Links 10/5/13

Who’s Afraid of Peer Review? Science (furzy mouse)

Apple, After 2-Year Fight, Fails To Squash Café In Germany Wolf Richter

Geeks can be girls Gillian Tett, Financial Times

For Better Social Skills, Scientists Recommend a Little Chekhov New York Times

Model S Fire Tesla Motors (Chuck L). Notice the bit that says the fire department made the problem worse. So how is a fireman supposed to know special lithium ion battery fire procedures?

US scientists boycott Nasa conference over China ban Guardian

As Good As It Gets In Latvia? Ed Hugh. Long but important. Latvia, astonishingly, is being touted as an austerity success story. Must be because the fabulists assume no one actually goes there.

Swiss Regulators Probing Alleged Currency Manipulation Bloomberg

Embattled Berlusconi approaches ‘end of the road’ as schism nears Financial Times

Ireland ‘will need EU support’ Guardian

Egypt to Try Populist Tack to Address Discontent Wall Street Journal

How to win a lost war Asia Times

Impasse With Afghans Raises Prospect of Full U.S. Pullout New York Times

Shutdown Showdown

With No New Plan, Boehner Makes Angry Plea on Shutdown New York Times. This is seriously bad. Boehner was giving market friendly messages last night that he wouldn’t let a default happen. After markets close, the message is Obama has to give on the ACA, which is simply proof that as with the budget negotiations last year, Boehner is at best a figurehead. He can’t deliver his party.

Obama is not negotiable on the ACA. Now if I were an observant Tea Party type, I’d know that Obama will blink. He won’t default, he’ll invoke the 14th Amendment or use some other device. Then I as a crazy right winger will make even more noise about him and I am probably convinced I will get some less nutty right wingers to follow my lead.

Americans don’t care about the government shutdown because it’s in slow-motion Telegraph

Markets Mostly Shrug at Shutdown Wall Street Journal

Defense Companies Warn Thousands Of Layoffs Imminent Due To Shutdown Forbes

The Loss of U.S. Pre-eminence Simon Johnson, New York Times

Shutdown puts trade talks on ice Financial Times. This is a huge silver lining. And if they don’t get done, it means one less wing in the Obama presidential library…

US policy makers fear flying blind Financial Times

Shutdown will stall home loans for thousands Washington Post

The National Weather Service Sends Hidden Message To Congress In Forecast Techdirt (Chuck L)

Dennis Hastert: ‘There Is No Hastert Rule’ Nation (furzy mouse)

Obamacare Startup

If there are any technical people in the ObamaCare effort who want to get anything off their chests, we’d love to hear from them….please e-mail

Key Part Of Obamacare Website Going Dark This Weekend Huffington Post. Wow, if anything, Lambert was too charitable in his assessment of what a mess the exchanges looked to be from the pre-startup timetables, body language, and heaving of major deliverables over the side.

Wonkbook: Obamacare’s Web site is really bad Washington Post

Obamacare enrollee in media spotlight hasn’t completed signup process... Politico

What Developers Can Learn from O’Reilly (Chuck L)

Screen Dump: NYState Of Health (Marketplace) Lambert

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

NSA and GCHQ target Tor network that protects anonymity of web users Guardian. We had said earlier that using Tor was waving a big red flag at the NSA. It appears, however, that Tor still can’t be cracked. My concern still is whether mere mortals who try using Tor (as opposed to hard core techies who know how to secure their computers and communications better) can wind up exposing themselves

NSA Uses EFF Images To Explain Tor; EFF Jokingly Claims Creative Commons Violation Techdirt (Chuck L)

NSA Spying Makes the Internet and Computers LESS Safe George Washington

Lavabit’s Levison’s Really Bad Call Simple Justice. I’ve noticed this in other walks of life. A lot of people who are otherwise experienced but haven’t had a reason to hire a lawyer often make stunningly bad choices and even worse, don’t have a clue until it’s way too late that they are getting bad advice.

IJ Scores Two Major First Amendment Victories Institute for Justice (Chuck L)

Use of force in Capitol Hill shooting debated Washington Post. Notice the heavy official spin, that she tried to “ram through” the barrier at the White House. Other accounts say she just bumped it.

The “Hyper-meritocracy” – an Oxymoron Led by Criminal Morons Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

Does Proposed Senate Media Shield Law Hurt Independent Journalists? Real News Network

Why are Nurses at Vanderbilt Medical Center Cleaning Bathrooms? Portside (Carol B)

Ken Rogoff Takes A Swipe At Econ-Bloggers For Misinterpreting His Work On Debt And GDP Business Insider (Paul Tioxon). This would be funny if it weren’t also pathetic.

The Ten Ninety Nihilists Kevin Carhart, Real News Network

Freedom of Information Ken Auletta, New Yorker (Bob S)

Antidote du jour:

amusing_animal_world (15)

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    1. skippy

      if you suspect that the battery is heating, use large amounts of water to cool the battery. DO NOT extinguish
      fire with a small amount of water. Always establish or request an additional water supply.

      Battery fires can take up to 24 hours to fully extinguish. Consider allowing the vehicle to burn while protecting exposures.

      skippy… groovy… house, parking structures, tunnels, ferry’s, multiples, etc.

      1. optimader

        If I owned one and it had a battery fire, I would prefer it be a complete hull loss and receive an insurance check. If it were in my garage, I would surely drag it out into the driveway as the consequential damage would be an incredible catfight w/ the insurance company

          1. Kurt Sperry

            Did you even read the article and its (correct) conclusion: that a well protected Li-Ion battery pack is an exponentially smaller overall safety threat than a sheet metal vessel containing a large volume of highly flammable liquid that when vaporized is also highly explosive?

            1. optimader

              I think you are assuming my disinclination is related to “safety”.
              I designed and supplied core technology to A123 Systems for their first commercial Lithium iron phosphate battery spinel production (which the a-holes promptly shipped to China and reproduced), as well the good folk at Altairnano in Reno,NV and a couple other players in the storage technology field which I wont mention.

              So,,, No, I don’t think I need a lecture on the relative merits of Li Ion batteries.


              No commercial relationship but I do know ANL is doing cool stuff which I leave it to the curious to look into

              1. zapster

                The sort of leverage it took to slice through the 1/4″ armor under the battery was extraordinary and is very unlikely to occur in your garage without you working at it pretty hard. That kind of accident happening to any normal car would very likely have totaled it, and probably killed the driver in the process. In addition, the battery heating was quite slow, not explosive. The driver had plenty of time to park and walk away from it. The fire never entered the driver’s compartment at any time.

                And the fire would not have spread very far if the responders had refrained from puncturing it further–the battery casing is lined with the correct fire retardent to stop it. And as Musk stated, it still remained relatively contained even in spite of the mishandling.

                After this, it looks to me as though Teslas really are safer than gasoline-based vehicles.

              1. Lambert Strether

                Nothing. Not to get all serious, but reclaiming your sense of taste is a first step toward reclaiming control of your body from Big Food (and others who would control it). That is the lesson of Slow Food, whose motto, “good, clean, and fair” applies — or should apply — to a lot in this world.

    2. Glen

      Like you, I suspect fireman will receive more and better training in how to deal with lithium battery fires, and that less people will find the need to learn how to use buggy whips.

      I think it’s called progress.

    1. Synopticist

      He got really lucky both at Dien Bien Phu and with the Tet offensive.

      The first was because the French decided to put their “fortress” in a valley rather than a height, and the second was a military disaster that turned into a PR triumph.

      1. Roland

        Napoleon used to ask about officers considered for promotion, “But is he lucky?”

        When evaluating Giap’s generalship, consider the very large and formidable enemy forces arrayed against the NVA over the course of many years of war. Viewed in perspective, Giap’s performance in command was redoubtable.

        As for Tet, never forget that war is politics. American commanders and politicians had made grand claims of imminent success in Vietnam, which exposed their vulnerable political flank to Giap’s well-timed offensive.

  1. down2long

    I saw this yesterday to describe the Tea Party flame thrower enthusiates (I’m all for flamethowing but it must start at corporate headquarters( (Koch Industries, JPM and Goldman headquarters. Etc)

    “Teabilly Fuckstickery” Just makes me smile. It’s the little things….

  2. down2long

    I saw this yesterday to describe the Tea Party flame thrower enthusiates (I’m all for flamethowing but it must start at corporate headquarters( (Koch Industries, JPM and Goldman headquarters. Etc)

    “Teabilly F**kstickery” Just makes me smile. It’s the little things….

    1. Ned Ludd

      Corporate power relies on state power. Imagine how differently the OWS protests would have gone if the state was not there to brutally crush the protests and protect Wall Street. Protesters would have occupied and shut down the banks. The emperors of Wall Street would have been humiliated in their powerlessness against collective action.

      1. anon y'mouse

        OWS was not big enough.

        public was stuck trying to figure out what they wanted.

        average hardworking joes & janes thought they wanted a handout–more “lazy hippy” nonsense. “why can’t they get a job and stop clogging traffic!” literal quote from one slave-warrior (see craAzyman post below).

        critical mass is needed. “message” is key. Chris Hedges recent call to withdraw from the systems of oppression. new networks built. new distributed power structures engaged.

        blast off in 3–2–1.

      2. jrs

        True and if we got actual anarchy all bets are off. I think most people already suspect that some parts of government that toss people bones will be shut down, whereas if any OWS suddenly arose (now might be a darn good time to test that, but noone is that organized!) there would be police forces enough to crush the movement.

        Because while a few military contractors and NSA contractors may be furloughed (it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch), and trade talks stalled (incredibly good news – almost makes the whole thing a very good idea – no government is better than corporate government forever!), the “essential” government services continue (including NSA data gathering), and what will be deemed to be essential, those functions of government that prop up the economic system.

        Meanwhile some kids on W.I.C. won’t get fed, and while that could be insurrectionary, at this point in time that’s prety darn unlikely (though they riot for much less elsewhere like Brazil).

  3. S Haust

    On how emergency responders deal with Teslas:

    Well, actually, a fireman is supposed to know this. After
    all, they are the first responder heroes we so adulate,
    aren’t they?

    Sorry, I don’t intend to demean anyone but there really
    are resources to call on in these situations. Hazmat
    training, worldwide and instantly available databases
    and so on.

    For many years, I worked on merchant ships and even
    though my job had nothing to do with, say, cargo fires
    or most of the other bad things that could happen, and
    I would normally not get anywhere near such things, I
    still had to know a bit about these things and pass a
    test on it before I was even allowed to work.

    I’m supposing that since Tesla knows this happened, that
    reports have been written and warnings issued so that
    now fire departments will know what to not do.

  4. taunger

    The 1099 nihilist piece was pretty good; I liked the interposition of current and historical campaigns for “liberty of contract.” (Wish I had better understood the context during that day in Con Law class; the case was about bakers and hours, I think).

    It also made me realize just how much the end of the frontier and the modern welfare state coincide. Anyone know of a good book that makes arguments against laissez faire within the context of the end of the frontier, and therefore a loss of Locke’s framework for private property and private profit?

    1. J Sterling

      On liberty of contract, the most extreme libertarians are capable of arguing with a straight face that the abolition of slavery is wrong, that people should be free to be slaves if they so “choose”.

      Another way of putting it is that they don’t think there should be any inalienable rights.

      1. Massinissa

        You know, I dont think ‘inalienable rights’ are things people can choose to not have… Because if you can ‘choose’ (i.e. be forced by circumstance) to throw your rights away, then you no longer have any humanity or worth as a human being.

        Good god these people dont know what theyre getting into with all this ‘freedom’ double think. This is a can of worms they do NOT want to open. Theyre essentially opening the way for the possibility of greater authoritarian exploitation, only from corporations instead of the state…

      2. taunger

        Well, I certainly think there should be inalienable rights, but I haven’t seen a moral/ethical/governmental system that can ever truly guarantee inalienable rights. Doesn’t seem to me to be how humans work.

        On the other hand, it would be nice if more people could get behind ideals of compassion, grace, forgiveness. We can all see how much good my inalienable right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures goes without those virtues. And no, you don’t need a book or a deity to get into that.

    2. Montanamaven

      I’ve read about the end of the frontier somewhere and I think it was in John Taylor Gatto’s “Underground History of American Education.” Something about when the U.S. ran out of land to hand out, they then turned to selling higher education to the masses as the way to freedom.

  5. jjmacjohnson

    From the excellent article on Latvia:

    “…modern minimum standard welfare services like health and non-poverty-inducing pensions.”

    The pensions for most people are already poverty inducing. My elderly releative’s pension income is so small it is hard to believe.

    My younger cousins almost all live else where in Europe at least part of the year.

  6. dearieme

    “Federal agents … fired seven shots at an unarmed driver with a toddler in the car as it rushed away from them, an uncommon tactic that occurred during a highly unusual chase”: cowardly bastards. Wasn’t that attempted murder? Who else might they have killed with their shooting?

    The proliferation of heavily armed assassins purporting to be enforcing the law is a disgrace and a menace.

    1. Butch in Waukegan

      Is there a common thread between the DC shooting and the following?

      Reports: NYC Cops Rode With Bikers Who Beat SUV Driver

      At least one New York police detective was riding with a motorcycle pack that chased and beat an SUV driver Sunday after a road-rage altercation but he did not intervene to stop the attack, law enforcement sources told news organizations. xxx


      The Post said the undercover officer belongs to a motorcycle club called the Front Line Soldiers, whose members include several police officers. ABC News reported he was working narcotics.
      The Daily News’ sources said two officers — and possibly two or three others — were among the estimated 20 to 30 motorcyclists on the Henry Hudson Parkway when riders tried to slow traffic. LIen’s Range Rover bumped one bike when he was cut off, and he accelerated to escape, hitting several riders and seriously injuring one.

      Wanna bet whether we’ll ever know if 1 or 2 or 4 or 5 cops were involved? The thin blue line serves and protects.

      1. fresno dan

        Very much agree.
        The police are no longer public servants who are suppose to protect the general public – they are more a praetorian bodyguard to politicians.
        Audio and video recording of stop and frisk in New York show constant thuggish behavior by police, (never investigated, never prosecuted) but it is understood – politicians protect the police and the police guard the politician (not just physically, but the all important law and order imprimatur of police unions).

        I think shortly the “ramming” of the car will be exposed as total bullsh*t, but the “car is a weapon” meme has already been trotted out. Of course, stopped cars are deadly…I once walked into one drunk and bumped my danglies, and that really hurt…

        1. anon y'mouse

          police stop & frisk

          the new taskmaster, the new lash.

          “keep shufflin’ along to yer crap jobs. tote that barge, lift that bale! don’t get stroppy, now. there’s no use in actin’ out. it’s all inevitable. if I hassle this one black kid, that’ll learn 50 of y’all lackeys standin around.”

    2. fresno dan

      look at the pictures of the car

      All I can say is…next time I’m buying a Japanese car, because they are soooo tough. Ramming concrete barriers has no visible effect whatsoever! No broken headlights, or turn signals. No paint chips, no dents. Look at what happened to the American car that hit a barrier…
      I’m a little concerned that the airbags didn’t go off which I would expect from a ramming….but I don’t plan on driving in barricadeville AKA Washington DC

      1. optimader

        State sanctioned execution as a public object lesson. Complicit media would make soviet era Pravda blush.

      2. Yonatan

        Best comment from the Daily Mail article:

        royalcourtier, Auckland:
        This reminds me of the SAS assault on a collection of wax dummies in the 1986 movie Whoops Apocalypse – “we lost 11 men, but the dummies lost 28”.

  7. Mcmike

    Re: defense contractor furloughs. Good. Now if we can get some lobbyists to feel the pain.

    Re: national weather service. I love reading the forecast discussions. Interesting that the nws has not been shut down. Could it be that all the tv news weather forecasters would be exposed as subsidized teleprompter readers?

  8. craazyman

    Crown of Thorns

    Each time I get my annual physical it’s the same woman who takes the blood pressure, weighs me, does the EKG and draws the blood. She’s not really a nurse, she’s more an assistant, although though she wears a white smock and carries a clipboard with your papers clipped to it that she leaves for the doctor. She’s thin and bony with long straight hair the color of bones, her face is haggard and worn and she doesn’t smile. She could be anywhere from 50 to early 70s, but I know she’s barely 50. She has that haggard broken look that comes from more than time.

    She has a daughter and a small house and a boat that she takes out on the river. How was her summer? I asked. Did she get out on the boat? No. She has to work two jobs. There was no time. What was her second job? She works a cashier at Lowe’s, she has a mortgage and there’s other expenses too, she barely makes it work. I think she takes care of a sick relative too.

    You can see it in the way she moves, she holds her elbows to her sides the way women do and moves her forearms in jerky stabs to get things done. But she’s gentle with the needles and you can tell she has a kindness in her.

    Somehow the subject turned to politics and the government shutdown and she stood still and began to talk in a monologue that I could find no way to interrupt. She’d like to get rid of all of them, the president, congress, senate, every one. The country is a disaster. The government can’t hand money to people who do nothing and don’t want to work. She knows people personally who live on disability, handouts, welfare, Medicaid. They can work but they won’t, because they work the system. You can get money if you have kids under two, so they keep having kids. She, herself, started working at 16 and hasn’t stopped, ever.

    Does she follow politics at all, I asked? Not any more. It just makes her sick. They all lie. They spend money on their trips and big dinners. Obama’s had more vacations than any president she can remember. Why are we paying for all this? It’s ridiculous. When does the debt stop. When does the borrowing stop. We’re killing the country. The government is like a household, you can’t borrow money forever and live on debt and give handouts to people who won’t work.

    I mentioned the corporate welfare too. The Wall Street bailouts, the give aways, the bonuses. yeah, that too, she said. It’s just as bad. It’s all bad. It’s killing the middle class, it’s killing the country.

    There was no possibility of any kind of discussion. I simply said I agreed with her, that the country is a mess. She smiled when we recalled how it used to be, you could have a house, a yard, a garden and a car on one salary. Now they’re tearing the houses down and mowing down the trees and putting up McMansions with day-glow fake grass. Why do people need a house that big. The earth needs trees and animals, everything is here for a reason. And to cut it all down and drive the animals out of their woods. And for what?

    I guess if you’re a politician this is your raw material, the way a sculptor works with marble or bronze or clay. You punch it and shape it and bend it and maybe break it. If a little falls off, well. You keep as much as you need for your purposes. What are those?

    It would be impossible to talk with her about money and debt and public goods and budgets and spending priorities and civil responsibility — with that academic distancing so finely cultivated by the library and office scholar who’s erudition comes from classrooms, courses, professors and tests. She knows what she sees around her and those are, mostly, lies and frauds. Small and big. With her and her two jobs, her life of non-stop work, bewildered and exhausted, crushed and dying.

    1. PQS

      Thank you, “NOT SO” Craazyman….

      I have been shocked at the casual racism that I’ve seen during the Obamacare launch and this past week. I had a coworker – church goer, raiser of tons of foster children in his home, man who has worked with tons of non profits and churches to build and remodel projects with them – toss off to me that Obamacare won’t work because “the illegals” are taking all the services and everyone is gaming the system. That young people are getting on drugs and getting welfare and other services, while people like him work honestly and get nothing.

      I point out how Wall Street got a lot more than a welfare check, how WalMart and other bid companies game the system at our expense by not paying their people enough money, while they rake in billions in profits, but I think most of the details just get washed away…..

      what’s left are the base prejudices Americans seem to be born with.

      I always like your portraits and narratives.

      1. jrs

        Maybe he’s just scared and with a system like Obamacare, can you really assure him he shouldn’t be scared? And healthcare is about as personal and reflecting basic survival drives as you can get. Tax an extra 5-10 percent of income of people who can to some degree afford it (yea if you targetted the 1% of course they can and then some, but I mean even the 20%), if they believe in social democracy even begrudgingly, they don’t care much, belt is tightened slightly. But threaten a man’s healthcare should he need it and …. you’ve just mined the core survival drive.

        But the existing system stinks? The existing system stinks entirely even in ways that never even make political discussions (under staffed hosptials, over-prescription, pharma allowed to market directly to the consumer an on network television for heavens sake etc. etc.). But if one has health insurance through work they have *something* (a talisman perhaps). But health insurance companies are service denying @@#$s. Yea and Obamacare fixes that how again? Some of us suspect it might just allow them to get away with even more.

        Meanwhile the cost of employer provided health insurance keeps rising, not necessarily due to Obamacare but Obamacare won’t stop it. And you think those lucky enough to have employer subsidized health insurance such as it is dont’ know that? Meanwhile what actually exists to serve the public in terms of actual public systems is WAY underfunded (Medicaid is anyway, less so Medicare – the only half functioning healthcare system we have). So relying on poverty systems is scary (though better than nothing) and of course how scary depends on what state you live in. Meanwhile we are told if we fall in the subsidized middle we can go on the exchanges to buy health insurance but we have to be every bit as expert in buying health insurance as we ever have been (watch the deductables, the out of pocket maxes, the narrow networks, which doctors you can see, which hospitals etc.). And if you don’t have to deal with the exchanges but are lucky enough to have employer provided you’re scared of your coverage such as it is becoming every more narrow coverage that doesn’t cover anything either. And that is the FEAR of Obamacare.

        Meanwhile the Obamabots assure us, trust Obamacare, it’s not so scary, try it and you’ll like it, much like Medicaid or Social Security, social programs are good, the rest of the world likes social programs, try them and you will too. And yet anyone who actually has a picture of how government functions lately, knows this admin has been corporatist to the core (wants to sell us into corporate governance with the TPP even, I mean can you get any more selling us into corporate slavery than that?)), knows the bill itself was written by the Insurance companies and with Pharma buyoff!! We don’t not see that just because the ACA is touted as the greatest thing since the Great Society.

        And that’s why people who have health insurance now fear the ACA, and it will be called greed and selfishness but it’s survival level fear.

        And the dude who works with nonprofits, helping out everyone, will be expansive and generous when he is in situations where it is allowed (yea really the correct word is allowed, so much of the economic system doesn’t even allow it really) and will be cruel and stressed when under great stressors (maybe even personal one’s but I mostly mean economic stressors of course!). To ask for more is to ask for deep psychological and spiritual development, so that one is MORE than their environment.

        1. PQS

          Yea and Obamacare fixes that how again? Some of us suspect it might just allow them to get away with even more.

          Obamacare provides a few things that are useful in reining in the power of the insurers: no lifetime cap, regulated OOPs and no denial of preexisting conditions. These are long, long overdue checks on their power which I assume they gave in to for two reasons: the mandate, and the fact that yes, costs are rising, more people can’t afford their services, so perhaps it was in their best interests to give a little.

          Scared? I was laid off for six months in an industry with over 25% Unemployment as the sole breadwinner for my small family. I’ve been scared, am still scared of what the idiots in DC are doing/not doing. But that’s no excuse to be uninformed or to resort to name calling and racist BS. And I think it is incumbent on the rest of us to call out racist bull when we see it. We can debate policy and Obama and lots of details all day, but if you aren’t even going to find out what the real deal is, don’t come to the table with Fox News crap about “illegals” as your argument. That was my point.

    2. anon y'mouse

      firing on all six, crazyman.

      i have an aunt like this. railing over the subprime loan scandal about people “taking more than they could afford”. i told her “who has the power to GIVE the money? if i ask you for a loan, and you know full well that i’m a deadbeat, and you give me the money, who is at fault when i don’t pay it back? you knew that money was gone and you’d never see it again when you gave it.”

      people who work very very hard (and she does) have to cling to the perception that everything they’ve got, they worked for fair and square and so on, and anyone who doesn’t is a lazy moocher. basic cognitive dissonance. if they didn’t, then they might begin to wonder why they are working so damned hard, and not getting -properly- rewarded for it (and many of them aren’t, in my experience). they take it as the deprivation endured by warriors.

      this aunt is also in a union, and knows that if the company could have, it would have replaced her with a machine 5 years ago.

      1. jrs

        “people who work very very hard (and she does) have to cling to the perception that everything they’ve got, they worked for fair and square and so on, and anyone who doesn’t is a lazy moocher. basic cognitive dissonance. if they didn’t, then they might begin to wonder why they are working so damned hard, and not getting -properly- rewarded for it (and many of them aren’t, in my experience). they take it as the deprivation endured by warriors.”

        And seeing it would do her what good? If we had a real labor movement it would do real good (and it’s not nothing that she is unionized, this could help her see it (why doens’t the union do class conscienceness raising?) of course most people aren’t unionized). But for most people it would do what good to see it? Then they are just a lone individual that knows they are being @#$# on by the system? And then what? And how does this even help? They can now be @#$# on just as much as ever and yet be more angry all the time? That’s progress? They can’t necessarily change the world all by their lonesome.

        I mean maybe they can stop driving themselves so hard and relax a little at work? (externally this is indirect sabotage, internally this is the disarming of the internalized capitalist superego). And yes if they had 6 months or a year emergency funds they might well do so. But living paycheck to paycheck you can’t risk a period of unemployment with even a TINY BIT of slackage.

        But she might vote differently? Uh I guess, if you believe the political system isnt’ hopelessly rigged. I’m undecided on this, first the political system is obviously rigged and money dominated, but secondly we haven’t actually pushed it to see what an obviously broken system could be forced to do if faced with enough resistence.

        1. anon y'mouse

          without that awareness, why would a person ever join up with a “real” labor movement? she thinks everything is product of her hard HARD work. that everything that happens to others is also product of their similar efforts or lack thereof.

          if she saw an actual, functioning union she’d probably be the first to criticize (she already things her co-workers are mostly lazy and want to much. it is a common theme in her worldview). I think she likes the security hers gives her, but if she saw that not only she, but every other laborer was also being taken advantage of, this might change her worldview. what she sees is that her devoted and continual slavery has afforded her a small measure of financial security. in other words, her value system is “hard work pays off”. she is not bothered to think that frequently, for others, hard work does NOT pay off and being conscientious at work can actually make you destitute.

          I don’t see how anyone like her can be alive to the possibilities of a real movement, a real labor union, etc. with a worldview like this. her value system and view of others (“takers” without asking how they got that way, as I do not deny that they do exist, but that it is a warped development path and/or personality disorder) is of harsh/strict father orientation, don’t step out of line or feel the lash stuff. with her, this actually reflects her upbringing. with others, I have no idea.

  9. sleepy

    RE: Obamacare startup

    I’ve tried to get an account going to check on what’s available and at what price since Tuesday.

    I finally succeeded yesterday after switching browsers from firefox to explorer and creating a new email account at yahoo.

    I’m good to go, right?

    Nope–I plug in all the info, and a popup appears:

    “There was an error in establishing a connection with Experian. Please contact Experian at ————-“.

    Yes, I knew the credit folks were involved, but I’m supposed to contact them myself to tell them, what, that the federal exchange can’t reach them?


      1. Yves Smith Post author

        You can e-mail Lambert @ his Corrente address or me at and I will forward it to him.


        Documentation is good, anyone else with signup hassles please document anomalies (screenshots!) and send them to us.

    1. jrs

      They may just be passing on the error message they are getting from Experian itself (from the Experian API). Well done? No, but I really don’t expect that much from software, error handling from connectivity or unknown errors is an easy corner to cut.

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        Do you mean that last ‘test’ where ‘they’ put you up on a cross and mock you? (Seriously though, the older I get the more ordeal like life becomes.) I’m subscribing to the theory that petridish is getting a little testy due to the creeping up of age. I empathize but question the methodology.

        1. optimader

          Don’t know what petri wrote, but there is nothing particularly Noble about “Moderation” as a rule IMO. Rational and logical? Yes, always..

          “Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice”
          ~t paine

        2. spooz

          I believe paranoia is becoming more pronounced in normal individuals who have become aware of the implications of the creeping police state. A sign of the times.

  10. John B

    Am I unduly paranoid, or could Wall Street and K Street be seeing a debt ceiling scare as a good insider trading opportunity? If one has lots of cash and political connections, having small investors flee the market in panic, then buying up depressed assets right before your political friends give in, could seem like an attractive strategy. It would be tough to prosecute even if anybody wanted to.

    1. Dr. Noschidt

      All politics creates this “profit opportunity” for TopDogs. Have you forgotten the theme of “THE BIG SHORT” by Michael Lewis?

    2. ambrit

      I’m thinking that most of the people here view everything related to the Wall Street/K Street Axis as ‘insider trading.’

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Shutdown…trade talks on ice.

    Next up: the NSA and drone procurement.

    You win some and you lose some, just like a lot of things in life.

    With more practice, Americans may just poll 50-50 on government shut down in the future.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      By the way, did I read somewhere that ‘there can be a deal, but it will cost Obama his presidency’ or was it ‘his presidential library?’

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        Obama is looking like Esau in that story from the Bible who “..sold his inheritance for a mess of pottage.” The really sad part is, being POTUS, he’s selling our inheritances too. Looks like we’re going to have to fight to get it back, fight hard.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    For better social skills, don’t just read Chekhov alone, but with a lot of people, preferably in a hot tub.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And if that doesn’t work, go hang out with ‘foreigners’ – even of different belief systems – they seem eager to befriend Americans.

    2. PQS

      Ugh. I heard that story on Nice Polite Republicans last night. I couldn’t help but yell at the radio:

      “We study literature and art because that’s what teaches us to be a human being!!!! That’s why they’re called THE HUMANItieS! Did we have to have a study for this?”

      God, how far we’ve fallen from our ancestors. We need a spreadsheet to tell us that art and literature are valuable.

    3. ambrit

      Which Chekov? That one with the “Three Sisters?” Or the one with, “Yes Captain. Warp factor six it is.”

      1. craazyman

        interesting story about your friends and the Mississipi incident.

        I loved that Star Trek when the Enterprise somehow went back in time and had to beam aboard some astronaut dude from the 20th century — I think because he was gonna ram right into the ship when it materialized. He was right out of the Central Casting astronaut actor department, short hair, athletic build, gee-golly-whiz persona. With that astronaut suit with the big ring collar the helmet screws into. It was sort of funny to see him there with the Enterprise dudes in their 23rd century Hamlet pants and boots.

        That one really made an impression on me. It was astonishing in my mind to think about the Enterprise up in the sky above my house beaming aboard something like an Apollo astronaut. Those were the days, when you could really think stuff like that could be real. Actually, I think it is real — but so much stranger than the Star Trek writers could even contemplate — but most people would look at me funny if they knew.

        1. ambrit

          Dear craazyman;
          I agree, the provenance of that one was nearly perfect. Ever notice how most ‘incident’ stories feature people with below average imaginative quotients? The Star Trek stories were mainly written by “real” science fiction authors. The story editor, D C Fontana, was a good writer in her own right. She did a fair number of originals on the show.
          As for just how ‘funny’ it all could be, i think of Phillip K Dick and “Valis.” Or Jonathan Winters and his backyard “experience.” The Mythic content of such images is deep, deep.

    4. jrs

      “Experts said the results implied that people could be primed for social skills like empathy, just as watching a clip from a sad movie can make one feel more emotional.”

      Gee, that sounds nice, however OF COURSE it will be used to manipulate people and not just small scale by pick up artists or something, big scale: advertising, propaganda.

      Because we live in an empathetic society. no of course we don’t, although if sometimes likes to pretend it is, but we do live in a manipulative society. Now quick does Obama look sad or loving when he wants to bomb Syrians?

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Swiss regulators probing currency manipulation.

    Finally, someone is going after those scheming central bankers!

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Egypt populist tact…discontent.

    One sure populist way to drug the population into content is to legalize marijuana…I think.

    1. ambrit

      I think I disagree with you on this. The legalization of any drug, (including alcohol,) leads to too many negative consequences, for the central ruling elites. One of the most successful pro police state tactics of the past half century has been the “War on Drugs.” Not only has it demonized exactly that part of the population from which dissent and alternative views on social relations arise, but it has enriched large sections of the, to use an oldy but goody, Running Dog Cadres. Besides, Egypt is an Islamic culture. The juice of the grape is forbidden by the Koran. Qat, hasheesh, and cannabis are the traditional replacement substances for a lack of alcohol. I don’t know anything about Egyptian social norms, but I would suspect that cannabis and its cousins are tolerated. (Could someone more knowledgeable enlighten me?)

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Alcohol is legal but highly regulated, cannabis is illegal but to some degree tolerated in Egypt.

        1. ambrit

          Mr. Sperry;
          Thanks for that info. I guess I just assumed that Egypt would be as conservative as Wahabbiite Saudi Arabia. I never suspected that alcohol would be tolerated in an Islamic culture. Do the Arab Brotherhoods have a more restrictive attitude towards alcohol? As for the cannabis varieties, I fondly remember Lebanese Blond Hasheesh. It was very popular, and very available, in the seventies. Oh tempora, oh mores!

          1. Roland

            Cairo is a metropolis of over 14 million people. I spent nearly a month there, in both the central districts and in some of the satellite cities, but I never saw a single drunk Egyptian.

            Downtown Damascus in 2005 (pop. over 3 million) had fewer establishments selling alcoholic beverages than does my small home town in central British Columbia.

            Even in Beirut I saw very little public intoxication.

  15. Bill Frank

    Re: DC shooting of “delusional” woman. This was totally avoidable and sheer incompetence on the part of DC police/FBA/Secret Service. During the initial incident at the White House gate, the car is virtually surrounded by officers with guns drawn and yet the driver escapes. At close range, none of the officers is capable of shooting out the car’s tires? There’s a false assumption that these “professionals” are highly trained and know what to do in every circumstance. In the ensuing chase, officers following the car looked like the keystone cops. The first officer in pursuit can’t even keep up with the fleeing driver around the circle she takes. Another speeding officer rushing to the scene smashes into a road barrier showing little ability to handle his vehicle. This death was unnecessary.

  16. Dr. Noschidt

    “Lambert was too charitable in his assessment of what a mess the exchanges looked to be from the pre-startup timetables,”

    Isn’t this a Big Tell? Imagine how the “computers” will “accidentally” mess up your health records and payment records, to facilitate Big Looting.

    Obama will do anything to keep his payola coming: the Obama Dynasty is counting on the Loot To Come to him and his crime family via “speeches”, “books”, the Obama Presidential Library, the “it’s a secret” coverups in perpetuity, etc. He has sold Americans down the river, increasing his profits. It’s a twofer.

  17. Eureka Springs

    Just the possibility of the military industrial complex having to shut down for even a few days is a great feeling.

  18. susan the other

    Simon Johnson. The elite business people must speak to the T-party asap and tell them they are ruining everything! Hardly. If the elite lecture the Ts it will sink them even further. The Ts will not hesitate to blame them for their criminal behavior over the last 30 years, like offshoring and outsourcing the entire nation.

  19. susan the other

    Asia Times. On War. Winning the narrative is so 19th century. Now we can no longer rely on slogans of patriotism because we are too globally interconnected and must cooperate to achieve social progress. We have to follow the rules and definition of the practice of a just war: just cause, just action, just peace, and do a few other things, like understand in advance exactly what you want to achieve; and blah blah blah. Managing a war like a business. Managing business like a war. The end justifies the means. I didn’t feel convinced.

  20. fresno dan

    Who’s Afraid of Peer Review? Science (furzy mouse)

    The downside of the internet: where every hot 20 year old stewardess is a fat bald 49 year old guy and every peer reviewer is not a scientist…

    I am wondering at what point spoofing, counterfeiting, forgery, and every type of misrepresentation possible will render all information all the internet useless because it can’t be authenticated?

  21. fresno dan

    Lavabit’s Levison’s Really Bad Call Simple Justice. I’ve noticed this in other walks of life. A lot of people who are otherwise experienced but haven’t had a reason to hire a lawyer often make stunningly bad choices and even worse, don’t have a clue until it’s way too late that they are getting bad advice.

    “And then he met the government, which had some “requests” of him. It came out when the requests related to Snowden, but by that time, Levison wasn’t a virgin.

    Mr. Levison was willing to allow investigators with a court order to tap Mr. Snowden’s e-mail account; he had complied with similar narrowly targeted requests involving other customers about two dozen times.

    But having broken the wall of privacy, the government wanted more. The government always wants more.

    But they wanted more, he said: the passwords, encryption keys and computer code that would essentially allow the government untrammeled access to the protected messages of all his customers. That, he said, was too much.

    The New York Times reveals as much of the backstory as Levison is now allowed to reveal, and it’s an ugly story all around.

    He had been summoned to testify to a grand jury in Virginia; forbidden to discuss his case; held in contempt of court and fined $10,000 for handing over his private encryption keys on paper and not in digital form; and, finally, threatened with arrest for saying too much when he shuttered his business”

    I have to disagree that the problem is poor representation. The problem is that the base foundation of limited government, open courts, PUBLIC laws, and simply the nullification of the 4th amendment.
    The president (i.e., executive branch) of one administration after another is all for this, the vast majority of congress, the courts are composed of legal careerists, and the corporate press is only interested in ad revenue. Kittens with balls of yarn get more eyeballs than the evisceration of 4th amendment.

    When I was young (and naïve, maybe still stupid) I met a young woman from the Soviet Union (this is 1979). I thought (and still think) that it was a terrible totalitarian government. But she had lived there, and didn’t think it was so bad.
    It now only occurs to me that Orwell’s boot on the human face doesn’t occur to every human face. You only have to have a boot on a few human faces to get what you want…

    It is simply astounding to me that in American defendants cannot discuss their trials in public. It is heartbreaking that it is not a controversy.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Don’t get me wrong, he was in an insanely bad position and it’s appalling that that is how the law shakes out. But when you are in a bad position, it is even more important to get really good representation.

  22. anon y'mouse

    on Bill Black’s “hypermeritocracy”

    the entire industry is structured around multiple, independent companies linked to providing ONE product, and the incentives they get from selling more and more at higher and higher levels.

    this is NOT investing! this is the stock-market speculation equivalent. it is conning the greater fool into taking something you know is going to blow up.

    why has the mortgage business become like this? mortgages are long-term investments. they need more care and feeding and oversight. they don’t need a broker, who won’t care who the mortgage is sold to obtaining a fee for service in s separate company from the eventual owner, services who gain from foreclosure, “missing” payments and providing otherwise crappy service with no consequences. and we haven’t even gotten to the derivatives end.

    I know this sounds “late to the party”. I did not -just- realize this. but who in the world who was involved in this business thought that this was “a good way to go” for the industry? or did their voices just not matter, because they jumped on the gravy train?

    I don’t understand at all the fetish for every segment of the business under control of separate corporate management, unless that is designed specifically to create an environment where, when TSHTF, no one can be adequately blamed and everyone is left pointing fingers in an unrectifiable quagmire, therefore none of them has to pay for their fecklessness. having separate brokers, servicers, etc. rather than in-house would not appear, from this novice non-business person’s perspective, to lower costs in any way. then again, costs can always be passed along to the terminal ends of the chain—the eventual debt holder and the debtor.

    it’s a structure made for lack of accountability and unchecked fraud. and rents!

  23. LucyLulu

    Yep. And being in the South, guaranteed they aren’t unionized. Nurses have unions few places in the country, and are terrible at negotiating for their interests. They easily fold to authority and no longer have the advantage of high demand. Human resources will allow open positions to remain unfilled for months, even years, turning down multiple applicants (once unheard of). Yet women in the Phillipines are training to become US nurses to fulfill the demand we allegedly can’t supply. It’s the IT story repeated, with declining wages. In 2009 I was paid the same wages as 15 years earlier, except in 2009 was unpaid for hours worked over 40, in similar cost-of-living regions.

    As far as the health risk of nurses cleaning bathrooms………
    Do you want the nurse who comes in to care for your central line (IV with direct access to heart, important to prevent infection) to have just finished cleaning the toilet of the man next door who suffers from Hepatitis C and MRSA? Vanderbilt is a level I trauma and referral center, not some community hospital that does tonsils and appendectomies. Is it any wonder the US has a high rate of hospital-acquired infections?

    My advice, going on 20 years: Avoid inpatient treatment if at all possible. For examplee, IV antibiotics can be administered at home with nursing visits, or even minimal family training to give doses (and nurse to start IV and discontinue). Or home nebulizer and chest physical therapy treatments along with minimal stethoscope skills can be taught to mother of young child with chronic and severe respiratory (asthma, RAD) disease. If unavoidable, find an advocate to stay with you. Hospitals are dangerous places. Plus you don’t get any rest.

    1. skippy

      Ramping is out of control, priority lists are calculated death marches, high percentage of complaints are environmental in origin or projection of instilled fear via MSM – grapevine, health care is now an assembly line (cough Fordism), talent ends up in niche market positions (maximizing value thingy) to the detriment of the over all system, loading of billable services is priority one, actual care givers diminished at every opportunity and numero uno administration et al concentrate more on market function than patient out comes.

      skippy… as you point out… learn the simple things – you – can do first, to look out for yourself and those around you. The kids have had the fortune of being part of the wife’s study group and work conversation group, around the house, out and about.

  24. Wat

    re: elite silence on costs of loss of preeminence, there is the larger gain looming for them at the end of any such tribulation, which is the dismantling of the new deal, subjugation of labor, imposition of three segments of shock doctrine: more privatization, dismissal of publicly employed workers, tax cuts.

  25. skippy

    Stop CSG Brisbane

    “The battle for Tara has just got very hot! George Palmer and myself have removed workers and truck! Yes we evicted an Eastern Well drill rig attempting to set up. We don’t need help we will deal with this one ourselves.

    Dayne Pratzky I have just been rammed by a Eastern Well vehicle, I went through the front windscreen. I have minor injuries, BJ was also rammed by a QGC vehicle which also sustained a broken front windscreen. We will not back down!

    Dayne Pratzky Up date, BJ is at Tara hospital with a suspected broken rib, my back and neck are starting to seize up along with cuts to both arms. Dalby detectives on route now. Tally so far is two injured locals, and two broken windscreens on CSG vehicles and some seriously worried QGC and government departments.

    Dayne Pratzky Okay the adrenalin is wearing off and my back is now my concern I am getting tingling down my legs. I will be calling an ambulance as I can not drive to hospital.\ ”

    UPDATE – Close source says both men released from medical care, doing well but with suspected broken ribs, cuts and bruises sustained along with possible head injuries. Pics of injuries set to be released in coming days.

    NOTIFICATION – A notification for those of you who still doubt that we are at war in the Queensland gasfields – “Dayne Pratzky – I have just been rammed by a Eastern Well vehicle, I went through the front windscreen. I have minor injuries, BJ was also rammed by a QGC vehicle which also sustained a broken front windscreen. We will not back down!” Initial reports suggest that gas industry (QGC and Easternwell) vehicles have been used in an assault on activists attempting to prevent drilling occurring on a residential estate near Tara, QLD. One activist is reported seriously injured and taken to hospital. Police are investigating.

    Please follow: for up to the minute details. Send messages of support.


    skip here… Local MSM reporting of indecent:

    GAS company vehicles and property have been damaged during an altercation with Lock the Gate Alliance protestors south-west of Chinchilla today.

    Protestor Dayne Pratzky claims he was struck by a gas company vehicle during the incident.

    Dalby police Senior Constable Dan Masson said police were called out to the disturbance at Robbos Rd, Wieambilla at 9am this morning.

    Protestors who were injured during the altercation took themselves to Tara Hospital.

    Police will review CCTV footage from the vehicles involved in the coming days.

    They have spoken with witnesses and are continuing to investigate the incident.

    A QGC spokesperson has confirmed they contacted the police when the altercation began and can give no further comment while the incident is being investigated.

    Skip here… Ok… so we have a game of which thingy is not like the other mental positioning bias formatting.

    The MSM account probably* (*not really) was handed down from QGC HQ, which opens the bias cortex drip with – “GAS company vehicles and property have been damaged”.

    Got that? Property is the first ongoing concern, paramount.

    Next is the complete abstinence of any mention of injury to QGC employees. Yet right after property condition is broached protester Dayne Pratzky is highlighted as lodging a claim of having been injured in an altercation w/QCG vehicles (consequences). QGC vehicles must be drones or something because there is no mention of Agents of QGC operating said QGC property in a reckless and dangerous manner (vehicles and manslaughter thingy) regardless of initial conditions (pending). This meme is furthered by claims of the protesters limping off to hospital under their own charge (vanquished from the battlefield) and QGC being the first to establish contact with the proper authority’s ie. righteous dudes – public safety comes first – barf – drill baby drill – environmental destruction w/generational consequences – retch.

    skippy… BTW Dayne Pratzky is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and understands from that perspective, whats going down ie. the cascading pyramid of value$$$…. globally.

    PS. Public service announcement from your corporate HQ

    Speed racer…

    Shrivel up~

      1. skippy

        From local Gov selling off water to dumping toxic water on back roads, poor compliance et al. Its just keeps getting bigger and as we saw with the Colorado Floods… broadcasting like little fookmeshimas down stream… to the GOM… a marriage made in hell…

        skippy… “Derivatives need Energy” probably the scariest movie title eva…. hold me aby…

  26. cwaltz

    Disclaimer: I have not nor will I ever be an Obamacare fan.

    However, I do think judging the rollout of the site(which I believe was done to SPITE the Republicans arguing against its implementation in Congress) and assessing whether or not its effective during a government shutdown is a bit unfair. I think the number of people at HHS has been diminished significantly, of course, its going to have problems with implementation of a brand new system. That should be a given. I’m pretty sure we’d have had similar problems had the situation been covering enrollment of everyone in the country onto a single payer system. The larger the scale of something the more likely you are to have problems. That goes particularly when you’ve only got half the staff to work on things. JMO

    1. jrs

      I think it’s unfair because I’ve worked in the software field for 15 years. Enough said. Really these expectations for software are not in line with how software rollouts really go (although one can always do better).

      The real test of the ACA is of course the obvious one: do people end up getting health*care*? (hopefully wihtout paying 10 times what the rest of the world does for the same healthcare but I won’t hold my breath). Yes, the exchanges need to work eventually to enable enrollment but rollouts are buggy.

      1. Lambert Strether

        They had three years to implement it. They triaged requirements right and left. They slipped deadlines. They downplayed expectations. And it’s still a fustercluck. If the Democrats had gone with single payer, they could have rolled it out in a year, just like LBJ did Medicare, and we would have saved a trillion dollars, a ton of lives, and mucho agita in the political classes. The failings of ObamaCare are due to its system architecture, and that is due to the choice to preserve the health insurance industry. Granted, these choices were imposed on the implementors, but I’m not even sure the body shop that built the thing did the best it could even given the givens.

    2. Lambert Strether

      “I’m pretty sure we’d have had similar problems had the situation been covering enrollment of everyone in the country onto a single payer system.” Had you given consideration to the idea of giving a reason? Single payer wouldn’t have to integrate DHS, IRS, credit reporting agencies, 36 states, Medicaid, private insurance systems, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Peace Corps. That’s because it’s single payer.

      And Ted Kennedy proposed the idea of simply lowering the eligibility for Medicare by 5 years, every year, until everybody was covered. How hard would that be? (NOT that Medicare doesn’t have its own problems, since it suffers from rentier infestation as well.)

  27. polynome

    Re Tor:

    Mere mortals can wind up exposing themselves. If you go to the Torproject website, they offer some tips on their download page to avoid doing this.

    Another really important thing mere mortals ought to do to help them with Tor is to run the “Tails” livecd, that has Tor built in. This cd takes a lot of guesswork out of securing Tor. It is also explicitly mentioned in the NSA slides as a thorn in their side.

  28. mookie

    Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult Reuters

    Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

    A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

    1. LucyLulu

      $2800/month for everyone????

      And with the average Social Security benefit paying $1300/month, short term only unemployment maxing out at $1500, and welfare paying substantially less, there are plans to switch to chained CPI.

    2. jrs

      Let’s hope it passes, it will be such an awesome experiment in human potential. Not for us, of course, as we’re Amerislaves but still.

  29. b2020

    “[Spokespeople] declined to comment on the incident at all, including whether their officers knew that Carey’s 1-year-old daughter was in the car when they fired into it, killing Carey. The toddler was unharmed and is in protective custody as authorities work with Carey’s family to properly place the girl.”

    This appears to take an inordinate amount of time. It is obstruction of justice – who, when, how questions this witness, considering how easily kid’s (or any witness) are compromised by leading questions – and it begins to reek of hostage taking. If the needs of the investigation are an issue, it needs to be stated. If the needs of the investigation are not an issue, the child needs to be placed with family know to her. To draw this out is raising questions of undue pressure being placed on relatives that have standing to file lawsuits and exert public pressure aimed at a police force that clearly had no control of the scene, its own officers, or its own overall response.

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