Links 11/16/13

Quantum ‘world record’ smashed BBC

For future reference: What solidarity looks like Lambert

“He Took the Time to Chat”: Ken Starr’s Plea for a Child Molester Gawker (Carol B). Lordie

The Most Nefarious Part Of The TPP Proposal: Making Copyright Reform Impossible TechDirt (Chuck L). Well, I think killing people via insuring overpricing of drugs is more nefarious, but I will grant this is high on the list.

TPP Exposed: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret Trade Text to Rewrite Copyright Laws, Limit Internet Freedom Democracy Now. Good fodder for those who want to get up to speed.

Hunger and resignation in Tacloban BBC

Brazil: Top figures jailed in big corruption case Associated Press

China to loosen one-child policy and abolish labour camps Guardian

Maersk CEO Says Balancing Supply of Ships to Demand Is Years Off Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Anonymous-Linked Hackers Accessed U.S. Government Computers, FBI Reportedly Warns Reuters. The domestic version of “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter.”

Hammond: FBI directed my attacks Guardian

Eric Holder Doesn’t See Any Basis To Prosecute Glenn Greenwald… For Now TechDirt

Obamacare Launch

Obama ‘brainstorms’ with insurance executives McClatchy (Lambert). This is one of the most absurd headlines I have read in a very long time.

Health-care site contractor tied to firm that botched other IT projects Washington Post

UnitedHealth drops thousands of doctors from insurance plans: WSJ Reuters

The sinking ship of Obamacare Kathleen Parker, Washington Post. Includes discussion of procedural basis for “you can have your insurance back” fix.

The Fix Is In: Can President Obama Grant An Effective ACA Waiver To Millions Of Disgruntled Citizens Jonathan Turley (Chuck L). Begs to differ with Parker.

House Approves Bill That Allows Policy Renewals New York Times

America is $17 Trillion in Debt — Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be Worried PolcyMic. Awful headline, but the article is worthwhile.

Democrats will fight for infrastructure investment and unemployment benefits in budget talks Daily Kos (Carol B). BTW, did you notice we’ve heard NOTHING about the budget negotiations as a result of the Obamacare train wreck?

FDA Food-Safety Comments, Defending Family Farmers, Blocked: Another Fed Website SNAFU OpEd News

At AFL-CIO, An Immigrant’s Rise To Vice President Reflects New Opportunities, New Strategies Huffington Post (Paul Tioxon)

There Is Nothing Rational About Moving 777X Production Outside the Puget Sound Region (but Don’t Expect That to Stop Boeing) The Stranger (Lambert)

Coca-Cola’s Assault on Tap Water Huffington Post (Lee S)

Yellen In Line to Head Fed, But How Will She Lead? Real News

#AskJPM underscores risks of Twitter engagement Financial Times. My God, the degree of denial in corporate American is stunning. The #askJPM fiasco is treated merely as a PR fiasco (which it was) as opposed to a sign of well warranted ire directed at a predatory institution that demonstrates no interest in changing its conduct.

The Human Hack: How to Fight an Internet Risk Technology Can’t Fix Bloomberg

Geithner To Join Warburg Pincus’ As President and Managing Director Wall Street Journal. Well, he could have wound up places where he could do a lot more damage. Let’s hope we are spared Greenspanian defenses of how the Fed did so well before and during the crisis.

JPMorgan to pay $4.5bn over mis-selling mortgage securities Financial Times. I may write on this if I succeed in fighting off a bug. This is lousy reporting. The deal is NOT with investors, it’s with the trustee who is eager to get out of the monster liability he has by failing to do his job.

Eeyore locutus Michael Smith (Carol B). My kind of guy.

The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar Mark Ames, and Yasha Levine, NSFW. Today’s must read. Currently unlocked and will stay that way until Sunday, roughly 11 AM EST. Circulate widely.

Antidote du jour. What is with those skunks’ tails? Are there hair extenders for skunks? And I never knew they can be litter box trained.

Oh, and separately, my cat Blake (named for William Blake, and smart enough not to get stuck behind bookcases) is 14 today!


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  1. YankeeFrank

    Damn, I knew Glenn Greenwald had some libertarian leanings, but did he have to get in bed with a predatory micro-finance pig like Omidyar? The disgusting, wallet-padding neoliberal impostors littering our economic and political landscape these days is just revolting: Omidyar raping the third world for yield and Corey Booker looking to slide his greasy way into the Senate on the tears of Jersey’s poor. Profit-driven “social munificence” has got to be one of the nastier scourges of this particular era. Be it the corporate “school reform” movement, micro-finance debt-slavers or banksters “doing god’s work”, the vanity and self-aggrandizement these cretins proudly display while exploiting and trashing the lives of the poor makes anyone want to hurl. What the world never needed was billionaire greed merchants peddling for-profit poverty cures. Its enough to make one believe in the devil. Actually its not a bad thought: it does clarify where these monstrous hypocrites would spend eternity.

    1. from Mexico

      And yet I believe the authors err when in their conclusion they speak of

      …Pierre Omidyar’s…idealism that the CJR and others promise will not shy away from taking on power.

      The question, however, is what defines power to a neoliberal mind? We’re going to take a wild guess here and say: The State.

      So brace yourself, you’re about to get something you’ve never seen before: billionaire-backed journalism taking on the power of the state….

      In other words: look out Government, you’re about to be pummeled by a crusading, righteous billionaire!

      When one analyzes neoliberals, one must constantly be wary of their Orwellian rhetoric. For neoliberals are not at all opposed to a large and powerful state.

      This should become immediately obvious to even the most casual observer of Latin America’s neoliberal champions — Pinochet, Fujimori and an entire host of brutal dictators — who didn’t hesitate a moment to use the most extreme forms of state power in order to impose the one true faith: neoliberalism.

      Likewise the state grew enormously under Reagan.

      But Reagan’s state was a state solely in the service of the lords of capital. When it came to spending on defense, criminal justice (keeping the helots in line) or corporate welfare, the sky was the limit.

      So one always must be atune to the hypocrisy that inheres in the neolibeals’ anti-government rhethoric.

      1. from Mexico

        And the hyocrisy inherent in liberalism has been with us for a long time.

        In France in the 1780s the nobility and clergy paid no taxes, plus were entitled to massive government pensions. Just one noble family, for instance, received pensions of 1.5% of the total annual revenues of the crown for doing nothing (Eugen Weber, The Western Tradition, “39. The death of the old regime” ).

        The monarchical government, invoking equality, tried to enlist the people in the struggle to do away with the privileges of the nobles and the clergy.

        The privileged groups – nobles, clergy, gentlemen, lawyers, and intellectuals – struck back against the royal government by invoking liberty, “brandishing slogans like liberty, and natural law, and representation in order to defend their privileges.” They argued they should be “liberated” from paying taxes, but of course not “liberated” from their generous pensions and other perks. Mme Roland, in her final moments as she was being led to the guillotine, poignantly captured the hypocrisy inherent in the clergy and nobility’s brand of libertarianism when she cried: “Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!”

        1. JTFaraday

          Right on topic– Edmund Burke in Debt:

          “Some day someone should write an essay on the struggles of Edmund Burke in his final years to overcome his considerable debts—some £30,000—by securing a peerage and a pension from the Crown.

          Thanks to the interventions of his well connected friends, Burke secured from Pitt in August 1795 two annuities that would wipe out his debts and a pension that, along with an additional pension and the income from his estate, would enable him and his wife to live in comfort into their old age.

          Three months later, when Burke took up his pen against a proposal for the government to subsidize the wages of farm laborers during bad harvest years (so that they could sustain themselves and their families), he wrote, “To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of government.””

          1. from Mexico

            That’s why I think reporting like this is nothing short of silly:

            “Yellen In Line to Head Fed, But How Will She Lead?”

            It’s tantamount to asking: “How will the new president of the Ku Kulx Klan lead?”

            We know how Yellen will lead. The Fed, from its very inception, was never anything but a way to throw the titans of finance a lifeline for their incompetence and malfeasance. Here’s how John Kenneth Galbraith explains it:

            Well before 1907, trouble in the big-city banks was an occasion for public action. In the panic year of 1873, the withdrawal of the hitherto wicked greenbacks was halted, and $26 million was reissued to provide reserves and ease tension in New York. In subsequent panics the Treasury deposited government funds to help the big banks withstand runs. In 1907, J. P. Morgan, who is celebrated by all historians for saving the Trust Company of America after declaring that the panic might as well be stopped right there, appealed to Secretary of the Treasury George B. Cortelyou for deposits to save the Trust Company. Resources subscribed for the rescue by other New York bankers, including Morgan’s, were insufficient. Cortelyou was not authorized to deposit public funds with a trust company. This was a detail; $35 million was promptly deposited in the national banks and just as promptly reloaned to the Trust Company of America. It was thus provided with the funds that persuaded its depositors that it was safe. These arrangements were ad hoc and unreliable.20 They also lacked compassion. In 1907, when Charles Barney, head of the desperately beset Knickerbocker Trust, went to J. P. Morgan to seek help, he couldn’t get in to see him. Barney thereupon shot himself. A central bank would at least have let Barney in. Partly to help beleaguered men like Barney, but more to serve the interests of more important men, the United States in ensuing years revived the idea of a central bank.


              1. skippy

                So true… to help pedophile psychopaths on needs to become the victim… where by the power of love… change their strips…

                skippy… whats that thingy again about victims learning to – like it – again???

              2. Nathanael

                Actually, sometimes reforming the mafia from within does work.

                I don’t know what to say about this. Sometimes outsider tactics work best, sometimes Machiavellian manipulators can succeed with insider tactics.

        2. Massinissa

          As an additional anecdote to Faradays, we must remember that Ayn Rand was as much a hypocrite, if more so than Burke, as she had substantial government support in her later years.

          You would think someone like her would be principled enough to refuse support from the thing she spent her entire adult life railing against, but I guess not.

    2. grayslady

      I don’t know if Glenn Greenwald is a political libertarian or simply a civil libertarian; but after reading the article on Omidyar, I’d say Glenn and the others should watch their backs. Omidyar seems to have quite a track record of being involved with some incredibly slimy activities.

      1. JTFaraday

        Yeah, Ames and Levine almost make Rupert Murdoch look good!

        Now that’s how you drag the Overton window to the right.

        1. grayslady

          And they accomplished that feat by doing the sort of investigative reporting that Greenwald, Poitras and Scahill presumably favor. We’ll see. As to Omidyar, I’m reminded of what one of my favorite social critics, Jane Austen, had Elizabeth Bennett reflect upon when first meeting Mr. Darcy: “He wouldn’t be quite so handsome if he weren’t quite so rich.”

          1. JTFaraday

            NYU journalism professor– and apparently now also journalistic business consultant– Jay Rosen has an antidote to investigative reporting all lined up for Omidyar:

            “At the core of Newco will be a different plan for how to build a large news organization. It resembles what I called in an earlier post “the personal franchise model” in news. You start with individual journalists who have their own reputations, deep subject matter expertise, clear points of view, an independent and outsider spirit, a dedicated online following, and their own way of working.”


            In short, instead of hiring old fashioned investigative journalists, Rosen effectively thinks Omidyar should hire journalistic products:


            Hiring people with a distinct point of view”– we used to call to call such people “pundits”– will thus enable Omidyar to skirt the whole issue of objective truth, (a concept Rosen finds epistemologically naive, in any case).

            Voila! Instant “freedom of the press.”

            I think I’m going to borrow a phrase and call it the “you’re free if you think you are” model of journalistic freedom.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I find Greenwald’s capture disheartening.

        However, if he ever faces persecution by our big uncle, it can’t hurt to crawl under the sleeve of a big daddy.

    3. susan the other

      I sorta thought Snowden was too good to be true. A master of logistics as well as high tech spying. How he escaped so smoothly from Texas, or was it Virginia?, to Moscow via Hong Kong was beyond expert. And this was followed pretty closely by interesting political shifts in the Middle East. Most recently the Russians have given their backing and money to Egypt’s new regime, no doubt pleasing the Saudis. The obvious connection might be that billionaires like Omidyar and Bill Gates are sick of war and prefer making their huge plunder by profits instead. But their imperial tactics are just as odious. It has appeared that Obama is dedicated to get us out of war even tho’ he dithers around trying to look macho. Whatever.

      1. anon y'mouse

        well, Snowden himself or the lap he fell into?

        we’ll have no way of knowing for years. but let’s face it, Hammond, Manning, Schwartz and many others all prove that idealists are at the mercy of those around them, even when they are much smarter idealists than the rest of us.

        haven’t these people all read their history? don’t they know of COINTELPro?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I didn’t manage it.

      I got Blake at 5 months. I gave him away at age 2+ when I went to Oz, the process of bringing a pet in is terrible (22 hour flight in cargo + 5 weeks of quarantine). When I came back, I called his human, who said they were getting on great, but if he changed him mind would I take him back? I thought that was weird but I said yes. I got a kitten, the Gabriel who got stuck behind the bookcase. A few months after that, the fellow who had Blake called and said he’d gotten engaged to a woman who was not fond of cats, would I take him back?

      So I now had two unrelated males. They fought like crazy initially and still sometimes have dustups.

      Blake was fat when I got him back. I got him back to his fighting trim. But he also came back bulimic! I don’t know where he picked up the habit, but he chews plastic and throw sit up, mainly to annoy his humans (“I’m so hungry I’m forced to eat plastic”).

      I put food out and both cats eat it. I see Blake with his nose in feeding trough much more often than Gabriel. But the older Blake is the skinny minnie and Gabriel is porky. Go figure.

      1. Teejay

        What is it about cats chewing on plastic? My sisters two cats love to chew on plastic. Is it their way of cleaning their teeth?

  2. Sam

    I’ve watched this site campain against the R candidates for the past 2 presidential cycles on the basis of how horrible the opposition would be. Yet, I just cannot think how an R candidate would have even been allowed to be as bad as what we have now. Let’s just play pretend and imagine that Romney had won. Do you think that you would have blamed this obamacare trainwreck on him? I’m thinking that you would be writing dailiy articles on how the failure of the implementation of obamacare would have been all Romney’s fault due to his sabotage of a fabulous piece of legislation. It saddens me that obamacare could be seen for what it was only if it was implemented under Obama. Why heck, even just 3 weeks ago, the same D congress-people who were rushing to call any R who proposed delaying Obamacare as terrorists of the american people are now falling all over themselves to take up the tea-party position of delaying implementation. Sigh.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m sorry, you must be confused. We are orange, black and grey, but we are NOT Daily Kos.

      This site didn’t do any campaigning in the 2008 cycle. None. Nada.

      In the last cycle, we spent a hell of a lot more time deriding Obama than Romney. But we focuses mainly on how little they differed (Lambert’s ongoing campaign countdown on Obamaney and Robama) See these examples (we have a ton more of this sort of thing):

      By contrast, in the two months prior to the election, these are the only Romney stories I could find in the backstage that were even sorta anti-Romney:

    2. habenicht

      Sam – I think there would be fewer abuses in this country if a republican were president.

      Its a little counterintuitive, but takes drones as an example: if a republican president were killing people with drones, there would be no backlash within the R party, but there would likely be some outrage from D’s to serve as a kind of check.

      Now when a charismatic democrat is behind drone killings, republicans still are on board with it, but under this scenario, career democrats are apologists for these actions (i.e. its ok when our tribe does it and hence no outrage).

      In this way, Obama is able to implement a republican agenda much more effectively than any republican ever could.

      I think I originally read this train of thought from some of Greenwald’s stuff back in his days at the Guardian.

      1. Nathanael

        The problem is, Republicans do things like invading Iraq. Big big messes.

        The Democrats are a very poor choice, so we have to get a second party.

        The Republican Party is not a political party, it’s an apocalyptic death cult. The sooner people realize this the better.

        1. savedbyirony

          Creating new parties won’t do any good unless we deal with all the money flowing into campaigns and politics in general. Isn’t the Tea Party already a third party, and look how that’s working out. With the campaign funding and financial lobbying left the way they are now (and it’s all going to become even worse when the Supremes find in favor of “Citizens United II” in the spring) any new “progressive” party that shows any promise either because of popularity or talent is going to be co-opted or one-way-or-another discredited/frozen out. We hear Dems saying they support Movetoamend; we hear Republicans saying they support it; so far we have had 16 states pass resolutions in favor of it, and many cities as well; and a large majority of Americans when polled regardless of party are in favor of cleaning-up campaign financing; better than trying to create new parties, which only cause more splintering, would be to try to get something like a Constitutional Amendment to deal with Citizens United (and more importantly the granting of individual “citizen” rights to Corporations) in the political discourse of BOTH the GOP and Dems since large numbers of voters in both parties favor such reform. (I know 1.)the problems are deeper than just those caused by C.U., but it would be a powerful step in the right direction to somehow roll back that court decision and 2.) that the GOP would never as a party endorse such a Constitional Amendment -the point is how many votes are to be gained by having it on an official Dem. party platform and how much bi-partisan pressure/support could be brought on them to actually follow thru)

  3. AbyNormal

    “Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.”
    Robertson Davies

    ~~~~~~~~HAPPY BIRTHDAY WILLIAM~~~~~~~~~~

      1. AbyNormal

        “Everybody Needs a Union”

        example of the flipside: “What do you see out there?” I ask.
        “Pittsburgh,” he replies. Now I laugh. “No, young man. What you see is hell with the lid taken off.”
        Mother Jones

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Yves, does Blake have stripes in honor of his namesake’s most famous poem:

        THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

        By William Blake

        Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
        In the forests of the night,
        What immortal hand or eye
        Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

        In what distant deeps or skies
        Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
        On what wings dare he aspire?
        What the hand dare sieze the fire?

        And what shoulder, & what art.
        Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
        And when thy heart began to beat,
        What dread hand? & what dread feet?

        What the hammer? what the chain?
        In what furnace was thy brain?
        What the anvil? what dread grasp
        Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

        When the stars threw down their spears,
        And watered heaven with their tears,
        Did he smile his work to see?
        Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

        Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
        In the forests of the night,
        What immortal hand or eye
        Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


        Happy Birthday, Blake!

    1. anon y'mouse

      it’s not impossible to reach his current age x2.

      staying out of bookshelves helps preserve the 9 lives.

  4. Dino Reno

    Happy Birthday Blake!. May you enjoy another 14 happy and carefree years.
    From a cat allergy suffer who must appreciate your kind from afar.

  5. Jim Haygood

    106,000 served, proclaims the illuminated sign in front of HHS with the instantly-recognizable capital dome logo. ’99 clicks and you’re covered (SM),’ pleads the tagline at the bottom.

    Unlike burgers, arguably a consumer staple these days, Obuggercare coverage requires some serious discretionary income, not to mention a minimum liquid net worth in the low thousands to meet the deductible. Otherwise, you’re still facing the heartbreak of medical bankruptcy.

    I have a dream … of a great gathering of the swelling ranks of uninsured on the National Mall. The multitude is there to push back against our cruel overseer, Mad Barky OFUBAR, in his big white plantation house on the hill.

    Hesitantly at first, then in louder crescendos, comes the familiar refrain: ‘We shall overcome.’

  6. DakotabornKansan

    Mark Ames and Glenn Greenwald…

    I enjoy reading both Greenwald and Mark Ames.

    Neo-liberal billionaire was disheartening reading.

    No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.

    “The reason that matters, of course, is because Pierre Omidyar’s dystopian vision is merging with Glenn Greenwald’s and Laura Poitras’ monopoly on the crown jewels of the National Security Agency…”

    As an aside, does Mark Ames have an obsession with Greenwald that is overly personal?

    Rebecca Rojer @ offers her thoughts:

    Nick from Sweden’s comment to Rebecca Rojer:

    “[Mark Ames’] ‘The Exiled’ was fun to read and it was angry in all the right places. NSFW on the other hand has turned into a gathering place for bitter contrarians. Not unlike “Counterpunch.” Healthy and sturdy criticism of the powerful and exposure of false idols and sacred cows (even within the left) has in other words been replaced with pointless contrarianism for the sake of being contrarian. Ames verbose screed in “Edward Snowden’s Half-Baked Revolution” is nothing more than pompous posturing. Ames needs to accept that Greenwald isn’t that into him and move on.”

    Enough of the pissing contest! We need information from them both.

    1. Synopticist

      Ames doesn’t trust libertarians, especially those who got their first big break from the Koch brothers.
      He’s an old-school leftist who sees right through the “new left”, identity politics crap that prevents the US from ever having any meaningful political move leftward, away from the interests of the oligarchy.

      Personally I share his suspicions. In British terms Greenwald is an ultra-liberal with economically right wing views. Which made him such a great match for the Guardian newspaper.

      1. bob

        Thank you for the local flavor on the Guardian.

        The “comment” above is pure academic sounding “He’s not cool!”. Concern trolling followed by pure 3rd grade playground trash talk.

        “Ames needs to accept that Greenwald isn’t that into him and move on.”


  7. Butch In Waukegan

    The #askJPM public relations catastrophe is really one more indicator of the huge class divide in this country. These buffoons cannot comprehend that there is a large segment of citizens that want them to go to jail, and do not want to listen to their “career advice”.

    Matt Taibbi weighs in on this and includes an hilarious video of Stacey Keach reading the tweets.

      1. ohmyheck

        HAIKU Contest Alert!

        From Matt Taibbi:

        “As noted on Twitter, I’m offering a Jamie Dimon t-shirt to the author of the best “J.P. Morgan Chase Q&A Fiasco” haiku. I’ll announce the winner Monday, and please, if you win, don’t forget to send me a mailing address. It took weeks to send out my Tom Friedman hand grenades last time.”

        My bet is that someone here at NC can win this one.

            1. down2longd

              My new Chase haiku:

              Cold Cash, Prez Cuff Links
              Buying Government Stooges
              Easily Said, Done


              Slimin’ Slinks.
              Holder Stinks,
              Mary Jo Winks,
              Confidence Sinks,
              It’s curtains, methinks.
              Mary Jo Winks.
              Confidence sinks
              It’s curtains, methinks.

        1. skippy

          @ddayen I’m sorry, we at JPMorgan Chase get these fraudulent activities really mixed up. Next time be more specific! #AnswerforJPM

          Skippy… its worse than a crack house orgy… imposable to tell one orifice from another… even the slit between the cushions… the couch… it – all – feels sooooo good~~~

            1. down2long

              Skippy, I swear to God, I misread you – I thought you wrote the sh*t between the cushions feels so good. You devil.

              1. skippy

                Apropos to the sh@it confusion – Alan Avans Peter Schiff and his cohorts are, in the words of James Galbraith’s father, full of “superlative bullshit”.

                And that ain’t just your fair to middlin’ kind of bullshit, you know?

                Philip Pilkington Yup, its the type of BS where they try to sell you something after covering you with it…

                skippy… knee deep mate… in shite methinks…

  8. Cynthia

    “Obama Administration Spent $4.4 Billion on State Healthcare Websites”

    This money spent so far could have easily covered the policies for the “poor” people who had no coverage, which was the major argument in favor of ObamaCare. So now we have more expensive insurance, degraded service, a multi-trillion dollar middle class tax, and a vastly larger number of people without insurance? I’ve never in my life seen anyone hose something up more than Obama has with his signature healthcare law. Downright criminal. A slap in the face of the middle class.

    1. Jim Haygood

      California, home of Obamacare’s parliamentary heroine Nancy Pelosi, got $910 million. Whereas Texas and Florida, with a combined population in the same range as Kali’s, got $2 million. As they deserved, for their ideological apostasy.

      By the way, have you ever heard of a revenue estimate for O-care? If a million O-care policies are sold this year at an average annual premium of $3,000, that’s … errr, $3 billion. Versus $4.4 billion in overhead expenses.

      OOPS — we spent more on marketing than our annual product revenue!! HA HA HA, it’s only play money. Janet Yellen can print up that much before lunchtime tomorrow.

      Accountability, comrades. We spend your money as if it were our own.

    2. Butch In Waukegan

      Isn’t $4.4 billion close to the Democrats’ “compromise” amount they want to cut from food stamps? Democrats have their priorities.

  9. dearieme

    “The only prohibition is that the president not fail to execute the law owing to his opposition to a policy. Obviously, this is not the case here”: surely that’s wrong? O is temporarily opposed to the law he sponsored. Whether that opposition will become permanent is unknowable.

    President Oblimey has a lot to answer for.

  10. Ned Ludd

    At the end of the video for this CBC interview – about Canada targeting Brazil’s mines ministry – the interviewer mentions that Greenwald “won’t talk about who benefited or particular Canadian companies for now”. Will he ever release this information?

    Using a conservative estimate of 50,000 total pages of NSA documents copied by Snowden, it will take “42 years for full release”. And the documents released will have important bits redacted, if history is any guide.

    In the reddit AMA, Greenwald was asked about encryption chips whose identifying information was redacted by The Guardian. While not involved in that decision, he defended it. He says that he would be willing to publish a complete list of names, but since he doesn’t have a complete list of what has been compromised, it would be “unhelpful if not misleading” to publish “one or two examples” of compromised products. Imagine if financial reporters refused to ever name MF Global because it “could affirmatively create the misleading impression that other (unnamed)” companies “are solid”. Imagine if security researchers never named products with security flaws, in fear that it would make other products look solid.

  11. Ep3

    Re: the fix is in

    Yves, while reading the article, I thought back to bank regulation fix. Obama insisted that we would not look back, or go back to policies that had been done before (even tho they worked). Yet he is not saying this for any of his health insurance changes. Every single change to health insurance he has delayed. That tells me that health insurance “reform” is not something he really cares about. If insurance reform mattered, or truly benefited the industry, he would not be delaying policy implementation. The country has had 3 years to prepare for this. But since the reforms do not directly profit the industry (yes the rules do, but unlike bank reform, the industry is not pushing for this reform; Obama has had to buy them off so they would go along). And the longer he delays implementation, the closer to 2016 we get. And the next nominee will not want to have to answer for this nightmare. Which makes this seem even more strange. What could be going on? Could repeal be in the near future?

    1. Expat

      Substantively, I agree with you. But to me, the problem raised by the Post article and Turley’s column is the process by which the President legislates by whim.

      I can remember when Nixon was taken to the Supreme Court because he refused unloose funds authorized by Congress. And the idiot Reagan was investigated by a special prosecutor for his administration’s failure to abide by legislative proscriptions.

      But since Bush’s unconstitutional ascendance to the presidency and the 13-year state of emergency that Obama continues to renew, we the people do not know what’s law and what’s not.

      I suggest that this is the problem, and Obama’s behaviour on the insurance snafu opens the window on the problem.

      Simon Lazarus is surely correct that the Constitution’s language on the limits of presidential power is quite minimal, but were our country operating normally, the President would be constrained by procedural legislation guiding his executive options.

      But as became clear under Herr Bush, if the President does it, it’s not illegal.

      This is dictatorship, not democracy, and certainly not constitutional democracy.

    2. down2long

      Re:”Obama Brainstorms with insurance execs….”

      Wasn’t it just last month Obeyme was “brainstorming: with 18 of his favorite bankster buds in the White House about how to solve the government shutdown, I mean, how to get their welfare checks rolling again?

  12. jfleni

    RE: “Anonymous-Linked Hackers Accessed U.S. Government Computers, FBI Reportedly Warns”

    Really! This is the same agency that entices lunatics to make spurious and unbelievable threats and then supplies fake explosives to complete the frame-up! What should have punished with a court order to take Prozac is turned into a bunch of jumped-up “agents” patting themselves on the back for getting long sentences for nothing!

    Excuse me if I suspect the obvious and glaring “con” here.

  13. jfleni

    RE: “Obama ‘brainstorms’ with insurance executives”

    This is just like asking the croupiers at the casino for advice about winning!

    1. Cynthia

      Not a peep out of the dems when Obama met in a private meeting with several insurance CEO’s whose companies have been promised one trillion in taxpayer dollars over ten years under the ACA. But when Cheney met behind closed doors with oil CEO’s whose companies were promised billions in oil subsidies, the dems had an absolute conniption fit and complained for years about this corrupt corporate welfare agreement. Seems as though the dems have learned a thing or two and are now doing what they have always claimed to be against. Typical DC hypocrisy.

    2. Jim Haygood

      But we ARE winning:

      Some states where the cancellation numbers are not high are hoping they can work with the insurance companies to call consumers and walk them through their options.

      There is no guarantee that people with old policies will have them renewed at current rates, and some states have considered approving the renewal of old policies, allowing insurance companies to charge 10 percent or 15 percent more.

      “It’s easy, so I like it,” said one state official who asked not to be named.

      Who knew there were so many Rolling Stones fans in state insurance offices? ‘Well I like it, like it, yes I do!’

      1. Cynthia

        Price gouging should not be tolerated at any level, even the federal level. It’s hard for me to believe that Obama has the power the delay parts, exempt parts, exempt businesses, but has NO power to prevent gouging? Obots want to give the blame to the state for the bad parts and credit to Obama for the good parts. Obamacare (and possible gouging) is his responsibility. He only changes the parts that are politically beneficial to him. He wants people to be gouged by private insurers. Hell, they helped him pass the legislation. The quicker people get mad at private insurers and place the blame on them, as well as Obama, the closer we’ll be to single payer.

        1. Bridget

          I’m thinking Obama may find that he’s not the only one who can play the delay game.

          I’m thinking the insurers may find the data coming from to be so corrupted and inaccurate that enormous amounts of time and effort will be required to properly validate it and get it to a point that they can actually rely on it. In fact, I’m thinking it’s going to be such an unexpectedly cumbersome process that very few sick people are actually going to receive coverage from the exchanges by the end of March. I would guess that the problems will extend at least until, say, the first of October 2014, when open enrollment time rolls around again.

      1. Cynthia

        Ugh, don’t make me sick, Doug! Frankly though, I’ve been feeling really queasy since Obama was nominated in 2008, does that count as a preexisting condition? ;~)

  14. PQS

    Reading by Stacey Keach is Hilarious….for those of you who don’t watch TV, Keach is also the narrator for a “true crime” show on white collar crime called “American Greed”…which is probably why they picked him.

    Wish I had gotten to post a question..Actually just a statement: “Yes, we still hate you.” Apparently they need to hear things unadorned for them to sink in.

  15. ScottW

    Thank you for posting the Omidyar article. Enlightening and discouraging. Yves–if Omidyar sends you an unsolicited $500,000 donation for NC do you keep it or return it? And the answer cannot be, “that will never happen.”

  16. fresno dan

    “He brings a history of strong leadership, a deep understanding of economies and markets, and a truly global perspective,” Kaye said of Geithner in the statement. “These attributes will be of tremendous value to our firm in this increasingly interconnected world.”

    Let me edit that:
    He brings a history of knowing who butters his toast, a deep understanding of toast buttering, and a truly global perspective regarding toast and butter,” Kaye said of Geithner in the statement. “These attributes will be of tremendous value to our firm in this increasingly interconnected world – where knowing whose toast to butter, and when necessary even add a dollop of jam to, can result in unimaginable wealth at no risk”

    1. Bunk McNulty

      Little Timmy at Warburg. Nice. This whole administration, President O included, seems to see working for the Feds as something that looks good on the resume. How we have changed: What’s worse, the titan wanting to be President, or the President who wants to be a titan? I’m sure he can’t wait to get out there and start making some real money.

  17. DakotabornKansan

    Things go better with Coke!

    Coca-Cola’s “Cap the Tap” is just another chapter in Coke’s water wars.

    Michael Blanding in “The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink” wrote about Coke’s “water wars” in India. Coca-Cola’s factories took water away from local community sources and left behind illegal levels of pesticides and metals. Coca-Cola is still going strong in India.

    Mexico is the world’s leading consumer of Coke. Kristen Hanson reports that in Mexico, Coca-Cola uses up at least two liters of water to make one liter of Coke. The ratio may even be higher. “Since 2000, Coca-Cola has negotiated 27 water concessions with the Mexican government which gives them the right to extract water from 19 aquifers and 15 rivers, many found within indigenous territories throughout the country.”

    Vandana Shiva in her book “Water Wars,” says “cowboy economics” now governs the world’s entire supply of fresh water: “The current push to reintroduce and globalize the lawlessness of the frontier is a recipe for destroying our scarce water resources and for excluding the poor from their water share. Parading as anonymous markets, the rich and powerful use the state to appropriate water from nature and people.”

    If you haven’t seen the award-winning documentary “Blue Gold: World Water Wars,” watch it here:

    1. habenicht

      I stopped getting cavities after I stopped drink soda about 15 – 20 years ago. That stuff will strip rust off of dirty old bolts!

  18. JCC

    Love the skunk pic! It reminds me of a situation years ago when I and some friends were playing cards one summer night at the kitchen table of a friend with pets and the back door wide opened. One guy turned and said, “Check it out!” and we watched a mother skunk hanging at the door while her babies wandered in and over to the pet food dishes, ate their fill, and wandered out. Mom was very cautious and watched us and her kids very attentively… needless to say, we were very cautious too. :)

  19. DakotabornKansan

    “First Impressions” was Jane Austen’s original title for “Pride and Prejudice.” Much of the first part of her novel is about the accumulation of false impressions – the prejudice and pride that foster such misunderstandings, especially Elizabeth’s misperceptions about Darcy.

    First impressions can be misleading is the lesson Jane Austen teaches us today. People’s first impressions of people are often really a big mistake.

    When reading Daniel Handler’s, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, “The Bad Beginning” (first book of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events), with my son years ago, I was also reminded of her lesson.

    “I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.” – Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

  20. anon y'mouse

    microfinance for profit—isn’t this just payday lending with a charitable gloss?

    nothing like making profit literally off the backs of the already poverty-stricken.

    1. grayslady

      Very succinctly stated. I’ve always hated the term “microfinance”. Most of these so-called loans are $200-$300. That’s one month of food stamps for a family of 2-3 people (I totally support food stamps, by the way–should be more than we currently pay). Surely anyone with an ounce of humanity would believe a $300 grant to help someone start a cottage industry is a good investment. “Microloans” are the unfortunate result of attempting to privatize a government’s responsibility to its most vulnerable citizens.

  21. Jim

    As a radical populist(opposed to Big Capital, Big Bank and Big State) with some anarchist and libertarian leanings I was fascinated by a portion of Rebecca Rojer’s comments in her “Some thoughts on Ames on Snowden.”

    She stated “I’d welcome more internal reflection on our hero fantasies. What sorts of heroes do we want, and what values do they reflect?…We need heroes to remind ourselves of the sorts of people we would like to be. Its about expanding the imagination to allow for the possibility of strength and dignity and of having someone (ideally conflicting someones) to learn from example and judge our own deeds against.”

    Taken its apparent ideological stance on human subjectivity (that we basically are what possesses us– things like biology and class) can the Big State Left still believe in heroes?

    But if we, in fact, “do need heroes to remind ourselves of the sorts of people we would like to be” then we are perhaps more than the inertia of class–that somehow we are partially pulled toward excellence and perhaps self-transformation–by our heroes.

    Is the Big State Left still capable of acknowledging and incorporating into its vision this more active conception of a human being who is willing to take on the deep-seated habits of inertia(for example, class-specific psychological forms of training) rather than simply being satisfied with forever describing how they are possessed by them.?

    Does the left need a more expansive vision (partially offered to us by heroes) which understands that it no longer is adequate to describe again and again what constrains and supposedly controls us?

    1. JTFaraday

      Big State theorists seem to be dueling between Lord Keynes, on the liberal capitalist side, and Karl Polanyi on the social democratic side.

      In other words, lots of liberals intent on making society safe for capitalism.

  22. anon y'mouse

    interesting take on MOOC propagandists. naturally, it can be dismissed as being issued by a self-interested party (faculty association), but it may be doubted that academics would stoop so low as to outright lying in their own defense (not impossible, just out of the norm).

  23. peace

    I’m too busy to post but wanted to say Thanks for all the great links, posts and witty comments recently. Thanks for your honest, humble, perspicatious, grounded humanity.

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