Links 8/14/13

U.S. horse association will be ordered to allow clones on registry Reuters :-(

The solar envelope: how to heat and cool cities without fossil fuels Low-tech Magazine (Optimader). A backgrounder prompted by a conversation in comments yesterday on conservation, geothermal wells and radiant floors.

Masonry Heaters – – – Heart of the Home (Optimader). Shelter porn. I assume this is also environmentally minded.

Study: Sugar even at moderate levels toxic to mice health, reproduction Washington Post. Only in America does “three sugary sodas” = “moderate.” I am pretty sure I read an earlier study in which mice fed a high % of their diet as sugar (25%?) became infertile in three generations.

Euro-Zone Economy Returns to Growth Wall Street Journal. 0.3% for the last three months. This is so close to zero as to be tantamount to zero. Europeans can tell me if they think the GDP deflator was tweaked.

Egyptian forces move to clear protesters’ camps Washington Post

‘100 dead’ in Egypt as troops with machine guns move on protesters Telegraph

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

The NSA Is Commandeering the Internet Bruce Schneier, Atlantic (Deontos)

How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets New York Times

EXCLUSIVE: Owner of Snowden’s Email Service on Why He Closed Lavabit Rather Than Comply With Gov’t Democracy Now! (charles sereno)

Google Tells Court You Cannot Expect Privacy When Sending Messages to Gmail — People Who Care About Privacy Should Not Use Service Consumer Watchdog (Deontos)

How Canada’s cloud computing sector can leverage the Snowden Affair Comox Valley Echo (Deontos)

Former Internet Provider Gagged by National Security Letter Recounts How He Was Silenced for 6 Years Democracy Now! (charles sereno)

The Beauty of Obama’s Clapper Appointment Ian Welsh. Patricia flagged this statement:

This isn’t just a middle finger to everyone to everyone who is against blanket surveillance (aka. the majority of Americans), it is Obama saying “Kiss My Ass.”

I differ a tad. What Obama is really saying is: “So what are you going to do? Impeach me?”

White House insists James Clapper will not lead NSA surveillance review Guardian. Oh, come on. So he’s not in charge. He should not be involved at all. You don’t have to be in control of the agenda to have significant influence.

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Out-of-pocket limits delayed for the convenience of insurance companies who didn’t reprogram their systems Lambert

Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It’s the Computer’s Fault Slashdot

Fighting the Nation’s Largest Trash Incinerator CounterPunch (Carol B)

Florida Pharmacists Win $597 Million Blowing Whistle on Scheme Bloomberg


So Much for Serendipity in Personalized News Bloomberg (Lambert)

AMR-US Airways Antitrust Suit Seen as Difficult to Settle Bloomberg. This cheered me up. American is a not bad airline (no US airline is all that good these days) and US Air is world class awful (they model their honesty and customer service standards on the mortgage servicing industry). So having US Air thwarted in its efforts to foist its horrible practices on more air travelers is a good outcome.

Fiscal divisions on Capitol Hill prompt Fed tapering concerns Financial Times

Forget Student Loans…Introducing Day Care Loans LibertyBlitz (rich)

Obama Puts “Private Capital” at Center of Housing Plan CounterPunch (Carol B)

The Economist: Are We Doomed? Global Economic Intersection

US earnings trail in wake of stock price rise Financial Times

With So Many Job Openings, Why So Little Hiring? Bloomberg

U.S. Faces Obstacles in Bid to Arrest 2 in Big Trading Loss at JPMorgan New York Times

The age of stagnating revolutions(?) the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens

The Quality of Life RibbonFarm (martha r)

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed Raptitude (anon y’mouse). An oldie but goodie.

Antidote du jour:


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  1. AbyNormal

    good read anon y’mouse…thanks

    “The perfect customer is dissatisfied but hopeful, uninterested in serious personal development, highly habituated to the television, working full-time, earning a fair amount, indulging during their free time, and somehow just getting by. Is this you?”

    1. anon y'mouse

      some of the comments were interesting too. it seems the author does not really believe it is a “conspiracy” per se to keep us working 40 hours/week (if that–so many professional people seem to work).

      if we could manage to lower the “full time” hours and keep the pay the same, perhaps more people could be employed. also, people need to put their foot down about being tethered to the phone/laptop even in off-work hours. unless someone’s life depends upon you answering that phone, it can wait.

      course, while we’re all dreaming—i’d like pony! living on my straw-bale, solar-oriented ranch, please.

      1. jrs

        Also related is research on willpower, apparently scientists are now saying people only have so much willpower (use it up and it’s gone – until it replenshes maybe the next day). A day at the average office can completely use it down to nothing left for the day – can take everything one has and then some – to deal with the boredom, the stupidity, the frustration. And then your supposed to stick to a budget, a diet, an exercise program afterward? Actually I’m not terrible on any of these things, but I have definitely had days when it’s all gone – nothing left!

        “The perfect customer is dissatisfied but hopeful, uninterested in serious personal development, highly habituated to the television, working full-time, earning a fair amount, indulging during their free time, and somehow just getting by. Is this you?”

        Now how many people know what serious personal development is? Oh I wouldn’t claim to, I’m continually stupid :). But really I might know a bit, it takes reading and being exposed to various ideas, it’s working on your issues and weaknesses, and it’s committing to non-passive leisure activities (but if you see this as requiring self-discipline you are screwed from step 1 – see above on willpower – you will not make it – you need another strategy).

        And yes you can be a non-consumerist, and save money if you dont’ spend it due to diminished willpower, but at most it will probably get you an emergency fund for a period of unemployment. Most people will NEVER be able to save enough to buy their freedom (and even less so if catfood commissions have their way). I think we have a lot more power to reclaim our free-time (limited though it is), than to try to buy our way out of this economic system.

        Would a shortened work week make all of this less of a struggle for the average person to try to build a life worthy of a human being in a world hostile to such? Duh! We should have had a 30 hour week by now at the least. There were serious proposals to lower the workweek to 30 hours 80 years ago:

    1. diptherio

      Thanks for the link.

      I have to admit, it’s a little frustrating that economic ideas don’t become acceptable on the mainstream left until Krugman endorses them. Plenty of economists were calling bull$#!t on the Samuelson model years before the crisis, but now that Krugman has expressed his doubts it’s suddenly ok to question what was, up until quite recently, “gospel truth” among liberal economists.

      It would be like astronomers continuing to look to the Pope for guidance on matters astronomical, even after he had been proven wrong on that whole planetary motion thing. Sure, it takes a big man to admit when he’s been wrong, but shouldn’t an economist that got it right before the crisis be given the bully pulpit of the NYT? And shouldn’t economists who correctly foresaw our current difficulties be the ones that other economists are now looking to for insight?

      There’s a reason why no one reads the Catholic Astronomical Review any more (well, maybe a few economists still do).

    2. Bob W

      Love this line: “But, if you haven’t been radicalized by recent events, you haven’t been paying attention…”

    1. diptherio

      That’s “holy yogini“, technically ;)

      My yoga teacher is pushing eighty now and he’s incredibly youthful. His skin is like, butta! And he makes a yearly pilgrimage to Gosaikunda (a sacred Himalayan lake) on foot! Here’s a pic of him and I getting ready to set the cornerstone for our school.

      But here’s the thing: Kali Baba doesn’t do hatha yoga. I don’t think he’s once done a suryanamaskara. He practices raja yoga (meditation) and karma yoga (non-attached selfless action) and sits all day at his sacred fireplace, where he smokes ganja and the occasional cigarette with his visitors. Point being, I guess, that other types of yoga are also beneficial for physical well-being and graceful aging, apart from the stretchy type (hatha).

      1. AbyNormal

        ahh moving stones at 80…serious holy yogini!
        sitting in mindfulness with friends n pipe…inspiring!!
        appreciate the correction & insight diptherio ;))
        (is that you in the pic?…just how i pictured myBuddy working on that school)

        “When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.”

        1. diptherio

          Just to be clear yogini=female, yogi=male, is all I was saying, although in English we’ve pretty much seem to use the male form in a gender neutral way. And I’m not trying to correct you (he says as he corrects her) I’m really just working out this compulsive thing I have with the minutia of language. It’s me, hon, not you :)

          Yeah, that’s moi. A little younger…

          True about the breathe thing. Come to think of it, that is what Hatha and Raja yoga have in common: breathe control. I think this is why activities like jogging and biking can be good “meditation,” since they encourage one to breathe deeply and rhythmically.

              1. AbyNormal

                great for you!
                i feel sure you’ll keep your blog updated with the ‘sorts’!?!
                your linked site leads with not just any quote, but with The Quote.

                “Instead of being confined to any particular religion, be a human being first.”

                1. F. Beard

                  “Instead of being confined to any particular religion, be a human being first.” AbyNormal

                  Bear[d] baiting? I’m kinda tired but nevertheless:

                  What if one has forgotten or never knew how to be human? And what if what you call being a human first is the lingering righteous of your Jewish or Christian forebears passed down to you?

                  And if you want to see “human”, try sympathizing with the Lord in the Bible and not just Jesus; I mean the bloody God of the Old Testament too. Try to see things from His perspective and you just might cry. Especially when He has to destroy His own people and His own inheritance, the land of Israel.

                  1. AbyNormal

                    “Beard baiting”…your broken record tirades never crossed my mind. the quote is inclusive so fear not…your narcissism (and well earned paranoia) is preserved.

                    1. F. Beard

                      Well now you’re earning your keep as a critic of mine. :)

                      Yep, I’m a broken record but the tracks are getting sharper and clearer, I hope, not duller.

                      And who knows, the needle might skip and you might hear another passage (over and over again perhaps :) ).

                      And maybe one day the record will be fixed and people will marvel, not at the record, but at its Composer.

        2. diptherio

          Sitting in mindfulness, watching the occasional Hindi action movie, harassing the occasional beligerent drunk until they leave the ashram of their own accord, paying off the occasional village family who’s child has suffered a bite from one of the ashram’s many dogs, cooking food and making tea for whoever’s around, chatting up the tourists and working to improve the area generally (raising funds for an ambulance, school, community picnic ground, etc). Such is the life…

    2. anon y'mouse

      wow, whatta lady!

      time to get back into the yoga thang. at one point, I reached that ‘centered’ feeling that seemed a bit like superstitious hogwash to me. then my back critically failed (genetics).

      people don’t believe in that feeling, and it takes a lot of effort, though not the same kind of no-pain, no-gain effort our society seems used to, to get there. so probably most people try it and unless they’re hooked for the health benefits, give it up.

  2. XO

    “How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets”

    Simply amazing that some people consider Snowden, Greenwald and Poitras to be traitors.

    Clearly, the Obama administration has accelerated the adoption of the secret government (as have the courts and most of the Congress).

    Secret government is the enemy of the governed. Always.

    1. Tim Mason

      The NYT seems to have planted a little bomb in their article which will encourage readers so inclined to see her as a suspicious character. The rooftop incident is so much shark-bait.

      1. YankeeFrank

        I didn’t read it that way. It was prelude to her 40+ interrogations at airports, as a possible way that she was “flagged” in that kafkaesque fashion we’ve grown to know and NOT love.

        In other words it was made pretty clear it was a totally false accusation.

        1. moving finger writes

          Agree. The pen (her pen) as a weapon. Guards (representing who? what office?) cannot allow notetaking, take away her pen. As a reader, that too was my breaking point. Surveillance goons are not fond of entering recorded history.

  3. Tim Mason

    If you don’t know about the BBC’s ‘Thinking Allowed’ programme, you might want to have a glance at it. The presenter, Laurie Taylor, is well-known for his work in the sociology of deviance, but he ranges across the social sciences, and often comes up with things that should be interesting to NC.

    Each episode consists of two interviews with people who have recently published research in the social sciences. This week, it’s on the Militant years in the English city of Liverpool, when a Trotskyist group took over the city hall. Last week, there was an interview with someone who has been studying the American Minutemen’s presence along the US/Mexico border. Recent programmes have covered the War on Drugs, Terrorism Studies, and, one of my favourites, The Global Pigeon.

    Home page here : There’s also a podcast.

  4. financial matters

    Obama Puts “Private Capital” at Center of Housing Plan CounterPunch (Carol B)

    “Also, a blanket-guarantee on MBS is a direct subsidy to Wall Street because prospective buyers of MBS will know these complex bonds are as safe as US Treasuries.”

    This is QE in a nutshell..

    With a median income of $50,000 in the US the median home price should probably be between $100,000 to $150,000..

    Right now that price is around $192,000

    Unless we want to keep treating MBS as US Treasuries…

    from the CounterPunch article..

    “So the banks will get off Scott-free for mortgages that default while Uncle Sam will wind up taking the hit. The USG will also stump up 90 percent of the losses on government-backed mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that end up in default, while bondholders will face haircuts of just 10 percent.”

    1. Jess

      $192,000? Where? What kind of house?

      You want to get a good grip on the reality of the difference between “middle class” in different areas of the country, try looking at average home prices and what constitutes an “average” home. Folks in lots of areas cannot comprehend the cost of living — and therefore what qualifies as a “middle class” income — in high cost areas.

      I was fortunate to buy my house for a measly $82,500 way back during the recession of 1978. Now it’s worth north of $600K. A house older and smaller than mine just sold for $565K. There are only three families on my block where one of the adults doesn’t work. (Three stay-at-home moms, including one with a infant.) My neighbors aren’t the 1%, they aren’t the ones living high on the hog. They’re school teachers and probation officers and a guy who runs his own one-man pool cleaning service. They’re a flight attendant, an office manager, a couple of aerospace engineers, a guy who manages a DVD production facility who does his own car repair work. I’m sure the vast majority are only a few missed paychecks or one big medical emergency from being out on the street. A decent-to-live-in $192K home? We wish!

      1. financial matters

        That’s what this bill is trying to do is to maintain the price of housing. It encourages non-sustainable borrowing and puts the downside of defaulted mortgages on the taxpayer.

        A lot of people have a stake in housing prices being high but ultimately they have to be affordable to new buyers.

        The latest scam seems to be be hedge funds and private equity companies buying them up to rent out. But they still have to find enough employed people to pay the rent. Apparently failing that they are going to package them into REITs and try and sell this ‘income stream’ to unwary investors.

  5. charles sereno

    Mubarak redux?
    My comment almost 9 months ago unfortunately was on target (not that I was happy with Morsi):
    charles sereno says:
    November 25, 2012 at 10:49 am
    For what it’s worth, here are some of the things that bother me about events in Egypt. 1) Why is there no mention of the Egyptian military (and their economic interests)? The IMF deal was probably a necessity no matter who was in charge. Compare the problems even in Argentina, which is in a much better position, when international and subversive local elements start to gang up in coordinated fashion. 2) Why is the Egyptian judiciary mentioned almost as heroic oppositionists when they’re nothing more than encrusted pus? Now, we’re supposed to be in favor of NOT re-opening trials of those responsible for the “martyrs”? Or maybe we should give the Judges authority to dissolve an elected Legislature? 3) I cannot believe that the secularists are “useful idiots.” Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean their differences can’t be exploited and played by the US and Israel. US policy in the Mideast has consistently been to divide and (eventually) conquer (Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Gulf States). No reason to think otherwise now.

  6. Jim Haygood

    ‘LADAR LEVISON: Well, just to add one thing to Greenwald’s comments, I mean, there’s information that I can’t even share with my lawyer, let alone with the American public.’

    WTF? National Security Letters come with a gag order, but this hasn’t prevented a few challenges which obviously required engaging an attorney.

    Levison seems to be referring to something more like classified information, but that doesn’t seem pertinent either given that he only learned recently that Snowden apparently had an account with him.

    Is there another secret gag law (or presidential decree) that no one except its targets even knows about? Wouldn’t surprise me.

      1. Andrew Watts

        That’s not a good idea. Trolling the intelligence community for information is one thing, but commenting on an ongoing espionage investigation is a wholly different matter.

        1. Junior Spy Cadets of America

          At a time when any scumbag criminal with a job in the U.S. Cheka can open an “ongoing espionage investigation” on a rights defender, commenting on bullshit government investigations is a civic duty. So stick your TS/SCI secret decoder ring up your ass. Nobody gives a crap about the bullshit rules that government parasites make up.

        2. Andrew Watts

          @charles sereno

          I’m afraid that my non-answer answer will have to suffice.

          But if you want to know what part of the interview I found most telling… it was Mr. Levison’s response to the question of if he would run his business outside the United States.

          @Strangely Enough

          Mr. Levison is taking this seriously and other people in his line of business are too. There is absolutely no reason to mock them, or their legal concerns.

        3. Calgacus

          Andrew: if you are replying to Lambert’s

          Yes. Can somebody explain how there could be information Levison can’t share with his lawyer? How is that remotely Constitutional?

          I don’t think this level of opacity is required. Levison’s lawyer doesn’t seem to either. Lambert is asking a general, philosophical question, of the kind his lawywer allowed. This is neither “trolling the intelligence community for information” nor “commenting on an ongoing espionage investigation”. Unless people here are in the intelligence community, or recipients themselves of “National Security Letters” [Führerbefehls], whose only allowable reply is:

          Führer, befiehl! Wir folgen dir!

    1. PQS

      Yah, that grabbed me, too.

      I mean, these are “terrorists” we’re supposed to be afraid of, right? Guys with homemade bombs and boxcutters? What in the world could be so damned secret in regards to these people and their apparent superpowers? (And they ARE just people with an axe to grind….not invading aliens with advanced technology or anything….)

      I think the entire National “Security” apparatus has gone totally insane and taken our government with it. I mean, really – we weren’t this scared of the Soviets!

      1. ambrit

        Dear PQS;
        “..we weren’t this scared of the Soviets!” Well, we weren’t, for various reasons.
        For example, the Soviets played the Big Power game, just like the rest of the worlds’ bigger nation states. So called “Terrorists” don’t play those games, and thus don’t have anywhere as much to lose. (A ‘real’ terrorist either isn’t afraid of death, or cannot envision their personal demise.)
        Another is that competing states vie for power and influence within a consensus world view. “Terrorists” often are agitating for alternative world views. With almost no points of congruence, compromise and accommodation are next to impossible.
        Finally, one major goal of terrorism is to disrupt the ‘normal’ style of life within the target society or group. That is why so many of us say that binLauden has won his war against America. America has moved towards his world view, rigid, doctrinaire, authoritarian. Thus, that terrorist movement can claim success. And nothing breeds success like success. The American Elites are right to be afraid. With a little help, they are well on their way to self-destruction.

        1. PQS

          It reminds me of nothing so much as the War on Drugs….create a legion of villains, scare the crap out of the taxpayers who foot the bills, decimate the communities of “undesirables”, and cash checks all the way.

          And we are now (hopefully) dismantling the War on Drugs – mostly because people are just tired of it and don’t feel that the targets are the demons they’ve been made out to be. Nor should we be so afraid of “terrorists”. They are criminals – low level ones, typically, and we’ve been living with them for a very long time – e.g., KKK, anti abortionists, neo Nazis, etc.

    2. Bruno Marr

      The Democracy Now video is simply STUNNING!

      The level of deceit, control, and viciousness of the USG is beyond comprehension. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    1. charles sereno

      “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet.” (Shakespeare)
      Not always, Juliet. A “coup” in America’s near-flung colony (Honduras) is sweeter and less cloying than one in the far-flung land of Cleopatra.

      1. aet

        Egypt as contrasted to Honduras?

        Size and location are the only things that count in geo-politics.

        Honduras is far more important to US Security than Egypt will ever be. Which is fortumate for the USA, I think.

      2. aet

        Honduras is far more important to the security of the USA than Egypt will ever be, or will ever be allowed to become.

        This accounts for all the difference in the way the US acts in, and reacts to activities in, those different places.

        Size and location are the determining factors in the relations between States. That much never changes.

  7. GK

    The otherwise great Bloomberg article about the Florida pharmacists who won $597 million fighting drug company fraud quotes one Michael Loucks calling for limits on False Claims Act payments and idenitfies him only as a former acting US Attorney. In fact, he is now a partner at Skadden who represents drug makers fighting False Claim Act suits. See also The article should have idenitifed his current position and obvious self-interest if it quoted him at all.

    1. Klassy!

      Pretty nervy to upbraid individuals pursuing qui tam suits for profiting from their legal work, huh?

  8. Joe

    There is a good article on Counterpunch today written by Kathleen Wallace:

    The Pain of it All. Who Wants to Own Weltschermz?

    Here is my favorite quote from the piece:

    “The most common complaint heard when one drops down this rabbit hole is that it simply isn’t practicable to have a society that values free will associations, and the concept of true individual freedoms. That would simply equal chaos. I’ve written before that if a toxic world view from a damaged woman like Ayn Rand can drip into some measure of practice, then the marrow affirming concepts of Emma Goldman sure as hell could too, if the desire existed.”

    1. tongorad

      Thanks for that, a very nice read.

      My favorite bit:

      “In our deepest core, we need to be more than owned. In the weirdly readable (I say that because have you seen the size of this thing?-But time flies when you start to digest it.) Debt: The First 5.000 Years by David Graeber, he artfully (if not sparsely) explains how the corruption of our souls was hard cast when all became marketable. It stemmed from placing a value on items which should have been intangible, and we have been struggling with a world-pain ever since. People become obsessed with callous advancement over the benefit of the community, for one thing. And there is no social stigma when you step on others. It’s admired, if anything.”

      “…it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace.”
      -George Hanson, Easy Rider

    2. diane

      Thank you (once again), Joe. Beautiful piece …rare in her uncontrived language, which speaks directly to the intangible without first aligning herself to anything other than what it used to mean to feel a part of humanity at our best.

      (And no disgusting, vain and lazy, clear as mud, Speshul Smart Folk Code SHORTHAND Acronym usage in sight (which got tired long, long ago, actually, before it even began.))

    3. spooz

      I also enjoyed this; after asking my libertarian friend if he had ever heard Boehner referred to as the “freak from Ohio”, he refused to read the piece out of hand, claiming it was politically biased. So sad to be caught up in the lesser of two evils dupoly. As usual, I ranted about brownshirts and Nuremberg, claiming my disenfranchisement puts me above such criticism. Not to trivalize Nazism, but as a rather pointless form of shock therapy I indulge in from time to time.
      Incidentally, a little weed has been known to dispel Weltshmerz blues temporarily, providing you can avoid ending up in a Kafkaesque orange jumpsuit scenario.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Monkeywrenching the Drug War in Colorado (Bloomberg):

    A month ago, the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council started traveling around the state to instruct police officers that a drug-sniffing dog reacting to the smell of marijuana isn’t enough for probable cause, said Tom Raynes, the council’s executive director.

    “What’s going to come up is a case where a dog hits on a car with two pounds of cocaine,” said Sal Fiorillo, tactical operations lieutenant of the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Specialized Enforcement Division.

    “The defense attorney will say that the dog wasn’t hitting on the cocaine, he was hitting on a half-ounce of marijuana, and that’s legal,” he added. In such a scenario, the lawyer may try have the evidence suppressed because the dog can’t differentiate between cocaine and marijuana.

    HA HA HA … watching the Drug War collapse from its own internal contradictions will be even better than the implosion of Obamacare! Don’t we feel sorry for these poor K-9 officers and their dawgs …

    1. George Hier

      The cynic in me knows it is more likely to fall the other way. Dog sniffs out a toker, the cop frisks him and drops a baggy of cocaine in his back pocket, then “finds” it, and books the guy. Arrest rates go up, along with circumstantual evidence that marijuana is a “gateway” drug, and its promotions and propaganda budget boosts all around.

      A couple years of that, and they’ll either be able to run a campaign to re-illegalize marijuana, or they’ll decide to leave it be and just keep collecting off of the potheads. After all, they’re a lot safer to deal with than the methheads. A copper could get hurt, trying to deal with one of those.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I’ve been told by someone who should know that here in Washington State where small possession of cannabis is legal the police dogs are no longer trained to sniff out cannabis.

  10. David Lentini

    Google’s argument should give everyone the green light to start encrypting, since they’ve moved the issue to a generic insecurity in electronic mail services. We, especically those of us who use commercial e-mail for our businesses, can all now point the fact of preserving basic privacy and not worry about the illusory charge of encryption to hide some illegal activity.

    Anyone have a good secure e-mail service to recommend?

      1. YankeeFrank

        hushmail is NOT secure, and in fact has turned over records to the government in the past few years. If you email within hushmail, you can use their encryption, but I would not trust their encryption. The best way to keep your emails private is to encrypt the body of the text using GPG/PGP strong encryption. It may take an hour or so to learn how to use it, but after that, you can email from and to anyone in the world without worrying it will be read (as long as they also use PGP).

        There are some offshore email providers that can provide limited security, but you simply cannot be sure, unless you use your own encryption keys, that the encryption won’t have a back door to let the NSA in.

        1. AbyNormal

          Thanks YFrank…like i said im using it for the time being. i am aware they handed over info before…i just want away from google right now. im still on the hunt and since you seem more learned in the area, might i ask what you think of


          or something to test before paying for a service

          thanks, even if you don’t have time or tired of messing with it (believe me i understand)

  11. dearieme

    “I am pretty sure I read an earlier study in which mice fed a high % of their diet as sugar (25%?) became infertile in three generations.”

    While I bow to no one in my disdain for adults who drink brown sugar-water, I wonder whether this might be a study I read about that was outrageously incompetent and/or dishonest. The trick, or blunder, was that not only were the two groups of rodents fed diets with different amounts of sugar in them, the diets had many other differences too. In other words, the two groups were given non-sugar parts of their diets with different compositions.

    If the study I have just disparaged was not the one you were thinking about, then my apologies to the authors of your study. The authors of my study should be force-fed high-sugar sodas by way of punishment.

  12. Charbroil

    I’m looking to get a low- or no-annual-fee credit card to build up my credit rating. Any recommendations? TIA.

  13. Mcmike

    Don’t the insurance companies already calculate out of pocket costs?

    It’s been a standard policy feature for a long time – one of the big three variables – and in fact insurers already offer multiple OOP tiers, so they must already be tracking it. How else can they monitor, let alone price it?

  14. allcoppedout

    The Economist article seems typically to miss the point that we can’t get what needs to be done done.

  15. DR

    “With So Many Job Openings, Why So Little Hiring? ”

    It is standard HR practice nowadays for companies to place a continuous ad for positions even if they weren’t hiring so an electronic roster of potential candidates can be created for future use when an actual hiring needs to be done.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘We don’t need as many free-lancing slaves at this time, as our Just-In-Time Slavery system allows us to reduce stocking excessive slaves beautifully!’

      Try Egypt.

      Let your profit lead you into Egypt.

    2. J Sterling

      It’s also normal, when unemployment is higher, to demand more in the advertised job opening, so the posts are just as hard to fill as they were before the recession. Nobody’s interested in hiring more quickly, unless the economy is truly booming so hard you’re scared of missing out on the profits if you go another day without more staff.

  16. Joe

    Via the ars technica website:

    Lavabit founder, under gag order, speaks out about shut-down decision

    “Secure e-mail was his company’s only product, so Levison is walking away from the $50,000 to $100,000 in annual revenue his company made. He has also abandoned his own e-mail account, which was shut down just like all 410,000 other users. “I’m taking a break from e-mail,” he told Forbes. “If you knew what I know about e-mail, you might not use it either.”

  17. rich

    Humanity Is Drowning In Washington’s Criminality

    Paul Craig Roberts

    Americans will soon be locked into an unaccountable police state unless US Representatives and Senators find the courage to ask questions and to sanction the executive branch officials who break the law, violate the Constitution, withhold information from Congress, and give false information about their crimes against law, the Constitution, the American people and those in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Guantanamo, and elsewhere. Congress needs to use the impeachment power that the Constitution provides and cease being subservient to the lawless executive branch. The US faces no threat that justifies the lawlessness and abuse of police powers that characterize the executive branch in the 21st century.

    National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper blatantly lied to Congress and remains in office. Keith B. Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency, has also misled Congress, and he remains in office. Attorney General Holder avoids telling Congress the truth on just about every subject, and he also remains in office. The same can be said for President Obama, one of the great deceivers of our time, who is so adverse to truth that truth seldom finds its way out of his mouth.

    If an American citizen lies to a federal investigator, even if not under oath, the citizen can be arrested, prosecuted, and sent to prison. Yet, these same federal personnel can lie to Congress and to citizens with impunity. Whatever the American political system is, it has nothing whatsoever to do with accountable government. In Amerika no one is accountable but citizens, who are accountable not only to law but also to unaccountable charges for which no evidence is required.

  18. McMike

    Conspiracy theory du jour:

    There seems to me to be an uptick in attempted (failed) child abductions by strangers lately. Even in my little burgh.

    Statistically though, successfull abductions is a very rare occurence, just a hundred or so a year.

    So my very cynical mind just wondered out of the blue if the government was sending agents out in vans to pose as wannabe child abductors, with the end result goal of formenting massively ratcheted-up fear and loathing among families, who then demand to be surveiled and protetced by a militarized omnipresent police force.

    That’s so crazy; they just might do it.

  19. real

    on loans for daycare article:
    I am speechless…so at first they separate fathers from children,then they coerce mothers to work 14 hrs per day…then they send children to daycare…
    it is wonderful and profitable…
    what will happen in future?

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    About whingling in comments, anyone, including yours truly, who gets banned deserves it.

    There is nothing like this place.

    I am thankful for this website and the grown up adults who post here.

  21. Butch in Waukegan

    “What Obama is really saying is: “So what are you going to do? Impeach me?”

    For half a second I thought Clapper’s appointment might finally break Obama’s hold on the soi-disant progressive movement. Back on earth, I remembered all the shit these people have swallowed, like when they awarded him for his “transparency” , in hidden-from-view 20 minute meeting. Could his message have been any clearer?

    Obama carries in his pocket the shrunken heads of all these supporters. He pulls them out at parties and on the golf course, dangling them in front of his buddies. It breaks them up every time.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Daycare loans.

    Next up, cremation by installment plan.

    Should you die before you are fully paid up, only the parts that have been funded will be processed.

    The rest will probably be left to vultures in a cheel ghar.

    1. optimader

      I guess Im good for the deerpath in the woods threads, case in point ,
      I dig the old AGA ranges.. And you can be sure that your habits wont be monitored by some embedded digital “smart” widget.

      Personally, I guess I can afford my eccentricities, but I am avoiding digital in my life where it is practical.

      As for the links, my underlying point was that to be “efficient” doesn’t mean you have to be complex or modern (expensive, as in whole cost when considering obsolescence).

      “Thermal mass” stoves/furnaces, modestly enlightened architecture, when well engineered is incredibly efficient, simple and will out live any of us.
      Our society tends IMO to underrate expertise/elegant designs of previous generations because we do not to take the time to understand them. Anything w/o a digital display is irrelevant.

      As far as esthetics (“high class”), building what pleases the eye (organic shapes appeal to mine) isn’t necessarily any more expensive then ugly. Re: your video, Loose the 55 gallon drum flue, replace w/ masonry and it would be handsome.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Solar envelope.

    I look at some of the illustrations. One of them has buildings in the back higher than those in the front (so all can catch the sun).

    I assume that’s on flat elevation.

    Why not make a hillock and have buildings all of the same height, taking advantage of the newly created topography?

    1. anon y'mouse

      read through to the actual examples in ancient Greece, which were built on hills with the streets being stairways.

      also, constructing a hillock is somewhat pointless. would especially be a waste in a town-sized development.

  24. Klassy!

    From the Cory Booker piece:
    “How about we focus on helping poor people climb out of fucking poverty instead of some tech startup that focuses on video curation?” opined one veteran Democratic Senate aide, who asked to remain anonymous in order to speak candidly. “I mean, Jesus Christ. Politicians’ job is to ‘get’ tech to the extent that it’s useful. Beyond that, it looks masturbatory.”
    Well, that’s pretty damn refreshing. Although I would argue that it would be best to focus on eradicating economic security rather than “helping poor people climb out of poverty”, I’ll say that it is nice to hear someone talk so bluntly. Of course he had to be anonymous because god forbid you exhibit any sceptisism about the power of social media to change the world.

  25. diane

    As regards the Whinging (whining, for us non High Brit speaking) post, with no comments allowed, Lambert: Yves, herself, noted that she desired robust conversation. Conversation, means Real Time (at least it used to)! It is quite normal and not an insult to anyone for a person to note that a comment which they’ve made after putting a great deal of thought and time into both the subject matter and the post, to note that it went missing (especially those which take more than an hour to post, and especially when many of those missing comments are not due to anything consistent). Good luck with that Robust Conversation, threatening to ban people for noting their comment went missing, especially on a website which makes a lot of use of commenter responses (as in asking folks to discuss their own personal experiences) and helpful links provided.

    1. Joe

      I’m not trying to be ugly or anything but this is Yves sandbox so she gets to make the rules.

      There’s not a forum that I read that isn’t moderated. Chat is real time, commenting; not so much.

      I’ve found that it’s a good idea to compose your post on a notepad type app and then copy and paste. I’ve had enough postings get eaten on other forums to take the precaution so I can repost if something goes afoul.

  26. docg

    So let me get this straight. If I start using a web host and an email host and a phone company based in some foreign country known NOT to be cooperating with NSA, do I get my privacy back? And does that go also for the terrorists?

    Does that mean goodbye to Google, Verizon, etc.? And good riddance?

    Or will I be opening myself up to just another brand of snooping, in the interest of some other corrupt govt.?

    (Is this any way to run an anti-terror campaign?)

    1. Jim

      Maybe, but you’re still beholden to the cloud company for your e-mail and data. This is true even if you’re outside the US and deal with a non-US company. If they, or that country’s government wants to hold your data hostage, for whatever reason, they still can do so. The funny thing about the “build the cloud in Canada” article is that it doesn’t solve this essential issue…you’re still a “digital serf” to whatever cloud company you use.

      The problem is that terrorists are smart; they went “analog” years ago. This whole mess was created by psychopaths and rogue agents within the government and big corporations, and enabled by narcissists and egomanics at the highest levels of power.

      Cloud computing is a massive job killer too. There have already been thousands of companies, large and small, who have signed over their digital souls to kill a few IT jobs. This is an angle missed in Snowden profiles. One of his motivations could simply be to “out” the big cloud names, in order to help save colleagues’ jobs. And the response at the NSA, fire 90% of the system admins, is laughable; you need more admin work to make your system more secure, not less. All it takes is the hacking of one script, automatically spread throughout all of their servers, to make them all vulnerable. With more administrative work being done manually, and supervised and controlled by other admins, vulnerabilities are more localized, but hey, knock yourselves out, US Government!

      1. subgenius

        not to mention what running networked attacks thru a hadoop cluster on amazon’s gear…botnets are SO last millenia

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The catch 22 is that by using a foreign provider you are officially foreign and the NSA can go after you full bore. So you had better be sure your foreign service is technically super duper secure.

  27. rich

    Michael Hayden, Bob Schieffer and the media’s reverence of national security officials The former NSA director is held up by the Face the Nation host as an objective authority when he is everything but that

    As Marcy Wheeler noted: “the 2009 Draft NSA IG Report that Snowden leaked [and the Guardian published] provided new details about how Hayden made the final decision to continue the illegal wiretapping program even after DOJ’s top lawyers judged it illegal in 2004. Edward Snowden leaked new details of Michael Hayden’s crime.” The Twitter commentator sysprog3 put it this way:

    Inviting Hayden to comment on regulation of surveillance is like having Bernie Madoff comment on regulation of Wall Street.”

    But inviting Hayden to do exactly that is what establishment media outlets do continually.

    But worse than the omission of Hayden’s NSA history is his current – and almost always unmentioned – financial stake in the very policies he is being invited to defend. Hayden is a partner in the Chertoff Group, a private entity that makes more and more money by increasing the fear levels of the US public and engineering massive government security contracts for their clients. Founded by former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, it’s filled with former national security state officials who exploit their connections in and knowledge of Washington to secure hugely profitable government contracts for their clients. As the Huffington Post’s Marcus Baram reported:

    infomercials just about everywhere…………..

  28. Hugh

    I believe it is important to take stock of how these technological advances alter the environment in which we conduct our intelligence mission. To this end, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I am directing you [Clapper] to establish a Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies (Review Group).

    The Review Group will assess whether, in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States employs its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, such as the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to maintain the public trust. Within 60 days of its establishment, the Review Group will brief their interim findings to me through the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Review Group will provide a final report and recommendations to me through the DNI no later than December 15, 2013.

    English has not degenerated so much that it is not crystal clear that A) Obama directed Clapper to put together (not simply vet) the Review Group and B) the Review Group was not to meet directly with the President at all but that both its interim and final product would be presented to Obama by Clapper.

    The truth is that Obama in his memo to Clapper had walked back his originally stated promise. This is a favorite tactic of Obama and should surprise no one. The wrinkle here is that, because of the blowback, Obama is walking back his walk back.

    In substance, nothing will change. It doesn’t matter whether Clapper or the White House chooses the sockpuppets for the Review Group. All the substantial work of the Review Group will be carried out either by NSA staff or contractors like Booz Allen. It will be these people who provide the summaries and suggested recommendations which the Review Group will collate and rubberstamp into a report. Obama will clear an hour on his schedule for what will essentially be a photo-op. The recommendations will either be so general as to be meaningless or the minor cosmetic jiggers he has already proposed.

    With regard to the timeframes, it is interesting to note that we are currently in mid-August, the Review Group is supposed to finish its report within 60 days of its establishment, but the latest deadline for its report is December 15. This would indicate that the Review Group would not be “established” until October 15 or two months from now. What Obama appears to be doing is a “promise fast but go slow” review. Again the expectation is that the longer this is drawn out the more time this will give the public to lose interest.

    So rather than a two month process, Obama is actually talking 4 months, and the report will come out shortly before Christmas with Congress on vacation and the nation’s attention focused on the holidays.

    A joke commission, joke members, joke timing, probably joke resources and powers, ending in a joke report, these are the classic components of defusing widespread public disapproval.

    1. jrs

      But never even mind of the review group is all fake. It isn’t even being established to address the public’s concerns. THIS REVIEW GROUP IS NOT FOR YOU JOE PUBLIC and your anger at the NSA. Look at what is being weighted? The public’s concern: privacy, over-broad surviellence etc.? NO. Those issues aren’t even mentioned in the memo!

      It’s “protecting national security and advancing foreign policy” on one side and “accounting for the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to maintain public trust” on the other. Does unauthorized disclosure mean Snowden? Is the commission really about preventing future Snowdens? Pardon me if I kind of suspect so. Am I supposed to assume unauthorized disclosure is say the information being used by the DEA? Why?

      And notice “the need to maintain public trust” – not privacy, not the 4th amendment’s Consitutional protections of our rights, not guarding against abuse of power that could come from the information, just “maintaining public trust” (maybe by preventing future Snowden’s). Image is everything, thirst is nothing: go OBAMA!

      1. jrs

        I really find it hard to even express the man’s evil and his total contempt for the public sometimes. It’s not even a pretense at addressing people’s concerns (like the 9-11 comission was), it’s rather a pretense AT A PRETENSE at addressing people’s concerns.

        A comission will be established, addressing nothing people are actually upset about (and that’s in clear language), and will be run by Clapper. He’s totally dialing it in now – just trying to calculate how moronic the sheeple are. Obama gives everyone the finger and Obamabots still lap it up (I don’t belive in euthanisia but if somesay those Obamabots that aren’t getting paid should be sterilized for the good of the species …).

  29. Tiresias

    Ribbonfarm’s “The Quality of Life” is on totally the wrong track from the first line.

    What the author is talking about equating “the quality of life, as the sum total of material conveniences” is in fact “standard of living”.

    The noble savage in his or her hut of palm-fronds above the white beach on a Pacific Island has no access to TV, international air travel, live opera and ballet, fertility control, antibiotics and the vast resources of the Internet, the output of fine French vinyards and Columbian coffee plantations, has to wash his or hers limited clothing resources in a pool and either walk or paddle his/her own canoe to get anywhere. As such I would argue his/her standard of living is far lower than mine, but his or her quality of life could too easily match or exceed mine.

    1. Conasewer

      Seems to me that the quality of the standards ought to be ascertained, prior to their being used to measure the worth, relative or otherwise, of any life whatsoever.

  30. ScottS

    I differ a tad. What Obama is really saying is: “So what are you going to do? Impeach me?”

    I was wondering exactly this today. Why don’t Republicans impeach Obama? Get him under oath, he will have to tell some lies, then impeach him for them. Let’s get the Biden administration going!

    1. Lambert Strether

      That the Republicans haven’t impeached Obama over — just to pick a few random examples — the “kill list,” not prosecuting any bankster executives, and ignoring the portions of the PPACA he finds inconvenient to enforce, but instead focus on throwing red meat to the base with Benghazi, Fast & Furious, and the birther nonsense, is a testimony not only to the utter moral and intellectual collapse of the Republican party, but, more importantly, clear proof of how closely the two parties really do work together.

      Heck, the Republicans did impeach Bill Clinton over a ******* but George Bush the Younger of blessed memory actually prosecuted Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling. We shall not see his like again…

  31. William

    Nice to see a link to Low Tech/No Tech Magazine. Great antidote for those who are in thrall to modern tech. Lots of excellent reading on old and new technologies. Ecotech Myths is a must-read.

  32. Emma

    Thought “the bird hops rather than walks” might amuse interested parties:-
    The Night Parrot not sighted for nearly a century has finally had its pic taken (2nd link shows photo):

      1. optimader

        Oh, Emma I see your one of those people that consider sleeping a little bit of death too?
        On the post, just close your eye and listen, Fynman was uncannily good w/ his essplaynin

  33. Calgacus

    Lambert & Jim Haygood ask above: Can somebody explain how there could be information Levison can’t share with his lawyer? How is that remotely Constitutional?

    You two must have a proscribed Constitution, translated into English, without the crucial Artikel 0 in the original German, which clearly authorizes “National Security Letters” (a barbarous translation of Führerbefehl or Führererlass) which of course must be obeyed by all Americans without question. Here it is:

    Im Kampf des deutschen Volkes um Sein und Nichtsein muss der Führer – ohne an bestehende Rechtsvorschriften gebunden zu sein – in seiner Eigenschaft als Führer der Nation, als oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht, als Regierungschef und oberster Inhaber der vollziehenden Gewalt, als oberster Gerichtsherr und als Führer der Partei jederzeit in der Lage sein, nötigenfalls jeden Deutschen bei Pflichtverletzung nach gewissenhafter Prüfung ohne Rücksicht auf sogenannte wohlerworbene Rechte mit der ihm gebührenden Sühne zu belegen und ihn im besonderen ohne Einleitung vorgeschriebener Verfahren aus seinem Amte, aus seinem Rang und seiner Stellung zu entfernen.

    or, without the poetry, modified from outdated English Translation

    There can be no doubt, that in the present war, in which the American people is faced with a struggle for its existence or annihilation, the President must have all the rights postulated by him which serve to further or achieve victory. Therefore-without being bound by existing legal regulations-in his capacity as leader of the nation, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, governmental Chief and supreme executive Chief, as supreme justice and leader of the party-the President must be in a position to force with all means at his disposal every American, if necessary, whether he be common soldier or officer, low or high official or judge, leading or subordinate official of the party, worker or employee-to fulfill his duties. In case of violation of these duties, the President is entitled after conscientious examination, regardless of so-called well-deserved rights, to met out due punishment and to remove the offender from his post, rank and position without introducing prescribed procedures.

  34. Facebook Hack

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your blog. You have some really great articles and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a
    link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested.

  35. ambrit

    I know I’m late to this party, but the antidote just clicked in my mind and came up with;
    “Ha! Welcome to the League of Banana Republics!”

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