Links 9/7/13

Drunken moose gang menaces Stockholm resident Alaska Dispatch (furzy mouse)

G20 papers over splits on Fed tapering FT

NFP/Fed Chair Nomination Timing Warren Mosler. Larry picking out the drapes.

Survey: 42 percent of incoming Harvard freshmen have cheated on homework McClatchy

Former Wall Street Woman Says She Faced Improper Advances From Married Traders And Lots Of Boob Jokes Business Insider (and see also).

Nokia Deal Marks a New Chapter for Microsoft Institutional Investor. M$ needs a culture transplant from Lou Gerstner’s gut.

Exclusive: Oil & gas industry fears more deep-sea leaks linked to drill fluid Reuters

Chinese ship transits Northeast Passage FT (but see).

Naomi Klein: Green Groups May Be More Damaging Than Climate Change Deniers Earth First!

“Final” TPP Round Not Final: Are Even More Secretive Talks Ahead? Public Citizen

Syria (super-sized)

Obama Warned on Syrian Intel Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), Consortium News. “Déjà Fraud.”

Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria Times. “Let’s you and him fight.”

White House asks Pentagon for expanded Syria target list, officials say NBC

U.S. tightens embassy security in Lebanon and Turkey, warns Americans Reuters

Whip Count: Tracking Congressional Support for War With Syria FDL (Think Progress; WaPo).

Opposition to Syria strike brings together liberal Democrats, libertarian Republicans WaPo (see also).

House could delay vote on Syria intervention by a week The Hill

John McCain ripped on Syria at town hall Politico. Video, via Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Obama’s talk on Syria ‘red line’ was spin, analysts say McClatchy. Who knew?

Making Sense of the Syrian Rebels’ Order of Battle Foreign Policy.  Read between the lines and watch the sourcing.

Syria: Six Alternatives to Military Strikes Common Dreams

Playing Chess with Russia and Iran emptywheel

Putin Stings America Ian Welsh (see especially this comment).

Syria, Egypt Crises Could Thaw US ‘Grand Bargain’ Talks Defense News

The west must replace the warrior spirit FT

Crazy Town Foreign Policy

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security Guardian

Snowden Disclosures Finally Hit 12 on a Scale of 1 to 10 Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

On the NSA A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering. Must read.

Brazil’s NSA fury Global Post

Hundreds of Pages of NSA Spying Documents to be Released As Result of EFF Lawsuit EFF

Activists call on N.Y. Times, ProPublica to release unredacted NSA information Politico

Slovenia to liquidate two small banks as bailout looms Reuters

London’s Walkie-Talkie ‘Fryscraper’ Draws Crowds in Heat [!] Bloomberg. Reporter assigned to fry egg sets hair on fire. Rafael Viñoly: ‘Superabundance of consultants’ to blame for ‘death ray’. But blame System B.

‘Baby Bust’ Starts to Ease Online WSJ. Translation: This economy is the new normal.

The STEM Crisis Is a Myth IEEE Spectrum

How should underpayment of employees affect tax policy? ataxingmatter

New Deal, Old South Foreign Affairs

Chicago mayor may still seek airport deal after talks called off Reuters. Because the parking meter deal worked out so well.

Postcard from Trenton Counterpunch (CB)

Antidote du jour (lavandarfields):


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


      1. AbyNormal

        bruce, jovi & the likes are overpaid yellow ribbon entertainers

        when the msm recognizes guys like this…we mite get somewhere:

        Weapons not food, not homes, not shoes
        Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal
        I walk tha corner to tha rubble that used to be a library
        Line up to tha mind cemetary now
        What we don’t know keeps tha contracts alive an movin’
        They don’t gotta burn tha books they just remove ’em
        While arms warehouses fill as quick as tha cells
        Rally round tha family, pockets full of shells

        Bulls on Parade/Rage Against the Machine

    1. Brindle

      Ed Asner and Mike Farrel have spoken out against military action regarding Syria:

      —Asner said Hollywood activists should read a Huffington Post blog item by Dennis Kucinich, where the former congressman lists the “Top 10 unproven claims for war against Syria.”

      “Whether it’s a Republican or Democrat president, or Republican or Democrat Congress — and it doesn’t make a God-damned difference — it behooves us to get off our ass and ask these questions,” Asner said.

      Farrell and Asner both say that beating the war drums on Syria is one of many mistakes Obama has made.—

    2. Crazy Horse

      Interesting little development on the news this weekend. Mr Ed,our brilliant Secretary of State thought to reassure citizens who are worried that there actually might be consequences to invading Syria— you know ones like schools burning down because they couldn’t afford fire extinguishers or bridges on Interstates collapsing for lack of repair. So he let slip that Saudi Arabia has offered to pay for the entire war. All the US has to do is show up with a fleet of ships stocked with satellite controlled laser guided missiles, and perhaps a few divisions of Marines to mop things up afterword. (Presumably deserving American companies would be looked upon favorably for the construction of the new Saudi natural gas pipeline through Free Syria after the war.)

      That’s right. The Saudis are proposing that the US military contract themselves as a mercenary army to achieve the Saudi political/economic goals. And our Secretary of State thinks that is something to be proud of– a good selling point back home to get the folks on board the war train one more time.

      1. kimyo

        and when the saudis say they will pay for the war, what they really mean is that we will do so, by ‘paying at the pump’.
        (patriotically wave your speedpass to fund saudi geopolitical aggression and provide air support to al-qaeda)

      2. LucyLulu

        And for the lives that are lost, how much will the Saudis be paying these days?

        And the Saudis are going to pay for us to merely make sure Assad won’t use chemical weapons again, but not participate in regime change? Why, how humanitarian of the Saudis. This is a limited intervention, just long enough to take out the infrastructure needed to fire chemical weapons. Kerry and Obama promised!

    1. neo-realist

      A shame that Brand X was cancelled: A very out of the box talk show with guests, issues and questions that don’t come up on the likes of Letterman and Fallon–poverty, race, addiction, homelessness……and Sex Pistols Steve Jones playing riffs and the fool:).

  1. pacman

    Or, as Fielding noted in “Tom Jones,” (I must paraphrase) “one must not only be good; one must appear to be good.”

    Summers loses on both counts.

  2. LucyLulu

    From Mother Jones:

    “It’s not clear to me how disclosing NSA’s decryption breakthroughs benefits the public debate much, unlike previous disclosures that have raised serious questions about the scope and legality of NSA’s surveillance of U.S. persons. Conversely, it’s really easy to see how disclosing them harms U.S. efforts to keep up our surveillance on genuine bad guys. Unlike previous rounds of disclosures, I’m a lot less certain that this one should have seen the light of day.”

    We already know from NSA documents that all encrypted communications are collected sans warrant. Thus this doesn’t just affect genuine bad guys, it affects everyone who values their privacy, including US citizens and businesses. Is Kevin Drum really arguing that its acceptable to intercept private communications as long as we don’t know about it? As a journalist, is he equally comfortable giving up his right to protect the identity of his sources, including those who have committed criminal acts and thus have no protection from the information being shared with the appropriate law enforcement agencies?

    1. Ex-PFC Chuck

      Lambert is right that “A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering” is today’s Must Read. NSA poobahs must be appalled at what spilled out. How much was the “Look over there” factor a consideration in Obama’s decision to cast the dice on Syria? Might the NSA poobahs, seeing the Bullrun revelations imminent, have juiced up the intelligence to feed that decision?

    2. Watt4Bob

      My fear would be that the NSA’s degrading internet security in order to spy on us will allow other ‘bad actors’ to follow their trail for other purposes.

      In the same way that Karl Rove’s hackers broke several election systems to steal elections, without ever considering that someone more clever than them might hack their hack, who’s to say that the NSA hacks might not be hacked by criminals intent on massive theft from businesses and banks, that is to say you and me.

      1. LucyLulu

        That was my thought too, that leaving an opening for the NSA meant leaving our institutions vulnerable to the bad guys too. That would include our banks, our power grid, our defense installations. All kinds of havoc could ensue. Of course, we don’t know what the vulnerability is or how many people know what it is, but given Manning’s ability to download the Wikileaks file, its not hard to envision the private keys being written down and taped to some employees’ desk. In any case, this places any US designed software/hardware encryption implementations at a disadvantage to foreign ones (since the vulnerability is unknown, can assume there’s at least a reasonable chance it’s limited to domestic stock).

        For those unfamiliar or having forgotten the tale of the Clipper chip that Clinton pushed hard to make a standard installation, you might want to do a google search. This is a replay, except this time there was no fatal flaw discovered in the chip to save the public. No wonder, the Clipper chip prompted all kinds of opposition from industry, civil rights groups, and even Congress (Patrick Leahy spearheaded the Congressional opposition). They knew they’d never have gotten public support.

        Hey, if the NSA can exploit the decryption, and the bad guys can exploit it, why not the good guys too? We’ve got plenty of brains and experience here at NC to put together a team to solve this problem. So……. who’s up for typing in some keystrokes and redistributing some wealth to the 99%? Oh yeah, let’s party!

        1. Jess

          That quote from Drum is missing the opening line where he says, “This is about where I get off the Snowden train.” But better yet, today on the Guardian Glenzilla has a post up saying that he, “several significant new NSA stories, to be published imminently here, as well as one very consequential story about NSA spying in Brazil that will first be broadcast Sunday night on the Brazilian television program Fantastico (because the report has worldwide implications, far beyond Brazil, it will be translated into English and then quickly published on the internet).”

          I think the phrase “worldwide implications” is going to be something BIG. Personally, I’m looking forward to it, and what response Beltway apologist asshats like Drum and Bob Cesca (I call him Cesspool) have.

        2. D Diver


          I did more industrial and economic espionage than you can shake a stick at. We all did. I even ratted a little bit of it out once, for shits n grins, and just to be a vindictive prick. Blowing the whistle is easy and fun. You don’t have to be a hero like Snowden or Manning, though now that they’ve led the way it’s getting easier all the time. The technical tools of disclosure are much improved. If anything halfway juicy comes out it might just open the floodgates. Boy have we got stories.

          The black world is a bunch of panty-sniffing sneaks stealing the fruits of honest people’s work and feathering their nests with unbridled corruption. I took their money, I know.

  3. Jensen

    “Former Wall Street Woman Says She Faced Improper Advances From Married Traders And Lots Of Boob Jokes Business Insider (and see also)”

    Man bad! Woman noble victim! Must transfer more $$$ from bad mean who earn it to victim women who did not!!!

    Man worse than drunken moose!!!!

    1. Joe

      Some men bad, most type a, many on street of wall. Some posters not get, not use head for thinking, manhood threatened, lash out semi coherently.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are there animals that regularly chew cocoa leaves?

      I think they are missing out on a health habit.

    3. craazyman

      Worse even than a cockroach.

      There is now a great battle going on among the keepers of mankind. Some believe the bioengineering done several hundred million earth years ago to cultivate the ape was a tragic error, and that consciousness is a failure. Others feel mankind can progress and must be nurtured.

      Tempers flare and arguments are heated. It is quite easy to go through a normal life and not realize that such a contest even exists — unless you are sensitive to the most subtle of signs and ephemeral of perceptions.

      The ape man and ape woman lurch at each other, and grovel in the mud of money. The Watchers see this. I kid you not. :)

      1. craazyboy

        Well, ya gotta admit women complain too much, craazyman.

        I remember this one chick once and she told me, “You men are terrible. All you men ever want to talk about is either sports or boobs! Why can’t you guys ever talk about me?”

        So I said, “mud wrestling, then?”

        She got pissed.

        1. cwaltz

          As opposed to the MALES who never whine and don’t ever seem to get the irony of whining about women whining.

          I know next time you’re in your workplace why not ask everyone to spend hours opining about your ass and have them talk about that instead of listening to what you have to say and get back to me about the unfairness of women complaining about their treatment at work.

          1. craazyboy

            They probably gotta picture of it already. Some gay guy snapped me with his iphone in the locker room at the gym.

    4. LucyLulu

      Yes. We all no the reeson wimen make 79 cents for man’s $1 is becus they have boobs insted of branes. Ask Lary Somers, h’ell tell ya ladys ain’t no good with numbrs.

    5. realguy

      the feminists might end up becoming thorn in eyes of elite bankers…there was job assigned to feminists and they done is splendidly,with help from media,judges,lawyers,corporations,banks,politicians…
      You have to understand,how people in positions of power use and throw their allies…happened many times in west and other parts of world

  4. Joe

    There is a pretty good article on Counterpunch by Mike Whitney today:
    Corporate and Financial Debt Soar to Pre-crisis Levels

    “What a sick, twisted system. 12 million people can’t find work, wages have been stagnant for over a decade, 47 million people are on food stamps, household income is down more than 8 percent since 2000, consumer spending is on the ropes (personal spending rose a meager 0.1 percent in July), the homeless shelters are bulging, the food banks are maxed out, and the unemployment rate just dropped to 7.3 percent because–get this—another 312,000 workers threw in the towel and gave up looking for a job altogether. ”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s all about how you are ‘educated’ to see things.

      If they say long, skinny legs are beautiful, then long, skinny legs are beautiful.

      Just know this, it’s not always like this nor every culture sees it that way.

      So, it’s easy to have prosperity by re-defining definition. It’s called prosperity by definition (unfortunately, that sounds like it’s something you can’t argue – that’s the definition).

      And we get this: The more carbon is released into the air, the more prosperous we are (if we define prosperity that way).

    2. Antifa

      Long term unemployed people do not “give up” on looking for work. If there is any chance of finding some kind of employment, you don’t give up. You take anything, because you need food, some kind of shelter, a blanket, bus fare, shoes without holes in them.

      What actually occurs is that the long term unemployed find that as soon as an employer sees that you have not worked in 18 months or more, you go on the List. The List that no one ever looks at because it is in the trash can.

      The only exception is the lowest of the lowliest jobs, where you might sometimes find part time work at day labor or something where you compete directly with undocumented immigrants.

      Even temp agencies put you on the bottom of their call list because employers tell them, “Don’t send us anyone who doesn’t have a current work history.”

      People don’t quit looking. The standard policy is, “Dogs and long term unemployed need not apply.”

      1. Sue Lee

        RESUME 101 From Corporate Mgt. Perspective
        When you have hundred of resumes to review, you DO NOT look for a reason to keep one. You use a systematic approach to eliminate resumes. First, gaps in work history. Second, any spelling or grammatical errors. And so on, until you have about 10 left.
        SOLUTION: Do not show any gaps!!!!! Change the dates on old jobs to show no gaps. As for the current, last, job; change it to. Make it w/i the last month or two. This will at least get your resume past the elimination process!!!!!
        From a management standpoint; I have never checked someone’s references. WHY?? Who would be stupid enough to put down a reference that would be bad????? Most companies policy is to not give a recommendation period. Only the date hired and left.
        I know you are thinking: IF I’M CAUGHT LYING, THEN I WILL BE FIRED. Probably so; however, read the statement again…You will be fired!!!!! Thus you have a current job. The choice is yours: 1. leave it as a current job on resume…no one is going to call your current employee (getting you fired). 2. leave it on resume w/ ending date…you can explain that your ethics were compromised, thus you left the job.

  5. AbyNormal

    re, STEM crisis:

    “Even as the Great Recession slowly *recedes*, STEM workers at every stage of the career pipeline, from freshly minted grads to mid- and late-career Ph.D.s, still struggle to find employment as many companies, including Boeing, IBM, and Symantec, *continue to lay off* thousands of STEM workers.”

    …nice to see the article cover the numbers for the global glut in STEM & MINT, but a Six year old can spot the oxymoron in the paragraph above.

    “you don’t corrupt Truth anymore than you salt salt”
    no country for old men

  6. skippy

    Mr Abbott repeated his election pledges, saying the carbon tax would go, the boats would be stopped and the budget would be on track for a ”believable surplus”.

    ”From today, I declare that Australia is under new management and that Australia is once more open for business.”

    Read more:

    skippy.. translated… open for more free market orifice penetration…… where everyone’s a winnar… if you submit to the natural order… thingy… sigh.

    1. psychohistorian

      Sorry to hear about the election.

      I always thought that Aussie’s were so evolved by requiring everyone to vote. I guess this is just more testament to the power of the media owned by the plutocrats.

      1. Antifa

        Mr. Rudd also lost a good chunk of the fundie voters. He always used to think being gay was a lifestyle choice. But in the past year or so communists or terrorists must have duped him or something cuz now he thinks gays are just born that way.

        And he says so in public. Can you imagine?

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        I remember reading about Finfisher. My computer here is a big, old desktop, and I’ve learnt to replace hard drives, re-install the Linux operating system, and so on.
        With smart-phones, from what I remember the operating system is installed in the phone before the user touches it. Also, you can’t reinstall the OS on a smart-phone, and the hardware is pretty much inacessible, unchangeable, un-checkeable … Finfisher designs broken/breakble software/hardware …

  7. Skeptic

    Drunken moose gang menaces Stockholm resident

    True Canadian Animal Stories, One Drunk For Sure

    Back in the Golden 70s, I built a small cabin out in the forests of Ontario. As a city boy, little did I know about the habits of Canada’s fauna. The cabin was built amidst an old apple orchard in the spring. Very pristine.

    First hint of trouble came in the fall when a seasoned local told me he had been chased out of an apple orchard by a BEAR! Well, that did kind of ring a bell in my head. Hey, I was living the dream amidst an apple orchard. A few days later when returning to my cabin, I saw a bear running off down the road. Then, down by a spring, I found some large mounds of bear leavings. Hmmmm. I also noted there was a blueberry patch nearby. Blueberries, apples = bears?

    Meanwhile, the apples were falling and ripening on the ground. One day, a raccoon showed up on the porch and gazed in the window at me. Raccoons, to my knowledge, are generally nocturnal. He was weaving quite a bit and wanted to come in. Eventually, he staggered off. Well….

    Then, one night while sleeping, there was a rubbing on the exterior cabin wall. And a grunting!

    I consulted a local friend the next day. He told me “Yes, indeed, bears love apples. Also food in little cabins. Have any honey?” Yes, I did!

    Sure enough, a few days later a Momma Bear showed up about five in the evening. With two cubs and a Junior bear, presumably an offspring who did not leave home or maybe an orphan. Well, Momma proceeded to eat up some ground apples while the two little ones, climbed up in a crab apple tree to work. Junior freelanced moving about.

    Wood lore has it that by making loud noises, like beating on a frying pan, bears will run away. Good luck with that. I tried it and the bears did not even move.

    These bear visitations continued for a few weeks. Momma and kids were regulars. One morning, I counted six bears about the property! I cannot say if these bears were drunk or not but they were eating fermented apples.

    Two drunken humans also showed up, looking for bears to shoot. Instead, they shot a few apples off the trees. They appeared much more dangerous than the bears.

    So, before building, consider the local fauna and their habits. A variation on “location, location, location” if you will.

  8. John Glover

    Really curious about whether the Snowden revelations are having an impact on the TPP negotiations. Given our government’s obvious desire to penetrate all information systems around the world, I would think that other countries would be hesitant to trust us on any agreements we make on protection of IP rights….

        1. LucyLulu

          Sorry, overlooked the link, LS. Though the link I posted was a completely different one, posted on the EFF website yesterday.

  9. PQS

    John McCain at Town Hall:

    If you read the article, he lashes out (surprise!) with lines about how hecklers are “being disrespectful”.

    Yesterday I head an interview with Hank Paulson in which the NPR stooge asked him if they “underestimated” the hatred of Americans for bankers….Paulson replied that EVERYONE underestimated how angry the American people were/are.

    Both of these incidents point out to me how tattered the social compact is…..The People Who Rule Us want us to “respect” them in hoary old fora like “meetings” and listen quietly and obediently while they pass out money to their friends and cut our social programs. For our Own Good. Then they are “SHOCKED” to find out how angry we are about it, how clearly we see what they’re doing, and how little interest we have in parliamentary procedure and “rules”.

    Village Indeed. Should be renamed The Nervous Village.

    1. neo-realist

      Sure the bankers are aware that the people hold them in great contempt, but it hasn’t done squat to change their behavior. It helps considerably when you’ve got the government and police state apparatus in your pocket.

    2. Ali G says, Respect.

      Oh right, they want respect. Gee, I sure hope my humble petition to my highly-respected respectable rep was respectful enough

      [Rep. ____], you swore to defend the Constitution. That includes Article VI. Article VI makes the UN Charter supreme law of the land, equivalent to federal statute. Here’s some of the supreme law of the land:

      Article 2, clause 4: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

      Article 39: “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

      Article 48, clause 1: “The action required to carry out the decisions of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security shall be taken by all the Members of the United Nations or by some of them, as the Security Council may determine.”

      In defending the Constitution, you must defend the UN Charter in its entirety – even Chapter VII. No matter what your party tells you.

      To breach Chapter VII is not merely unlawful, but criminal. Why? Because crimes against peace are codified in US law as 59 Stat. 1544-1589 and 6 F.R.D. 69 (1946). And the consensus definition of aggression, Rome Statute Article 8 bis, constitutes customary international law, and as such is part of federal common law, in accordance with the Supreme Court Decision The Paquete Habana.

      Use of force by your President in manifest breach of the UN Charter is criminal aggression, highest of high crimes, an impeachable offense and a crime in universal jurisdiction. Your legislative consent to aggression would be complicity, as a significant contribution to that crime or criminal purpose.

      What’s all this to you? If you vote to authorize aggression in Syria, and justice prevails and you are duly rendered to the Hague for trial as an enemy of all mankind, exactly as terrorists are rendered, and your custodians hood you and give you an enema and strap you to a stretcher, I will make it my business to pop in the butt plug myself, as I remind you that we warned you.

  10. realguy

    The STEM Crisis Is a Myth
    The real STEM crisis is one of literacy: the fact that today’s students are not receiving a solid grounding in science, math, and engineering.

    As a teacher,i have seen students losing interest in science,engineering even after taking degrees.Most of them want to join:
    It seems students have lost quest for knowledge…what you see today is not end of science altogether…
    The improvements have to go on forever and new people must be trained otherwise technology might simply be lost…

    1. LucyLulu

      It’s more than that. I know people who have excellent groundings in math, science, and engineering, and tons of experience and great references to boot who can’t find jobs. Employers are advertising for employees with very tight constraints on desired skill sets. There is no allowance for time to get up to speed on unfamiliar technology (and who knows even a fraction of all that’s out there?). There’s also a lot of age discrimination being reported, e.g. all workers over 40 laid off, who then have more difficulty regaining employment.

      1. realguy

        they may not desire want old experienced workers but if they are not hired,their skills will be lost forever..
        the youngsters i teach know the score….every body except teachers and scientists earn more..
        Investment in science is not always productive like manufacturing derivatives,bonds,stocks at drop of pen..

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I was recently put to work writing a section for a paper addressing how to handle the coming shortage of STEM workers. Cursory web searches turned up an interesting literature of what I have to regard as full-blown propaganda posted by the National Association of Scientists (NAS). A report from the mid-Bush-the-younger years used the same title as Churchill’s history volume on the years leading up to World War II: “the Gathering Storm” which called for an increase in the H1-B Visas. Roughly coincident with that publication an immigration bill came before Congress. As I recall that bill, which failed to pass, called for increased H1-B Visas to address the problem. We have an ‘immigration’ bill before Congress right now that calls for a doubling, even tripling of the H1-B Visas. A couple of years earlier the NAS came out with its report “Rising Above the Gathering Storm”, making a reprise of the STEM doom and gloom and calling for an increase in H1-B Visas. The new immigration bill reads a lot like the immigration bill that failed to pass in the Bush years, though with what I think are some interesting additions I’ll touch on in a moment. Just in case the new immigration bill that came through the Senate fails, a bill was introduced in the House shortly after the immigration bill which — increases H1-B Visas.

        As a STEM worker, expecting to be laid off soon along with several long time co-workers, I am understandibly skeptical of the STEM worker shortage. Maybe I was just naive but it also troubles me to see this mis-use of the National Science Association and whatever authority it holds or once held (?).

        Regarding the immigration bill and its language pertaining to the H1-B Visas — there was language pertaining to details on how a firm could obtain and hold H1-B Visas for foreign employees, and some requirements on that holding firm. I wasn’t tasked to study this area further and moved on so my recollection of the language and my understanding are admittedly fuzzy — the language seems to undercut Indian firms like TATA in their business placing Indian engineers. I recall reading some concern about this in the Indian press. If anyone knows more about this aspect of the immigration bill and H1-B Visas I would appreciate learning more. [Also let me plainly state that I DO NOT blame Indian or any other foreign nationals for taking jobs away from U.S. workers. It’s quite plain that the U.S. government is aiding putatively U.S. Corporations in exporting U.S. jobs and importing foreign labor to fill U.S. jobs when that’s not possible or not as profitable.]

    2. neo-realist

      As far as people losing interest in science and math, part of the problem is that they are difficult subjects that are hard to teach and make understandable to the layperson and there aren’t enough good people in the teaching ranks capable of doing it well.

      Furthermore, I suspect that with IT, at least from my experience in college a long time ago-fortran, cobol and assembler, it appears to take a very specialized knack to understand it and I don’t believe its the kind of education that you can crank people out en masse to go out and work in the field short of a massive improvement in our educational system going all the way back to early child education and healthier family units that provide proper nutritional, psychological, educational and social stimulation.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I have two children. As far as I know they started out with above average intelligence (actual, not ‘Lake Wobegone’) and at least the normal amount of curiosity and interest in learning. I have multiple walls of books and tried at every opportunity to encourage and broaden whatever interests the showed in any and all subject areas. After going through a public education at many of the ‘better’ (reasonably well funded, taught, and run) in a state with one of the best reputations for educating its populace, both my kids exited high school complete devoid of any intellectual interests what-so-ever. Both my parents were school teachers, so understand my reluctance in concluding that there is something very very wrong about public education in this country. I don’t care about test scores if kids leave school completely devoid of interests, and a distaste for learning and reading. Those are definitely NOT the values I tried and failed to teach in my home. Other parents claim that their kids remain ‘interested’ in learning but your comment hit a nerve. I happen to be a technical (not management) STEM worker of over 30 years, expecting to be laid off soon. That being the case, perhaps it colors my tendency to believe that the ‘interest’ pulling students to areas besides STEM is pecuninary. Besides this, I believe there’s a general disrespect for serious STEM students. It’s decidedly ‘uncool’. Ask someone to describe an engineer and they’ll describe a character off the floor at the space center in the movie Apollo 13.

      1. anon y'mouse

        to this entire thread of conversation:

        the vested interest many have in believing that STEM is difficult is holding you back.

        STEM is not difficult, it is not boring and it is not uncool. it is how these things are taught, and presented, and the fact that there is a power structure involved that, to my conspiratorial mind, DESIRES it to be thought that only the few are specially gifted this way that is the problem.

        I am admittedly science and math deficient. this might be for any number of factors, but the main one is daily practice, and not having a firm grasp even when I can go through math classes and become competent at working the numbers around in the desired mode (actually, given grade inflation perhaps being a semi-well-trained but still inferior calculator is all that I am). when “out of practice” I frequently return to the mentality that even basic math problems require a pad of paper and a pen. either i’m incapable of fluid math skills, or I wasn’t taught them. science is (or was, in the many years ago I attended) a once-a-week class in which you do entertaining phony experiments and play games. this was an attempt to make things “fun” but didn’t really penetrate. admittedly, I was in one of the most notorious, corrupt school systems in the country at the time, but what I took away from it is that the goal was “make it light and interesting, and stick to abstract theory and hope that some of them get The Bug and dive deeper.”

        the underlying assumptions: this is hard, most of these kids will not understand it, and quite frankly most of them do not want to AND it will have no purpose in their lives. therefore, the current goal (now, much later in college) for “nonscience” types is, and I shit you not “to make you better knowledge consumers”.

        the goal and outlook should be that everyone (who is not organically incapable) is able to learn it, like tying one’s shoes. but also the problem is abstract theory vs. concrete reality. if someone actually demonstrated, to me, HOW the famous scientists actually did it, and allowed me to do it and make the discovery for myself, it would have been much more relevant than memorization of what they said, when they said it, and how to do a few calculations “proving” it. it might’ve stuck.

        there’s a lot of ego inherent in thinking that you’re somehow special because you can understand something that most people currently do not take the bother to. most of this will have to go by the wayside, and special people will have to realize that it wasn’t that their brains were special for containing or being able to use the knowledge, but that they were somehow more especially attuned to the initial uptake of that knowledge than the mass of their peers were.

        and, naturally, some people are still not going to be interested, no matter how it is presented. our system is reallyreally bad at finding people’s strengths and developing them, while simultaneously fostering growth in the things that they lack but are essential. our system wants to apply the formula to a mass of plants, find only those plants that thrive under that system, and then give those plants special attention to reach optimal growth. the rest of those plants, who don’t receive the special attention, were in the wrong medium to begin with.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I’ll take your part of this thread further. I believe that the public schools have very deliberately designed the curriculum to drive interest and curiosity out of the students. One of my favorite Einstein quotes: “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” At this point in time I think miracles happen less and less often. Having looked at some of the textbooks and the syllabuses for the high school classes I can’t blame the teachers for this. The problem is a the state level and with the local boards of education that select and approve curriculum. The testing mania and the teacher ‘accountability’ all help to assure that public education is anything but an education. Kids learn to hate school, hate the range of subjects taught, and hate the learning process. Teachers and students are being pressed lockstep into fungible interchangeable units that can be counted, accounted, spread on a sheet and posted to a PowerPoint for management control.

          This same model is part of what the STEM ‘shortage’ is all about. All employees are being regarded and treated like so many countable, accountable interchangeable widgets that produce on weekly quotas in a linear advance toward management goals and quotas. This factory worker hell is becoming our norm for work, for teachers, for engineers and programmers, even for doctors and lawyers. There aren’t enough STEM workers because personnel has designed every worker bin so specifically that it takes one wrong guess at the next management ‘hot rock’ to find your skillset obsolete and no longer interchangeable because your ‘bin’ dissappeared. Of course it becomes to fill new bins or popular bins because of the lags in producing new employees to fill this system and the many shoved out of the system at first chance. So we need more H1-B Visas and need to admit more foreign students into our colleges and Universities, and besides their cheaper and much easier to control without complaints. Trouble makers can pack their bags.

          While it’s easy to postulate all sorts of nefarious reasons for this management control mania I blame two causes: 1) the neo-liberal push to turn everything into a market and treat every skill or art as a commodity to accounted and controlled and 2) what C. Wright Mills called the Managerial Demiurge in ‘White Collar”. Although promoted as making things more “efficient”, a most dubious claim in my opinion, the actual end is control; control over even the most mudane aspects of work-life (if indeed there is any life in this kind of work).

          While I’m rambling and ranting I suppose I should point out that the H1-B Visa doesn’t specifically apply to engineers and programmers only. It also applies to any STEM worker in shortage that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher. I’m guessing engineers are just first in the barrel and more jobs are waiting to be filled by H1-B workers. Any nurses or medical technicians care to chime in? As for scientists and mathematicians I suspect that things are so skinny for them that they’re already competitive with their H1-B counterparts. Doctors — you’d better keep up your union dues to the AMA and hope the management there doesn’t sell you out too.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I felt the need to comment to your statement that STEM was not hard — just not well taught. I have a STEM bachelors and found the coursework very hard. But as you suggest the reason it was difficult isn’t innate to the subject matter. I decided in grade school that I wanted to be a scientist and studied and read about science as much as I could. In high school I already had some background and my father was a high school chemistry teacher in a nearby district. I used his books to supplement what little science was covered at my high school. Most of what my high school covered was incoherent and confusing at best. I was never sure what they were trying to teach us given what I’d read elsewhere. In college I’m quite certain very little concern went into teaching. Many of the professors taught because they had to but it stole time from their outside consulting work and research — and they weren’t judged on their teaching. I found the assignments frustrating, and overly time consuming for the amount that they taught me about the material. I was finally convinced by my senior year that if material showed up in my textbook or was covered in class or in an asignment then there was almost no possibility that it might show up on our exams.

          I ended up in engineering instead of science. I do have a special gift for the subject area — I’m very pig-headed and stubborn and was too stupid not to go into different field. College taught me I wasn’t cut out to be a scientist and most important — don’t ask too many questions. Because of my special gifts I have to keep re-learning this last lesson.

          It was clear even as I entered the engineering program that engineers were neither highly regarded nor well treated in job world. I was in high school while whole neighborhoods in the area where I grew up were decimated as an entire generation of engineers who put man-on-the-moon were shoved out the door. The more financially successful, managers and higher degreed people mostly, picked-up service stations and 7-11 fast food stores to try to provide for their families. The rest went to the wind. This H1-B and STEM shortage nonsense is just a final insult as I try to figure how to respond to my own impending lay off.

          I noticed that the Spectrum had a ‘box’ where various IEEE members were asked whether they would recommend engineering to kids entering school. Spectrum indicated that they were very positive about that. If they’d asked me, and no I’m not a member, I’d suggest entering some other field — but I have no idea what. I couldn’t make any good suggestion of careers to either of my kids and still can’t. What’s looking up these days?

          I don’t believe I bitter but if I challenged Clarence with showing how my work made a difference to anything beyond paying the rent, later the house payment, and now rent again, I’m afraid he wouldn’t get his wings.

          1. anon y'mouse

            so, would you say that a lot of your extra abilities in this area were a combination of
            –being exposed to the culture (parental) outside of school
            –having access to supplemental materials outside of school
            –sheer stubborn inability to accept that you wouldn’t be able to understand it


            see what I mean? who, of the “average” student, is going to fit that mold? only a small percentage. so why is our school system teaching subjects like these in ways that don’t make a lot of sense unless you get all of those supplementals, when these are the basic building blocks of the world?

            I can’t help but think it is a conspiracy to make most of us (read: the lower classes, to whom such supplementals will be unavailable without strenuous efforts) incapable in this regard. I think the apathy of some teachers in the face of it is simply the path of least resistance. my question to anyone who would become a teacher, or an engineer in such an environment is: how can you endure being a part of this system? how can you knowingly further and manipulate and retard most young minds? at least most of them must know it is totally wrong.

            and yet the knowledge that none of us asked for nor care about is in our face constantly: which celeb. married/divorced/had a child with/did a sex video with which other one, what the new flavor of Pepsi means to the world, etc. every time I see this shit and it enters my consciousness to some degree, I think “there went the brainspace for the Theory of Relativity!”.

            i’m beginning to think that the most innocuous thing that many of us could do is work in Service & Retail hell. at least the customers are participating with some of their free-will intact.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              My special abilities that enabled me to be an engineer: “I’m very pig-headed and stubborn and was too stupid not to go into a different field.” The other two attributes you point to were what got me into college in spite of the poor education I had in high school. When my kids went to visit my work on one of those bring your kids to work days, they both left swearing that there was no way that they wanted to do work like that. It’s amazing what a person will do to keep up with payments, rent, child support, and all the attributes of trying to have a family and a reason for working.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Harvard…42% cheating freshmen.

    It couldn’t have been more than 5% 200 years ago. One can only assume the pampered cheating-gene travels first class and is propagating at an exponential rate.

    1. realguy

      considering most of Harvard graduates enter through recommendations and usually are children of elites,i think the number of cheaters very small

    2. Butch in Waukegan

      There is a cheating scandal every few years at one of the military academies. Many of the cadets are admitted because of recommendations from their congressmen. Hmmm.

      Another character building institution, athletics, rely on not-exactly-kosher practices to keep their non-professional professional athletes eligible. Of course, for major colleges, the stakes are high.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I attended a public lecture last year where an economist was pushing for his newest book. He mentioned in answer to one question asked that evening, that over half of a recent class graduating from Princeton had gone to work for Wall Street.

  12. ohmyheck

    Now THIS makes sense.

    “’s IMPOSSIBLE for the NSA to have cracked everything. And my assessment is that this is an intimidation campaign…

    The NSA wants people to think that they have this capability…

    And if everyone thinks that the NSA is Big Brother’s Big Brother, all-seeing and all-knowing, then not only will everyone be terrified, but everyone will simply stop using encryption.”

    1. LucyLulu

      Silly argument. There are many reasons that entities desire the privacy ensured by encryption besides protection from NSA surveillance……. unless perhaps one is a terrorist.

      Besides, I don’t think the NSA has a foolproof method of decrypting communications. There may be vulnerabilities they can exploit, but I wouldn’t assume one can’t take measures that offer increased likelihood of protection from exploitation. Just because a burglar has a master key doesn’t mean one can’t bar entry with a chain on one’s door.

    2. Ned Ludd

      The NSA didn’t crack the mathematics behind encryption, but they did discover ways to subvert how it is implemented. Bruce Schneier called attention to the NSA’s meddling back in 2007. Theodore Ts’o, a core Linux developer, resisted pressure from Intel to use their random number generator “sealed inside a chip”. He made this followup comment:

      Not only did it happen before, just TODAY I had to fight back an attempt by a Red Hat engineer who wanted to add a configuration option which would once again allow RDRAND to be used directly, bypassing the entropy pool:

      Prarit Bhargava, who submitted the patch, is a Linux kernel developer at Red Hat. He could very well be working for the NSA. If Intel’s on-board random number generator contains a backdoor, then Bhargava’s patch would subvert the kernel so, at compile time, a Linux distribution could easily flip a switch to make their users’ encryption exploitable. Would Red Hat flip the switch? Ubuntu? Oracle? SUSE? Are any already including the switch through their own patchset?

      This is why the NSA and the other intelligence agencies need to be abolished. As long as you provide tens of billions of dollars to secret intelligence organizations, everything will be corrupted by them. Even “Modern art was CIA ‘weapon’”.

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        This is possibly quite significant. Theodore Ts’o is an old-hand Linux developper, and his contribution had to do with the /dev/random strong pseudo-random number generator, for cryptographic key generation, etc. All of (standard) Linux has open-source code, but not an Intel CPU gadget…

      2. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        Dear Ned Ludd,
        The link you provided to the Linux Kernel Mailing List didn’t work for me. There’s a proposed patch by someone whose name I’ve forgotten, and Theodore Ts’o has given his opinion in about three replies. Here’s a link to one of Ts’o’s replies that worked for me:

        1. Ned Ludd

          Thanks for spotting the broken link. When I copied tytso’s comment from Hacker News, I accidentally appended a letter, which broke the link. The correct link is:

          The link you posted also works; it comes later in the same discussion. Prarit Bhargava, who proposed the patch, is a principal software engineer at Red Hat who works in the Kernel Group. Bhargava’s comment, when his patch is rejected, is telling:

          Your argument seems to surround the idea that putting stuff on the internet is safe. It isn’t.

          It is troublesome that Bhargava responds with such disdain when Ts’o links to the New York Times article and quotes the bit about “working with chipmakers to insert back doors”. It is also unclear why Bhargava posted the patch in the first place; he never responds when Ts’o asks: “Where is the speed of the random number generator a bottleneck?”

          1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

            I agree that Ts’o raised some serious questions, left un-answered by Bhargava (spelling?).
            On cognoscenti of “hacking” (white/black), there is @ionstorm on twitter. By the looks of it, he/she isn’t a newbie (from his/her twitter profile):
            The latest from ɯɹoʇsuoı (@ionstorm). blackhat hacker

  13. barrisj

    Re: the “VIPS Letter”: Amongst the signees Larry Johnson and Pat Lang stand out as being on Obama’s Syria misadventure ever since any sort of US intervention was bruited about, well before the August 21st “gas attack”. Along with “b” (Billmon?) at Moon of Alabama, these three bloggers have put the case strongly against US military involvement, and having access to intelligence professionals have given Lang and Johnson far more credibility than the pro-intervention crowd can summon. For further reading, check out their sites: (L Johnson) (P Lang)

          1. barrisj

            (May be a double-post here – apologies in advance)
            Larry Johnson admittedly has had it in for the Obamas ever since the 2008 primaries, where he so jonesed over HRC. And that his acute animus toward Obama arose over the type of campaign run against Clinton. However, his stridency has been placed to good use during the Syria runup, and whether one credits his “sources in the intelligence community” with possessing hard facts or not, Johnson is in good company with his fellow VIPS colleagues, many of whom were way out front of the Cheney-Bush Iraq invasion, which used manipulated or non-existent CIA “intelligence” as war justification.
            And, who is “Bernard”, by the way?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Well, the trick is not to let one’s predelictions or “stidency” in support for this or that candidate spill over into, er, making stuff up. I certainly loathed the campaign Obama ran, but I held off on the LJ stuff until he was actually able to produce it, which he never was. If I had fallen for it, that would have been very damaging, eh? So it would be nice to know that there’s a body of practice in place to prevent that. Is there? Bernard (I had thought) is “b.”

  14. Ned Ludd

    Andrea Shepard, one of the core developers of Tor, criticized “non-techies [who] are running the show and are collaborating with #NSA in hopes of a political fix”. When Shepard mentions “collaborating”, I think she’s referring to remarks made by Janine Gibson and Alan Rusbridger in their interview with Charlie Rose, starting at the 4:25 mark.

    Andrea Shepard: @Kim_Bruning @ggreenwald That’s the problem: non-techies are running the show and are collaborating with #NSA in hopes of a political fix.

    Andrea Shepard: @Kim_Bruning @ggreenwald Yep; we need someone to leak the leaks so we can actually fight this thing.

    Similarly, a lot of people questioned Greenwald on why The Washington Post published more NSA slides with less redaction than The Guardian, back when they were both covering PRISM.

    1. LucyLulu

      And similarly, why has the Washington Post and its reporters, and now the NY Times, gotten so much less grief over the NSA leaks than Greenwald? Nobody ever mentioned arresting Barton Gellman for his role.


    Thanks for the Kevin Drum link. Now I can be sure that I never ever need to read him again. That guy cannot see the forest or the trees.

  16. rich

    Police Across USA Charged With Traffic Ticket Quotas To Meet Budgets
    Georgia, Alabama, New York and Michigan police all facing quota investigations

    If the Atlanta police department wants to make sure their future pay raises come in, they had better write more tickets and make sure they show up in court to defend them, says a report from Channel 2 Action News in the Georgia capitol.

    The TV news team obtained an email sent from the police union chief Ken Allen to his members in the Atlanta Police Department explaining that future raises will be funded through ticket revenue based on the most recent city budget.

    It may be the first time a major city overtly spelled out the connection between traffic ticket revenue and police salary and raises, and it raises questions that the southern city is instituting an official quota system.

    “The mayor has designated traffic court/ticket revenue for future pay increases … (This is) the first time ever that a revenue stream has been designated to salaries,” Allen told officers in the email, according to Channel 2. “Future pay increases are in our hands. We need only enforce traffic violations as we are now, but increase our attendance in court to prevent cases being dismissed.”

    As city’s cope with tightening budgets, “unofficial” ticket writing quotas have been uncovered in the last year, with line officers, many of whom object to the practice, caught in the middle.

    In Bethel Heights, Ark., last month, Officer Timothy Brasuell recorded his police chief pushing him to manufacture reasons to make more traffic stops and get his ticket numbers up. Brasuell, reported NBC TV affiliate KNWA, played the recording for the county prosecutor and mayor who dismissed the officer’s concerns “as an internal matter.”

    In Staten Island, NY, three police officers were charged in 2012 with writing phony tickets to meet unofficial quotas they claimed were forced on them by superiors. Officer Paul Pizzuto, who was dismissed and lost his pension, made the claim that bosses threatened to transfer him if he didn’t keep up a quota of 150 tickets per month. Pizzuto was caught submitting bogus summonses of people he had previously ticketed, and even people who were dead.

    In Auburn, Ala., earlier this year, a police officer was fired for allegedly going against a ticket quota policy dictated by superiors to raise extra revenue for the city. Officer Justin Hanners charged that his commanding officer told him and his fellow officers they had to write at least 100 tickets per month, according to The Opelika-Auburn News. Cops who wrote the most tickets, Hanners charged in court papers, were rewarded with gift certificates for steak dinners and other goodies. Those who fell short, he charged, were threatened with job loss or mandatory over-time on holidays and other undesirable days.

    so they need $, you get ticket, you can’t pay ticket, you go to collections?-> new normal

      1. Massinissa

        There are actually anarcho capitalists who think that would be a good idea.

        I really fail to understand An-Caps, honestly.

    1. anon y'mouse

      the new highwaymen have uniforms.

      my domestic partner, when he was undergoing the most intense period of his physical therapy and riding the bus to/from had a little episode with the modern highway robbery system.

      a group of them entered the bus at its layover at the nearest transit system. the bus drivers usually get off, walk around, have a smoke or whatever and unscrupulous individuals generally take that opportunity to jump on the empty & open (formerly, they have ceased leaving the bus open since) bus without purchasing a ticket.

      my partner paid the driver and got on BEFORE his break. when the driver got back, the transit police got on and shook everyone down for their receipt, writing up $200 fines for everyone who lacked one.

      my partner ran afoul of this because, although he’d paid the driver and obtained his receipt, he had misplaced it in the interim (later found in some pocket recess somewhere), was on medication that made him totally foggybrained, and was suffering from vertigo which prevented him from using his car safely. he explained this to the officers, asked them to ask the bus driver for verification (which was ignored), offered to purchase another ticket and had money in hand, and still ended up with the $200 fine.

      so, yeah…his description of having all of the miscreants rousted out and doled out fines for something like that (which, if we were serious about public transit promotion in this country, we would just make admission free or near-free) smacked to me of the old stage-coach robbery.

    2. bob


      I’ve never thought about how that word is used in this instance. At “ticket” is used in two seeminly very different ways.

      You can buy a ticket to a show.

      You get a ticket for speeding.

      Is there really any difference? Is the speeding ticket just a cost of admission?

    3. AbyNormal

      my sista got a ticket wed. for ‘Improper Entrance’…no kidding i was there. we entered into a grocery store parking lot from the exit, where there were NO arrows painted on the street(s), but there was a sign 20ft from the driveway. the cop was sitting in the parking lot facing the road…while he was writing us up another vehicle did the same thing and the officer pointed him to park it for a ticket.
      this all took place in JOHNS CREEK, another city to incorporate away from Fulton Co., City of Atlanta.

      last month i got a ticket in the same city, 7 miles over the speed limit…ONE HUNDRED & FORTY DOLLARS

      my sister and i continued our errands and anyone we talked to said EVERYDAY someone got a ticket coming an going to work.

      yesterday i drove 45 miles north on 85 and counted NINE state patrols…SEVEN southbound.
      when i called my sister about it she said Nathan Dealer hired a boatload of st. patrols and expects revenue.

      i don’t believe anyone here can imagine the depths of my despise for this governor…elected right AFTER he was forced to resign from CONgress. can you imagine what it would take to be kicked out of that den of thieves?

      i keep a vigilant search for Obamacure in this state and with perfect timing Dealer shows the fix is in:

      back to gutting us for revenue…Jails will fill. Few can afford these heavy fines and that is the final gang bang plan…pay offs with high interest = exponential revenues.

      we’re getting a new farris wheel, water park, addition to a morgue of an aquarium and eventually a gun in every home…DO NOT COME NEAR THIS STATE OF RUINS and warn loved ones.

      1. AbyNormal

        4 Secret Taxes on the Poor

        3. “Pay-to-Stay” Programs: Counties nationwide are charging inmates for the cost of their own room-and-board while they’re in prison. Some counties are very aggressive about collection, pursuing inmates who don’t pay for years even after their release. Depending on the county, inmates may also be held responsible for other costs related to their own prosecution and punishment, such as reimbursing the government for the cost of their public defender — the lawyer appointed to represent them because they were found to be too poor to hire their own attorney.

        4. Parental Reimbursement Programs: Parents of kids who get into trouble with the law are often required to foot the bill for the government’s attempts to rehabilitate their children. Attempts at rehabilitation can take many forms, including locking kids up in secure detention facilities. And when parents don’t make parental reimbursement required by courts, this failure can be grounds for being locked up themselves — and getting saddled with a “pay-to-stay” bill for their own time behind bars.

        i recently heard a story of an indigent mother, jailed for not paying her son’s prison room & board… he was jailed for truancy.

        this is ALL about to get INSANE…yet my neighbors and many across the US think the economy is picking up

  17. rich

    Syria – Cui bono Part 2 – Qatar, Saudi, Russia and Gas

    Our leaders would like you to believe that what is going on in Syria is simple – a bad man has gassed innocent victims and it is up to good people to punish him (take out his air defenses), prevent him from ever doing it again (regime change) and serve notice to other bad men (Iran) that doing really bad things (to be defined as and when) to people we like is verboten. In Simple World, the emphasis is on ‘what happened’. As if why things happen is unimportant or too obvious to be concerned about. It’s ‘watch the birdie’ politics. Please look right here – only here. Something pops out, you’re surprised, there’s a flash and we all enjoy the memories.

    Or you can ask ‘Why?’ But asking ‘why’ confuses the simplicity.

    1. craazyboy

      My limited knowledge of Qatar goes back to 2004 when I owned stock in a multinational which built a plant in Qatar that converts NG to diesel fuel – which then gets transported from a Qatar ocean port to Europe via tanker.

      Back then the ruler of Qatar, (called the Emir, IIRC) was known as a moderate arab and they basically existed as a country because the Saudis allowed it. It’s a tiny country of less than 2 million, surrounded by ocean on one side and Saudi on the other.

      The author describes a worsening in relations with Saudi going back to 2009 over the NG pipeline Qatar would like to have (BTW: LNG is transported in a refrigerated LNG super-tanker – the author seemed a bit confused there as well)

      That may be, and the $3 billion of rebel funding by Qatar could be true, but I don’t really think Qatar could get away with a whole lot that would displease the Saudis. The Saudis could move into Qatar a squash them in days.

      So I think this article overstates how much independent power Qatar realistically has.

      1. Synopticist

        No, you’ve got that wrong.

        Qater is hugely powerful, their power comes from money, obviously, but also their ownership of a; jazeera and their close ties to the west. Half of the UK’s gas comes from Qatar. They’ve lerveraged their money very smartly avtually, until they came unstuck recently in Egypt and then Syria.

        The Saudis would dare attack qatar.

  18. Hugh

    Yawn. So Stiglitz thinks that Yellen would be better to run the kleptocratic machine that is the Fed than Summers. This is what Establishment liberals always do. They never rail against the machine. They only want it run “better.”

    Kevin Drum is another version of the Establishment liberal. He is comfortable with a little, mild criticism of the Establishment, but please nothing we already don’t know, and definitely nothing that might upset his comfortability.

    So was all the kabuki about the “unnecessary” approval of Congress for his Syrian war, just a way for Obama to push its timing to after the G20 summit?

    What is so maddeningly idiotic and destructive is that Iran now has a President interested in cooling tensions between us and them. It’s not like we are ever likely to be buddy buddy with Iran, but better relations with Iran dwarf what is going on in Syria. Only the drums of war are beating so loudly no one seems to want to hear it.

  19. bob

    “Naomi Klein: Green Groups May Be More Damaging Than Climate Change Deniers Earth First!”

    I’m watching this first hand locally. The supposed environmentlists are pushing for a new highway.

    It’s complete bizarro world. Up is down, left is right and the “enviros” within the large organizations setting themselves up for a very lucrative legal battle.

    It’s just like corparate america. The little guys who volunteer their time and energy are led into a loosing fight that will only benefit the DC law firms in the end.

    At least walmart pays it’s line level employees some of the spoils. The “volunteers” for the enviro groups don’t even get that, but the execs at the top are all doing very well.

    They are worse than “corporations”.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s like the DC Sierra Club types parachuting in up here and pushing for East-West rail instead of East-West highway. We don’t want either, don’t you get it?! Just demented, and possibly not incidentally would have undercut local efforts, had anyone listened to them.

    2. gordon

      The Klein piece was interesting to me partly because she is still seeing so much of the environmental movement through AGW spectacles. At one point she talks about: “…lots of different fronts you have constituencies coming forward who have been fighting, for instance, for sustainable agriculture for many, many years, and now realize that it’s also a climate solution.

      It’s almost got to the point where people forget that there even was an environmental movement before AGW took over the front page. That leads to loony situations like green groups promoting fracking (“bridge fuel” – hah!).

      The environmental movement – especially the kind of Big Green groups Klein talks about – have put way too many eggs in the AGW basket. Temperature is just another aspect of sustainability.

  20. anon y'mouse

    Lambert–what happened to this morning’s post on the pattern language architect?

    or did the comments just get too negative?

    perhaps my mind is playing tricks, or it was an old post somehow resurrected.

      1. anon y'mouse

        time for the Twilight Zone music to arise seemingly from nowhere.

        could’ve sworn it was up on the list today.


        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It’s on the list at System B, because a skyscraper that produces a “death ray” which melts cars, fries eggs, and burns hair is one that would surely be classified by Alexander as System B (and in fact the architect, blaming consultants, admits this, though he probably didn’t know what he was saying).

  21. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    In 1982, a new Constitution came into effect in Canada. My feeling is that constitutionalist Pierre Trudeau was an admirer of the US Bill of Rights. One signal feature of the 1982 Constitution of Canada is the incorporation of a Canadian version of the American Bill of Rights, which we call the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There was a “mini” celebration on the 25th anniversary of the Proclamation, maybe mostly in legal circles. The “Legal Rights” in our 1982 Constitution align pretty much with some of the features of American Civil Liberties; so here’s a link to our Rights in Canada, in the “Legal Rights” sphere:

    1. 54 40 or fight

      Modeled on the US Bill of Rights, huh? My condolences. The US bill of rights is a niggardly subset of the free world’s human rights. Canada actually had a hand in drafting grown-up human rights standards, the International Bill of Human Rights, but sad to say, their guy was a lawyer named Humphreys, who had no concept of economic, social or cultural rights. The brains of the outfit was a Lebanese legislator and a Chinese scholar and a Belgian, Rene Cassin. Fortunately, Canadian civil society has leapfrogged that US constitutional crap with popular acceptance of the state of the art in treaty law.

  22. Ep3

    Yves, with the onset of the football season, I have an observation/hypothesis. We have terrible income stratification in this country. So I started thinking about how that affects other things that one wouldn’t normally associate with. And then in saw Tom Brady on tv. He’s married to gizelle bunches(sp). Then I thought ‘I sure would like to marry a girl like gizelle’. But I can’t and won’t. Besides not being a football star, I live at a far lower rung on the economic ladder.
    Which brings me to my hypothesis. Not only do we have economic separation of society (the haves and the have nots), but we have reproductive separation. Hollywood marries either other Hollywood, or, they usually marry someone in sports. You don’t see famous ppl meeting ppl from their hometown and marrying an unknown. Tom Brady is from michigan. But he married a world famous model.
    Now a person could argue a college educated person who works on wall street wouldn’t go marry some jobless trailer trash because the thought would be they would not relate. Which makes me say that Tom Brady is not marrying for love so much as marrying for the purposes of marketing his brand. Hollywood thespians marry to get then that big contract. Wall street marry to build their fortunes. And their children then goto elite schools and marry other children from elite schools.
    And my concern about the human race here is that, just like having all that money in one small group of society hurts the poor, having all that elitist genetic material also hurts society. Because they keep it all to themselves. They are trying to breed “perfect ppl”. While the “imperfections” that us poor ppl have stay on our lower rung and we marry other ‘imperfect ppl’. That’s fine, we love who we love. But it has been proven that interbreeding hurts the genetic pool. And these beautiful ppl aren’t so much interbreeding their genetic material as much as they are interbreeding their economic pool.

    1. anon y'mouse

      perhaps it has very little to do with genes. perhaps it is largely cultural.

      meaning, even the least of us could have come out like that if we’d had those parents and experiences. the potential is in all of us.

      if they like to separate themselves and then claim that genes accounts for their superiority, then how do you account for a Stephen Hawking, a Lord Byron, or any other “genetically defective” (not my slander, just the simplest way to explain it) achieving greatness in some realm.

      those who have the most to thank genes-wise MAY be sports stars. after all, if you’re not reallyreally tall, you likely won’t be on the Bball team. and models are the kind of mirror of that. but those individuals come from any & every genetic background.

      perhaps what genes are being bought are lower-class physical attributes that are desireable. the brain is plastic, and the kids will be achievers simply due to their class upbringing. even the ones that happen to look like trolls.

  23. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    In old news from August 2010, there was a “showdown” between the United Arab Emirates on the one part, and Research in Motion on the other part. Essentially, the U.A.E. Authorities remonstrated to RIM because of what the UAE Telecoms regulator called “a threat to national security” from hard-to-monitor Blackberry communications. Andrew Lebovich wrote in part in Steve Clemons’s “The Washington Note”:
    “The news Saturday that after years of failed negotiations the United Arab Emirates will ban the data and email service on Blackberry phones after October 11 without an agreement allowing the Emirates to monitor the currently encrypted data raises fascinating questions about how authoritarian governments cope with emerging technologies. While the UAE government has argued that security concerns and national sovereignty allow it to set rules regulating commerce, American officials and NGO’s alike have cried foul over the human rights implications of the forthcoming ban.”
    Link to original:

  24. diptherio

    More Empty Real Estate Trusts

    Royal Park Investments vs. Deutsche Bank, et al

    441. For example, plaintiff performed an investigation concerning the mortgage loans purportedly transferred to the trust for the Deutsche Bank Defendants’ DBALT 2006-AR6 offering. The closing date for this offering was on or about December 15, 2006. Plaintiff reviewed the transfer history for 310 loans that were supposed to be timely transferred to this trust. Only two (2) loans were timely transferred to the trust. Thirty-five (35) other loans were not and have never been transferred to the trust. Thirty-seven (37) additional loans were never assigned to the trust, and were paid in full in the name of the originator (or a third party). In addition, thirty-nine (39) other loans that were supposed to be transferred to the trust were transferred to entities other than the trust, but not to the trust. Five (5) deeds of trust were foreclosed in the name of a party other than the trust, without an assignment of record of the note and mortgage (deed of trust) to that party or the trust. The remainder of the loans (192) were eventually transferred to the trust, but all such transfers occurred between mid-2007 and the present, well beyond the three-month time period required by the trust documents. In other words, only 2 of the 310 reviewed loans were timely transferred to the trust, a failure rate of 99.4%.

    Look at it this way, the glass isn’t 99.4% empty, it’s .6% full…

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