Links 11/29/13

WATCH: Angry Turkey Chases After Truck NBC Philadelphia (Carol B)

Daily Meme: Your One-Stop Guide to Ruining Thanksgiving American Prospect

Are Alzheimer’s and diabetes the same disease? New Scientist

Gene mutation for excessive alcohol drinking found Science Daily (Chuck L)

Scientists see unreported fish traps from space Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse)

Italian company to sell portable cold fusion plant deliverable next year PhysOrg (Chuck L). Paging Richard Smith….

New Energy Conversion Principle May Double Efficiency of Today’s Engines ScienceDaily. Chuck L wonders if this is more cold fusion..

Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance Ellen Brown, OpEd News

TPP Defenders Take To The Internet To Deliver Official Talking Points; Inadvertently Confirm Opponents’ Worst Fears TechDirt

Will Rail Become the Next Target of Oil Protests? OilPrice

Activist Malpractice Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Anonymous Assurances Bring No Comfort to WikiLeaks’ Assange Common Dreams (furzy mouse)

China’s dispatch of jets raises tension over air zone Guardian

China has thrown down a gauntlet to America Financial Times

Protests force Thailand to lower interest rate ThaiVisa (furzy mouse)

Damming the Mekong The Diplomat (Lambert)

Merkel is not leading a government for the future Financial Times

UK pulls mortgage support as bubble grows MacroBusiness

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Disabled woman denied entry to the US after agent cites supposedly private medical details Star

Ire in Canada Over Report of N.S.A. Spying New York Times

Obamacare Launch

Stop the Metaphor Madness National Journal

Health care sharing ministry members share their experiences The Self-Pay Patient (martha r)

Nervous White House eyes website relaunch Financial Times

What is an Obamacare consumer story, anyway? Trudy Lieberman, Columbia Journalism Review. Aargh, that pervasive “consumer” rather than “patient” label.

Is Obamacare on the rebound? Media turn to positive stories. (+video) Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse). Of course, a headline like this naturally evokes “dead cat bounce”.

MMT for Toddlers Stephanie Kelton, New Economic Perspectives

Gap’s Ad With Sikh Model Waris Ahluwalia Defaced With Racist Graffiti, Drawing Incredible Response From Company Huffington Post (Doug Smith)

Building a Museum: Report from Down East Atlantic (Lambert)

Pizza Hut Employee Fired For Defending Thanksgiving Offered Job Back DSWright, Firedoglake (Chuck L)

The Bitcoin bubble Economist

Shake ‘Em Up at Harvard Law School Day Ralph Nader, Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Keeping Secrets: Pierre Omidyar, Glenn Greenwald and the privatization of Snowden’s leaks PandoDaily (Mark Ames)

Energy abundance and the end of economics Pieria

Christmas Time on Wall Street Mike Whitney, Counterpunch (Carol B)

Too Much Money Chasing The Wrong Returns Ian Welsh (Carol B)

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. bbot

    “New Energy Conversion Principle May Double Efficiency of Today’s Engines – ScienceDaily.”

    Sciencedaily is pure linkbait garbage. Don’t reward their bad behavior.

    All terrestrial heat engines top out at 30% efficiency because the cold side can’t get any colder than room temp, and the hot side can’t get too hot without forming nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gas, i.e, smog. Can’t be done, end of story.

    1. Skeptic

      Cold Fusion Success

      Careful what you wish for Department: If cheap, unlimited energy ever came to pass, the results might not be as expected.

      This subject was addressed in THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT with Alistair Sim (of Scrooge fame). A guy invents an indestructible fabric but both the Bosses and the Unions want no part of it. I downloaded this a while ago from a popular file sharing site. Very funny and very timely.

      This certainly raises the legitimate question as to whether technological advances are retarded by Monopolies/Oligopolies. Certainly, power companies do not want consumers to be able to produce their own independent power via solar or cold fusion or anything else.

      1. sufferin' succotash

        A pretty good short story on the same theme(Sinister Powers That Be blocking technological change)is “Let There Be Light”, by Robert A. Heinlein. This is pre-right wing Heinlein written around 1939 or so, and deals with the sort of technological change which is still topical in the extreme.

        1. F. Beard

          “Can entrophy be reversed?” – asked several times of increasingly powerful computers with the answer
          “Insufficient data for meaningful answer” – till one finally says … ?

      2. Brian

        While Alistair Sim is a great actor, he was not a part of “The Man in the White Suit”. Alec Guiness was the hero/villain. ponck ponck ponck ponck ponck

      3. Synoia

        They are claiming to beat:

        1. The second law of thermdynamics – max 50% theoretical efficiency for a heat engine.

        2. Make a compression ignition engine (diesel engline) lighter than current gas (petrol) engines, whivh goes against all mech eng, becuse CI engines have a higher BMEP (Brake Mean Effective Pressure), and thus need more and stronger material not to explode.

        Shorter: High Compression Ratio -> Higher BMEP -> More Steel in the Engine -> Higher weight.

        This is all complete bulshit. They must be raising money from rubes.

        Cold Fusion my ass. Given the energies involved, its both hot and irraduates the surroundings.

        1. craazyboy

          I was thinking they’d have to submit the portable cold fusion unit to UL Labs for approval first. Wait in line with all the toasters.

      4. susan the other

        Raises the question: Is the use of fossil fuels the bedrock of planned obsolescence? I think the answer is yes. If we come up with unlimited, clean energy how will capitalism survive? Ha! It won’t.

    2. F. Beard

      Yes, Science Daily is a mixed-bag and that article seems especially shaky but it’s still a decent site, imo, if you want it quick and simple discounting what seems to be a lot of “publish or perish” type articles and other promotion from academics. But if you can recommend something better then what? Science News, maybe?

      As for nitrogen oxides, does thermodynamic efficiency rule out removing nitrogen before combustion, I wonder?

      1. bbot

        As for nitrogen oxides, does thermodynamic efficiency rule out removing nitrogen before combustion, I wonder?

        Sure, totally possible, physically. If you ran on pure oxygen, then you could wind the exhaust gas temperature on the hot end up until you could melt steel. But can you remove nitrogen from the incoming air cheaply enough to make the efficiency improvement worth it?

        Same thing with lowering the temperature on the cold end. If the cold end ran at 70 kelvin (liquid nitrogen temps) then even a bog standard 800 kelvin heat engine would run at an incredible 70% endoreversibile thermodynamic efficiency. The colder it gets, the more efficient it runs.

        But how do you refrigerate it cheaply enough? You can run it in a shadowed crater on the Moon, but how do you transport the power back to Earth cheaply enough?

        All these things are physically possible, but they don’t scale up at all.

        1. F. Beard

          Thanks, but it was efficiency I was asking about, i.e. if it costs more useful energy to remove the nitrogen than one gains by running at a higher temperature.

          I suspect the answer is yes, so far, otherwise someone would be doing it but I was wondering if, like perpetual motion, it’s futile to even try.

  2. DakotabornKansan

    Paul Krugman celebrates the slowdown in healthcare spending with his “Obamacare’s Secret Success.”

    “The “affordable” bit of The Affordable Care Act was also supposed to be about “bending the curve” – slowing the seemingly inexorable rise in health costs…Has the curve been bent? The answer, amazingly, is yes. In fact, the slowdown in health costs has been dramatic…”

    Krugman cites the report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers, chaired by Jason Furman, celebrating the fact that health care spending has finally come under control.

    [see “Why we shouldn’t be celebrating the slowdown in health care spending,” ]

    Krugman refuses to recognize that when people fear for their low paying jobs, they cut their medical expenses.

    “American workers are living with unprecedented economic anxiety, four years into a recovery that has left so many of them stuck in place. That anxiety is concentrated heavily among low-income workers such as Stewart…Job insecurities have always been higher among low-income Americans, but they typically rose and fell across all levels of the income ladder. Today, workers at the bottom have drifted away, occupying their own island of in­security.”

    Krugman also cites, “A less certain but likely source of savings involves changes in the way Medicare pays for services. The program now penalizes hospitals if many of their patients end up being readmitted soon after being released being released – an indicator of poor care – and readmission rates have, in fact fallen substantially.”

    Buried among the Obots praisings of Krugman, a reader’s comment from Boston:

    “The lower hospital admission rates would be unmitigated good news to me if I hadn’t read (in “Status of Medicare patients can result in huge bills” in the Boston Globe) about attempts to get around the readmission rules, apparently, by classifying a new hospitalization shortly after a previous one as something other than an admission – and leaving it to the patient to pay it out of pocket. I hope this is not a factor in the cost savings under discussion here, because then the cost savings would really be cost shiftings if patients are now bearing them instead of their insurance.”

    Liz Kowalczyk @ Boston Globe, “Status of Medicare patients can result in huge bills – Elderly patients hospitalized but not ‘admitted’ can face higher costs,” [firewall]

    “Harold ___ recently spent 10 days in a Boston teaching hospital, trying to snap back from complications after urgent hernia surgery. Nurses provided around-the-clock treatment, changing the 91-year-old’s catheter, for example, and pumping him with intravenous drugs for suspected pneumonia. It all seemed like textbook hospital care to his wife, Sylvia. So she was shocked to learn that Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center had never “admitted” her husband at all.”

    Reader’s comment to the above:

    “This is a direct result of our federal government’s efforts to “bend the cost curve” and end “fraud and abuse” in the Medicare system. Complex, often indecipherable rules make it easy for government “contractors” (like Mafia “contractors”) to shake down hospitals for money by threatening criminal fraud prosecution unless they pay a “clawback” extortion fee and agree to lower the government’s share of bills. While bureaucrats get promoted for “preventing fraud,” senior citizens get wiped out financially. How can we, the people, pick our poison when private insurance and government are equally lethal?”

    It doesn’t just happen in Boston. Trust me.

    Medicare will only cover a stay in a skilled nursing facility if it follows a hospital inpatient stay of at least 3 days. The 3-day stay rule relates to the “observation days” issue that has arisen as hospitals increasingly categorize Medicare beneficiaries as outpatients rather than inpatients, even when a beneficiary is in a hospital bed receiving the same kind of care and services provided to inpatients.

    The problem is that an increasing number of patients are spending days in the hospital under observation status, often without realizing they were never officially admitted. [see above]

    If beneficiaries in this situation need skilled nursing care when they leave the hospital, they find that Medicare will not cover it because they do not meet the 3-day stay rule, however long they may have spent in the hospital. Neither do most supplemental insurance policies. Leaving surprised patients to either pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for skilled nursing care or forego it, potentially setting themselves up for a return to the hospital.

    1. aletheia33

      it is time for nonviolent political resistance to the perpetuation of the existing health care system in the U.S.

      there are many strategies that small and large groups of all kinds can use to call attention to the unacceptability of a morally bankrupt, abusive societal system.

      just as occupy wall street brought the taboo topic of income inequality into the mainstream, there has got to be a way to make the basic wrong of health care as a profit-making venture that literally preys on human bodies so apparent that we as a society can begin to turn from it in disgust. let’s get the adbuster-type creative geniuses on this.

      any suggestions?

      the image of an elderly lady lying on a gurney covered by a white blanket labeled “bankrupt” in red letters comes to mind.

      nurses are a pretty game group and i bet if asked they could come up with some good ideas for strikes, boycotts, occupations, and other forms of political resistance that various groups could carry out.

      the above may sound naive and idealistic, but my point is we have yet to see the kind of political resistance around this problem, as a basic moral issue, that has arisen around other issues. please correct me if i’m wrong.

      1. savedbyirony

        I do not think you are wrong at all. I think what we need far more of is linkage and coordinated focus between actvists groups which on one-hand look to be working for change in differeing fields but share many of the same social/economic concerns, linkage between labor groups working to build bonds with their civil communities activists groups and churches, and an approach to activism which melds ACT-UP (circa 80’s -early 90’s) meets Occupy, with methods updated to both well utilize newer technologies and force the issues onto the “front pages” which is the last place the controlled main stream media wants them to be. Methods that people who want and are participating in need to understand that they will be “punished for” and so they have to be trained to face the abuses they will receive and how to use those abuses to the movements advantages ahead of time. Perhaps it is foolishly optimistic (of both human nature and the American psyche, if such a thing exists) for me to believe that the general American population (or at least significantly large and diverse segments of it) does not suffer terminally from either apathy or neo-liberalism ideology capture. They lack for broadly recognized leadership and especially strategy/organization.

        1. savedbyirony

          Perhaps what we need is some sort of “99%” people’s Congress to be created out of leading figures in populist healthcare reform, banking reform, environmental reform, labor rights/wages reform and (i would include) campaign finance/political lobbying reform which could hammer out an alternative vision for our country and it’s policies and plan strategy. If comprised of such people, it would also have the advantages of including the input of diverse groups (thus hopefully giving them a more energized role/commitment in the work)and also creating a large base across interests, professions and perspectives to spred the information and work towards its goals. ALEC works very well for the elites, even though its members certainly are opposed to each other on many fronts. Populist reformers need an agency through which they can concentrate their messages and forces as well.

        2. savedbyirony

          Just to add, perhaps for the sanity of any “average” citizen who desperately wants to see change; if you tend to be one who inclines to think global, one can still start and work local.

    2. Jagger

      Also rash of substantial hospital layoffs across the country over the last few months as hospitals expect a decrease in revenues with the implementation of Obamacare. More medicaid patients expected by hospitals paying less for services??

    3. Benedict@Large

      I have no idea why Krugman thinks he has any special authority to speak on the issue of medical payments. He is not an actuary, and, as far as I can tell as a former manager in health payments administration, has no other applicable experience.

      Someone needs to inform this man that he is becoming a danger to other people, and we would all be better off if he went back to being an economist, where he could only shorten our paychecks and not our lifespans.

    4. Benedict@Large

      Regarding “bending the curve”, Krugman might want to read Tom Buchmueller comments in “Acting on the new healthcare Act”. [] Professor Buchmueller is from University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and recently served on President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors as point man for ObamaCare.

      What Buchmueller says is that ObamaCare cost controls are at best insignificant, and that the plan to bend the curve is to increase demand (through more policies) until the system reaches its breaking point, and real change is demanded (as if it isn’t already). This is literally saying that a ObamaCare needs a lot more people to die and suffer poor outcomes before it gets around to solving any problems because it’s just too tough to do anything about this now.

      Note that this is from a person who, unlike Krugman, has front line experience, and completely disagrees with Krugman’s assessment. Krugman is as usual here talking out of his ass, and he needs to be called out on this as often and as loudly as possible.

  3. Kevin Smith

    re: Disabled woman denied entry to the US after agent cites supposedly private medical details Star

    Turns out [in the comments section on that article in the Star] that the woman had published a book about her psych history and it was out there on the net for anyone to see.

    Typical of the Star to publish things like this.
    The article is probably not USA bashing:
    never attribute to malice that which can easily be explained by stupidity.

    1. Shutter

      Kevin, I guess you’ve never crossed swords with Customs cops huh? When you do, you’ll soon find out you’re not dealing with Deputy Fife. You have no rights. They have access to *everything*, every single database they need. And so do their counterparts in Canada. Bear that in mind when you think of talking back to one of them. At best you’ll find yourself tossed back on the other side.

    1. F. Beard


      I’d say it’s impossible to stereotype true Christians accurately:

      The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

        1. F. Beard


          No, my nom de plum matches my avatar. Cartman tickled me leading a choir of Somalian pirates (“After the quarter note …”) so I adopted his pirate identity in tribute.

          I could change my name again but I doubt I could fool anyone for long.

    1. Synoia

      The physics is wrong:

      1. Ni->Cu is the wrong direction (away from Iron) for nuclear fusion. Fisson is not possible for elements with a greated atomic weugh than Iron.

      2. Ni + H does not Cu make. There is a neuton deficit. Copper (Cu) has more neutorns than Nickel. Hydrogen brings no neutrons to the party (Just a proton & and an electron). There would have to be some weird quark exchange, and there are missing quarks. Not to mention why heat, and not gamma rays?

  4. JGordon

    I had been thinking that it was accepted that MMT ideology had been thoroughly debunked already, but I suppose some still don’t see it that way.

    Yes, MMT would be a wonderful thing if humans could have honest political leaders and bankers, but sadly these individuals are at best sociopaths, and more than likely psychopaths. And it should be a generally recognized principle that sociopaths and psychopaths will always attain positions of authority in any society. Therefore the very idea of any kind of centralized authority–monetary, political, corporate, or whatever, should be looked upon with extreme suspicion. And the sort of fiat centralization MMT demands is no exception.

    1. F. Beard


      Jesus implied the solution nearly 2000 years ago, that is, that fiat should only be legal tender for government debts, not private ones (Matthew 22:16-22) and may He correct me if I’m wrong.

      That said, the population was driven into debt (and savers cheated) with full legal tender fiat (actually credit denominated in full legal tender fiat) so it would not be unjust to bail them out with full legal tender fiat.

    2. Ben Johannson

      MMT doesn’t demand anything, it describes the current system. So if you’re interested in debunking reality you’ll need to look elsewhere.

      1. F. Beard


        Still, how that theory is applied is important (JG or BIG, restitution, etc.) and whether the theory needs to be expanded to allow private currencies or even if private currencies ARE REQUIRED to handle the inherently subjective nature of measuring price inflation.

        1. Synoia

          MMT does does prvide for private currencies. Private spectualtive securities only. MMT requires a fiat (sovereign) currency, who’s value is established by soverign taxation.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Doesn’t demand anything?

        I wish it would demand something…like a stop to the corruption in the current system.

        Description is not enough.

          1. F. Beard

            MMT could easily be very effective – effective in allowing the banking cartel to live to loot another day – or effective in euthanizing that cartel. I prefer the later.

        1. bob

          The “theory”, as represented by the “T” in MMT, or the ideology, which JG introduces, but doesn’t define? It’s confusing him too.

    3. Skippy

      @JGordon… MMT is not a “Religion” like Austrian – Neoclassical economics or anti religious bastardized Marxian.

      MMT only ***describes*** the the mathematical system used in the currant economic market environment. The problem most have – is purely moving from a post Austrian – Neo-classical cognitive pre-disposition.

      Seems like you want to project a personal bias, onto an inanimate object, not unlike the religious do to gold.

      Skippy… BTW how do you ideologically debunk something that is with out ideology.

    4. susan the other

      Disagree. Not just because MMT always made intuitive sense to me. But I especially disagree today because with free and abundant energy we don’t have devastating shortages to contend with. Including shortages of resources because we will have the energy to recycle most resources economically. We will have over-supply to deal with – so we will need planning, but we will never be manipulated by shortages like we are today.

      1. debu

        “…because with free and abundant energy we don’t have devastating shortages to contend with. Including shortages of resources because we will have the energy to recycle most resources economically.”

        Where does one begin with such a statement? MMT is premised on a profound misunderstanding of our energy predicament? Similarly, climate change, I wonder? And the “Limits to Growth” analysis was all wrong as well?

        Words fail.

  5. dearieme

    “The wind blows where it wishes”: the drive to remove beautiful language from the bible continueth.

    1. F. Beard

      Sorry! I’m used to the NASB (for the sake of accuracy) but I do love the sound of the King James!

      The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit John 3:8 KJV

      And yes, English is a wonderful language though I know little else. If I were rich, I’d spend a few years each in quite a few countries learning their language.

      1. frosty zoom

        use the internets while you still can.

        read the news (start with headlines) in different languages (latin script sure helps).

        1. F. Beard

          Well, I suppose the English have charmed me pretty thoroughly (like most Americans) but not so much that I’ll accept for one second the BoE or their royalty.

        2. frosty zoom

          english is consonant heavy: TCH JGD KRX

          latin languages are vowel heavy: AAAAA EEE IIIIIII

          english is good for beat-boxing.

  6. Paper Mac

    Ames is ridiculous. His organisation was just bought out by Pando, who has as a major investor Peter Thiel, noted libertarian nutbar and cofounder of Palantir. His moaning about Greenwald’s relationship with Omidyar is absurdly hypocritical.

    1. bob

      Look up Ames past work on Theil and palantir. The investment (200k) in Pando was made a few years ago, via another fund, before any association with Ames.

      Omidyar bought GG with 250 million, knowing full well that he would be in control of the “leaks”. The only full set of “leaks” according to several people.

      Not a huge fan of Pando either. But if these two “investments” are in the same universe, I’m not there.

      1. Klassy!

        Well who are the other investors? No doubt they’re more new economy than New Deal if articles such as “When Chaity fails, gamification steps in” or “Venezuela’s war on private enterprise” are any inidication.

        1. bob

          The Venezuela story was over the top.
          Tomás Friedmañ? Did you see the chump in the comments looking for a scholarship to the chicago school?

          But, compared to GG pimping out OUR secrets, I gotta side with Ames. Not Pando.

          1. Klassy!

            The gamification of charity article provided me with much laughter when I read this “It’s a compelling case study in how Silicon Valley can funnel some of its natural product design tendencies towards a higher good. Efficiency, convenience, cost-saving, and gamification can help raise money for charity, when thought through effectively.
            After all, the startup and tech industry is incredibly blessed with wealth while the rest of the country slogs through the recession. Maybe it’s time to give back the best way entrepreneurs know how: by innovating.”
            I agree that the pimping our (as you rightly put it) state secrets is pretty terrible. Thing is, this Glenn Greenwald obsession pre dates Omiydar so if they’re going to play the 3 degrees of libtard game, turnabout is fair play. I’m not on anyones side (not that anyone cares). Both news outlets raise my suspicions.

            1. bob


              GG is a “journalism rockstar” who was just offered, and accepted 250 million from a loan shark. He’s also continuing to pimp his treasure trove of secrets. As referenced below, at this rate GG can live a few lifetimes off his “leaks”.

              Ames was taken in by pando after NSFWcorp folded.

              I’m not seeing a level playing field.

              Ames also has a very well earned reputation for biting the hand that feeds him if that hand is dirty. GG? No such record. If anything, he’d rather sell the hand, a few fingers at a time.

        2. I was once a banker

          Yes, a sole investor and a minority investor are two completely different categories. And Thiel apparently has no board representation.

    2. Ned Ludd

      Ames is beholden to tech money, just like Greenwald. That does not refute Ames’ article in the least; it just means I would not trust Ames with NSA documents either.

      If you think the substance of Ames’s article is wrong, you need to refute his evidence.

    3. Ned Ludd

      Out of the 50,000–200,000 documents that Snowden gave to Greenwald and Poitras, only about 500 pages have been released, often redacted.

      Omidyar recently endorsed Obama’s effort to reduce the number of people granted security clearances, expressing concern that “800k+ people have access to Snowden leaked docs”. Jameel Jaffer, the Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, responded:

      Well, the problem wasn’t that 800 [thousand] Americans had access to those docs. The problem was that 300 million Americans didn’t.

      I would not trust Ames to report on the NSA documents, either, if he was not willing to release them, in toto and unredacted, to the public. If the government is doing something, it should be public. I do not trust the government to do anything in the dark. The history of the national security state has been to fund violent extremists and to topple governments that dare to resist imperialism or try to interfere with corporate looting.

  7. rich

    The war on democracy
    How corporations and spy agencies use “security” to defend profiteering and crush activism

    A stunning new report compiles extensive evidence showing how some of the world’s largest corporations have partnered with private intelligence firms and government intelligence agencies to spy on activist and nonprofit groups. Environmental activism is a prominent though not exclusive focus of these activities.

    The report by the Center for Corporate Policy (CCP) in Washington DC titled Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage against Nonprofit Organizations draws on a wide range of public record evidence, including lawsuits and journalistic investigations. It paints a disturbing picture of a global corporate espionage programme that is out of control, with possibly as much as one in four activists being private spies.
    The report argues that a key precondition for corporate espionage is that the nonprofit in question:

    “… impairs or at least threatens a company’s assets or image sufficiently.”

    Referring to the work of US investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, the report points out that the notorious defence contractor Blackwater, later renamed XE Services and now Academi, had sought to become “the intel arm” of Monsanto, the agricultural and biotechnology corporation associated with genetically modified foods. Blackwater was paid to “provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.”

    The FBI’s involvement in corporate espionage has been institutionalised through ‘InfraGard’, “a little-known partnership between private industry, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.” The partnership involves the participation of “more than 23,000 representatives of private industry,” including 350 of the Fortune 500 companies.

    But it’s not just the FBI. According to the new report, “active-duty CIA operatives are allowed to sell their expertise to the highest bidder”, a policy that gives “financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation’s top-level intelligence talent. Little is known about the CIA’s moonlighting policy, or which corporations have hired current CIA operatives.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If I may plug my latest obsession: Big Small-People Power!

      If not, at least, small Big-People power or smaller Big-People Power.

      1. frosty zoom

        “we must fight for BSPP rights!

        er, sorry, SBPP rights.

        and now, continuing,

        PPBS culture must be…”

  8. frosty zoom

    well, that’s it.

    i’ve got a new startup!

    it’s a pigeon based courier service to circumvent the intertubes. i’m sure there must be some “clean” V.C. somewhere.

    any takers?

    1. Eureka Springs

      Love it! Transport Pigeon Partnership?

      Of course under the other TPP everyone from google, fed ex, verizon, to drone operators/manufacturers would sue you into oblivion due to the potential loss of their revenue.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s for long distance calls.

      For local calls, I am hoping to corner the markets with my proprietary flag semaphore system that is night reflective.

      And there is money in immediate calls as well. There I am hoping for some angel investor cash for my non-carbon based smoke signal technology.

  9. frosty zoom

    “i have nothing to worry about; i’ve done nothing wrong” means very little when you aren’t the one defining “wrong”.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Even naked capitalists have somewhere on them to hide something.

      So, you must suspect everyone has something to hide.

      1. frosty zoom


        and unfortunately we insist on feeding the hand that bites us.

        oh, well…

        lions beat the packers, though.

          1. frosty zoom


            BANKERS DEFEAT SERFS, 17,353,498,173,534,891 TO ZIPPO!

            Head Coach Bernanke: “We couldn’t have gotten this tough road win if it weren’t for the intrepid play today on special teams.”

            1. craazyboy

              “The team deserves a big round of applause for the win, despite being outnumbered 99 to 1″, added Coach Bernanke and cited his Great Depression studies as the inspiration for his winning game plan.

              Asked if he will run for President in 2016, the coach replied, ” No, nothing more I can do there. I think I’ll just head back to Princeton for some much deserved R&R.”

              1. frosty zoom

                uh, sorry but Reinhart and Rogoff already have the harvard franchise tag.

                i bet princeton really regrets trading them for 19th round draft picks.

                  1. craazyboy

                    The S&P 500 futures will be up 20 points on this news.

                    Wealth Effect!

                    It’s like Champaign in the locker room.

  10. rich

    Wall Street Journal’s Alistair MacDonald “reports” an outright lie

    Friday, November 29, 2013
    Wall Street Journal’s Alistair MacDonald “reports” an outright lie
    The Wall Street Journal’s Toronto-based reporter, Alistair MacDonald, last night published what can only be described as an outright lie.

    This is, yet again, nothing more than the standard tactic of distraction we see over and over. Just as was true of the Manning war crimes disclosures: there is a small cottage industry of pundits, bloggers, and journalists who evince zero interest in the substance of the revelations about NSA and GCHQ spying which we’re reporting on around the world. The people I’m referencing literally almost never mention any of the actual revelations, but are instead obsessed with spending their time personally attacking the journalists, whistleblowers, and other messengers who enable the world to know about what is being done.

  11. fresno dan

    “Google is visually impressive, but this frenzy of energy and hipness hasn’t generated large numbers of jobs, much less what we think of as middle-class jobs, the kinds of unglamorous but solid employment that generates annual household incomes between $44,000 and $155,000. The state of California (according to a 2011 study by the Public Policy Institute of California) could boast in 1980 that some 60 percent of its families were middle-income as measured in today’s dollars, but by 2010 only 48 percent of California families fell into that category, and the income gap between the state’s highest and lowest earners had doubled. In Silicon Valley there has actually been a net job loss in tech-related industries over the past decade. According to figures collected by Joel Kotkin, the dotcom crash wiped out 70,000 jobs in the valley in a little over a single year, and since then the tech industry has added only 30,000 new ones, leaving the bay region with a net 40,000 fewer jobs than existed in 2001.

    The big names in tech might be awash in capital and might have made their founders billionaires (New Economy founders typically retain large blocks of their own stock), but they employ surprisingly small numbers of U.S. workers. Google, the valley’s largest employer, has 46,000 people on its payroll. Facebook employs only 4,600, and Twitter, in San Francisco, fewer than 2,000. Apple claims 400,000 people putting together components and creating apps and other extras for its iPhones, iPads, iPods, MacBooks, and desktop computers. Yet only 16,000 of those are on the payroll in Cupertino. Another 31,000 work at Apple operations in Texas and other states, but the vast bulk of manufacturing is outsourced abroad via contractors to China and other cheap-labor purgatories. Yet those 16,000 in Cupertino make Apple the second-largest employer in the valley. Kotkin compares those numbers to the 212,000 employed by GM, the 170,000 employed by Ford, and the more than 100,000 employed by Exxon Mobil, all three presumably Old Economy dinosaurs. The New Economy generates prosperity all right, prosperity that mostly flows to those in the upper echelons.”

    AND along those lines:

    “But Apple is supposed to be a giant innovator.

    You also say that manufacturing is crucial to innovation.

    Most innovation is not done by research institutes and national laboratories. It comes from manufacturing—from companies that want to extend their product reach, improve their costs, increase their returns. What’s very important is in-house research. Innovation usually arises from somebody taking a product already in production and making it better: better glass, better aluminum, a better chip. Innovation always starts with a product.”

    “Look at LCD screens. Most of the advances are coming from big industrial conglomerates in Korea like Samsung or LG. The only good thing in the US is Gorilla Glass, because it’s Corning, and Corning spends $700 million a year on research.

    Apple! Boy, what a story. No taxes paid, everything made abroad—yet everyone worships them. This new iPhone, there’s nothing new in it. Just a golden color. What the hell, right? When people start playing with color, you know they’re played out.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One simple rule that has worked out well for me recently – let someone else try hipness first.

      There is time. No hurry.

  12. diptherio

    Re: Will Rail Become the Next Target of Oil Protests? and Activist Malpractice

    Two good articles. The problem with the anti-Keystone effort, as I’ve pointed out before, is that tar-sands oil is already being extracted and transported, mostly by rail. Since pipelines are much safer than rail, blocking the Keystone pipeline, in and of itself, is actually an anti-environmental move. The real problem is consumption. If we don’t deal with that, we’re just fiddling with the details of our own slow suicide.

    We need national conservation initiatives, like the ones started under Carter (and abandoned as soon as oil prices went down): more fuel efficient vehicles, more public transit, more “green” energy production, etc., etc., etc.

    Blocking a pipeline here and a railway there ain’t gonna cut it, and is only dealing with the symptoms, not addressing the underlying disease.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s probably less stressful to be told, ‘you can continue your consumption. Technology/Science daddy will take care of everything.’


      Do I have to get up from the sofa?!?! You mean I don’t have to?!?! Great! Take that pill and I will lose weight!?!?! Pop in that CD and I can skip 3 hours of zazen?!?!

  13. down2long

    In the “serves them right” department the L.A.Times reported yesterday that based on a study done by University of Maine (Hi Lamhbert!) Law professor Lois R. Lupica unsecured creditors are recovering less money under the new brutal bankruptcy law they rammed through Congress n 2005 (thanks Senate Sponsor Joe Biden, choke on your caps) than they did with the old law. HA! Could’ve been the utter destuction the creditors which I lay at the banksters’ feet during the Greatest Recession or the much higher cost to BK under the new law (even the BK bar told Congress it wold make BK too expensive.)

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Too much money chasing the wrong returns – Ian Welsh.

    If he is saying we have too much money, let us remember that that money is not with the people who need it.

    That is, it’s a distribution problem, not a production/supply problem.

    Let’s not be distracted into ‘we can print/issue as much money as we can’ dead end.

    1. Antifa

      The system’s rigged. Broken.

      If the government gave every breathing citizen $100 a day pocket money, it would all get spent, and while there might be a lot of middle class activity for a while to soak up those dead Presidents, sooner or later they would all end up in the coffers of the 1%.

      That’s how the system is set up. That’s what has to change.

  15. down2long

    Ooops I meant the utter destruction of the “debtors” not creditors. Thanks to Unca Ben creitors just fine. Which reminds me a an #ask JPM post testerday. When Ben Bernanke licks Dimon’s ass who moans louder Jamie or Ben

  16. fresno dan

    Disabled woman denied entry to the US after agent cites supposedly private medical details Star

    The woman is a paraplegic…
    Its as if the US government is proud of being stupid.

  17. diptherio

    Compare The Gap’s PR around this racist graffiti incident with the treatment of its South Asian workers…see if you can spot the hypocrisy:

    Oct 04, 2013

    Bangladesh factory that sews garments for The Gap and Old Navy accused of abusing workers:
    Pregnant workers illegally fired, denied maternity leave pay at Bangladesh factory that sews for The Gap and Old Navy, says report.

    London Community News

    By Raveena Aulakh/Torstar News Service

    A Bangladesh factory that sews garments for The Gap and Old Navy brands routinely forces workers to work over 100 hours a week and they are slapped, shoved and punched, says a damning report.

    It also says workers live in penury, earning 20 to 24 cents an hour, and illegal firings are regular.

    The report titled “Gap and Old Navy in Bangladesh: cheating the poorest workers in the world” was released Thursday by Pittsburgh-based Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.

    Charles Kernaghan, director of the institute, said in the report “these abuses have been going on for more than two and a half years.”

    But Laura Wilkinson, a spokesperson for Gap Inc., said the factory in question has been audited for working conditions and “allegations (in the report) don’t align with the audit and worker interviews.”


    In another case, Taniya Begum was forced to resign and denied maternity leave and benefits. The report says Next Collections threatened her with jail and death because she asked for paid maternity.

    This shocking report comes after 1,129 garment factory workers, mostly women, died in the Rana Plaza collapse in Savar, an industrial suburb of Dhaka, on April 24, 2013.

    It is believed to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history.

    Kernaghan said in almost 30 years of interviewing labour forces in the developing world, he and his colleagues had never seen workers who looked so spent.

    “They were exhausted, skinny, dazed and with deep shadows under their bloodshot eyes,” he said.

    If Gap Inc. audited working conditions, hours and wages at Next Collections, “we urge Gap to release its audit reports,” Kernaghan said.

    1. anon y'mouse

      isn’t this just an example of “never let a (PR) opportunity go to waste”?

      also “there is no such thing as bad PR”. and since they didn’t generate the ‘bad’ PR, an even better opportunity for them to “show solidarity”.

      it’s sad when a corp. doing -the right thing- is so unusual that everyone has to comment on it, isn’t it?

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Damming the Mekong.

    How about damming the EZ Money River that empties into Banksters Pit?

    Building another Great Wall?

    Yes, we can do it in America. A Great Wall between Washington DC and Wall Street, bigger than the one in China. Take that, Beijing!

    1. susan the other

      By all means yes – lets dam up politics and stop the internal bleeding. About damming the Mekong, LBJ wanted to do hydroelectric dams on the Mekong and was frustrated that SE Asia wasn’t very interested in changing their lifestyles. And if alternative clean energy really comes online, who needs that much excess electricity? I hope the Mekong is preserved by energy technology sooner than later. Let us all not forget the lessons we have learned in the arid American west. Dams are more harmful than beneficial over the long term. The Mekong is a great artery, just like the Nile, transporting nutrients from the Himalayas to the delta and all points in between. A good energy distribution system already.

  19. Benedict@Large

    Medicare Death Panels? This is as close as it gets.

    “The latest health issue for the elderly: ‘observation purgatory’ in hospitals”

    This is in response to the ObamaCare Medicare readmittance monitoring, which will penalize payment rates for hospitals with “too many” readmittances. I’ve checked with my cousin, who is in charge of admittance certification (making sure people coming in can pay) for a major hospital, and she confirms that her hospital (part of a major chain) is definitely responding to the pressure of readmission monitoring. Basically, this is a TERRIBLE way to monitor a hospital’s effectiveness, because it causes hospitals to alter otherwise quite reasonable courses of treatment (as well as experimental treatment, which could all but be eliminated) in order to avoid the chance of a readmittance of elderly patients, and as this article points out, avoid even the initial admittance.

    1. Cynthia

      “Nearly 1,500 Hospitals Penalized Under Medicare Program Rating Quality”

      After reading this, I have pretty much come to the conclusion that other states should do what the state of Maryland has done, which is to exempt itself from the costly and complex bonuses/penalties program set up by the Medicare authorities. Maryland agreeing to have a defined set of price controls on Medicare payments has allowed hospitals in Maryland NOT to have to waste precious healthcare dollars fighting for bonuses and dodging penalties. Oh sure, Medicare payments to Maryland hospitals may be lower than they are in other states, but the enormous amount of the time and money — much of which is spent on costly overhead costs, resulting in less money for patient care — that hospitals have to spend trying to fight for bonuses and dodge penalties makes Maryland’s price controls well worth it. At least, that’s how I see it.

  20. Hugh

    China’s recent actions indicate two things to me.

    First, nationalist/military assertions like this are usually made by governments seeking to redirect internal discontent outward toward external “enemies”. Far from being an assertion of strength, these are actually signs of weakness, which does not make them any less dangerous. It does, however, suggest that we should be looking closely at what in their country has Chinese authorities so worried. Is it awareness of something explosive building in the economy? or is it the misstep of or an internal challenge to China’s new leader Xi?

    Second, China is essentially doing the US military hegemon’s work for it. Its assertions in both the East and South China Seas have set on edge virtually every country in its southern and eastern peripheries. The eastern periphery, especially. Nationalist tensions between South Korea and Japan have been heightening over the last few years. Taiwan has been moving closer to China. The Philippines too had been seeking greater distance from the US. And then China pulls something like this.

    It is a lose-lose for China. In historical terms, its claims to these areas are dubious, it doesn’t currently exercise effective control over them, and it doesn’t have the power to assert such control (all important elements of sovereignty claims). So it loses and looks weak if it backpedals and it loses and looks weak because it can not follow through on its claims. In either case, it has acted in an aggressive and hostile manner toward its neighbors, something they are unlikely to forget.

  21. Hugh

    China’s recent actions indicate two things to me. First, nationalist/military assertions like this are usually made by governments seeking to redirect internal discontent outward toward external “enemies”. Far from being an assertion of strength, these are actually signs of weakness, which does not make them any less dangerous. It does, however, suggest that we should be looking closely at what in their country has Chinese authorities so worried. Is it awareness of something explosive building in the economy? or is it the misstep of or an internal challenge to China’s new leader Xi?

    Second, China is essentially doing the US military hegemon’s work for it. Its assertions in both the East and South China Seas have set on edge virtually every country in its southern and eastern peripheries. The eastern periphery, especially. Nationalist tensions between South Korea and Japan have been heightening over the last few years. Taiwan has been moving closer to China. The Philippines too had been seeking greater distance from the US. And then China pulls something like this.

    It is a lose-lose for China. In historical terms, its claims to these areas are dubious, it doesn’t currently exercise effective control over them, and it doesn’t have the power to assert such control (all important elements of sovereignty claims). So it loses and looks weak if it backpedals and it loses and looks weak because it can not follow through on its claims. In either case, it has acted in an aggressive and hostile manner toward its neighbors, something they are unlikely to forget.

    (Second effort, still having problems getting my comments to post)

    1. Massinissa

      Jesus lord sweet mercy, and mary mother of god!!!

      This HAS to be on the links tomorrow, it just has to be. If this wasnt from a major publisher like the Guardian I dont think I would believe it.

    2. neo-realist

      I’m betting that in the United States, the mommies and the progeny are compensated extremely well and risk fatal consequences for whistleblowing on the authorities.

  22. susan the other

    Today’s links were way good. The Alzheimers and Diabetes stuff was good; also the alcoholism gene mutation. Just from personal experience, my father by the age of 50 was a serious alkie and his demise masqueraded as Alzheimers when it was first recognized in 1980. In fact he did not have Alzheimers, he had advanced arteriosclerosis of the brain due to frequent binges. I’m sure his condition was a deterioration of his own metabolism just like diabetes is. Interesting that Alzheimers is not an effect of diabetes but directly caused by diabetes. In my father’s case, he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. He stopped drinking when he realized he was in trouble and that just accelerated his dementia. He should have kept drinking.

  23. susan the other

    Also about Andrea Rossi/ECAT. What’s the difference between atomic fusion and a chemical reaction. Just the refined elements?

    The Ellen Brown post @ Monsanto, TPP and Global Food Dominance was interesting for its details about glyphosate, etc. And the bit about Russian garden permaculture. Read it yesterday on Max Keiser.

    And Thank You Harvard Law. And Ralph Nader. Great conference roster, notwithstanding diminishing interest of the attendees.

    MMT for Toddlers. More please. MMT for Congress maybe? Or I guess this is the book they need.

    1. Jessica

      “What’s the difference between atomic fusion and a chemical reaction. Just the refined elements?”

      A chemical reaction rearranges the way elements are combined into molecules.

      2Zn + 2HCl -> H2 + 2ZnCl (Put zinc into hydrochloric acid in the junior high school chem lab and watch the teacher freak out about the (explosive) hydrogen you are releasing. The chemical reaction that does not happen because the teacher grabs the flask and dumps it all down the sink is:
      2H2 + O2 -> 2H2O + the energy release when electrons shift to lower-energy states)

      Atomic fusion changes the elements themselves:
      2H -> He + much energy (How much energy is defined by the famous E = mc^2.)

      We might think of chemical reactions as dealing with the money in your wallet at the moment and atomic fusion as dealing with your entire lifetime earnings. They are vastly different magnitudes.

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