Links 9/14/13

Excerpts From The Mad Scientist’s Handbook: So You’re Ready to Vaporize a Human Scientific American

Meet ‘Titstare,’ the Tech World’s Latest ‘Joke’ from the Minds of Brogrammers Atlantic (Chuck L)

Crying Kids on Planes Spawn Child-Free Zones, Flight Nannies Bloomberg. Lambert: “Finally!”

Apple’s Fingerprint ID May Mean You Can’t ‘Take the Fifth’ Wired (Chuck L). I’m prepared not to buy a single Apple product in the future over this. Appalling. Maybe someone should point out this innovation might also produce a black market in dead people’s index fingers (see the Liam Neeson “Under Suspicion” for a fictional precursor)

Julia Gillard: losing power ‘hits you like a fist’ – exclusive Guardian

Teachers and police clash in Mexico BBC

Germany’s Bismarck temptation and secret pacts with Russia Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Egypt pursues crackdown on Sinai militants as protests held Reuters


Saudis Sending Death Row Prisoners to Fight With Rebels in Syria DS Wright, Firedoglake

Rewarding ‘Group Think’ on Syria Consortium News (zygmuntFRAUDbernier)

Who Benefits From America’s State of Perpetual War? Chuck Spinney, Counterpunch

Buck Up, America! We Must Have More War! Kevin Drum. Lambert: “When you’ve lost Kevin Drum..”

Syrian Chemical Attack: More Evidence Only Leads to More Questions Global Research (Doug Terpstra). Holy moley.

Obama senior adviser hospitalized twice last week Reuters. Lambert: “At 37?? Sure seems like WH stressed out.”

Texans in Dark on Obamacare as Enrollment Startup Looms Bloomberg

Taft-Hartley Plans Have No Legal Way To Be Eligible For Obamacare Subsidies: White House Official Huffington Post. Lambert: “Obama to unions: drop dead.”

The Pentagon Helped Pay for Gas on These Billionaires’ Private Jets Gawker

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Time to tame the NSA behemoth trampling our rights Guardian

Greenwald to testify at spy probe BBC. Brazil. But still…

Fed Message Muddled as Misunderstood Taper Meets Slowing Growth Bloomberg

A Generation ‘Lost’ in the Job Hunt Wall Street Journal

Baltic Dry misfiring again MacroBusiness

Lehman collapse: blame capitalism? Guardian

Senate hurdles increase for Summers Financial Times

Language barriers? The impact of non-native English speakers in the classroom VoxEU

Antidote du jour. Tawal’s cat Smokey is 14!


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  1. Richard Kline

    So you’re in a road accident, and not visible off the roadway. You’re phone’s OK, and you have a signal! Your signature finger’s abraded . . . . Thanks again, Apple, for tech we don’t need _but you do!_ Of course, this will be promptly imitated by other smartphone producers ‘to keep up.’ Hopefully, there’s be a way to disable it.

    1. MacCruiskeen

      Let’s not forget that Apple didn’t invent this technology, nor were they the first to deploy it (it’s been available on laptops for a while now), and they won’t be the last, either. As with many things, Apple just gets more attention for it.

      1. optimader

        I would never purchase a device w/ a fingerprint being the exclusive security interlock. Is a fingerprint the currently the exclusive security interlock choice w/ any laptop?

    2. David

      The fingerprint sensor is not the only way to unlock the iPhone 5S.

      It is an option that you can use or not use everytime you pick up the phone.

      Your scenario would never happen.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Puhleeze. Are you just naive or a shill?

        “Optional” will become mandatory over time if consumers don’t go batshit. Trust me. Look at how the use of DNA recording is creeping up. First only felons and convicts. Now if you are merely arrested, not even charged. the police can take a DNA sample. Talk about more de facto restrictions on the right to assembly (it’s now common to round up protestors, hold them overnight to harass them, and release them without charging them. That now becomes a way to get them in the DNA database too).

        1. skippy

          User interface marketing study would show propensity to use visual bauble screen shlock as primary choice…. its a feature and not a bug for sure.

          skippy… forced devolution via higher neuroscience – psychoanalytic capacity… what a way to go… the juxtaposition is ludicrous…

  2. Richard Kline

    That Global ‘Report’ shuck and jive on the gas attacks in Ghouta is utter rot. A great deal is known about the incident, via first hand reports, material evidence, video from multiple sources, the UN inspectors themselves, and more.

    Or go to Human Rights Watch to read it in html. Or bother to read the international press who have discussed the details of this in large part for the last three weeks, folks.

    Is ‘everything’ known? Of course not. However, it is completely disingenous, not to say a lie, for any commentator to say “We have no good facts.” There is very considerable evidence for What, Where, and How regarding the gas bombardment in Ghouta, Damascus, Syria. Very _inconvenient_ facts for those who want this issue to just blow away.

      1. Synopticist

        HRW in the middle east is almost an offshoot of the right wing lebanese march 14th hariri block and their saudi sponsors. They’re not unbiased observers.
        Likewise Amnesty have always had a big problem dealing with crimes commited by Jihadis rather than states.

        These groups have accumulated a certain degree of political power over the years, and have become currupted by it.

        1. LucyLulu

          Which one is it? Is HRW pro-Israeli or pro-March 14th Alliance? Other than both being anti-Syria, the two groups seem to have interests that are too mutually exclusive for both to be true. I mean, pro-Saudi Sunnis and pro-Jews?

          1. Emma

            If Abū al-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī, the blind Syrian philosopher were still alive, I wonder what he would make of the Syria conflict in its’ entirety…..

          2. Roland

            Important elements of the March 14 coalition in Lebanon colluded with the Israeli government during the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

            The lid blew off that scandal thanks to Wikileaks.

    1. Whistling in the Dark

      From RK’s link, first page, their “About Us”:
      “We challenge
      governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international
      human rights law. ”

      E.g, the UN Security Council? Then, Richard, I suppose you won’t mind if we wait until it has found that a violation of international law has occurred that merits a punitive military action? What else would “respect [of] human rights law” entail? I mean, someone has to first codify and then enforce the law, right? Gassing people is against the law? So, we apprehend them (by duly authorized force) and then try them in a recognized court, no?

      Are we just heading for some crisis of the human rights law system? (Which I am quite ignorant about, if anyone cares to enlighten me.)

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Richard tried getting me to flog that HRW piece via e-mail. His little problem is I’m on a listserv that includes DC iniders whose bosses are Congresscritters on the key committees, meaning they have seem some of the intel. They’ve seen the HRW report and dismissed it. HRW is known to be hawkish.

      1. Richard Kline

        Contest the facts, please, Yves, not individuals’ ad hominem views of the organization. The point was ‘content’ and here is content. I have no use for insiders’ personal agendas, repeated to you. If they have better or different _substantive evidence_, cite it. If they don’t, their opinion has no relevance.

        Again, you repeat the ‘HRW is hawkish’ canard _without the slightest support_; that’s simply a slander. HRW has been intensely critical of Israel’s conduct in Gaza and the Occupied Territories, for instance, and _that_ inconvenient truth has earned HRW intense dislike on Capitol Hill. You don’t seem aware of that. HRW was critical of Israel regarding the Gaza flotilla attack, including defending and corroborating the testimony of Americans in that flotilla when US State and Congress flatly told HRW to shut up and butt out. Is that the ‘hawkish’ stance you repeat _without substantiating_? You did not tell me in our exchange that your inside whisperers were on The Hill. HRW has deeply embarrassed folks in both parties on The Hill, who like them less than they like Ed Snowden, not least because HRW keeps putting forward the best evidence which catches out insiders’ Game of Leaks. Now, say again: what is the quality of that inside ‘opinion?’

        I asked you in our email exchange whether you knew or could critique HRW’s actual record of recording incident data, and to what degree they have been subsequently corroborated. You didn’t reply. You indicate, here, no familiarity whatsoever with that recored. I can’t take your view on ‘hawkish’ as competent, frankly. The evidence in this report alone, to say nothing of media reports separate from that, completely contradicts your ‘probably the insurgents but Nobody Really Knows’ position, and it is simply not credible of you not to engage the evidence but to throw unsupported spitballs at the source.

        This has been an evidence-based blog to this time. In this issue, not at all is that the case. Show me where are were wrong, and you have a case. Absent that, all you have is a bias.

  3. psychohistorian

    The Syrian Chemical attack, more evidence leads to more questions is a good summary of what really happened. That Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia is one of the players in this situation should surprise no one……9/11 anyone.

    I keep hoping for a Snowden type release of plutocratic planning of these sorts of global manipulations. If we really are sucking up all global communications then the plutocratic planning and coordination should be somewhere in there also.

    I want my pony to be seeing the global plutocrats like Prince Bandar and the puppets in waiting like our current and last president in rooms without keys at the Hague. War crimes are just the entry fee.

    1. susan the other

      +100 wows for this Global Research report on the Syrian chemical attack. Of note: “Maqsoud is convinced the chemical weapons strike was launched at the behest of Washington and on Washington’s orders.” Are we sick yet? And more info on the naughty Prince Bandar who is probably orchestrating the whole thing including threatening Russia… Bandar sounds naughty enough to be hanged by anybody’s laws.

  4. kimyo

    from the gillard piece:

    She acknowledges she “erred by not contesting the label ‘tax’ for the fixed price period of the emissions trading scheme”.

    “I feared the media would end up playing constant silly word games with me, trying to get me to say the word ‘tax’

    she was elected, at least in part, due to her promise NOT to implement a carbon tax. it requires a john kerry-like suspension of reality to conclude that everything would be fine if only it wasn’t called a tax.

    Ms Gillard announced before the 2010 election that there would be no carbon tax under a government she led.

    Today she again defended her decision to introduce a carbon tax….

      1. Alexa

        You nailed it, Butch. But unions can turn this around–especially the AFL-CIO.

        An excerpt from my previous comment:

        Taft-Hartley Plans Have No Legal Way To Be Eligible For Obamacare Subsidies: White House Official

        . . . On Friday, a White House official said the Treasury Department has crafted a letter explaining how it “does not see a legal way” for Taft-Hartley planholders to receive tax credits from the Affordable Care Act marketplace, along with the previously-afforded benefit of tax breaks attached to employer-provided health insurance.

        The official also stressed that the administration would work with affected individuals and employers to find options through the Obamacare marketplaces. . . .

        . . . According to a Politico Q&A released Thursday, approximately 20 million people utilize Taft-Hartley plans. . . .

        20 Million People? Clearly, they have the leverage.

        So let’s see what the AFL-CIO does with it!

        Then I found this piece [link below]:

        Union leaders, Menino huddle on Senate race strategy
        [A Typical Example of “the Democrats” directing union policies and electoral strategies.]

        In 2010, after Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in the special election, a poll found that 49 percent of union voters chose the Republican.

        This somewhat backs up the labor attorney’s assertion that the defeat of Ms. Coakley was partly (if not primarily) due to union “blowback” from the passage of the ACA. [And not just a result of a poorly run campaign, etc.]

        It’s interesting how one rarely hears this analysis in the MSM (much less the progressive media). Guess the PtB are afraid that unions “might get some ideas, and actually stand up to their union bosses and the Washington Establishment Dems–Heaven Forbid!”

        After all, this pledge was included in Resolution 54, which passed during the AFL-CIO convention this week:

        NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the AFL-CIO reaffirms the health care resolutions adopted by the 2009 convention, including the commitment to pursue health care for all ultimately through a single-payer system;

        Bottom Line: 20 Million People Can Change The Outcome Of Any Election–Will The AFL-CIO Have The Courage To Use Their People-Power, And Extract Changes To The ACA, Or Else?

        We’ll see . . .

        1. neo-realist

          I thought Brown’s victory was part in parcel Brown’s campaigning charisma–The regular moderate white guy who drives a pickup truck and could probably fix your clogged sink if you asked him. Whereas Coakley came off as somebody who couldn’t be bothered with hob nobbing with the rabble and would probably wipe her hands with disinfectant after shaking hands on the campaign trail.

          The personal is the political

          1. Alexa

            Hey, neo-realist, what you just stated above is exactly what the corporate media wants everyone to think.

            But hey, I’m sorry, I’m not sure if you are in agreement with the MSM and Democratic Party spin, or if your comment was intended as snark–that anyone would think it was a “protest vote” against the PPACA.

            IOW, I don’t have a clue what your political leanings are–;-).

            At any rate, I do believe that there was a “backlash vote” against the passage of the PPACA by some of the more savvy union members in this 2010 race (who even then, fully understood the ramifications of the PPACA on the union plans which fall under The Taft-Hartley Act).

            And that the PPACA is very detrimental to some of the union health insurance plans, is–to my mind–clearly not an “unintended consequence” on the part of Union Bosses.

            What else can they (union bosses) say to the rank-and-file union members whom they’ve sold out?

            But, I could be wrong . . .

            1. neo-realist

              Alexa, I’m a lefty—voted for Jill Stein in 2012. I don’t have any animus against Coakley, but IMO, she really did come off as a candidate who wasn’t all that personable. Brown, regardless of what you think of his politics, came off as a personable guy who could be your good neighbor; this appeal resonates with a lot of people who don’t read Firedoglake, NC, or truthdig.

              I don’t doubt that ACA was a factor in Coakley’s defeat, but not connecting with Main Street can sink many a candidate, e.g., Stevenson, Kerry, Romney.

              1. Alexa

                Point well-taken–hope I didn’t come across as “contentious” when making my point.

                I’m certainly not from Massachusetts–so I have “zero” first-hand knowledge of the race–only what I read.

                Actually, I was very “heartened” when I read the accounts of several self-described labor activists/attorneys who claim to know that the loss to Brown was not solely based upon “cultural” interests or leanings (for a lack of better terms)–but that it was, at least for some union members, a “protest vote” over the passage of the ACA.

                But yes, from what I read and observed, Coakley was a bit “challenged” shall we say, when it came to having an appealing personality. And sadly, that sometimes figures much too heavily, in many political races.

                Hey, I admit it–I’m pretty much “desperate” to believe that some of the Democratic Party base, still has some spine. ;-)

                [Oh, I too voted “Third Party” in 2012. It felt great not to vote for the LOTE, for a change!]

          2. Lambert Strether

            If the Coakley who took $60 million from Goldman Sachs had run, she would have won going away.

            However, that Coakely was replaced by a body double who went to DC and sucked up to the Democrats doing fundraising, and then adopted their talking points, when it had become clear that the Democrats were all about bailouts, period, and were doing squat for homeowners and working people.

            Not only did Coakley lose, she deserved to lose because she ran a rotten campaign. The voters punished the Democrats in the only way possible in a two-party system (and some of them did that by staying home).

            Adding… As a bonus, when Brown came in, the Democrats got to whine about Those Mean Republicans, instead of taking responsibility for their own actions).

        2. Lambert Strether

          “Will The AFL-CIO Have The Courage To Use Their People-Power, And Extract Changes To The ACA, Or Else?”

          Simple answers to simple questions:


          Note that the AFL-CIO national leadership is very different from the locals. Also, the National Nurses Union is great on single payer, and I think they are AFL-CIO. (SEIU, which has been horrible on single payer, and has been, quelle surprise, rewarded with ObamaCare marketing contracts, is not AFL-CIO.

          1. Alexa

            Lambert, you know that I’m as skeptical as they come, LOL!

            But, because of the fact that they did “defy” the White House’s attempt at intervention–in regard to the passage of Resolution 54 this week, which reiterates their support of the adoption of a single-payer health care system–I guess that I’m willing to give give the AFL-CIO the benefit of the doubt for now–at least, until they prove to be “BSing,” again. [And granted–they may be.]

            One of the obstacles that unions face is that the greater progressive community, at times, does not seem willing to “have their backs.” And sometimes, that has included me.

            And part of that is because the unions have “backed down” so many times–sort of the “Little Boy That Cried Wolf Scenario.”

            But I truly believe that this time, with SO MUCH at stake for as many as 20 million union members (and/or family members)–I can believe that they really may break ranks with the Democratic Party Leadership and the Administration.

            They’d be crazy not to, with their leverage right now.

            Dems may not even hold on to what they’ve got, much less make any gains in 2014 or 2016.

            So, I hope that the Union Presidents (several of whom I heard speak on the 11th) stay determined to “buck the ranks of the national union leadership of the AFL-CIO.”

            If they would, many of us in the progressive community might actually realize our long-sought goal–MFA!

            Yeah, I know–I’m probably just dreaming. ;-)

            1. Lambert Strether

              I’m not seeing defiance. I’m seeing a sternly worded letter. Defiance would be acting like the NRA for the Club for Growth — taking down a Democrat who betrayed them. And there are plemty.

              1. Alexa


                Hey, I understand your pessimism, Lambert.

                But the fact that the President actually “cancelled” his scheduled appearance at the AFL-CIO convention in LA, after his WH couldn’t get the AFL-CIO rank-and-file to back down, is fairly impressive to me (and “a win,” IMO).

                He didn’t (to my knowledge) even send a “taped video message.” So the message to the White House from Trumka or the AFL-CIO leadership, must have been pretty strong.

                Bear in mind, this was done AFTER days (if not weeks) of the Administration attempting to “strong arm” the AFL-CIO into NOT presenting Resolution 54 for a vote at their quadrennial convention.

                Anyhoo, at least for now, I plan to “Tweet” in strong support of the Roofers Union, the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union), and the rest of the AFL-CIO unions [when I get a list of them] who voted in support of Proposal 54.

                I figure that there’s nothing to lose–and potentially much to gain. ;-)

  5. Denis

    It looks like Apple trolls are out on a rampage to whore clicks…

    “I’m prepared not to buy a single Apple product in the future over this. Appalling.”

    That’s silly. Just use a PIN code and get over it.

    “Maybe someone should point out this innovation might also produce a black market in dead people’s index fingers (see the Liam Neeson “Under Suspicion” for a fictional precursor)”

    Meh… Some already did, and Apple immediately stressed that this isn’t an optical scanner. It reads the print by detecting the irregularities in your skin’s conductivity. So having a copy of your print or a dead finger is useless. No live finger, no game.

    The real question, which the wired author blissfully fails to raise, is whether .gov can coerce you into pressing your finger onto the device’s home button.

    1. kimyo

      for every troll, there’s a shill…..

      just curious, do you think steve jobs knew the nsa had full access to ios/iphones/ipads?

      my reason for not buying i-crap? overpriced toys built by slaves.

      1. skippy

        iShrill[?] more like an ibotapp.

        Dear ibotapp,

        Should I inform the gallery of the thousand+ my bank had to go after apple for… due to billing irregularity’s, necessitating canceling of cards, reorganizing of services billing, praying on my kids ignorance, etc. And yes I got my money back as company policy is not judicial black letter reps and warranty – good faith contractual law.

        skippy… look their not the only one, heaps of igadget billable services mills roam the orb these days, had a blue with Microsoft too… same problem… same result.

        PS. billing algos barf~

        1. mad as hell.

          “And so it continues in the once great USA, where countless people are converted not only into perpetual debt slaves but have to brave the various circles of debt hell simply to comply with a self-image imposed on them by a superficial society that demands one buys stuff one doesn’t need, with money one doesn’t have to impress people one doesn’t like.”


        2. Glenn Condell

          Daughter turns 16, gets first job, shortly afterward buys first iPhone, o joy. First bill 600 bucks, mostly for a service she cannot recall ever noticing let alone accepting. Some fucking jingle ringtone shite she must have clicked on with her old dumb phone, which tagged her every time she received a call.

          Looking back thru her message logs I found the offender and a phone number, which I must have rung 60 or 70 times without luck. Maybe they were busy.

          Visit to Optus shop, steam still escaping my lugholes, to demand refund. ‘But sir that is a third party agreement’ ‘Then what is it doing on YOUR BILL’! Possibly it was the scene I was making or the threats I made, relating to evidence I had found on web chat forums of other parents in the same boat who had made the same representations to Optus, but probably it was the more moderate and reasoned approach of my wife who finished them off after I had softened them up.

          Couldn’t the NSA take a bit of time off destroying privacy and freedom, and take these buggers out?

      2. optimader

        my reason for not buying i-crap? overpriced toys built by slaves.

        Slaves or not, still overpriced inflexible crap. iTunes, case in point. iTunes = ponderous sht applications designed to shill mp3 pollution. Most younger people have absolutely no idea what full format audiophile fidelity sounds like.

        Of course Jobs knew, he was a narcissistic control freak.

    2. ambrit

      Dear “Denis;”
      Did you read the other articles listed as related to the Apple one? I did. The story of Weev and his prison sentence, yep, prison, for revealing a huge hole in AT&Ts system, should give anyone more than pause, in fact, a screeching halt. Then, the fact that you can end up on the ‘Enemies List’ for encrypting your own communications, should point out the trend. Ever see any of the myriad films and teleplays where the ‘heros’ get their man by tricking them into leaving fingerprints on the dreaded ‘innocent’ glass of Scotch?
      The more I read, the more I’m glad I decided to not carry an iPhone or other “smart” device. The smartest decision I’ve made, it seems.

    3. Dr. Noschidt

      Denis, right. Soon, “TINA” to your obligatory “fingerprint” (veinprint actually) on the TNSA alert button. But then NPR news this AM reminded us that Steve Jobs just might have been present at that TED talk by MIT’s *primo italiano” — as he “predicted the future” of human digit/computer interface in 1984? 1986?

      Funny how that Steve was always a “step ahead” — but then the circumstances of his human origin and “adoption” are mysterious also. Obviously in The Club, or else he would not have been such a “favorite son” of the Powr.

  6. kimyo

    Farmer in Washington state reports his alfalfa shipment was rejected after testing positive for genetic modification

    Authorities were investigating a new suspected case of crop contamination on Thursday – the second in the Pacific north-west in five months – after samples of hay tested positive for genetically modified traits.

    The investigation was ordered after a farmer in Washington state reported that his alfalfa shipments had been rejected for export after testing positive for genetic modification.

    If confirmed, it would be the second known case of GM contamination in a major American crop since May, when university scientists confirmed the presence of a banned GM wheat growing in a farmer’s field in Oregon.

    The wheat variety was engineered by Monsanto, but the alfalfa farmer’s seed was not. The company said in an email on Thursday it had no direct knowledge of the suspect contamination.

    [monsanto] spokesman, Thomas Helscher [said] “Varietal purity standards followed by the alfalfa seed industry allow for low level presence of impurities, including GM traits, in conventional alfalfa seed,” he said. “The potential presence of impurities is clearly stated on the label. If a grower is growing alfalfa for sensitive markets and wants specialized-GM free alfalfa, they can purchase non-detect alfalfa seed varieties, which is available from alfalfa seed suppliers.”

    GM alfalfa was the first engineered perennial crop approved by US regulators. It remains in the ground for three to six years and is widely pollinated by honey bees. Campaigners fought its introduction for a decade, arguing GM varieties were impossible to contain. They said escapes could damage conventional varieties. The crop was approved just two years ago.

  7. AbyNormal

    re, Texas in the Dark on Obamacure…they need a Deal’r

    Georgia’s Dangerous War Against Obamacare, bloomberg 9/13

    “In a speech last month, Ralph Hudgens, Georgia’s insurance commissioner, reassured an audience of Republican Party faithful that he’s solving the “problem” of Obamacare in Georgia by doing “everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”

    The health-care law does not allow states to require that navigators — who help people find insurance plans on the state exchanges — be licensed insurance agents. But Hudgens has an alternative strategy: He’ll simply subject navigators to the same test that insurance agents must pass.”

    “So who, exactly, are Georgia’s top officials really fighting for? Perhaps it is the donors to Real PAC — a political action committee named after Governor Nathan Deal’s campaign slogan (“Deal. Real.”) and funded by some of the state’s biggest health insurers, hospitals and nursing home associations. Recent reports by independent investigative journalist Jim Walls and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution have pushed Real PAC to disclose that it has received almost $1 million in donations since late 2011, most of it from the health-care industry, according to an analysis by Better Georgia, an organization that advocates for progressive government policies.”

    “What’s funny [Not] is that Georgia’s governor was for state-based health-insurance exchanges before he was against them. In the summer of 2011, when Deal started an exploratory committee to investigate how Georgia could set up its own exchange, he declared that it was his “hope” that the committee would find a way for the state to so. His change of heart came in November 2012, after Real PAC started raking in large donations from the health-care industry.”

    Fox News interview: “Rolling Obamacare over the Georgia line is “one way to get to a one-payer system,” Deal said, because it will “set up a system that fails miserably.” After Obamacare implodes, the story goes, Democrats will be able to claim that only total federal control can make the health-care system work effectively.”

    ka-ching for Deal as he rolls out of GA

  8. Skeptic

    The Pentagon Helped Pay for Gas on These Billionaires’ Private Jets

    I wonder how well TSA supervises the comings and goings of these private jets, particularly when they travel internationally. Maybe a lot of those profits, for example, are simply drug related.

    For example, I recall that UBS sent some of its personnel into the US under false identities to recruit rich US tax avoiders. Easy to do by loosely supervised private jets.

    My instinct tells me there is little supervision of these aircraft thus making the whole Airport Security racket a complete fraud.

    TSA Snowden are you out there?

    1. Skeptic

      Just saw this:

      “( — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved flight training for 25 illegal aliens at a Boston-area flight school that was owned by yet another illegal alien, according to the Government Accountability Office.

      The illegal-alien flight-school attendees included eight who had entered the country illegally and 17 who had overstayed their allowed period of admission into the United States, according to an audit by the GAO.

      Three of the illegal aliens were actually able to get pilot’s licenses.

      Discovery of the trouble at the flight school began when local police–not federal authorities–pulled over the owner of the school on a traffic violation and were able to determine that he was an illegal alien.”

      Since the 1% love all that cheap illegal immigrant labor for their businesses, gardens, kitchens, etc. I guess the above can find employment flying the 1% private jets on their criminal missions.

      Oh yes, and the small matter of the 9/11 terrorists having received flight training at US schools.

    2. real

      govt usually pays lot of tax money to billionaires..happens in every country of world..only in USA ,citizens believe private businesses run with private money

    3. Glenn Condell

      I remember reading years ago a piece by an English journo (whose name escapes me) who in a piece about the experience of doing a series of interviews with a genuine plane-owning 1%er (whose name I probably never had in captivity) expressed incredulity that, after accepting an aerial lift across the Channel, he went thru no security check at all. Nothing. It was all very informal and chatty and relaxed, and remarkably unremarkable.

  9. Dean

    Re: iPhone scanning your fingerprint

    Given the recent NSA revelations about the tech companies being in bed with the NSA, anyone believe that the fingerprint ‘digital hash or image’ will remain on your phone only?

    I see a new market for synthetic fingerprints and iThumb (shoulda copyrighted this word!) logon devices developing on kick starter shortly.

    Anyone willing to bet apples terms of service address this in a less than favorable way (from the consumers pov? (Not that it would stop anyone…)

    1. craazyboy

      I think whenever law enforcement needs to firm up some evidence, they will call up the NSA and get the NSA to send a plastic finger made on a 3D printer. Spray on a little oil and they can lay down anyone’s fingerprints anywhere they want!

  10. craazyman

    titstare is a sexist and appalling outrage.

    it would seem the tech industry caters only to heterosexual guys and lesbians.

    they should have made it “butt stare” so everybody can feel included. then you can launch titstare as a speciality app without offending anyone. faaaak the new iphone, which aready had a good camera, has a bigger digital camera sensor and better lens so the future is bright for apps like these

    1. Dr. Noschidt

      Such apps serve the Endgame: the People become Porn Material, thus further debased and degraded, further de-humanized for contemptuous consumption by the “Eye In the Sky” of Leering Big Creep and Company.

      Imagine how this program squares with Tyler Cowan’s “prediction” book: “Average Is Over.”

      We the People Their Prey
      Ever more debased
      in the Race to Bangladesh/USA!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know if this is the proper place to mention my idea, but it’s likely to the least read part concerning Apple, but I might sneak it through.

      My idea is, instead of finger access, we have body fluid access – you activate your phone with salvia, or other ‘more intimate’ body fluids.

      I hope this is an original idea and no one has patented it.

      I activated mine last night accidentally while making love or urinating…

    3. craazyboy

      I don’t why they just don’t make a TV show. They couldn’t call it Titstare and get it by the censors, but they could call it something like “Baywatch”. Starts with a “B”, and after an episode or two everyone would catch on.

      1. craazyman

        if somebody got good enough at this they could become a “Stare-master” with their photos printed on fine art paper and hung in galleries.

        You would have to be fluent in the art of staring to be a stare-master and practiced at the craft of evocative expression through photography

        the erudite stare, the lustful stare, the beer-goggle stare, the subtle stare . . . the critics would want to see mastery of depiction.

        Artistic photography needs a new horizon. Perhaps this is it!

    4. Glenn Condell

      ‘they should have made it “butt stare” so everybody can feel included. then you can launch titstare as a speciality app without offending anyone.’

      Next will be the app that finds for you stare-able butts or tits in your immediate vicinity – butt recognition software with a dash of gait analysis. Premium versions feature contact info and marital status.

  11. Chris Rogers

    Luckily, I’ve never owned a smartphone, nor have a desire to do so, and given the fact that no doubt revised version of the iPad and iPad mini will contain this technology, perhaps its best I begin looking at the Nexus 7 – although then I’m a pawn for Google.

    1. anon y'mouse

      most importantly, this cat has a very sweet face with lots of character.

      of course, they tend to give that look right before they’re about to shred your armchair too. “i’m so cutie! see what i’m doing now? I candowhateveriwant in this place, after I turn the charm on.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Ad hominem.

      Plus you clearly didn’t bother reading the piece. It’s originally from OilPrice, and due to the hour, I didn’t bother running it down and providing a link from the original site, which admittedly was a lapse. But that lapse has served to catch you out as not willing to do your homework and deal with a piece on its merits. It’s final paras are a bit over the top, but that’s not the important part. The key parts are the sections before which detail how the rebels had their backs against a wall and how Bandar allegedly threatened Putin with Chechen rebel action at the upcoming Olympics (no sourcing, this part is presumably a leak from the Russians).

      1. Massinissa

        Yves, aside from his ad hominem, isnt he also using, I think it was called genetic fallacy? Saying it must be wrong because of where the article is from?

    2. Massinissa

      Would it help to mention that the article is actually getting its information from an NSFW corp article? If you prefer that source.

      Oh and disregarding information because of the source is, I believe, called Genetic Fallacy.

    3. hand job

      Yeah, pretty funny, huh? Now laugh your ass off at these 911 truthers,

      All that’s left is to elicit testimony from head 9/11 terrorist Dick Cheney. To do that we get one of those hand-cranked electric shock machines from School of the Americas. We hook his impedance pump up to it, and make him circulate his blood manually, with great care, till he’s ready to talk.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Nah, I think the Dick would enjoy that.

        See also: Too Many Years Of Lies: From Mossadeq to 9/11 by Paul Craig Roberts

        If 60 years is the time that must pass before Washington’s crimes can be acknowledged, the US government will admit the truth about September 11, 2001 on September 11, 2061. In 2013, on this 12th anniversary of 9/11, we only have 48 years to go before Washington admits the truth. Alas, the members of the 9/11 truth movement will not still be alive to receive their vindication.

        But just as it has been known for decades that Washington overthrew Mossadeq, we already know that the official story of 9/11 is hogwash.

        No evidence exists that supports the government’s 9/11 story. The 9/11 Commission was a political gathering run by a neoconservative White House operative. The Commission members sat and listened to the government’s story and wrote it down. No investigation of any kind was made. One member of the Commission resigned, saying that the fix was in. After the report was published, both co-chairmen of the Commission and the legal counsel wrote books disassociating themselves from the report. The 9/11 Commission was “set up to fail,” they wrote.

    4. Doug Terpstra

      Please don’t take Bodansky’s red pill if you like your current reality matrix. Stay on Obama’s blue pill. Don’t even read the message or critique it directly; just attack the messenger and the blog host without endangering your comfortable illusions. Stick with National Pravda Radio, Faux Mews, MSDNC, Corporate News Network (CNN), and other approved noise channels. Stay with the official 9-11 Commission Report, and whenever anyone asks inconvenient questions, go into autistic mode, cover your ears and chant loudly. It’s the safest way to avoid painful cognitive dissonance.

      FYI, Yossef Bodansky at SourceWatch:

      Yossef Bodansky, born in Israel, is the former Director of the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of “the U. S. Congress, as well as the World Terrorism Analyst with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies (Houston, Texas) [since 1994]. He is a contributing editor of Defense and Foreign Affairs; Strategic Policy, the author of three books (Target America, terror, and crisis in Korea), several book chapters, and numerous articles in several periodicals including Global Affairs, JANE’s Defence Weekly, Defense and Foreign Affairs; Strategic Policy, Business Week. In the 1980s, he acted as a senior consultant for the Department of Defense and the Department of State.”

      “He was a visiting scholar in the Security Studies Program of John Hopkins University and served as consultant to the U.S Departments of Defense and State prior to assuming his current post. Bodansky is a recognized authority on terrorism worldwide, as well as an expert on guerilla and unconventional warfare and all aspects of the military affairs of Russia/The Soviet Union and the Third World. Yossef Bodansky is a Special Consultant on International Terrorism for the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.”

      On second thought, it’s probably best to stay quiet (STFU) lest you inadvertently broadcast your own ignorance. And although it does little for your credibility, it’s advisable to remain hidden behind a pseudonym.

  12. John Zelnicker

    Lambert should have read Kevin Drum’s article instead of reacting to the headline. He is actually criticizing Eliot Cohen’s recent piece that was “apoplectic” that Americans would be war-weary at this point. Cohen was basically asserting that we have no reason to be war-weary since so few of us or our family members have served in these recent wars (past dozen years or so). Drum quotes Cohen;

    “The families of the fallen are entitled to war-weariness. So are those wounded in body or spirit… But for the great mass of the American public, for their leaders and the elites who shape public opinion, “war-weariness” is unearned cant, unworthy of a serious nation and dangerous in a violent world. The average American has not served in the armed forces, as a diplomat or intelligence agent in a war zone. Neither have his or her children. No one has raised our taxes to pay for war. Americans can change the channel if they find the images too disturbing….”

    That’s right, according to Cohen, just change the channel and all is well in the world.

    1. Dr. Noschidt

      The public’s “war-weariness” is an unintended consequence of the Total War Plan (7 countries in 5 years, only a little off schedule), even if fought by mercenaries.

      The shock and awe felt by Cohen? That the People care anyway. This was not an outcome figured by quants and handlers in the Psychopathy Suite.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Lambert – Maybe I’m missing something. I may not understand what you meant by “When you’ve lost…”. Perhaps you’re being just a bit too cryptic for me. So, how have we lost Kevin Drum?

        On a completely separate issue: Your rhetorical analyses of Obama’s speeches have been invaluable. I have learned a lot from them about rhetoric and persuasion; and a lot about Obama. I’m a very disappointed 2008 supporter. They are also quite funny in many places. Please keep doing it when you can.

  13. ohmyheck

    An interesting theory, given by none other (blech!) Roger Ailes-
    ““Putin is angry. He thinks the United States doesn’t take him seriously or treat Russia as a major player. Okay, fine, that’s how he feels. If I were president (Obama), I’d get in a room with him (Putin) and say, ‘Look at the slaughter going on in Syria. You can stop it. Do it, and I’ll see to it that you can get all the credit. I’ll tell the world it was you who saved the innocent children of Syria from slaughter. You’ll be an international hero. You’ll go down in history.’ Hell, Putin would go to bed thinking, ‘That’s not a bad offer.’ There will still be plenty of other issues I’d have with Russia. But instead of looking for one huge deal that settles everything, you take a piece of the problem and solve it. Give an incentive for good behavior. Show the other guy his self-interest. Everybody has an ego. Everybody needs dignity. And what does it cost? You get what you want you give up nothing.”

  14. Elisabeth Spenser

    Re: “Who Benefits From America’s State of Perpetual War?”- Chuck Spinney, Counterpunch… fascinating misspelling of the 7th word (“exited”) in the 9th paragraph.

    1. barrisj

      Also, check the use of “reign” for “rein” as in “…reign in the elites…” (second para/penultimate line). I’ve noticed that a lot recently – such words are called “non-standard homonyms, and are appearing with greater regularity. Debasement of the English language continues unabated, hand-in-hand with debasement of speech, as the most recent Obama Teleprompter recital attests to.

      1. Elisabeth Spenser

        Ah, I missed that one…another possible Freudian slip? Seems all too easy these days (see Lambert’s point — oops — about “pinprick” in President Obama’s speech).

        I dropped a note to Mr. Spinney re: “exited” and he was kind enough to send a cordial reply right away. :-)

      1. Dr. Noschidt

        h101, and Roger Ailes “telegraphed” the setup years earlier for Salvation by Putin in 2013? The Agents have it covered Every Which Way (their fortunes depend upon it, maybe their lives). Sieg Heil!

  15. skippy

    Superman’s Shop Floor: An Inquiry into Charter School Labor in Philadelphia

    On Sep­tem­ber 9, 2013, Philadelphia’s stu­dents returned to empty schools. Not com­pletely empty, of course – but due to dras­tic bud­get cuts by the state, the city’s schools are likely to func­tion as lit­tle more than hollowed-out shells of what most of us imag­ine schools should be. As spec­i­fied in the con­tract pro­posed in Feb­ru­ary 2013, the District’s deci­sion to lay off thou­sands of teach­ers and school staff means that teach­ers are inevitably tak­ing on duties such as mon­i­tor­ing the hall­ways, deal­ing with sec­re­tar­ial mat­ters, and con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide unof­fi­cial nurs­ing and coun­sel­ing ser­vices to their stu­dents, in the absence of other options. Helen Gym, co-founder of Par­ents United for Pub­lic Edu­ca­tion, describes one of the con­se­quences of this dis­as­ter: “Telling a child who needs emo­tional sup­port in school, who might be deal­ing with fam­ily trou­bles or an ill­ness, who is being bul­lied in class or needs advice on post high school options – telling any child in this city that they are not enti­tled to a guid­ance coun­selor can­not be the norm we as par­ents tol­er­ate.” Just days into the school year, stu­dents and teach­ers are deeply feel­ing the impact of class sizes as large as forty-seven stu­dents, an absence of coun­selors to fill out SAT fee waivers and to speak with stu­dents about recent deaths in their com­mu­ni­ties, and an inabil­ity to open the schools early to pro­vide break­fast, due to the lay­offs of many school aides.1

    Philadelphia’s cur­rent plight illus­trates a broader national trend: pub­lic schools are being inten­tion­ally under­funded and dis­man­tled. Over the past ten years, teach­ers have been forced to fol­low scripts and rigid pac­ing guides, prac­tices that con­tra­dict research about cul­tur­ally rel­e­vant, respon­sive, and inquiry-based teach­ing as meth­ods to deeply improve stu­dent achieve­ment. These labor con­di­tions amount to what Jessie Hagopian and John Green call “pub­lic sec­tor speedups,” on the model of fac­tory work.2 But this speed-up is not directed towards increased pro­duc­tiv­ity – the work is being deskilled not because of evi­dence that the sys­tem can work with this scripted model, but because such a model does not work.

    As pub­lic school teach­ers and stu­dents are pushed to fail­ure, pri­vate inter­ests will swoop in to pro­vide alter­nate solu­tions and reap sig­nif­i­cant prof­its. Dis­tricts have shifted from elected school boards to may­oral or guber­na­to­r­ial con­trol, busi­ness lead­ers have orches­trated the shut­ter­ing of pub­lic schools and their replace­ment by char­ter schools, and sea­soned, union­ized teach­ers have been pit­ted against the bright-eyed Teach for Amer­ica corps mem­bers and “super­man” char­ter school lead­ers.3

    Con­cerned cit­i­zens, gen­uinely hop­ing for equity in edu­ca­tion, find them­selves rep­re­sented by one of two camps, defined by largely by “edu­ca­tion reform­ers,” pro­po­nents of a pri­va­tiz­ing agenda who are backed by sev­eral large foun­da­tions. Char­ter school sup­port­ers, who call them­selves the “civil rights activists of our time,” include polit­i­cal actors such as Obama and his Sec­re­tary of Edu­ca­tion, Arne Dun­can, mem­bers of the Repub­li­can party, and hedge fund lead­ers, celebri­ties such as Bill Gates, Pit­bull, and Mark Zucker­burg, and a hand­ful of actual school stake­hold­ers, such as working-class fam­i­lies and new teach­ers. This odd assort­ment of char­ac­ters has ral­lied behind the char­ter school move­ment with motives rang­ing from profit to ill-informed good inten­tions to desperation. – snip

    “ven­ture phil­an­thropy” equals school reform???

    While the model of fac­tory pro­duc­tion is applied to the work of teach­ers in what is framed as the obso­lete insti­tu­tion of pub­lic schools, under ­trained char­ter school teach­ers are cast as high-achieving knowl­edge work­ers – on the model of the Google worker or the free­lance “cre­ative” – who must cul­ti­vate their human cap­i­tal at their own expense and on their own time.

    skippy… WOW… what ever pops out the other side of this… ain’t going to be pretty.

    1. armchair

      Your comment makes me feel completely steam rolled. I know how terrible it is, and what it means for the future, and it all feels so inevitable. The “conventional wisdom” that public schools are terrible feels the same as the conventional wisdom that Social Security is going broke.

      The worst thing is that in order to get their way in Philadelphia and across the country they must eliminate an entire generation from any prospects. In other words, they must destroy the children in order to save them.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        My impression was that Social Security isn’t broken and the danger is Obama’s work to ‘fix’ it. This is different from the situation in the public school system. The public schools do indeed appear to be badly broken. They can be ‘fixed’ but the current approach has anything but that intention. in this, is the similarity with the ‘fixing’ of Social Security. The fix for the schools isn’t all that difficult if schools were removed from the stupid ‘market model’ nonsense. Students aren’t customers, and teachers don’t produce products like factory workers making light bulbs. We had decent schools not all that long ago.

        A simple fix is to return to what had been working just fine [working excluding the great inequality in support between upper and low income areas — a more complex aspect of the problem]. Why not trust our teachers to know how best to teach? As for what they teach — do we want to beat everybody on some international test or do we want our kids to come out of school interested in some subject they fell in love with and feel they must pursue further? Why not leave school with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the arts … and math and science and why not through in some basic training in rhetoric? Why not leave school with a keen and questioning mind able to deal with the responsibility of acting as a citizen of a democratic republic?

        The other problem — the differential in support should be eliminated, and eliminated in the direction of the support given to the schools in more prosperous areas. Wasn’t that part of why states used to support public education above and beyond what local bond issues and tax bases could support? Solving this problem area would have tremendous impact on real estate and house prices and a lot of vested interests. A much tougher nut to crack, but more than worthy of the effort.

        1. anon y'mouse

          have you read any John Taylor Gatto?

          a lot of his stuff is available to read online.

          he theorizes that school was originally designed by American industrial giants, via the early-version of thinktanks and mobilizing the right movers and shakers, to deliberately make the students passive and apathetic. material fit mostly for the highly regulated environment of the industrial workplace.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Thanks for the links. I did read Gatto’s article in Harper’s a couple years back but confess that I haven’t read his books yet. It’s been a while since I read it, but as I recall, C. Wright Mills critique of the public schools in the “Power Elite” suggested that control rather education motivated public education. What I remember of school and my perception of my kids schools tends to confirm that opinion. In his time my father drew illustrations for his college yearbook showing the college stamping out bachelors holders like so many widgets, all done with a skeletons motif.

    2. Dr. Noschidt

      skippy, the “creative destruction” of Hurricane Katrina and the Flood of 2005 was the Privatizing Education Model, like KissFriedman come to Chile.

      The star in the crown of public education in New Orleans, the School of Math and Science under the Principal direction of the great thinker/educator Barbara MacFee, was swept out with the Flood’s wreckage, with more than a little help from Friend of Powr Scott Cowan of Tulane University, happy to make the Regime Change to Privatized Education System on the Powr Profit model, with Powr Agents firmly in place as the New Plantation Overseers.

      Eamon Kelly, President Economist, originally of Hell’s Kitchen, together with Ford Foundation boys made Tulane’s transition to “Republican” NWO rule before he matriculated to the Aspen Institute on high. The stage was set for Cowan’s “charter education miracle” well before Katrina and the Flood.

      ‘O, What a Wonderful War.”

    3. JTFaraday

      Really, it’s contradictory. They claim the long established public schools are bureaucratic and intellectually inert, so they import young “enthusiastic” and ostensibly creative knowledge workers who will think outside the intellectually inert bureaucratic box.

      Then they import MPA and MBA managers to impose an intellectually inert bureaucratic box on them.

      They also buy technology. (Hello, Bill Gates, “education reformer”?) Last year I received a newsletter from my local suburban school district and the entire thing was about all their various tech buys.

      I guess they didn’t have anything else to tell me.

  16. Mr T

    When it comes to the whole Obamacare implementation, I might be a little tin foil hatted these days, but instead of treating the non-eligibility of the Taft-Hartley plans as a bug (which seems to be the typical reaction), has anybody considered that this might be a feature?

    Given that the Obama administration doesn’t exactly seem to be the biggest supporter of unions (to put it very mildly), the law itself has been written with a lot of input from the healthcare industry, the lack of subsidies for a union-sponsored plan gives people one less incentive to join a union. One could almost get the impression that this might be another subtle piece of union busting legislation.

    1. Alexa

      Hear, hear, Mr. T!

      As a matter of a fact, as I’ve posted in the past–the White House and Senate Democrats are “backers” of the so-called “Cadillac Tax,” to be levied on union health plans, beginning in 2017, IIRC.

      What Makes a Health Plan a ‘Cadillac’?

      Excerpt from “The Washington Post” below:

      By Keith B. Richburg,October 01, 2009

      NEW YORK — In the scramble to find money to overhaul the health-care system, Senate Democrats have been eyeing the most generous insurance packages — what some call the “Cadillac” plans — as a lucrative target to tax.

      But as the competing proposals are debated on Capitol Hill, a fundamental challenge has emerged: Few people agree on exactly what constitutes a Cadillac plan. . . .

      Unions agree to compromise on ‘Cadillac tax’ for healthcare

      [What? Thought this was an “unintended consequence?” Sooooooo glad that the rank-and-file union members are “seeing the truth” now.]

      Unions Slam Proposed “Cadillac” Health Care Tax

      Labor Leaders Fight White House, Senate Democrats on Plan to Tax Workers’ Insurance Plans

      ‘Cadillac’ tax on generous health plans draws union, employer ire

      Cadillac Health Plan Tax May Die Due to Lack of Union Support

      I “rest my case.” ;-)

  17. down2long

    Hank Paulson, have you no shame? (No) Reminds me of Star Trek movie where Bones (referring to a very chatty male villain) exclaims, “Will somebody pleeese shut her up.”

    On a lighter note, this video of cats and dogs and boxes is sure to make you smile, make even guffaw, as did I. (Such syntax) Mazel tov. Shana tova.

  18. diptherio

    I’m proofreading the latest edition of Grassroots Economic Organizing which looks at the connections between Solidarity Economics and Intentional Communities. The article by Laird Shaub is quite good. This bit especially struck me as apropos of many of the discussions we’ve had here:

    The ultimate security is not a fat bank account (just ask those whose house equity or retirement accounts have dropped precipitously); it’s relationships. Security is the people who will be there for you when you need help. Like right now.
    [T]he beauty of this approach is that it applies just as well when times get better. It turns out that sharing—and figuring out how get along better with one’s neighbors—is always a good idea.

  19. barrisj

    “JConflict of interest? Conflict of interest? I don’ got no stinkin’ ‘conflict of interest’!”.

    Summers Suspends Citigroup Ties While Considered for Fed
    Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has suspended ties with Citigroup Inc. (C) while the White House considers nominating him to serve as the Federal Reserve’s next chairman, the company said.

    “Mr. Summers has withdrawn from participation in all Citi events while he is under consideration to be chairman of the Federal Reserve,” Danielle Romero-Apsilos, a spokeswoman for the firm, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

    Summers, a Harvard University Professor and former top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, was to give the keynote address on challenges to the global economy at a Citigroup research seminar Oct. 13, according to an invitation on the website for the firm, the third-biggest U.S. lender. The Washington event coincides with the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    Citigroup hired Summers, 58, “for small private-bank client and institutional client meetings,” Romero-Apsilos said in an earlier e-mailed statement. He provided “insight on a broad range of topics including the global and domestic economy.”

    Last time I looked, “suspend” is not the same as “resign”. Is he still pulling down a paycheck from CITI? But, then again ol’ Larry wasn’t one to demur at appearances.

  20. Jeremy Grimm

    I found the Guardian’s story about the Lehman Collapse more than a little disquieting. It softly echoes the neo-liberal contention that the operations of the economy are largely unknowable. The unstated inference from that insight is that the market alone ‘knows’, although the author of the Guardian article suggests “…we must accept what economic analysis cannot deliver in order to benefit from what it can.” If economic analysis is doomed to imperfections and our understanding of economics is constantly evolving just what can economic analysis deliver?

    I don’t know whether Krugman argued that his back-of-the-envelope calculations were “scientific” as suggested in this article. However, if it’s true that the stimulus — such as it was saved us from a new Great Depression, providing the basis of the ongoing Great Recession it seems purely heuristic to conclude with the back of Krugman’s envelope that things would have been better if the stimulus were three times larger. The fact that the government’s macroeconomic models made stunningly bad predictions hardly disproves the notion that fiscal policy can work and has worked in the past. It does suggest that the government needs new macroeconomists though — from a different school.

    I cringe seeing Keynes and Hayek mentioned in the same sentence: “Unlike their successors, Keynes and Hayek understood that imperfect knowledge and non-routine change mean that policy rules, together with the variables underlying them, gain and lose relevance at times that no one can anticipate.” I haven’t read Hayek, but if he writes with the same clarity as the recently lauded Coase, I have to object to his mention with Keynes purely on the basis of style and clarity of writing style. Beyond that I think that Keynes, unlike Hayek would advocate for fiscal actions to get the economy going again and I doubt that he would agonize about perfection or the impossibility of perfect knowledge and perfect models.

    If this Guardian article is arguing that Bernanke’s ‘Great Moderation’ was great baloney that’s fine — but that’s not quite what I read in that article. The author’s contention that “the housing market collapse that left millions of US homeowners underwater is not part of textbook models” seems true enough without in any way altering Keynes basic ideas of balancing aggregates. Balancing aggregates hardly requires the “…pretence of exact knowledge”. What’s broken and what’s wrong aren’t that subtle. The textbook models don’t discuss fraud, or large scale capture of the economics field by the neo-liberal school sponsored by big capital. Is that what he intends to write about in the new textbooks he might write?

  21. Antifa

    The Saudis are sending convicted murderers and rapists to fight in Syria?

    Dammit, people, we have a Felon Gap here! How could we let this happen?

    America has the most vicious psychopaths in the world, and we’ll have a Credibility Gap as well if we don’t ship the worst of ’em over there pronto to prove it! We can’t let the Saudis get ahead of us when it comes to arming crazed killers!

    Our supermax prisons are positively overflowing with murderous, bloodthirsty talent. Aryan Brotherhood white racists, Hispanic gangs, Black gangs, mass murderers, father rapers, and every kind of non-desirable from the Group W bench, all rotting away, all their bloodthirsty potential going to waste on shivving each other, littering, and dropping soap in the shower. We can do better by them and America by shipping ’em all overseas.

    These people don’t need any training. They’re old school berserkers. We’ve got the most natural born killers in the world doing nothing all day long in Marion, Illinois, in ADX, Attica, Angola, Folsom and Sing Sing just for starters. How many brigades is that already? Six? Eight?

    And while we’re at it, let’s raise the stakes on the Saudis. What about Bridgewater State Hospital in Massachussetts? Yeah, now we’re talkin’ ’bout over the edge. Them fellas may be cannibals and worse, but just think of the scare they’ll put into Hezbollah and Assad’s frontline troops.

    And if any of ’em survive this thing they can have their choice of the French Foreign Legion or the LAPD.

    What’s not to like?

  22. BondsOfSteel

    “Texans in Dark on Obamacare as Enrollment Startup Looms”

    Hmm. Since the insurance pools are state based and not federal, and their success is based on participation, it’s possible that Obamacare could fail in Texas and be wildly successful in say neighboring New Mexico.

    Woe be to Texans if that happens.

  23. Hugh

    The article “Time to tame the NSA Behemoth” portrays the NSA as a bloated bureaucracy out of control. As bad as that sounds, it is a rather benign interpretation. This is where a class analysis is more informative because the NSA is not an isolated institution with problems. It is all our institutions. It is our elites. It is the rich. They may give the apparence of stumbling around but they are all stumbling around in the same direction, and that is against us. An incompetence approach doesn’t fit the facts. They are all quite competent when they want to be. A conspiracy theory cannot explain how a handful of individuals can subvert the whole apparatus of our society. But a class approach can. It explains how, despite all kinds of noise within a class, it can move as a group in a specific and consistent direction, how it can achieve total control of a multitude of disparate organizations and institutions, both public and private, and how it does so for the benefit of that class, and at the expense of other classes.

    1. Glenn Condell

      ‘The article “Time to tame the NSA Behemoth” portrays the NSA as a bloated bureaucracy out of control. As bad as that sounds, it is a rather benign interpretation.’

      My sentiments exactly… limited hangout?

      ‘This is where a class analysis is more informative because the NSA is not an isolated institution with problems. It is all our institutions. It is our elites. It is the rich.’

      It is the power of knowledge, ‘total information awareness’, to inform and complement the monopolised power of physical force which defines the State, leading to ‘full spectrum dominance’.

      This wouldn’t be so bad if the citizenry owned and directed the State as it should, but unfortunately They own it now. The absence of air travel security procedures for the elite (mentioned above) chimes with the curious absence of any evidence of Wall St fraud to have emerged in the same way as say the proof of Eliot Spitzer’s carnal occupations. Justice, security, you name it, everything has two tiers now.

      ‘An incompetence approach doesn’t fit the facts. They are all quite competent when they want to be. A conspiracy theory cannot explain how a handful of individuals can subvert the whole apparatus of our society. But a class approach can.’

      The problem is that the waters have been so relentlessly and often expertly muddied for so long now that any analysis which relies on or even mentions class will be considered conspiracist, even by those such an approach would most likely benefit. Especially them. A regime that can upend the meaning of words like ‘liberal’ and ‘reform’ won’t break sweat painting class-based explanations into tinhat territory.

      ‘It explains how, despite all kinds of noise within a class, it can move as a group in a specific and consistent direction, how it can achieve total control’

      This is true but I wonder if emphasising class over criminality might have a similar limited hangout, letting off the hook type effect to the NSA story that highlights the bloated bureaucracy. People at a visceral level understand crime, and the unfairness and injustice that flows from the failure to police it at elite levels. They are less likely to embrace ideas of class, partly due to a century of propaganda but mainly because it is at best secondary, really just a classification of the primary problem – theft and corruption.

      1. Roland

        Use the term “class” because it’s simple and correct. Show no hesitation. The water is muddy, but so what?

        I go further. I don’t hesitate to use “bourgeois” and “proletarian,” and to keep reminding people of how those terms concern control over the means of production.

        Such terms are clear, simple, correct. Therefore I use them.

        Our enemies don’t get to choose our words for us.

  24. Carla

    Re: kids being kids on airplanes:

    “The introduction of child-free zones risks backfiring if it alienates parents and will probably only work for budget airlines, said Andrew Wong, regional director for Europe and Australia at TripAdvisor Inc.’s flights unit.
    Re: kids being kids on airplanes —

    “It’s a bit of a tricky area for full service carriers,” he said. “You don’t really want to vilify parents traveling with kids, they’re people just like you and me.” ”

    Exactly. I’ve always said that rich Asians and African Americans, for example, were people just like you and me. But not those low-budget Asians and African Americans. They are NOTHING like US.

    What the f**k is with this guy (and the millions like him)?

    Honest to God. What is WRONG with people?

    1. anon y'mouse

      quite frequently, children are fussy on the plane because there is an inner-ear pressure problem. even without signs of a clear cold, kiddo can have some fluid in there that will drive them insane during the entire flight.

      my recommendation is to give a dose of child-save decongestant to all little ones prior to flying, hopefully with an analgesic to make sure they don’t suffer.

      that solves the screaming, anyway.

      1. F. Beard

        Beat me to it!

        I’ve suffered inner ear pains as a child and it is torture.

        Has no one else considered this but you and me?

        1. anon y'mouse

          not sure, but this solution doesn’t cure trying to trap small people in a small area in which they are supposed to remain mostly immobile for a lengthy period of time.

          granted, nowadays I guess kids just get the gaming device or the tablet computer and zone out.

          and it definitely doesn’t solve inadequate parenting.

          1. Carla

            Whenever I am on a flight with a crying child, which is most of the time I fly (since fortunately, I’m not “people just like” Mr. Wong and I fly economy class), I think about the poor parents, usually the mother, and how it felt to be the young mother of a crying child when I was one. This eases any irritation I might be tempted to feel, because I know the mother and child are feeling so much worse.

  25. skippy

    Just have to say the flood response in Boulder County, Co. is several measures above some past events… nationally.

  26. skippy

    Reality cubed: Officials say Asahikawa Prison in Hokkaido is too often thought of only as a dark place with imposing gray walls and not as a place of rehabilitation.

    They hope “Katakkuri-chan”, a nearly two-meter humanoid with a huge square face and an enormous purple flower for hair, will make people understand the true nature of the institution.

    skippy… Austerity Katakkuri-chan, Police State Katakkuri-chan, Homeless Katakkuri-chan, and the number one… Homo Econignoramus Katakkuri-chan!!! Because thingy~

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