Links 8/19/13

Fossil of History’s Most Successful Mammal: Prehistoric ‘Rodent’ May Have Set the Stage for Life in Trees, Herbivorous Diets Science Daily

Milestone study probes cancer origin BBC (Nature; press release).

What If What You ’Survived’ Wasn’t Cancer? Bloomberg (SW)

US energy boom helps fuel Barack Obama’s export goal FT

Warren Buffett Buys Over $500 Million of Suncor Tar Sands Stock, Latest in “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” DeSmogBlog. That would be “kindly, avuncular Warren Buffet.”

Your iPhone amazingly uses more energy than your refrigerator Daily Mail

To Cut Fees, Public Funds Seek to Take Charge of Investing Times

Spitzer finding less forgiveness on Wall Street McClatchy

HSBC and StanChart hit by Asia focus as economies lose momentum FT

Egypt Erupts

After days of death and protest, Sunday brought quiet to Cairo’s streets McClatchy

Some 38 Brotherhood supporters die in Egypt prison: security sources Reuters

Hundreds held in Egypt as state sets about wiping out Brotherhood Independent

Egypt army chief: New clashes won’t be tolerated AP

Egypt’s Counter Revolution London Review of Books

Why Egypt’s Regime Must Double Down Ian Welsh

Who Dictates U.S. Policies On Egypt? Moon of Alabama

Technical committee to propose radical changes to Egypt’s 2012 constitution Al Ahram (official)

Time’s Senior National Correspondent Calls for Julian Assange to be Killed by Drone Washington’s Blog

Sightseeing in Yemen’s Droneland Foreign Policy

Theory of the drone 9: Psychopathologies of the drone geographical imaginations

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Every Important Person In Bitcoin Just Got Subpoenaed By New York’s Financial Regulator Forbes. Yves: “Bitcoin = Prosecution futures.”

Edward Snowden is a patriot Politico (Avedon). A bit stale, but utterly remarkable to find in Politico. The lead: “Does President Barack Obama think we’re stupid?” What’s that quacking sound?

The White House credibility deficit Guardian. “The NSA leaks ended the power of Obama officials to ration access. No self-respecting journalist believes what they say.”

Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours Guardian (JeffW). Petty-minded tinpot tyrants. Greenwald comments. Brazil intervenes. Andrew Sullivan: Cameron Proves Greenwald Right. “And were you, in any way, encouraged by the US administration to do such a thing?”

Did NSA and JSOC Team Up to Game Obama and Monaco on Yemen Terror Alert? Emptywheel

The Neoliberal Choice Noahpinion

Our View: MaineCare ride program takes a wrong turn Maine Sunday Telegram (told ya).

Shipping Continued After Computer Inspection System Failed at Meat Plants Times

Why Are We Rushing To Get Rid Of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Econospeak

Social immobility erodes the American dream WaPo

Intergenerational Social Mobility Varies by Region Harvard Magazine (furzy mouse)

For Obama, 50 years after historic march, economic equality the path to racial justice WaPo. “March on Washington.”

What makes the ouija board move Mind Hacks

Material(ist) Girl: A Philosopher Argues Against the Soul Religion Dispatches

Polymorphously Perverse Nature Larval Subjects

Alfredo Moser: Bottle light inventor proud to be poor BBC

The Ritual Theater of Progress The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. dearieme

    “You’re feeling fine when you go for your annual physical.” Apparently the balance of evidence is that annual physicals are an expensive waste of money – they reduce neither morbidity nor mortality.

    1. Yves Smith

      Curious as to how it works elsewhere, but if you are on any meds, you are forced into an annual visit, hence physical, because doctor prescriptions are valid only for a year and the doctors insists you come in for a look as a condition of renewing them. This is ridiculous if you have a chronic condition (for instance, need an inhaler for occasional respiratory attacks).

      In Oz in the early 2000s, you could get a scrip renewed for $15 w/o an office visit (Dr would speak to established patient over phone, decide if meds were warranted and if so, call in the prescription to a pharmacist). And that was the rate for uninsured patients. In NYC then by contrast, if you were similarly situated, you’d have to have an office visit, and no way would that be less than a $100 charge.

    2. Richard Kline

      ” . . . Finally a quiet Sunday in Cairo,” other than the 200 acknowledged arrested in continuing protests in every major city in the country, and multiples of that not acknowledged seized. The press lies with ever iota of print and pixel on the status of the counter-revolution and resistance to it in Egypt. If one needed further confirmation, the Egyptian junta just freed Mubarak, who is patently demonstrated as an again monster. Let’s not forget: a) two-thirds of the population in Egypt voted for Muslim Brotherhood or far more radical Salafi candidates in a free and fair election, b) conservative Muslims are the substantial majority in rural Egypt, c) the Brotherhood has a seriously sophisticated organization. The MB can keep this up for a very long time. Don’t think ‘it’s over’ just because the Egyptian junta and the American media want that to be the case.

      No self-respecting journalist believed anything Barak Obama and his coterie said before Snowden’s Gambit: only dyed-in-the-wool shills nuzzled up to that particular appendage. But since the Snowden-Greenwald revelations, even shills look greasily bed-mussed and stupid trying to pretend that Obam is other than a thorough liar on anything remotely pertaining to ‘national secrecy.’

      Did NSA and JSOC game on the Yemen ‘alert?’ Oh gawd, was anything more patently obvious than this faked terrorists-in-the grass color-coded scam? Absolutely NOTHING that either or those organizations signs off on should be believed without massive, independent, corroborating evidence. Because it is not only the _mission_ of both organizations to completely lie to their domestic constituency, it is utterly in their interest to do so. —And this is the worst aspect of such agencies: It is in their complete interest to grotesquely and routinely deceive their domestic publics on every matter of any kind. You can’t get the truth out of them. Yes, maybe once in a century they ‘save you from the enemy,’ while the other 99 years of that era they damn you to loss, waste, death, and total abuse of power.

      1. AbyNormal

        that doggy be zennin

        The water of the mind, how clear it is!
        Gazing at it, the boundaries are invisible.
        But as soon as even a slight thought arises,
        Ten thousand images crowd it.
        Attach to them and they become real,
        Be carried by them, and it will be difficult to return.
        How painful to see a person trapped
        In the ten-fold delusions.

        – Ryokan (1758-1831)

        1. Brindle

          Dog appears to be focused on the far shore, perhaps a deer or some other critter is moving along the bank.
          Dogs can be excellent at observation.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “Does a dog have Brahma nature?’

          This dog meditates and that’s why he is a highly spiritual dog-master.

      2. ambrit

        Dear craazyman;
        I had to go back and look it up, but I’ll wager the situation is something like the Prince and the Fox in chapter XXI of “The Little Prince.” Thanks for reminding me. I think I’ll be rereading that book tonight. Then maybe “Wind, Sand, and Stars.”

        1. Emma

          Ambrit – A beautiful lesson to be reminded of: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly”

          1. craazyman

            maybe he smells bacon.

            that would do it for me. haha

            sometimes things can be overintellectualized

      1. optimader

        Hmm. I saw hope….
        …that the dogfood bag will tip over and knock the closet door open while his Human is out shopping for more dog food.

    1. Emma

      Take a closer look Lucy – perhaps this dog on the jetty is truly engaged in his activity and knows that ploughing a lone furrow does not always mean loneliness.

          1. optimader

            I expect no one would kiss her :o(

            Reminds me of the old Garrison Keeler joke.

            Dining room table scene….
            Son: Dad why does Spot keep licking his butt??
            Dad: Why son, that’s because he just had a piece of your Mother’s Meatloaf.

  2. dearieme

    “Your iPhone amazingly uses more energy than your refrigerator”: no it doesn’t. I actually own a refrigerator.

    1. ambrit

      Dear dearieme;
      Neither do I. What a shame that a genuine lifestyle choice has to be degraded to a “tinfoil hat syndrome” event. (It turns out to be both, alas.)

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘The majority of the energy used to power the cloud comes from coal.’

      … thus proving that Lambert was not engaged in hyberbole when he wrote about our idyllic childhood of steam-powered mainframes, and (by extension) the coal-fired cloud that has supplanted them.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Can I interest you in some biodegradable donkeys?

          With luck, research funding and hard work, we might even engineer self-parking donkeys in the near future.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              For those range is the critical factor for their lifestyle, donkeys have more range than you Chevy Volt.

              You don’t have to worry about getting stranded.

  3. YY

    On the Miranda(oh the irony)detention. I think the press intimidation is mostly a gratuitous bi-product. The intelligence community, while not beyond stupidity, is not interested in “getting back” what they can find in their own system. This is probably the long arm of US prosecution calling favors of the ever cooperative UK law enforcement. Prosecution needs evidence. It doesn’t suffice to walk into court and say to the judge “this is the man we all know about that’s been in the papers and we rest our case”. They need evidence just to make the case look tidy. They’re not about to get help from the Russians nor the Brazilians and probably not the Germans. So overseas searches are not feasible and fortress Guardian is too much trouble. It has been reported that there was a NSA leak containing thumb drive. I hope that GG’s crew were not so careless as the airport search evidence would probably be admissible since it’s lawful even though it lacks all dimensions of ethics and a search warrant. If they were looking for something not to be evidence instead just “intelligence” they could have just cloned all media in the 9 hours they had. They maybe working on conspiracy so it isn’t smart to go to the US at this point for the journalists.

    1. Ned Ludd

      This also serves as a trial run for detaining Greenwald or Poitras, the next time either of them are in the U.S. If they were to arrest one of them on a Friday evening, would it still be news on Sunday morning?

      From what I saw, Huffington Post was the only media organization promoting the story early on. The front page writers at the largest liberal site, Daily Kos, did not mention it until this morning, with this dismissive remark: “Well, although the NSA story is still kicking, I thought we might not necessarily start with it today. But then, something, something, Glenn Greenwald. So, here we go again!”

      The National Affairs Reporter for liberal news site Talking Point Memo used the detention as an opportunity to attack Greenwald:

      Hunter Walker – if we assume risk while acting solely as objective journalists our colleagues/the world should react accordingly

      Hunter Walker – mixing up role of interested activist/journo and engaging in subterfuge like we saw today makes harder for …

      Hunter Walker – … All objective reporters to do our work and cry foul when wronged

      Hunter Walker – @ggreenwald I’ve never done anything like have a loved one help on a project and hide their role. That’s activism.

      1. sd

        What exactly is your point?

        Talking Points Memo has never been ‘liberal’ – just for starters, Josh Marshall has always been a hawk and openly supported the invasion of Iraq.

        DailyKos is a discussion board. It is not a news organization. It is not media.

        Huffington Post? Really? I don’t understand why anyone bothers to read the site.

        1. Ned Ludd

          If Greenwald or Poitras are arrested, will they get support? Or will it quickly become yesterday’s news? The evidence from Miranda’s detention is that liberal sites will not rally to support either journalist, and the only media organizations that will care a whit are The Guardian and Huffington Post. Yesterday, the other media outlets held back, apparently waiting for the story to blow over, covering it only once it became hard not to.

          In other words, Greenwald and Poitras would be wise to stay out of the U.S. If either is arrested, their is no network of groups or organizations to exert significant, sustained effort to support them. The state will face very little resistance that is disruptive to the status quo. People will be outraged – like they were with the case of Aaron Swartz – for a week or two, and then move on.

          1. Yves Smith

            Miranda is not a US citizen and you seem to have missed that the detention was in the UK, not here. So why should US activists be agitating? They petition Congress and the Prez and the US media. Why should any pol in the UK care if American pinkos are upset? Hence for them to organize to beef would be pointeless (now having a few internationally prominent scholars and intellectuals make noise might get picked up in the UK).

            There apparently IS tons of outrage and news coverage in Brazil. Also without looking hard, decent coverage in the UK (the Torygraph had a prominent story, on BBC it is the 9th most read story)

            I don’t think GG has any intention of going to the US any time soon. His session with Congress (I’m told still on for Sept) is via video link. Hence it isn’t a hearing (I gather hearings have only live witnesses) but GG’s remarks are still considered to be testimony.

            1. Ned Ludd

              I am glad to hear that there is outrage in the U.K. and Brazil. However, as Greenwald pointed out, “they spent their time interrogating him about the NSA reporting which Laura Poitras, the Guardian and I are doing, as well the content of the electronic products he was carrying.” Miranda was detained, and interrogated without a lawyer, because he was assisting two prominent U.S. journalists, and he was specifically questioned about their reporting. on the NSA.

              The detention of Miranda has clear consequences for U.S. journalists and their reporting. If there is no sustained outrage now, it becomes easy to take the next step and detain either Greenwald or Poitras the next time one of them steps foot in the U.S.

              Poitras and Greenwald are not facing any charges, at least not yet. They do not plan to stay away from America forever, but they have no immediate plans to return. One member of Congress has already likened what they’ve done to a form of treason, and they are well aware of the Obama administration’s unprecedented pursuit of not just leakers but of journalists who receive the leaks. While I was with them, they talked about the possibility of returning. Greenwald said that the government would be unwise to arrest them, because of the bad publicity it would create.

              Will an afternoon’s worth of bad publicity deter the surveillance state? In the U.S., there is no indication that there will be much more than that.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                Now the boiling water has splashed a few frogs in the creative and political class; so, yes, this might make a little difference. I might also add that the UK spooks arrested Greenwald’s husband, David, thereby ticking off a key Democratic constituency that was willing to muscle Obama before the 2012 election (and therefore, unlike McKibben, were rewarded, however grudgingly, for their pains).

              2. Yves Smith

                You’ve shifted ground a bit.

                You started by beefing about the lack of attention in what passes for the lefite media. Kos is aligned with the Dem party. It has been more aggressive and critical on the surveillance state than I expected, but I’m not surprised at it not picking up every story. That’s particularly true since Kos uses its petitions as a fundraising tool. I signed their anti-Summers petition and have since gotten 3 e-mails asking for me to donate. This as indicted earlier does not have the potential to tie into a money-making petitioning campaign, hence that might account for it being lower priority.

                For a good comparable for HuffPo, how good was their coverage of the German surveillance abuses, or the downing of Morales’s plane? Those were monster scandals in Europe, not as well reported here. If the HuffPo didn’t pick those up either, I’d attribute the current lapse to US parochialism (which we have in spades).

                Also notice how, as one reader pointed out, there seemed to be little commentary on the Poitras cover story in the Sunday NYT, particularly as regards her repeated detentions when entering the US and how they were by design psychologically abusive. I’m not sure what that was about. Denial of how bad things are here? Unwillingness to see oneself as being at risk to that sort of victimization?

                Agree 100% journos should be up in arms. This is huge miscalculation by the officialdom. They’ve relied on a lapdog press. Obama going after the records of 20 AP journos and now this incident is likely to rouse a heretofore complacent Fourth Estate.

                1. Expat

                  It has aroused some in academia: “Greenwald Partner falsely detained as Terrorist: How to Create a Dictatorship.”

                2. sestina of the missing

                  I noticed that Greenwald’s earlier Salon story about Poitras (the occasion when her pen was taken away, to prevent her taking notes during a detention at Newark on re-entering the U.S) named the Customs and Border Patrol agents (their last names) who staged that mean little charade. The Maass piece did not name them, but certainly got the psychology of the story right, the agents’ deceptive language about an investigation, Poitras’ needed cooperation in the fictional investigation. When Greenwald wanted the name of the analogous UK guy who called him about Miranda’s detention, he couldn’t get a name; he got a badge number. The goons are going nameless. Not a good sign, among petabytes of not good signs. ‘Twas lucky Greenwald had Guardian lawyers to call who responded by going to the Heathrow scene. Poitras’ CBP guys/goons were right….the pen is a weapon….though maybe not the one they had in mind, and one not entirely easily removed.

                  1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

                    Repressing dissent “full tilt”, which relates to Yves Smith’s comment earlier, would be a spectacular miscalculation. The masses learn of a new normal through mainstream media optics say next week, and adjust; then, slight pause. In 2 weeks, tightening of the vise by 1/8 of an inch, and so on. So, slowly incremental more and more draconian measures could/might be the expected short-term game plan. And yes, echoing your comment, agents “id’d” by numbers is more Orwellian than “id’d” by name and surname. I believe movements from “disorganized” ordinary people have a life of their own, and changes in momentum are quite unpredictable …

            2. LucyLulu

              I’d think that US journalists, like all journalists globally, would have a stake in the matter and be up in arms. In particular, US journalists have a stake however as this is primarily a US story, revealing the covert activities of a US agency.

              Heck, one would think US politicians would be interested in seeing that the complete story gets out unencumbered, so they could be informed about the legislation they vote on and provide effective oversight, including reining in any illegal activity or over-reach. Obviously the truth won’t be coming from Obama or the NSA. Of course, that’s assuming our legislators are interested in what the NSA is doing and protecting our Constitutional rights, which is not at all clear. Rand Paul, having taken a position that oversight is impossible and the surveillance state needs to be dismantled, looks mighty attractive right now. But then Obama said similar things prior to his inauguration too. While I’d have trusted Ron Paul to stick to his guns, with Rand, not so much. He’s not his father, just crazy enough to weather the heat. (And no, I never supported either one, though I liked much of what Paul the 1st had to say.)

              1. optimader

                “Heck, one would think US politicians would be interested in seeing that the complete story gets out unencumbered, so they could be informed about the legislation they vote on and provide effective oversight..”

                not “kmowing” is a case for plausible deniability when it comes to later falling on the wrong side of a decision or vote.

    2. Jeff W

      It has been reported that there was a NSA leak containing thumb drive.

      That’s here:

      [David Michael] Miranda, a Brazilian citizen, reportedly did not have access to a lawyer while authorities confiscated all of his electronic equipment, including encrypted thumb drives carrying leaked NSA documents.

      Miranda, whose flights were paid for by The Guardian, was delivering NSA documents to Poitras and receiving different documents from Poitras to give to Mr. Greenwald.

      [Business Insider “GREENWALD: Now I’m Going To Report On Government Spying Even More Aggressively,” link in original]

      The Guardian says “Miranda is not a Guardian employee but often assists [Glenn] Greenwald in his work.”

      Greenwald told the BBC, referring to the six people who questioned Miranda:

      “They never asked him about a single question at all about terrorism or anything relating to a terrorist organisation. They spent the entire day asking about the reporting I was doing and other Guardian journalists were doing on the NSA stories.”

      From the same BBC piece:

      Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said police must explain why terrorism powers were used.

      [Vaz said:] “Bearing in mind it is a new use of terrorism legislation to detain someone in these circumstances… I will write to the police to ask for the justification of the use of terrorism legislation – they may have a perfectly reasonable explanation.”

      He later said: “Those of us who were part of passing this legislation certainly would not have expected it to be used in a case of this kind.”

      David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, has described Miranda’s detention as “unusual” and has called on the Home Office and Metropolitan police to explain why anti-terrorism laws were used to detain him. “The Home Office has declined to comment, arguing it is a matter for Scotland Yard,” the Guardian says, but notes that “Scotland Yard has refused to be drawn on why Miranda was stopped…”

      1. LucyLulu

        has called on the Home Office and Metropolitan police to explain why anti-terrorism laws were used to detain him. “The Home Office has declined to comment, arguing it is a matter for Scotland Yard,” the Guardian says, but notes that “Scotland Yard has refused to be drawn on why Miranda was stopped…”

        Ummmm, same reason the Bolivian president’s plane was denied NATO airspace???? because the US wanted Miranda detained and documents confiscated????

        (note: snark not directed at you, Jeff)

        1. Jeff W

          Thank you, LucyLulu, I appreciate that.

          David Anderson QC, Glenn Greenwald, and probably some others seem to have the idea somehow that detention under the Terrorism Act 2000 has something necessarily to do with terrorism, perhaps unaware of differing views like that of David Lowe (whom I quote below) that the Terrorism Act has to do with “short window[s] of opportunity” to “stop and check” what is in things “that have been talked about.” Explanations, if any, from the Home Office or Scotland Yard, might clarify matters.

        2. Nick

          Possibly is just an intimidation move by IC, but I count this as evidence that NSA has at best a loose understanding of what data Snowden absconded with. It’s not like they can actually “recover” anything, since LP certainly has a backup of any notes/plans she was transmitting.

      2. Optimader

        Point of law.
        Is it illegal for a brazilian citizen to transit through the UK with NSA documents????

        1. subgenius

          Well, using the argument proposed by Google ( that they aren’t beholden to UK law) I would have to suggest that in a spirit of equality there is no legitimate reason…

        2. Jeff W

          Point of law

          Funny you should bring that “law” thing up. Let’s take a brief look at what Terrorism Act 2000 actually says.

          First, Schedule 7, which deals with “Port and Border Controls”: :

          Power to stop, question and detain
          2(1) An examining officer may question a person to whom this paragraph applies for the purpose of determining whether he appears to be a person falling within section 40(1)(b).

          (4) An examining officer may exercise his powers under this paragraph whether or not he has grounds for suspecting that a person falls within section 40(1)(b).

          [emphasis added]
          Hmm, section 40(1)(b)?

          40 Terrorist: interpretation.
          (1) In this Part “terrorist” means a person who—

          (b) is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

          So transiting through the UK with NSA documents doesn’t really enter into it, it seems; more like so long as the examining officer has the purpose of determining whether someone “appear[s] to be” a person “concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism,” that examining officer can question him or her—whether or not he has any grounds for suspecting that person or not—for up to nine hours. (Presumably, the logic here, if any, is that if the point of the questioning is to determine if the person “appears to be” x, it can’t be required that that person is “suspected” of being x—you don’t even know what he or she “appears to be” yet—or something.) Notwithstanding the lack of grounds for suspicion, the Code of Practice for Examining Offices under the Terrorism Act 2000 advises [PDF] that “the powers should not be used arbitrarily”; last year, 70,000 people were stopped under Schedule 7 and 24 people were arrested.

        3. Yves Smith

          I find it remarkable that everyone seems to be assuming Miranda was a document mole.

          Did everyone manage to forget:

          1. Snowden is the sole source of the documents?

          2. Snowden met with GG and per GG gave him thousands (or maybe tens of thousands) of documents?

          There is absolutely no reason to think:

          1. Snowden has made a subsequent transfer

          2. Even if 1. was true, it would go through Poitras (more people in the chain, more risk of interception).

          And Miranda could have flown Frankfurt to Rio. Snowden has been quoted in the media as saying the UK is the worst place as far as info capture is concerned.

          I’m sure this was a deliberate provocation to see if the Brits would be dumb enough to take the bait, and they did.

          My pet theory is the documents consisted of margarita recipes and Scotland Yard and the intelligence services are going nuts trying to figure out what they mean.

          1. Jeff W


            I find it remarkable that everyone seems to be assuming Miranda was a document mole.

            I’m sure this was a deliberate provocation to see if the Brits would be dumb enough to take the bait, and they did.

            Well, the New York Times reported

            Mr. Miranda was in Berlin to deliver documents related to Mr. Greenwald’s investigation into government surveillance to Ms. Poitras, Mr. Greenwald said. Ms. Poitras, in turn, gave Mr. Miranda different documents to pass to Mr. Greenwald. Those documents, which were stored on encrypted thumb drives, were confiscated by airport security, Mr. Greenwald said. All of the documents came from the trove of materials provided to the two journalists by Mr. Snowden.

            but none of that negates your point. Why would (as you point out) any document “exchange” have to occur at all? Why would either Greenwald and Poitras have any documents at all that the other didn’t? They were together in Hong Kong. (Even subsequent to that, they were together again in Rio de Janeiro at the very end of June and [or through] around a week later, just after Greenwald’s piece in O Globo was published.) It makes no sense that there would need to be some document transfer now or, indeed, at any point. The deliberate provocation angle, given Glenn’s statements to the Times (if as reported), seems more consistent with the facts. (Could it have been a test case to gauge approximately just how safe it was for Glenn to travel?)


            I was asking a hypothetical question about UK law, I make no assumptions.

            You’re welcome—I thought it might be. I just thought the actual British law is worse even than what we might think of hypothetically and wanted to lay it out a bit.

            1. Yves Smith

              “Documents related to the investigation” could be a proposal for a book deal, notes on a documentary outline, or even a proposal as to how to split expenses among GG, the Guardian, and Poitras, or alternatively legal analyses (such as on how to deal with future interrogations in transit zones). And notice that Poitras simply “gave different documents to pass to Greenwald.” Margarita recipes!

              1. Harry Lerwill

                I think it was a great move, particularly on the part of the Guardian. Any action the UK government tries to bring against the Guardian will trigger cries of “even more retaliation!”

          2. Kevin Smith

            Agree completely Yves.

            It was [almost certainly] a trap for the Brits, and a publicity stunt.

            No sympathy for the Brits, it further revealed them for what they are: clumsy bullies, and ineffectual lackeys of yanks.

          3. ChrisPacific

            They won’t be margaritas in the press release. They will be cocktails of psychoactive chemicals designed to cause neurological impairment.

    3. Jeff W

      Just a bit more (can’t resist). This from the Guardian’s “live blog”

      This is more interesting: [Josh] Earnest [White House deputy press secretary] admits that the White House was given a “heads up” over Miranda’s detention yesterday.

      “We had an indication it was likely to occur but it’s not something we requested,” he says.

      Pressed further, he says the US was told Miranda would be detained before he arrived at Heathrow airport in London.

      “It probably wouldn’t be a heads up if they had told us about it after the detainment,” Earnest said.

      [emphasis in original]

      And, just in case anyone was wondering about the propriety of all this, the Guardian, in the same live blog, refers to a World One interview with David Lowe, a former Special Branch counter-terrorism officer, in which Lowe assures everyone that the use of the Terrorism Act against David Miranda was (to use the Guardian’s term) “proportionate”:

      [Quoting Lowe:]

      Here schedule 7 [of the Terrorism Act 2000] has been used because there’s a short window of opportunity for police officers, immigration officers or customs officers to use this to actually stop and check what was in the laptop and in the electronic sources that have been talked about.

      When it was put to him that 70,000 people were stopped under schedule 7 last year, but that only 24 people were arrested, Lowe said the “relatively small” number of arrests actually showed that the police were behaving reasonably.

      [my emphasis, link added]

      1. Optimader

        They should be able to express how Mr Miranda generally fulfills the metrics of suspected terrorist.
        On a good day, it is amongst the worst airports in the world

  4. LucyLulu

    I missed Obama’s speech last Friday

    ” in which the president announced a set of proposals meant to bring more transparency to the National Security Agency — and claimed he would have done it anyway, even if Edward Snowden had never decided to leak thousands of highly sensitive documents to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald.Obama claimed in his press conference that Snowden stole his thunder, that he was one who tried to initiate a surveillance debate prior to Snowden’s leaks. But, he complained, “rather than an orderly and lawful process to debate these issues and come up with appropriate reforms, repeated leaks of classified information have initiated the debate in a very passionate but not always fully informed way.” That argument just doesn’t comport with reality.

    Politico is right. Obama thinks we’re stupid.

    1. Joe

      I think that thinking we are stupid is part of it LucyLulu but I also think that they just don’t care what we think.

      It is part and parcel of the whole master of the universe mindset. When I worked for AT$T, management would lie to your face, knowing that you knew they were lying. You could point out their untruths to them and they would literally completely ignore you and keep repeating their lies.

      The whole attitude is “what are you going to do about it, reality is what we say it is”.

      Blowback is a bitch. I’m like Madame Defarge in Tale of Two Cities. I’m patiently knitting.

      1. sd

        ‘Master of the Universe mindset’ sums it up. Alas, such ‘Masters’ are sociopaths – power seekers incapable of thinking of anyone other than themselves. That Obama can’t handle the Snowden leaks (and let’s be honest, leaks happen all the time) says more Obama than he wants people to know.

        I sometimes wonder if we would be better off with a government chosen by lottery.

        1. AbyNormal

          devil’s dic.: MANICHEISM, n. The ancient Persian doctrine of an incessant warfare between Good and Evil. When Good gave up the fight the Persians joined the victorious Opposition.
          LIBERTY, n. One of Imagination’s most precious possessions.

          The rising People, hot and out of breath,
          Roared around the palace: “Liberty or death!”
          “If death will do,” the King said, “let me reign;
          You’ll have, I’m sure, no reason to complain.”
          —Martha Braymance

      2. LucyLulu

        I respectfully disagree. Obama doesn’t have to say anything if he doesn’t care what citizens think.

        Have you ever watched one of his campaign rallies when he rouses the crowd in support? It’s an incredible experience, he has amazing levels of charisma. I haven’t seen him in person but based on the memorial he delivered in Tuscon after the Gifford shooting, IMO he is the greatest speaker of our time. (I want him to speak at my funeral!) If you watch him, the experience energizes him. He feeds off the reaction he gets from the crowds, you can almost visibly see him swelling. Obama is somebody is very much invested in his popular appeal. I suspect his legacy is of primary importance. He wants to be seen by history as another Lincoln, and thinks it’s attainable, not another GW.

        I don’t know if Obama is a sociopath or not, perhaps, I tend to view him more in the light of a narcissist, the sociopath’s kissing cousin with many shared traits. Narcissists are quite invested in how others view them, and very sensitive to criticism. It’s not always clear to me if they don’t believe their own lies, but it’s clear that they expect others to.

        1. craazyman

          Geez Louise! The guy puts me to sleep. He’s Ambien on two feet! He’s 3 a.m. standing at the bus-stop when you don’t have cab fare dreaming of a mattress! He makes me wanna be unconscious every time he opens his mouth.

          I can’t for the life of me see how anybody sees this dude as anything but utterly mediocre. By that I mean no better or worse than you and me. Average. Joe Blow. Nothing to write home about. etc. etc.

          Lincoln? Is somebody faakin kidding? First, Lincoln could write. Second, he could see something beyond himself. Third, while he was ambitious and a politician, he had a transcendent faith in something bigger and more profound than his own ambition.

          When it came time to get serious. He got serious. The first and second inaugurals, the Gettysburg Address. They’re famous not ’cause Lincoln was president alone, but because they channeled something so deep and so real it was a revelation of reality in words. Love him or hate him — and he was both loved and hated in his day — he was real and really struggling with ideas that touch upon eternity and how to navigate them and how to make them immanent in time.

          I guess everyone romanticizes the past and the Big Leader there in the Lincoln Memorial carved in stone has a gravitas that he certainly didn’t possess fully in his day, but I can’t believe for a minute he’d have abided the circus we see around us in our time.

          you want to see somebody try. not pretend to try and pretend that their words have a great echo in time when all they are is a distracting noise and the baubles of a daily news feed.

          1. craazyman

            that’s the funny thing about the past. it seems so constrained by an inevitable order than we lose the reverence for just how confusing and hellish each day must have been, the slow stagger through blind war and total confusion.

            for me, it has exhausted me, the study of civil war history in my little area. every photograph is fixed and immobile distanced by the abstraction of black and white and diffused focus, but you know the people in the picture had no idea what each day would bring. no idea.

            It’s easy to forget that life was then like it is now, but with guns and ammo and fortresses around D.C., like Ft. Marcy there by Chain Bridge and the Vermont Battery above Chain bridge on the DC side. and Ft. Ethan Allen. And the dirt road in the photo now a paved road but the same road through time. You can still it all even now, the earthworks are still there. It’s hard to imagine in any full and complete sense the overwhelming and uncertain reality that leads to the “now.”

            That was the reality in which ideas had to have their meaning. If they couldn’t mean something in that reality, then they failed utterly. Today that sense of immanence is lost altogether and the ideas of meaning and ideas of order are only referential to something so insubstantial that it’s almost, if not a fake or fraud, then only a charlatanism. People feel this if they cannot quite articulate it, they are hungry for a reality and part of that is every person’s job to create for themselves, but part of it is the politicians job to understand it and to try to speak to it and of it.

            It’s funny, I can still see the same rocks in picture from Civil War chain bridge as now, the same rocks I’ve looked at on days I’d like not to remember sitting alone in the late afternoon sun of a fall day, the same rocks on the hills and in the river under the afternoon sky when the water is white with light and the cliffs above are dark. That makes me wonder why those who have the power don’t see and understand. it’s a contest for eternity not a contest of now. It will be written in time for all to see and know, so why waste it like children.

            1. F. Beard

              Maybe your “ten-bagger” is to write a book:

              Essays of a Craazyman could a non-fiction title or write a novel and incorporate your worldview.

              Or maybe not. Does it seem to you that we have much time for writing and reading (aside from Scripture) books?

              But don’t forget this:

              It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich,
              and He adds no sorrow to it.
              Proverbs 10:22 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      1. Emma

        “Obama thinks we’re stupid – That belief hasn’t let him down yet.”

        Unlike the English nutcrackers who thought using their hard bills to try break a Greenwald cone to pieces, would delivers seeds.

        Sorry….thanks to the antidote and ambrit, I’m feeling very much the animal in me today…

    2. optimader

      Much of present company exclude, I think the data pretty well populates the conclusion that most of “us” are stupid.

      1. LucyLulu

        Are “they” stupid, or are “we” sufficiently jaded?

        IMHO, Obama is pretty damn convincing. He’s good, very good. His actions just don’t match up with what he says. IME, people must develop a certain amount of social intelligence (or get burned a few times) before learning to recognize this sort of discrepancy, and that a person’s truth lies in his(her) actions and not his words. IMO, a person can be otherwise quite intelligent but have lived in a less harsh and cruel world than we have, Opti. ;)

        1. optimader

          Well.. Lucy.. he was reelected afterall..
          Like the old saying goes, Once is ignorance, twice is stupidity.

          1. Crazy Horse

            There was an election? Aren’t you forgetting what the “opposition” served up? An unreformed vulture capitalist who financed the start of his empire with money borrowed from Salvadorian death squad oligarchs? And one with a personality that makes an automaton seem charming?

            If one were a believer in conspiracy you’d conclude that Romney was nominated to make sure Obomber would stay in power. After all he is doing a great job serving his masters and bamboozling liberals with his rope-a-dope dance.

      2. Emma

        Y – for voting for these left-wing or right-wing galahs in the first place.
        (“Galah” is derogatory Australian slang, synonymous with ‘fool’ or ‘idiot’)
        Just what would happen, if nobody actually turned out to cast a vote? ie. Americans took the very unusual step of making a unified stand to not vote, because they knew they deserved better than what was being presented…

  5. Joe

    There’s a good article on Counterpunch by Mike Whitney today:

    Obama Destroys the Middle-Class

    “According to a survey conducted by Gallup on August 15, 2013, Obama’s Economic Approval rating has slipped to 35%. A full two-thirds of the American people are now dissatisfied with Obama’s performance vis a vis the economy. The survey mirrors the results of an earlier poll (Aug 12) which found that a mere “Twenty-two percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the direction of the country… Three-quarters of Americans are now dissatisfied with the nation’s course.” (Gallup)

    The surveys show that people are finally beginning to realize that Obama has been an unmitigated disaster and that the propaganda about economic recovery is just meaningless hype.”

    1. TK421

      “Growth of Income Inequality Is Worse Under Obama than Bush”

      “The data on inequality shows that his policies are not incrementally better than those of his predecessor, or that we’re making progress too slowly, as liberal Democrats like to argue. It doesn’t even show that the outcome is the same as Bush’s. under Bush, the 1% captured a disproportionate share of the income gains from the Bush boom of 2002-2007. They got 65 cents of every dollar created in that boom, up 20 cents from when Clinton was President. Under Obama, the 1% got 93 cents of every dollar created in that boom.”

    2. LucyLulu

      And there’s more evidence it isn’t just here in the U.S.

      After implementation of austerity policies, the 1000 wealthiest people in the UK have seen their combined wealth increased by 5% in the last 12 months.

      In contrast, average incomes dropped over 6% last year in the UK.

      Need we wonder why austerity has been such a popular policy despite it’s harmful effects on the economies where it has been implemented?

  6. Manofsteel11

    Who Dictates U.S. Policies On Egypt?
    The answer is rather complex:
    1. The Saudis have been sending Salafi fighters and funding activities all over the region, after realizing that their US allies have no problem throwing away their Egyptian counterpart.
    2. The Russians are deep in Syria, vetoing any intervention, and cannot wait to come back to Egypt, which they used to own back in the good old days of the cold war.
    3. The Iranians are helping out the Muslim Bros liberal and highly effective governing bodies in Egypt and Gaza
    4. The Quatrains and Gulf friends are trying to counter balance Iranian interventionism all over the region in fear they will be next.
    5. The Israelis fear guerrilla/non-state-actors armed with long-range missiles on all fronts: from Lebanon to Syria, through Gaza an Sinai.
    6. The US cannot afford to lose the Suez route, and realize now that the vacuum created after the withdrawal from Iraq has made them lose their holding in this oil rich area, just as Warren Buffet’s partners warn that the world oil reserves are running down faster than we think, which is fatal for our indebted economy…

    1. ohmyheck

      Except that the world isn’t running out of oil, the focus has shifted to Central Asia and the ‘Stans–Turkmen-, Kahzak, -Uzbek-, Kyrgyz-, etc.

      Sibel Edmonds is all over this at

      This should tell you something— Don Rumsfeld runs “the Rumsfeld Foundation, a group that offers short-term fellowships to young scholars from Central Asia and the Caucasus to study in Washington, D.C.”.

      Ya, uh-huh. Grooming future Puppets to do business is more like it.

  7. Paul Tioxon



    To understand the role of most journalist‑operatives, it is necessary to dismiss some myths about undercover work for American intelligence services. Few American agents are “spies” in the popularly accepted sense of the term. “Spying” — the acquisition of secrets from a foreign government—is almost always done by foreign nationals who have been recruited by the CIA and are under CIA control in their own countries. Thus the primary role of an American working undercover abroad is often to aid in the recruitment and “handling” of foreign nationals who are channels of secret information reaching American intelligence.

    Many journalists were used by the CIA to assist in this process and they had the reputation of being among the best in the business. The peculiar nature of the job of the foreign correspondent is ideal for such work: he is accorded unusual access by his host country, permitted to travel in areas often off‑limits to other Americans, spends much of his time cultivating sources in governments, academic institutions, the military establishment and the scientific communities. He has the opportunity to form long‑term personal relationships with sources and—perhaps more than any other category of American operative—is in a position to make correct judgments about the susceptibility and availability of foreign nationals for recruitment as spies.

    “After a foreigner is recruited, a case officer often has to stay in the background,” explained a CIA official. “So you use a journalist to carry messages to and from both parties”

    Journalists in the field generally took their assignments in the same manner as any other undercover operative. If, for instance, a journalist was based in Austria, he ordinarily would be under the general direction of the Vienna station chief and report to a case officer. Some, particularly roving correspondents or U.S.‑based reporters who made frequent trips abroad, reported directly to CIA officials in Langley, Virginia.

    The tasks they performed sometimes consisted of little more than serving as “eyes and ears” for the CIA; reporting on what they had seen or overheard in an Eastern European factory, at a diplomatic reception in Bonn, on the perimeter of a military base in Portugal. On other occasions, their assignments were more complex: planting subtly concocted pieces of misinformation; hosting parties or receptions designed to bring together American agents and foreign spies; serving up “black” propaganda to leading foreign journalists at lunch or dinner; providing their hotel rooms or bureau offices as “drops” for highly sensitive information moving to and from foreign agents; conveying instructions and dollars to CIA controlled members of foreign governments.

    Often the CIA’s relationship with a journalist might begin informally with a lunch, a drink, a casual exchange of information. An Agency official might then offer a favor—for example, a trip to a country difficult to reach; in return, he would seek nothing more than the opportunity to debrief the reporter afterward. A few more lunches, a few more favors, and only then might there be a mention of a formal arrangement — “That came later,” said a CIA official, “after you had the journalist on a string.”

    Another official described a typical example of the way accredited journalists (either paid or unpaid by the CIA) might be used by the Agency: “In return for our giving them information, we’d ask them to do things that fit their roles as journalists but that they wouldn’t have thought of unless we put it in their minds. For instance, a reporter in Vienna would say to our man, ‘I met an interesting second secretary at the Czech Embassy.’ We’d say, ‘Can you get to know him? And after you get to know him, can you assess him? And then, can you put him in touch with us—would you mind us using your apartment?”‘

    Formal recruitment of reporters was generally handled at high levels—after the journalist had undergone a thorough background check. The actual approach might even be made by a deputy director or division chief. On some occasions, no discussion would he entered into until the journalist had signed a pledge of secrecy.

    “The secrecy agreement was the sort of ritual that got you into the tabernacle,” said a former assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence. “After that you had to play by the rules.” David Attlee Phillips, former Western Hemisphere chief of clandestine services and a former journalist himself, estimated in an interview that at least 200 journalists signed secrecy agreements or employment contracts with the Agency in the past twenty‑five years. Phillips, who owned a small English‑language newspaper in Santiago, Chile, when he was recruited by the CIA in 1950, described the approach: “Somebody from the Agency says, ‘I want you to help me. 1 know you are a true‑blue American, but I want you to sign a piece of paper before I tell you what it’s about.’ I didn’t hesitate to sign, and a lot of newsmen didn’t hesitate over the next twenty years.”

    “One of the things we always had going for us in terms of enticing reporters,” observed a CIA official who coordinated some of the arrangements with journalists, “was that we could make them look better with their home offices. A foreign correspondent with ties to the Company [the CIA] stood a much better chance than his competitors of getting the good stories.”

    Within the CIA, journalist‑operatives were accorded elite status, a consequence of the common experience journalists shared with high‑level CIA officials. Many had gone to the same schools as their CIA handlers, moved in the same circles, shared fashionably liberal, anti‑Communist political values, and were part of the same “old boy” network that constituted something of an establishment elite in the media, politics and academia of postwar America. The most valued of these lent themselves for reasons of national service, not money.

    The Agency’s use of journalists in undercover operations has been most extensive in Western Europe (“That was the big focus, where the threat was,” said one CIA official), Latin America and the Far East. In the 1950s and 1960s journalists were used as intermediaries—spotting, paying, passing instructions—to members of the Christian Democratic party in Italy and the Social Democrats in Germany, both of which covertly received millions of dollars from the CIA. During those years “we had journalists all over Berlin and Vienna just to keep track of who the hell was coming in from the East and what they were up to,” explained a CIA official.

    In the Sixties, reporters were used extensively in the CIA offensive against Salvador Allende in Chile; they provided funds to Allende’s opponents and wrote anti‑Allende propaganda for CIA proprietary publications that were distributed in Chile. (CIA officials insist that they make no attempt to influence the content of American newspapers, but some fallout is inevitable: during the Chilean offensive, CIA‑generated black propaganda transmitted on the wire service out of Santiago often turned up in American publications.)

    According to CIA officials, the Agency has been particularly sparing in its use of journalist agents in Eastern Europe on grounds that exposure might result in diplomatic sanctions against the United States or in permanent prohibitions against American correspondents serving in some countries. The same officials claim that their use of journalists in the Soviet Union has been even more limited, but they remain extremely guarded in discussing the subject. They are insistent, however, in maintaining that the Moscow correspondents of major news organizations have not been “tasked” or controlled by the Agency.

    The Soviets, according to CIA officials, have consistently raised false charges of CIA affiliation against individual American reporters as part of a continuing diplomatic game that often follows the ups and downs of Soviet‑American relations. The latest such charge by the Russians—against Christopher Wren of the New York Times and Alfred Friendly Jr., formerly of Newsweek, has no basis in fact, they insist.

    CIA officials acknowledge, however, that such charges will persist as long as the CIA continues to use journalistic cover and maintain covert affiliations with individuals in the profession. But even an absolute prohibition against Agency use of journalists would not free reporters from suspicion, according to many Agency officials. “Look at the Peace Corps,” said one source. “We have had no affiliation there and they [foreign governments] still throw them out”


    The history of the CIA’s involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception for the following principal reasons:

    ■ The use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence‑gathering employed by the CIA. Although the Agency has cut back sharply on the use of reporters since 1973 primarily as a result of pressure from the media), some journalist‑operatives are still posted abroad.

    ■ Further investigation into the matter, CIA officials say, would inevitably reveal a series of embarrassing relationships in the 1950s and 1960s with some of the most powerful organizations and individuals in American journalism.

    Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier‑Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune.

    By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.

  8. diptherio

    Re: Material(ist) Girl

    This entire discussion only makes sense from the perspective of a dualist philosophy (and if one takes as given particular definitions for words such as “soul”). From a non-dualist perspective it is irrelevant to ask whether “we” are a brain or a soul. We are neither and both and much, much more than any of those things.

    The Vedantic way of talking about it goes something like this: There is one essential reality, that is both the material and efficient cause of our perceived reality. This “ground of all being” is referred to as Brahman. Thus all things are composed entirely of Brahman, since there is nothing else from which anything might be made. It is delusion, maya, which causes us (who are Brahman) to forget this and to think of ourselves as separate from other beings and from “god” (who is just another bit o’ Brahman).

    Thus, to think that you have any separate existence in the first place is pure delusion, and this delusion is part of the ‘play’ of Brahman. You only think that you are a separate entity, somehow independent from the Earth, other creatures, and the Cosmos at large, because you have forgotten your true oneness with all things. This forgetting is necessary for there to be material existence at all. When you die, in this view, you just remember that you are all things, and in that sense cease to be.

    Who sees all beings in his own Self, and his own Self in all beings, loses all fear.
    When a sage sees this great Unity and his Self has become all beings, what delusion and what sorrow can ever be near him?
    ~Isa Upanishad, trans. Juan Mascaró

    1. craazyman

      faaaak If I chop off your head is that OK because it’s really “our” head since all things are one?

      These people are all a little nutso. You can’t get away from dualities except by heavy drinking.

      I bet they’ll get to the Bardo realm and see all sorts of dualities and think to themselves “Faaaaak! I was wrong my whole life, but that didn’t stop me did it? haha.” Error dies hard.

      1. diptherio

        “Our” implies multiplicity, which as I’ve already explained, is an illusion (jeez, weren’t you paying attention??).

        The relevant question is whether you would be doing me any injury, which begs the question of what “me” is. “Me” is an illusion and so decapitating “me” could not be said, technically, to be doing me a harm. The part of Brahman that still thinks it’s my mother would be sorely pissed, however. Faaaaak, you would be in for such a whoopin’!

        The reality of harm only exists from the perspective we now occupy. Of course, while we occupy it, the harm seems very real indeed. I am not, however, of the opinion that death is a tragedy (what a macabre universe, if ’twere so). The living are attached to life, but they’re biased.

        1. craazyman

          ‘ “Our” implies multiplicity, which as I’ve already explained, is an illusion (jeez, weren’t you paying attention??”

          since we’re all one, I thought you’d be paying attention for us. I’m kind of lazy and working on a strategy to get rich quick and quit my job — ooops, I mean our job. By the way, why aren’t you helping us get rich quick? It’s not working out very well for us so far. Since I still have to go to work, :)

          1. diptherio

            If we’re all gonna be one, we better get roles straight. Howzabout you take care of the getting rich and I’ll cover the paying attention to metaphysical theorizing? Now if we can just find someone to wash the dishes…

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Just put in a fun-sounding wanted ad for you dishwasher, I bet every recent college graduate will apply.

            2. anon y'mouse

              when i graduate from college at the end of the year, will i be qualified enough to wash the dishes?

              i also vacuum, do laundry, and clean toilets.

              however, i don’t lick azz.

              1. ohmyheck

                LOL! +1000! I was hoping you would address that link, diptherio, and craazyman was the icing on the cake.

                I love this thread. Thanks for making my day.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    It’ is with sadness we laugh out loud.

                    Normally, I tolerate my own typo’s but not when it completely reverses the meaning.

                1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

                  If that’s the farm, then this place is:
                  (a) the funny farm
                  (b) ********
                  #!c ********
                  (d) ********
                  (e) None of the above.

                  —channeling ‘David’ in “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”——
                  Is this a game?

                  1. Bill the Psychologist

                    OMG LOL ROFLMAO, affer reading all this philosophical stuff I just have to have another huge slice of my own made from scratch pumpkin pie……..the universe can feel free to join in.

    2. F. Beard

      When a sage sees this great Unity and his Self has become all beings, what delusion and what sorrow can ever be near him?

      Yep, like I was saying: Eastern religions deny suffering while Christianity has been steadily eliminating it. (Of course our money system is disobedient and causes all sorts of unnecessary evil.)

      This guy did not attempt to deny or escape sorrow:
      Isaiah 53 (New American Standard Bible)

      1. Furzy Mouse

        Buddhism focuses very much on suffering!, altho I admit that Christianity has compassionately focused on relieving at least some of that:

        (this is vastly truncated…)


        The truth of suffering

        We experience many different types of suffering. All are included in three categories: the suffering of suffering, the suffering of change and all-pervasive suffering.

        The truth of the cause of suffering

        Buddhists maintain that there is no external creator and that even though a buddha is the highest being, even a buddha does not have the power to create new life. So now, what is the cause of suffering?

        Generally, the ultimate cause is the mind; the mind that is influenced by negative thoughts such as anger, attachment, jealousy and so forth is the main cause of birth and all such other problems. However, there is no possibility of ending the mind, of interrupting the stream of consciousness itself. Furthermore, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the deepest level of mind; it is simply influenced by the negative thoughts. Thus, the question is whether or not we can fight and control anger, attachment and the other disturbing negative minds. If we can eradicate these, we shall be left with a pure mind that is free from the causes of suffering.

        The truth of the cessation of suffering

        The root of all disturbing negative minds is our grasping at things as truly existent. Therefore, we have to investigate whether this grasping mind is correct or whether it is distorted and seeing things incorrectly….If, upon investigation, we discover many other, valid ways of looking at things and that all these contradict, or negate, the way that the mind that grasps at true existence perceives its objects, we can say that this mind does not see reality.

        The understanding that there is no such thing as truly findable existence constitutes the deep clear nature of mind; the mind that grasps at things as truly findable is superficial and fleeting.

        The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

        The primary concern of followers of the Mahayana path is not merely their own liberation but the enlightenment of all sentient beings. With this motivation of bodhicitta—their hearts set on attaining enlightenment as the best means of helping others—these practitioners practice the six transcendent perfections and gradually progress through the ten bodhisattva levels until they have completely overcome both types of obscurations and attained the supreme enlightenment of buddhahood. This is the path and the result of the Mahayana.

        1. F. Beard

          There is no doubt that many problems are rooted in the mind:

          Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:19-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      2. skippy

        “Yep, like I was saying: Eastern religions deny suffering while Christianity has been steadily eliminating it.” – beardo

        Factually incorrect as this blog alone in the past has illuminated the near extinction of indigenous ethnic groups – globally – and the Abrahamic slaughter amongst its self.

        skippy…. decreased the suffering of its – own believers – on a regional basis… here and there a bit and only for short periods of time.

        1. F. Beard

          It has been a mixed blessing, one must admit, but the problems can be attributed to ignorance as to what the Bible says and what it does not say.

          1. skippy

            Contradictions born of ignorance are easily gamed, yet this does nothing to remedy historical facts.

            skippy… American exceptionalism = Christian exceptionalism… see bush years for unvarnished full throttle lead foot treatment.

            1. F. Beard

              Those so-called contradictions are an indication one has not properly understood and should prompt further reading and not, say, the invasion of other countries to spread what one has not properly understood himself. Humility, in other words.

              And I don’t defend the actions of Christians, just the Bible*, their supposed final authority – not Calvin, Luther, or any other “interpreter.”

              *By quoting it (hopefully appropriately) since the Bible can defend itself. Indeed, it is an offensive weapon – Hebrews 4:12

              1. skippy

                Homily’s of ethnic ill construct from antiquity, with track records of global domination, by force, are a poor means of human unification.

                skippy… all religions have at their antithesis one common ancestor…. the reverence – bereavement of the dead… unexplained loss… of some tribal member that… filled out reality… be it love or hate… to date we are still ignorant… yet some carry one as its a settled matter… whom is the greater fool…

  9. Walter Map

    As usual, Chomsky does a marvelous job of explaining the current state of the world, particularly the U.S., and where it’s going. Prospects for a peaceful, prosperous, and just civilization are pretty much out of the question.

    The U.S. behaves nothing like a democracy

    Of course the U.S. doesn’t behave like a democracy. It’s an empire, and empire is antithetical to democracy.

    Do Americans still believe the U.S. is a free country? No, really.

    1. Charles LeSeau

      Ya, but all the common louts have to say is “we’re not a democracy; we’re a republic,” and whoosh!, you’re no longer allowed to talk about democracy in America or any semblance of one.

      1. Walter Map

        Just point out to them that the word is of French origin (Middle French république) and they’ll stop.

        A republic is a type of democracy, and the U.S. is neither. Presently it’s a fascist police state. In a few years it’ll be whatever Haiti is.

  10. Tyler

    “As the president addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28…”


    1. vlade

      Well, Lincoln did suspend habeas corpus, imprisoned Americans on effectively trumped up “terrorist” charges and done a lot of things similar to Obama.

      The difference of course being, that situation Lincoln was in was somewhat (well, massively) different, unless Obama argues that Occupy & co. are equivalent of the secession movement.

      And, the MAJOR difference was that Lincoln won his war – Obama didn’t (and won’t, unless you consider it a war of some of the US elites on the rest of the country, where arguably he may be gaining ground).

  11. Ron

    Material(ist) Girl: A Philosopher Argues Against the Soul:

    Somewhere between 8 to 10 years old I decided that religion made no sense, the idea that humans were special and had a soul that lived forever seemed odd and besides I enjoyed interacting with numerous farm and wild animals and found the idea that humans born with a soul ranked above the animal kingdom a really strange idea. Hey I was just a kid! My family found my lack of religious conviction troubling but since I keep quiet regarding my beliefs I was left to do farm chores while the family spent Sunday morning at Church. So its interesting to see some discussion regarding the idea humans are not special and don’t have a soul but logical thinking doesn’t apply to religious beliefs its all about blind faith as a good friend mentioned to me recently who invited me join him for Bible study on Friday nights, its a chance to live for eternity.

    1. diptherio

      I agree that the belief system which accords humans an exalted place in the cosmos and posits bizarre postmortem scenarios is not one that makes a lot of sense. But it does not follow that “all religion” is therefore hogwash. All religious traditions contain multiple strands and the particular type of fundamentalist dualism that you refer to is merely one of these.

      Logical thinking can and has been applied to religious (or spiritual) experience and the results are far from anything you ever heard about from your childhood pastor.

      Just because there are swindlers who try to sell false gold, that doesn’t mean that real gold doesn’t exist ;)

      1. Ron

        Frankly I have no interest and never have looking into the logic, studying or spending time on religious beliefs of the past or what is currently popular with human beings. It just doesn’t interest me, I know that sounds odd but my guess there are many like me that really doesn’t care about it and if someone wants to believe in the various religious stories and study cultures based on these beliefs fine with me. If you knock on my door wishing to engage me on these issues I will treat you with respect but request you move along.

        1. Synopticist

          I used to be completely indifferent to religion, but I’ve always had a fascination with history, and around a decade or so ago I got intellectually captured by the history of the New Testament and the search for the historical Jesus. That meant reading the bible a lot and getting to grips with the Synoptic problem, getting my head round various critical theories and generally coming to my own understanding of the man Jesus.

          As a result, I actually found a certain amount of Christian faith within myself, which I certainly didn’t expect when I first started. Perhaps if I’d began as a believing Christian I might have lost it, but then again I like to think I belong to the English tradition of biblical scholarship, which holds that historical inquiry tends to reinforce faith, rather than reduce it.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The great thing is that we can all believe what we want and respect others who believe differently.

          I think that if you have a soul, you are likely to believe that the soul exists.

          To prove that the soul doesn’t exist, the pre-requisite is that you don’t have a soul.

          1. psychohistorian

            The problem for me is when those religious beliefs are forced on the rest of us that don’t share them.

            My prime example is nuclear power that is committing thousands of future generations to manage the effluent of our short sighted and irresponsible efforts. Decisions like this are supported by the faith breathers assertion of the coming rapture and the world being our to “use”……bad basis for public policy.

            1. F. Beard

              Decisions like this are supported by the faith breathers assertion of the coming rapture psychohistorian

              If so, from Biblical ignorance:

              Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord,
              For what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you?

              It will be darkness and not light;
              As when a man flees from a lion
              And a bear meets him,
              Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall
              And a snake bites him.
              Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light,
              Even gloom with no brightness in it?

              “I hate, I reject your festivals,
              Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies.
              “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
              I will not accept them;
              And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings.
              “Take away from Me the noise of your songs;
              I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.
              “But let justice roll down like waters
              And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
              Amos 5:18-24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

              and the world being our to “use”……bad basis for public policy. psychohistorian

              If not for us, then who? If your child was starving and the only food available was a member of an endangered species then who would die, it or your child, if it was up to you?

    2. F. Beard

      its all about blind faith as a good friend mentioned to me recently who invited me join him for Bible study on Friday nights, its a chance to live for eternity. Ron [bold added]

      No, it’s not about blind faith. Otherwise the Bible would be VERY, VERY short. Instead, the Bible is long enough to allow anyone to come to trust it and to believe. But ya got to read it. I suggest you start anywhere, by yourself, and finish the whole Book. And if you still don’t believe then keep reading it till you understand. And you’ll never stop reading it if you’re wise.

      “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
      For blessed are they who keep my ways.
      “Heed instruction and be wise,
      And do not neglect it.
      “Blessed is the man who listens to me,
      Watching daily at my gates,
      Waiting at my doorposts.
      “For he who finds me finds life
      And obtains favor from the Lord.
      “But he who sins against me injures himself;
      All those who hate me love death.”
      Proverbs 8:32-36 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      1. evodevo

        Sorry. I read the whole thing through several times. Only confirmed my atheist tendencies. I’ve also indulged in studies of biblical criticism and analysis for 40 years, and this also has confirmed my unbelief.
        I’m perfectly content as an avowed atheist, and only irritated when Xtians attempt to shove their beliefs in my face or force them on the rest of us via legislation. Live and let live, but that is pretty much doctrinally impossible for Xtians.

        1. F. Beard

          Live and let live, but that is pretty much doctrinally impossible for Xtians. evodevo [bold added]

          Not really. Hand meet foot to wipe off the dust is the most a Christian is authorized to do in the face of unbelief. So where did you drag the bold above from? Seriously.

  12. AbyNormal

    too many millionaires…

    Ferrari NART Spyder Sets $27.5 Million Auction Record

    “It’s been pretty staggering,” McKeel Hagerty, president and chief executive of the Michigan-based analysts Hagerty, said in an interview. “The supply of millionaires is exceeding the number of available great cars. An awful lot of collectors are now clamoring for event-eligible models, and they’ve become a permissible splurge. The values are climbing.”

    Hagerty’s Blue Chip Index of collectible autos has risen 51 percent over the last three years.

    (“Proceeds of the sale of the Ferrari will be donated to charity, RM said.”…what charity would that be?? the broken-hearten millionaires charity???)

    Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable.

    1. optimader

      That’s something like a 19.5% annual return on the original $8,000. cost If I did the math right.

      As seemingly arbitrary valuation go, this makes more sense to me that an oil painting that has a 50% possibility of being a forgery. Unfortunately it will probably never see the light of day in vintage racing until the value craters.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Those people subpoenaed – do they stand to profit from Bitcoin’s adoption?

      Perhaps today’s other article might be helpful: Movements without leaders.

  13. anon y'mouse

    thanks for that link on the psychology of drone operators. it confirms what was suspected.

    that young people put themselves through any kind of military brainwashing (bootcamp) and engage in the culture of killing dehumanizes them, and makes them dehumanize the rest of us, making it easier for them to see every one of the rest of us as expendable.

    it has been a heartbreak for me to see this happen to my younger brother, whom I had diapered as a child and who seemed “one of the good ones”, and how he quickly wanted to return to the culture of killing and made comments that “civilian life is for suckers”.

    the only reason civ life is for suckers at this level is because most of us are slaves to corporate/capitalist mindsets and are trying to constantly “get over”. not to mention the politics of the current workplace are worse than any alpha male/female vs subordinate interaction.

    people like my ex-marine family members believe that they are not tools because their hard work and dedication is properly rewarded, but they are unfortunately the worse kind—instruments of death.

  14. rich

    Not Too Big to Jail: Why Eliot Spitzer Is Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare

    Before Eliot Spitzer’s infamous resignation as governor of New York in March 2008, he was one of our fiercest champions against Wall Street corruption, in a state that had some of the toughest legislation for controlling the banks. It may not be a coincidence that the revelation of his indiscretions with a high-priced call girl came less than a month after he published a bold editorial in the Washington Post titled “Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States from Stepping in to Help Consumers.” The editorial exposed the collusion between the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and Wall Street in deregulating the banks in the guise of regulating them, by taking regulatory power away from the states. It was an issue of the federal government versus the states, with the Feds representing the banks and the states representing consumers.

    He is one of the few people with not only the insight and experience to expose Wall Street corruption but the courage to go after the perpetrators.

    Less than a month after publishing this editorial, Spitzer had been exposed, disgraced, and was out of office. Greg Palast pointed to the fact that Spitzer was the single politician standing in the way of a $200 billion windfall from the Federal Reserve, guaranteeing the toxic mortgage-backed securities of the same banking predators that were responsible for the subprime debacle. While the Federal Reserve was trying to bail them out, Spitzer was trying to regulate them, bringing suit on behalf of consumers.3

    In a December 2011 article in Slate titled “We Own Wall Street,” Spitzer argued that bad corporate behavior could be stopped by a political movement uniting shareholders, pension funds and mutual funds – the actual owners of the corporations – who could then take coordinated action demanding transparency and accountability.

    This is the sort of creative thinking that will be needed if we the people are to take back our power from Wall Street and the corporatocracy. We need a mass movement, coordinated action, and leaders who can organize it; and Eliot Spitzer is one of the few people in a position to play that role who have the experience, vision and courage to carry it through.

    1. subgenius

      Pretty much covers it. Leading inexorably to the single most important question: “Now what…?”

      I worry it is an amplification of same…

  15. Hugh

    The Western liberal democracy is an increasingly superfluous myth of the kleptocrats. A host of European countries including that bastion of “liberal” freedoms Sweden participated in US rendition for torture programs. So it really wasn’t that big of a surprise that the Swedish joke justice system twisted itself up like a pretzel to justify its pursuit of Julian Assange. The UK and has a similar history in rendition for torture. It likewise bent its justice system out of whack to pursue Assange. It is the land of ubiquitous Big Brother CCTV and GCHQ. So again it is no surprise that it would stoop to detaining Greenwald’s partner. These big surveillance states are meant to be used. And yes, as others have noted, they are, as these incidents show, antithetical to democracy, to individual human rights, to keeping the citizenry informed, and holding government accountable.

  16. charles sereno

    A suggestion for tomorrow’s Links:http:
    In a segment of the RealNews, Max Blumenthal discusses the INFLUENCE of R Niebuhr in post-war Western geopolitics. (Blumenthal, himself, doesn’t claim to be a Niebuhr expert.). Niebuhr is not here to defend himself but many admiring NC readers are. I think this would generate a useful debate.

  17. down2long

    Re: Buffet buys $500 mil tar sands

    Dear Orifice of Omaha is setting the stage for XL approval by his houseboy Obama. Just as he did to enrich himself at our expense on all his TBTF investments.

    The Orifice already made sure house slave Obama fixed the banks for him, making sure all the defrauded homeowners, pensioneers, and taxpayers ate the bank’s poisoned food, paid the hospital bills, and got thrown in the street for their good works.

    Now he’s doubling down on Wells Fargo (which is still refusing my payments and trying to foreclose in defiance of my Chapter 11 reorg approved 4 years ago, but hey, Federal law is meaningless in our Kleptocracy) buying more US Bank shares, and as a topper, just had Brian Moyniham, head of Mafia cartel B of A to his lilly white club in Omaha for lunch (where CNBC breathlessly announced the Orific picked up the tab!!!!) to thank Moynihan for making him $5.3 billion on his purchase last year of preferred shares. shares.

    Methinks the Orifice’s gratitude was misplaced. He should/ve had Obeyme, Bernanke, Rubin, Summers, and all the American taxpayers and foreclosure victims over to his club. That’s who paid the bills. B of A should’ve been subsumed in the fires of hell.

    I think the Orifice needs to pay his secretary’s taxes and stop the charade of how concerned he is she pays a higher percentage of taxes than he does. The Orifice smells to high heaven.

    “By your work, ye shall be judged.” New Testament

    “But, Who will feed us meat” Old Testament

    1. F. Beard

      “By your work, ye shall be judged.” New Testament down2long

      Based on the rest of your comment, I’d guess you mean this:

      “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      However, Warren B is an atheist and does not claim, even implicitly, to my knowledge, to be a prophet. Also, the existence of bad fruit does not indicate a person is bad necessarily only that he is not good.

  18. Waking Up

    In conjuction with the WaPo article above, I just read this at Counterpunch:

    From Counterpunch: “On August 28, the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington, an event is being organized at the Lincoln Memorial by the King Center, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Council of Negro Women to commemorate that extraordinary and consequential demonstration. To highlight the occasion, these organizations apparently extended an invitation to the President of the United States to deliver the keynote address on the very same spot where Martin Luther King delivered his legendary “I have a dream” speech.”

    If the King Center, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Council of Negro Women had aspirations to look like hypocrites, they couldn’t have done a better job than making Obama a keynote speaker. The African American community (apparently except for the organizations listed) along with everyone else that cares about civil and human rights SHOULD boycott this event if Obama is a speaker.

    1. Waking Up

      Would also like to add:

      From the “I have a Dream” speech: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

      Are the organizations asking for Obama (who believes all Americans should be spied on, has a “kill list”, ignores bank fraud hurting millions of people, and whose policies actually show contempt for those who are not wealthy…just as a short list) to be a keynote speaker judging him by the content of his character or solely on the color of his skin? How can they expect others to change their behavior when they haven’t?

  19. down2long

    This is a shout out to F. Beard if you’re listening. Could you perhaps privide the actual Biblical citations for my Biblical references?

      1. down2long

        Yikes. Aby, did you just diss me? I am not a bible scholar, (nor an ant) (nor should I pretend to be one, one supposes.)

    1. F. Beard


      Where I worked, going through the motions was more important than getting the job done UNTIL a crisis arose and then the rule book was tossed.

      Our society is sick.

  20. skippy

    Another sign post…

    ASIC to target hybrid instruments
    2 hours ago


    Financial Services

    The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) is set to announce on Tuesday tightened rules on hybrid financial instruments, according to The Australian.

    The Australian reported that the corporate regulator has become increasingly concerned the instruments pose a risk to superannuation portfolios, especially self-managed funds.

    ASIC commissioner John Price is expected to warn that hybrid instruments, which are a form of debt issue providing issuers with money they can class as equity, are inappropriately being marketed as safe investments on par with bank deposits, while understating their risk.

    In particular, the regulator has warned the instruments are underweight in fixed-interest assets and are increasingly being used by trustees as secure asset to offset risky holdings in their portfolio, when in reality the hybrid instruments should be classified as a risk-prone asset.

    Mention any synthetic financial instrument WRT its application ie risk arb, in a major Australian MSM and watch it go poof. Conversely the thread will completely ignore such observation to only engage in ass hat polemic gaswaggery.

    Skippy…. are synthetic financial instruments the equivalent to the explosives used to detonate a thermonuclear bomb??? Each in its own force multiplier is insufficient to cause devastating results, yet, when combined and focused can release the stored potential of the – real – asset – core.

    PS… Mionkeys playing with entropy thingy ~

  21. Furzy Mouse

    Re: Material(ist) Girl – The Dalai Lama makes a coherent and logical case for consciousness, pure awareness, being separate from what we call the material world, in “The Universe in a Single Atom, the Convergence of Science and Spirituality”, (Broadway Books, NY, 2005), stating that reductionism, which is merely one method of inquiry, has itself become a metaphysical standpoint, and conflates the means with the ends. Think about it…how can anyone quantify consciousness, dreams, intentions? I propose that radical materialists will not find an origin,cause or location for sentience.

  22. Ms G

    Re. Miranda’s detention and interrogation.

    I normally hate kremlinology but I can’t help feeling that the UK authorities were acting on orders from Mr. Obama including some story about Snowden possibly being concealed in one of Miranda’s bags or computers.

    The official planes of heads of state get grounded; friends of journalists get detained.

    1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      Is that really kremlinology or might it not be military psychiatry? (“Snowden concealed …”)

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