Links 10/28/13

Lambert here: We’re one post light because Yves is going to deal with the matter of Jamie Dimon on Democracy Now and then on Harry Shearer. So here are some extra links to tide you over until the missing post arrives later today.

Mouse eats scorpions and howls at the moon New Scientist. Yes, blogging is hard work.

Wave of attacks kills scores in Iraq Al Jazeera

CBA spy subject’s legal threat Sidney Morning Herald

Russell Brand vs. Jeremy Paxman: the full transcript Corrente

Optimism about an end to the euro crisis is wrong Wolfgang Münchau, FT

London property only affordable to extraterrestrials The Daily Mash

Has the Great Recession created behavioral changes in the labor markets? Sober Look

Barack Obama mounts big push to bolster FDI in US FT. Foreign Direct Investment.

Snapchat Is Mulling Another Huge Round at a $3.5 Billion Valuation All Things D

Thoughts and Observations Regarding This Week’s Apple Event Introducing the iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini Daring Fireball

ObamaCare Launch ‘down’ amid homepage changes The Hill. They got rid of the stock photo!

Data center glitch is latest problem in ‘Obamacare’ rollout Reuters. Verizon data center #FAIL halts enrollment in all 50 states.

Health Site’s Woes Could Dissuade Vital Enrollee: the Young and Healthy Times

The outsourcing customer is always wrong FacingSouth

Federal Health Site Stymied By Lack of Direction Online WSJ. “When CMS presented to White House officials over the summer, they displayed a demonstration version of the website composed of screen-shots of the real exchange and overlaid with interactive features.” And the White House, famous for its tech savvy, didn’t know they were looking at vaporware?

As Falters, Silicon Valley Cringes New York. Pish. They’re not cringing, they’re looking for a piece of the action.

Latest Legal Challenges to the Health Law: A Guide WSJ

Dead Man Walking NEJM. This is why defunding ObamaCare is wrong. It’s also why ObamaCare’s lack of universality is wrong.

Experian Sold Consumer Data to ID Theft Service Krebs on Security (CL). Key ObamaCare vendor.

White House glitches go beyond Obamacare FT “Obama’s White House is dominated by a coterie of insiders who have learnt that their boss does not like to hear bad news.” Quack, quack.

Storefront Supernatural The New Inquiry. Botanicas.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Who is Jeh Johnson, and Why Should Black People Be Hanging Our Heads in Shame? Black Agenda Report

Get Angela’s Number: The Indiscreet Charm of the N.S.A. The New Yorker

Obama ‘gave the go-ahead for Merkel phone tapping’ as he wanted to ‘know everything’ about world’s most powerful woman, German newspaper claims Daily Mail

NSA denies discussing Merkel phone surveillance with Obama Guardian. “‘He denies it,” the King said. ‘Leave out that part.'”

As Europe erupts over US spying, NSA chief says government must stop media Glenn Greenwald, Guardian

The Dog Ate Charles McCullough’s Homework emptywheel. Marathon bombing oddities.

The end of the New World Order Guardian (Okie Farmer). Oh?

The US Is Quietly Losing Its Innovation Edge to China The Diplomat

China May Revamp Farmers’ Land Rights as Yu Sees Deeper Reform Bloomberg

Mizuho Bank’s Yakuza Scandal: More than 30 Execs to be Punished The Diplomat

Documents show government tacitly accepts TEPCO’s refusal to pay for cleanup Asahi Shimbun

Will Utica, Marcellus remain non-starters in Empire State? New theory holds geology, not politics, thwarts NY fracking Shale Gas Review

Food deserts are incredibly complex problems KevinMD

A brief note on why the progressive blog movement failed Ian Welsh

Was Obstruction the Right Call to Make on Wild Last Play of Game 3? Bleacher Report 

Holy Logic: Computer Scientists ‘Prove’ God Exists Der Spiegel (RS)

Could New York City Subways Survive Another Hurricane? Times. Wonderful story. “[Y]ou see what it will take to keep the system going: technological improvements, yes, but also the oldest technology of all — the knowledge of the people who run the subway, many of whom have been there for their entire working lives.” And remarkably, there are two words that don’t appear in its seven pages: “Union,” and “public.” Go figure.

Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71 Rolling Stone. “Three chords and you’re into jazz.”

Antidote du jour (via):


Bonus antidote. Brooklyn’s own:

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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

    Well the coal black sea waits for me me me
    The coal black sea waits forever
    The waves hit the shore
    Crying more more more
    But the coal black sea waits forever
    The tornadoes come up the coast they run
    Hurricanes rip the sky forever
    Though the weathers change
    the sea remains the same
    The coal black sea waits forever
    There are ashes spilt through collective guilt
    People rest at sea forever
    Since they burnt you up
    Collect you in a cup
    For you the coal black sea has no terror
    Will your ashes float like some foreign boat
    or will they sink absorbed forever
    Will the Atlantic Coast
    have its final boast
    Nothing else contained you ever
    Now the coal black sea waits for me me me
    The coal black sea waits forever
    When I leave this joint
    at some further point
    The same coal black sea will it be waiting
    Lou/Cremation- Ashes to Ashes

    1. Jim Haygood

      Heard the news about Lou Reed from Willie Nile at a house concert last night, which he dedicated to Lou.

      Said he had seen Lou at a book signing a couple of weeks ago and hugged him. Willie covered ‘Sweet Jane,’ and amended one of the verses of his own song ‘House of a Thousand Guitars’:

      Cause Lou Reed’s gonna kick your ass in the house of a thousand guitars.

      Willie and his band ended the song holding their guitars up to the sky, as a packed house stomped and cheered.

    2. neo-realist

      A dead on chronicler of the urban environment, attitude, despair and disappointment (e.g., check out the Coney Island Baby lyrics among other songs) and will never get another one like or close to him.

    3. craazyman

      when I first heard Walk on the Wild Side I thought “whoever wrote this must be a sick fuhck, this is demented and insane.” It scared me. I couldn’t believe people would do stuff like that, but I was just a kid. then the songs about Heroin. they were songs written by a degenerate soul lost in the embrace of Satan.

      then years later I realized the title WALK ON THE WILD SIDE was based on a book by Nelson Algren of all people. and then I read the book. I can’t remember it anymore, but at the time it didn’t seem as wild as the song. It was more like “midwesterners gone wild after shopping at the hardware store”

      artist make stuff up, that’s what they do and if you believe them, it’s at your peril. I don’t know if anybody ever shaved their legs and plucked their eyebrows and became a she and walked on the wild side. Maybe. probably. A few people anyway.

      People do weird sh*t, that’s for sure. You look around and then decide for yourself. If you’re like Mr. Reed, you say to yourself “Well, that seems like it might be something I can use.” haha hahahaha. How they do it, it’s pretty cool.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Artists make stuff up.

        We should not leave imagining to professional imagineers.

        You may get called absurd, but we all have a duty to ‘make stuff up.’

        We are all born creative…every one of us.

      2. Emma

        “People do weird sh*t, that’s for sure. You look around and then decide for yourself. If you’re like Mr. Reed, you say to yourself “Well, that seems like it might be something I can use.” haha hahahaha. How they do it, it’s pretty cool.”

        Not sure….
        You’ve got Gen Alexander a well-upholstered tit seeping REM from the glare of a salivating monocle, Widow Cranky Cruz pirouetting round a chemically-enriched Boehner-Barbie on the dance floor, tea-party tux with questionable libido, and Bachmann dressed up like Sauron in drag…..
        Unfortunately, none of them make mouth-to-mouth with the messiah of ‘Plutocrapacy’ any more appealing…..

        1. craazyman

          Johnny’s in the basement mixing up the medicine
          I’m on the pavement thinking about the government
          The man in the trench coat, badge out, laid off
          Says he’s got a bad cough, wants to get it paid off
          Look out kid, it’s something you did
          God knows when, but you’re doing it again
          You better duck down the alleyway, looking for a new friend
          The man in the coon-skip cap in the big pen wants eleven dollar bills, you only got ten

          -B Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

          He’s gonna be going soon too. They’re all flyin’. What teh f*ck are we gonna do then. I know: Watch them on Youtube!

          You can see Muddy Waters on youtube. Just like it was yesterday at the Newport Jazz Festival. It won’t ever stop from here. That’s weird to contemplate.

          BTW, I meant it’s cool the way artists use what they see, like Mr. Reed using some freako he must have met once and writing a song about it.

          1. Emma

            Dylan is divine.
            May his celestial prowess in music lighten the wild blue yonder of our dreams forever and a day…

  2. ambrit

    Saw Lou Reed many years ago in New Orleans. The essence of Rock and Roll, a man on stage with a naked soul.
    Why do I feel like crying?
    I guess it’s just realizing we’re getting old.
    We are the memory of the Golden Age.
    Now we have the inescapable guilt of knowing that, due to our own weaknesses and stupidities, we could very well be the last. Our legacy is going to be, the end of legacies?
    I’m beginning to understand why Einstein did not want to sign that letter to FDR. He saw too clearly what could, and looks to be, the result.

    1. susan the other

      Don’t feel too old Ambrit. When I read that Reed loved Doo-wop I began to realize his music was a lament. Cause I still love Doo-wop – that’s how ancient I am. And Warhol? You either love him or hate him. I lean toward hate because he was so callous about his objectivity. But in the end, truth just comes through it all like a steam roller. No?

      1. ambrit

        Dear sto;
        Just got back from the Boxxstore and had to look.
        Yes, truth, with a capital T, does steamroll over us. I just can’t shake off the feeling that ending up as a human shaped splotch on the pavement wasn’t how it was supposed to end. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Spielberg and the Animaniacs at the present day Termite Terrace should do a new Roadrunner cartoon where Wile E Coyote sends off for an Acme G.E. Style Atomic Reactor and blows up the world.
        Beep! Beep!

  3. Ned Ludd

    It is wrong to say that the progressive blog movement failed. People built businesses, gained status, and found jobs in the establishment. People on the left who were upset with Democrats’ collaboration with then-President Bush were led back into the Democratic fold.

    So progressives have no power, because they have no principles…

    The progressives who have no principles gained the most from the progressive blog movement. From Matt Stoller, in the comments:

    MSNBC emerged to provide competition for progressive blogs, as well as cherry-pick the social climbing talent from them.

    A lesson in how capitalism absorbs dissent and neutralizes agitation.

    1. Brindle

      Jerome Armstrong has an interesting piece @Ian Welsh on why he left the Dem party…..

      from his comment:

      —“I’ve an idea for the ones like Matt Stoller, Jane Hamsher, Yves Smith, Justin Raimondo, Matt Welch and Patrick Ruffini. Imagine that 100 of us got together of these different stripes (but want much of the same thing) and figured out 5 concrete things that form an agenda of the alliance. Maybe there’s 10. Make it as much online as offline.”—

      1. CB

        I read the Armstrong piece as an admission that progressives have no attention span and having run a damn good race, gave up and went home when it didn’t go their way. The cliché that you can’t win them all is true, and especially if you cave to defeat on the first try. Jeebus, whatever happened to stick-to-itiveness? It occurred to me at the time that the coalition that pushed Lincoln to the brink threw away all their experience, their capital, when they just tossed it all aside and went off to other things, as if they had lost interest and needed something new and shiny to capture their attention. Persistence wins in the end and that’s exactly what the group didn’t have.

        And then Armstrong whines about it.

        1. Jerome Armstrong

          I’ve a hard time taking seriously the offhand dismissal of there not being enough persistence, given that I was in the trenches for a decade, from 2001 blogging and 2002 with the Dean campaign, and that long road. When things are broken, you can try and fix it, but good luck with that effort CB, you are welcome there in my stead.

          I’d rather go along with Russell Brand being on the outside, or see if we can find a way to forge an alliance to shake up the paradigm that we are stuck within.

      2. Jerome Armstrong

        Yea Brindle, I think we might see something like that happen in the future if the alliance keeps growing.

  4. financial matters

    Good article from one of the most prestigious medical journals. Interestingly as health insurers have ratcheted down payments to health care providers to essentially in the medicare and medicaid realm, health care providers have been more inclined toward a more general medicare/medicaid solution ie single payer.

    “”However unconscionable we may find the story of Mr. Davis, a U.S. citizen who will die because he was uninsured, the literature suggests that it’s a common tale. A 2009 study revealed a direct correlation between lack of insurance and increased mortality and suggested that nearly 45,000 American adults die each year because they have no medical coverage””

    “”Finally, we can pressure our professional organizations to demand health care for all. The American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the Society of General Internal Medicine have endorsed the principle of universal health care coverage yet have generally remained silent during years of political debate. Lack of insurance can be lethal, and we believe our professional community should treat inaccessible coverage as a public health catastrophe and stand behind people who are at risk””

    1. financial matters

      referring to the New England Journal of Medicine article…

      Dead Man Walking NEJM. This is why defunding ObamaCare is wrong. It’s also why ObamaCare’s lack of universality is wrong.

    1. curlydan

      the kind you want to meet in a dark alley with a knife in your hand, scare the living crap out of him, cut of his f’ing epaulets, and tell him, “Don’t ever come ’round here no more”

  5. Bill

    OK, I’ll say it: The various glitches in the ACA site are all the result of mobbing and hacking by the far right wingnuts in this country, who are much more organized in an underground than anyone currently realizes.

    I know, I am being stalked by them here in Eastern Virginia, where the military and CIA are the biggest employers.

    Call me a psycho conspiracy nut… won’t help the situation that our country is under attack from within.

  6. pero no

    If the Japanese taxpayer has to pay to clean up Fukushima, they should at least get a say in who cleans it up. Tepco is obviously not the right company for that job, especially in light of its deep-seated corruption and the stakes involved, which for the Japanese include their own demise.

    “Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”

    “Any of these situations could lead to massive releases of deadly radionuclides into the atmosphere, putting much of Japan — including Tokyo and Yokohama — and even neighboring countries at serious risk.”

  7. indian

    The end of the New World Order

    Very nice article but the events described don’t suggest end of EU+US influence.
    Unless there is catastrophic war,extreme natural disasters,,population shrinkage -West will survive

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We need Mao’s barefoot Federal Reserve bankers who will go around the country lending at zero interest.

      That thought stimulates me.

      And throw in some barefoot doctors while we are at it.

  8. optimader

    “White House glitches go beyond Obamacare FT “Obama’s White House is dominated by a coterie of insiders who have learnt that their boss does not like to hear bad news.” Quack, quack.”

    Don’t really need to read this one. In Corporate-Speak “this is unacceptable”= I am incompetent and surprised/frustrated this blew up. I have a luncheon PP presentation to see that I’m late for. Make it happen, plan on working this weekend”.
    BHO is a fake, but we knew that already.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If he wants to be happy and not hear bad news, he should take the sacred herb whenever he needs it.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If he wants to be happy and not hear bad news, he should take the sacred herb whenever he needs it.

      That’s the way to avoid reality and be happy.

  9. optimader

    Get Angela’s Number: The Indiscreet Charm of the N.S.A. The New Yorker

    Now she knows how the WH chef anticipated that she likes extra broccoli in her Kung Pao Shrimp

    1. okie farmer

      Besides Angela’s number, the NSA is revealed today to have tapped 60m phones in Spain. I hate to become as cynical as Arthur Silber, but this is starting to appear to be a process of ‘normalization’ of surveillance.

      1. Mister Bunny

        normalization = “learned helplessness.” Resistance is futile. Probably is.
        re we to believe certain preferred patrons of the regime are not being given inside information on furriners’ plans for use in market manipulation?

    2. optimader

      I actually have a problem getting too worked up about the mutual Spyclub at the international leader level.

      Wanton spying on Citizens is what crosses the Rubicon for me.

    1. optimader

      Plausible deniability = don’t tell me how you know A.Merkel likes extra broccoli in her Kung Pao Shrimp, just go tell the kitchen.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It was a big mystery when the new Chinese leader showed up here around the time the NSA news broke and was silent about it; yours truly mused that he wouldn’t make it an issue as we knew all his secrets.

        My best current guess is that we knew where he got his milk.

      2. craazyboy

        The NSA is still working on this piece of intel intercepted from Sarkozy’s tie clip mike.

        Merkel voice (authenticated by harmonic analyzer)

        “Ja, a glass of red wine vould be nice. Und zen, I zink I vould like ze wiener schnitzel.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Maybe the rich in China can say to those who can’t afford health milk, ‘let them have red wine.’

          That ought to explain why these landless farmers (who will bypass the industrial stage) are crashing vehicles into the giant Mao portrait in Tiananmen square.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Dang! I hate these trick questions. Never get ’em right.

      (Saw this same question posed by others elsewhere, Pokey, but it never hurts to keep asking. Thanks.)

  10. zephyrum

    Merkel has evidence that Obama knew. The US is not the only country with an intelligence service, and the Germans have some excellent people. She phone him personally–and publicised it–so that he would like to her face. Now she has a nice little chip to play. Shame if the evidence that he’s a liar came out and all.

    1. optimader

      Wouldn’t it be redundant to call him? Maybe she just vented at him when calling in a Chinese take out.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I hope the takeout is not with plastic forks. That’s no green.

        And no stainless steel ones either. Precious water needs to be diverted to wash them.

        Probably the best solution is a wet towel for all and everyone to eat with his or her right hand, as people do in many countries.

        It’s the only environmentally responsible way.

        1. optimader

          personal chopsticks..
          I have a set, yikes 30 yrs old!?, Still prefer my Spork tho. Don’t need to wash it, just have the pooch lick it off.

  11. zephyrum

    Check out the snapchat link just for the photo of CEO Evan Spiegel, with a backdrop of a WSJ engraved portrait of…CEO Evan Spiegel (this with a cat-ate-the-canary smirk.)

    If that doesn’t say it all.

  12. Eureka Springs

    I disagree with the comment in reply to Dead Man Walking

    “This is why defunding ObamaCare is wrong. It’s also why ObamaCare’s lack of universality is wrong.”

    ObamaCare is intentionally designed to leave tens of millions without coverage in what remains by far the most expensive system the world has ever known. To continue to try fitting the private for profit square insurance peg in an affordable universal round hole is simply asking people to deny rudimentary common sense and decency.

    I looked at my state exchange web page last week… The continued blatant insurance ponzi scheme is plain to see. The lack of complete coverage by huge percentages would have left this dead man walking equally dead with ACA. For me or the guy in the story ACA would be an extremely difficult, expensive coupon/discount at best, which will still be impossible to use much if at all beyond that first visit/round of tests. He had ten k of his own to begin with. With ACA at the outset of his diagnosis… he would have had half or less… I doubt he would have ever been able to afford his co-pay or whatever they call it for the first surgical cut.

    Kill the private insurance model. Eliminate the billing department as we know it or need for any enrollment by citizens whatsoever. That’s at least 30 percent right there. oddly enough 30 percent seems to be the magic co-pay amount on the policies offered.

    It’s a very misleading straw man argument when suggesting ACA should never be defunded… Funding expanded medicare for all instead of ACA is a must. Obviously it could be a messy transition, but that’s no reason to leave tens of millions dead people walking with ACA. Stop using people against each other for a con.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    London housing for ET only.

    Funny, earthlings can only afford Martian real estate.

    But I must say, ‘the best and highest economic use’ for Martian real estate is to erect a large penal colony for those too big to jail here on Earth (we are running out of room here, apparently, is the excuse).

    1. craazyboy

      That’s because the Ferengi pay for London real estate in Gold-Pressed Latinum.

      Brits paying in a pound of sterling can’t keep up.

      1. Synopticist

        A friend of a friend works for a Greek owned estate agency in London. Back in 2010 and 2011, they were buying houses for the owner’s wealthy Greek chums at the rate of 3 or 4 a week. Week in, week out. All via newly created off-shored corporations and the like.

        Now they’re renting them out to tenants, ratchetting up their rents wherever possible, with the money flowing into the same non-tax paying corporations.

  14. David Lentini

    So progressives have no power, because they have no principles: they cannot be expected to actually vote for the most progressive candidate, to successfully primary candidates, to care about policy first and identity second, to not take scraps from the table and sell out other progressive’s interests.

    I agree (I think) with Welsh’s sentimate, but not his phrasing. Progressives do have priciples, but they haven’t (re-)learned the art of articulating a political philosophy, let alone a strategy or platform. As a result, they are attracted to images and sounds that mimic what they feel progressivism is; they are captured by those who can appear to be the finished product, thinking that’s all that’s needed to create change. Instead of course, they end up feeling cheated, fooled, and betrayed, because, well, they have been cheated, fooled, and betrayed. In many respects, they end up like the evangelical wing of the GOP, always falling for politicans who are experts at playing making the sound bites and photo ops that are most attractive to the Bible Belt, and then abandoning them until the next election.

    One of the problems is that most people who call themselves “progressive” really reflect the moral relativism of the remnants of the old left of the late ’60s and ’70s that embraced the “do you own thing” of the counterculture. The result is they are not willing to stage a real campaign, but rather keep waiting for a spontaneous, grass-roots movement to rise up. Of course, after eight years of “W”, that looked like a sure thing, but since there was no real standard by which to measure the candidates, everyone fell for the image of Obama, who by ineptitude and design, quashed any chance of real reform. And the image returned again in 2012 to do the same thing all over again.

    We won’t get progressive reforms and election victories until we see a true political philosophy and plaform develop, and until progressives are willing to define themselves in a way this is beyond just looking desperate and angry.

    1. Sasha in LA

      The progressives would be just as successful at primarying their candidates if they, too, had access to the exceedingly deep pockets of a corporate interest, as the Tea Partiers do in the Koch brothers. The TP voter has no philosophy beyond a general sense of helplessness and fear. The Koch brothers and their nuanced political subsidiaries have both manufactured and taken advantage of that fear.

    2. Synopticist

      I’m still not sure you quite get it.

      “…cannot be expected to actually vote for the most progressive candidate, to successfully primary candidates, to care about policy first and identity second…”

      It’s the “actually vote”, “successfully primary” and “policy first, identity second” bits that the US left is so bad at. They don’t want to put in the hard hours and long slog that the right has in the republican party.

      OK, the TP is a partly the result the Koch brothers planning and deep pockets, but mostly it’s the hard right having slogged their guts out for years, in hundreds of different locales, and seizing the moment. There’s no substitute for organisation and effort, leveraged with ruthlessness.

  15. Bob W

    Mathbabe has good stuff on big finance & municipal bonds. Chapter 6 of OWS book “Occupy Finance: “ – no long link but it is the 10/28 entry.

  16. May

    In some states insurance cost under Obamacare is too exensive for people like those mentioned in MJEM article. Check out CT for example.

  17. May

    Innovation edge is going to be lost thanks to NSA. As Melman documented Pentagon pricing weakended US manufacturing because of machine tool industry pricing. Close observers saw the decline in 1960s, although now everyone is talking about it. MIC is going 2/2 on this.

      1. peace

        You look great Yves! Always so well prepared too. The conscience of the market. So glad you have time for videos (it’s nice to see you). Either Democracy Now or Moyers was where I first heard of you and I hope more folks become aware of you through these appearances.

      2. anon y'mouse

        wow, keeping track of their lies and how they vary from the truth is a full time job. how does she run a blog too? much less kowtow to cats?

        jon stewart is beginning to redeem himself. walking that fine line between keeping it serious and keeping it funny. just don’t be a clown for Da Man!

  18. submarino grande

    The US government, keeping you safe! Now they are keeping you safe from acute embarrassment at the Obama administration’s public disgrace and failure to meet the minimal standards of the civilized world.

    Buoyed by their success in weaseling out of human rights review in Geneva, the US government tried the same trick on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: “Ooh, please, we’re such a crapshit unstable banana republic that we can’t get our shit together to show up at human rights review, so please find the attached excuse note from Mommy so we can put it off till next year, OK?”

    The Commission said No. They know a malingering bunch of government parasites when they see one. Spanking will proceed as planned.

  19. Chris Rogers

    Ian Walsh: Progressive Blog Failure

    Not sure what to make of Ian’s whining about progressive blogs and the new left, sounded a bit like the “Third Way” to me espoused by Clinton and Blair – basically neoliberal exponents wearing alleged left-of-centre blouses – sure they won elections, so what, under their guard the rich got incredibly rich, a few got intoxicated on all the fumes and the rest of us were just rolled over and … ( well I’d say the word, but its one Steve Waldman used recently and caused a little offence, but you get the drift),

    So, progressives and the new left are sellouts, no surprise there, for as it was once observed, the difference between the left and liberals/progressives, is that liberals are usually first out the door if theirs san actual fight. No principles you see, hence no back bone.

    Anyway, me, I got principles, me I got philosophy, me I got morals, and you know what, me I aint got no Party to go – so leys forget legacy and think something else. Well hey, they beat occupy, and they fought they beat em tea baggers, but em tea baggers were angry as hell – no government gone and take away me medicaid, which is my birth right. Don’t want none that ObamaCare stuff. Its socialised medicine, they aint gonna socialise my medicine. And you know what, they didn’t.

    Anyway, its an incredible journey being on the left, you know, the old left, the one you never left, but the others let you swing moving to the left but chasing that neoliberalism music, you know the one gonna make me rich with cheap debt, gonna make us all rich with cheap debt, rich and equal.

    Well, I don’t buy in to it, I can’t be bribed, I can’t be corrupted cause I’m a supposed dinosaur which should be extinct.

    Absolute dross I know, like Walsh moaning about the Prog Blog failure, much like Prog. Rock failure in the 1970’s, it went up its own arse and got lost or something.

    So what do we do folk, support separatism, and see where that got you folks last time, try reigniting OWS, but Patriot Act don’t like that and invoke batons to peaceably bash your brains out to support the system – much like drones for peace I suppose, or coalesce around one movement that may actually represent us, the real “old’ left, the one that was not captured, the one that got away.

    Me, I joined a separatist green sustainable movement, we got MP’s, we got a manifesto and we gotta hell a lot a work ahead ripping the left away from the false left, but if I were you in the states, the 1% that cares, the 1% can’t be purchased, how about joining that other 1% that voted Jill Stein, sure they called Green, but me I like green and I like red and I like white, representing a clean break – which by the way is the colour of my national flag, and it aint no “butchers apron'” cause there be dragon’s on my flag, and they be red dragons, red dragons for a socialist/Green alliance, netter known in my small nation state as Plaid Cymru.

    So hopes exists folk, embrace change and become free, free from new left, free from Prog. Blog and free from lies. Talk to Stein chaps, talk to Stein – she no gonna sell you out, cause she got morals, she got principles and she gets it. Make the move, took me thirty years and you know what, I’m an activist again, 6,000 miles from home and a activist – gonna be meeting with my Party leadership. going see the Government, going get involved with money matters – well monetary policy and public forms of banking, but sure hell feels better than feeling down – been most proactive and looking for real at starting things from scratch – quite excited and can’t wait to be home back in Wales.

    So Mr. Walsh theirs hope, but start small, aim small and build your base with real ‘old’ left support and not those that sell you out for a dime.

  20. Chris Rogers

    Yves & Lambert,

    Glad you finally put a link in for the Russell Brand interview with the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman, unusual to see Paxo manhandled by the interviewee, but Brand had his handle and his number.

    Great shame Bill Hick’s died so young, imagine what he’d have made of Obama and Obamacare, actually, imagine the fun he’d have had with the Teabaggers.

    The only difference between me and Brand is he believes we should not vote as its legitimising the system, which is fine if like 90% don’t vote, where as I, showing a bit of an authoritarian streak, I believe we should make voting mandatory to honour those who fought for our right to vote, make all election days holidays and celebrations, and make sure right at the top of your voting ticket is a box to tick with the following advice: NONE OF THE BELOW

    Should a majority tick said box, its game over, no legitimacy and time to start again, new Constitution, new honest parties and new money making all old money null and void – hence no deficit and no rich people as most their wealth was debt-based and never existed in the beginning.

    Apart from that, I like what Brand had to say, and liked the fact he’s honest and the system sucks, or sucks for 99.6% of us anyway according to that Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report published last week.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I also disagree with Russell Brand’s notion that we shouldn’t vote. I would definitely vote for the box you advocate, ‘none of the below’, although I don’t expect to see that box on the ballot any time soon. However, many voting precincts provide for write-in votes. A simple write-in vote for ‘no’, should be counted in many though not all voting areas. I really enjoyed the movie ‘No’ dramatizing the vote in Chile that lead to the ouster of General Pinochet.

      In the past, I voted for the lesser of two evils. After Obama I’m not sure I can do that any more. Not voting registers nothing — it’s counted as apathy. That’s why it’s important to register and vote and just vote ‘no’ when no candidate is suitable.

      The third parties have been too numerous and too weak to manage anything. Voting for a third party candidate in most races really is throwing your vote away. Besides I’m fearful of the kind of third party candidate that might gather up votes through a protest vote. I don’t know that the regular parties really do a better job of vetting candidates but I’m not prepared to gamble on any of the third parties that have come along so far.

      1. kj1313

        Why would you be fearful of a 3rd party candidate any more than the 2 party candidate? That they won’t be as psychopathic to start numerous wars.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I am not categorically opposed to a third party candidate. The reason I fear them more than the big party candidates is lack of knowledge about the third party and its internal politics and agenda. I would be reluctant to trade the devil I know for the devil I don’t know. Besides, I can think of a one third party candidate in Germany elected threw middle class protest votes who gives me the creeps about third party candidates. That and almost voting for Ralph Nader once only to hear unpleasant stories about why he was really running against Al Gore. To ice the matter for me is Domhoff’s observation in “Who Rules America” that third parties are almost never successful in a winner-takes-all voting process as in the United States, and observed in other countries with a similar voting process.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            through NOT threw ugh!

            I should also note that Domhoff felt that change to our system of government (short of violent revolution) will have to take place through a faction grown inside one of the two major parties. No that’s not a necessary condition, only the most probable based on what’s occurred in the past. As for violent revolution, I hope it won’t come to that. Besides most talk revolves around marching in the streets and building up the barricades. This is not the 19th Century. Direct engagement with the United States security apparatus would be disasterous. Better to take lessons from those who have successfully engaged U.S. forces. Best to convert the withdrawal from politics afflicting our nation into an active force for change within one of the two parties. At this point, the heart of both parties is rotten leaving potential openings to a conservative or liberal candidate true to the people and the nation and true what those words used to mean. Of course I would prefer to see a liberal emerge.

  21. kj1313

    Lambert thanks for the Brand/Paxman transcript. I’ve just caught up with some of the recent articles from Mr. Welsh and it seems that a possibility of a new ideology rising might occur in my lifetime. Even faster depending on circumstances.

  22. J Sterling

    Paxman accuses Brand of wanting a violent revolution. It’s like accusing a meteorologist of wanting a hurricane.

    1. Ulysses

      Great analogy! Brand is simply awake enough to see the evident signs of elites on the verge of messing up so badly that the rest of us will have to revolt in order to save humanity from destruction.

      This is the reality we all can see, as described today by Chris Hedges: “Corporations, freed from all laws, government regulations and internal constraints, are stealing as much as they can, as fast as they can, on the way down. The managers of corporations no longer care about the effects of their pillage. Many expect the systems they are looting to fall apart. They are blinded by personal greed and hubris. They believe their obscene wealth can buy them security and protection. They should have spent a little less time studying management in business school and a little more time studying human nature and human history. They are digging their own graves.”

    2. craazyman

      speaking of hurricanes, whether there is or isn’t a revolution, one thing is for sure. Mr. Brand could step into Johnny Depp’s role as Capt. Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN and we viewers might not even know the difference. It’s really quite striking how good a fit this is — he wouldn’t even need a costume almost, he’s there right now for the most part. I don’t vote either, for the reasons Mr Brand says, so I’m with him on most of this, but I’d also want to see more of Captain Jack and Mr. Depp may have had his day with it. I don’t think these scenarios are mutually exclusive. After the revolution I’d still want to see good movies and Disney could stay in business, as far as I’m concerned, as long as they paid their low-wage staff an acceptable amount of money.

  23. charles sereno

    Re: “Holy Logic: Computer Scientists ‘Prove’ God Exists” (Der Spiegel)

    From Der Spiegel’s article —
    “The details of the mathematics involved in Gödel’s ontological proof are complicated, but in essence the Austrian was arguing that, by definition, God is that for which no greater can be conceived. And while God exists in the understanding of the concept, we could conceive of him as greater if he existed in reality. Therefore, he must exist.”

    From Wikipedia —
    “It is widely accepted that the first ontological argument was proposed by Anselm of Canterbury in 1078 in his Proslogion. Anselm defined God as “that than which nothing greater can be conceived”, and then argued that this being could exist in the mind. He suggested that, if the greatest possible being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality. If it only exists in the mind, a greater being is possible—one which exists in the mind and in reality.”

    I find it amazing that nowhere in Der Spiegel’s fairly detailed article is mention made of the 11th century Scholastic Anselm when his argument is so similar if not identical to that of Godel. Anselm came late to England. He was born in a town close to the border of present day Italy and France and spent most of his life in France. His proof for the existence of God is commonly called the Ontological Argument.
    The Wikipedia entry details many arguments against his reasoning across the centuries. It reminded me of philosophical arguments that occasionally break out among NC readers!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And a greater being is one which only does it exists in reality and the human mind, but also in the cat mind and the broccoli mind.

      Probably hard to decipher what is in the broccoli mind, but I think it’s possible our cats can help us here.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        On the other hand, the least great being could exist in our mind and if it does, an even lesser great being would not exist in reality (otherwise it would be greater).

        So, there is no such a thing as the least great being (the opposite of the greatest being) in reality. It’s only in the mind.

        1. charles sereno

          Fantastic! If anyone challenges you, make them come up with a formal logical proof (you know, the kind with all those weird symbols). That will definitely put them off.

      2. anon y'mouse

        to the cat mind, nothing else has a mind. somewhat similar to what we think of broccoli-mind.

        everything else is just a giant cat toy / pez (food) dispenser.

    2. diptherio

      While they don’t mention Anselm by name, they do make it clear that Kurt wasn’t the first to come up with this line of reasoning. To wit:

      Even at the time, the argument was not exactly a new one. For centuries, many have tried to use this kind of abstract reasoning to prove the possibility or necessity of the existence of God. But the mathematical model composed by Gödel proposed a proof of the idea.

      1. charles sereno

        I didn’t realize I could access the mathematicians’ work. I see they mentioned Leibniz. I’m sure they were aware that Anselm was the earliest known source of the “proof” which has intrigued philosophers for centuries and it seems odd not to have acknowledged this. I was relieved to learn that “the critical discussion of the underlying concepts, definitions and axioms remains a human responsibility.” Whew! I was biting my nails for a minute.

    3. Hugh

      I remember back when I was an undergraduate I wrote a paper using Anslem’s Ontological Argument to prove that a blue dwarf was actually running things. I was riffing on Anselm’s contemporary Guanilo of Marmoutiers who used the Ontological Argument to prove the existence of a perfect island. My professor, as I recall, was something of a traditionalist and was not amused. He didn’t fault me for my logic. What he didn’t like was my conclusion. In many ways, I learned more from his response than from writing the paper.

  24. p78

    Appearances and Reality: Merkel Balks at EU Privacy Push

    Merkel has put on a good show of being outraged by American spying.[…] Merkel’s fighting spirit on behalf of the EU’s citizens seemed to have dissipated.
    In fact, internal documents show that Germany applied the brakes when it came to speedy passage of such a reform. Although a number of EU member states — including France, Italy and Poland — were pushing for the creation of a Europe-wide modern data protection framework before European Parliament elections take place in May 2014, the issue ended up tabled until 2015.[…]

    According to summit participants, the German chancellor seemed far more interested in the “Five Eyes” alliance among the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The top-level allies within this exclusive group, which began in 1946 as a pact between London and Washington, have agreed not to spy on one another, but instead to share information and resources.[…] Merkel, meanwhile, stated: “Unlike David, we are unfortunately not part of this group.” […]

    French President François Hollande, on the other hand, made clear in Brussels that he has no interest in joining such an alliance, calling instead for a European code of conduct for intelligence agencies, something Great Britain rejects.

  25. diptherio

    Dept of Misquotation:

    Check out the WSJ’s corrections for Suzanne Somers’ (somewhat disjointed) anti-Obamacare rant, The Affordable Care Act Is a Socialist Ponzi Scheme.


    An earlier version of this post contained a quotation attributed to Lenin (“Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state”) that has been widely disputed. And it included a quotation attributed to Churchill (“Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens“) that the Journal has been unable to confirm.

    Also, the cover of a Maclean’s magazine issue in 2008 showed a picture of a dog on an examining table with the headline “Your Dog Can Get Better Health Care Than You.” An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the photo showed and headline referred to a horse.

    Is it just me, or has the Journal gotten especially classy since ol’ Rupert took over?

  26. Hugh

    Brand often sounds like he is familiar with this blog or at least this environment. I expect the connection would be through Stoller who is/was connected to this blog and Brand.

    Anyway, he seemed to me to be channeling the radical Emma Goldman from a century ago: “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

    1. anon y'mouse

      i haven’t voted in years, basically for this very reason.

      people keep saying to vote 3rd party. until i know who they are and what they represent, then no. even if i know those things, they haven’t a chance in hell unless critical mass of awareness arrives and/or we reform this system of voting which keeps 49% of the population convinced that they have reason to be unhappy due to the mistaken belief that they didn’t get their way. none of us is getting our way! the overlords bet & buy off both sides while we scrabble over scraps in the backyard. scraps deliberately thrown to keep us scrabbling all over each other.

      i don’t want to be a fool, even if i am prone to it already. if my vote is worth anything, then i want to use it only when it will actually count for something.

      as it is, i think we need to be instituting Voting (as a) Protest Day. meaning, people who are dissatisfied with the current system can run their own vote, and if necessary write in who they think should be running things. then get some spotlight on the issue of how many people are not being truly represented in this current system, and in what way they aren’t being represented. kind of a concurrent system to what we have, highlighting the flaws of the system we have.

      polls always seem a concocted scam to me. have you ever met anyone who answered one? i never have. it would seem that if polls were constantly going on, they would have eventually dialed some individual that is known to me. also, the way those things are worded worry me.

  27. Hugh

    Ian Welsh glosses over a lot of blogosphere history. For a while progressives and Democrats made common cause against the Bush Administration, its crimes and excesses. But there were tensions and differences even then. Daily kos was nothing more than an extension of the Democratic party and Netroots Nation was its creation. So pretty much from the start the progressive elements were being channeled into the Democratic party, that is neutralized. The problem with sites like Firedoglake which had a higher percentage of progressives, and where Ian used to post for a while, was that they pursued the cause du jour rather than developing a cohesive program or God forbid party build. Rather they went the more and better Democrats route. I remember writing there in 2008 that progressives really needed to start their own party. The response was first we need to defeat Bushism and John McCain. Later it was “Get back to us when your candidates start winning elections.” It wasn’t just that there was no interest in doing the essentials to build a movement and a party, there was hostility.

    The truth is if you take out the Democratic tribalists, the faux and career progressives hoping to be co-opted, there ever were only a few progressive sites, like lambert’s corrente, that were and stayed progressive throughout.

    The progressive blogosphere which Ian Welsh is describing did not so much fail as never existed.

  28. evodevo

    “Could New York City Subways Survive Another Hurricane?” Times.
    It’s called Institutional Memory, and it has all but disappeared in this century of temps, contractors, interns, etc. Neolibs hate unions, long-term employment, company loyalty and all the other things that make a company/country work. Back to 1899 with ya!

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