Links 10/30/13

I have just had an extremely bad day. It started out well (an interview on Bill Moyers with Dean Baker) and a serendipitous lunch (I ran into someone who writes occasionally for the site as I walked out on the street afterwards) but went completely to hell when I got back to my desk, the result of two completely different types of technology problems. Neither is resolved. I have been so upset that I have not been able to write. Apologies.

50 Ducks Walked Into A CVS… There’s No Punchline, Just 50 Ducks In A CVS Consumerist

Why nearly 1 million chickens, turkeys are accidentally boiled alive each year Washington Post

Reports of U.S. Cases of Flesh-Eating Drug Questioned Everyday Health

GPS bullets are latest weapon for American police BBC

USA? It’s the United Spam of America Bangkok Post (furzy mouse)

Japan moves closer to Fukushima takeover Financial Times

A Vertical Forest Is Growing in the Middle of One of Europe’s Dirtiest Cities Singularity Hub (furzy mouse)

German Authorities Raiding Homes To Find Skype Tapping Whistleblower Techdirt (Chuck L)

Amid Uproar Over Spying, Europe Delays Privacy Law New York Times

The War on Terror as a Self-Fulfilling Prophesy TomDispatch

The Syrian Electronic Army Says It’s Hacked Obama Gizmodo (Chuck L)

Marine could be booted from Corps for warning troops about rapist Afghanistan cop Raw Story (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

NSA fights back over eavesdropping claims Financial Times

Intel Officials Says French And Spain Intelligence Agencies Did All The Dirty Work In Gathering Data On Millions Of Calls Techdirt (Chuck L)

Paul Alan Levy and Public Citizen Push Back Against NSA and DHS Censorship PopeHat (Chuck L)

Obamacare Launch:

Canceled policies spur furor over health-care law Washington Post

Obama Always Knew His Messaging Around Health Care Reform Was a Lie Jon Walker, Firedoglake (Chuck L)

White House plays defense on Obamacare Politco

Here’s how GOP Obamacare hypocrisy backfires Salon (Chuck L)

Obamacare’s biggest problem is that young people aren’t signing up Guardian

Setting a low bar for budget talks Politico

How a Frustrated Blogger Made Expanding Social Security a Respectable Idea Pacific Standard (Chuck L)

US puts Internet protests on trial as part of PayPal 14 prosecution Al Jazeera

NY attorney general investigates Barneys and Macy’s racism claims Guardian

JPMorgan Proposed Mortgage Accord Said to Meet Resistance Bloomberg

JPMorgan’s $13B Penalty Could Be A Huge Blow to Struggling Homeowners Dave Dayen, New Republic

SAC to Plead Guilty to Securities Fraud Wall Street Journal

UBS and Deutsche Bank Disclose Foreign Exchange Inquiries New York Times

JP Morgan sees ‘most extreme excess’ of global liquidity ever Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

The Smart Money Denies They’re The Smart Money As They Franticly Sell Their Crown Jewels Before The Bubble Blows Up Wolf Richter

The Gladwell pivot Language Log

Mainstream economics is in denial: the world has changed Guardian

Our Invisible Revolution Chris Hedges, Truthdig (furzy mouse)

Britney Spears espouses Marxist theory of labour as value Daily Mash (Lee S)

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. Ned Ludd

    I predict that it is only a matter of time before conservatives and Wall Street-backed “New Democrats” begin to argue that, with Obamacare in place, it makes no sense to have two separate healthcare systems for the middle class — Obamacare for working-age Americans, Medicare for retired Americans. They will suggest, in a great bipartisan chorus: Let’s get rid of Medicare, in favor of Lifelong Obamacare!

    Ezra Klein advocated for this back in 2011.

    Ironically, bringing ObamaCare to Medicare is an obvious long-term compromise on health care. If Republicans can make their peace with the Affordable Care Act and help figure out how to make the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges work to control costs and improve quality, it’d be natural to eventually migrate Medicaid and Medicare into the system. Liberals would like that because it’d mean better care for Medicaid beneficiaries and less fragmentation in the health-care system. Conservatives would like it because it’d break the two largest single-payer health-care systems in America and turn their beneficiaries into consumers. But the implementation and success of the Affordable Care Act is a necessary precondition to any compromise of this sort. You can’t transform Medicaid and Medicare until you’ve proven that what you’re transforming them into is better. Only the Affordable Care Act has the potential to do that.

    So Bachmann is perhaps right to say that the president is moving us towards a day when ObamaCare — or, to put it more neutrally, “premium support” — might come to Medicare. He’s seeing whether it works in the private health-care market first and, if it does, there’s little doubt that the political pressure to extend it to other groups will be intense. The question is why Bachmann and her party are doing so much to stand in his way? The corollary to Bachmann’s accusation that the president has a realistic plan to privatize Medicare is that the Republicans, for all their sound and fury over the Ryan budget, don’t.

    1. Ned Ludd

      As an addendum, Ezra Klein is not a loyal Obama cheerleader. He is an idealogue – a neoliberal idealogue, He wants the exchanges to succeed, and Obama is botching the job. In his discussion with Chris Hayes and Joan Walsh, he makes it clear that, in criticizing the administartion’s roll-out of, he is “getting out information that people [in the administration] don’t want to hear but that they need in order to make good decisions. If the Obama administration had known this stuff four months ago, they’d be better off today.”

    2. sleepy

      Yep, I think that’s the goal.

      At least one state, Arkansas, has used the Medicaid expansion provisions under Obamacare to privatize its Medicaid program.

        1. Ned Ludd

          If Hillary Clinton, a former Wal-Mart board member, becomes president, I imagine she will be able to bury what’s left of the New Deal with only token resistance from liberals and labor unions.

          The tapes, broadcast this morning on “Good Morning America,” were provided to ABC News from the archives of Flagler Productions, a Lenexa, Kan., company hired by Wal-Mart to record its meetings and events.

          A former board member told that he had no recollection of Clinton defending unions during more than 20 board meetings held in private.

          The tapes show Clinton in the role of a loyal company woman. […]

          According to the New York Times, Sen. Clinton “maintains close ties to Wal-Mart executives through the Democratic Party and the tightly knit Arkansas business community.” The May 20, 2007 article also reported that her husband, former President Clinton, “speaks frequently to Wal-Mart’s current chief executive, H. Lee Scott Jr.” and held a private dinner at the Clinton’s New York home in July 2006 for him.

          1. jrs

            Why would anyone think HRC would be defending unions at the Wal-mart board meetings? I mean that’s just plain dumb, not what I’d imagine any board member would do, and if Hillary is selling that she must think the Dem rubes are even dumber than they appear.

    3. different clue

      Collapsing Medicare/caide into Obamacare is a long-term goal of the Obama Group. But there will be no making Obamacare “better” in the meantime. There will only be attriting and degrading Medicare/caide until they are so bad that NO provider will accept ANY new Medicare-caide patients. Then the Obama Group will sell people on the concept of accepting their now-worthless Medicare-caide money as vouchers to buy insurance on the exchanges. That’s the long-term Obama-Ryan Plan.

      Naturally all the Catfood Liberals would support it. If it happens, then let us pray that all the Catfood Liberals die of the healthcare deprivation and prevention made possible under their support for the Obama-Ryan Plan.

    4. LucyLulu

      Ryan’s Medicare plan WAS essentially Obamacare. The elderly would get subsidies to purchase a plan from state based exchanges.

  2. rich

    Bankrupt Detroit’s ‘legacy costs’ have human faces

    Commentary: It’s better to be a banker than a firefighter

    If Detroit were a bank, it would have been bailed out years ago. And if Brendan Milewski were a banker, he wouldn’t be contemplating financial ruin.

    But Detroit isn’t a bank. It’s an arson-plagued city trying to ditch $18 billion in debt in bankruptcy court. And Milewski isn’t a banker, he ‘s a fireman. Or at least he was until Aug. 13, 2010, when a burning building collapsed on top of him.

    “I saw it coming and I had a chance to run,” Milewsky recalled in an interview. “But I was struck in back with a piece of limestone the size of a parking block. It caused one of my thoracic vertebrae to explode … and I was paralyzed instantly.”

    “The crime is so easy to get away with,” said Milewsky, who put his life on the line, trying to stop this madness.

    Now, at age 34, he’s confined to a wheelchair for life.

    “You accept death,” he said. “But you never really accept being permanently disabled. You think if something catastrophic is going to happen, you’re just going to be gone forever.”

    But it isn’t so simple when life goes on.

    Milewsky recently received a letter informing him that his retiree health-care benefits would end Jan. 1 as part of cuts imposed by the city’s state-appointed emergency manager, Kevin Orr.

    “As a paraplegic, I’m going to have astronomical health-care costs for the rest of my life,” he said. “Three years ago, before this happened, I didn’t have a rehab physician. I had never been to a neurologist. I had never seen an endocrinologist … Now I now all these physicians just to maintain my health.”

    He lives on a pension of $2,800 a month. This, of course, is on the chopping block, too. “Right now, my wife and I are crunching numbers and trying to see how much a hit we can take before we are out of house and home,” he said.

    1. Crazy Horse

      What if we were to secretly unleash 50 white cats in the White House? Would they unmask the Emperor for all to see? Na– few Americans would even notice if he were entirely naked.

      Now if they were white Bengal Tigers—LOL.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Speaking of having a bad day, spare a thought for poor Kathleen Syphilis, who’s being treated like Typhoid Mary as she officially goes on the WaPo’s deathwatch:

    It’s Kathleen Sebelius’s turn now. On the Hill, they’re calling for her resignation and tossing around words like “subpoena.” Pundits are merrily debating her future. (She’s toast! Or is Obama too loyal to fire her so soon?) Her interviews, more closely parsed than usual, seem wobbly. Though never a colorful presence on the political scene, she’s suddenly a late-night TV punch line.

    And on Wednesday morning, the embattled secretary of health and human services will submit to a quintessential station of the Washington deathwatch — testifying before a congressional committee — to discuss her agency’s failings in the botched rollout of the federal health-insurance Web site.

    Sure, Kathy’s an airhead politician who has no more clue about flogging health insurance than I do about performing laparoscopic brain surgery.

    But will sacrificing one bagholder protect the ‘real killers’ of the individual health insurance market? Such as Nancy Pelosi, who shoved though this pig-in-a-poke with desperate, brutal parliamentary tactics on a straight party-line vote?

    Or ‘Crazy Barry’ Obama, the colorful internet healthcare empresario who put his name on the nationwide product rollout as prominently as Colonel Sanders does on his buckets of southern fried chicken?

    O-care just needs a sassy tag line, don’t it:

    Obamacare: saving Boomers with tumors.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I was waiting for the Boomer hate, and I had to wait until the very last line — in italics, just to drive the message home. Well played, sir!

      May I suggest another funny? How about Different “strokes” for different folks?

      Of course, if your Mom died of a stroke, you might not join in the general hilarity, just as anybody with cancer — no matter their age (“burials for millenials”? “Gen Y, go die?” — might be a little non-plussed by your comment above.

      The door to 4chan is that way. It’s a big Internet.

  4. taunger

    Sorry about the bad day; I’ve been having some, too, and they are no fun.

    But your links today are great, and reveal some nice issues. I look in particular to the contrast between the ideas in the Atrios [Duncan Black] piece and the piece by Chris Hedges. I think that Atrios’ campaign is great, but it contrasts too greatly with current ideology. If you look back to the Townsend letter, it’s argument centers on some basic socialist principles. Hedges points out that new ideologies are brewing, and Atrios might need those to get his way, because socialism is sooo 20th century.

  5. Optimader

    Technology problems are frusrating blackholes for time. Chilliut, take a walk in central park, have a nice lunch, take a nap make a cup of good coffee, then take another crack at it.
    There are problems and there are Problems, not worth developing hypertension. (Hopefully no data loss )

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s times like these that cats know they have it better than humans (most of the time)…and they don’t even do meditation (or rarely do).

      Hope your technology problems go away soon, though they, in my own encounters with them, usually don’t care how humans feel, no matter how frustrated we are.

      1. B

        Cats do meditate. Stretched out on a window sill in the sun, upside down on the sofa, hanging off the well padded arm of a chair. You only think they’re dozing, which just shows how practiced they are, how expert.

  6. down2long

    In view of the interesting articles last Sunday of what a mess the PE firms are making of being landlords in SFRs, we now have a mortgage bond tout that says “THESE BONDS ARE 100 SAFE” In that they are like covered bonds and the rental income covers the payment.

    How you may ask is this any different that a mortgage bond in which the payment is supposed to cover the note?

    Well, that’s a stupid question. It just is. And if the houses sit vacant, fairies pay the rent, and everyone is happy in PE land:

    This really is quite a remarkable piece of stenography from CNBC’s “realty check” grifter specialist:

    According to Ranieri, the rental bonds are different “because it’s almost done like the European covered bonds, because there’s enough cash flow and they can replace cash flow to pay the bonds,” he said in an interview.

    1. Ulysses

      Seeing stuff like this in the city is always fun. It demonstrates the failure of the corporatists to brainwash all of us!
      BTW, this may be the most important passage from the Hedges piece linked above:

      “By the time ruling elites are openly defied, there has already been a nearly total loss of faith in the ideas—in our case free market capitalism and globalization—that sustain the structures of the ruling elites. And once enough people get it, a process that can take years, “the slow, quiet, and peaceful social evolution becomes quick, militant, and violent,” as Berkman wrote. “Evolution becomes revolution.”

      This is where we are headed. I do not say this because I am a supporter of revolution. I am not. I prefer the piecemeal and incremental reforms of a functioning democracy. I prefer a system in which our social institutions permit the citizenry to nonviolently dismiss those in authority. I prefer a system in which institutions are independent and not captive to corporate power. But we do not live in such a system. Revolt is the only option left. Ruling elites, once the ideas that justify their existence are dead, resort to force. It is their final clutch at power. If a nonviolent popular movement is able to ideologically disarm the bureaucrats, civil servants and police—to get them, in essence, to defect—nonviolent revolution is possible.”

      I think many of us are struggling every day to persuade the enablers of this kleptocracy to peacefully defect, a far preferable scenario than any violent cataclysm.

    1. reslez

      Interesting catch. Wikipedia says:

      In 1892, Berkman made an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate businessman Henry Clay Frick as an act of propaganda of the deed, for which he served 14 years in prison.

      And here:

      Berkman attempted propaganda by the deed when he tried in 1892 to kill industrialist Henry Clay Frick following the deaths by shooting of several striking workers.

      Interesting times…

      1. reslez

        More about Frick from the same page:

        Henry Clay Frick, the factory’s manager, hired three hundred armed guards from the Pinkerton Detective Agency to break the union’s picket lines. When the Pinkerton guards arrived at the factory on the morning of July 6, a gunfight broke out. Nine union workers and seven guards were killed during the fight, which lasted twelve hours.

        According to my parents, my grandfather was a labor organizer and also endured violent retalation and threats. By that time, in the U.S. people were no longer being murdered in the street, thankfully.

    2. Massinissa

      You must not know about Berkman. After failing to kill Frick, he then realized violence didn’t do jack shit and started preaching nonviolence.

        1. jrs

          Because it works for them doesn’t mean it will work for you. Hint: they are the powers that be, you aren’t.

          1. michael kranish

            More importantly both Berkman and Emma Goldman were expelled from the United States in the Palmer Red Raids of 1919. They went to revolutionary Russia and were quickly disillusioned by Lenin’s extremely repressive regime. They were lucky to be allowed to leave the Soviet Union and live in Western Europe. Both Berkman and Emma Goldman died in France in the late 30s. Prince Kropotkin, an almost saintly anarchist, was also treated harshly by the Bolsheviks. In the systemically important countries, Germany, Russia, the United States, Japan, the capitalist are very corrupt. But the political and ideological atmosphere is far less extreme than it was in the early and mid 20th Century.

  7. anon y'mouse

    a simpleton like me can only come to one conclusion about the targeted drone assassinations, which is the same one I was left with after hearing that they killed Osama:

    someone has the dirt on our gov.

    if this were not true, they would be trying to catch these guys and hold them for trial. which would be the same thing as a witch hunt. let’s face it, there is no such thing as a fair trial, so I concede that the end results of such a trial would probably be the same thing: “burn the witch!” but it’s a sense of….hideous popular word warning-closure that our society apparently needed. the fact TPB appear unwilling to take the chance that any of these dudes gets their day in court and is allowed to open their mouths must be eliminated.

    if that’s too conspiratorial for you, then perhaps the goal is to make 40-60 new enemies with every drone strike. those MIC guys need a new pair o’shoes, after all.

    1. optimader

      Much lower operational barrier to vaporize someone (and their perimeter) than “catch them”.

      “..then perhaps the goal is to make 40-60 new enemies with every drone strike…”
      I expect this is not even on the radar, at least as a perceived constraint.

  8. curlydan

    “Liquidity, liquidity everywhere and not a drop to spend”…seems like the theme for many links today.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It does feel that way.

      We need personal ‘salty-liquidity desalination units’ for the 99.99%; otherwise, only the 0.01% get to soak in that liquidity.

  9. Jackrabbit

    Mainstream Economics is in Denial…Guardian

    The reporter points to a talk at Cambridge University and Russell Brand’s media appearances.

    Hey what about the bloggers that have been pointing to economics/economists flaws for years?

    1. Hugh

      It is all about elite validation. Ideas do not exist without some connection to the elite, that is until they are espoused by a celebrity or at someplace like Cambridge.

      I expect that when the elites really begin to feel the breath of doom on the back of their necks, many (there will always be a few deadenders) will suddenly “discover” the ideas, as you say, we have been kicking around here for years. They will, of course, not credit us with those ideas, because as I pointed out above, only elites can have serious ideas. The most we are vouchsafed is unfocused rumblings and inchoate mush.

      1. DolleyMadison

        Flipping channels over the weekend and saw that no less than GLENN BECK was AGREEING with Russell Brand…his two sidekicks were engaging in the usual jr. high taunts of Brand when Beck said – “What did he say that was wrong? Everything he says is true.”

          1. Emma

            ….Yeah, that democracy is fundamentally flawed so the entire voting population should unite in not legitimizing the farce and rather in its’ place, f**k the vote instead, as Brand advocates?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              When we all unite together (probably meaning almost all of the 99.99%, as we don’t expect to find the 0.01% there), we can hope to bring about change.

              1. Emma

                Nice – but as much a chance of happening as Kermit the Frog with a stiffy, or everyone f**king the vote like Brand proposes.
                I’m not sufficiently moved by either suggestion, so will alas, continue to pant in lust after much harder, more tangible and constructive solutions…..

    2. craazyman

      In Professor Graeber’s book DEBT he tells of people in China several thousand years ago who had the very same ideas. I think it was China. It may have been someplace in Mesopotamia.

      Or it might have been 1000 years ago in China.

      It was a long time ago, anyway, in a place far away.

      But the most amazing thing was the intelligence and lucidity with which they expressed their ideas. They could have been in the Peanut Gallery here, and made us all look soporific, orotund, bloviational and prolix.

      it made quite an impression on my mind. but then, why should it be a surprise. if somebody reads The Iliad for instance or the Bible or something written by Li Po — it’s quite clear. Just because somebody lived 2000 years ago or 1000 years ago, it doesn’t mean they were stupid, inferior, and closer to an ape than to a man.

      It’s weird to think of it like that. All that time. All those lives. All those years. And absolutely nothing has changed. Almost anyway. But the almost, that’s where we are, right now. It could go either way. I guess it was always like that — every day. LOL.

      1. craazyboy

        But they didn’t have copy machines!

        They memorized a beer recipe poem from the original recorded on a clay tablet.

        Hymn to Ninkasi (She is the Beer Goddess)

        The Sumerian written language and the associated clay tablets are among the earliest human writings. Scholarly works from the early 1800s onward have developed some facility translating the various Sumerian documents. Among these is a poem with the English title, “A hymn to Ninkasi”. The poem is, in effect, a recipe for brewing beer. A translation from the University of Oxford describes combining bread, a source for yeast, with malted and soaked grains and keeping the liquid in a fermentation vessel until finally filtering it into a collecting vessel.[3]

        Winemaking came later – probably more of a disco tune.

  10. arkham

    Rest on your laurels today, maybe. Still poring over the “disturbance in the force” post & thread, which should someday end up in the Harvard Classics five-foot shelf of internet stuff. What a synthesis.

  11. anon y'mouse

    “ducks conduct flash mob, steal popcorn and vandalize swiffers!”

    the nsa needs to put a stop to this by closer monitoring of the social media and sms messaging systems.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It should go here (like real estate, location is important).

      Little noticed is the news that the NSA also monitors the Pope.

      The implications are:

      1. The Air Force knows aliens (space aliens) exists.

      2. The NSA has evidence of the existence of God and what He says to the Pope.

      This the huge news.

  12. rich

    Gillian Tett has a talk with Alan Greenspan

    The ‘Maestro’ admits he didn’t understand derivatives he touted; calls for bank breakups

    The Financial Times’s Gillian Tett sits down with Alan Greenspan for a two-hour interview and gets some eye-opening admissions from the fallen “Maestro”:

    What also worries Greenspan is that this swelling size has gone hand in hand with rising complexity – and opacity. He now admits that even (or especially) when he was Fed chairman, he struggled to track the development of complex instruments during the credit bubble. “I am not a neophyte – I have been trading derivatives and things and I am a fairly good mathematician,” he observes. “But when I was sitting there at the Fed, I would say, ‘Does anyone know what is going on?’ And the answer was, ‘Only in part’. I would ask someone about synthetic derivatives, say, and I would get detailed analysis. But I couldn’t tell what was really happening.”

    This is simply outrageous. As Tett notes, Greenspan, who we now know didn’t understand them at all, touted the risk-dispersing benefits of derivatives as Fed chairman and fought those who would regulate them.

    1. anon y'mouse

      when all else fails, flip through the Ollie North playbook:

      “I do not remember…”

      “I cannot recall…”

      “I was not directly aware of….”

      Obama is doing that now about the ACA, and the entire gov’t structure has been doing it about NSA activities.

      problem is, they are probably right. these things are set up this way to ensure that no one has to take responsibility, because no single person really is managing things or keeping track of what’s going on.

      this is the same reason why, when you call your internet/cable co and finally get someone on the telephone, no one knows what is going on nor do they know how to fix it. nine out of ten times, problem is solved by simply thrashing around in hope and inadvertently doing the right thing. even higher up the chain they frequently don’t know what went wrong, but simply have the kill-switch to immediately override whatever it was when faced with irate customer.

      corporate ‘diminish liabilities and disperse control’ culture is recipe for ruination and malfeasance hiding under ignorance. been going on for years, it seems.

    2. optimader

      “… “I am not a neophyte – I have been trading derivatives and things and I am a fairly good mathematician,” he observes….As Tett notes, Greenspan, who we now know didn’t understand them at all, touted the risk-dispersing benefits of derivatives as Fed chairman and fought those who would regulate them…”

      Reminds me of these observations about charlatanism

      “…People like to feel smart. And books like this appeal to this desire. The average casual reader who is intrigued by quantum physics would love to understand the staggering complexity of the science surrounding it. If only there was a shortcut to understanding quantum physics at the same level as the researchers at Cambridge or MIT….

      Unfortunately, there is no such shortcut. Anyone who claims to understand quantum mechanics without any formal training is either misinformed, deluded, or has an agenda…”

      Greenspan was a vain guy that believed the press releases about him — that manipulated him.

      ‘Maestro’ may ass. He was a Fake and it was only too obvious when he’d mumble his Word Salad and Mr. Market behaved like it was the meaningful prognostications of a Seer. Isn’t that the absurdity of it all? just another guy that’s so smart it turns out that he’s actually an idiot. Thought he saw a pattern in chaos.

  13. TimR

    Catherine Austin Fitts inteview — her comments mirror some Banger was making yesterday (and challenged by anon’ymouse.)

    “Former Assistant Housing Secretary Catherine Austin Fitts says all U.S. citizens are partly responsible for banker fraud. Fitts, also a top Wall Street Banker, says, “What popular opinion has said again and again and again is it wants the dirty money. . . . It wants the U.S. to play this geopolitical top dog game to the extent it provides subsidy to them. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. . . . If we have a model that is dependent on crime and fraud . . . we have to change the model.” Fitts calls what we have today “the Central Banking Warfare Model.”

    1. jrs

      Many people (those who own housing) wanted housing prices propped up. People like things that benefit them and have some incentive to. This is stating the obvious.

      But liking it in some way and being RESPONSIBLE for it are two entirely different things. The banksters are primarily responsible for their fraud and the regulators perhaps for looking the other way. Making everyone and noone responsible for it (“public opinion”) actually exempts the people who ACTUALLY ARE responsible from responsibility. Yes, see Hannah Arendt on this (“responsibility and judgement” essays of course).

  14. Hugh

    DNI Clapper’s “Everybody does it” defense of NSA spying is like saying that if a town has enough pedophiles in it, their sexual abuse of children is OK, because “everybody does it.”

    Re “Obama Always Knew His Messaging Around Health Care Reform Was a Lie”, I guess we could put the “public option” in the same category. It was never more than a ploy to dupe liberals and progressives, and Obama always meant to dump it.

    Obama lies, a lot, and on important issues. Even when he tells the truth about the evil he intends to do, his PR machine and the media put a happy face on it so that it sounds perfectly innocuous. His bailouts of Wall Street and the rich, his contempt for ordinary Americans, the War in Afghanistan, the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, the War on Workers, the War on Transparency, the Surveillance State, his War on Social Security, he is a thoroughly evil man. Now compare that record with how he is portrayed in the media and how, with a record like that, his words and ideas are still accorded respect and deference

  15. Hugh

    Well, wordpress axed my comment so I will retry it with lots of asterisks.

    The “Everyone does it” argument used by DNI Clapper and others to justify the out of control NSA spying programs is like a town full of p*dophiles saying their s*xual ab*se of children is OK because “Hey, everybody does it.” In other words, Clapper is using a morally vacuous argument and hoping no one will notice.

  16. Hugh

    The other piece of my comment is that, of course, Obama lied about millions losing the healthcare insurance he promised they could keep. There are two schools of thought about Obama. One is that he lies, a lot, and the other is that if you parse his words, he often is very upfront about the evil he means to do. Curiously, both schools are, I think, correct. If you look closely at what he is actually saying then yes, he does say he is going to act as nothing more than the corporatist agent of the kleptocratic rich. But at the same time, almost everything Obama says is passed through his PR machine and the media elite validating one as well. So his plans to loot us and strip of us our rights are treated as sane and serious and are transformed into well intentioned ideas to help us out.

    Obama also lied about the public option. So what else is new? It never ceases to amaze me how effective the Establishment propaganda machine is. Obama is the War President, not just in places like Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen. He is also the major promoter for the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, the War on Social Security, the War on Medicare, the War on Workers, the War on Students, and the War on our Rights. He is also Mr. Wall Street bailout, Mr. No Investigations of Torture and the Biggest Frauds in Human History, Mr. Surveillance State, and Mr. Grand Betrayal. Yet despite all this, there is no outright rejection of him and both he and what he has to say are accorded deference and respect.

    1. psychohistorian

      But, but, but…he’s black, so he must be ok.

      Just like Hillary is a woman, so anointing her is going to be a perfect finish to the scam by the global plutocrats to ruin us all……..for Christ, of course.

      1. craazyboy

        The tag team Hillary and Janet – just before the lights go out and all the private jets take off and head for Geneva.

  17. Emma

    Re The Tom Dispatch link (comment & copy of the Epilogue to the book “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield” by Jeremy Scahill) puts more nails in the US national security strategy than any anti-personnel explosive device ever will.

    The harebrained self-denials and justifications from the US Administration continue to grievously rule the day. The ‘War on Terror as Self-Fulfilling Prophecy’ is beyond doubt, immortally breeding in the White House to roost rotten eggs till death do part from terror, which with a vigilant cluck, means ‘never’.

    The result IS a plummeting loss of faith and the accelerating retraction of trust vis-à-vis the US from the RoW. More grisly visible is the worrisome intensification of violence towards the US, ironically stemming from the so-called national security measures to protect against a stateless enemy who knows no boundaries, and lurks in every dark nook and cranny of the world. As Scahill says: “Devoted since that date (9/11) to perpetual war across significant parts of the planet and to a surveillance apparatus geared to leave no one anywhere in privacy, the U.S. now resembles a rogue superpower to an increasingly resistant and restless world.”

    Already “in several undeclared war zones across the globe, it seems clear that the United States is helping to breed a new generation of enemies in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and throughout the Muslim world.” Perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing when you instigated the ingenious idea of a stateless enemy to create a 24/7 alarm-clocked world in the first place?! As Scahill correctly alludes to however, the alarm-clock is unnecessarily and superfluously empowered by the Israeli-Palestinian issue confirmed with Obama declaring “we will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself” only last year.

    In response, Scahill unleashes the safety lever of the grenade by asking, “How would people living in areas of Yemen, Somalia, or Pakistan that have been regularly targeted by U.S. drones or missile strikes view that statement?” Given the groundwork already laid in place thanks to the last couple of administrations, it is of no importance however as “Future U.S. presidents — Republican or Democratic — will inherit a streamlined process for assassinating enemies of America, perceived or real. They will inherit an executive branch with sweeping powers, rationalized under the banner of national security.”

    The conclusion by TomDispatch: “Consider it the gripping backstory for what, in time, could become the equivalent of a global uprising against the last superpower of planet Earth.” only reiterates William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book The Fourth Turning, warning of a coming crisis based on extensive research covering several centuries of history.

    Strauss and Howe describe extreme concern with what they see geopolitically, and define The Fourth Turning (some NCers already know) as a generational period of severe disorder and great change. The Fourth Turning is a period provoked by the collapse of a failing system and the operating principles which monopolized the prior three generational turning periods. Given that America’s most recent Fourth Turning was the period beginning with the stock market crash of 1929 and culminating in World War II, TomDispatch, Scahill, Strauss & Howe, all quite righty and understandably have pins and needles. Today the craftwork in both system and operation, exhibits every sign of a rapid stitch-up in mass-production of catgut and veins, which WILL hang us all askew within an unstoppable killing-machine.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Old tech >>> new tech.

      You could probably send a message via a talking parrot piggybacking on a carrier pigeon across the country that way.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For something closer, I would suggest signing chimps on donkeys.

        They can go from Marathon to Athens in no time.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Little noticed is the news that the NSA also monitors the Pope.

    The implications are:

    1. The Air Force knows aliens (space aliens) exists.

    2. The NSA has evidence of the existence of God and what He says to the Pope.

    This the huge news.

  19. Ep3

    Yves, I am trying to find an article about a topic but I can’t find it. At Michigan state university, the surrounding developers are building rather expensive student apartments as an alternative to living in the dorms. I see this as a continuation of privatizing college student housing. Instead of remodeling (which they sort of do) 100 yr old dorms, these developers get govt handouts to build these expensive apt complexes for students. And of course, how do students pay for these apartments? Good old student loans. This helps colleges cut maintenance costs and save money on compliance issues.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A vertical forest in an European city.

    Maybe they can go full Mayan…make all cities forests.

    1. Emma

      “A chi vuole, non mancano modi”

      If only we could make all cities forests. In the meantime, let’s pack our bags for Milano….

      Either that, or let’s move into a treehouse instead!

  21. anon y'mouse

    been a weird day all around. car wrecks everywhere, busses that can’t take their normal routes, going out of service. almost got hit by a car. more sirens than usual. people hyper-talkative when usually they’d be cellphone zombies.

    just weird vibes. think it’s about to rain.

    1. psychohistorian

      It is way past time for it to rain for serious in Portland. I think it is making folks antsy because the nice weather has just been going on and on and on…..oh and the west coast has nice leaf coloration this year.

      Welcome to the social implications of neo-climate change weather patterns.

      Maybe this time it should be the virgin men children of plutocrats that are offered to the volcano gods.

  22. Kim Kaufman

    I’m sort of days behind everything and trying to catch up. Just listened to part 1 and then watched part 2 of Yves on Democracy Now! It was great. I don’t generally like watching Amy but no audio download for the extra interview. This has never been Amy’s interest or expertise and it was a very engaging segment.

    I’ve been up to my eyeballs fighting $1 billion purchase of iPads hustle from Los Angeles School District. The Broad and Gates funded Superintendent with the fake PhD overplayed his hand and once the headlines screamed “$1 billion” the public started paying attention. The Superintendent’s plan: buy these suckers now (with bonds for building schools) and we can figure out later what to do with them. He’s hitting some snags. :)

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