Links 9/17/13

Gonorrhea Among Drug-Resisting Germs Sickening Millions Bloomberg

Complications of Robotic Surgery Are Under-Reported Patient Safety Blog. Yet more lying with figures.

Human and natural influences on the changing thermal structure of the atmosphere Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (skippy)

Slow-motion world for small animals BBC. Hah! Time distention! Sometimes I am lucky and get it right before I need to get up.

Japan Officials: Nuclear “event” at Fukushima from radioactive release into ocean? -AP EnergyNews

In China, Change—and Uncertainty—Are in the Air Triple Crisis

Ignore the doomsayers: Europe is being fixed Wolfgang Schäuble, Financial Times. It would serve Schäuble right to have this piece be the modern analogue to Irving Fisher’s “Stocks have reached a permanently high plateau” but the carnage would be a high price for the shadenfreude.

BIS: Global credit excesses worse now than pre-GFC MacroBusiness. Only problem is White combines private debt and all public debt. Would love to see the comparison with fiat issuers backed out. And it’s not “BIS” but “former BIS chief economist who gave early warnings of the housing bubbles.”


A Spoiler Attempt On U.S.-Iran Negotiations Moon of Alabama

Working Thread: UN Chemical Weapon Report on Syria Released Marcy Wheeler. Wheeler points out the possibility the evidence could have been doctored. I note some pundits like Kevin Drum making much of the 2 intact shells which were not of the sort the rebels used. That would strike me as classic drunk under the streetlight analysis, in that it’s the easiest to identify but less reliable that ordnance that was clearly deployed in the attack.

Forensic Details in U.N. Report Point to Assad’s Use of Gas New York Times

U.N. confirms sarin used in Syria attack; U.S., UK, France blame Assad Reuters

Why the U.S.-Russia deal on Syria is a victory for Assad Atlantic

Syria: Has Obama forsaken the insurgency? notthemsmdotcom (Chuck L).

Doctors to warn that Syria’s healthcare system is at ‘breaking point’ Guardian (furzy mouse)

Demonizing Putin Endangers America’s Security Nation (Mark Ames)

It’s time to destroy all chemical weapons Gaius Publius

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Cryptographers Attack NSA’s Secret Effort to Subvert Internet Security Slate


Navy Yard shooting was in a very secure area Politico

Washington gunman was ex-serviceman BBC

Here’s what we do and don’t know about the DC mass shooting Mother Jones

The Simple Reason for the Long Downturn: Housing Bubble Burst Dean Baker, Huffington Post

Yogi’s Corner: Transcript of “How” Health Exchanges Will Operate Lambert

The US Federal Deficit Continues to Shrink TruthOut (furzy mouse). Contractionary but may be the cost of keeping the Grand Bargain at bay.

Summers Out, Yellen In? Tim Duy. Please bear in mind: just because Yellen is the best candidate that has a shot at being nominated does not mean she’s wonderful. Summers set such a low bar than anyone looks a lot better relative to him.

Obama blinked first in battle for Summers Financial Times. FT also sees the Tester “no” as what killed Summers.

The Fed nomination battle is disastrous for Obama Ed Harrison (Chuck L)

Two-Name Race Drops to One, but Guessing Continues New York Times

5 Reasons For The Fed To ‘Taper’ That Have Nothing To Do With Economic Data Clusterstock

Tapering threatens a stormy outlook for America Sheila Bair, Financial Times

New York investigating consulting firms Promontory and PwC in laundering cases Washington Post. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

JPMorgan in talks to pay $800m ‘whale’ fine Financial Times

Migration and wage effects of taxing top earners VoxEU

Antidote du jour:

amusing_animal_world (6)

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    1. ambrit

      If that’s ‘Freddie,’ the “Easy Pay” dog, then this is a graphic example of ‘putting the bite’ on someone.

    2. Alexa

      Thanks for the dog pic!

      Heard on XM Radio’s “Midday Briefing” with Tim Farley, that CBO has released a new study.

      New study warns of US long-term debt problems

      September 17, 2013 11:43 AM ET

      WASHINGTON (AP) – A new government study says that federal health care and retirement programs threaten to overwhelm the federal budget and harm the economy in coming decades unless Washington finds the political will to restrain their inexorable growth. The long-term pressures promise to quickly reverse recent improvements in the deficit.

      Tuesday’s Congressional Budget Office report says that government spending on health care and Social Security would double relative to the size of the economy in 25 years and that spending on other programs like defense, transportation and education would decline to its smallest level by the same measure since the Great Depression.

      The share of federal spending devoted to health care would rise from 4.6 percent of gross domestic product today to 8 percent in 2038; spending on Social Security would rise as well, as the number of people receiving benefits rises to more than 100 million in 25 years, compared with 57 million people taking benefits now.

      The rise in costs for the popular benefits programs has been apparent for many years and budget hawks says it’s best to tackle their unsustainable growth immediately rather than be forced to make more draconian cuts later.

      But Washington — whether government is divided or controlled by one party — has been unable to agree on ways to curb the growth of these programs.

      Democrats prefer a mix of tax increases and relatively small cuts in Medicare, Social Security and other spending. [My words: The so-called “Grand Bargain.”]

      Republicans have proposed more dramatic long-term cuts to Medicare but are dead set against further taxes, especially after President Barack Obama won rate increases on upper-bracket earners in January.

      “The unsustainable nature of the federal government’s current tax and spending policies presents lawmakers and the public with difficult choices,” CBO said.

      “To put the federal budget on a sustainable path for the long term, lawmakers would have to make significant changes to tax and spending policies.” . . .

        1. Alexa

          Couldn’t agree more, Yves.

          I should have included my closing sentence from my cross-post of this at Corrente, which reads:

          More “fear mongering” just in time for Debt Ceiling/Grand Bargain negotiations!!!

          It made my blood boil to read this study.

          And it was sloppy posting on my part not to include this part of my comment. ;-)

          [BTW, thanks for the links on previous CBO reports.]

        1. Alexa

          Is The Administration “Getting Its Comeuppance” (Brazil)?

          Just heard the “Breaking News:”

          Brazil’s President Has Canceled A Trip To Meet With Obama Because Of NSA Spying Revelations

          Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has postponed a planned trip to the United States in October over revelations that the National Security Agency spied on her personal communications and those of other Brazilians.

          The White House confirmed the postponement in a statement from Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday. Carney signaled that after a review of policy, a meeting at a later date is possible.

          “As the President previously stated, he has directed a broad review of U.S. intelligence posture, but the process will take several months to complete,” Carney said. . . .

          More and more, I love those South American “leaders.”

          We sure could use a few of them here, LOL!

          1. Alexa

            A “Housekeeping Question,” Please.

            Are “Tweets” allowed at NC?

            If they aren’t, are “screenshots” of Tweets okay?


  1. from Mexico

    @ “Tapering threatens a stormy outlook for America”

    Sheila Bair said:

    Regrettably, banks are only marginally safer than they were before the 2008 crisis.

    Could Bair be pulling her punches?

    With our current set of bankers and bank regulators — psychopaths and kleptocrats (read congenital liars) to a man — do we have even the slightest idea of what condition the banks are in?

  2. tennis ball lobby

    Horrifying! Look at that animal! He tennis ball juice running down the front of him, and more victims lined up behind him.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Thanks for today’s link, skippy. Abstract confirms my view for the last ten years. Developments such as the current flooding in Colorado, along with all the under-publicized secondary effects that include widespread chemical contamination from fracking chemicals, etc., suggest these supposed “one-off” catastrophic weather-related events are not in fact singular events, but are part of a broader, very damaging pattern. I’m beyond disgusted.

      1. skippy

        Noprob… although the real thanks goes to the folks that against so much headwinds work on this problem.

        skippy… and as the title denotes its a – thermal – problem. This is the best way to envision it imo and not temp increase, as it sets up a false visual scale.

  3. John Willaims

    “Navy Yard shooting was in a very secure area”

    You get waved thru and when you wave ID at the guards.

  4. from Mexico

    @ “BIS: Global credit excesses worse now than pre-GFC”

    Yves Smith said:

    Only problem is White combines private debt and all public debt. Would love to see the comparison with fiat issuers backed out.

    But even then not all public debt is benign. For public debt to be benign, it has to be done right, a distinction which is lost on some, but certainly not all, of the MMT crowd, and certainly on Paul Krugman.

    Me? Mark me up with Michael Hudson, for instance when he writes:

    The effect of Mr. Krugman’s suggestions is for the government to subsidize the existing financial and tax structures, leaving the debts intact and ignoring the largely regressive, unfair and inefficient system of taxation….

    So it is important to note what Mr. Krugman does not address these issues that once played so important a role in Democratic Party politics, before the Wall Street faction gained control via the campaign financing process – even before the Citizens United case. For over a century, economists have recognized the need for financial and fiscal reform to go together. Failure to proceed with a joint reform has led the banking and financial sector – along with its major client base, the real estate sector – to scale back property taxes and “free” the economy with taxes so that the revenue can be pledged to the banks as interest to carry larger loans. The effect is to load the economy at large down with private and public debt.

    In Mr. Krugman’s reading, private debts need not be written down or the tax system made more efficient. It is to be better subsidized – mainly with easier bank credit and more government spending. So I am afraid that his book might as well have been subtitled “How the Economy can Borrow its Way Out of Debt.”

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      So where is that next round of “Liquidity” coming from for them to keep these liquidity-driven housing and financial markets pumped and to keep kicking the can forward?…

      Gawd, I so wish I could be a fly on the wall during that Powerpoint presentation.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      That extract is not coherent. And in general, Hudson has said he objects to MMT but I have yet to see him explain clearly why.

    3. F. Beard

      So I am afraid that his book might as well have been subtitled “How the Economy can Borrow its Way Out of Debt.” Michael Hudson?

      No need to borrow: A ban on further credit creation plus a metered, universal bailout would work fine.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s like without being puritanical, we just ensure universal health coverage, even for those with ‘moral’ disease.

        1. F. Beard

          A government-backed credit cartel DRIVES people into debt so restitution is called for. What’s so hard to understand?

  5. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    Snowden nominated for European human rights prize

    By Sara Sjolin

    LONDON (MarketWatch) — Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has been nominated for a European human rights prize for leaking details of the NSA’s surveillance program to the press, the European Parliament said in a statement late Monday. Snowden was nominated by the Greens in the European Parliament to acknowledge the “enormous service” he has done for “human rights globally and for European citizens.”

  6. F. Beard

    re Gonorrhea Among Drug-Resisting Germs Sickening Millions Bloomberg:

    And if it becomes airborne, we’d have “Gonorrhea with the Wind?” [couldn’t resist]

    I’m pretty sure I could be content with just one woman if she was the right one so I have little sympathy for those with venereal diseases except for the innocents such as children and cheated spouses.

    Btw, here it is the 21 century and we still can’t successfully mock God. We should give up trying?

    1. Jim Haygood

      With all due respect, passing moral judgment on people who contract venereal diseases is an excellent way to discourage people from seeking treatment and thus facilitate the spread of disease.

      No health professional in the field is going to lecture victims about mocking God, who probably doesn’t much care about who we sleep with (or not). Spare us your moral hauteur.

      1. F. Beard

        OTOH, passing NO moral judgement harms too, no?

        I’m just pointing out that God isn’t mocked and if that isn’t something worth knowing then why do we keep perversely testing Him? (Btw, based on the Hebrews in the Exodus, 40 years appears to be His limit for a generation.)

        I say “we”, but isn’t it the intellectual elites who are running vast, unethical experiments on other people’s children via the public schools? While theirs are safely in some private school?

        1. optimader

          “..why do we keep perversely testing Him
          He told me human behavior is his version of reality TV.

          He is very distressed people consider human sexuality a perversion; and annoyed that there are those that suggest He wants people to be afraid of him.
          He told me fear of retribution is the wrong reason to do the right thing. He’s really not that venial. It all been a big misunderstanding cultivated by people advancing their own agendas.

    2. anon y'mouse

      do you blame people when they catch colds, too?

      “you should’ve never touched that door handle, slattern.”

      1. cwaltz

        I’m pretty sure you don’t catch VD from touching a door handle.

        I think the larger point that F.Beard was trying to probably make was that perhaps people should be more discriminating when it comes to intimacy(and it’s a point I can get behind. The emphasis should be on QUALITY, not QUANTITY.) No one disputes that increasing your number of partners is increasing your odds for these diseases. Although it SHOULD be noted that in actuality all it takes is once and trusting the wrong person. You can literally sleep with one person and wind up pregnant or wind up with a disease.(which I think is the point Jim Haygood is making. The fact someone has a VD doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a “slut” or that they somehow deserve their disease. The implication that people deserves illness is as unhelpful as suggesting a woman deserves a pregnancy as punishment for engaging in sex.

        1. F. Beard

          The implication that people deserves illness is as unhelpful as suggesting a woman deserves a pregnancy as punishment for engaging in sex. cwaltz

          I said I had sympathy for the innocents but people do deserve the results of their own risky behavior. In some cases, such as true love*, the risks are acceptable but “if you can’t do the time then don’t do the crime.”

          *In which case, one would be very patient anyway, I would think, based on personal experience.

          1. optimader

            “…but people do deserve the results of their own risky behavior.”

            Who’s to pass judgment on what people “deserve”???

            Do people that post on blogs/purchase content online deserve identity theft?

            Do people that drive cars/fly in airplanes deserve to die in horrible accidents?

            Do people that eat puff pastry deserve heart disease?

            Doesn’t it seem a rather puritanical ethos to suggest people deserve an adverse outcome/disease process due to a behavioral “risk”

            1. F. Beard

              OK, fine. Then make that AVOIDABLE risky behavior or UNJUSTIFIABLE risky behavior.

              And the proof text: For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. Proverbs 1:32 [bold added]

              1. F. Beard

                Not that I haven’t tempted fate myself but if I lose I don’t whine that’s it’s an undeserved loss. Or at least I shouldn’t.

              2. optimader

                AVOIDABLE risky behavior or UNJUSTIFIABLE risky behavior= slippery slope

                Flying a kite in a thunderstorm?

                1. F. Beard

                  Well, if one can’t argue with success against the odds can one argue with failure according to the odds?

                  Anyway, it appears that we shall continue to have venereal disease and into the 21th Century at that. Who would have guessed it?

                  1. Emma

                    In a different prose approach, in the defence of intellectual luxury sprawled across the heart-rending sheets of a consummate novel, if the simplicity of bunking with a revolving daily on-demand is preferred, then feelings of crumpled inadequacy may well ensue from what is undoubtedly a seepage of irritation….ha ha ha

                    Seriously, naively trusting the wrong person, business, or government, and with misguided faith in hope and loyalty, does indeed unmanageably descend to the despairing kiss of death at the bottom of the pit.

                    I would only say that not one of us on this entire planet “deserves” it, the gonorrhea, as result. What we all deserve – including the wrong and the wronged – is a cure that restores good health to each and everyone of us. This sadly is, and always will be, unimaginable because we are incapable of not being infallibly inhumane savages. We are simply mere “gonnorhemons”…..

                    1. F. Beard

                      if the simplicity of bunking with a revolving daily on-demand is preferred, then feelings of crumpled inadequacy may well ensue from what is undoubtedly a seepage of irritation….ha ha ha Emma

                      It is messy! Only true love makes the mess worth it in the longer run, I suspect. But yes, in my experience it has been on-demand, perhaps because I haven’t been very demanding.

                      Oh and there’s no sex in Heaven but I imagine the replacement is far better and without the mess!

                      Sex would be hysterically funny if it wasn’t so demanding.

                    2. optimader

                      The disease is a public health issue, how someone is victimized w/ it may or may not be a moral issue for the individual(s) to deal with, that’s a different department.

                      “..Oh and there’s no sex in Heaven.”
                      Actually I have it on good authority that there is, and you can have a post coital cigarette too.

              3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Avoidable risky behavior.

                No universal bail out for those who borrowed to speculate in the stock market?

                  1. Emma

                    Re Optimader “..seepage of irritation…

                    That dripping metaphor makes me weep”

                    Yeah, but I was howling with my gonnorhemons climax!

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Are you saying that we should just treat compassionately those, unless garnished, as patients, like everyone else is saying here?

                    1. F. Beard

                      Justice isn’t optional, compassion is.

                      But my how you attempt to conflate and confuse so that everything comes to a big fat 0.

                    2. skippy

                      @Beardo… “Justice isn’t optional, compassion is”

                      skippy… Pain is inevitable from ones master, healing is of dubious value… in the management of slaves.

                    3. F. Beard

                      Justice isn’t always painful, need I remind you? Justice is what one is OWED – either good or bad. Compassion is desirable but certainly no one is OWED compassion.

                      A ex-mercenary might rightly fear divine justice. What’s your hope, for instance, as a Hindu? To come back as a bug in your next life? OTOH:

                      “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

                    4. skippy

                      Hint to self beardo… you are not a prophet… nor a messiah… or the divine oracle of universal truth… as much as you would like to think… or others to think… lots of pathological implications… eh.

                      skippy… you are… as we all are… just one more life form amongst trillions that have existed here. Sticky after life candy… no thanks.

                    5. F. Beard

                      [ad hom. –lambert] I’ve never claimed to be a prophet or a messiah. But I do read the Bible. That makes me a one-eyed prince in the land of the blind, I reckon.

                      But there are two genuine prophets coming before the end – possibly Elijah and Moses. Those two will be able to cause droughts and bring down fire from Heaven to burn people up people that mess with them.

                      I suggest you listen to them should it happen in your lifetime.

                    6. skippy

                      Didn’t say you claimed to be… just that you act like one, you know… bringer of the Law.

                      “But there are two genuine prophets coming before the end – possibly Elijah and Moses. Those two will be able to cause droughts and bring down fire from Heaven to burn people up people that mess with them.” – beardo

                      skippy… that’s some sick twisted stuff beardo, seek help.

                    7. F. Beard

                      Thanks Lambert, for removing my ad-hom. I should learn to count to 10 before responding to insults.

                      Sorry to trouble you.

                    8. F. Beard

                      that’s some sick twisted stuff beardo, seek help. skippy

                      No, it’s reality. God is long suffering, patient, tolerant, kind, gentle, etc. We should take advantage of that to repent. But there are limits to His patience if we don’t. And I’d bet that we give up on ourselves long before He gives up on us so there’s always hope so long as we dare to hope and perhaps even beyond that.

                      Btw, you judge God according to standards you mostly likely got from Him in the first place. Is the student then superior to his Teacher?

                      Also, who is Man, the inventor and user of napalm, to judge God wrt to fire from heaven?

                    9. skippy

                      @beardo… “I’ve never claimed to be a prophet or a messiah. But I do read the Bible. That makes me a one-eyed prince in the land of the blind, I reckon.” – beardo

                      So its option #3 divine oracle of universal truth as you only refute the other two and the one eyed prince shtick.

                      Imo… One eyed Prince is a metaphor for myopic ruler by way of heredity ie. gifted power and wealth whom welds one bound (if they don’t like the original they just edit by decree). Don’t forget those genealogical sheep skins, which are the bed rock of divine royalty’s power, who’s first names are[?]… M’k

                      Skippy… some times… no all the time… its like reading the english translation of the german translation of the greek translation of the Hebrew translation of the down the rabbit hole of mankind’s uninformed imagination, to a guide book, of a place, noone has ever come back from. Its like a passport with no stamps on it yet the traveler speaks of grandeur adventures, then it was found they past out in a cave after consuming moldy bread.

                      PS. 90% of all human society collapse due to environmental over consumption. Their foundation myths are one primary driving forces in this regard, look out the window… son… the data is not an illusion or an uninformed opinion.

                    10. F. Beard

                      Yep. We’re eventually doomed to environmental destruction if we don’t repent of our money system – and that system is un-Biblical so you can’t blame the Bible for that.

                      But I reckon the End will come well before that – perhaps when a President or some other high public official publicly mocks God as the last Babylonian king did (See Daniel 5).

                      It’s kinda of pointless of you to engage with me since I was once as skeptical if not more so than you are. But:

                      If everything you think you know
                      Makes your life unbearable
                      Would you change?
                      Would you change?

                      If you’d broken every rule and vow
                      And hard times come to bring you down
                      Would you change?
                      Would you change?
                      Tracy Chapman “Change”

                      One can’t argue with success and I’ve found at least some Christians to be profoundly successful and happy in life. I can partially see why; being one’s own god is very dreary and in the end, pointless.

                    11. skippy

                      “Btw, you judge God according to standards you mostly likely got from Him in the first place. Is the student then superior to his Teacher?” – beardo

                      skippy… NO… the primitives are the largest influence in that regard. The knowledge I gained – out side of that tomb – that has a vastly superior physical knowledge base and a fairly benign metaphysical approach to life. To top that off its 10s of thousands of years older. Yet still I don’t pour myself into it, just a great tool of observation, one of many imo.

                    12. F. Beard

                      And one day, an asteroid or a gamma-ray burst or a wandering planet and then all (not just?) human life will be extinguished UNLESS our technology has advanced enough to maybe save us. How useful the Aborigines then? Or do they have an afterlife to look forward to? If so, are you wiser than them to not have one?

                    13. skippy

                      Leverage…. pure and simple leverage, it is, the driving force – en fin. Always has been and might always[?] be.

                      Your opinion does not reconcile any of these issues in, in fact has a multiplier effect, this is evidenced physical anthropological studys.

                      You will probably be dead when the effects become undeniable, even to the most fervent‎‎ believers, of what ever stripe, which can not casually dismiss the changes by homily.

                      skippy… funny thing… having kids increases the leverage… yet it makes you give a damn about the future… maybe that’s why the Status Quo is making their move now.

                      From: Status Quo – Down Down


                      To: Down Down Whatever You Need – Coles TV Ad


                      BTW that finger – is – shoving down… it is “The Great Invisible Hand” of the Market (cough gawd)… shoving all the unworthy down, cramming down, ratcheting down, extracting down~~~ the divine trinity is the SOP is the ultimate TPTB – TBTF problem methinks.

  7. Pwelder

    wrt the Summers withdrawal: Scarborough on MSNBC this morning says that Liz Warren (a) organized the lobbying in the Senate against the nomination, while (b) publicly denying or playing down her involvement. Interesting if true,

    I remember Yves and others back in 2011-12 hated the idea that Warren would run for the Senate, on the grounds that a zero-influence junior Senator would be less valuable than an edifying and educational shoot-out over the CFPB. With the benefit of hindsight, are there any second thoughts on this?

    1. DrWily

      Speaking of Ms. Warren, I read this piece the other day.

      She was the one behind the CFPB, and the now head Cordray (ex AG in Ohio)was getting drilled by congress. The article isn’t very good in explaining exactly what is being done, and the source suspect, but I can’t find much else on this topic.

      Was hoping NC would look into this and see what the real story might be, but haven’t read anything here either.


    2. TK421

      Assuming this report is true, that still doesn’t mean Warren wouldn’t have done more good outside of the Senate. No one said she would do no good at all, just that the US Senate is a black hole.

    3. Lambert Strether

      I’m supposed to be impressed by secret opposition revealed after the fact? Sounds like this talking point has been crafted to appeal to the 11dimensional chess crowd — they’ll believe anything,

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      The remark on Warren playing a covert leadership role is not consistent with what I’ve heard from Congressional staffers. I took the Scarborough tidbit to someone who was involved in the fight, and he wrote back, pronto, “That’s completely untrue.”

    1. diptherio

      That’s a pretty stomach-churning read. After just a couple of pages I was already reaching for the barf bag. I just love that the story is focused (in part) around a disenchanted Google employee (disenchanted with Occupy, not Google):

      Occasionally she jumps into these debates with an act of provocative trolling or a treatise denouncing the folly of consensus. She gets impatient. “We shouldn’t just try to create an anarchist society that’s free. We should create a society that’s ten times better,” she says, echoing Google co-founder Larry Page’s goal of making the company’s products ten times better than what they replace.

      Blaaarrggghhh! Ugh…I’m gonna need some mouthwash…

      1. Klassy!

        Alrighty then. Break up with Occupy because well, it’s all so horizontal and kind of formless. It doesn’t run smoothly. Rally around truly meaningful phrases such as “10 times better”.

        1. diptherio

          Yeah, why did we spend all that time trying to unlearn hierarchy? What a waste! Instead, we should have identified the Occupy-version of Larry Page and had him tell us how to make a 10 times better society. What were we thinking?!?

          I can see it now: This Kleptocratic system is unacceptable! We won’t stand for it! We demand a Kleptocracy that is 10 times better! Better poverty! Better financial crime! At least ten times better!

          Maybe she’s a Situationist…

      2. Joe

        I find the propensity of Google’s employees to be self reverential to be laughable. They seem to be oblivious to the fact that their main function is to sell advertising. Who gives a toss what a bunch of salesman think?

        My motto: Don’t be Google.

        1. Dr. Noschidt

          Joe, treat yourself to:
          “A NATION OF SALESMEN: The Tyranny of the Market and the Subversion of Culture” by Earl Shorris (1994, Avon Books).

    2. F. Beard

      And steal purchasing power from each other and especially from the poor via bank loans! And be just as corrupt as we are!

  8. peace

    Re: A Spoiler Attempt On U.S.-Iran Negotiations
    Both Saudi Arabia and Israel have vested interests in delegitimizing Iran’s image. Israel benefits from Iran’s worse-than-us example. The Saudi monarchy benefits by denigrating and delegitimizing Iran’s republican form of an Islamic state; the monarchy does not want fundamentalist Muslims to perceive any alternative form of government, otherwise hope would “Spring” eternal.

    Negotiations between Iran and the United States are not welcome by Israel and the Gulf states. Israel needs to have some “bad guy” bogeyman in the neighborhood to point away from its continuing colonization of the West Bank and the Golan heights. Saudi Arabia is unwilling to allow a somewhat enlightened and developed example of an Islamic State in its neighborhood. Its own people could get ideas that other forms of government than by some dictatorial king might be desirable and compatible with their religion. These two powers will attempt to spoil any negotiations between the “west” and Iran.

  9. barrisj

    DC shooting “only” rates Page5 treatment in SF Chronicle. What’s to see here? As David Horsey notes in the LA Times, these shootings “are as American as the Fourth of July”, and provide a continuous background noise in American life.

  10. Bill the Psychologist

    RE: Navy Yard Shooting

    Note the “We” vs “Them” canard in use: There was never a search for weapons in people coming into the base, because of course “We” would never do such a thing.

    In fact, military are much more vulnerable to the emotional pressures that lead to mass shootings, particularly those suffering from PTSD.

    I was shocked to hear this on the news last night, no weapons screening coming into the base.

    1. skippy

      More than ten years of attrition war with out a big “W” in the header and global praise.

      Skippy… its like loading a magazine.

    2. Jim S

      re: Weapons screening

      Bill, that building alone had 3,000+ people working on it. Any decent-sized installation will have upwards of 10,000 people commuting into work daily–searching everyone is simply not practical. Back in 2001/2002 after 9/11, I remember hearing that Fort Hood had to start staggering physical training times in the morning because of the unholy traffic jams at the gates, and that was merely because they started checking ID cards.

      That is something to consider: prior to 9/11, anyone could walk or drive onto 60% of the military installations in this country without being stopped, in many cases without even seeing a guardhouse. Fort Campbell had its sniper incident in what, 1994(?), and gang-related crime has been ongoing since the 70s, but the paranoia as demonstrated in policies and procedures has never been so high.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I take it you don’t live in Manhattan. Normal not to let anyone into a big office buildings (aside from employees in that site with passes) without at LEAST authorization from someone in the building. Many require bags and coats go through metal detectors. Some require that the host send someone down to escort the guest up.

        Security in buildings in Washington DC is even tighter. All Federal buildings require that bags and coats go through scanners, and you need to have given your SSN and address in advance to be cleared to be allowed to enter.

        Now this offers no protection from employees who go postal…

    3. cwaltz

      Getting on the base would literally take hours if they searched each vehicle for weapons though.

      My spouse and I were debating things because my viewpoint was as a reservist even if he didn’t have a “personal” weapon this guy would/ could have snapped and had access to a weapon as a reserve component. A weapons ban in this case probably wouldn’t have made a difference. It just would have made the window smaller.

      It’s sad this guy snapped. I still wish we treated mental illness like other diseases instead of like people can will themselves better.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A more powerful NSA, with more money, might have made a difference.

        That’s a scary thought for you and me. But not for imperialists.

    1. diptherio

      Well, sure, but the US is special…exceptional, even…our Government can’t be held accountable for ignoring international agreements. That’s something for little countries to worry about.

      The US government has agreed to get rid of its chemical weapons and it will…except the the one’s it really wants to keep, of course. American exceptionalism in action.

  11. MikeNY

    Wrt the Fed taper and Yellen. I understand your qualification on Yellen, Yves, and to some extent I agree…

    …but one need only look at Wall Street’s jubilation over the prospect of her appointment to understand *cui bono*. The Koch brothers must be ecstatic, with the rest of the Forbes 400, with the prospect that their gluttonous portion of the national pie will keep a-growin.

    Maybe the rest of us can share an extra crumb.

    And this is called a ‘victory’ for Liberals.

  12. ex-PFC Chuck

    The capture of the New York Times by Israel is now complete, in case you had any doubt:

    “Many Times readers have been writing to me for several days about a story The Guardian broke last week, describing how the United States routinely shares with Israel intelligence information that the National Security Agency gathers on American citizens.
    “I didn’t think it was a significant or surprising story,” he [managing editor Dean Baquet] said. “I think the more energy we put into chasing the small ones, the less time we have to break our own. Not to mention cover the turmoil in Syria.”

    1. James Levy

      Nothing so dramatic. Criticism of Israel breaks friendships. It gets one dis-invited to parties and disqualified for jobs, speaking engagements, and promotions. It is not a normal disagreement–it gets to people’s most cherished sense of self and identity. No matter how much you may try to explain that criticism of Israel is not veiled anti-Semitism or a sneaking desire that the Jews get offed, a large number of people, and not all of them Jews, believe in their bones that it is. So it is politic to always pull ones punches or look the other way as far as Israel is concerned. The costs of saying what you think to be true are way higher than the benefits of speaking the truth as you see it, and no minds or policies will be changed by reporting the facts anyway. Depressing, but that’s the way it is (especially in NY, DC, and LA).

      1. Synopticist

        I get the impression, if only from reading comments on fairly mainstream US websites, that something has changed in a big way in the last few years about attitudes to Israel.

        It used to be that negative comments towards Israel were incredibly rare, and they would normally provoke a heap of angry responses. Now they seem far more frequent, and don’t attract the type of odium they used to. (There are also a considerable number of anti-Semitic rants).

      2. Hugh

        Israeli exceptionalism, much? Are you saying that the NYT might not be invited to a garden party? These kinds of arguments, which are nothing more than excuses for self-censorship, are what the powers that be thrive on. No criticism is permitted except where and when and how they approve, and of course, they only approve criticism which is guaranteed not to lead to anything like real change.

        Israel is a racist apartheid state. Far from being an ally, it is the biggest impediment to a reasonable US foreign policy in the Middle East and much of Asia. It used to be that saying any of this was taboo, and would invite the charges of anti-semitism you mention. But that is not true anymore. What makes the New York Times self-censorship so striking is that such acts are usually not so blatant.

        Perhaps demographics played a role in the Times’ decision. While only about 7.5% of the New York metropolitan area is Jewish about 15% of the city is. And per wiki, the Jewish population of the city is becoming more conservative over time.

        1. Optimader

          Israel is a racist apartheid state. Far from being an ally,

          Israel is a failed state by the true definition of the term;
          Israel in NOT an ally in the true definition of the term.

          Israel’s government operates in the interests of those in power(not the israeli people), and they effectivly manipulate traitors ( in the true definition of the word) in our government that do not act in the best interests of our country, in violation of their sworn duty

    2. real

      I criticized NYT ,Fox many times on this blog…
      But NYT takes the cake of being mainstream liberal new media
      what a joke this newspaper is….
      Once you read NYT for a week and analyze the news content,you will never read for entire life..
      same is true for liberal media outlets in other countries of world…

      1. Joe

        Noam Chomsky on the NYT:

        “The irony is that, for Chomsky, the New York Times is one of the major perpetrators of what he calls a “web of deceit,” or “thought control in a democratic society.” The story goes that Chomsky’s dentist noticed that he’d been grinding his teeth. His wife observed that it wasn’t happening at night when he was asleep. Eventually, he realized it was occurring every morning while he read the New York Times.”

  13. sd

    News from Iceland

    Getting very little coverage – Iceland’s medical system is also on the verge of collapse. The new government just provided tax cuts to the wealthy rather than funding to the national health service which has been underfunded for some time now.

    In a recent speech, head of finance & Independence Party (right wing) Bjarni Benediktsson told workers they needed to lower their expectations and not be demanding for increases in their salaries because it would lead to dangerous inflation. Meanwhile the 1% just took home 15-20% increases as well as got a nice fat round of tax cuts.

    Icelanders are quickly killing the tourist goose who laid the golden egg. Hotel & rental car prices keep skyrocketing way above what can be called any where near reasonable.

    For example…

    Devastating winds just destroyed rental cars along the southern ring road. Winds were so fierce that windows were blown out of cars, buses, etc. Warning signs that roads were closed were posted alas, only in Icelandic.

    As a result, 70 foreign tourists had to be rescued. Winds were so strong they had to lie down on the ground while waiting for rescuers who eventually reached them by crawling on the ground pulling them to safety with ropes.

    The tourists have to pay for their destroyed rental cars.

  14. rich

    Occupy Wall Street, two years on: we’re still the 99%

    The wave of Occupy protests in 2011 was forcibly suppressed. But it changed public debate, inspiring a generation of activistsThat became the clarion call of a new generation of students and workers, young and old. We stood firm and we opened our arms to all who would dare enter into a new opening of political possibilities. Together, we rose up to confront immense corporate power.

    Then, we fell.

    Our fall was excruciatingly painful, co-ordinated by city mayors, police departments and counterterrorism forces across the country. They broke laws meant to protect basic civil liberties and political expression. The entire apparatus of the surveillance state, as revealed by whistleblowers like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, was employed against its own citizens by a fearful government.

    Moreover, the poor and homeless, whether protesters or not, were further criminalized as a result of our eviction. Thousands were arrested and charged with minor offenses that were later discarded. Hundreds more wait for their day in court in myriad lawsuits.

    Justice was not served to Occupy Wall Street. It was rammed down our throats. The state’s startling show of force played out in real time through livestream channels on the monitors of concerned parents and friends. A defiant Captain Ray Lewis, retired head of the Philadelphia police department, took an arrest while exhorting officers not to be mercenaries for Wall Street. The world watched in horror as three young women were enclosed in police nets and then pepper-sprayed. Across the country, similar scenes of police violence – far from unusual in low-income neighborhoods but suddenly mainstreamed – transformed the national psyche.

    The crackdown on Occupy began a diaspora that continues to this day: protesters returned to their community deeply affected by the experience.

  15. anon y'mouse

    yogi’s corner on the health exchanges:

    “As we’ve said, there’s a whole manner of people out there to help you, navigators, assissters, various enrollment counselors, certified application counselors. You can find out about those on the site of an individual state exchange.”

    other commenters have noted that this opens up a whole new industry of people who will help you choose healthcare. but what it sounds like to me is, now the gov’t pays people to sell private insurance. it is now in the ins. brokerage business. this represents a huge subsidy in itself to healthcare companies.

    it would be like the folks at the DMV signing you up for car insurance. I could be totally crazy & off, but this smacks of a new kind of insourcing. yes, we all “paid” for these services before as it was passed on to the consumer through prices. but now, we shall pay for it through taxes.

    1. real

      soon banking will revert to its original status..only wealthy liberal and conservative elites will have bank accounts…others will be controlled by friendly money lenders from israel

  16. Gareth

    The argument that the Syrian Jihadists couln’t possibly have launched the CW attack because they don’t use a particular type of munition is specious, as they have multiple sources of weaponry ranging from Libya, Croatia, Quatar, Saudi Arabia and the USA, not to mention stuff they may have captured from the Syrian military. I think they can get their hands on pretty much anything they want. There are even Youtube videos of them using rockets:

    Including ones in which they use gas masks while firing the weapons:

    But, I’m not a weapons expert like the unemployed and self-taught UK resident –with no military background– Brown Moses, so I’ll leave the judgment to others.

    1. real

      world public know it was planned by rebels but there is a careful effort by UN and western media to portray it as planned by assad…
      may be by next month,syria might be freed from assad while russia sits back

  17. Joe

    Via the Washington Post Wonkblog :
    The typical American family makes less than it did in 1989

    “Headlines about these numbers tend to focus on how we have now experienced a lost decade for the middle-class American family, with incomes back to their late 1990s level. But as the chart shows it’s really worse than that.

    In 1989, the median American household made $51,681 in current dollars (the 2012 number, again, was $51,017). That means that 24 years ago, a middle class American family was making more than the a middle class family was making one year ago..”

    1. F. Beard

      (Post-Office Bank, anyone?) diptherio

      Yes. The monetary sovereign is the ONLY ethical provider of a risk-free storage and transaction service for its fiat. And that service should make no loans and pay no interest and be free up to normal household limits on number of transactions and account size. And once that service is provided, government deposit insurance should be withdrawn a short-time later.

      But imagine the banks runs when government deposit insurance is abolished! That’s why we need a universal bailout of the population with new fiat first – to provide the new bank reserves to be transferred to the Postal Savings Bank.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Universal bait out.

        From above – people do deserve the results of their own risky behavior

        Do people who leveraged to buy bank shares qualify for that bailout?

        1. F. Beard

          Yes. Universal means universal.

          Keep wasting my time and I’ll just blanket ignore you as the obstructionist you are. You’re not half so cute as you think you are.

          1. AbyNormal

            God says to me with a kind of smile,
            “Hey how would you like to be God awhile
            And steer the world?”
            “Okay,” says I, “I’ll give it a try.
            Where do I set?
            How much do I get?
            What time is lunch?
            When can I quit?”
            “Gimme back that wheel,” says God.
            “I don’t think you’re quite ready yet.”
            shel silverstein

            Breathe Beard

        1. F. Beard

          Yes, person-to-person. Or via a true intermediary such as a 100% reserve bank. But in your case, that might easily mean no borrowing.

            1. F. Beard

              What do you think? I know you’re not that stupid.

              But now you’re on blanket ignore else I contribute to cluttering the site.

      2. Dr. Noschidt

        And these banks (on N. Dakota model) should become custodian of all pension funds, including state pension funds, and Social Security keeper in States. Not even a hint of “brokerage”, “insurance”, “investment banking.”

  18. F. Beard

    re Navy Yard shooting was in a very secure area Politico:

    Wake up PTB! Economically desperate people can do very desperate things and you should SHUDDER to think what a laid off scientist or engineer might do – not to mention Judgement Day.

  19. polynomial

    Re: todays cryptographer stories

    The entire community of cryptographers have been saying for decades that non-cryptographers should just trust these cryptographic standards, which are now, one after the other, shown to have been corrupted–not just broken, but deliberately corrupted from the outset. They claimed the review process for the standards was rigorous, and generally that they themselves had reviewed them and they were experts who we should trust.

    Now no one will or should believe anything they say without mathematical proof.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I have a buddy who said he only trusted pre 1998 PGP (that was in 2006). Does that in any way relate to your observation? This guy had reason to be paranoid (he’d gotten the Russian mob mad at him somehow and was extremely careful about leaving as few clues as possible about his whereabouts).

  20. Joe

    Obamacare, it’s the gift that will keep on giving:

    Via the NYT :
    Concern Grows Over Cost of Drugs Under New Health Care Law

    “Among the most troubling questions facing consumers as they shop for insurance under the Obama administration’s new health care law is whether the plans will cover the drugs they take — and how much they will have to pay for them.

    But with less than two weeks remaining until enrollment opens on Oct. 1, the answers are still elusive and anxiety is growing for consumers whose well-being depends on expensive medications. States running the marketplaces where the plans will be offered have not released details about which drugs will be covered. Insurers have said little about how much consumers will be asked to contribute or what types of restrictions will be placed on certain medicines. Of the few states that have revealed specifics, some plans will require patients to contribute as much as 50 percent of the cost of the most expensive drugs.”

    1. AbyNormal

      good evenin fellow georgian’) my phone has been ringing with obamacureall question (from family & friends thinking i have a clue as to what is going to happen), and so without further due i firedup…right off the bat i didn’t like the way it loaded so i ran a clean n boost followed by a sweep and tried again (im fearless like that). still didn’t load kindly but i continued to answer generic questions, involving no personal identification. i was told to apply for medicare and if i was refused…try back 2014 when my state will have enacted changes to healthcare.

      the next 3 months of forced procrastination, will leave me in need of medical attention…as my food will pass right on thru the hole in stomach. upon this disaster i guess i’ll be handcuffed to a hospital gurney…dropped off in AL (where i’ll be torture for my history of Auburn jokes) and not a blasted friend or family member will answer their freakin phone.

      “[Obamacare] was almost the perfect example of politics in the Bubble Era, where the time horizon for anyone with real power is always close to zero, long-term thinking is an alien concept, and even the most massive and ambitious undertakings are motivated entirely by short-term rewards. A radical reshaping of the entire economy, for two election cycles’ worth of campaign cash – that was what this bill meant. It sounds absurdly reductive to say so, but there’s no other explanation that makes any sense.”
      Matt Taibbi

      1. Joe

        I’m sorry to hear that, my brother. All the best to you.

        I wish I could escape Ga. I’m glued to a house I can’t sell unless I’m willing to give it away. If my crappy luck continues, I’ll lose it to foreclosure anyway.

        I just today got screwed out of unemployment. My employer cut my hours slowly over a 3 month period until my weekly hours reached zero. He lied and told the Dept. of Labor I quit and of course they sided with him.

        Big sigh for both of us and the middle finger to any and all useless government agencies!

        1. AbyNormal

          please feel free to email anytime
          my sister (a creative cpa) & i have had luck working some systems for others in this dawg forsaken state

          stay strong brother and all nc’rs

        2. ambrit

          Dear Joe;
          I don’t know how Gagas’ system works, (but I suspect all bureaucracies function similarly,) but when in Lala Land I had to fight something similar. I learned several things.
          First: The employer almost always ‘contests’ a claim. They get preferential treatment this way. The burden of proof is shifted onto the claimant in that a contestation by an employer is automatically given credence.
          Second: Employers get to play a waiting game, leveraging their superior resources in time and money against the claimant. An administrative judge told me roughly half of these contested claims fall by the wayside due to the claimant not having the resources to continue the fight; transportation to and from the unemployment office and the ability to take a day off from whatever crappy job they have had to take to keep ends together. (I was lucky. My new employer didn’t ask why I needed the day off.)
          Third: Many of the people tasked with mediating such contests are retired or semi retired legal types. (Mine was a retired state appeals judge!) This class of person has a wider range of experience and, to be blunt, humanity than your average bureaucrat.
          Fourth: As I learned from my experience, many of the contesting employers will not even send a representative to the appeal hearing, thus forfeiting the case. (They see it as either a waste of resources, or reasonably, fear the humiliation of failure.) Never underestimate the role of ego in the employers motivations. (A large corporation, contrary to Supreme Court ruling, does not have a soul, nor an individual ego, but those humans making decisions within said corporation do.)
          Fifth: As I learned from a different experience with a contractor in Baton Rouge, do not underestimate the power of shaming. Simply getting your experience into the public eye, either through local media or social media, can swing the balance in your favour.
          Hang in there! You are not alone!

  21. skippy

    Whistle-Blower’s Letter Led to Charity’s Firing of Chief Executive

    A few months ago, an anonymous letter was sent to the board of directors of one of the city’s most venerable nonprofit institutions, the Metropolitan New York Council on Jewish Poverty.

    The writer, who claimed to be a former employee of the charity’s insurance broker, said money was being skimmed from payments that the charity made for health insurance. The allegation was strikingly similar to one made in a letter sent two years earlier. Nothing amiss was found then, but this time a new chief financial officer made a startling discovery.

    The charity’s chief executive, William E. Rapfogel, had been conspiring with someone at the insurance brokerage, Century Coverage Corporation, to pad the charity’s insurance payments by several hundred thousand dollars a year, according to a person briefed on the investigation.

    Mr. Rapfogel, whose annual compensation package exceeded $400,000, pocketed some of the money and was involved in getting the rest to politicians who supply the government grants to the nonprofit organization, the person said.

    skippy… Sadly this is the norm and not a one off.

    1. ambrit

      Dear skippy;
      What is so sad here is that the felon already makes $400,000 a year! We’d live like king on that down here!

  22. ChrisPacific

    The UN report is an important step in the conflict and offers the opportunity to move beyond the simpleminded “the side I support is blameless while the other side is the root of all evil” analysis favored by both Russia and the US.

    If we can figure out what’s actually going on there then it will improve the odds of a coordinated solution to the problem. It’s certainly an improvement on the proposed US approach (fire some missiles at the party we’ve determined to be the bad guy based on criteria that we won’t reveal).

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