Links 8/3/13

Glaciers protect Alps mountain peaks BBC

Apple faces new sanctions on ebook sales Financial Times

Terrorism Threats Cited as U.S. Issues Worldwide Travel Alert Bloomberg

Germany ends spy pact with US and UK BBC. Lambert: “Kayfabe”

IMF sounds warning on Spain Guardian

Last Call: Crisis Threatens Pubs, Mainstay of Irish Society Der Speigel

Places go begging at top universities Telegraph

Yale Commences With Singapore Wielding Subsidy as Rivals Depart Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Congress eyes renewed push for legislation to rein in the NSA Guardian

If Only DOJ Hadn’t Burned AP’s Sources … Marcy Wheeler

Americans pay GCHQ £100m to spy for them, leaked papers claim Telegraph

Grand Jury Probes Firm That Cleared Snowden Wall Street Journal

Our man in Moscow Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

33% Bad Data at the FBI Tim Durusau (Lambert)

Edward Snowden and the Political West A Fistful of Euros. Particularly astute.

Drew Johnson: I Was Fired Due To ‘Political Pressure’ Over Anti-Obama Headline (VIDEO) Huffington Post (Carol B). In case you had any doubts.

Chomsky: America’s Imperial Power Is Showing Real Signs of Decline Alternet. Not exactly news, but good that Chomsky is watching the fever chart

Chester on the Edge CounterPunch (Carol B). A different sort of American decline story.

Supreme Court Ethics Act Proposed In Response To Controversial Behavior By Justices Scalia, Thomas Huffington Post (Carol B)

Congress to get Obamacare fix: reports MarketWatch (Jim Haygood). Neglected to include this yesterday.

The Sleeper in Health Care Payment Reform New York Times. The fallacy is the idea that patients have bargaining power with their doctors. Try negotiating and see how far you get. You are sick, they have the leverage. And you have even less leverage in Obamacare, where as I understand it, most plans have you in an HMO. See here for one big reason we have a problem: More Medical Care: The Wrong Prescription for Health Reform Everyday Health. Now tell me how many patients are prepared to tell their doctor, “I’m not taking that test?” (I do but I’ve gone feral).

Conservatives hire Obama campaign chief in election role Reuters

Medicare for All’ Would Cover Everyone, Save Billions in First Year: New Study CommonDreams (Carla)

Swaps Probe Finds Banks Rigged Rate at Expense of Retirees Bloomberg

Warning lights are flashing in America’s credit markets Financial Times

In Complex Trading Case, Jurors Focused on Greed New York Times

The legal jujitsu of Goldman Sachs Felix Salmon versus The Rule of Law in the Financial System Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Banks Replacing Enron in Energy Incite Congress as Abuses Abound Bloomberg

J.P. Morgan’s Commodities Chief at a Crossroads Wall Street Journal. Long overdue.

Housing Shifts Into Reverse CounterPunch (Carol B). I’m hearing the same thing from people who put houses on the market (outside the NYC area), they’ve seen action dry up.

True Stories of Life as an Amazon Worker Gawker

Antidote du jour, all from YY (more here). I believe this is considered to be feline performance art, and the cats are mainly Scottish folds,. That means they are closer to being dogs than most cats are, in terms of willingness to indulge their humans. Still, I must note virtually all have a “boy my treat better be good” look on their faces:



And YY’s bonus:

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  1. psychohistorian

    Sushicat, what a hoot!!!

    You know that schedule where everything stops in August and in September everyone comes back and the world falls apart?

    I believe a number of factors are indicating that this August could be a less than restful month for many. If we make it though August without a major upheaval, contrived or otherwise, September with the debt limit and budget kabuki should make can kicking more hypocritical.

    When is Lucy going to take the cans that all these countries have been kicking away and force the game to change phase? Could enough truth out from Snowden show the austerity/financial collusion suspected but not proven…and more?

    We need a Snowden from the Fed, IMF and World Bank……..follow the money, as they say.

  2. Emma

    Re: Terrorism Threats and WW Travel Alert
    Wonderful for people to see the TLC from government flowing free. Because nobody sane would expect terrorists to be bound by scruple would they?
    Startling timing too – it is like Jumpy the Dog (great antidote) suddenly cartwheeling onto the keys of the piano.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “Current information suggests that al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.”

      Man, I hope these Hollywood-extra villains get a special bonus for their prompt 24-hour response to the embarrassing release of them XKeyscore PowerPoints.

      So now they’re gonna divert some of their CIA-supplied Syrian-rebel ordnance to setting off fireworks on Barky’s birthday? Feisty lads … when you’ve got ammo out the wazoo, any excuse will do for firing off a few hundred celebratory rounds!

    2. David Lentini

      Funny how the terrorists just happended to pick the time when Snowden get asylum and the NSA is starting to feel the heat from his disclosures. Jus’ sayin’

      1. barrisj

        The always astute and entertaining “b” at Moon of Alabama neatly unpacks this latest effort by the Obama Administration to push back on the NSA debacle by highlighting “intercepted communications amongst senior al-Qaeda leaders”, who presumably didn’t get the memo from Edward Snowden on the scope of NSA reach:

        Crying Wolf, Wolf, Wolf

        After weeks under heavy pressure for limitless spying on people everywhere the U.S. intelligence services conviniently detect a “threat” of some undefined future attacks. The “detection”, we are of course told, was only possible because of limitless spying on people everywhere:

        All we need now is Tom Ridge on the telly with his “threat level” terrorometer blinking DEFCON RED, urging all Americans to “be afraid, be very afraid”. In addition, the notorious “Benghazi” row, once an exclusive province of FoxNews, now has got CNN interested, with several rumoured reports of undisclosed “special Ops” activity by CIA personnel on the ground in Benghazi at the time of the raid on the US State Department compound, including the smuggling of salvaged Qaddafi-era surface-to-air missiles into Syria to aid “rebel insurgents”.
        Remarkable how Cheney-Bush ploys have been embraced by the current crowd as it concerns the manipulation of public opinion by evoking “terrorist threats” in order to divert attention from other shady and unseemly actions screaming for public scrutiny.

      2. scraping_by

        And, just a little after Pvt Manning was declared innocent of ‘aiding the enemy’ when he busted through the secrecy wall.

        Right wingers need enemies.

        Wonder if these are the same AQ we’re hiring in Afghanistan.

  3. YankeeFrank

    I don’t think those are Scottish Folds. Don’t they have ears that fold down like this:

    Btw, fantastic posts recently, especially today’s about the Eurozone. Fascinating. Is it safe to say that if the Eurozone breaks up it will tank the US economy as well? I was wondering specifically about all those european bonds the US banks were providing cds protection on, but I’m sure there are countless other exposures that could prove problematic.

    1. Ben Johannson

      Tank the economy, no. We simply don’t export so much to Europe that it’s a key component of growth. But there would be a fall, maybe enough to tip us into recession given our current anemic performance. The irony is the dollar would radically strengthen against the currencies which emerge from the states on the periphery allowing us to obtain cheap exports and cheaper vacations along the Mediterranean.

        1. Ben Johannson

          If Greece adopts its own currency and that currency depreciates relative to the USD that would be inherently deflationary in terms of the U.S. economy. For one thing the dollar would simply have more purchasing power toward Greek goods and services so we get more for less, assuming we keep buying things like we did when Greece was on the euro.. But it’s also possible that we may buy more stuff than we used to because we’re getting such a good deal and that means a financial and demand drain as we send our dollars overseas. That also would be deflationary unless the Greeks spend those dollars back into the U.S. economy.

    2. reslez

      Folds are very popular in Japan, which is the source of a lot of this style of cat video/picture. Japanese cats have a particular look — chunkier about the body and skull. A specific kind of calico. It would be hard to mistake them for, say, an American shorthair.

      I say this as a devotee of funny cat pictures.

        1. anon y'mouse

          I have a kooky cat who will do that, without the teabags.

          oftentimes, I find him sitting stretched out in front of his water glass (yes, he prefers a glass), with his chin resting on the edge, staring at the wall. is he meditating?

  4. dearieme

    Now tell me how many patients are prepared to tell their doctor, “I’m not taking that test?”

    I have frustrated my GP by refusing statins. I am now pondering whether to refuse my next scheduled endoscopy: I suspect the purging necessary before they push things up your bottom may have so changed my electrolyte balance that it brought on heart arrhythmias. I further suspect that they, plus the chance of damage during the procedure, are more risk to me than colon cancer. As far as I can see, there’s only me to balance the risks – all the doctors involved are either specialists or a GP who might, perhaps, recommend whatever is current, general medical doctrine. Though I’d better give the GP the chance to persuade me otherwise.

    1. susan the other

      I think there is a high percentage of people who simply ignore their doctors and refuse to take both their tests and their med. I’ve told my doctors on occasion that “I’m just not gonna take that garbage.” Their prescripitions.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Do you mean what we call a colonoscopy here, or are you getting another procedure? If we are talking about a colonoscopy, has your doctor discussed a virtual colonoscopy? Patient Safety Blog is on the same page as you re colonoscopies being riskier than generally acknowledged.

      If you get a virtual colonoscopy, they don’t have to put the equipment in you. So if they see no polyps, you’ve saved yourself the invasive and what for most people is normally the risky part. And the purge they use is apparently mllder than for the regular colonoscopy. But if they do see something, then you need to come back and get the polyps snipped, which means you have to take the super strong evacuation meds.

        1. LucyLulu

          Are you in the US? I seem to recall not. I suspect virtual colonoscopies are not available in Europe unless perhaps under private insurance plans….. or if you pay the difference in cost, as I suspect they are pricier.

          When was your last colonoscopy? In the US, if you have no risk factors for colon cancer, a standard colonoscopy is recommended only once every 10 years. Yves did a good job of covering virtual ones, but in addition, they are more likely to find incidental abnormalities (“normal abnormals”) that require followup with a standard colonoscopy and also need to be done every 5 years instead of 10. You’d be surprised how often CT scans, and MRI’s, show up these incidental findings that require followup, freaking out the patient needlessly. Sometimes I think they should be banned, or patients at least warned ahead of time. People’s innards don’t necessarily follow the textbooks and films get misread. I had repeated tests on my ‘normal for me’ liver and pancreas to rule out sinister conditions. Recently my 49 y.o. sister with three disabled children was told she had a lethal form of cancer by prominent Duke physicians. The ‘stomach mass’ turned out to be a loop of intestine and she had an inflamed pyloric ulcer.

          I believe in the UK they may have substituted annual fecal tests for occult blood for colonoscopies as their screening test for colon cancer (I read it some place but never confirmed so don’t quote me on it) but there is debate over whether their effectiveness is equivalent. Not all polyps bleed and thus would not be detected, while still risking eventual malignancy.

          BTW, I’m 56 and too chicken to get the test, so I can relate. Not scared of the test but the prep. I told my doctor ‘no’, I’d accept the risk, for now at least. I don’t find doctors have any problem with refusing tests, medications, or surgeries as long as the refusal is fully informed and not tainted by misinformation. In any case, one always has the right to refuse ANY treatment (unless suicidal or homicidal or deemed incompetent by a court), including ones that are clearly beneficial. Ignoring a refusal and administering the treatment against a patient’s wishes constitutes battery and can result in civil and criminal charges (in US).

          Nurse Lulu

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Since I am leery of giving financial advice, I don’t want to go into the realm of giving medical advice. However, I do have to note the US is the only advanced economy where everyone is told to get a colonoscopy at the age of 50. Everywhere else, they look to see if you have a risk indicator (besides your age) and/or do less invasive tests (like the fecal occult blood test).

            One risk indicator not commonly discussed in the US is how much beef you have eaten, PARTICULARLY rare beef. Since people in the boomer cohort were often big beef eaters until eating less meat became fashionable, there might be some logic in pushing the test so hard in the US. But my family wasn’t huge in the beef category when I was a kid and I quit eating beef when I went to college, so I consider myself to be at little risk. The problem here is you can’t have an intelligent conversation with doctors here on that topic: “Look, doc, no family history, have eaten a terrific diet for nearly 40 years. Are you so sure this test is warranted?” They push and you wind up having to make your own assessment.

            Plus what they DON’T talk about are the risks of the procedure itself. In 15% of the cases, the equipment wasn’t cleaned properly (major gross out factor) and people have gotten hepatitis from colonoscopies, as well as the occasional perforated bowel.

            1. LucyLulu

              I didn’t know that the US is the only society that recommends colonoscopies routinely at 50. Hummph. My intuition was right then after all. Seemed like a waste since cancer doesn’t run anywhere in the family, of any type, except skin cancers (Florida, ya know, before sunscreen). In my late 30’s I had a pilonidal cyst that needed resecting, by a GI surgeon. He recommended “while we’re at it, we might as well do a baseline colonoscopy and remove your hemorrhoids”. The latter part would turned a same day discharge into a two day hospital stay, and they had never bothered me since the problem delivery of my youngest that caused them. “While we’re at it……”, whatever…. I told him, “I didn’t think so.” If you consult a realtor for investment advice, you’ll likely be encouraged to buy real estate. Likewise, one is wise to remember that surgeons make their living doing surgery.

              I’d heard that about red meat (and a sedentary lifestyle), but not rare meat. Another risk factor is having an inflammatory bowel disorder like colitis or Chrohn’s. And of course any prior history of polyps found or family history. One really needs to be educated and willing to be one’s own advocate when it comes to healthcare. Outside of perhaps the elderly, more and more people are asking questions about the medical advice they receive.

      1. Bloated Mucil

        Not to boast of colon bravado but if this horrible-way-to-die runs in the family you’ll dive backside first into the endoscope lube. Some folks are able to do it mostly awake, and it can be fascinating to watch. The worst part is emptying the bottle of polyethylene glycol. I personally do not see the need for general anasthesia as a way to pad the bill, they’ve got drugs to make you feel comfortable or forget completely.

    1. Klassy!

      And for anyone who still had any confusion about what side the NYT is on:
      Some of Mr. Booker’s opponents are trying to denigrate those assets — his fame, his ability to work with Republicans, his coziness with the moneyed class.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Booker’s qualifications are that he said “Stop attacking private equity” when Obama briefly flirted with a populist line of attack over Bain Capital in 2012. Why do you ask?

  5. from Mexico

    @ “Our man in Moscow”

    Pepe Escobar says:

    Professor John Naughton of Britain’s Open University goes one step ahead, [2] stressing that “the days of the internet as a truly global network are numbered.” What lies ahead is balkanization – geographical subnets governed by the US, China, Russia, Iran, etc.

    Naughton also stresses that the US and other Western sub-powers have lost their legitimacy as governors of the internet. To top it off, there’s no more “internet freedom agenda”, as parroted by the Obama administration.

    I cannot help but greet this news with a profound sense of loss. Science and technology are double-edged swords, and something that could have been beautiful – a universal connectedness which transcended nationalism, parochialism and provincialism — has fallen victim to the War on Islam. I’m reminded of something Ralph Ellison wrote in “The World and the Jug”:

    They have made of the no-man’s land created by segregation a territory of infantile self-expression and intellectual anarchy. They write as though Negro [Muslim] life exists in light of their belated regard, and they publish interpretations of Negro [Muslim] experience which would not hold true for their own or for any other form of human life.

    Here the basic unity of human experience that assures us of some possibility of empathic and symbolic identification with those of other backgrounds is blasted in the interest of specious political and philosophical pursuits. Prefabricated Negroes [Muslims] are sketched on sheets of paper and superimposed upon the Negro [Muslim] community; then when someone thrusts his head through the page and yells, “Watch out there, Jack, there’s people living under here,” they are shocked and indignant.

    1. punchnrun

      Back to FIDONet but with encrypted communications. Or a low power mesh type packet radio net.

  6. Joe

    This just in: Saturday, August 3, 2013; Washington D.C.

    White House announces new program to be aimed at NYT, members of U.S. Congress and other groups of low IQ voters.

    White House spokesperson Ima P. Revaricator announced today that Dear Leader has begun a new initiative to remind the the cowering, slow witted masses that it is fear that makes us strong as a nation.

    According to unnamed White House sources, the new program will be called “Obamascare” and was rolled out with minor fanfare this Saturday. The same sources remarked that the new plan’s details will be revealed in secret to a a secret select panel of U.S. Congress “When we fucking feel like it”.

    Sources say that the bulk of the program will be implemented as soon as the White House can figure out a way “of having the stupid sheep pay for it directly”. The tenative plan is to set up government controlled fear exchanges modeled on the soon to be implemented health exchanges. “The idea is to force the entire U.S. population into having to pay a monthly stipend to a for profit corporation that will scare them into trembling acquiescence”, our source says.

    1. tyaresun

      I thought they already made a movie using this theme, Monsters Inc. Of course, the movie had a happy ending.

  7. from Mexico

    @ “33% Bad Data at the FBI”

    Patrick Durusau said:

    What do you think?
    If 1.8 million workers a year have an FBI background check and 600,000 may be harmed by a lack of accurate records, is that a problem?

    I think that for those who still think the Security and Surveillance state (SS) is here to “serve and protect,” their brains have turned to mush.

    One of the principle purposes of the SS is to manufacture the lies and fictions necessary to justify the state of permanent war. Here’s a great documentary video on the role these spy agencies played in manufacturing the “intelligence” necessary to justify the Iraq invasion:

    1. Gmarks

      The World That Never Was: a True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists and Secret Agents
      By Alex Butterworth

      The early anarchists were a convenient enemy against which the status quo was strengthened.

      Just finished a book on McKinley’s assassination… it now seems that even that was a false flag operation… Anarchism of the 1890’s had already taken out rulers in France, Italy and Russia…. the AMerican government was infiltrating groups and even orchestrated the Haymarket bombing…. OMG… it’s been going on for a century.

  8. Goin' South

    Re: “Medicare for All’ Would Cover Everyone”

    I guess it’s fun to dream. I’ll give it a shot:

    “Cold Fusion Would Solve Global Warming Problems”

    “World Peace Would End Misery for Tens of Millions”

    “Universal Practice of Golden Rule Could End Most Social Problems”

    In fact, given political realities in the U. S., two of the above are more likely to become reality than Medicare-for-all.

    1. eeyores enigma

      “Medicare for All’ Would Cover Everyone, Save Billions in First Year”

      Save who billions? and there for loose billions in revenues for whom?

      That is the key question to ask and to understand why none of the solutions you posit have a chance in hell of being implemented.

      1. Carla

        I’m sure that you and the nay-sayer commenting before you read Gerald Friedman’s study in full.

      2. LucyLulu

        Eeyore wrote above: “Save who billions?”

        US taxpayers. All of them will save money except for you. We already voted. You’ll see your taxes raised to pay for all those undeserving poor, elderly, and disabled.

  9. XO

    NC’s daily linkfest always leaves me sad. Not that the news does not need to be disseminated and absorbed — the sad part is that we can see the evidence of treachery all around us, but we can do nothing about it.

    We won’t know how badly we’re screwed, until the screwing stops. There is no reason to believe it will stop any time soon. We are not in control of it.

    1. Jim Haygood

      We are in control of our response to it, though.

      Friends don’t let friends vote Depublicrat.

      1. F. Beard

        I have to disagree. Republicans can be mentally captured by such stupid things as a gold standard or a balanced budget for a monetary sovereign or worse a surplus!

        Democrats, having a sloppier, less rigid form of mind, can arrive at rough solutions that are good enough, at least for a while, such as government deposit insurance, while rigid adherence to a gold standard helped kill millions, I’m sure.

        Right now, some kind-hearted people in Congress and the White House are the best we can hope for till the systemic problems with our money system are uncovered and fixed.

        1. punchnrun

          And, like the little boy on the beach, throw, the starfish one at a time back into the water.

          1. F. Beard

            Actually, new fiat is what’s needed in the economy plus reforms to keep the banks from inflating its value away. That should not be too difficult.

            Btw, kindness is not synonymous with dumb nor is cruelty synonymous with wisdom.

  10. from Mexico

    @ “Edward Snowden and the Political West”
    Alex Harrowell said:

    It is very telling, though, that one of the first reactions to the Snowden disclosures from German politicians was outrage that Germany wasn’t considered even a “Tier-2″ partner – probably fake outrage from those in the know. (As we have seen, this term has a definition.) This isn’t the reaction of people who are horrified at the thought of spying, though, rather that of people shocked that their investment in spying is not paying off as well as they hoped.

    When are the German and French lords of capital and their paid liars and bumsuckers going to wake up to the fact that they aren’t even Obama’s poodles (like the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia), but the companions which the US has purchased to keep its poodles company? Europe is entirely too “socialist” to suit the likes of the paladins of state capitalism that rule over the Anglosphere.

    An interesting aside: I was born and raised in West Texas, and there was a great story about a rich Midland (this tiny West Texas town at the time was home to seven of the Forbes’ Four Hundred Richest Men) oil man who bought a companion horse to keep his thoroughbred racehorse company. As it turned out, the companion horse went on to win the Kentucky Derby.

    1. Susan the other

      Agree. Haven’t read fistfulofeuros before. “Snowden and the Political West” was a great title; and as Harrowell says – it could have been titled Snowden and the politics of SIGINT. I’d just say this about der Spiegel getting the scoop on this stuff: Der Spiegel is Pro NATO. So this is a NATO thing. The German word for fake outrage is Deutungshoheit, meaning: always, always take the high road. So we now know that Germany as well as the UK were both active participants in SIGINT. To no one’s surprise. Germany might have used it for industrial espionage but regardless it was due to their “fundamental alliance committment.” Right, that thing once known as the Cold War, now suspected to be the Atlanticists Capitalist War – an attempt to save “capitalism.” For what?

    2. Emma

      Oz isn’t one of Obama’s poodles.
      Rather, Oz is a dingo who will incite A Cry in the Dark from Obama and his poodles……..

  11. Ms G

    The new thing in “housing”: “micro apartments.”

    For $950 a month you too could live in a 250 sq foot box with a murphy bed and maybe a shared kitchen. Mayor Bloomberg thinks that if you are in your 70s or 80s this would be a really great housing option for you!

    The $950 is only the subsidized “moderate income” price — if you’re paying full freight it’s over $1,000.

    And, you’d be living in Kips Bay, NYC! You see, Bloomberg sold prime real estate to a private developer for $500K (that’s a few wampums in today’s currency) to erect the demonstration “micro apartment” building in NYC! Oh, and since the City requires any living space to be at least 400 square feet, Bloomberg unilaterally waived the requirement for his project so the living “spaces” could be just 250 square feet.

    Hurray for Public Private Partnership: Bringing Squalor to the 99.9% Today and Every Day!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Holy shit, 250 square feet is smaller than a lot of ship cabins. And on a ship, you don’t cook or eat in your cabin.

      I can see it, in 10 years he’d be proposing dormatories for the old.

      1. Ms G

        Yes, dormitories and insect-protein squares (1 per day) for “people in their 70s and 80s.”

        Well London gets Bloomberg next. Maybe he can help out Parliament with some Deep Austerity Solutions to the UK’s housing situation: Voila, my fine British friends, I bring you Micro Housing! (He’s already written an editorial in the Guardian UK “advising” the UK government that it should vote in favor of a proposed gay marriage law. So it would only be a small step for him to start meddling in major rent-stream generating sectors of UK life, e.g., housing and real estate.)

        (Not that I believe for a second that this sonofabitch won’t be working mightily behind the scenes to keep his grubby claws in the FIRE money and asset distribution flows after he is “gone” in his official capacity.)

      2. Lambert Strether

        I don’t think it’s so much the size, but the social relations.

        I’ve done some of my best work in small spaces that, in essence, take care of themselves. But I chose them, and wasn’t forced into a dormitory….

        1. Ms G

          No one is being forced to move into those units … but that *is* how the City is spending its “affordable housing” reserves.

      3. F. Beard

        Thus says the Lord,
        “For three transgressions of Israel and for four
        I will not revoke its punishment,
        Because they sell the righteous for money
        And the needy for a pair of sandals.
        “These who pant after the very dust of the earth on the head of the helpless
        Also turn aside the way of the humble;
        Amos 2:6-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

        Well, victims must be to blame if we have a just society, some reason, except that premise fails from the get-go, doesn’t it?

    2. Gmarks

      Kleptocrats like Bloomberg still win elections. Could all the elections be rigged? Or are we just accustomed to blood in our panties after every shafting?

      Bloomberg et al should be McKinleyed…. I have new respect for the Anarchists of the 1890’s. They fought the fight, died like heroes, and changed the country, ever ever so slightly.

      We can make that difference too… but only if we get our hands dirty… why not? Our backsides are routinely soiled by vermin like Bloomberg… who should be denied even one more breath..

      1. Lambert Strether

        I deprecate rape metaphors for political relations. Not only is it a fallacy of composition on the order of “government is like a household,” it trivializes both the politics and rape.

    3. reslez

      If the world had justice Bloomberg would spend his own declining years in a 250 sq foot mouse house with no kitchen.

      Mark Zuckerberg would send his kids to a gutted charter school like the ones he designs for Newarkers.

      Bill Gates’ kids would be raised on insect protein just as he envisions for the families of the poor.

      Obama would graduate from the White House into a $8.25/hr treadmill with no benefits, no sick time, and the bare hope of Medicare and a tiny SS check in 10 years. Malia and Sasha would graduate college with $50k in student debt apiece and no job prospects.

      Congress and every single puffed-up policy dreamer on the Hill would receive the exact same health care and retirement they think is a great idea for everyone else.

      Wall Street’s blood sipping traders would be replaced by H1-Bs from India and Pakistan.

      If the world had justice.

      1. F. Beard

        If the world had justice reslez

        This world is a test, not a Utopia.

        But for those who pass the test, a better world awaits (largely because those who fail the test won’t be there?)

  12. allcoppedout

    There was much talk in the 80s and 90s about restricting US monopolies in satellites and Internet-telephone cables/infrastructure. Much of this concerned paying economic rents to US companies. What disappoints me is how uninventive the Internet and software we have has become. I’d rather like more segmentation such that I could leave the retail and lowest common denominator society alone completely. I suspect a lot of us would pay for this and given how most of the extraction processes for the likes of Google are based on advertising and phony claims, I’m surprised few are coming up with services worth paying for.

    So muslim is the new black Mexico? These fashions come and go. That we can’t make workers of the world unite with and through the technology is a crying shame, worthy perhaps of Harriet Beecher-Stowe’s classic on racism.

    1. from Mexico


      We LGBTs got to be the new ni — gers for a while. Now TPTB have moved on to Muslims.

      For those who think they can separate culture from political economy, I think they’re farting in the wind. Culture has always been one of the most useful weapons in the arsenal of social, political and economic control.

      1. Brian

        Culture. A synonym for rotting things to turn into a rotten final product. The decomposition of one thing to bring life to another. The imagination of a human to glorify the scraps left to what culture calls society. We must be careful what we embrace, before it too rots.

      2. Lambert Strether

        Culture can be part of political economy, have relative economy, and yet not be “separate.”

        On another note, it’s as of there’s a “Quantum of Negritude” that’s just shoved around and periodically projected onto new populations, an irreducible minimum quantity of psychic raw material for strategic hate management.

  13. Paul Walker

    That 33% FBI database error rate has already worked its way through one legal challenge with respect to use of this data base in determining continued eligibility for benefits under various SSA programs. The case: Martinez v Astrue

    Overview of Martinez court case settlement

    On September 24, 2009, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California approved a nationwide class action settlement agreement in the case of Martinez v. Astrue. The Martinez settlement changes the types of felony arrest warrants used to prohibit payment of Social Security Retirement Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Special Veterans Benefits (SVB). This settlement does not apply to cases involving unsatisfied arrest warrants for violations of parole or probation.

    A webinar regarding implementation guidance within the legal profession

    A tidy bit of history and linkages from advocates for the Plaintiff/class

  14. JEHR

    The sushsi cats do not look happy. Is this a form of animal cruelty? The music and voice that accompanied the video were hair-raising.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Ha! Cats rarely look happy, but especially when they’re being Photo-shopped in embarrassing situations. Clearly you’ve never been owned by a cat if you think they would actually stand still for such an indignity.

    2. diptherio

      I’m pretty sure the kitty-nigiri are photoshopped. That lobster doesn’t look at all convincing.

      No cats were harmed in the making of this sushi. Today’s antidote is ASPCA approved…

      1. bob

        More concern trolling for cats.

        Why no concern for the only body in the picture? Is it because it’s and arthropod, and arthropods don’t count?

        1. bob

          It’s also a veritable vegetable massacre.

          Whole bodies– not even properly dressed. Shameful.

  15. financial matters

    Warning lights are flashing in America’s credit markets Financial Times

    “Another risk, though, seems only likely to build. New derivatives trading rules and bank capital requirements are increasing demand for pristine collateral (Treasuries and the like) for short-term lending, but these rules are only now being rolled out by regulators.

    There is much, in other words, for financial stability hawks to worry about, even if the economic doves use the latest payrolls data to argue for a delay to tapering. The evidence from credit markets, and from high-yield and leveraged loan sectors in particular, is that risk-taking may be more widespread even than it was when Prof Stein raised his early warning in February.”

    This article points out that one of the benefits of tapering and thereby tightening the money supply would lead to higher interest rates on treasuries which would discourage more speculative investing. This of course should be balanced by fiscal stimulation targeted at building employment and industrial growth. And a better tax code that is not so rentier friendly.

    But the idea of treasuries as collateral is interesting especially in regards to hypothecation and re-hypothecation.

    Can banks use their reserve deposits at the Fed in this hypothecation process? At any rate it is a house of cards similar to fractional banking that is prone to disruptive runs if people start wanting their capital back. MF Global and Cyprus are two early examples of this..

    With re-hypothecation levels running at about 4:1 this has a lot of implications including various defaults in Europe which could snowball.

    “MFG has not, as yet, morphed into a systemic problem. But we are getting closer by the day. The Fed is aware of this. The risk is that customers start to withdraw funds and assets from other brokers. The deleveraging this would cause would be catastrophic. A significant chunk of the shadow banking system (about $10 trillion) is dependent on the liquidity that is created by hypothecation. (The situation is bigger and more problematic in the UK)

    Any changes to Reg. T will have profound effects on global markets. Not only the exchanges/asset prices will be affected, this has the potential to derail the global economy. We are already in a very dangerous liquidity situation. If the Fed is forced to change margin rules, liquidity will dry up for an extended period of time. Forced changes in Reg. T will prove to be a Black Swan event.”

    1. Massinissa

      The amount of rot in this country is incredible. I almost dont understand how we are still considered First World. How can a country essentially throw the majority of its hinterlands to the wolves and still be considered a civilized nation?

      1. Antifa

        Everything domestic must now be sacrificed on the altar of empire abroad. Every form of communication worldwide must be captured and used to dominate that world. Every continent must have an expanding military theater command. Our currency must remain the world’s effective reserve currency.

        Or our elites won’t get any richer.

        Why do you hate America?

    1. AbyNormal

      Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Love is the only thing that can save this poor creature, and I am going to convince him that he is loved even at the cost of my own life. No matter what you hear in there, no matter how cruelly I beg you, no matter how terribly I may scream, do not open this door or you will undo everything I have worked for. Do you understand? Do not open this door.

        1. AbyNormal

          LMAO Long-Term Prognosis:

          Because of your impairments, your life is destined to be one long train-wreck. A lobotomy might possibly give you a better outlook and more insight into your own behavior. It would also keep you off the dam streets, which everyone agrees would be a good thing. PS- You don’t hate your mother and father; you only think you do. Isn’t that weird?


    1. psychohistorian

      There is feral and then there is feral…..

      From Latin fera, wild animal < ferus (see fierce) 1. untamed; wild. 2. savage; brutal.

      from Latin feralis, of the dead, funeral rites. 1. deadly; fatal. 2. gloomy; funeral.

      I suspect untamed was meant but this Yves, so remain open to other interpretations……grin

  16. anon y'mouse

    there is no bargaining with doctors. they hold all of the power, keep the records in their own favor, and are gatekeepers for essential services from even OTHER doctors.

    I have been living for the past 2 years in the hell created by doctors who work for the insurance company and not the patient. tell me this—should a person who was in a car accident two years ago and suffered a whiplash-type injury be steadily getting worse even this many years after the incident? my partner has been to countless physical therapists and audiologists for his symptoms, but the former can’t help him sort himself out in light of lack of knowing what the underlying problem is and the latter indicate that it has nothing to do with his ears. meanwhile, the managing physician refused to push for testing that might have shown what was causing it all because he knew the Insurance Co. didn’t want to pay for it.

    basically, my spouse has a condition worsening daily and has seen many doctors who all shrug their shoulders about what it is, and yet refuse or claim they are ‘unable’ to refer him to neurologists or neurosurgeons who might be able to discover what’s going on. they’ve given him a lot of drugs that aren’t really designed for what he does have, in the hopes that the drugs positive side effects will alleviate his symptoms. meanwhile, we go doctor to doctor trying to get a referral to a specialist simply to diagnose why he can’t maintain his balance, has ringing in his ears constantly, fog in his brain, and various other problems which get worse daily.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Go on the internet. Find out nasty conditions that are consistent with your spouse’s symptoms.

      Prepare a WRITTEN MEMO and send it by registered mail. If you have decent records, list previous visits and indicate that if your spouse is later found to have any of the ailments consistent with the symptoms that they refused to look into despite repeated entreaties, you intend to sue for malpractice due to their failure to perform additional, warranted diagnostics based on continuing and worsening symptoms.

      Also consider an ER visit. Do your homework in advance as to whether an ER visit would be covered. An ER probably would do at least some of the neurlogical tests.

      But do the memo before the ER visit. And if you have any lawyer buddies you can get to look at the letter, that would be preferable.

      1. anon y'mouse

        thanks. I will definitely propose this plan to him. I was just venting a bit, as sometimes it gets to be way too much.

        in light of the article about Reference Pricing, I may be totally misunderstanding the concept but don’t think it will help too many individuals. yes, dickering between drug A vs. drug B on a cost-benefit analysis, or whether to have surgery over there or here would help those who can take the time to make such decisions (only non-urgent, almost semi-optional situations, like cataract surgery where if it takes time to get it done, the outcome matters little).

        more transparency would be good, but this is not how doctors do things currently. they make their choice for you based upon any number of factors—what they’ve heard/read, which drug company/med. device lobbyist has been to see them lately, whether they have a relationship with the specialists or any involvement in the supply chain. when they finally come to you with the single option that they feel is best for you, you are basically given a “take it or leave it” with the attitude that if you don’t want what they’re offering, you’re free to find someone else.

        I still don’t see how reference pricing is doing much other than trying to make the best of a bad situation. it still treats medical care like any other discretionary purchase. medical care is something that you either must have to survive, or need to keep your quality of life at a certain level. in the latter case, it might be possible to make tradeoffs for price but most people would still take all that they can afford until they are well. health is at the base of the Maslow Heirarchy, so the only other things that conflict with such a choice would be other necessary survival items–rent or food.

        who are these mythical people that take “more medical care than they need”? and do they do this in full knowledge of what they’re doing, or are they pressured by doctors who will make money off of such things (“if you have this done, you can improve your xyz” with the unspoken “but only by .006% after spending a few thousands”)? I’ve never met anyone who wanted more doctoring than they needed, EVER.

  17. Hugh

    The GCHQ story reminds me of fusion centers in the US. These are big inter-agency databases set up with federal, state, and local participation. It was pointed out early on that they would allow law enforcement to do end runs around restrictions placed upon them. If one jurisdiction could not get information because of legal limitations on it, it could go to the fusion center and get the info more another jurisdiction not operating with those restrictions. The GCHQ subsidy seems to have much the same purpose allowing the NSA to get around limitations on their spying of Americans.

    Oh, and if the German government wanted to make a real statement about NSA spying, it would grant Snowden asylum. But as we should all realize, the German government had no problem with NSA spying and made use of its product until this became public shortly before an election. Hence, all the Inspector Renault level indignation and outrage.

  18. barrisj

    Right on schedule, all the usual suspects who have slavishly and repeatedly touted massive surveillance as “necessary and proper” are on-air emphasizing the “serious and credible” nature of the State Dept.’s “al-Qaeda threat” notification. Here is, e.g., Rep. Peter King, forever a reliable voice for Big Brother, sounding the tocsin:

    Rep. Peter King says Al Qaeda threat is ‘very specific’ as US issues travel alert

    The Al Qaeda threat that prompted the State Department to issue a worldwide travel alert and close down 22 embassies and consulates for the weekend is serious and ‘very specific,’ Rep. Peter King, chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said Friday.

    “We’re not certain exactly where something might happen but it’s very specific as to when and it’s also very specific as to the fact that it is going to happen, so we have to be on alert everywhere,” the New York Republican told WINS-AM.

    Blah, blah…”internet chatter”…blah, blah…”potential threat…”, blah, blah…”significant threat stream”, yadda-yadda…”targeting ‘tourist infrastructure'”…blah.

    1. diane

      The initial ALERTS, a few days ago, noted that embassies would specifically be shut down on Sunday, the fourth of August, which just happens to be Obomber’s Birthday,…. I delight in imagining Mickey and Obomber’s Sour Faces that there has been no weeping and fear about that symbolic accent.

      The only birthday many will be honoring on the fourth, is that of the dearly departed Helen Thomas, and it will not be with death delivering machinery.

      Ooopsie, ….gotta go now……, some ‘thing’ at the door! Dressed in Black! ….with Face Shields and Stunning Weaponry! …..:0)


      1. diane

        07/23/13 Fearlessness in Pursuit of the Truth – The Betrayal of Helen Thomas


        When the news spread through Washington this weekend that the unwavering, pioneering journalist Helen Thomas had died, there must have been a collective sigh of relief throughout the halls of Washington.

        News articles and obituaries are obligatorily mentioning her retirement over political remarks about Palestine and Israel. They all will and should celebrate her trail -blazing career as a journalist and author. And now that she has died, it has become politically correct to re-embrace her, because now Helen is safe. She will not be asking the uncomfortable questions anymore, questions that made lying politicians squirm, as they stared dumbfounded back at her, always surprised at freedom of the press in action, at a woman who did not know her place.


        Get out your party hats UZer domiciled, come midnight (tomorrow’s the fourth, in the UZ time zones on this circular, whirled world), and blow Helen a kiss, in her memory.

  19. diane

    Yep, a person is pretty much forced to be the primary force in their own healing, as Capitalism has thoroughly destroyed healing as a vocation. Even when a physician may want to be a healer, they are under the jack boots of the Hospital System[s] they are usually hooked up in. Those hospital systems are generally run by non-doctors and those who could care less about the health and welfare of the patients forced to rely on those hospitals (whether that hospital is considered a [$$$$$$]Non Profit[$$$$$], TEACHING HOSPITAL!!!! …or not) the only thing that one might have in their corner in the physical realm is tons of MONEY and Lawyers at hand to frighten those Systems.

    I was told that a decision I made, which I had to insist on all by myself, to much opposing noise, humiliation and fear from those who were supposed to be healers, was not standardized medicine, but then congratulated that I made the wisest decision.

    And the ghastly IT/Online Med Records (initialized bit the deranged gwb, and furthered to near perfection by the totally deranged Obomber)! If people had a clue as to the state of those online med records: the stunning negligence and life threatening errors made – Meds being noted by patient as being potentially deadly to a patient, being noted as prescribed Meds; guesses being made to automated, yes/no spreadsheet questions that the patient was never ever asked -, the reporting of conversations with one’s Treating Nurse that one had every reason to believe would not be included on one’s Med Records (such as patient’s disgust and fear about the fact that Med Records about life threatening illness will likely be allowed to be accessed and used against one in trying to find work in the future) – especially, as to the patient being labeled as ‘patient is paranoid about medical records being shared’ when that sociopathic nurse is supposed to be concerned with one’s life threating illness, not in sharing her uninvited ugly, venal and ignorant opinion on that patients validated fears.

    The worst thing is, one cannot have their medical records [OPINIONS] changed, even if they are totally incorrect, they can only file a protesting document, refuting what was chiseled into their permanent IT NSA’d History, and will likely require tons of money they don’t have for Law Dawgs to make sure their protest is highly visible in their IT Med Records, let alone energy they couldn’t possibly be expected to have if they are life threateningly ill (and consequently broken, financially and mentally in this ugly, venal Capitali$t Mon$ter) ….

    1. diane


      And the ghastly IT/Online Med Records (initialized by the deranged gwb, and furthered to near perfection by the totally deranged Obomber)!

    2. anon y'mouse

      yes, they do tend to rely upon the “mental explanation” a bit too much. I know that mind-body connection exists, and you can have really good effects with placebos and so on, but it this “it’s all in your mind” is almost like a get-out-of-jail-free card for them if they can’t figure out what’s wrong with you.

      oh, and never go to the doctor’s looking unkempt. they must report your condition in the charts, and a lot of that is whether you combed your hair or shaved that day, or are wearing dirty clothing and so on. if anything is amiss, it can later be used to say that it is really your mental health deteriorating, and that your illness is being negatively impacted by that or it is entirely imaginary. also, if you refuse treatments, they can mark you as being “noncooperative” with treatment. if you are in a system like worker’s compensation, you can’t be non-compliant because they will stop sending your wage/income replacement checks.

      1. diane

        In my situtation I was very lucky that a surgeon ended up validating and fully supporting a decision I made to opt out of an invasive procedure that I couldn’t understand the need for.

        And yeah, I was horrified and outraged to find that a nurse could pollute my medical record with her unqualified and ill informed opinon (which had nothing to due whatsoever to due with my life threatening illness) that concern over the privacy of ones medical records as regards potential future employers was being paranoid. It’s bad enough finding work when middle aged, let alone being noted as having had cancer.

        I was also horrified at the unintentional errors I saw in my records, like mistakenly entering a med I was allergic to as one that I was taking and guessing at what seems an automated yes/no only (no blanks allowed) software template which is filled out post visit as to reactions to the med I am taking for cancer, because someone forgot to ask me some of the questions listed on the template. Since I actually like the nurses and doctors I am now seeing so far (but not the way the Hospital is run), it makes it all that much harder to deal with those issues.

  20. charles sereno

    I enjoyed the dog video, especially the mind-reading trick. At the 49 sec mark, the dog obeys the “look behind you” command before the trainer gives it.

  21. allcoppedout

    On culture I’ve just read

    The big idea here is that something we now regard as simple (cooking) was massive in cultural effect. Now, get out there like good children and be empowered by kwality and top management selling out your jobs like some spiv in a Western selling guns and whiskey to the Indians! I know history was rather different, but these guys are clearly the role models of our current CEOs.

    The link is about primate culture and killing the boss.

    1. bob

      It makes no sense to do that demo with explosives. All that succeeded in doing was putting a lot of very hazardous dust into the air.

      Feature, or bug? Less “dust” to clean up afterward. Did you hear the crowd say it stunk? Sulfur, from the old plant.

      Knocking it down would probably also allow scab labor without any safety measures to chop it up and haul it away afterward.

      Cutting it up as it stood, properly, would have required trained welders and safety equipment. Way too expensive.

  22. rich

    Michael Lewis on Goldman Sachs: The Company Would Flourish Under Totalitarian Rule

    Would you say that Serge’s story is the logical outcome of the financial crisis, or are those two things in contradiction to each other?

    The judicial response to the financial crisis, especially the criminal and legal response, has been bizarre. But it’s always bizarre. The Justice Department in Manhattan, the D.A., they’re very good at certain kinds of cases. Insider trading, theft of property from a corporation, these are easier for them to take on and wrap their minds around than what was actually the center of the financial crisis.

    In a funny way, the authorities, in response to not being able to prosecute the actual bad behavior that was actually really important, became more interested than they maybe should have been in peripheral cases that just happened to have Wall Street in the headline. He’s such a case. He has nothing to do with the financial crisis, except that he happened to work in the institution that is at the heart of it.

    The Justice Department, more or less, mistakenly thought that on the surface, what he did was cut-and-dried, and that it was easy to prosecute.

    They were right. You can put this guy in jail, especially with Goldman Sachs’s help. To me, the astonishing thing is that even after the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs can call the F.B.I., and on their word alone—about the value of what was taken, about the purpose of what was taken—get someone arrested two days later.

    It seems that whatever makes large firms better at manipulating markets also makes them good at manipulation elsewhere.

    [Laughs] I couldn’t get to the bottom of this, and Goldman’s people aren’t allowed to talk on the subject, but one day it’s going to be riveting to learn how Goldman Sachs, in 48 hours, managed to gin up this case and present it to the F.B.I. Who decided to do what and why? I’m not sure if it was all so malicious. I think it’s quite possible that Goldman itself didn’t know what he had taken, the value of it, the purpose of it, or anything else. As Serge says, there was no one at Goldman who actually understood the whole computer system. He said to me, “When I got there, there was a guy who seemed pretty well versed in everything. He left.” And there was such turnover at Goldman, and the system was such a hairball, that I think people knew pieces but they didn’t know the whole. Serge might have been as close as there was to an expert on the how the whole system worked. I think the valuable thing that Serge took when he walked out the door was himself.

  23. Chris Maukonen

    “Everyday Health. Now tell me how many patients are prepared to tell their doctor, “I’m not taking that test?” (I do but I’ve gone feral).”

    As do I. We would get along well, you and I. :-)

  24. AbyNormal

    A Negotiating Chip By Any Other Name
    “Tell me, folks, is there any sense of self-restraint among the apparent managers of empire? Or are they already too embarrassed from getting @ss-f@cked by their corporate patrons to be any more concerned about their personal image. They just let it all hang out and see who will step up and buy the next BJ.”

  25. Kim Kaufman

    re “More Medical Care: The Wrong Prescription for Health Reform”
    A few days ago I listened to a Lewis Lapham podcast discussing a historical book about the expansion of science around Galileo’s time. There was an explosion of doctors who were very popular with the rich who could afford them. The poor, who could not afford them, were much better off since the doctors mostly had poor outcomes for their services. I wonder if we’re devolving to that time when it’s better not to go? I also have ignored suggestions for getting more tests, medicine, whatever and had fine outcomes.

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