Links 8/24/13

The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life Smithsonian

Life at a snail’s pace: Video reveals why they piggyback one another, how they hijack slime – and top speeds of one metre an hour Daily Mail

Study: To The Human Brain, Me Is We Forbes

Should Fukushima’s radioactive water be dumped at sea? New Scientist

Ballmer bows out  The Economist (his farewell memo; tweets).

Market Size + Complex Systems = More Glitches Online WSJ

Elliott vs Argentina: It’s not over yet Felix Salmon, Reuters

Are we close to a recession? (update) Angry Bear. No; handy chart.

Bhide: Pick a ‘Boring’ Fed Chair Because Supervision Is the Key and It Requires ‘Dullness’ William R. Black, HuffPo. “Only a finance theorist or economist could think that bank supervision is ‘boring’ and that macroeconomics is thrilling.”

Where have all the cowboys come from? FT

ObamaCare Launch

Inside the last-minute scramble to stand-up Obamacare Sarah Kliff, WaPo. “Stand up” is such a tell. Insiderese, fallacy of composition, pervasive in the Iraqi “reconstruction.” Three years to implement, but LBJ “stood up” Medicare in one year, when mainframes roamed the earth?

Covered California enrollment website may not be ready by Oct. 1 LA Times. Out-of-control bloatware project slips date. Film at 11.

Obamacare’s Hierarchy of Privilege National Review. Even a blind pig finds a truffle every so often.

Obamacare Gives Children Cavities CEPR. Still no solid statistical evidence that ObamaCare has increased part-time work.

The Elderly May Not Be As Taxing As Generally Thought A Taxing Matter

Big Brother Is Watching Watch

Don’t Fly During Ramadan /var/null (diptherio). Must read.

NSA analysts deliberately broke rules to spy on Americans, agency reveals Guardian

Guardian teams up with New York Times over Snowden documents Reuters

Making Sense from Snowden: What’s Significant in the NSA Surveillance Revelations [PDF] IEEE Computer and Reliability Societies. Another must read, albeit long form.

Internet launches fightback against state snoopers FT (IETF: HTTP & Encryption).

Latest Docs Show Financial Ties Between NSA and Internet Companies Common Dreams

Three Illusory “Investigations” of the NSA Spying Are Unable to Succeed EFF

Obama pick for NSA review panel wanted paid, pro-government shills in chat rooms WaPo

Awesome photo choice by WaPo Corrente. Obama, announcing panel, wink winks. Did he nudge nudge?

NSA used PRISM surveillance on Kim Dotcom The Enquirer

Tech firms’ responses to latest NSA disclosures cloud the truth, experts say Techworld

How the NSA’s boss can believe his agency’s own propaganda WaPo

Scoring the game so far: NSA is winning, we’re losing Fabius Maximus

“The Short Answer is No, but Keep Reading” Official White House Response to “We request that Obama be impeached for the following reasons.” rips off poor people; let’s take control of our online personas mathbabe

Binding China to new superpower rules Asia Times

Can Egypt learn from Thailand? Bamgkok Pundit

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not about free trade. It’s a corporate coup d’etat–against us! Hightower Lowdown. Yikes. 

Bloomberg, Health Experts Denounce Obama’s Gift to Big Tobacco in the TPP Public Citizen

Race for Resources: Warm to Investors, Greenland Opens Up Online WSJ. Mining.

An intelligent network conquers the countryside RWE Magazine (Optimader)

Well and Truly Fracked 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 don’t get a food source with no expiration date”: British jars of honey carry a “best before” date. Maybe it’s an EU rule? If French honey jars don’t carry such a date then it probably is an EU rule.

    1. 12312399

      iirc, “best before” has not legal meaning/mandate in the US or UK.

      “best before” is just that. and a subtle encourage to throw something out even though it may be perfectly, safely edible.

  2. from Mexico

    @ “Study: To The Human Brain, Me Is We”

    Studies like this go a long ways to debunk America’s reigning mythology: the self-interest axiom.

    Nevertheless, I believe the way it is presented is a bit misleading. Sure, the incidence of empathy is greater towards those closest to us. However, to argue that empathy disappears with strangers flies in the face of other studies, such as those detailed by Paul Zak in this lecture:

    It seems only logical that the ability in humans to experience empathy would exist on a continuum. Some people may have zero ability. Zak calls these folks “bastards.” But on the other extreme of the spectrum I believe we have individuals who are able to experience what Albert Einstein called the “cosmic religious feeling.”

    These people experience a transcendent empathy, which subsumes the family, friends, the local community, the nation, racial and ethnic groups, ideological (including religious) groups, and even Christianity’s community of man. These rare individuals experience empathy towards the entire cosmos, which gives them a connectedness to the entire cosmos.

    Einstein argues that

    The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man’s image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.

    1. peace


      I’m always interested in research that examines universal empathy instead empathy limited to kin.

      1. Goin' South

        The article doesn’t limit it to kin. Here’s a quote that offers a limit well beyond close family:

        “Research in this category also dovetails nicely with that conducted by evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, whose work has shown that we seem to have evolved to cognitively connect in relatively small groups of roughly 150 or less people (often referred to as “Dunbar’s Number”). ”

        I’d like to hear what the anthropologists have to say about this.

        If true, this argues for organizing small and face-to-face.

      2. Nathanael

        It’s worth noting that we are, literally, ALL kin.

        That’s one of the discoveries of biologists: common descent.

        Most people have very substantial “clade bias”, preferring humans to other mammals, mammals to other animals, animals over plants and fungi, etc. (Not everyone has such bias.) This is a kin preference.

        Even a love of all lifeforms whatsoever would be a kin preference. There are some people who are obsessed with inanimate objects in preference to life, and I suppose they are in some sense lacking kin empathy.

    2. peace


      I’m always interested in research that examines universal empathy instead empathy limited to kin or friends or demographically similar others.

      1. gwen

        There is no such thing. Hamilton’s Rule – we are hardwired to care only for those who look and act like us. Everyone else is the enemy… or potential enemy. It’s evolutionary survival.

        Try as we may – we care for OURS, and disdain THOSE other people. I don’t know how many generations of multi culturalism will be necessary to change this… actually, multi culturalism exacerbates the hardwiring… ask a Minnesotan about how that Hmong immigration is working out!!

        1. Nathanael

          We are, literally, all kin, as noted above. Every lifeform on Earth. That’s common descent, which biologists have proven.

          Some people simply define their kin groups with larger circles than others. Personally, I’m quite fond of our cousins the plants.

    3. diane

      Richie Havens comes to mind, if you haven’t heard it you’d probably love his Wishing Well cd (not to mention those countless older songs I’m pretty sure you’ve already enjoyed).

      (waves to anon y’mouse; …. I love you honey, you’re a wondrous, boysenberry pie! ;0) )

        1. diane

          yummmmmm … ;0) …….. thank you so much dear, brings one back to delightful, berry stained fingers of childhoood! ….. ;0)

          … the scent takes me dreaming ….of wild berry pie ….

          and the wind hits my sales with the sound of your trembling sigh…..

          Wildberry Pie – David Wilcox

          ;0) ;0) ;0) ;0) ;0)
          ;0) ;0) ;0) ;0)
          ;0) ;0) ;0)
          ;0) ;0)

    4. diane

      Here’s a piece from that cd (in regards to my last post made in response to your post, regarding the Wishing Well cd):

      Handouts in the Rain – by Richie Havens

      You can talk about your neighbor
      You can grab him by the collar
      You can hurt him only if he hollers
      “let me go…let me go”

      But we all know that’s old fashioned
      And it can only lead to pain
      Where me might end up on the corner
      Taking handouts in the rain

      You can kill your foreign brother
      You can hurt him until he dies
      You can kill him until he never asks you why
      You’re on his land…you’re on his land

      But we all know that’s all over
      And that can only lead to blame
      Where we might end up for our country
      Taking handouts in the rain

      You can trample on your sister
      You can hurt her only if she cries
      You can hurt her only if she cares
      With all her heart…with all her heart

      But we all know she’d be a mother
      And that could only lead to shame
      Where she might end up for her children
      Taking handouts in the rain

      Teach your children stories
      You can fill them full of lies
      You can make them all despise
      One another…one another

      But when they all find out later
      And they call us by our rightful names
      And send us shamefully to old age
      Taking handouts in the rain
      Taking handouts in the rain
      Taking handouts in the rain

    5. allcoppedout

      I do think the moral landscape extends beyond self and nearest and dearest, but less sure I want to extend this into saintly heroes as facsimiles are all I’ve seen.
      A great deal of biology and scientific sociology supports focus on collective situations. The discipline of neurophilosophy is old and extensive as this short bibliography of one researcher-couple indicates:
      Churchland, P., 1986, Neurophilosophy, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
      Churchland, P.S. and T. Sejnowski, 1992, The Computational Brain, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
      Churchland, P.M., 1979, Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
      Churchland, P.M., 1981, “Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes,” Journal of Philosophy, 78: 67–90.
      –––, 1987, Matter and Consciousness, revised edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
      –––, 1989, A Neurocomputational Perspective, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
      –––, 1995, The Engine of Reason, The Seat of the Soul, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
      –––, 1996, “The Rediscovery of Light,” Journal of Philosophy, 93: 211–228.
      Churchland, P.M., and P.S. Churchland, 1997, “Recent Work on Consciousness: Philosophical, Empirical and Theoretical,” Seminars in Neurology, 17: 101–108.

      Sadly, the grim managerialists want research that will lead to control of behaviour in their terms. Much management popularisation – neuroeconomics and neuro-organisational-behaviour – is still constrained to neo-liberalism and excellence concepts with no scientific base.

      My guess is this level of research (the good stuff) may lead us to machine-assisted argumentative situations in which we escape biological limitations such as being built to win arguments rather than find the best ones, and limit ourselves (because of the win imperative) to arguments most easily supported by evidence and thus get further into reason by preventing these limitations.

      1. from Mexico

        Parts of your comment seem to resonate with what Jonathan Haidt says in this lecture:

        A commenter here on NC provided that link a while back. Was it you? It’s a great talk.

        Science, in theory, has a wonderful method. The rub is that most humans don’t seem to be able to stick to the method, and its practice gets corrupted. All too often hypothesis hardens into absolutism. When science meets human nature, it’s all the worse for science.

        1. allcoppedout

          It likely was me Mexico. A classic step too far is in stuff like value-at-risk models in banks that don’t incorporate actually selling a representative sample – the obvious empirical test. Much work in informal logics is concerned with arguments that mimic real ones, but are no such thing.

          1. allcoppedout

            We see little actual science on human nature in lay debate. Its generally not much better than soap opera stuff – economics relied on a complete fiction of the individual as a rational decision-maker. We do know a lot on human nature and our place in nature now, but instead of serious application we get nonsense like interpretations of Dawkin’s selfish gene as an argument for selfish human nature.

        2. Francois T

          When science meets human nature, it’s all the worse for science.

          You’re telling me! ;-)

          Michael Polanyi performed historical studies of how science worked in the real world. One of his striking conclusions was:

          there must be at all times, a predominant accepted scientific view of the nature of things […] A strong presumption [that] must prevail; […] any evidence which contradicted this view is invalid. Such evidence has to be {emphasis mine} disregarded, even if it cannot be accounted for, in the hope that it will turn out to be false or irrelevant.

          We just can’t abide by what we observe, can’t we? The all encompassing “narrative” trumps reality.

          It reminds me so much of a lapidary observation by Donchian on trading: “The most difficult thing to do for a trader is to accept what he sees!”

  3. charles 2

    Kudos for posting the “” link. The answer is still no. The water should be processed and the radioactive mud should be disposed properly (the bottom of the sea not being the worst place for fission products). However, the article highlights that one should not get worried by the fact that the content of a few tanks goes into the sea.
    The real problem in Fukushima is the potential for radioactive fire (a la Chernobyl) should the pools and the reactors not be cooled constantly. The water issue is a distraction.

    1. psychohistorian

      I am sorry but the real issue are the molten cores from 3 of the reactors that are somewhere under those leaking pools of water with all those tons of nuclear material.

      When those escaped cores find enough water to react with there will be a series of explosions that will send all that currently pooled nuclear material high into the air, sans water.

      I don’t want to estimate what happens then except for folks saying that maybe we should have tried a bit harder to save ourselves.

        1. Antifa

          Explosions of water and corium from the three melted down reactors would also blow apart the four damaged reactor buildings with their 1,300 “spent” fuel rods, which still contain the equivalent nuclear energy of 14,000 Hiroshima bombs. All that’s needed to release some or all of it is to let them overheat or expose them to air.

          Either option results in an unimaginably huge dirty bomb that will be an extinction event rivaling the asteroid that erased the dinosaurs a while back. Arne Gundersen says we’ll need to evacuate the Northern Hemisphere immediately if any one of those fuel pools falls down.

          That would take several days at least, since we’d have to get in line behind the Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Panamanians and Colombians.

          Air Force One might be able to get out in time, but I hear the Bolivians are prepared to force it to land in Cuba, to see if Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada is on board.

          In actuality, explosions at Fukushima are far more likely to occur when those elevated pools of fuel rods are disturbed by seismic shocks or by the inevitable attempts of engineers to remove fuel rods.

          Those rods are all supposed to be neatly vertical, kept a precise distance from one another. They aren’t supposed to touch, or be jumbled together like pick-up-sticks. When we start destabilizing the pile by pulling rods out, the remaining rods might fall into a tighter pile and go critical before there’s time to say &*%$!!.

          Down will come the other three reactor building pools, and they’ll go Boom, Boom, Boom in turn.

          There’s a solid case to be made for emigrating to Tierra del Fuego right now.

          1. Massinissa

            “Air Force One might be able to get out in time, but I hear the Bolivians are prepared to force it to land in Cuba, to see if Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada is on board.”

            LOL! LOL! LOL!

          2. davidgmills

            I am certainly no expert on radiation, but I think this is pretty sound — half life is the key. The shorter the half life the deadlier. Not all radiation is the same. Radiation whose half life is seconds or minutes or hours is highly deadly. Radiation whose half life is several days is much less so and radiation whose half life is months is even less.

            If there is good news about Fukishima, most of the radiation has half life of a few days (deadly enough to be quite serious) but which means by the time it would get across the Pacific, it would be mostly gone.

            1. psychohistorian

              I am sorry to inform you that you are horribly mistaken about the killing capability of the nuclear fuel at Fukushima. The half life of the bad stuff I believe starts at 30 years and the plutonium has a half life of centuries.

              1. davidgmills

                Absolutely backwards about half life. A real short half life is extremely deadly. A real long half life is not deadly at all. But isotopes of different elements can have different half lives. So both uranium and plutonium have differnt half lives depending on the isotope. Uranium 238 has a very long half life compared to uranium 235.

          3. F. Beard

            Get Red Adair or equivalent on the problem and it will get solved.

            Heck, how difficult is it to use a large helicopter with a sky-hook to lift those spent-fuel rods and take them somewhere safe?

            1. skippy

              The structural integrity of those buildings is next to zilch, any weight transference (loading – unloading) could bring the hole jingo pile down.

              Meanwhile the hole thing is just sucking up radiation like a sponge, then you have materials ablating due to extreme environmental factors, loss of structural capability.

              Each of the effected buildings has a unique risk profile which is subject to different time and space event horizons ie. minutes – hours – days – months, yet due their close proximity can influence each other. So fiddling with one could create knock on effects to the others in a runaway calamity.

              skippy… M2C… their pouring water on it… because its the – ***only thing*** – they can do… kinda like the derivatives problem… tightly coupled thingy…

              PS. I you want to pray about some thing… this is where you should orientate your plea…

            2. psychohistorian

              I would first ask you to pray for your hide bound ignorance.

              For your edification, hovering helicopters over the pools is no longer possible because of the radiation levels being emitted. Multiple of the fuel rods and the cranes above them that have fallen into the pools have already messed up the required spacing of the fuel rods.

              Pray for those faith breathers that convinced GE and Japan that the Fukushima design was safe.

              1. davidgmills

                the real shame about nuclear power is that we could have had an extremely safe source if we had used the elemnt thorium instead of uranium and used a liquid fluoride salt reactor. This was tried at Oak Ridge very successfully but the military wanted both weapons and power so they insisted on uranium power plants. Thorium is a very poor source of weapon material.

                A very good educational video on the subject of thorium reactors and also quite good about what went wrong with Fukishima:


    2. optimader

      RE:New Scientist

      A Rather bizarre vacuous OPED piece posing in a “scientific publication” –absent of logic reinforced w/ a bold claim.

      Read as: Ok, “civilization ” has polluted the oceans w/ irretrievable manmade nuclear waste already? so what’s a little more, lets give the FAKE ENERGY BALANCE applied to the nuke industry (as presently tooled) a do over and dump waste in the ocean.. Old saying applies, “nothing is free”.

      “..dilution would eliminate any radiation risks to distant countries like the US, says Simon Boxall of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK”

      Who the f-k is Simon Boxhall to make such a definitive claim? As a minimum he apparently has not spent to much time (honestly) contemplating the concept of environmental accumulation. Does he have a background in radiological epidemiology to neglect putting the words “I feel” in front of dilution eliminate any radiation…?
      My eye twitches when I see such a definitive with no evidence.

      Gee, how about “filtering it”, then storing segregated from The Commons and refiltering as the technology evolves?
      Ohhh.. yeah,,that cost money. Loop back to what is the true energy balance for a pressurized water reactor nuke plant.

      Maybe an enterprising company could import it and dump it in the Columbia River? Then we can re-export it as California “hothouse” tomatoes.

      1. Antifa

        It has already been published that whatever radiation goes into the ocean at Fukushima will be carried by ocean currents to the US West Coast, where it will be concentrated on shore at ten times the levels at Fukushima.

        1. optimader

          indeed it will. If dilution is the solution, I wonder if the author would be enthusiastic about tankering it to off the coast of the UK and dumping it their?

      2. Skeptic

        Agreed, optimader

        Criticism of New Scientist

        “The sad decline of New Scientist is part of the growing problem: commercial publishers neglect the needs of the communities (including academic communities) they purportedly serve.

        New Scientist appears to be published by Reed Business Information Ltd, a part of the Reed Elsevier Group plc, a FTSE 100-listed company.

        Recently the entire editorial staff of the journal Topology has resigned to protest the high prices imposed by the publisher, Elsevier, a subsidiary of Reed Elsevier. Read their resignation letter here. See an online article by John Baez, “What We Can Do About Science Journals” here.

        It is worth mentioning that Reed Elsevier is allegedly involved in organising international arms fairs. More information and a petition here. ”

        Lots more criticism at the above link.

        Years ago, I read my last article in New Scientist. It was about a company who had some new geewhiz gizdadget being used on the BIG DIG of Boston Fame. “The Big Dig was the most expensive highway project in the U.S. and was plagued by escalating costs, scheduling overruns, leaks, design flaws, charges of poor execution and use of substandard materials, criminal arrests,[2][3] and even one death.”

        But no mention of that in New Scientist. Just a lot of gushing and gollygeeing over the scientific marvels of this very English company, NS being English of course. Just a cheap and tawdry infomercial. I even wrote them about it, no reply. Scieshilling at its best.

        So, NC, beware of FTSE 100-listed media conglomerates carrying free gifts.

  4. from Mexico

    @ “Elliott vs Argentina: It’s not over yet”

    The larger issue here is that of the sanctity of debt. This can also be stated as the-creditor-is-always-right-and-beyond-reproach doctrine. In one corner we find folks like Michael Hudson and Steve Keen, who argue that there must some sort of massive debt relief or forgiveness if the world is ever to get out of permanent recession. In the other corner, according to Solomon, we have folks like the IMF and the governments of the United States and France.

    The sanctity of debt is a rather illiberal dogma, and has always served to highlight the hypocrisy which resides at the heart of liberal internationalism (aka liberal imperialism). As Jonathan Schell explains,

    events did not proceed as the liberal imperialists expected – neither in Asia nor in Africa nor in the Ottoman Empire. The economic arrangements forced upon those lands did not strengthen and liberalize their governments but undermined them and drove them, one after another, toward collapse. The Egyptian government, for example, accepted loans from Europe, spent the funds on large but unproductive public projects, and, when these failed, sought to keep up payments on the loans by raising taxes on the poor, who grew discontented and rebellious. The imperial powers then were faced with what seemed a drastic choice: between withdrawing entirely and imposing direct rule. They chose direct rule.
    –JONATHAN SCHELL, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence and the Will of the People

    Another milestone in the history of the paladins of debt was articulated by Thorstein Veblen. “The imperialist policies of the Great Powers,” he writes in “Review of John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace”, “including America, also look to the maintenance and extension of absentee ownership as the major and abiding purpose of all their political traffic.”

    He goes on to assert that it became evident in the Versailles negotiations “that the demands of absentee ownership coincide with the requirements of the existing order, and that these paramount demands of absentee ownership are at the same time incompatible with the humane principles of Mid-Victorian Liberalism.”

    “Bolshevism is a menace to absentee ownership,” Veblen adds, and then goes on to charge that:

    As should have seemed altogether probable beforehand, the stipulations touching the German indemnity have proved to be provisional and tentative only…, designed to gain time, divert attention, and keep the various claimants in a reasonably patient frame of mind during the period of rehabilitation needed to reinstate the reactionary regmine in Germany and erect it into a bulwak against Bolshevism.


    [T]o make the world safe for a democracy of investors – the statesmen of the victorious Powers have taken sides with the war-guilty absentee owners of Germany and against their underlying population. All of which, of course, is quite regular and beyond reproach.

    1. Nathanael

      Thanks for the Veblen quotes. That’s a Veblen piece I hadn’t read.

      Veblen really is the most apropos of the famous economists right now, isn’t he?

  5. john bougearel


    You probably should have cited this link about the Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP (a corporate coup d’etat over all sovereign nations by corporate entities) as Today’s Must Read.

    Public awareness of this critical issue needs to be heightened at this time given that Obama wants to fast track this for October and do an “end-around” Congress.

    From the TPP post:

    “a little-used, anti-democratic maneuver to choo-choo a bill right over Congress. Under this procedure, Obama is allowed to sign TPP before Congress votes. Then he writes an “implementing bill” to make US laws conform to the hundreds of pages of TPP dictates. That’s what he sends to Congress, where no amendments will be allowed and debate will be strictly limited.The idea is to force members to swallow the whole deal in one, hurried, up-or-down vote.”

    1. tomcat

      TPP is being brutally “finessed” like SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership of George W. Bush with Rice, Chertoff, Gonzales doing the heavy lifting in the “NAU” as chat of the golden “Amero” made the rounds of financetv). Only worse.

      “Sieg Heil” is the required response: TINA ya know.

  6. Thomas Williams

    Re: Don’t Fly During Ramadan

    I was riveted by this Big-Brother Horror story right up until he says he works in Venture Capital.

    After that it became a comedy. He is treated with suspicion as a terrorist and HE IS.

    After that, I pretty much laughed my butt off. Hollywood should get their hands on this. Maybe Adam Sandler as lead?

    1. Andrea

      Thomas Wiliams posted:

      Re: Don’t Fly During Ramadan.

      I was riveted by this Big-Brother Horror story right up until he says he works in Venture Capital.

      Right, and that is the reason he can make it public.

      Miranda, spouse of Greenwald, who has/had or not Snowden materials, is a similar figure, as pretty much ‘white’ but certainly connected to top players.

      Nobody complains about these ‘terror laws’ when Colombian girls are suspected of drug running, body searched, intimidated, and arrested, ‘pending’…or sad and lost teens with a dark look who have a bit of hash or try to bring in sausages, or just some Muslim Man under 40 who travels to US-Uk for biz, school, family.

      1. gwen

        VC’s deserve to lose more than their ‘rights’…

        I am anxiously awaiting the kind of urban warfare that takes them out in their homes.

        1. AbyNormal

          “The challenge I set before anyone who condemns private-sector business is this: If you are a socially conscious person, why don’t you run your business in a way that will help achieve social objectives?”

          Muhammad Yunus, Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

    2. diptherio

      Ok, time for a lesson in logic, citizenship, and basic humanity. Ready?

      See if you can figure out what’s f’d up with this statement:

      “I was riveted by this Big-Brother Horror story right up until he says he works [for Goldman Sachs/for an oil company/for a health insurance provider/]in Venture Capital…he was treated like a terrorist and HE IS.”

      Logical Fallacy #1–equating a human being with an industry or company that some find distasteful as a type of ad hom attack.
      Logical Fallacy #2–labeling an individual as a terrorist in the absence of any evidence that he planned on attacking civilian targets to instill fear into the populace (because, you know, terrorism actually has a definition).

      Citizenship Fail–all members of our society are entitled to the protections set forth in the Bill of Rights. Encouraging civil rights violations against people who work in industries one doesn’t like is a repudiation of the entire concept of civil liberties and belies an ignorance and/or disdain for the principles of a free society.

      Humanity Fail–“First they came for the Venture Capitalists, and I didn’t speak out because I work in sales.” We’ve been down this road before and we know where it leads. A citizenry that will not push back against authoritarian leaders will themselves be pushed ever further down the road to totalitarian rule. If we don’t recognize our common humanity and insist that everyone’s rights be respected, soon enough none of us will have any.

  7. real

    no news on Syria? i think allmighty US have declared war on syria..the military overreach might actually start hitting us economy now..

  8. denim

    Re: “Should Fukushima’s radioactive water be dumped at sea? New Scientist.”

    Surely, these people are paid shills or just brain dead.

    Reverse osmosis of the contaminated water would concentrate the radioactive elements on one side of the membrane. The concentrate would only be measured in pounds instead of tons of contaminated water. Duh!!!!

    “…In the United States military, Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units are used on the battlefield and in training. Capacities range from 1,500 to 150,000 imperial gallons (6,800 to 680,000 l) per day, depending on the need. The most common of these are the 600 and 3,000 gallons per hour units; both are able to purify salt water and water contaminated with chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents from the water. During 24-hour period, at normal operating parameters, one unit can produce 12,000 to 60,000 imperial gallons (55,000 to 270,000 l) of water, with a required 4-hour maintenance window to check systems, pumps, RO elements and the engine generator. A single ROWPU can sustain a force the size of a battalion, or roughly 1,000 to 6,000 servicemembers”

  9. rich

    Moyers: America’s Gilded Capital and Losing Democracy to the Predator Class

    “The political class has reached some kind of critical mass in the 21st century. There is something going on in Washington that needed to be called out. I do not think it can be sustained, and I think it is indecent. It is not how Americans want their government and their capital city to be.”

    I strongly recommend that you watch this inside look at the culture of unwarranted privilege, unprincipled greed, and self-delusional narcissism amongst the ruling elite in Washington and New York.

  10. fresno dan

    As it ever was

    “….create a new government agency to guarantee mortgage securities. They do nothing about the perverse capital requirements that penalize banks that originate safe loans while rewarding banks that hold securities backed by dodgy loans. They ensure that mortgage securitization, which has never demonstrated an ability to compete on a level playing field in the market, will continue to dominate the American mortgage market”

    Lets do what we did before …win-win (for wall street, originate loans, get bonuses. for congress, do what wall street wants, get campaign contributions).

    And as always, in our “profit and LOSS system” the losses are borne by those who can’t afford to make campaign contributions…

  11. Andrea

    About the article:

    The Elderly May Not Be As Taxing As Generally Thought

    Article is highly confused, all over the place, and very iffy.

    Some analyses attempting to describe the wild spending and poor outcomes of US Med care show that the US overspends on all kinds of stuff (e.g. drugs, malpractice insurance, bloated admin costs, will be familiar memes..)

    … And that underspending exists in only two areas:

    a) long term elder care, particularly home care (not covered at all or not well)

    b) investment in *durable, long lasting* medical machines.

    This series of short, easy-read articles – correct nos. afaik – lays it out.

    From the Incidental Economist.

    Frankly, I am not a fan of this kind of approach, but facts are facts, and one has to latch into the mainstream analysis tics.

  12. Eureka Springs

    Fabius – Scoring the game so far: NSA is winning is spot on.

    I tried to sit back and enjoy watching a few at the top twist in the wind, but they lied to congress, who obviously wanted to be lied to, circled the wagons while their power and income remains.

    Arthur Silber was absolutely correct when early on he said Greenwald and Poitras should have dumped all Snowden files immediately. And they should do so now. We the people twist in the wind each and every day as long as secrets remain so and as long as those Don’t fly during Ramadan stories happen, most unreported, or while the surveillance state and the Disposition Matrix continues unabated.

    Talk about bullshit jobs! Layers upon layers of them. Even a real terrorist, once detained should have a glass of water. Because, like torture, once detained it’s about who we are as a society, not them.

    We know the secret surveillance state is filled with liars and looters… if that is how society bases their sense of security then you are far less than a pawn in a game of thrones which will put you or a loved one through the wood chipper eventually, if not constantly. Just take a look around at the faces and body language next time you walk into the airport. It’s a fucking horror movie – no thorazine needed.

    I don’t buy Glenn G’s defense yesterday that he would never have/should never have revealed information like the Independent article. Either people have a right to know what governments are doing or they don’t. While I value Glenn’s scrutiny, I value nobody’s scrutiny so much that they should decide when and what we should know or nay. That’s new boss same as old boss BS.

    You can’t trust when verification is impossible, downright illegal.

    Bulldoze every NSA building, every server. Start with the new one in Utah!

    1. Expat

      I agree with you, but your position asssumes that “we” are in charge. As Glenn G. makes clear, we’re not, at least for now. And it’s the spectacle of David, Esq. versus Goliath, Esq. we are watching. We are not the jury, either, so it makes a difference if you reveal some information as opposed to other information. It’s a jury of their peers, so sunlighting a government tactic that is probably based mostly on secret (i.e., unconstitutional in the US) law wins points. Other than further discrediting the governments that have used our tax dollars to build their peculiar regimes, you are surely right that the revelation to the public serves no purpose.

    2. Nathanael

      NSA is losing the propaganda battle, which is the only one which matters in the long run.

      NSA is losing because they’re deranged and acting spectacularly stupid. Nobody trusts them in any way and nobody will ever trust them again.

      1. Fabius Maximus


        I have a different perspective on these events. Understanding the true picture — what is, not what we wish it was — is essential for any change of reform.

        “NSA is losing because they’re deranged and acting spectacularly stupid. ”

        The NSA is not deranged. Failure to understand opponents’ actions is an orientation failure, and a frequent cause of defeat. They are a powerful and purposeful agency. They’re just not working for us.

        The NSA is not stupid, they’re strong. The security failure by Snowden is inevitable. Their response to it will show their degree of operational effectiveness. Some guess that this is the first of many such defections by their employees and contractors’ employees. My guess is that they are right now working to detect low-loyalty employees, and make more difficult such large thefts of information.

        “Nobody trusts them in any way and nobody will ever trust them again.”

        Why do they care if you or I trust them? They work for our rulers, not you or me. Guessing, they’re probably happy if we fear them.

    3. kate

      true about the thorazine airports. love that. went to my airport recently, not to go anywhere, but to hang out and take photos. took snaps of an arcade claw machine (gloria fashion jewelry and a peace sign bottle cap ornament) and a lower back tattoo decal machine (50 cents) to get some sense of life. the shadows on the clean and shiny airport floor had more animation than the people casting the shadows.

  13. Hugh

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation for a new Church Commission on Intelligence succumbs to the commonsense paradox. There are no Frank Churchs in the Congress to run such a commission. Even if there were a few, the Congressional leadership of both parties wouldn’t let them near such a commission. To get a new Church commission, we would need a totally different Congress. Of course, if we had had such people before, the need for a Church commission would never have arisen. That’s the commonsense paradox: expecting people to fix problems which they have created and profited from.

  14. Hugh

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s call for a new Church Commission on Intelligence succumbs to the commonsense paradox. There are no Frank Churchs in the Congress to run such a commission. Even if there were a few, the Congressional leadership of both parties wouldn’t let them near such a commission. To get a new Church commission, we would need a totally different Congress. Of course, if we had had such people before, the need for a Church commission would never have arisen. That’s the commonsense paradox: expecting people to fix problems which they have created and profited from.

  15. rich

    NY sues ‘Trump University’ and its get-rich claims

    ALBANY, N.Y. —

    New York’s attorney general sued Donald Trump for $40 million Saturday, saying the real estate mogul helped run a phony “Trump University” that promised to make students rich but instead steered them into expensive and mostly useless seminars, and even failed to deliver promised apprenticeships.

    Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says many of the 5,000 students who paid up to $35,000 thought they would at least meet Trump but instead all they got was their picture taken in front of a life-size picture of “The Apprentice” TV star.

    “Trump University engaged in deception at every stage of consumers’ advancement through costly programs and caused real financial harm,” Schneiderman said. “Trump University, with Donald Trump’s knowledge and participation, relied on Trump’s name recognition and celebrity status to take advantage of consumers who believed in the Trump brand.”

    A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately return a request for comment Saturday.

    The lawsuit says many of the wannabe moguls were unable to land even one real estate deal and were left far worse off than before the lessons, facing thousands of dollars in debt for the seminar program once billed as a top quality university with Trump’s “hand-picked” instructors.

    Schneiderman is suing the program, Trump as the university chairman, and the former president of the university in a case to be handled in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. He accuses them of engaging in persistent fraud, illegal and deceptive conduct and violating federal consumer protection law. The $40 million he seeks is mostly to pay restitution to consumers.
    “Unlike some who are willing to turn a blind eye to fraud in exchange for campaign contributions, the attorney general is willing to follow an investigation wherever it may lead, even if that means investigating people with whom he’s had a relationship, Schneiderman spokesman Andrew Friedman told The Associated Press.

  16. rich

    Max talks to Ann Pettifor of about the Alice in Wongaland economy in the United Kingdom where people borrow from payday lenders in order to live and, instead of lending to the economy, the economy is lending to banks.

    They also discuss interest rate apartheid, carry trades and public unrest.

    She asks some good questions….and raises good points.

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