Links 7/3/13

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Dear patient readers,

In the spirit of our post today (on “Why Americans Don’t Take More Vacations”) yours truly is going on a weekend/holiday schedule through Monday, which is Links + 2 posts, which will both be cross posts or “Summer Reruns” unless I happen to see a particularly annoying news story that I can’t resist commenting on myself. I hope those of you in America get some R&R over the next few days!

PS. Even though I was very happy that Digg’s RSS reader worked at all (which put it way ahead of Feedly), they still haven’t provided some important features yet (like a search field). Since this is a beta and they look to want to emulate the old Google Reader pretty faithfully, I assume that’s coming…but it hasn’t arrived yet.

In the meantime, I am having my prototypical technology experience with another RSS reader, RSS Owl. It looks to have TONS of functionality, in some ways too much. It worked just dandy until today, when it quit updating about half my feeds (weirdly, it appears to have stopped updating them in the middle of the night on 7/1, which is when Google Reader died). I unsubscribed from GR, updated the software, rebooted, tried changing the update frequency and hitting the “update all” button (I even looked at the error log and didn’t see anything noteworthy). It went from no feeds having updated since 7/1 to updating some. And this does not have to do with some problem with the underlying feeds, since they are updating (with no heroics on my behalf) on Digg’s reader (where I also imported the feeds from Google Reader before its untimely death). Anyone who has any advice please ping me at

US mother wins lawsuit over bagel BBC (John L). Diabetics, people on the Atkins diet, or who use inhalers can similarly produce false positives on breathalyzer tests.

Deaths Prompt FDA Alert on Schizophrenia Drug Patient Safety Blog

Florida Keys Prepare For Sea Level Rise Associated Press

Amazon warehouses: literally worse than coal mines Melville House (diane). The part that it would have helped to explain is how the Amazon jobs are physically taxing (which they are) but the “worse than coal mines” looks like a bit of literary overreach in trying to make a legitimate point (having an retailer abuse staff this way should be unacceptable).

Xi cuts CEO cloth for bruising battle Asia Times

Risks of a hard landing for China Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Portuguese foreign minister resigns Telegraph

Greece warned over bailout loans Guardian

Morsi on collision course with Egypt army Financial Times

LiveFeed of Tahrir Square (John, from Occupy’s FB)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Clapper: I gave ‘erroneous’ answer because I forgot about Patriot Act Guardian. Well, “least untrue” was an admission of a lie but the lapdog US media refused to point that out. So Clapper firmly ‘fesses up right before the slowest news period of the year (Internet traffic is lower around the Fourth of July than any other time of year) and a Congressional recess.

Edward Snowden not on Bolivian president’s diverted plane – live Guardian

Snowden’s Asylum Bid Spurned From Switzerland to India Bloomberg (martha r). Note that many of the “rejections” are for the same reason as Ecuador: he has to make the application in country or at an embassy.

On the Meanings of “Dishonor” and “Hack” Marcy Wheeler

Open letter from Lon Snowden and attorney Bruce Fein to Eric Snowden Associated Press (martha r). OMG this is embarrassing, histrionic and inept. Any theories?

Rethinking Surveillance New York Review of Books

The regressive domestic complexity tax Cathy O’Neil

White House delays a key part of Obamacare Washington Post

Trending on Twitter: #Obamacareinthreewords

Unemployment Rate Still Above 10% in 27 US Metro Areas WSJ Real Time Economics

Beware of Bitcoin ETF: Winklevoss Plan Raises Big Questions Yahoo

Financial innovation of the day, Winklevii edition Felix Salmon

Payroll Cards Are Under Scrutiny by New York’s Attorney General New York Times

Investors pull $9.9bn from Pimco fund Financial Times

Deadline Splits an Agency on Trading Rules Abroad New York Times. A surprisingly Gensler-favorable article from Dealbook.

Big U.S. Banks Face Tougher Standards Wall Street Journal. The Fed (mirabile dictu) looks like it is hanging tough on implementing tougher capital requirements. Will we hear any Fed governors calling, say, Jamie Dimon a “feral hog” when he starts screeching?

The impact on the financial sector of long-term low nominal-interest rates VoxEU. What is noteworthy is how little they are able to conclude.

Bright Kids, Small City American Prospect (Carol B)

Antidote du jour:


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  1. Richard Kline

    Presented again with the image if the Wiknlevoids, it is possible to despise _everyone_ who has had anything significant to do with the eruction which is Facebook. But then a business the model of which has always been bait-and-parasitize speaks to the psyches of its creators.

  2. Hugh

    The Egyptian military, the security services, and the rich were the three pillars of the Murbarak regime. With the fall of Mubarak, only the security services suffered some diminution of power. Of course, most of those people are still floating around. It’s not like they disappeared.

    Morsi reminds me a lot of Maliki in Iraq. Maliki was a Dawa hardliner. People forget that Saddam Hussein was not executed for his crimes against the Kurds. He was convicted of a massacre of Dawa supporters following a failed attempt by them to assassinate him. Maliki short circuited the trial for the Anfal against the Kurds by executing Saddam Hussein for this one crime against Dawa. Like Maliki, Morsi was never a reformer. He was a Moslem Brotherhood hardlines. And yes, I know Morsi is Sunni and Maliki, Shi’ite, but the point is their identification with their organizations defined them. They were never reformers. They were never moderates. They weren’t even populists. They represented a particular religiously inspired ideology and they were always going to act according to its dictates and to seek to empower to the maximum extent possible the organizations to which they belonged which espoused it.

    So Morsi has blown his mandate with the general population, certainly the urban population, although the Brotherhood still has many adherents. And now the military, part of the ancien régime is set to play the role of both mediator, savior, and kingmaker. Just as Mubarak wasn’t the answer, and now Morsi is looking like he isn’t the answer, it is hard to see how the army is going to be the answer either.

    What Egypt needs are new and fair elections and a government of national unity. It is hard to see either the military and the rich or the Brotherhood and bourgeoisie interested in seeing that happen.

    1. from Mexico

      Two articles in the Mexican press from yesterday, even though they never mention Egypt, are key to understanding what is going on in Egypt. The generalized points they make are:

      1) That beneath all the sound and fury of cultural politics are the politics of material interests, and
      2) Knowledge of the economic history of the nations of the developing world over the last 80 years is necessary in order to understand what is happening today in places like Egypt and Brazil.

      Quoting from the first article regarding cultural politics:

      If liberal politicians are successful, then, says Slavoj Zizec, the political discussion moves to the cultural sphere (the rights of homosexuals, the rights of ethnic minorities, etc.), depoliticizing the “themes really important like the economy, marginalization, violence or the structural injustices”…

      Now compare that to what Jack Shenker wrote about Egypt:

      When it comes to dry reads, it ranks somewhere between Welding and Metal Fabrication Monthly and the collected speeches of Alistair Darling. And yet a newly-published report from the Egyptian government’s investment authority, GAFI, is one of the most significant and explosive pieces of writing to appear anywhere in the Middle East in recent years.
      It doesn’t mention the Muslim Brotherhood, or antisemitism, or artificial hymens, and so far it has garnered precisely zero coverage in the international press. What it does do is address an issue which day in, day out, shapes the lives of the vast majority of Egypt’s population and hundreds of millions of others beyond its borders.

      The report systematically destroys the myths and distortions that have driven the country’s economic policy for the last two decades – the same myths and distortions which have set the development path for numerous other countries in the Global South – and shatters the illusion that soaring economic growth rates have anything to do with widespread, sustainable social prosperity.

      Now, quoting from the second article in the Mexican press, which speaks to the economic history of the nations of the developing world over the past 80 years:

      The PT rose to power with Lula at the head with the express purpose of removing neoliberalism from the national scene. But history took a peculiar twist. What some called “conservative developmentalism” was strengthened. This, if it bears some resemblance to the effects of neoliberalism in the fact that it maintains a society with high levels of inequality and external dependence, very sparse democratic institutions and of low quality, nevertheless has nothing in common with neoliberalism with respect to the role of the state and the weight of industry in the national project, in that it vigorously develops industry…

      Brazilian society revived a situation that it knew from years past: the fight between two paths of development: the path of “conservative developmentalism” and a path of progressive development, supported by the popular and democratic sectors. In Brazilian history conservative development has always been predominant, a development that maintains the social structures inherited from the distant past.

      In the 10 years of the Lula-Dilma government there has been a double-breasted game that has forced it to put up with pragmatic alliances: in some questions the PT government allied with conservative developmentalism against neoliberalism, in others neoliberalism allied with conservative developmentalism against the government, and in this replay the Sao Paulo bourgeoisie – of characteristics nationalistic and developmental, but highly concentrated incomes – has been decisive… The great challenge of Dilma-Lula is how to escape from this political trap in order to inaugurate a new stage of genuine development.

      Now compare this to what is going on in Egypt, which is still living its neoliberal “dream,” what Brazil lived through in the pre-Lula/Dilma era. Quoting Jack Shenker once more:

      Since 1991, the year Egypt yoked itself to an IMF structural adjustment programme and embarked on a series of wide-ranging economic reforms, the country has been something of a poster child for neoliberal economists who point to its remarkable levels of annual GDP growth as proof that “Washington consensus” blueprints for the developing world can work….

      Ever since, the country has been subject to successive waves of neoliberal reform….

      So Egypt is now a glitzier, more prosperous land with pharaonic-style riches to match its pharaonic-style leader (now entering his 29th year in power). Except, as the GAFI report inconveniently points out, 90% of the country has yet to see any of the bounty. Foreign investment has been largely channelled into sectors like finance and gas which create few new jobs. While national resources like natural gas have been sold at subsidised rates to the tycoon owners of iron and fertiliser factories, the cost of ordinary commodities like bread and cooking oil has spiralled. In fact since the IMF began hauling Egypt’s economy into modernity, Egyptians have got steadily and dramatically poorer: when structural adjustment began 20% of the population were living on less than (inflation-adjusted) $2 a day; today, that figure stands at 44%. In the past decade, when GDP growth was at its strongest, absolute poverty has climbed from 16.7% to almost 20%.

      BOTTOM LINE: Brazil jumped from the conservative developmentalism frying pan into the neoliberal fire, and then climbed back into the conservative developmentlaism frying pan.

      Egypt jumped from the conservative developmentalism frying pan into the neoliberal fire, where it remains. And if the United States and NATO have anything to say about it, Egypt will remain in the neoliberal fire, and the United States and Europe will use the cover of cultural politics to obscure the underlying economic agenda.

      And to reiterate, as William I. Robinson put it:

      A critical global study must take a global perspective, in that social arrangements in the twenty-first century can only be understood in the context of global-level structures and processes, that is to say, in the context of globalization… Any critical studies in the twenty-first century must be, of necessity, also a globalization studies.

      But global-level thinking is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a critical understanding of the world. Transnational corporate and political elites certainly have a global perspective. Global thinking is not necessarily critical and is just as necessary for the maintenance of global capitalism as critical global-level thinking is for emancipatory change.

      1. from Mexico

        And the exact same thing that happened in Brazil and Egypt — jumping out of the conservative developmentalism frying pan into the neoliberal fire — happened in Syria, as Samir Amin explains:

        Let us look at the Syrian regime, the Ba’athist regime, since 30 years ago, a regime that is undemocratic, autocratic, but popular nationalism… That is to say, a program that is realized from above, without self-government from the base, from the top but fulfilling at the social level, at the national economic level, and at the international level. This regime exhausted, and when this happened, in order to maintain power, it had to give way to allow neoliberalism. It opened the door to the great social degradation that created the basis for the revolts. Thus, it is neoliberalism, sustained by the same people that originally had bet against it and later capitulated to it, that fuels the revolts.

      2. from Mexico

        And analyzing the cultural politcs in Syria, here’s Samir Amin again:

        Now we can talk about the details. The Ba’athist regime, confronted with the revolt, must ask: “What helps the imperialists?” What helps the imperialists [the United States and Europe] is what we call the free army of Syria: for the most part it is composed of mercenaries that do not come from Syria, foreigners, Turks from the region of Antioch, Al Qaeda mercenaries from Afghanistan and who knows where else, supported by the local Muslim Brotherhood. “What is their program?” What they have declared, they use the phrase: “to tear to shreds” the Christians, Alawites, Shiites, and Druze, that is to say, half the population. Is this the democracy that the West supports? Now, fortunately, the free army of Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood are very isolated because the real movement of opposition, that is to say the spontaneous popular movement that is democratic and progressive, never wanted solidarity with them. But they remain nevertheless….

        In Syria the…regime still appears to have control of the street because the popular movement does not want to associate itself with foreign intervention or with the murderers of the Muslim Brotherhood, but neither does it want to be a prisoner of the regime. Therefore, it is very foggy. And unfortunately the initiative remains in the hands of the regime. That is to say, that in some moment the regime should come to understand that it cannot confront the imperialists without the support of the people. And it cannot obtain the support of the people using police power. It should abandon, not the capitol, but neoliberalism to reestablish a redistribution of wealth, to increase employment, etc.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s a good one.

            Brevity is good.

            Small is also good.

            Less is good too.

            Short is sweet.

    2. charles sereno

      I really don’t enjoy carping. Your final paragraph, and for that matter, the entire comment, was very useful. That final paragraph consisted of 2 sentences. The first was useless preaching, unproductive, and IMO, lessened the impact of your message. Consider this constructive criticism. If not, I’ll remain silent.

        1. ohmyheck

          I, for one, enjoy Hugh’s “carping”, and I find his comments to be the most useful and understandable on this blog.

          No offense to you, charles. I am not defending Hugh, or criticizing you, just making the point that “to each, his own.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s educational for me though I would add that Egypt needs everything Hugh mentioned, plus freedom from foreign imperial intervention.

          2. AbyNormal

            “I find his/Hugh comments to be the most useful and understandable on this blog” Agree!
            …and with FromMexico chiming in, its like viewing the master’s…Degas & Homer!

    3. Lambert Strether

      I counted the beards in the Tahrir Square crowds to get a rough proxy of Muslim Brotherhood strength; it was about 20%, same as the general population.

      That’s not a strong enough base to rule from, let alone govern, in any situation short of a police state complete with the massacre of entire cities as a tool of statecraft, and that’s not on in Egypt.

      Something like this was baked in back in 2011, therefore. Obama needs a smarter client state, which he’s grappling for, but probably too late. Hopefully the secular opposition will be less fragmented this time around (IIRC, the crowds were evenly split between wanting the army to come in, and not).

      1. Massinissa

        Uh, Lambert, I dont think all the men with beards were with MB. Just saying.

        So it would probably be less than 20%

      2. Seal

        The Egyptian Army has always been easier for the CIA (USA) to deal with. Only one place to send money.

    4. Richard Kline

      Hugh, buddy . . . they had an election, it was free and fair (mostly) and the Islamists won. The bulk of the population is rural, conservative, and very Muslim, and the Brotherhood are the only faction who has every engaged them, and are by far the most honest crew in that country. The urban liberals are, oh, 6-7% of the population, and couldn’t even agree on a candidate.

      The fascists continued to control the courts and most institutions. They effectively sabotaged any ability of the Islamists to govern. What we have here is a counter-revolution by the fascists. And take a look at who is clapping approval: Assad, the King of Arabia, the emirs in the UAE who just threw their own liberals in jail.

      I have no idea what you think a ‘government of national unity’ would look like. The Islamists are a significant _majority_ of the population, so a majority government looks like what we just had. There is no basis for unity between them and the fascists. The Copts were badly scared and have thrown their weight in with the latter, though it’s far from clear whether they were targeted by Islamists crazies or provocateurs; certainly the latter have been employed in the past. Did they know how to govern? No. They handled the new Constitution rather badly. Bear in mind that the Islamists knew very well there was a massive effort at counter-revolution ongoing for the last two years, and acted accordingly, attempting to fix in place changes that would bulwark the wealth and institutional power of the rich and the Army. Well, now the reliably elected conservatives have been overthrown because they stood up for what they believed, the liberals dithered, and everyone else in the world backed the fascists. Doesn’t sound like a step forward to me.

      And btw, your comparison of Morsi to Maliki is completely flat. Maliki created his own seurity state, is throwing anybody he doesn’t like in prison or simply having them gunned down. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt did NOT do any of that, but rather attempted to govern on _their_ mandate above board. Revolution seldom moves in a straight line. I think it likely, though, that the next iterationin Egypt is far worse than the last one. We’ll see these folks now dumped by the roadside as the ones who made the most effort to do it right: it’s al about power from here on out.

  3. rjs

    i dont have RSS Owl, so i cant comment specifically, but i have had NetVibes, the Old Reader, Feedreader, the Digg Reader & AOL Reader open continuously since Google went belly up, and all were pretty inconsistent yesterday – slow to reload, re-fresh, running over 3 hours behind, etc – especially in the morning…

    i specifically noticed falloff in performace in NetVibes & the Old Reader, both of which i had used a bit before…

    i am guessing everyone stayed with GR till the end, & the alternatives just werent ready for the sudden burst of new traffic…

  4. from Mexico

    @ “Edward Snowden not on Bolivian president’s diverted plane – live”

    This incident goes to illustrate the extremes Obama will go to, despite his rhetoric to the contrary, to get Snowden. Behind that cool, sophisticated veneer of Obama’s lies a monster.

    1. gonzomarx

      interesting to see which and how many EU countries complied with the no fly of a head of state’s plane.

      1. Inverness

        Recently a journalist from Der Spiegel called the USA the world’s only sovereign power. Who else could manage to intimidate everyone to this extent?

        1. charles sereno

          Are you talking about cleaning out the EuroKennel mess? I searched for a hercules with a lamp in daylight, got tired, and fell asleep. I had a dream about Mother Russia. Putin’s and Yeltsin’s faces were strobed intermittently. Finally, Yeltsin flung a bottle of vodka to the heavens and took up judo. Then I awoke.

        2. jessica

          I agree with the main thrust of your comment but I would add that many European governments would go along with this even without intimidation. Or at least they are happy to be “intimidated”. That way they can have their cake and eat it too.

          1. Massinissa

            Agreed completely with Jessica. Most of Europe will do these things just to please their Hegemon and maybe get a tiny-ass favor later.

            The leaders of many nations have essentially sold their souls to the furtherment of the American Empire.

            1. jessica

              Fractal kayfabe: The US plays the same role for European neo-liberal governments that the Republican Party in the US serves for the neo-liberal Democratic Party: a way to do what they want to do anyway but lie about it to their deceived supporters.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Leaders of many nations…

              A general question here. Can a president, say, of any nation sell out his/her (xy’s) country? Can he/she (xy) commit treason?

              We worry too much about the 99.99% stealing, but we shouldn’t be shocked that billionaires can be petty thieves too, beside being big time crooks.

              And so, the motto should ‘No one is innocent!’

              After me, Big Brother, have ‘studied’ you, maybe you become not guilty…you, meaning everyone.

              Everyone means everyone.

            1. EmilianoZ

              It seems to me that Correa was mightily flattered to receive a phone call from Biden. If the big O himself had called, Correa would have a heart attack. It might have been more a matter of carrots than stick. But it’s just speculation, I dont have any particular knowledge of Correa or Ecuador.

              I was even more surprised by Putin’s conciliatory tone. What happened? Was he handed Syria on a platter?

          2. danb

            These are first and foremost governments who do not want to encourage their own whistleblowers by giving Snowden any real aid. It reminds me a bit of the disappearing of Raoul Wallenberg by the Soviets, when they could have gotten enormous propaganda value from his case. What we need are two, three, many Edward Snowdens.

    2. Inverness

      Yes, he is a monster. And it’s that coolness that makes him so much more dangerous than the obvious buffoon (Bush). Really, central casting couldn’t have done better: Constitutional law scholar, attractive, personable…and willing to drop more drones and prosecute more whistleblowers than the Bush administration.

      I don’t buy that Obama is naively going along with entrenched power — he’s too intelligent for that. He’s willingly going along. Just look at some of his snap responses: remember when he said that Bradley Manning was guilty (well before a trial had even started).

      1. mad as hell.

        You left out he has two adorable daughters and a charming, fashionable wife and much of the American public fall for it like a love struck third grader with his first teacher crush.

        Things aren’t gonna change here even if something drastic occurs. That drastic occurrence will be down played by the MSM and will be wrapped in an American flag just like all other atrocities that are doled out to the American public.

        If a up rising even has a hint of surfacing it will be crushed in days from the likes of NYPD gestapo tactics or Boston Martial Law.

        So eat all the hot dogs and drink all the beer you can stomach as you watch fireworks these next few days celebrating American independence. Where this country started and where it’s ending up couldn’t be any further apart than the north pole to the south pole.

        1. from Mexico

          Yep. The headstone reads:

          In memory of the United States of America
          ———— July 4, 1776 to July 4, 2013 ————

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I have been trying to biologists to change our scientific label from Homo Sapiens Sapiens to Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens for a while now.

              Unfortunately, there more insincere fools among us than sincere fools. Hopefully, this will change soon.

            1. lambert strether

              I understand the grief, but I don’t think the metaphor is adequate to its object: States are not living beings, no more than governments are households. We know how destructive the latter idea can be, so perhaps the former idea is equally so, though we don’t know it.

              I do know that when the Bushies used to talk about “standing up” “young democracies,” that metaphor drove me crazy, for exactly the same reasons.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                A government is made of people, just like a household.

                If a government is not a living thing, we can also speak of a household as not a living thing, separating both from the people making them up. Viewed this way, a government is just like a household.

        2. Cynthia

          Obama just keeps upping the ante.

          We had the wiretaps of AP, the IRS going after Obama’s political opponents, Obama’s admission that he’s killed four Americans with drones, the death in custody of a suspect in the Boston bombing, and now this. I feel sorry for Michelle and the girls, watching what Dad is becoming.

          1. Massinissa

            I doubt any of the three of them notice at all.

            The girls may very well realize how terrible their father was later in their lives, but I wouldnt bet on it since they would probably try vigorously to deny it to themselves. I know I would, most humans would. Who wants to admit to themselves that their father was a world class sociopath who furthered the destruction of their nation of birth?

            1. sleepy

              If I murdered a 16 yr. old kid by blowing him up–as Obama did in Yeman–Family Services would take my kids away and perhaps only allow supervised visits with my grandkids.

              Presuming I’m not in prison.

              “Daddy kills teenagers”–the Obama girls will hear that one day.

        3. jrs

          I think if resistence ever comes it will be class warfare (as in Brazil). Maybe only economics can spark a revolution. I would with a wee bit of care welcome and support it. Is the real problem at root class based? Well yes, partially, but it’s also just rampant and metastitizing corruption.

      2. Cynthia

        Obama is not just a monster, he’s also a psychopath. Snowden should have asylum, Obama should be in one! :~)

  5. Expat

    Re: Snowden, etc.

    Obama is not a monster any more than GW Bush (Cheney and Rumsfeld, on the other hand…). He is simply the Mouthpiece of Sauron. He is a nebbish, a puppet. The hands running up his sphincter, through his intestines, past his shriveled heart, and into his larynx are those of Wall Street, the DHS, the Military, the CIA, the NSA, and overall Military-Industrial Complex.

    This is simply fascism (please don’t conjure up images of swastika’s or turbans; it’s embarrassing to you and to me). Obama has no choice. He cannot let Snowden go or he will end up driving through Dallas in a convertible. And, frankly, he doesn’t know any better since he has been living in his Presidential Bubble for six years being fed Presidential Bullshit. And he now he likes it. He has the Power. He can, like Tony Soprano or Don Corleone, whisper an order and have enemies both foreign and domestic snuffed, disappeared, tortured, or harrassed.

    America is gone, baby, gone. Snowden is a dead man. Even the so-called Socialist in France is collaborating (yes, and I mean that with all its historic significance) in his capture and demise.

    1. Jim Haygood

      America may be gone, but macabre sideshows such as Obuggercare play on. A couple of the best anonymous comments I’ve seen about the employer mandate delay:


      ‘It means they figured out that this bastard child of fascism and communism is going to hit the working poor so hard that it will cost them the next election, even if the election is rigged in their favor.

      ‘I’ve talked to nearly a half-dozen single mothers in the past four months that were making ~20K/year. Every one of them was aware that O-care was going to fuck them over and their best-case scenario was paying the penalty without getting any care for it. Rest assured today’s announcement is only one of many backpedaling moves ahead of 2016.’


      ‘I work in Health IT and I can tell you it’s not only the financial part that is WAY behind, the reporting of everyone’s health care records is also a complete disaster.(understatement)

      ‘I feel so sorry for all the small health care providers out there that HAVE TO spend big bucks in software in order to comply with the Obamacare requirements. If there are any software guys out there looking for a job, learn HL7 processing and you WILL find a job, no problem.’


      ‘I have been saying for over a year that “the short order code kitchen burned down a few years ago and there was no fire sale.” What are we going to do, waterboard programmers to get them to write code faster …’

    2. Jackrabbit

      Defeatism is not really helpful.

      History shows that things can change. People can make a difference.

      1. Massinissa

        To say America is gone is not defeatism in my eyes: Rather, it is a great hope.

        Right now, the United States is dead, and has been dead for a loooong time. It has silently been replaced with the American Empire.

        But when this dies, too, perhaps something incredibly beautiful will arise from the ashes? A phoenix of the American dream?

        1. Jackrabbit

          I wasn’t just commenting on the statement that “America’s gone” but on the tone of the whole last paragraph.

          But to respond to your remarks:
          America keeps reinventing itself. It’s a truism to say that its “different” today than it was 30 years ago. You could say the same thing 30 years ago! (and 30 years before that, and so on). So I think what we are really talkign about is American ideals; generally thought to be embodied in the Constitution and popular notions like “the American Dream”.

          IMO, it’s really only since Bushes election in 2000 that we have seen a clear deterioration in those ideals and a big part of that is implementation of new technology that has enabled financialization, militarization, and surveillance on a scale never before possible.

          But in some sense, its still early. As a society we haven’t come to grips with how to manage/control these capabilities. New Technology is often used to advantage one side or another and in this case the “side” that is being advantaged crosses national borders (making it somewhat more difficult to recognize and control). Until now, we have all been lulled into believing that consumer tech is only good. Now people are waking up.

          Defeatist statements like: privacy is gone; America is gone; nothing to see here, etc. only advantage the side of the “debate” that wants to continue to press its advantage. But the “debate”, though late, has only begun.

          I think of the long odds faced by MLK, the hopeless frustration of the Tunisian that set himself on fire, and many other examples that produced positive change because people responded to the “call” for change.

          1. Seal

            Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change in the opposite direction, whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments.


            The US’s excess of freedom and liberty has morphed to the BEGINNING of an excess of repression, intimidation, incarceration and dictatorship

          2. from Mexico

            There’s always been a huge gap between the American Dream and the American reality, between the Declaration of Independence and The U.S. Constitution.

            For an outstanding primer on this, I highly recommend #38 “The American Republic: A new republic, the compromise of radicals and conservatives, was founded on universal freedoms,” from the following series of videos:


          3. Roland

            Is it defeatist to observe that we are losing the war?

            I would say that’s not defeatist–unless your main reason for fighting was that you expected to win.

    3. Massinissa

      Conjure images of turbans? I dont recall any fascists wearing turbans. I fail to see how thats relevant.

    4. EmilianoZ

      Even the so-called Socialist in France is collaborating

      Yep. France has sunk to new lows. I was reading the readers’ comments at Le Monde:

      The French people dont like it one bit. The word that keeps coming back is “honte” (shame). The French feel humiliated by their government.

      Unfortunately, France has the same political problem as the US: 2 main parties, both useless.

      1. Massinissa


        Considering that Hollande has TAKEN ALL OF SARKOZY’S POLICIES, they never had a choice to begin with.

        They voted for Hollande hoping he would be a Not-Sarkozy, but got Sarkozy 2.0 instead. So much for democracy.Its like choosing between different brands of milk: Its still milk.

        To be fair, Marine Le Pen may have been an alternate choice, albeit a VERY dangerous alternate choice.

  6. Skeptic

    Love that “feral hog” reference! Even better—-it comes from a FED apparatchik. Quite a bookend for “the great vampire squid”. We need more language like this.

    How about scieshiller for all those PHARMA and other “scientists”?

    Let’s call a thing what it is instead of what THEY say it is. Department of Injustice anyone?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Lab animals – we ‘study’* them and drug them.

      So, now, we know how lab animals feel. We are over-drugged and we are being spied on, being monitored all the time.

      We are the lab animals now.

      ‘Do science unto other animals as you would science do unto you…’

      * to study a nation without permission is an act of war; to study another living being, another human is an act of, at the minimum, domination.

        1. Massinissa

          In Soviet Russia, You Watch Big Brother!

          That would be awesome. Lets put a bunch of cameras in the oval office and spy on Obama, see how he likes it.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Don’t say ‘watch.’

            Say you ‘study.’

            It sounds a lot of more soothing.

  7. Don Pelton

    If Lon Snowden’s attorney is the same conservative Bruce Fein who wrote …

    “Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy”

    … (and other books) then I’d be inclined to give him a pass on the hyperbole. He has an exemplary record of passionate advocacy on civil liberties issues.

    I’d also be willing to bet he sought out Lon Snowden in order to assist and associate himself with the case(whatever we may think about his method of doing it).

    1. Inverness

      I don’t get why the Lon Snowden/Fein statement is so embarassing. How can you be histrionic when your son just did one of the bravest actions imaginable? Doesn’t that preclude histrionics? I’d want to pay gushing tribute, and would want to believe his actions have meaning.

      If my child was being called a traitor, spy, or whatever, I’d really try hard to counter all of that bad press, and make him or her feel supported. The statement certainly reeks of desperation, but it certainly is a desperate situation.

      1. James N.

        Agreed. I’m pretty sure when you a de facto enemy of the state, of the most powerful nation in the history of the world, which is going to absurd lengths to capture, discredit, convict, and possibly kill you–all for an act of conscience, it’s okay for your dad to try to cheer you up. Some of it may be a little overheated, but there’s nothing about this matter that ISN’T overheated.

        Why he needed a lawyer to say that, I’m not sure.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Yes, and indeed.

          I can imagine one reason Snowden pere would want a lawyer: Visitation rights. Better get that lined up right away before Obama throws him in the Bastille, or whatever his plans for Snowden’s incarceration are.

          1. JEHR

            What is happening to Snowden is appalling. I feel so sad for him. His bravery and perhaps his naivete will not save him. The world is a cruel place.

            1. diane

              Indeed, I have the impression that Edward Snowden, so very young (unlike most of those pundits who pay no mind whatsoever to his possibly destroyed ability to live with any sort of well being for the rest of his life (let alone his now stunningly limited, as far as averages go, potential life span)), had not a clue just how bloodthirsty and deadly the powers that rule are.

              Where is Peter Thiel’s voice in the matter? Who poured so much money after Ron Paul (who made no complaint whatsoever), whom Edward voted for? Where is Ron Paul, currently, for that matter, on calling out Peter Thiel’s Palantir Technologies?

              And, indeed, it took until at least 40 something years of age (myself shamefully included), for less than a majority of “liberals” (the others, making up the majority, being still current Obamabots)), to realize that Bill and Hill were/are not “public servants.”

              1. diane

                (I have a follow up addition and link (to my comment directly above, at 2:54PM), trapped somewhere.)

                1. diane

                  Fourth try, sans job site link this time (did try once with spaces inserted in the URL to no avail):

                  (I mean, after all, [link used to be inserted here] understanding P a l a n t i r s o f t w a r e appears to be a B o o z A l l e n H a m i l t o n, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera ……. prerequisite.)

            2. AbyNormal

              Ed is not alone. he didn’t go into this without an idea of the risk. as many before him, he’s traveling that road less traveled. he has my deep respect and gratitude…i for one will never let his ‘means’ be forgotten.

              Sometimes the prize is not worth the costs. The means by which we achieve victory are as important as the victory itself.
              Sanderson, The Way of Kings

              1. diane

                I would disagree that, at his young age, he fully encompassed just how horridly corrupt things are. I could be wrong, but I think he has very, very recently witnessed a horrifying reality that many don’t realize fully until they are at least 35 or so.

                For me, some of the proof is in the fact that he voted for Ron Paul (who never saw a social welfare safety net he did not despise and named his son after Ayn Rand), whose major contributer, the last go around, was a billionaire sociopathic snoop and brutal social engineer, bar none.

                1. AbyNormal

                  i see your point Diane…its natural there should be moments of doubt for Ed…but the resiliency of his youth will work for him here. his father is a different story…as a parent myself, my gut twist in the pain he’s experiencing. but i am also a child to an ailing parent, i can face unimaginable struggles that my parent is no longer capable of dealing with.

                  Obama’s bosses can’t even compete with the legacy Ed is building. furthermore, like Ed, many others around the world are widening the path for those who will proceed them…TPTB worst nightmare.

    2. reslez

      Steganography. The letter contains a lot of obscure references that one assumes hold meaning for the Snowdens. Who knows what those signifiers are meant to communicate…(Surrender now? We’re fine, hang in there?) One assumes the NSA has its claws in Snowden’s family, or if they don’t they’re working overtime to get there. What a pitable display.

      The same goes for Correa’s ridiculous about-face regarding asylum. One day he’s thumbing his nose, unilaterally disavowing trade subsidies. The next, “their ambassador was in Italy” and Snowden’s travel letter was a 4 AM mistake. It’s possible Snowden’s missteps forced Correa to backpedal. It’s also possible the U.S. finally found some relevant anatomy for application of thumbscrews. When one sees heads of state reduced to such contortions one can’t help but draw certain conclusions.

      1. ScottS

        I would think it’s a letter from Lon Snowden sent through this lawyer to avoid giving the kangaroo court anything from Lon to incriminate Ed.

    1. ohmyheck

      This really is absolutely brilliant, as you say. How to Mess Up NSA Spying— “Everyone Talk Like a Terrorist All the Time”. Great video.

  8. tongorad

    The White House contribution to the “Obamacare in 3 words” twitter feed:

    “Competition. Choice. Security”

    And a link with the headline: “Market, insurers will keep premiums low, analysts say”

    This stuff ain’t even funny anymore. I feel like I’m being bulldozed.

    1. Massinissa

      Competition Choice and Security?

      When people say words like that, I cant help but feel we have been thrown into some Neoliberal fire of hell.

      And I dont think it will be a pleasant stay.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s like “all are created equally,” establish we share GDP equally and policy implementation second.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One day, when I have taken in enough GM foods, and have enough holes in my brain, that comment won’t scare me at all.

  9. Little Voice in Texas

    I’m sorry but every time I here about how Amazon warehouse employees are mistreated I hear these voices in my head

    Ashley quote: A free hand! You know what that means. He’ll starve them and whip them. Some of them are sick, underfed…

    Scarlett: Oh, Ashley, how you do run on. Left alone, you’d be giving them chicken three times a day and tucking them to sleep with eiderdown quilts.

    Maybe I’m a bad person

  10. Jackrabbit

    Repeat of Paul Tioxon’s comment from late yesterday


    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.

  11. F. Beard

    The Fed (mirabile dictu) looks like it is hanging tough on implementing tougher capital requirements. Yves Smith

    Why the heck should we care how much capital a bank has? Either a bank can survive as a free market business or it can’t.

    Too big to fail, you say? Then get all the non-gamblers out of the banking system by establishing a Postal Savings Service and then abolishing the FDIC and the Fed.

    Really folks, the banking cartel CANNOT be reformed. It is what it is, a place for gamblers and thieves. Save it from itself TODAY and you allow it to KILL your children or grandchildren TOMORROW. That’s vain at best.

    1. F. Beard

      Not coincidentally, since the banks are embezzlers, the above recommendations would cause massive bank failures unless we:

      1) Ban new credit creation, at least temporarily.
      2) Provide new reserves till all deposits are 100% backed by reserves. The fairest way, imo, to provide those reserves is a universal bailout, including non-debtors, with new fiat. And should price inflation be a concern the bailout can be metered to match or slightly exceed existing credit repayment for no net or a small net increase in the total money supply.

      Reform + restitution. Whatever else?

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Portugal…foreign minister.

    I believe they want to put all of Portugal (well, the 99.99% of Portugal) on a Stone-Soup diet.

    1. Massinissa

      The elites want to put all of south Europe, including France, on a stone soup diet.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s all relative.

        Over here, it’s free Fly Agaric Magic Urine for all.

  13. Cynthia

    Re: “White House delays health-care rule that businesses provide insurance to workers”

    But, but I thought this was the law of the land, celebrated and ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court?

    Got to love our White House, again, picking and choosing what laws to enforce and follow. Gee, the Dictator does what he likes, while the Law be damned! Rest assured that the 2014 mid-term elections had NOTHING to do with this unilateral decision (*sarcasm*).

    Talk about double standards — the employer mandate has been delayed, but the individual mandate has not! This is what happens when you have a government that’s dictated by Big Business at the expense of the individual worker and the self-employed, resulting in lots of corporate welfare with lots of red tape, confusion, waits, ineptitude and incompetence. Congress wants its staffers to be exempt from ObamaCare, but we the people are stuck with it . REPEAL it, and repeal it now!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why not?

      Can’t a sovereign government make diseases delay their incipiencies?

      I guess not…

  14. rich

    Talking train window adverts tested by Sky Deutschland

    A German firm is proposing to transmit adverts via train windows so that the sound appears to “come from inside the user’s head” when passengers lean against them.

    The idea would use bone conduction technology, a technique that transmits sound to the inner ear by passing vibrations through the skull.

    The concept has been developed by ad agency BBDO Germany on behalf of broadcaster Sky Deutschland.

    It is already proving controversial.

    Comments posted under a video showing off the concept include “This is a violation to a person’s right to rest” and “I think I’d take a sledgehammer to the window.”

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Losing $9.9 billion to outflow.

    How many yachts does that translate into?

    1. Massinissa

      Considering that an average yacht is about 2 milllion, thats about 4950 yachts.

      Now, more expensive yachts can be up to 20 mil each if you want them to have a pair of helicopter pads and such. But thats still hundreds of yachts.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Makes me rue the day I forgot to pick money management as a career.

        What was I thinking or non-thinking then?

        1. Massinissa

          Its difficult to be a money manager when one has been born with ethics.

          Your inability to be a money manager was determined at birth.

  16. Susan the other

    Asia Times. On Xi’s plans to move away from GDP focus and toward social equity. Xi admonishes the politburo crowd for “Formalism” which means they have been too self interested and have used the letter of the law against the spirit of the law. That is most interesting to read about. And Xi and Obama’s nearly unprecedented Sunnyland private conference was certainly about this topic too. Getting rid of China’s state owned enterprises – probably like our GSEs – because they are just rip offs. Public private partnerships would seem to qualify for this cleansing. Feral hogs all. Xi’s got a tad more worry about than the wild hog population. Saw on MHz report on China’s aging population, most of it rural. Fully 500 million Chinese are now over the age of 60 and more or less abandoned by their One Child.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      All Long Marches start with a first step, or something like that…

      Step 1A: have more barefoot billionaires
      Step 1B: ‘encourage’ them to spend more time in China’s poor, rural areas.

  17. Lambert Strether

    U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement:

    the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.

    But don’t worry. It’s only metadata. Happy Fourth of July! I hear they re-opened the Statue of Liberty!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the government were a functioning household, its head would have sent the badly behaving member to his room.

  18. diane

    Re Edward Snowden and the Historically Colonizing ‘Kingdoms’ of France and Portugal …, yup… that is the Method of Operation. A method of operation that never applies to the truly blood drenched, demented sociopaths, such as the Bush Empire, Dick Cheney, Obomber…..etcetera, etcetera, etcetera ……..

    We must keep Edward Snowden, and so many (forgotten and never even acknowledged) others alive.

    1. Cynthia

      Anyone who threatens US hegemony, be it Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, John Kiriakou, Edward Snowden or whether it is a figure like Anwar al-Awlaki giving “fiery sermons” half way across the world, are considered enemies of the state by the US government. This makes Edward Snowden and the others not only prisoners of conscience, but prisoners of war.

      The Stasi are peeping through holes
      Fulfilling tyrannical goals
      Dear Uncle Sam
      Your safety’s a sham
      With tyrants behind the controls

      The Limerick King

  19. charles sereno

    Some older NC readers may remember the Cronkite CBS “You Are There” TV episodes from the ’50’s or even earlier radio versions. Here’s a modern internet imitation from BBC News:

    “France has urged EU-US trade talks be delayed amid the fallout from secrets leaked by Mr Snowden.

    The talks are due to begin on Monday but claims that the US bugged EU diplomatic offices in the US, and spied on internal computer networks, have upset transatlantic relations.

    French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Berkacem said the talks should be suspended for 15 days to enable mutual trust to be restored.

    However, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Berlin did not back a delay to the talks, which correspondents say if successful will deliver the biggest trade deal in history.”

    Comment: Mutual trust to be restored in exactly 15 days! Biggest trade deal in History about to happen! I’m on the edge of my seat!!!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      France: Mutual trust can be restored after a 15-day yoga retreat at a Club Med resort.

      Merkel: Trust me. Surviving Staci can make you stronger!

  20. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Edward Snowden not on Bolivian president’s diverted plane

    Yes, this was a lousy diplomatic move. Deny the president of a country the courtesy of flying over much of Europe. Force his plane to land in another country. Don’t allow him to leave until you forcibly search his plane.

    Wow. If I was president of Bolivia, I’d give anyone asylum from the US now.

    1. Cynthia

      “Diversion of Bolivian Plane Angers Latin American Leaders”

      “Latin American leaders immediately called for an emergency meeting of the Union of South American Nations, which was expected to take place on Thursday. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the president of Argentina, said the episode had ‘vestiges of a colonialism that we thought was completely overcome,’ adding that it was a humiliating act that affected all of South America.”

      [Europe may buckle, but Latin America is a different kettle of fish.]

      H/T: Don Bacon@MoA

  21. charles sereno

    Breaking news:

    “Austrian Deputy Chancellor Michael Spindelegger said Morales personally denied that Snowden was aboard his jet and agreed to a voluntary inspection.

    “Based on this invitation from Bolivia a colleague boarded the plane, looked at everything and there was no one else on board,” Spindelegger told reporters.”

    SPINDELEGGER! (heehee, sotto voce)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Did he inspect the pilot?

      Check his/her ID? Scan xy’s fingerprints?

      1. charles sereno

        Follow up news on “Finding Snowden” from the NY Times:

        “Karl-Heinz Grundböck, a spokesman for the Austrian Interior Ministry, said that the Austrian border authorities carried out a routine check of the passports of everyone aboard Mr. Morales’s plane after it landed and that they were also granted permission to search the plane to ensure that Mr. Snowden was not aboard. “The rumors were just that,” Mr. Grundböck said.

        But in La Paz, officials said that no search had taken place, contending it would be improper to search the plane of a head of state. As for the forced diversion of the flight, the vice president of Bolivia, Álvaro García Linera, equated it to a kidnapping.”

  22. :)

    WikiLeaks ‏@wikileaks 2h
    Edward Snowden should seek asylum in the only place truly beyond the reach of US law enforcement. Wall Street. #snowden

  23. rich

    NSA/GCHQ – The New Praetorians and the New Cold War
    By Golem XIV on July 3, 2013 in latest

    In a democracy rule is by consent. In a dictatorship it is by control.

    Which do we have in the West? It seems to me, it is no longer clear. We certainly still have the rituals of rule by consent. But behind the elected front men and women is a shadow state. It’s people ritually swear allegiance to those we elect. They declare themselves there to serve and protect. But when it is us they spend their time spying on, whose interests are they protecting? Can you really serve those you do not trust?

    In 2008 we discovered that behind the banking system we knew about, there was a vast shadow banking system whose size most of us never suspected. In 2013 we have glimpsed not only the scale of the shadow state but the degree to which it, like the shadown banking system, is out of control and not working for us at all.

    Of course Mr Obama and the ‘security chiefs’, brought blinking into the unwelcome light, justify themselves by telling us that all those things they never saw fit to mention to us, or even to the people we spend so much time electing, have been saving us from un-named terrors. Are we to take such unverifiable assurances at face value from people who we know do not trust us and who make a profession of lying to us? I remember when Treasury Secretary Paulson told the US Congress that unless they stopped asking questions and simply handed him $600 billion to bail out the shadow banking system, there would be anarchy and tanks on the streets. Am I wrong to see a parallel?

  24. Hugh

    I liked this post:

    which asks the question what would be the US and world reaction if Air Force One was forced down, held on the ground for 14 hours, and not released until after it had been searched?

    As I have said previously, virtually all the world’s governments/economies are kleptocracies. Snowden represents a threat to them because they don’t want any of their own minions among the 99% getting any ideas and copying his forthrightness. It isn’t just the evil hegemon they are scared of. It is their own people. This explains why around the world there are so few governments willing to stick their necks out for Snowden.

    And Vladimir Putin? Anyone remember how just a few short months ago he wined and dined Gérard Depardieu and gave the slimebag a Russian passport so that he could avoid paying French taxes? The truth is any of a hundred leaders could grant Snowden asylum and even diplomatic immunity to see him safely to their country, if they wanted to. They don’t because they do not want to, because they are on the US side in this, because their side is the kleptocrat side and ours contains everyone else.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can the United Nations grant him asylum?

      How long does it take to set up a Republic of Mars and grant him asylum?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        This calls for continuous monitoring of the president 24/7.

        Get to work, you Egyptian NSA.

  25. Jessica

    “A German firm is proposing to transmit adverts via train windows so that the sound appears to “come from inside the user’s head” when passengers lean against them.A German firm is proposing to transmit adverts via train windows so that the sound appears to “come from inside the user’s head” when passengers lean against them.”

    Another Philip K. Dick prediction comes true.

      1. Jessica

        It was not windows doing the talking, but (in the early part of Blade Runner? [book, not movie]), the hero comes around a corner and accidentally stumbles into some advertizing zone that invades his mind quite obtrusively.

    1. charles sereno

      And there’s the “cloak of invisibility” too. Early rumors were circulating about a “ghost” passenger (Snowden) aboard the Bolivian President’s airplane. Now, the BBC confirms that “Mr Snowden was APPARENTLY [emphasis mine] not on board.” (Matthew Price)

  26. Tuco

    I’m pulling my hair out over these RSS readers. I’ve got 4 different readers going, all with the same subscriptions and they all are all over the place in consistency. Nobody is close to comparing to google reader. Grrrrrr!

    1. sd

      I’m using Protopage and so far am fairly happy with it. A few bugs in terms of sites – I couldn’t get Big Picture on tot eh reader for the longest time but the new BP site upgrade solved that.

      1. AbyNormal

        helllooo, this looks interesting. i may have to set this up tonight…thanks sd!

  27. Maurice Hebert

    I fail to see how the letter published by Pere Snowden’s lawyer is either histrionic or inept. I do agree that is embarrassing – to Barack Obama and his administration. However this is not at all surprising, for Barack Obama has been a chronic embarrassment to himself since at least the appointment of Tim Geithner. An embarrassment as well for every voter who took the bait on “Hope and Change.” And a source of deep, deep shame for Black Americans.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If we were fooled twice, the shame is on all of us.

      In any case, the embarrassment should have come when they first called you the Messiah.

      I don’t know much about him, but at least Krishnamurti had the sanity to give up his Matreiya-hood.

      And I am still waiting for the Dalai Lama to enlighten us on the lama-reincarnation ‘I am more special than all of you because of my birth’ privilege.

      1. Ms G

        “And I am still waiting for the Dalai Lama to enlighten us on the lama-reincarnation ‘I am more special than all of you because of my birth’ privilege.”

        Thank you MLTPB. How refreshing to see this said openly. This is another one of those sacred cows where you get Obot-Like rage if you dare wonder about that little birth privilege thingy.

        1. diane

          You two will love this, , starring Dianne Feinstein’s husband Dick [NationMaster] Blum, and Obomber, if you haven’t already seen it:

          January 2009 Obama Had The Dalai Lama’s Scarf In His Pocket During His Swearing In
          posted by swaldman

          Lama Surya Das passed on this fascinating bit. Richard Blum, who is the husband of California Senator Diane Feinstein, also happens to be a major supporter of Buddhism. He was up on the platform during the swearing in.
          Beforehand, he told Barack Obama that he had with him a white khata — a silk Tibetan scarf — given him by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Blum described what happened next in a letter to an associate of the Dalai Lama:

          “I offered it to President Obama before the ceremony. I said that I could get it delivered to him later. He said, no, that he was going to take it and have it with him; in fact, it was in his pocket when he was sworn-in.”

          And yes, that was written by the same ( :0) ), now Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Steven Waldman, a true believer in belief.)

          Another piece on the inauguration kata, which includes priceless peace photo.

          1. diane

            (I messed up the blockquote, it should have ended after it was in his pocket when he was sworn in”)

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The letter is grandiose, for starters. And it is not at all clear what it was meant to accomplish.

  28. diane

    Oooh too ‘funny,’ on the Front Page [Hardcopy version] of today’s San Jose Murky Nooz – California Attorney General and Obomber fave, Kamala Harris ‘whistle blew’ to her STATE citizens that their privacy has been breached countless times by the Corporate World. This, as if none of has received the redundant messages from Corporations, Medical Institutions, Employers and Government agencies, that: OOPS your personal data has been shared [because we could care less as to your privacy]. This, as if Free Market Capitalism!!! and its consequent seamless blend of Government and Corporations isn’t actually the reason why our data has been breached. Yes, this as if the data breaches were a bug, versus a feature, of that seamless blend.

    The harsh measures to be taken for such malfeasance? Set in place in 2003, institutions are required to inform you you’ve been violated if there were more than 500 of you who’ve been violated at the same time, and there are no plans for at least mandating encryption (bolding and bracketed comments, mine).

    Harris issued the report Monday following a 2003 California law that requires government agencies, retailers, universities and others that collect data to report any breaches involving more than 500 Californians, beginning for the first time in 2012 [a 2003 law that didn’t require enforcement till 2012? Or just poor writing?].

    Nearly half the people whose information was exposed — 1.4 million Californians — could have been easily protected if the data had been encrypted [Note: Funny thing how there is no mention whatsoever of making that encryption a requirement, versus a suggestion], the report said.

    The law does not require Harris to report on the data breaches, but she voluntarily issued the report. It comes at the same time the case of Edward Snowden [is being tracked as if he were a mass murderer], the former defense contractor employee who leaked secrets about a massive government surveillance program, raises questions about who has access to data

    [link to the Murky’s related online piece]

    Of course there was no mention whatsoever, on that Front Page of the San Jose Murky Nooz, of that blatantly outrageous action by corrupted allies of the UZ, in France and Portugal, taken in the vicious and deadly manhunt of a thirty year old United States Whistleblower, who did the world a major service only to find his life is in danger and his rights as a United States citizen utterly destroyed.

  29. charles sereno

    I can’t imagine anyone caring to look at French President Hollande with his pants down in Berlin. He said he gave permission to President Morales to fly over France AFTER he learned the Bolivian President had been turned away. Mon Dieu! Who can keep his mind on everything while being spanked?

    1. Massinissa

      I blush every time I remember the name of that bastards party.

      Should just rename the party to the Not-Sarkozy’s Party. Since the only difference between it and its right wing counterpart is the name and the leadership. Otherwise theyre completely indistinguishable.

  30. charles sereno

    “Meanwhile, the foreign minister of Ecuador, Ricardo Patiño, said on Wednesday in Quito that his government had discovered a hidden microphone in the office of its ambassador in London. The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, who has been acting as an adviser to Mr. Snowden, has been living in the London embassy for more than a year, given asylum there to escape extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault allegations.

    Mr. Patiño, whose country is a possible asylum destination for Mr. Snowden, said that the device was linked to a private British security firm and that he was asking British authorities for help in finding who was behind the bugging.” (NY Times)

    Just a suggestion. Maybe Ecuador could get Joe Biden to put in a good word for them with the British authorities.

  31. Kurt Sperry

    Green party politician Malte Spitz sued to have German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom hand over six months of his phone data that he then made available to ZEIT ONLINE. We combined this geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the internet.

    By pushing the play button, you will set off on a trip through Malte Spitz’s life. The speed controller allows you to adjust how fast you travel, the pause button will let you stop at interesting points. In addition, a calendar at the bottom shows when he was in a particular location and can be used to jump to a specific time period. Each column corresponds to one day.

  32. Hugh

    Cases like Snowden’s have this all too rare ability to expose the hypocrisy of the elites who rule us. In the US, the courtier media did not go after Obama, the leaders of the intelligence community, and various members of Congress for their parts in running rampant out of control spying programs. They went after Snowden.

    Snowden told the Europeans that the NSA was spying on both their leaders and millions of ordinary citizens. European leaders mouthed outrage. But what did they do? They brazenly broke international diplomatic conventions forcing down the President of Bolivia’s plane just on the offhand chance that Snowden might be on board so that he might be arrested and turned over to their American masters.

    Now to show just how corrupt the elite class globally is, Ban Ki-moon in some of the most profoundly idiotic and evil comments on the whole affair said:

    “the Snowden case is something I consider to be misuse.” The UN chief added that the opening up of digital communications should not be “misused in such a way as Snowden did.”

    The NSA is spying on everyone everywhere in any way they can, untold millions, all across the planet, and this sockpuppet Secretary General of the UN says that it is Snowden who is misusing digital communication.

    This is a point I have been trying to make for some time now. Kleptocracy is global although its manifestations in countries varies. It is a class phenomenon. The rich form a global ruling class and are served by a servant class of the elites who at once are rewarded by the rich for their efforts and who aspire to join the ranks of the ruling rich. What the Snowden affair does is show how universal (and hypocritic) the condemnation of Snowden is by these classes. He represents a transparency and truth-telling that are anathema to them, like sunlight to vampires. This is why political leaders from Xi in China to Putin in Russia to Obama in Washington to the heads of the EU to the Secretary General of the UN itself want nothing to do with him. It is also why these classes which wage a ceaseless war against the interests of the many can not be reformed, but only overthrown. When any nobody challenges the basis of their power and their lies, they forget their differences and band together in defense of their class interests.

    I have to add that if anyone had told me a few years ago that I would be writing about modern politics and economics entirely in terms of class I would have thought them mad. But events are giving us all a learning experience that I bet few of us wanted or anticipated. I cite kleptocracy, class, and class war because the affairs in which we are involved can best be explained by them. It is a I suppose a great blow to our pride that rather than living one of the high points of history we are dwelling in one of its cesspools. The question for us all is whether we will accept living in a sewer or will we strive and fight for something better. Perhaps Snowden’s greatest service to us is that his actions have put this question before us.

    1. psychohistorian

      I think the keystone to our social organization is inheritance that gives people that don’t know what it takes to survive power over those that were not lucky of birth.

      Inherited folks, for the most part from my experience, do think they are a bit better than the rest of us and deserving of their silver spoon. Those are the continued supporters of our dying system because they don’t want their superiority delusion challenged…….they insist our social system just needs a tweak here or there…..

    2. JTFaraday

      And these private contractors will sell high tech Police State in a Box to countries all over the world, who will use it to oppress the educated middle classes who could conceivably, if they ever got their act together, pose some kind of threat to their total rule.

      The ultimate target here is people just like us.

  33. diane

    Re the physically grueling aspect of Amazon warehouses, I think the most revealing (as to Amazon willfully and knowingly subjecting people to potentially life threatening work conditions) and thorough US reporting on that was this meaty piece:

    By Spencer Soper
    Of The Morning Call

    Inside Amazon’s Warehouse
    Lehigh Valley workers tell of brutal heat, dizzying pace at online retailer

    Workers said they were forced to endure brutal heat inside the sprawling warehouse and were pushed to work at a pace many could not sustain. Employees were frequently reprimanded regarding their productivity and threatened with termination, workers said. The consequences of not meeting work expectations were regularly on display, as employees lost their jobs and got escorted out of the warehouse. Such sights encouraged some workers to conceal pain and push through injury lest they get fired as well, workers said.

    During summer heat waves, Amazon arranged to have paramedics parked in ambulances outside, ready to treat any workers who dehydrated or suffered other forms of heat stress. Those who couldn’t quickly cool off and return to work were sent home or taken out in stretchers and wheelchairs and transported to area hospitals. And new applicants were ready to begin work at any time.

    An emergency room doctor in June called federal regulators to report an “unsafe environment” after he treated several Amazon warehouse workers for heat-related problems. The doctor’s report was echoed by warehouse workers who also complained to regulators, including a security guard who reported seeing pregnant employees suffering in the heat.


  34. financial matters

    “”The financial sector may now be seeking an exit from its own search-for-yield strategies while the central banks are possibly seeking an exit from their own unconventional policies.””

    Interesting statement. Somewhat implying that if the Fed stops trying to artificially manipulate interest rates lower then the interest paid on treasuries and cds may be enough to prevent unsound investing by many people seeking higher yield.

    “”One solution to the low-growth, low-interest environment might be for central banks to target higher inflation more deliberately and aggressively (e.g. Japan). But such a stance would require a huge step up in extraordinary monetary-policy measures, and this in itself could prove destabilising””

    Seems like another crazy scheme to do too much with monetary policy. It takes fiscal policy to put the money in the right hands.

    1. financial matters

      from The impact on the financial sector of long-term low nominal-interest rates VoxEU.

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