right: hardwiring combines instinct and language. It is saying, “I can kill and eat it, I can inflict unacceptable harm, or I can just fly away.” Decisions, decisions.

  3. MacCruiskeen

    “And now, having actively opposed the ANC, Obama is now dispensing revisionist history by the shovelful?”

    Obama opposed the ANC? Where did he say that?

    1. Massinissa

      Straw manning. Yves never claimed such a thing. Obama is implying that the USA supported the ANC, which it never did.

      1. Klassy!

        I remember flying out of some city in Europe (Geneva? Can’t remember) and picking up a Time because it was in English. I got a kick out of the novelty of them reporting on Africa. There was a spread about the new style leaders in the ANC. Honestly, they seemed like your standard neoliberal sell outs to me– cashing in on their political connections. That’s what I got out of the article although I did not think that was the intent.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Poor sentence construction on my part, but yes, Obama said the ANC acted on “our” ideas (meaning America’s) when we actively opposed the ANC until it was clear they were gonna win. Carter gave lip service in public but supported anti-ANC policies and Reagan was actively opposed.

        And by saying “our” Obama does align himself with former US policies, but I’m not accusing him of having any views on SA when he was young, just of revisionist history now.

  4. Skeptic

    How Secret Spying Programs Affect the Clinically Paranoid

    One of the signs of the Great Deterioration is that once respected institutions openly and blithely disgrace themselves. This time it is Scientific (really?) American with the above piece. The most disgraceful and shameful quote:

    “The life of the average citizen is simply too trite, too safe, too superbly boring to ever attract a glance from authorities….Barring psychiatric illness, you should be able to use this logic to feel comforted that, no, the government is not out to get you.”

    Hey, Scientific American, you must have been out of town but it has recently been revealed that they are “glancing” at “trite”, “boring” Americans 24/7. As for “not out to get you”, could we have scientific evidence please. Whistleblower prosecutions, Manning, Snowden, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, drones, tasers, airport shakedowns, Massive Financial Crimes, etc. seem to indicate the contrary.

    Scientific American, you are now a charter member of the Grain Of Salt Club. Maybe, for some, cancelling a subscription might be in order.

    1. Enslavedlikeyou

      @ Skeptic – I agree. This piece was written by an Editorial Intern.

      Unless Lambert totally missed this, this piece of crap should not have been placed on NC.

      1. Jackson Bane

        Scientific American’s credibility dove in the late 70s, but the name is old, Popular Mechanics is where I go for delusions.

      2. Massinissa

        I disagree: thanks to this, we now know to stay away from things written by this organization in the future.

        I have nothing against NC posting misleading or false articles sometimes, though it would be preferable for there to be a short disclaimer beforehand.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In an important place, like the presidential palace, is every room, bedroom, bathroom, shower room, monitored/videotaped with multiple cameras, 24 hours a day?

          1. just me

            I remember story about how Bush saved out his poop when he went traveling to a foreign country. Would not use their toilet. (DNA? Drug testing?)

            Just think of the Secret Service!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Today the most ardent communist; tomorrow the sharpest capitalist.

        Goebbels in another system could have been a great advertising genius or a superb press secretary.

    2. jrs

      “The life of the average citizen is simply too trite, too safe, too superbly boring to ever attract a glance from authorities…:

      Maybe or maybe not. But one thing is certain: IF you EVEN THINK of becoming a citizen that goes to that protest, expect the snoops. Your life is too boring up and UNTIL you start wanting real democracy (like you were told exists), and a real say in your society.

      Than beware the stasi because you boringness suddenly became – I care about my world and want to act for it. THAT’S A THROUGHT CRIME my friend.

      1. jrs

        By the way the more I think about it the more I think that’s the whole subtext: be boring, don’t get involved, look away, and maybe, just maybe you’ll be safe from the snoops. Remember to stay nice and safe and boring, nice and safe and boring …

        1. aletheia33

          absolutely. the most important gain from the occasional arrests, tortures, and disappearances is the chilling effect they have on the populace at large. the more chilling the effect, the more willing we become to monitor our neighbors, friends, coworkers, and family members in exchange for being allowed to hold on to whatever comfort and security we need to pretend we have. this creeps along by degrees until we are all afraid to do much of anything.

          then, and probably only then, we the people one day notice how utterly depressing our existence has become, how much we miss the humanity we forgot to hold onto, how much trouble we have sleeping at night despite the enjoyments our gov’t allows us, how little our children know of the freedoms we once took for granted. see “the lives of others”.

          instructions dutifully passed on to us via the “scientific american”–what a perfect channel for it!–to gently lead us into the future. and by the way, don’t worry about that guy you used to see hanging out under the bridge and isn’t there any more. he was a paranoid schizophrenic and he’s in a better place now.

  5. DP

    I knew Google was evil when management repriced stock options dramatically lower for itself and employees after the stock market collapse of 2008-09. Note to shareholders: Heads we win, tails you lose.

    1. diptherio

      I figured google was evil once it became apparent that their algorithms were reading my emails (to improve my “ad experience,” dontchaknow).

  6. from Mexico

    @ “Edward Snowden’s Moscow stopover became end of the line … for now”

    Quoting from the article:

    “It wasn’t the plan to get him and to use him,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, a Russian foreign policy analyst. “For Russia, of course, the best scenario would be if he left for a third country but there is no country that seems eager to get him. Since there is no alternative, maybe he will stay.”

    Could it be that Russia speaks with forked tongue?

    As I noted yesterday:

    In Latin America there’s a great deal of speculation that Nicolás Maduro could grant Snowden asylum. Maduro is currently in Moscow for meeting of gas exporting nations and to sign an agreement with Putin.

    According to reports coming out of Venezuela, Maduro has the authority to grant Snowden asylum on the spot, and here’s a video of a talk he gave where he leaves no doubt that he would do so:

    “If on Monday Snowden sends a solicitude for asylum, the government can grant it immediately, expedite the travel document so Snowden can leave Russia and even send a plane for him,” says the report. “Everything depends on whether the Russians will allow Snowden to leave and whether they allow the Venezuelans contact with him.”
    “Nicolás Maduro goes to Moscow for Snowden”

    Now compare that to the news coming out of Venezuela today:

    Asked whether they were going to take Snowden to Venezuela from Moscow, Maduro said what he is going to take will be a large number of agreements that he will sign with Russia, “like the agreements for investment in petroleum and gas.”

    Hours earlier, the WikiLeaks website published a list of countries where Edward Snowden had requested asylum and assistance. In the list was Venezuela.

    Texto completo en:

    1. from Mexico

      The latest news out of South America is that Venezuela, in contradiction to what WikiLeaks is reporting, has not received a request for asylum from Snowden. Here one can here it straight from the horse’s mouth, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, in a televised interview from Moscow:

      Bolivia’s president Evo Morales is also reported as ready to grant Snowden asylum. All he needs, he assures, is the request from Snowden, which he says he has not received. This too is in contradiction to what WikiLeaks is reporting.

      What is one to make of all this?

      My understanding is that the requests are filtered through Russia. Is Russia not passing the requests along? Is Russia providing political cover for Maduro and Morales, as surely it would be highly unpopular in either Bolivia or Venezuela to deny asylum to Snowden? Does Russia, contrary to what it is saying, want Snowden captive so it can use him?

      1. AbyNormal

        i’m sadden by my own pessimism…but this seems a Putin wetdream and the timing couldn’t be more cozy.
        Thanks Mex for following and translating…im not missing a post.

      2. Lambert Strether

        What I want to know is how the heck Snowden is posting from inside the Sheremetyevo Airport transit areas? And to Wikileaks, at that?

        It’s a Hall of Mirrors…

        1. Ms G

          Yes. That’s pretty much the $36M dollar question, at least in my mind. And it has been for a few days.

        2. The rabbit hole

          The airport near Moscow is the best place that Snowden can be, considering what he is doing. No predator drone can attack him there. The wifi is free, open and with a laptop or a smartfone, he can do what ever he likes. Mr Putin has given kind of assurance:

          President Putin said that Snowden never crossed the Russian border and doesn’t fall under any extradition treaty. It is true that Snowden has arrived to Moscow, and it really came as a surprise for us. He arrived as a transit passenger, and didn’t need a [Russian] visa, or any other documents. As a transit passenger he is entitled to buy a ticket and fly to wherever he wants,” “We can only extradite any foreign citizens to such countries with which we have signed the appropriate international agreements on criminal extradition,” “Snowden is a free person. The sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it is for him and Russia,” Putin said.He also expressed hope that the Snowden saga would not have any negative impact on Russian-American relations and that the US “will understand this.”

          Iran, North Korea, Syria … ?

    2. Florence Martingale

      Having worked in refugee facilities, one feels obliged to obtrude a little context. Administrative assistance for refugees takes time. That is why they have refugee camps and not refugee lunch counters or refugee express-checkout kiosks. The procedures that bog Snowden down are the procedures that protect him from US government persecution. Assange is probably farther along in accepting this reality than Snowden. Both of them will need a lot of patience.

      Refugee law gives concerned states a great deal of discretion about whether and when to take the initiative. The unstructured coordination that results gives the Perils-of-Pauline impression that the media loves to hype. With everyday refugees, the diplomatic give-and-take happens in obscurity.

      The press does not explain public statements in terms of the instruments, documents and protocols they invoke, so here’s the rules.

        1. aletheia33

          Main Entry:obtrude
          Pronunciation:*b-*tr*d, *b-
          Inflected Form:obtruded ; obtruding
          Etymology:Latin obtrudere to thrust at, from ob- in the way + trudere to thrust ó more at OB-, THREAT
          Date:circa 1609

          transitive verb
          1 : to thrust out : EXTRUDE
          2 : to force or impose (as oneself or one’s ideas) without warrant or request
          intransitive verb : to become unduly prominent or interfering : INTRUDE
          obtruder noun


  7. taunger

    RE: Pay cards – “a calculator on Visa’s Web site estimates that a company with 500 workers could save $21,000 a year by switching from checks to payroll cards. ”

    If only Americans could so some math – the company gets to save $42 a year per worker, and impose multiples of that in fees upon the employee. Any company with 500 workers can afford $21K to sustain morale. What utter b#lls#!t the powers that be feed the masses.

    1. thurbs

      Not that it will ever happen, but want to see those cards lose their luster, start insisting on laws that eliminate the inactivity fee for the service providers and requiring them to provide the employee one balance and activity check a month. Employers would be required to pay for eight withdrawals and two additional balance checks a month to be billed directly by the service providers NOT the employee. IOW, a law requiring the employer to shoulder the burden of the cost of the card.

      1. petridish

        The bloom will be off the rose right quick when more employees figure out that “old-fashioned” CASH is the way to go.

        Driving tens of millions to use cash would really rock the system.

      2. JADodd

        I have toyed with the idea that the government should issue a “cash card” or “national debit card” instead of currency. It could be run through the central bank and we could designate what happens when we transact business with the card.

        Therefore, my employer would pay me by issuing a direction that his bank credit my card, i.e. my account at the central bank. If I so chose, I could have a standing directive with the central bank that all credits to my account should then be transferred to my credit union. (Or, I could simply leave the credit at the central bank.) When I go to pay my utility bill, I use the card with the direction that a debit be made from my credit union account through the central bank to the account of the utility company.

        This takes the private banks out of the mere transaction of money business altogether.

        Then, again, is this the ultimate expression of the “market state?”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From another corner of the mainstream media – I just saw on LATimes something about Consumer Reports rating the top craft beers.

      Anything to keep you interested in consuming and consumerism.

      In Zen, there is a saying;

      It’s not this
      It’s not that
      It’s not neither
      It’s not both.

      You get into the whirlpool of ranking things, you will never get out.

      There is only the beer in front of you.

      There is only the girl who is with you, and not some ‘most beautiful’ girl in the world contest on TV.

      Thus this poem from a younger yours truly

      Every day is a good day
      I love today – it’s here with me.

      Everyone girl is a pretty girl
      My girl is the prettiest as she is by me.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          While the Romans and Greeks liked wine, Sumerians and Egyptians preferred beer and so they would have appreciated that.

    2. jrs

      Yoga by itself is not religious. However there are all kinds of cults that use yoga as a selling point, the hook to get people in the door, this is also well known.

      1. Massinissa

        Not eating food is not religious, unless one renames it a fast, in which case it is religious. Nearly everything can be religious in certain settings.

          1. Massinissa

            It becomes RELIGIOUS in certain settings.

            Fasting is clearly not a religion you know? I dont think extreme dieting counts as a religion by itself. Yet.

            Certain religious groups make use of yoga. That is well known.

            In non-religious settings, yoga is non-religious.

            Have I not made myself clear? I do apologize.

            1. ambrit

              My apologies for being deliberately obscure. I was attempting to formulate a weak linguistic pun. I was not denigrating your descriptive abilities.
              Again, apologies.

  8. MacCruiskeen

    I was amused that one of the MIT studies cited by the IEEE article was written by a group that I know personally. Some of their research is product “life-cycle” management–figuring out where materials come from, where they’re going to go after the product is used up. Not surprisingly, their corporate sponsors want to find ways to use less of stuff, particularly expensive stuff that has to be sourced in China. DOE just handed out a big ($125 million) grant (I think Ames ended up with it) to find ways to replace REE with more easily-sourced materials. Sadly, one of the factors driving researchers to take corporate money is that they’re the ones willing to pay. Government money is harder to get and comes with a lot more administrative strings attached.

  9. k

    Thanks for the link about electric cars. It’s going to take a long time for us to accept that car-centric transportation infrastructure cannot continue to receive massive and disproportionate subsidies, in economic or environmental terms. The shifts we need to make are such much bigger than most of us want to face. Electric cars are IMO just another tool for denial about the nature of the crisis we are headed for.

    1. Susan the other

      It is hard to ignore the IEEE’s assessment of the energy required to support an electric-car industry. I’m in agreement with their assessment that what we need to do is study walkable towns, and bicycling on a large scale.

      1. Steve

        Please note that it is not the IEEE making this announcement, it is the personal opinion (however correctly or incorrectly reasoned) of Ozzie Zehner.

        I also agree that urban areas need better transport other than automobiles. Bicycles and walking are not nearly as prevalent in the US as in places like Japan (where I am at present).

  10. petridish

    RE: Obama/Mandela/”our ideas”

    You were right to skip this one, Yves. It reeks with gems like Obama’s welcoming competition from China for “Africa’s resources.” In addition, Obama has apparently found $7 billion in the beleaguered and sequestered American budget to “up our game” (always love the bball references) to “Power Africa.” (These dollars will be part of a public-private partnership ala “Confessions of an Economic Hitman.”)

    But, alas, even as Obama labored rhetorically to become Mandela’s Siamese twin, “there could be no face-to-face meeting” due to Mandela’s condition. I find this odd. The symbolism of this passing of the torch ceremony, however brief, would have been incredibly powerful. Could it be that Mandela had made it known that all Nobel Peace Prize winners are NOT created equal? That there must be more of a connection between great leaders than mere melanin?

    1. Synopticist

      Hmmm. Sounds like Mandela doesn’t want to write Obama a blank cheque with his legacy. He’s always been a very smart cookie, besides being a truly great man.

    2. LucyLulu

      I too found it “odd” that Mandela declined Obama’s visit. I don’t believe it was due to Mandela’s poor health. Who declines a visit from the president of the U.S.? I think Mandela rebuffed Obama due to his furthering the kind of foreign policies and human rights practices that Mandela spent his life fighting against.

      1. Massinissa

        Among other things of course, part of it may have to do with Obama being the main person responsible for killing his good friend Muammar Gaddhafi. Gaddhafi gave Mandela substantial funding, and they were very good friends. Mandela referred to him as one of the great revolutionary leaders of our time. When Mandela was released from his 27 year prison sentence, he actually broke the UN embargo on Libya to visit Gaddhafi.

        More than pretty much any other national leader, Gaddhafi supported the cause of ending south african apartheid, while the west actively supported it. *shakes head* The west has really been on the wrong side of history lately…

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        No, Mandela is on death’s door. There was a huge kerfluffle maybe two weeks ago about a group of people who’ve worked with him a long time getting a meeting, and of course, a photo. The reaction in the media was heated, they were taken apart for using Mandela for yet another photo op. And Mandela looked gone. No luster in his eyes, didn’t look at the camera, etc.

  11. Jackson Bane

    Sounds like the Presiding Judge wanted to roast the chalk patriot on behalf of Bankin’. The natural response from the public to his questionable shenangins would be to blitz with judicial disability complaints. Looks like the bitch-media pulled some weight for the underdog, rare, but it happens.

  12. Synopticist

    Egypt has the potential to get very ugly and scary very quickly. If the army chuck out Morsi and the MB with the Salafis decide to fight it, there could be civil war.

    Qatar might decide to pull some blundering, idiotic move on their behalf as well, and the US will no doubt be a few moves behind, as it has been throughout the entire 2 year crisis.

    1. Synopticist

      Slightly OT, but reading between the lines it may be that TPTB have decided not to get further involved in Syria.
      Otherwise, why would stories like this suddenly start appearing…

      The priest was horribly murdered over a week ago, and the video has been all over the web since, and the process of hardcore Islamisation illustrated by the Reuters story is hardly a new trend.

  13. JADodd

    Paycards – In Colorado, we have already addressed this issue. If an employer wants to use a “paycard,” it must allow the employee to withdraw the balance free of charge at least once per pay period. Section 8-4-102, (2.5), Colo. Rev. Stat. We also have a statute that prohibits banks from charging fees or otherwise discounting paychecks.

    1. bob

      “Withdraw” the “balance” where?

      Most ATM machines have an upper limit of $200-300. That’s the machine, not the bank issuing the card, which also has “anti-fraud” measures which limiting the maximum cash withdraw and the frequency of cash outs.

      How does one state set a policy that circumvents this?

      Honestly, asking?

      A 2 week paycheck for a 7.50 an hour job is about $400. What machine and/or card allows this much cash to be dispensed? How common are they?

      1. bob

        My guess is that no one in CO uses a “paycard” because of this law, but I am very curious.

        I would also expect the feds to start “regulating” the CO law into dust.

      2. petridish

        In Florida–

        A friend who works for a “temp” agency gets paid on a card. It is the damnedest thing. It’s called “rapid!$” (Catchy.) The card has the word “debit” printed on it and shows the VISA logo. It has that bird hologram and an expiration date. It also has an account number with the same arrangement of digits as a credit card. (They’re raised as if someone was going to imprint the number on and NCR paper form. Sheesh.) The agency he works for is called Quality Labor Management (QLM.) Apparently, this is the only way they pay.

        His pay is credited weekly, on the Friday following the week during which he worked.

        We couldn’t locate the disclosure statement which was provided when he first got the card, but the website is I believe you could get the fee/usage details there if interested.

        He can check his balance and transactions online at the website at no charge. (This would mean an employee could use a smartphone if they had one, or borrow one, or go to the library and use the internet.)

        He gets one free “transaction” per pay period. He uses this transaction at the nearest Chase branch to empty the card each week for cash. The bank employees, smiling sweetly, attempt to get him to open an account every time. Just as sweetly, he declines.

        He lives on cash. In the rare event that he needs to write a check, he gives me the money and I write it for him or he gives me cash and I use my credit card.

        He’s kind of an old hippie and enjoys the game. So do I. Death (to the system) by a thousand cuts and all that.

        1. bob

          Something about the “card” allows them to steal the carry, beyond what they would normally get from a direct deposit account. It’s probably in the back office clearing.

          Wondering now if it’s even an “account”…

          Are these pay cards FDIC protected? Looking now.

          1. bob

            “The rapid! PayCard® Visa® Payroll Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC. ”

            I still can’t find a direct statement about the FDIC coverage.

            The slight of hand is getting more sloppy. Doing a google search for “The Bancorp Bank” brings up the google banner with all the usual bells and wistles, but one.

            The reviews. If I google the pizza place down the road there are reviews, and on the main google page is shows if they are positive or negative.

            On the Google search for Bankcorp, it shows the number of reviews, but doesn’t say if they are positive or negative.

            Guess what? Clicking on the reviews shows them all to be negative. Every. Single. One.

            Pardon, there is one, single “very good”-

            “under new management”

    1. LucyLulu

      Mike Barnacle says he was told by somebody fairly high up in intelligence community that media has “no clue” how the surveillance program works.

      WH/Obama is “annoyed” this story is still being covered by media, they think they have already adequately addressed it, been more transparent, etc. They’re angry at Wyden and Udall for setting up Clapper (to lie to Congress). In particular, the president’s ratings have fallen among young people, a large portion of his constituency.

      For the folks who didn’t get the memo: We’ve had the debate and it’s all settled.

      1. Synopticist

        Lessons have been learned, and it’s time to move on. We need to look forward, not back. I’m WITH MANDELA. The republicans are worse. There’s nothing new in these so called “revalations”. Snowden’s a fuc*ing traitor, but I didn’t say that, someone else did. If you stop busting my balls over this, I’ll make another self-depreciaitng, cutesy speech. Deal?

    2. Jackrabbit

      The Administration and MSM want to focus on the privacy of ordinary Americans because it is easy to make assurances like: “no one is listening to your calls,” and “if you don’t have anything to hide, you have nothing to fear.” Such statements are, at best, misleading.

      We now know that they CAN access a great deal of info either in real time (probably rare) or at a future date, without a warrant and on just a hint of suspicion.

      But more importantly, they are almost certainly interested in Americans that are NOT ‘ordinary’. Those who purport to represent public interests (activists, representatives, government officials, media, etc.) or have a popular public profile. And I would guess that most of these people have an overseas friend, or friend of a friend, that represents juuust enough cause (under the loosy-goosy FISA rules) to watch them – or to have a friendly foreign agency watch them.

      The kind of pervasive surveillance that NSA has developed can be used to ensure that anyone that gets to a position of authority will support the establishment. Given the level of outcry from our Congressional Representatives, one would have to wonder if such a system is not already firmly in place. (!)

      Thus, while it is unlikely that they are targeting ‘average Americans’, NSA, and their ‘Five-eyes’ partners, have the *capability* to undermine Democracy ‘behind-the-scenes’. And this capability is even more troubling when you consider what is happening overtly: the attack on whistle-blowers and real reporting, inequality, cronyism, the demise of unions, austerity, media ‘spin’ that boarders on fantasy, etc.

      1. Jackrabbit

        Here’s a Guardian article about MSM coverage in the UK:

        NSA revelations: why so many are keen to play down the debate

        Which includes this info (which should be made more widely known):

        Those who wail about the leaks affecting national security might consider the words of Bruce Schneier, a security specialist, who wrote in the New York Times: “The argument that exposing these documents helps the terrorists doesn’t even pass the laugh test; there’s nothing here that changes anything any potential terrorist would do or not do.”

        Some of the comments to the article are also interesting. In one, rrheard says: given the fact (stated above):

        …[given the non-application to terrorism (as described in the above quote) and that this data collection is no longer secret] then the questions become:
        a) what is the real purpose of the surveillance,
        b) who are its actual targets and why,
        c) is this type of surveillance moral and/or legal.

        That’s why this “debate” has to be avoided at all costs by those who profit financially from mass surveillance and those who use the fruits of mass surveillance to wield power undemocratically.

  14. Eric L

    The electric car article was very poor. There are real issues here, but this paper only confused them by ignoring good science and using junk science when it seemed to support the author’s case. Two examples:

    1. The author made a point of enumerating the toxic by-products of pv solar panel production on the way to concluding that widespread use of them would have “venomous side effects”. Be he ignored a substantial empirical literature that has consistently found that the environmental effects and energy payback period for pv is completely reasonable. Here’s one such:



    2. The author invoked a Norwegian study (“Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Electric Vehicles”) from last year claiming to show that aggregate emissions from electric vehicles in Europe would be “worse or on par with modern internal combustion engine vehicles”. But this study has been thoroughly discredited. Among other things, the study’s authors estimated the motor mass of an electric car to be 1000 kg and the inverter/charger to be 35 kg; all of the environmental impact of their vehicle production estimates were calculated with these numbers. But they are more than an order of magnitude too high (typical of an industrial electric motor). The Nissan Leaf’s motor mass is 53 kg, for example.

    If this kind of error seems incredible, you can click through to the study’s Supporting Information Document S2 here:

    and see the study estimates for yourself.

    The lead author of the Norwegian group that published this garbage (at NTNU) works for an industrial research organization (SINTEF) which has close connections with Statoil. This perhaps wouldn’t deserve mention, were it not for the fact that the “Unclean at Any Speed” author made such a fuss about the funding (and supposed conflicts of interest?) of some of the electric car studies he cites.

  15. Klassy!

    Unclean at any speed: this was a good article as it looked at the total lifecycle of electric cars. It also discusses the outsourcing of pollution with electric vehicles– usually to poor rural areas. This would be the case where I live as we are almost entirely reliant on coal burning power plants for our electricity. It also frustrates me when I hear the cries for light rail which does the same sort of outsourcing. I’m not sure why, but light rail is acceptable to the creative class, but not riding the already available buses.
    In my city, one “easy” fix they could make would be to place more sidewalks in the neighborhoods that went up in the 60’s and 70’s. There are actually more people that walk out of necessity in these neighborhoods and it would be useful if they could make the walks safer and I would hope, more pleasant with the planting of trees. This has been done in some parts of the city, but there is always a focus on the higher income “urban core” area.

    1. Eric L

      “Unclean at any speed: this was a good article as it looked at the total lifecycle of electric cars.”

      The author didn’t do any original research but selectively picked other studies that have tried to do this. One of them has been discredited, as I say above. The others are more supportive of the ecological advantages of electric vehicles that the “Unclean at Any Speed” tried to make them sound. Read them yourself.

      This is not to deny that there are real issues, as I say, but this is a poor paper.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There is one thing we can do that WITHOUT DOUBT will help – consuming less.

        Remember, consuming less doesn’t profit any corporations though…even ‘innovative’ ones. They prefer you never hear of consuming less. They need you to BUY their ‘innovative products’ that may or may not achieve the objective.

        That works for ‘intellectuals’ who like to show their knowledge of ‘innovative products.’

      2. Klassy!

        I don’t necessarily believe that internal combustion engines are cleaner, but I still believe that there were good points raised.

    2. Moopheus

      In a dense urban area, light rail makes more sense than buses because it can move more people faster. Where I live, it takes 10 minutes longer to get to work by bus than by subway, though the bus is closer to my house (they both stop at the same station). Also, the bus only runs three times an hour, miss it and your screwed. This is why I ride my bike to work.

      1. Klassy!

        Sure, I understand that but there were calls to build a streetcar from one part of the core to another here– basically from bars in one area to another. This was actually a distance that you could walk!

      2. ambrit;

        There is also some sort of cultural difference too. A person at work who lived in Germany for several years recently laughingly remarked on what an average American considered a “reasonable walk to the store” would be considered a sign of laziness or disability over there.
        I remember having to walk a mile or more with my mother to get to the bus stop in Hialeah way back when. Parents even sent youngsters off to pick up things from the store, a half mile away or more, with nary a second thought. This in an inner, or older, closer in, suburb. Anyone here remember when there were packs of kids running around after school and on the weekends? (There is a reason why residential zones have low speeds posted for traffic.)

      3. Gerard Pierce

        One thingthat gets left out of most commetary on mass transit is geography.

        Mas transit works in Manhatten and in the city of Chicago. In each case, the main routes are a straight line. (Chicago is on the edge of Lake Michigan.) It’s not perfect, but a limited amount of mass transit, plus some feeder lines cover most of these cities.

        Chicago and Denver are blobs and for large parts of each city, you can’t get there from here except by automobile.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Sydney is a blob too, and I don’t buy your reasoning. They have a lot of very good public transportation, trains, busses and ferries. They’ve deliberately kept parking in the central business district VERY expensive, so everyone commutes in. People still own cars (I lived in the one area you could function without a car, Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay (might also have been feasible in Surrey Hills) but it kept car use down. Plus tough drinking rules also meant a lot of people used public transport when feasible when going to parties or dinners.

  16. diane

    Read and weep:

    07/02/13 Los Angeles’s oldest bookstore closing after more than a century in business

    07/02/13 Amazon warehouses: literally worse than coal mines

    While the photos in the essay are certainly gorgeous, and unnerving without being exploitative of the workers—they convey the landscape of the Amazon picking floor in all its bright sterile vastness—it’s Robert’s insight into the problem with such warehouses that might be most valuable. As he is quoted by Brownlee:

    “When you buy something from an independent retailer, you might pay more than Amazon, but that extra bit is an investment,” Roberts explains. “When you pay it, you’re investing in the quality of not only your own life but the life of the community around you.”

    The same panicked grasping by local governments at jobs, no matter how temporary or poorly paid, that led to the placement of the warehouse in Rugeley is how Amazon managed to place packing plants in other locations as well. Amazon (a company that receives more money from the UK government than it pays in taxes, remember) currently has other UK “fulfillment centers” in Hemel Hempsted, Hertfordshire; Swansea, Wales; Doncaster, South Yorkshire and Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, former mining towns all. At what point will those communities be forced to ask what, in fact, Amazon is giving back to them, if anything?

    Among the most infuriating of Roberts’ photographs are those of motivational posters dotted around the Rugeley warehouse. In each poster, a full-sized photo of one of the warehouse’s employees, and dotted around them are slogans—presumeably chosen by the employees themselves—so full of hope in the corporate overlord that it almost makes one sick with dread, slogans like ”We love coming to work and miss it when we’re not here!” Coal mining in towns like Rugeley was terrible work, but it had the decency to be honestly such.

    (bolding mine. F U C K Jeff Bezos and his ilk.)

      1. Charles LeSeau

        Nothing new under the sun. Steinway hasn’t been owned by a Steinweg/Steinway since 1972, when they sold it to CBS, who found themselves out of their element and then resold it to an investment group in 1985 consisting of lawyers, financiers, and marketers (who, it must be said, did a surprisingly decent job of caring for the brand).

        By the way, for any pianists out there considering a piano purchase: Steinway makes great pianos, but their greatness is truly diminished in the modern world. Comparisons between quality of German and NYC Steinways aside, there are multiple budget brands that produce instruments of comparable quality for lower prices. I own a Steinway model M grand from 1996, which I’m thoroughly happy with, but it was way overpriced, and I wish I could go back in time and slap my 29-year-old self and tell him to have been a smarter consumer.

        1. AnonII

          Got an ’85 L Model, of which I am very happy with. :-} Mom has a ’70 CF6 Yamaha, and it just doesn’t have the depth and sensitivity that the Steinway inherently has (and I grew up w/the Yamaha.) We went to the piano store a few years back, testing out the different models in the showroom. If there are better pianos, I didn’t hear/play one of them that day. Mom agreed. Cost is always a factor though, and I haven’t looked to see what the price difference/exact quality quotients are. Maybe they’re considerable enough as you say to thwart the Steinway purchase for another. Still, after playing all those pianos at the store, I’m amazed at the quality variability out there, even in the supposed similar quality lines.

          1. Charles LeSeau

            Hail fellow pianist!

            With the lower priced brands it’s a bit tougher to find an instrument that speaks to you, but that’s true of any piano as you know. A Steinway isn’t the same as the one next to it, of course (Yamaha’s odd penchant for consistency notwithstanding) but I was impressed by quite a few pianos the next tier down – notably Petrof, Schimmel, and Estonia. One of the Petrofs at my local shop was not much inferior in sound to mine, and I actually preferred its Renner action to the Steinway. Also it’s possible in the lower tiered pianos to get a longer piano like your L with a better scale design than something like my M, but for less or same cost. In general I dislike Asian makes, though my teacher in college had a Kawai that was lovely.

            Preferred repertoire matters too, I think. Some pianos are blood beasts meant for storming upon like Horowitz; others for more classical style, and I think that’s generally true even of instruments that aren’t concert sized. I chose my Steinway primarily for its ability with more colorful stuff like Ravel. It’s pretty hard to make a bad sound on the thing.

      1. diane

        (I would say the “UK Government” is evil also, but that might be rather redundant, as it’s rather clear that Amazon is part of the ‘leadership’ of the “UK Government,” as it certainly is of the “US Government.”)

            1. diane


              You can now add “spymaster” to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s various titles. On Friday June 14, a US Government Accountability Office [pdf file] (GAO) report elaborated on previous reports that Amazon had won a $600 million contract to build a “private cloud” for the CIA. (The GAO report was generated when IBM, which had been competing for the contract, protested that it had lost unfairly.)

              More than half a billion dollars will buy you a lot of cloud computing, and now, according to postings on Amazon’s own jobs site, the company is staffing up to meet the demand the new contract will require. Specifically, Amazon is looking for engineers who already have a “Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented Information” clearance, or are willing to go through the elaborate screening process required to get it. TS/SCI is the highest security clearance offered by the US government, and getting it requires having your background thoroughly vetted.

              (I do not understand why people who don’t have to – and certainly have the knowledge at hand, to know better and understand the implications – patronize Amazon, Google, FaceFiend, et al, …especially given how dire things are looking for so many. ……. It reminds me of impatient assholes who choose to check their purchases with a bot versus someone whose job relies on their refusing to use a bot, makes me want to spit in their face and punch them in the gut, as they are surely consigning millions – who had no choice in the matter – to misery.)

    1. k

      The Amazon link isn’t working for me right now, not even directly from the source.

      Having once worked a temp gig as a picker in an Amazon warehouse, I have a hard time believing it is worse than a coal mine. Though it was among the crappiest jobs I’ve had, to be sure.

      1. dianbe

        My thought was that in noting it was worse than the mines, the author is encompassing the sheer and stunning psychological abuse which perhaps one day will be acknowledged as every bit as horrid if not more so (for its white gloved lack of physical evidence as to the pain and terror caused) than physical abuse.

        As far as the links go, they worked for me when I checked them (right after I posted the comment), and they are working for me currently (as I just checked them), maybe it was a temporary glitch?

        1. k

          Got it — the link is now working for me.

          I guess this says quite a lot:

          “Coal mining in towns like Rugeley was terrible work, but it had the decency to be honestly such.”

          And that is really what was crap about that Amazon job. BTW, the people who’d moved from the temp pool to hires became Bezos zombie cheerleaders. I wonder how they all fared since I believe that warehouse has since closed and moved to cheaper locales like Rugeley.

          1. diane

            I’m glad you’re not still stuck there, and hope what you’re doing now is far better.

            1. k

              Yes, thanks, that was just a temp thing for me post-college. The sort of bs I deal with now on the job is mild by comparison. But I do know that for a lot of folks in that warehouse, it was another in a long line of crappy non-opportunities.

    2. craazyman

      I would call that a form of “spirit mutilation”. It sounds like something a cult would do to destroy an individual’s ego and enforce a blind obedience to the group. The great disease of our time is an unfathomable soul loss, and demeaning and humiliating someone who needs a paycheck bad enough to do that, with posters like that, is both a symptom and a cause. Amazon’s leadership should be sickened and ashamed.

      1. aletheia33

        right on.
        and the southern mistress was shocked when her household “servants” heard they were free and walked out of the house one minute later. …”but she was like family to us!” no, you forced her to perform as family to you. not only did you think you owned all of her, you thought she was okay with that. the exploitation of humans by humans has some very strange twists.

    1. AbyNormal

      “Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death.”

      to he!l with that…im officially scared sh!tless with this news

    2. Massinissa

      Also interesting that Bill Gates pretty much bought most of Monsanto.

      So much for his philanthropy schtick.

  17. fresno dan

    San Diego Jury Acquits on All Counts Occupy Chalk Protestor Targeted by Bank of America TruthOut. Get this part: “…presiding Judge Howard Shore condemned the media after the acquittal for sensationalizing the case.” Huh? A case this patently ridiculous deserved to be pilloried in public. How about starting a campaign against the judge?

    How about firing the prosecutor for misuse of government funds for such a poor lack of judgment. And than investigating the prosecutor for corruption, as he obviously doesn’t decide to prosecute independently (and with regard to banks, prosecutors mainly due banks bidding more typically by NOT PROSECUTING BANKS), but at the behest of big banks.
    OH YEAH, the entire judicial system works that way…

    1. Ms G

      And the judge should be referred to a competency panel based on his decision to ban the chalk-protester from using a First Amendment defense or even mentioning “free speech” or “first amendment” in any of his arguments.


      I’m a little puzzled about where the local chapter of ACLU (or the national organization, for that matter) was during all this. Seems pretty MIA.

  18. AbyNormal

    Bulldozer Destroys Pyramid at 5,000-Year-Old Site in Peru

    Peruvian property developers bulldozed a pyramid on one of the oldest archaeological sites in the Americas, parts of which date from about 3,000 B.C.

    After knocking down the six-meter-high (20 foot) building, which covered 2,500 square meters (3,000 square yards), the group scattered refuse over the rubble and set it ablaze, the Culture Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. They were caught by police attempting to tear down some of the 11 other pyramids on the site.“The damage caused is irreparable,” the ministry said. Those responsible face as many as eight years in prison, it said.

    The destruction comes five months after archaeologists found a temple on the archaeological site, known as El Paraiso, which may be as old as Caral, a 5,000-year-old temple north of Lima discovered in 2001. At 3,000 B.C., the complex would predate the Step Pyramid in Egypt and Stonehenge in England.

    :` (

  19. AbyNormal

    Why Vladimir Putin Needs Higher Oil Prices

    July 2012 (an not much has changed except todays u.s charge for 100. a barrel)


    The FBI and Russia’s FSB security agency are in talks ordered by Obama and Putin to try to find a way to end the standoff over Edward Snowden, a Russian news agency reported.

    1. ambrit

      Dear AbyNormal;
      What I find amusing about the Obama/Putin Accord, (soon to be classed in with the Ribbentrop/Molotov Pact etc.) is the fact that the U.S.s FBI and the R.F.s FSB are now viewed as coequal and, essentially doppelgangers. It is not only great minds that think alike.

      1. AbyNormal

        dear Ambrit, there was a time i would have considered my comment a lazy irresponsible reach…a part of me misses those days.

        1. ambrit

          Dear AbyNormal;
          I too miss those days. The world had an aura of, shall I say, decency and comprehensibility. Today feels somewhat like what I have read about the Italian Renaissance. Multiple power centres jockeying for influence. True civilization struggling to survive. The baser elements of society prospering.
          My “Golden Age” may be just an illusion, but it was one yearned for by most people. The much vaunted “Law of the Jungle” is not a law, it is a condition, and a terminal one at that. The “Rule of Law,” with all its faults and weaknesses, is an earnest attempt to raise the conditions of all, equally. That is why Justice is supposed to be blindfolded.
          Enough ranting. Sleep well, enjoy tomorrow!

  20. Hugh

    I think the three most likely countries to grant asylum to Snowden are Venezuela and Bolivia. Correa did his star turn and has now wimped out. Apparently, it only took him a week to realize it was all a mistake, not his mistake, of course, an underling’s. I have to wonder if accompanying Biden’s generous telephone call were pictures of Correa with naked under-age girls, or boys, of if it was something more mundane like threats of retaliation on trade. Most perhaps all of the world’s states are kleptocracies. So when you think about it, it is not surprising that so few of the world’s states would even consider granting Snowden asylum. None of them want to encourage that kind of whistleblowing thinking among the ranks in their own bureaucracies. None want to go up against the world’s kleptocratic hegemon, certainly not on anything as a matter of principle.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Hugh;
      You left out the third country, which I believe you meant to be Magonia.

    2. Massinissa

      I dont blame Correa much. I think it was damn brave to try and get on the United States nerves at all.

      But yeah, Maduro and Morales are the most oppositional figures to the United States and Neoliberalism in the south american continent, even moreso than Correa (not that that makes Correa bad or anything. The situations are different. Im assuming there are problems that came up for Correa. Taking on the US interests is hardly easy.). If anyone has shown willingness to wrestle politically with the global hegemon, its Venezuela and Bolivia.

    3. Hugh

      Oops, Magonia or Cuba. I dropped Cuba but didn’t change the number. Cuba has no skin in this game.

    4. Jackrabbit

      Bolivia says Morales’ plane diverted, possibly over Snowden

      Bolivia said on Tuesday that President Evo Morales’ plane had to make an unscheduled stopover in Vienna while traveling back to his country from Moscow, noting that there were “unfounded suspicions” that former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden was on the aircraft.

      Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca told reporters that Portugal and France had abruptly canceled air permits.

      “They say it was due to technical issues, but after getting explanations from some authorities we found that there appeared to be some unfounded suspicions that Mr. Snowden was on the plane,” he added. “We don’t know who invented this lie.”

      1. LucyLulu

        The Bolivian president had made a remark on Spanish language RT before leaving Moscow that he’d consider asylum if Snowden requested. Now the U.S. has been accused of starting the rumor that Snowden was on the plane, initiating a major diplomatic incident. As of posting, the plane was still grounded in Vienna, possibly being searched for Snowden, after being rerouted out of French and Portuguese airspace. And now Morales is really hot over his plane being diverted!

        So much for EU outrage over surveillance.

        Live updates:

    5. AbyNormal

      agree Hugh…i also consider the horrible market timing for too many countries. the commodities and currency battles are crushing enough but the idea of a strategically placed whaler near their markets…its unimaginable.

      remember this Nov.2012
      Stockholm’s stock exchange was brought to its knees yesterday as a record-breaking order hit the book and halted trading for four hours. A 4.3 billion contract buy order in the OMX30 futures (the Swedish equivalent of the Dow futures) caused the fiasco. This is equivalent to a SEK460 trillion notional exposure – or **131 times the Swedish GDP** (around USD70 trillion).

      (i No longer believe in market coincidences, nor fat fingers)

  21. Howard Beale IV

    Bolivian President plane forced to land on fears it was carrying Snowden:

    “LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — The plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales home from Russia was rerouted to Austria on Tuesday after France and Portugal refused to let it cross their airspace because of suspicions that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was on board, the country’s foreign minister said.

    Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca denied that Snowden was on the plane, which landed in Vienna, and said France and Portugal would have to explain why they canceled authorization for the plane.

    “We don’t know who invented this lie. We want to denounce to the international community this injustice with the plane of President Evo Morales,” Choquehuanca said from La Paz. Morales had earlier met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit of major gas exporters in the Kremlin.

    In an interview with Russia Today television, Morales said that his South American country would be willing to consider granting asylum to Snowden.”

  22. Howard Beale IV

    State trooper gives pass to Iowa governor’s driver:

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A trooper pursued an SUV that was speeding at 90 mph with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad inside, but declined to pull the driver over after realizing he was transporting the state’s top elected official, audio recordings released Tuesday indicate.

    The Iowa Department of Public Safety said it has launched a review of its handling of the April incident in which dispatchers, according to the recordings released to The Associated Press, laughed after learning the vehicle in question was the governor’s.

    Days later, the department placed the investigator who initiated the pursuit, Special Agent in Charge Larry Hedlund, on administrative leave. Hedlund’s attorney said Tuesday the personnel action was retaliation for the agent complaining to superiors that the trooper driving the governor was improperly given a pass after putting public safety at risk. A Branstad spokesman denied that allegation.

    “Did you get the wind, the word on who that vehicle was?” Hedlund could be heard asking the dispatcher in the recordings, before chuckling. “I guess my career doesn’t have enough problems the way it is. It was the governor.”

  23. Paul Tioxon

    Make some fireworks on your own:

    For immediate release


    United States of America (June 18, 2013) —

    Restore the Fourth is a grassroots, non-partisan, non-violent movement that seeks to organize and assemble nationwide protests on July 4th, 2013. Protesters in over 100 cities across America will gather to demand that the government of the United States of America adhere to its constitutionally dictated limits and respect the Fourth Amendment. provides a detailed list of protest locations.

    Restore the Fourth maintains that justification of the Fourth Amendment beyond the original text need not be given; the legitimacy of which is self-evident. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly protects all citizens’ assets, both digital and physical, against searches and seizures without warrant; they aim to assert those rights. They insist that the proper channels of government work to ensure that all policy complies with the supreme laws of the United States of America in their entirety.

    Restore the Fourth requests that American citizens’ right to privacy is respected and stands with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and on their open letter to Congress. As informed members of the American electorate, they endorse and echo the letter’s demands.

    1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;

    2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of
    this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal
    and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;

    3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this
    unconstitutional surveillance.

    The July 4th demonstrations seek to demand an end to the unconstitutional surveillance methods employed by the U.S. government and to ensure that all future government surveillance is constitutional, limited, and clearly defined.

    Restore the Fourth aims to ensure that the will of the people is reflected in the government of the United States of America. This movement intends to bring an end to twelve years of Fourth Amendment abuses, and demonstrate the need for a return to the Constitution. All Americans should stand with them in this cause to protect the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

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