Links 8/21/13

Abandoned Dogs Roam Detroit in Packs as Humans Dwindle Bloomberg

Humane Society Investigates Ore. Aquarium Over Excessive Deaths PawNation (Carol B)

Obesity Kills More Americans Than Previously Thought: One in Five Americans, Black and White, Die from Obesity ScienceDaily (furzy mouse)

Germany Shatters Monthly Solar Generation Record With 5.1 Terawatt Hours of Clean Energy Inhabitat (furzy mouse). I some solar panel roofs in Copenhagen three years ago. They are cute!

As 300 Tons of Radioactive Water Leak From Fukushima, Never Believe “The Nuclear Crisis Is Over” BuzzFlash

What Does Abenomics Feel Like? Carola Binder

Cambodia court begins review of voting complaints Associated Press

Greece will need third bail-out, says Schaeuble Telegraph

Benazir Bhutto death: Former Pakistan president and army chief Pervez Musharraf charged with 2007 murder of prime minister Independent

The battle of fictitious facts Economist. Egypt.

Syria’s Civil War Comes to the Kurds Geopolitical Monitor (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

David Miranda’s lawyers nastygram the UK government Boing Boing (Lambert). Full text of the letter is there. Have a look at #6, which demands that the UK say whether it has passed info from Miranda to the US, and if so, what. The letter also makes clear they are going to pursue the same issues through Parliamentary channels. This is gonna be FUN!

The next moves in the Spooks v. News cold war Charles Stross

Glimmerglass Intercepts Undersea Cable Traffic for Spy Agencies CorpWatch (Deontos)

The UK And US Are Likely Preparing To Indict Journalist Glenn Greenwald Over Snowden Leaks Clusterstock

Greenwald partner sues Home Office as UK defends ‘Miranda op’ RT (Deontos)

Groklaw to close its doors, cites ‘no shield from forced exposure’ Groklaw (Howard Beale IV, Deontos)

Barrett Brown, Glenn Greenwald, and the Mafia State DSWright, Firedoglake (Carol B)

British Newspaper Has Advantages in Battle With Government Over Secrets New York Times

New Zealand PM walks out of press conference amid spy bill grilling RT (Deontos)

The Deep State, the Permanent Campaign, and the Frayed Fabric of American Democracy James Fallows, The Atlantic. Lambert: “Seeing “deep state” everywhere these days.” Moi: “That’s because no one has the guts to say ‘stealth military coup-in-progress’.”

Security Tools That Scan and Identify Faces Are Advancing New York Times. So will wearing funny noses in public get you arrested for evading scans?

Is the new First Puppy a sign of troubles to come? Yahoo

Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Remove What’s Left Of American Democracy DSWright, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Warren Buffett Buys Over $500 Million of Suncor Tar Sands Stock, Latest in “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” Nation of Change (RR)

Move to ghost job and back gives Capitol Police chief big raises Journal Sentinel. Lambert: “Walker pays off his chief cop.”

South Carolina City Approves Plan To Exile Its Homeless ThinkProgress (furzy mouse)

MPD Chief takes her favorite sergeant in holy matrimony Star Tribune. Chuck L: “Gay marriage became legal here on August 1, and because of the mandatory 3 period between application for a license and the official ceremony, weddings began on August 4.”

Summers Storm:

The White House’s anti-Yellen sexism, cont. Felix Salmon. One of his best pieces.

White House wants pushover bubble-watching Fed chair who would be fun to have a beer with during a crisis FT Alphaville

GOP Senator Backs Janet Yellen for Fed Chair Huffington Post. “I wouldn’t want Larry Summers to mow my yard.”

Safe haven bubble pops MacroBusiness

JPMorgan hires top law firm over Hong Kong probe Financial Times. We asked a while ago why Jamie Dimon’s board hadn’t fired him yet…but Andrew Ross Sorkin continues his defense.

Intern death leads to calls for shake-up of culture Financial Times

Consumer caution hits sales at US retailers Financial Times

There Has Been No Improvement in the Hires Rate in Two Years Economic Policy Institute (Scott). From a couple of weeks ago, still important

How low can you get: the minimum wage scam Guardian

Why has the Fed given up on America’s unemployed? Financial Times

What Was the Real Cost of the Great Recession? iNet

If You Love Martyrs So Much, Then You Be One Arthur Silber (diptherio). From a few days ago, a must read.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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  1. vlade

    Re Snowden & Greenwald.

    I don’t understand why no one (that I can see) has asked Obama (and Cameron) to point to one specific piece of information that has been released so far that “puts the national security in danger” and tell us why. Pretty much all that has been released so far was a confirmation of what even “a man on a Clapham bus” (believe it or not, it’s a concept in English law) would consider likely, and any terrorist with IQ higher than of mowed grass would assume automatically.

    In fact, it has been incredible how Guardian (and others) have managed to keep this information more safe and secret than NSA did. With the possible exception of pushing Snowden to the russian bearhug.

    1. Richard Kline

      From Business Insider via Clusterstock: “UK authorities detained Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, while he was en route from Berlin to Brazil. They held him under an anti-terrorism law, which allows them to detain and question anyone for any reason without stating the cause.”

      And this is the REAL purposee of ‘anti-terrorism’ laws, not to impede or catch terrorists but to grant blanket immunity to agents of the state. Regardless of what said agents of the state do. This is the most insidious, damaging, and anti-democratic aspect of our times in general, and these laws in particular. The state has granted itself exemption from cause, and now can act from pure raison d’etat. The real sweat of Obama, the NSA, and all the higher-ups betwixt is just that this functional, total impunity is what has been put on display by Snowden’s leaks and Greenwald’s up-channel of them. It isn’t any one thing revealed, it’s the revelation that anything at all can be done WITHOUT ANY CAUSE BEFOREHAND OR JUSTIFICATION AFTER THE FACT _TO ANYONE FOR ANY WHIM_. That is a police state’s dream, and what the state wants you not to see.

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        I don’t know what they’re thinking, but I think that what you suggest they’re thinking about, THEIR dilemma, is a great guess. Also, on “moral rights” grounds, my view is that the United Kingdom’s case against David Miranda looks feeble, if not moribund.

          1. Synopticist

            What a shambles. I never bought into the myth of UK secret services super-efficiency, but they used to be smarter than this.

            Alienating the dwindling band of people who still support the government on national security by bullying a clearly innocent gay bloke and threatenning him with instant jail. Mindboggling amateurish bollocks.

        1. zygmuntNICEbernier

          Very interesting. I submitted as comment over there the below.
          What part of the body does a police officer use to make a determination? If it’s not the brain, then what else could it possibly be? —
          So clearly, determination is purely mental activity. The detainee, obviously, is not the one asking questions such as: “Constable, are you now in the process of determing whether or not I am a terrorist?”. No adversarial questioning is being done. On top of that, the judgement as to whether “determination of terrorist status” is being done is left to the police officer. As such, absent mind-reading, a claim by the police that a “determination of terrorist status” was actually happening is technically irrefutable and can only be taken on blind faith, and this applies to most people in the UK in search of the truth. Unless an arrest and court appearance follows the detention, I conclude respectfully that this allows a quasi-freepass at harassing questioning and detention.

        2. Doug Terpstra

          Without a Miranda law, the UK’s kidnapping-abduction of David Miranda without cause and without a lawyer was all proper. Okay maybe not, but as we’ve seen in the US, any law or constitution can be quickly tortured into compliance, or failing that simply “disappeared” in the interest of national security. We’re at war after all. No accountability will attach.

          Paul Craig Roberts has some fine things to say about “Gangster-State US/UK”. The idea that Obama’s poodle, the UK, abducted Miranda on their own is laughable.

          It is fashionable in the US and UK governments and among their sycophants to speak of “gangster state Russia.” But we all know who the gangsters are. The worst criminals of our time are the US and UK governments. Both are devoid of all integrity, all honor, all mercy, all humanity. Many members of both governments would have made perfect functionaries in Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany.

        3. Jeff W

          Are you sure you’re stating the British law correctly?

          That’s Business Insider’s statement about the law and I think it could be clearer.

          David Miranda was detained and questioned under paragraphs 2 and 6 (dealing with powers of examining officers to questioning and detain, respectively, people) found in Schedule 7 [Port and Border Controls] of Terrorism Act 2000. The two paragraphs are pretty easy to read (but maybe not for Business Insider). (Paragraph 2 refers to Section 40(1)(b) which defines a terrorist as a person who “is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.”)

          Basically, an examining officer (at a port or within the border area) can detain someone for up to nine hours in order to question that person if (and it seems only if) the questioning is for the purpose of determining whether that person appears to be a terrorist; the examining officer does not have to have grounds for suspecting that the person is a terrorist. (The relevant provisions are four brief sentences total—what I just wrote isn’t a summary so much as a concatenation of the relevant provisions [§§ 6(1)(b), 6(4), 2(1), 2(4) in that order, to be precise].)

          (There are other requirements about the person’s presence at the port or within the border area being “connected with” leaving/entering Great Britain/Northern Ireland [i.e., § 2(2)]—which might also be relevant with regard to Miranda’s specific situation, as it is undisputed that he was en route from Germany to Brazil—but so far those haven’t gotten as much play, maybe because they don’t involve the “terrorism” angle.)

          So the Business Insider’s statement about authorities being able “to detain and question anyone for any reason without stating the cause” is misleading: the examining officer can exercise his power to question without any grounds for suspicion but the questioning has to be for “the purpose of determining whether [the person] appears to be a person falling within” the interpretation of a terrorist. (The “without stating a cause” phrase is too narrow—there doesn’t have to be a cause.)

          The reason why a correct statement of the law matters (aside from just getting the facts right) is that the success of any action by David Miranda against the Home Office or the Metropolitan Police (or both) may turn on whether Miranda was questioned for the purpose of determining whether he appeared to be a terrorist—which is the stated and understood purpose of the questioning in the law—or for some other (presumably impermissible) purpose (e.g., seizing documents to prepare for an indictment of Glenn Greenwald, intimidation or harassment, or “sending a message”) not covered by the provisions. If, under the provisions by which he was held, “anyone” could be questioned and detained “for any reason,” Miranda would not have grounds for any action (although he would still have grounds under other bases, such as European Convention on Human Rights).

    2. Ron

      The next moves in the Spooks v. News cold war:

      Today’s brand of government snooping and its relationship with media is tech driven but otherwise nothing has changed except that the internet has made it easier to post information beyond the control of MSM which has been the Governments prime propaganda outlet. The steps outline in the article seem logical given the governments history to control, monitor information. The reality is that before the internet the government basically controlled the information flow with the full backing of the MSM what so called leaks that happened were always fixed or laws were changed to protect the governments ability to monitor the information flow. A good example is after the Vietnam War the government barred media from showing war footage that might comprise the effort and stopped the media from showing photo’s of dead american combats. Little if any stirring in
      the media of these new rules and when the internet becomes totally sealed at least from the major outlets most Americans will hardly notice.

    3. Nathanael

      FWIW, journalists have tried to ask Obama the right questions, but Obama has mastered the Reaganite art of not allowing reporters into his press conferences if they insist on asking questions, and of simply not responding to questions if he doesn’t want to.

      Cameron is probably in for a grilling because he can’t avoid Prime Minister’s Question Time, and the old-line Tories are angry.

      1. Nathanael

        The UK has private prosecutions and the government is not immune.

        So despite the lack of a written Constitution, I expect to see the PM hauled up in the High Court before I see *any* justice in the US.

        The destruction of procedural justice in the US through the neutering of the grand jury and the monopolization of prosecution power by DAs is one of the untold stories of the last 200 years.

    4. Elliot

      Rusbridger and Gibson told Charlie Rose in that interview that they had indeed told the CIA (and its UK equivalent) what documents they were going to publish, and asked exactly that:.

      And the CIA could point to NO specific thing in the reporting that was that kind of danger.

  2. Christopher Fay

    “I wouldn’t want Larry Summers to mow my lawn.”

    Larry Summers couldn’t mow your lawn without cutting off your kid’s hand.

    1. Richard Kline

      Larry Summers couldn’t mow your lawn without committing multiple legal infractions and a felony or two. And double-billing you. And leaving you with legal liability for your him mowing your neighbor’s herb garden, which he also mowed because it allowed him to make faster, neater turns mowing your lawn so he could brag about his technique, efficiency, proficiency, and all around betterness than you, the homeowner, could possibly ever muster, no don’t thank him for the tutorial. Larry Summers couldn’t mow your lawn without making a pass at your domestic partner, because your daughter didn’t happen to be home mowing the lawn instead since he was (I mean you didn’t think he was going to do this for the meager pecuniary entails you’d contracted to deliver to him, did you?).

        1. Sufferin'Succotash

          But he forgot to add that Summers would tell the daughter that females are inherently inferior when it comes to mowing lawns.

          1. susan the other

            This Felix Salmon piece about the White House press release on Summer’s qualifications -“he’s a quick thinker”- and Yellen’s qualifications – “she’s not a team player but she is methodical,” is as telling as it gets. Summers is being drafted to run the Fed for the survival of USA Inc. All is fair in love and monetary fiddling. Summers will no doubt be asking for Geithner to be his right hand man. And the almost-exposed real reason for Summers? There is going to be a huge crisis. There’s no “if” about it. Otherwise why push him like this?

            1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

              If something “dastardly” was afoot in Ottawa, Canada in the Government of Canada, I would call the Minister’s office to register my grievances clearly and concisely. || So, if I were a) American and b) safe from Summerian influenza, I’d call the White House to say that if Summers gets the Fed job, then I’ll be very very angry and I will never ever forget what was done, bye.

      1. Ron

        Does it really matter if Larry or Janet run the FED? Can’t imagine that it will have any material difference in how the FED interacts with other government agencies,Wall Street ,American banking system, other central banks.

        1. curlydan

          Both will capitulate to Wall St power and influence, but they think Janet would do it slowly and methodically while they know Larry would do it maniacally and faster.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        You make Larry Summers sound like a pathologically dishonest, misogynistic egomaniac. As compelling as those qualifications are for chairmanship of the Criminal Reserve, he has many more. Aside from his dashing good looks, squandering Harvard’s endowment is probably his most important. Though it leaves him well behind Ben Shalom and Greenspan in making real wealth disappear without a trace, it still puts him well ahead of Janet, who by the way, is of dubious gender, just not shylock material.

  3. Ned Ludd

    Dissolve the NSA. Dissolve every single agency that engages in intelligence-gathering. If someone is not under investigation for having perpetrated a crime – a crime that occurred in the past – they should not be watched.

    Would the world be safer with Mosaddegh and Allende, or with MI6 and the CIA?

    Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.


    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

    Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

    U.S. foreign policy and its intelligence services create the terror that they pretend to guard against. They then use the terror to justify the eradication of our liberties. “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” And, indeed, the U.S. has not.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Lambert: “Seeing “deep state” everywhere these days.” Moi: “That’s because no one has the guts to say ‘stealth military coup-in-progress’.”

      The coup began when martial law was imposed in October 2001 by the passage of the USA-PATRIOT Act.

      Martial law means the suspension of constitutional liberties during a period of emergency. By comprehensively nullifying Amendments IV, V and VI of the constitution, this is precisely what the USA-PATRIOT Act does.

      After a dozen years of martial law, is anyone surprised that it’s reached this pass? For God’s sake, don’t collaborate with our occupiers by voting in their rigged D vs R elections.

    2. Garrett Pace

      Thanks for posting that. Tremendously revealing. The biggest problem with the modern spook mindset is they think that godlike ability automatically goes along with godlike power.

  4. LucyLulu

    From article yesterday in Reuters, this is a sign of further deterioration:

    “The deepening crisis at the Fukushima plant will be upgraded from a level 1 “anomaly” to a level three “serious incident” on an international scale for radiological releases, a spokesman for Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said.

    That will mark the first time Japan has issued a warning on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) since three reactor meltdowns after the massive quake in March 2011.

    The levels range from 0, below scale with no safety consequences, to a maximum of 7. A serious incident with no public or offsite exposures is assigned a 3. IME, a case could be made for a level 4 given ongoing drainage of contaminated water into the sea.

    From NC link above:

    “Meanwhile, the NSA and hundreds and hundreds of other US government agencies and private contractors monitor us and “potential terrorists” while a nuclear threat is being promoted by governments around the world, including President Obama who supports nuclear plant energy.”

    Unless I missed something, while Obama has stated support of nuclear power, he hasn’t brought any meaningful policy or funding. OTOH, Japan has a much larger stake in the industry with 55 nuclear power reactors (US has 104). Japan has to import 80% of their fuel, and prior to Fukushima, 30% of their energy was generated with nuclear technology. This had been planned to be increased to 40% within 5 years and 50% by 2030.

    With an economy already stagnant, they have taken a big hit on fuel costs. Just as our petrol dependent economy here wants to deny global warming, minimizing the dangers of nuclear energy is in Japan’s economic interest.

    “Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato told an emergency meeting of prefectural officials on Tuesday it was a “national emergency”, and that the local government would monitor the situation more strictly and seek additional steps as needed.”

    Need one say more? While the prefectures have local nuclear regulatory office, note that while it’s a “national emergency”, the “local government” will step up monitoring in light of the escalating risk. As since the accident in 2011, the national regulating agencies in Japan prefer a mostly hands-off approach, leaving Tepco to manage mitigating the disaster. It’s too big and complex of a problem for any single entity, and particularly a private one. It’s not beyond being able to be effectively managed but containment of the massive quantities of water will be quite challenging. Despite reports to the contrary, all fuel remains in the reactor buildings, and boron is being used to prevent recriticalities. Just read in one of the French papers (Agence-Presse maybe???) of shipment of several hundred more tonnes from France a week or two ago, US, S. Korea and somebody else also reported as supplying boron. I wouldn’t expect meaningful oversight or intervention unless the international community, with its extensive resources, steps in.

    1. optimader

      Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, a series of events beginning on 11 March 2011. Rated level 7 on 11 April 2011 by the Japanese government’s nuclear safety agency.[2][3] Major damage to the backup power and containment systems caused by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami resulted in overheating and leaking from some of the Fukushima I nuclear plant’s reactors. Each reactor accident was rated separately; out of the six reactors, three were rated level 5, one was rated at a level 3, and the situation as a whole was rated level 7.[4] A temporary exclusion zone of 20 km was established around the plant as well as a 30 km voluntary evacuation zone;[5] in addition, the evacuation of Tokyo – Japan’s capital and the world’s most populous metropolitan area, 225 km away – was at one point considered, threatening the future of the Japanese state.[6] See also 2011 Japanese nuclear accidents.

      In light of the fact that not only is no governmental agency –worldwide– coughing up a solution, this seems to be treated as page 3 news. Consequently, I channel Spinal Tap and unofficially re-scale the NES rating to go up to 11 “Unmitigated Disaster –with no containment solution”.

      The Japanese earn the first NES 11 rating.

      With the extraordinary amount of resources the political asshats squander, this ongoing train-wreck amazes me.

      1. psychohistorian

        The folks that I talk to about this want to be in denial and think I should be too.

        I refuse.

        1. optimader

          Can’t see it, can’t taste it and it’s easy to choose to not understand it.

          It’s human nature forpeople prefer to focus on more visceral problems around them. This one has no obvious solution and is abstract in the context of human timescale.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We are a very visual animal.

            If you push a very sick man who is about to die tomorrow off a cliff, that is murder. You shorten his life by one day.

            If you nag a person constantly, shortening – directly and personally – his life by a couple of years, that is not murder.

            1. optimader

              Prime B

              “If you nag a person constantly, shortening – directly and personally – his life by a couple of years, that is not murder.”

              Reads like one of those things that should have the preamble “A friend told me”, if you know what I mean ;0)

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                The former is violence, throwing someone off a cliff.

                The latter is not violence. Nagging is not violence. But it’s just as deadly in this case.

            2. Robert Dudek

              The second one is murder as well, it’s just that in practical terms it is nearly impossible to prove a causal link.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                That’s what our great technologists/scientists say all the time – it’s beyond the scope of this study.

                Actually, we humans as a species do that quite often. And, so, that is not murder, like you say, hard to prove, the process unfolds over decades, low visibility, time lag, etc.

              2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                And yet, it’s still murder, as you say at the top of your comment.

                Deep down, we all know a lot of us are murderers…we nag, we make others worry, we stress our loved ones out, etc.

    2. Nathanael

      National government of Japan is comprehensively broken. Prefecture-level government isn’t, hence its stepping up to the plate.

      1. cwaltz

        I’m pretty sure at this point it’d be easier to list the national governments that AREN’T broken. It’s a shorter list then the broken models.

  5. Ned Ludd

    Nick Clegg supported the destruction of The Guardian’s computer equipment. From his spokesman:

    On the specific issue of records held by The Guardian, the deputy prime minister thought it was reasonable for the Cabinet Secretary to request that the Guardian destroyed data that would represent a serious threat to national security if it was to fall into the wrong hands.

    The deputy prime minister felt this was a preferable approach to taking legal action. He was keen to protect The Guardian’s freedom to publish, whilst taking the necessary steps to safeguard security.

    1. jdw

      Is there any sort of Firefox or chrome extension that would just replace all instances of the phrase “national security” with the phrase “the ability of jackbooted government goons to do illegal and immoral things”? I’ve sort of been doing it in my head and it still makes sense every time.

    2. Synopticist

      The libdems are worse than New Labour on surveilance and the war on whistleblowers. I always knew the libdems were economically centre right, but there were a few things I thought they’d be an improvement on. Wrong again.

    3. Nathanael

      Clegg was a fraud, a Tory in sheep’s clothing, who should be expelled from the Liberal Democratic Party.

  6. optimader

    The money quote:

    “In recent months, the plant has been beset with power outages and other problems that have led outside experts to question whether Tepco is qualified to handle the clean up”

    in recent months???? Ya think?

    “…Massive amounts of radioactive fluids are accumulating at the plant as Tepco floods reactor cores via an improvised system to keep melted uranium fuel rods cool and stable.”

    optimader says:

    March 28, 2011

    …but now that they’ve contaminated those hot reactors w/ concentrated (boiled off) seawater, all the austenitic stainless steel piping, valves, pumps are a ticking time-bomb due to the inevitability of chloride stress corrosion cracking. This is a phenomenon that accelerates nonlinearly as a function of temperature.

    They are so, so screwed..”

    You must remember this
    A kiss is just a kiss
    A sigh is just a sigh
    The fundamental things apply
    As time goes by.

    Indeed, …as time goes by. They are so screwed

  7. Brindle

    Re: “The Deep State….”

    This is a few weeks old, Arthur Silber on symmetry of the Bush to Obama hand-off.

    —“It’s breathtaking, isn’t it? Obama, heralded as the great new progressive leader, who would thankfully reverse the abominations of the Bush years — and here he is, pursuing policies across the board in ways that Bush would never have dared. I can only hope that the intense envy Dick Cheney must feel doesn’t kill him. Hmm … on second thought …”—

  8. Goin' South

    Via the linked DS Wright piece on the Mafia state comes this link to a David Graeber post that I haven’t seen linked here yet:

    “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs”

    Teaser quote:

    “In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.”

    1. diptherio

      Thanks for that link. It’s soooo good to hear someone saying this out loud (well, metaphorically). When I worked in politics, during college, we’d often bemoan the fact that so few of the working poor seemed at all interested in politics. Now, after having worked many a manual-labor job, I no longer wonder why so few of us are politically active.

      There is a not-so-subtle form of psychological abuse that goes along with menial “BS” jobs. To be a janitor, a fry-cook, a convenience store clerk, is to be constantly reminded that you are at the bottom of the totem-pole. Managers and customers alike often treat you as a non-entity, somewhat less than human, perhaps…definitely less than them. A person can only withstand this for so long before the psychological abuse starts to beat them down. Some people seem to deal better than others, but it isn’t healthy for anyone.

      Imagine being disrespected every working day of your life. Imagine being talked down to on a regular basis by managers and customers, regardless of your intelligence or ability. Most people in this country still seem to view having a shitty job as a sign of failure. Obviously the manual laborer must be somehow inferior to the office worker or middle manager (or so they think) and so it must be appropriate to treat them as underlings.

      Now imagine being subjected to this for decades, being told in countless ways how worthless you are as a human being, day after endless day. If you can do that and still feel that you have something to contribute to society, still maintain your sense of self-respect, and still have the energy to get involved (after work, kids, bills, etc), you are a better person than I.

      1. Goin' South

        I took Graeber’s point somewhat differently. His “bullshit jobs” are those often considered at or near the top of the social ladder, like a corporate lawyer or a company VP of public relations.

        When I drive down the typical surburban artery with its chain restaurants and glass box office complexes, I wonder how much better off we’d all be if the folks who worked there were home knitting or gardening or writing poetry. And that’s minor compared to a MIC facility or Wall Street.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Going South, gardening or writing poetry is about wisdom.

            Administrators, working in an office building, college degrees – that’s all about intellect.

            Wisdom is neither pro-intellect nor anti-intellect.

            Wisdom is beyond that.

        1. diptherio

          I had only read the quote and when I saw “doing jobs they secretly think don’t need to be done” I thought of a lot of the jobs I’ve had. Why am I doing this exactly? Oh yeah, for the money.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If everyone in the world is college educated, we would still need convenient store clerks.

            1. neo-realist

              At least store clerks that make living wages. The problem is that jobs are increasingly being created that don’t provide for minimal subsistance.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Low pay jobs – the solution to that is GDP sharing, and not necessarily by making everyone a college grad.

                With GDP sharing, not having a college degree is not a disadvantage.

                That’s when we can return to learning for the sake of satiating one’s thirst for knowledge.

                Otherwise, it’s students as customers.


                So, does it mean every paying student-customer gets 100% on his/her exam?



                Students are not customers!

        2. LucyLulu

          Yes, in fact Graeber points out that the necessary jobs almost invariably do NOT pay well, while the well-paid jobs we could eliminate. He really dumped on corporate lawyers, for example, as a profession that nobody would notice or care if eliminated.

        3. nobody

          I found Graeber’s discussion rather weak. Instead of talking about how the jobs he’s talking about are useless, he should have been talking about how many of these jobs are far worse than useless.

          One study found that, whereas “hospital cleaners create £10 of value for every £1 they are paid,” bankers actually “destroy £7 of value for every £1 they earn.”

          He talks about how “[i]t’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working,” whereas in reality a hell of a lot of us are unemployed or underemployed.

          He relates an anecdote about a somebody he knew who ended up as a corporate lawyer after having been a poet and a singer in an indie rock band, then claims that that “most people in these jobs are ultimately aware of it.” I’m pretty skeptical of that claim; I think the human capacity for self-deception is considerable and that many of these people who occupy these “bullshit” jobs see themselves as invaluable and contributing to society far more than most other people.

          He says he’s “not sure [he’s] ever met a corporate lawyer who didn’t think their job was bullshit,” but I suspect that most corporate lawyers don’t frequent the same parties that anarchist anthropology professors do. Most corporate lawyers weren’t indie rock singers in their previoius lives.

          The point he’s making is important; given the prominence of his voice he should have thought things through more carefully and formulated them better.

          1. Goin' South

            I’d take this as an “outreach” piece written to reach those whose feelings of alienation from their work are bubbling to the surface. All of what you write is true, but this piece may be aimed at offering a fresh perspective to those who are questioning their role is society.

            It’s like anarchist evanglism.

          2. Lambert Strether

            “One study found that, whereas ‘hospital cleaners create £10 of value for every £1 they are paid,’ bankers actually ‘destroy £7 of value for every £1 they earn.'”

            And as Yves points out, they’re working incredibly long hours, too, so they’re destroying as much value as they can as fast as they can. (At this point, I’m reminded of how the Soviet auto industry, in the last days of the USSR, actually subtracted value from its inputs; it would have been better to leave the steel ingots and rubber and plastic in the warehouse, rather than process them into cars. I’m also reminded of Hayek’s strictures against central planning, which would produce idiocies like vast tracts of poorly constructed housing* that nobody to lived in and which were ultimately abandoned. Oh, wait… But seriously folks, isn’t wealth so highly concentrated now, and controlled by such a small, interlocking class of people, that capitalism has, Clang Bird-like, turned itself inside out and ended up as a form of central planning? (Though, granted, not a bureaucratic form.)

            Anyhoo, somebody smarter than I am about financial flows might want to try taking that quote seriously and following through on the implications. “Keep digging!” seems like something “we” as a society should stop doing.

            NOTE * Styrofoam pediments! No insulation!

            1. skippy


              Death Marches have no point B… defeats the hole purpose thingy… suffering is its own reward… punch that card kiddy’s – !!!

              skippy… I’d rather think about why my cat decides to make amorous visits to the bathroom when I doing some business or sprawls fully stretched out on its back with all four paws pointing out, in crazy contorted angles, issues seductive mewww whence human inters the room… is my cat a trollop???

      2. anon y'mouse

        your post eloquently speaks of the psychological truths of those of us “down here”.

        try doing all of that, and then having both business and society telling you that the work you are struggling to do is not valuable enough to justify the compensation of a living wage. try doing all of that and then not having enough to really survive on, constantly floating one bill or another. terrified to call the landlord to fix broken plumbing because he will raise your rent in retaliation. praying that the tires/transmission/etc. on your car hold out day after day to get you to that crappy and dehumanizing job.

        but yes, I think Graeber was pointing out that those of you who are higher up have jobs that serve little to no productive purpose, while the slaves in the dehumanizing jobs actually DO manual work that needs to be done. the same people he points out as lamenting their worthless and pointless jobs then come into stores and restaurants and demand to be treated as kings and have their feet kissed by those lackeys who were just not smart enough to parlay their meager skills into something worthwhile.

        1. diptherio

          Yeah, I commented after just reading the pull-quote.

          It seems to be the case the our current system is pretty crappy for everyone involved, in one way or another. The unfortunate thing is that we often (and by ‘we’ I mean me) forget this and discount the complaints of others. It’s hard to remember, as a worker, that being a manager also sucks balls (and vice versa).

          1. anon y'mouse

            I sympathize somewhat with management, and have personally avoided it myself before in the small businesses I have been a part of. those people are ground down from above and stuffed up from below. literally between a rock & a hard place.

            the main problem is that they are put in place to carry out the grinding down of the people below them, all the while knowing what the effects truly are, and in order to keep their own job they almost always do it. I can’t think of a more dehumanizing role than to fuck people over and KNOW that the justification is usually so the ‘tards upstairs can get a good annual review, a promotion, or a bonus.

  9. real

    i could write an article on this but somebody else do it.

    It is the existence of USSR that kept US more democratic,atleast within USA.I grant there were some exceptions but overall,US had golden days of wealth and democracy from 1950-1960.
    Now US no longer has to keep its image as “freedom loving democracy”,so they are just turning into what they were before.

    1. Joe

      “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
      ― Frank Zappa

      1. real

        thanks joe
        it will be fun to watch American yankee liberals,who never sacrificed a single thing to achieve liberal utopia…
        The govt enforced equality in US and west was possible because of extraordinary amount of wealth gained due to financial system .technology and military superiority…
        I have met and seen few liberals over here and they are most bigoted ,poor hating degenerates i had misfortune to watch..

        1. Joe

          I’m not picking on you but those of us that work for a living, have sacrificed a lot.

          I’m 56 years old, college educated but have worked blue collar jobs all my life. I’ve watched as they have destroyed unions, cut pay, turned full time jobs into part time, stolen defined pensions, gutted benefits, destroyed job security, outsourced jobs and merged corporations thus destroying more jobs.

          I’ve been downsized, layed off, harassed at work, cheated out of promised benefits, have been treated like a subhuman, been forced to work overtime even while deathly ill and forced to perform menial labor at times to survive.

          As I mentioned, I am now 56 years old, unemployed, have no health insurance, am not able to collect unemployment because my last employer refused to lay me off and reduced my hours instead until they reached zero. I live in what is called a right to work state that unconditionally sides with employers in any dispute.

          I have been a liberal all my life until I realized that there is not one iota of difference between left and right and written off the false dichotomy as just more manipulation. What I am now is radicalized.

          Tell me again that I haven’t suffered. If that seems unduly pissy, it is because I’m pissed. They haven’t physically tortured me yet but I see that as a distinct possibility on the horizon.

          1. real

            I won’t offer fake sympathy because internet sympathies never work…but my good wishes for you…
            i am not from west but i have been oppressed by my govt because I am from so called “privileged class”.It is considered to be right thing to demonize,criticize and oppress me.
            Ever since i experienced real torture at hand of feminists at family courts,i no longer trust women or govt..I gone through 4 major medical traumas due to stress and lost every court case and lost all my savings from last 5 yrs..
            Just like you i was liberal till 30s but my experience with one rabid branch of liberals i.e.,feminists made me a radical overnight…
            sorry if i offend you

            1. Joe

              Sorry I lashed out, please accept my apologies. It’s been a rough couple of years for me. Both my parents died within a month of each other and my best friend of 30 years removed his own head with a shotgun because he couldn’t find work. Now I can’t find work.

              It sounds like you have been through a lot also. No offense taken. Liberal or conservative doesn’t matter anymore. Ideology at this point is for suckers.

              1. neo-realist

                Considering your circumstances, you have a right to lash out, to vent. I wish you the best in getting your just desserts and some peace of mind.

              2. Nathanael

                G-D it. People have to stop killing *themselves* because they can’t find work.

                If someone’s that despairing, they should start working out how to have the people who made sure there were no jobs, the *people whose fault it was*, executed. (And yes, exactly who those people are is a complex topic requiring years of research, and most suicidal people aren’t thinking clearly, so this isn’t going to happen.)

                Yes, I’m getting rather “blow it all up” in my old age.

      2. bobw

        Great quote – reminds me of “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” BTW I will be 62 in a couple of months, live in transitional housing (a step up from last year’s tent) work 29 (magic number) hours/wk, and am glad to have it. Well, not glad, but it beats the alternative. No health insurance, and really don’t know what the exchange will do – it may eat all my disposable income, even though I’m healthy.

        1. Joe

          I’m truly sorry to hear of your troubles bobw. There are so many of us that are being thrown to the wolves by this godawful system.

          What’s the old proverb? “I complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

          All the best to you.

    1. down2long

      Thanks for this news. Hallelujah!! Here in L.A. many churches own tons of real estate not related to “churchin” – warehouses, shopping centers, some run-down apt. bldgs. Not a speck of tax (property or otherwise) paid on anything. The rest of us pick up tab for these political orgs.

      As a gay man who is a real estate investor (providing a high percentage of. of below market rent controlled apts, some to tenants who are landlords themselves)I pay through MY property taxes for these churches to deny me my civil rights and make a lot of tax free money.

      The churches do not support the infrastructure, police, services, yet make tons of money to ruin my life, tax free. Rubs me the wrong way.When I was in my salad days catering, I would cater the lunch for the Roman Catholic Church at U.S. Trust. They were were talking hundreds of millions of dollars in investments and real estate. (Course, the molestation payouts cleaned alot of that out.)

      Also, please see the article in The Guardian on Manning. Just posted. Very compelling.

  10. Garrett Pace

    Facial scanning article:

    “Although the system is not ready for use, researchers say they are making significant advances.”

    I don’t believe anything I hear from my government anymore, including this. I assume they are using it already but don’t want people to know.

    1. Shutter

      Garrett.. I think we’re at a critical junction of belief, disbelief, paranoia and personal fear right now. So much is known of the power of the state and so much is unknown that its probably in their interest to float even the most unbelievable technology stories just to keep us off base.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That reminds one of the state’s power to print money without limit.

        That is to say, the state has as much power as it desires…if you believe money is power, even if money can’t buy love.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps the bowler hat and beard will make a comeback.

      They go especially well with sunglasses.

      Because we are lemmings, I can see all we dress like that.

    3. Nathanael

      I also assume that it doesn’t really work at all. Like the systems which couldn’t tell one person in a hoodie from another.

      If there’s been one consistent feature of our military-industrial complex, it has been gross incompetence.

  11. Garrett Pace

    If you love martyrs so much…

    “When a human being is subjected to a living nightmare in this manner, when a person is forced to endure barbaric, monstrous cruelty, when the only choice is between death and death, the concept of “choice” has been destroyed.”

    I offer no judgment on Manning’s actions, but surely this statement is not true. Accepting a false dichotomy is just as much a choice as anything else.

    1. diptherio

      You fail to understand the point.

      Sophie’s choice is no choice at all. If it were her choice, she would choose to not have to decide between losing one child and loosing both. She “accepts” nothing because it is not on option to refuse.

      What Silber is pointing out is that it is a real @$$hole move to stand in judgment of a person who has been faced with such a “choice.” In Manning’s case, his “choice” is between refusing to bend at all to his captors and likely receiving a harsh sentence, or back-pedaling in hopes of receiving a slightly less-harsh sentence. Both options are horrendous.

      That people who have never once been arrested for an act of conscience, who are happy to live in comfort, happy to snark from the sidelines while risking nothing of their own, would presume to stand in judgment of Bradley Manning who has literally already given his life for the greater good is abhorrent.

      Bradley Manning has been tortured and imprisoned. He has more of the same to look forward to. He finally shows some sense of self-preservation and his erstwhile supports criticize him?!?

      As they say in Nepal, “Thanks God he was born.” He has already sacrificed more for the people of this country and this world than most of us ever will. Humility is the only appropriate response.

      1. Garrett Pace

        I think you fail to understand my point:

        “I offer no judgment on Manning’s actions”

        I don’t disagree with what Silber is saying about Manning. If Manning’s actions are in some way objectively “wrong”, he’ll answer to someone other than me. However, I reject the notion that “choice” disappears when wicked people are able to restrict available options. Moral culpability, maybe. But not the ability to choose. Indeed, Silber insists on this, even as he absolves Manning for making a sensible choice.

        1. jrs

          Silber’s thinking on the topic is pretty complex (at times confusing) and not that easily parsed. He’s argued moral duty for choice in other essays (to refuse if you are forced to torture or kill another human being). That of course was *exactly* the moral struggles Manning was dealing with in his initial leaks.

          So maybe the point is now, what earthly good would it do for Manning to go down in flames? He got 35 long long years anyway, incredibly sad. Is another human being being tortured or killed because B Manning begged forgiveness? Well perhaps *if* he’d ratted someone out, so I don’t know about that theoretical, but in actuality he didn’t. I think those who think the apology matters argue very strongly for the symbolism. That we need pristine heros to inspire future heroes or something. Wheres the proof of that one?

          The onus after the leaks was really on the wider population to make the broader changes implied. While maybe this happened in very questionable arab springs, in the U.S.: not much. The onus is of course still on the larger population: free Bradley Manning.

          1. Nathanael

            In greater society, Bradley Manning is now like Nelson Mandela: a political prisoner who everyone knows about.

            Politically speaking, we needed prominent political prisoners; the less-prominent ones were not sufficient to open people’s eyes to the totalitarian police state.

            I hope it doesn’t take as long to free him as it did to free Mandela.

      2. jrs

        “That people who have never once been arrested for an act of conscience, who are happy to live in comfort, happy to snark from the sidelines while risking nothing of their own, would presume to stand in judgment of Bradley Manning who has literally already given his life for the greater good is abhorrent”

        The pundits, the pundits aren’t activists, and that’s probably deliberate. Imagine an alternate reality where they were, where your average know it all pundit actually had been in the streets for their positions. An alternate reality.

        Most people will never be in Mannings position and that’s very lucky, who would want to be and to have to make his choices (regardless of what you might choose), even more so now that we know exactly how you’ll be treated. Not me!
        For most non-pundit people, getting arrested for an act of conscience like protesting never even occurs as a thought. Because really radicalism of that sort is a foreign concept in this culture. Politics is voting, and siging another petition, and maybe a letter to the congressperson, and local stuff. Of course if it does occur (you stumble upon radicalism – first on protest and then on much more dangerous concepts like direct action), there is the fact we live in a partial police state to contend with.

  12. down2long

    Thanks Yves and Diptherio for the Silber piece on Manning. That is some powerful writing and helped me clarify and give context to my thinking on Manning, who I consider to be incredibly brave.

    35 tears. May I say. F**k Barack Obama, Dimon White House Major Domo. What a spectacular disgrace of human (I guess) biomass. I am sickened.

    1. optimader

      “More Tears” (1998)

      The successor to Ken Finkleman’s comedy/satire “The Newsroom” takes a darker, and more surrealistic take on the media and even life itself. The plot centers around George, who is now the director of a travelling documentary crew. George is a media manipulator without scruples or integrity, he effortlessly exploits the subjects of his documentaries into distorting the facts in his quest to make “good television”. But, when George tries to bring this controlling “God-complex” to his personal life, chaos results. His marriage is falling apart, mostly due to his self-love, and unwillingness to express emotion. Written by Kurt Penner

  13. rich

    Gangster State US/UK — Paul Craig Roberts

    It is fashionable in the US and UK governments and among their sycophants to speak of “gangster state Russia.” But we all know who the gangsters are. The worst criminals of our time are the US and UK governments. Both are devoid of all integrity, all honor, all mercy, all humanity. Many members of both governments would have made perfect functionaries in Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany.

    This is extraordinary. It was the English who originated liberty. True, in 1215 it was the freedom of the barons’ rights from the king’s infringement, not the freedom of the commoner. But once the principle was established it spread into the entire society. By 1680 the legal revolution was complete. The king and the government were subject to law. The king and his government were no longer the law and above the law.

    In the 13 colonies the Englishmen who populated them inherited this English achievement. When King George’s government refused the colonies the Rights of Englishmen, the colonists revolted, and the United States was born.
    The question is: are there sufficient brainwashed people in both countries to sustain the US/UK myth that “freedom and democracy” are attained via war crimes?

    There is no shortage of brainwashed Americans who love to be told that they are “indispensable” and “exceptional,” and therefore entitled to work their will on the world. It is difficult to discern in these clueless Americans much hope for the revival of liberty. But there is some indication that the British, who did not inherit liberty but had to fight for it for five centuries, might be more determined.

  14. optimader

    Hey, what the heck happened to my “are you a spammer” tickbox?
    I miss it, I FEEL less fulfilled now Whinge, whine Wine :o/

    1. Lambert Strether

      Yes, your free access to the comment section of this site is now being enabled by admins backstage who are periodically sorting useful reader comments from vast quantities of spam. This is the trade-off between the checkboxes and the current system you now see.

      You’re welcome. The PayPal button is to your right.

  15. optimader

    An observation on the Corporate Lefts justification of BHO’s treatment of Bradley Manning.

    This AM my commute book on CD finished so I was winding on the radio dial to find a local JC station that does great jazz programming. I stumbled across a radio talk show where I heard B.Mannings name invoked so I paused. It was some screechy booobus named of Stephanie Miller (sp?)who offered that Bradley Manning got convicted and sentenced fairly because he “endangered” US troops by releasing classified information.

    To the merit of some other talking head, he asked her to point out one SINGLE piece of intel Manning released that “endangered” US troops. She of course vapor locked.

    Sadly the people that actually DID endanger our troops by putting them in harms way AND the troops that electively killed the noncombatants will not be put on trial/be exposed to going to jail.

    Shame on the collective us.

    1. AbyNormal

      i could spit blood im so fu*king sick!

      Tom Dyer (Schoolfriend of Bradley Manning): “He had a great moral compass. He knew in himself what was wrong and what was right, and he didn’t like the thought of people abusing their status and making other people feel small and doing things that were wrong.”


      “There is something insidious about the American nation. Not its citizens, not its place, but its government. This government has perpetrated evil in the name of its people. Think of Iraq and Afghanistan, invasions in the name of freedom, the support of puppet governments, the assassinations, the military advisors on the ground, the profits made.

      The torture. The deaths.

      Bradley Manning revealed all of this because he has a mighty moral compass. He knows right from wrong. He was not afraid to expose the hypocrisy that for many years has beaten, unfettered, in the breast of a nation. The home of the brave and the free is sadly under attack from within. In the name of its people.”

      Dr Marcus Bunyan for Art Blart 6/2013

      1. optimader

        The other comment is that “of course we all know that he is “mentally unstable”, but that is not an excuse…”

        Yeah, so actually we don’t know that. Vintage Soviet Union stuff being trotted out.
        Dissenting opinion is mental illness.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘the people that actually DID endanger our troops by putting them in harms way’

      Just to name-check one of them, the lying twat Colin Powell who prostituted his military oath by lying about nonexistent WMDs and getting several thousand U.S. troops killed for bloody nothing.

      How richly ‘just following orders’ Powell deserves a Nuremburg trial, along with several dozen other at-large U.S. war criminals.

  16. Kurt Sperry

    Link, “Germany Shatters Monthly Solar Generation Record With 5.1 Terawatt Hours of Clean Energy” is missing the “h” from the “http” in its URL.

  17. diptherio

    Re: Next Moves in the Spook vs. News Cold War

    If we see the NSA or other US government agencies getting into the disinformation business, then the end game has arrived: there really is a Deep State developing, and it’s adopting the tactics of a secret police agency — not merely enforcing laws, or gathering information, but trying to influence the beliefs of the citizenry by systematically lying to them…But I don’t think we’re there just yet.

    Apparently Stross missed this development:

    U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government Made News To Americans ~Foreign Policy

    For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.

    1. jrs

      Propagandizing the citizenry with lies from their government – now legalized. Revealing the truth to the citizenry about that government – more illegal than ever.

  18. Bruno Marr

    How come no Link to the Sensenbrenner comments about perversion of the Patriot Act and adsence of congressional oversight, on 8/20/13 NPR?

    It was absolutely incendiary! (For a Congressman.)

    He essentially called colleague Peter King(NSA Oversight Comm.) an incompetent lackey. Sennsenbrenner says there is no compromise in the 4th Amendment.

    Next thing, he’ll call Snowden a Patriot!

    1. Nathanael

      When someone as hard-core authoritarian as Sensenbrenner — and he is a hard-core authoritarian — starts complaining that the authoritarian military-industrial complex has gone too far….

      …well, you know the wheels are beginning to come off.

      It’s going to be *interesting*, and I mean that in the “ancient Chinese curse” way. (BTW, the “ancient Chinese curse” is 19th century British.)

  19. Ms G

    Just in from The Guardian.

    Bloomberg LP, as many here probably know, was found to have been snooping on its Bloobmerg Box client via … the Bloomberg Box. (The company’s media dividion journalists had real-time “transparency” (peeping-tom capabilities) into transactions and email activity by terminal users (which includes pretty much 100% of anyone in finance – and probably FIRE).

    They hired a fancy law firm (Hogan Lovells) to do a “study” which confirmed the spying by Bloomberg’s journalists on the terminal-rental clients and “recommended dozens of ways that the organization could keep reporters from using client information.”

    I like “recommended dozens of ways.” As opposed to: “Dear Client, We recommend you make it a fireable offense for any of your people to spy on your clients.”

    If I were a Bloomberg LLP terminal renter I would not be reassured!

    This is a great opportunity for a new entrant to the financial-news aggregation market!

  20. rich

    This Town: America’s Gilded Capital

    Washington—This Town—might be loathed from every corner of the nation, yet these are fun and busy days at this nexus of big politics, big money, big media, and big vanity. There are no Democrats and Republicans anymore in the nation’s capital, just millionaires. That is the grubby secret of the place in the twenty-first century. You will always have lunch in This Town again. No matter how many elections you lose, apologies you make, or scandals you endure.

    In This Town, Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, presents a blistering, stunning—and often hysterically funny—examination of our ruling class’s incestuous “media industrial complex.”

  21. David Chaney

    Wells Fargo announces layoffs of 2,300 in the Mortgage Division

    Yves, you were right about Wells. Cratering originations, some estimates here in Cali have all-cash purchases at 50% of the market (no need for Stumpf’s service there). And it’s gonna get worse.

    Now, on a personal note, I hope the Wells mortgage associate who foreclosed on my home, turning aside my offer of $350k to sell it to a scoundrel for $230 and then Wells took $60K in servicing fees. The second was with Wachovia. When Wells was given Wachovia from the Feds, Wells promptly sold the wiped out (by Federal Court) second leading to 4 years of legal hell for me, and further ruined credit. (Legally resolved six months ago, still not resolved on my credit report.)

    And now Wells as servicer for a Morgan Stanley trust with B of A as trustee, still refusing my court ordered payments and costing me beaucoups legal bills five years post BK plan approval by the court.

    I am now awash in Schadenfreude. You said this was coming Yves. Now I am celebrating. Dare I hope the perps who have caused me so much agita get tossed too – one can dream.

    Wells is going to eat itself from the inside out and spit out corpses of fifth columnists. Now I am sorry they are losing their jobs. I am delighted those that played the game and are getting what the rest of us have gotten. Conversations with the Wells folks is like having a conversation with your prison warden.

    Serves Unlce Orifice right too. He just took another big bite of Wells. Of course, Uncle Ben will further foam the runway.

  22. Joe

    I’ve come up with a really stupid idea that probably won’t go anywhere but I’m that kind of guy. I’m not averse to tilting at windmills and all.

    I’m getting ready to pull the plug on the Internet. I don’t actually need it at home, it’s a luxury. Internet connections are so ubiquitous that I can use it at the library, coffee shops, etc. It won’t stop the spying but the only thing this godawful system respects is money.

    When I drop service, I plan to tell my ISP that I will no longer pay them to help the government spy on me. They won’t give a rodent’s rectum about me but if enough people do this, they will certainly notice.

    Join me in going off the grid, won’t you? Unplug from the Matrix.

    1. jrs

      Well if you can access the internet elsewhere I guess it works.

      If we tune out the internet entirely I’m afraid pretty soon we won’t know anything about the wider world (it’s already impossible to keep up). Pretty soon we’ll have no idea about what’s even going on, since the internet is where one gets much of their news these days. Plus any dialogue that does go on still on the net will be ever more drained of dissent by dissenters boycotts. I’m saying on the one hand yes if the system really is all run by money (or is it run by spooks?) then it can be brought down by money, but on the other hand it’s kind of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

      My employment requires home internet. So while that’s the case it’s not even worth considering.

  23. Nathanael

    I’m going to make a subtle yet crucial point.

    The “total information awareness” surveillance state only works if there are *a small number* of dissidents.

    If EVERYONE’s email is full of plans to overthrow the police state, the NSA has to give up. They have no idea who’s genuine and who’s just venting. They can read it all, but they can’t act on all of it.

    This type of police state apparatus fundamentally depends on an underlying layer of public support. When that drops away, it *stops working*. The Stasi were so busy with their spying that they missed *actual* plots.

    (In fact, the Stasi were propped up primarily by the occupying Russian Army, perhaps the only people in the country who approved of the East German Stasi system wholeheartedly, because they weren’t German, and bigotry meant many of them didn’t care what happened to Germans. There’s no equivalent foreign army in the US.)

    1. Bruno Marr

      Sure…we can tie a ribbon on all the trees in the forest to thwart the timberman, but WE are still paying the timberman. Better to dispense with him forthwith.

    2. jrs

      Yea it’s been mentioned before and a really good idea, generating noise rather than trying to hide the signal (even if our signals our just are private communications we don’t want read). And of course noise can be automatically generated.

      Are we reaching internet bandwidth maximums? Haha wouldn’t want too much noise then. Now about my plans to assisinate Obama with a pressure cooker …

  24. Howard Beale IV

    Judge: NSA ‘Systematically Violated’ its own privacy requirements:

    “Ninety percent of the approx 13.25 million total Internet transactions acquired by NSA through its upstream collection during the six month period works out to be approx 11.9 million transactions. Those 11.9 million transactions would constitute the universe of SCTs [single communication transactions] acquired during the six month period, and .197 percent of that universe would be approx 23k wholly domestic SCTs. Thus, NSA may be acquiring as many as 46,000 wholly domestic “about” SCTs each year, in addition to the 2,000-10,000 [multiple communication transactions] reference above.

    . . .

    In absolute terms, tens of thousands of non-target, protected communications annually is a very large number.”

  25. habenicht

    Quick note:
    Is the link for the solar energy story broken?

    (Also on an unrelated matter, can someone clue me in as to what “kay fabe” is?)


  26. JTFaraday

    re: If You Love Martyrs So Much, Then You Be One, Arthur Silber

    Mmm, Sophie’s so-called choice. Now that is one movie no one needs to see twice.

  27. Samuel Conner

    Maybe the Summers trial balloon is deep kabuki. Unite Congress in opposition to him and in favor of Yellen, and then nominate her. They won’t be able to filibuster.

  28. cwaltz

    To be fair, it sounds as if Manning was having some major identity issues and problems dealing with his situation. There was a testimony that he carved the words “I want” into a chair with a knife before blowing up as well as testimony that he sent an email of him dressed up in makeup with him stating that he was dealing with identity issues related to gender identity. His superior officer was reprimanded because despite some serious red flags about Mannings state of mind he went ahead and deployed him anyway since they already had to leave a person behind.

    The fact that Manning was struggling with stress and his identity doesn’t negate the fact that he did the country a favor by putting the spotlight on how the ME conflicts were being handled/mishandled. It was a conversation that never would have happened if he hadn’t been willing to essentially challenge the system outside of the system. I am sincerely sad that he is paying for our knowledge with his freedom. He definitely did our country a service whether he had mental health issues or not(and if he does it is certainly nothing for him to be ashamed of; most of us would struggle if we witnessed and were placed in situations many of our soldiers get placed in. War is horrible.)

  29. Glenn Condell

    Move to ghost job and back gives Capitol Police chief big raises Journal Sentinel. Lambert: “Walker pays off his chief cop.”

    I have tried to find evidence of Mish Shedlock, scourge of public sector union pork barrelling in general and the Wisconsin strain in particular, railing against this outrageous waste and misuse of public funds, especially the shady means employed to manage it.

    I have had no luck.

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