Links 12/15/13

Even when we were getting input on the redesign, it was obvious that readers who used Internet Explorer were having more glitches than others. Reader Davin found a fix that may help those of you who are still having trouble (that means you, craazyman, please try this at work):

Just wanted to let you know I managed to fix the problem with Internet Explorer 10 displaying NakedCapitalism with a smaller font. I think the problem is that the normal delete cache, browsing history option within IE doesn’t delete all of these files (I found out a few years ago there can be a raft of temporary IE files still lying around after supposedly deleting everything).

I used a utility called ‘Index.dat Analyzer’ (index.dat is where IE stores temporary files) to find and delete all temporary IE files cookies etc. Afterwards NakedCapitalism happily rendered correctly with the proper font size. So I think one of the temporary files not deleted by the IE delete history option caused the problem with the smaller font size.

Others reporting a lack of success with the font size after deleting their cache may be having the same issue.

How to Open a Wine Bottle With a Shoe Michael Shedlock

The Privacy of Typewriters New York Review of Books

Bots ‘take up 61% of web traffic’ BBC. And how many are intel bots?

The Peer Review Hypocrisy Counterpunch (Carol B)

The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder New York Times. Synchronicity strikes! See today’s post on Tourette’s. And OF COURSE stimulants improve test performance. I had my caffeine and sugar dosing for 4 hour exams down to a science by the time I got to grad school. But on an ongoing basis? I know people who’ve become addicted to Adderall and found it very difficult and disruptive to get off.

A Possible Association Between Consuming Sweet Drinks and Endometrial Cancer Patient Safety Blog

Blurring Mandela and Neo-Liberalism Danny Schechter, Truthdig

Eyewitness to America Betraying Mandela’s South Africa: The Gore-Mbeki Commission Truthout

Mandela’s NeoLiberal Compromise Ian Welsh (Carol B)

Japan lacks decommissioning experts for Fukushima Associated Press

China bitterly attacks Japan’s leader Guardian

China Solves Smog Problem Daily Kos (Carol B)

Little Kim does Pulp Fiction Asia Times

Them Ol’middle class Bangkokian blues Bangkok Post

Far Right in Eastern Europe Makes Gains as Syrians Arrive New York Times

Ring-fence costs could force retail banks to charge customers Telegraph

Universal Basic Income – A Swiss case study Obey, Firedoglake

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Team Omidyar, World Police: eBay puts user data on a “silver platter” for law enforcement Mark Ames, Pando (hat tip bob). A must read. I was willing to give Omidyar the benefit of the doubt and see what actually transpired with NewCo. Not any more. He’s made remarks that are damning, and his past actions aren’t pretty.

Officials Say U.S. May Never Know Extent of Snowden’s Leaks New York Times (or see Guardian recap)

Boston Police indefinitely suspends license plate reader program ars technica

Obamacare Launch

Poll: ACA approval at 41 percent Politico

Nearly 15000 Obamacare sign-ups didn’t reach insurers CBS

Trade Deals

TPP offers early test of how far secrets law will cow Japan’s media Japan Times (Lambert)

Wikileaks TPP Revelations Prove US in “Left Field” With Trade Deal Real News Network

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Bigger and More Dangerous Than ObamaCare (Video) New American. Even the right hates the TPP.

TPP and IP, A Brief Note Paul Krugman

New FDA Guidelines on Livestock Antibiotic Use: A Big Deal or Not? TobyWollin, Firedoglake. Carol B: “Another helping of legal word salad with window dressing.”

Ex-Google lawyer made US patent boss BBC. Lambert: “What could go wrong?”

Haircut Deficit: Kids Living in Basements a Drag on U.S. Services Spending Bloomberg

Antidote du jour (Amolife):


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  1. David Mills

    The wine cork video is a tad misleading. Yes you can remove a cork that way, but it takes more than just 3-4 shots. Also, with a good bottle of wine you would have to decant it after and let it settle a bit. Otherwise, bring baguette and a little fourme d’ambert.

    1. craazyman

      Not only that, but if the wine bottle has a screw-off top you can slam it against the tree for hours and it’ll never open.

      1. ambrit

        Dear craazyman;
        I had to go off into the kitchen for a minute until I stopped laughing! I hope that pun was intentional. If not, playing Automatic Writing must be a blast at your parties!

          1. AbyNormal

            thru the nose…burns!

            “Give me books, wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know/craazyman.”

      2. craazyboy

        True dat, craazyman. I’ve had similar problems doing that with a beer can. What a mess.

        But after watching the “Budget Deal” post video, I’d really like to stick Paul Ryan’s head in my shoe and blow his cork out his ass.

  2. dearieme

    I forwarded “How to Open a Wine Bottle With a Shoe Michael Shedlock” to my daughter who replied that she’ll show me how to do it with a pen!

    1. Whine Country

      I once saw a young bartender open a (corked) bottle of wine with a plastic straw. We were amazed!

  3. grayslady

    Thanks for the tip on Index.dat Analyzer. I wasn’t really having a problem with IE after NC fixed the site following the launch of the new graphics–and I rarely use IE anymore–but I hate having cached junk on my machines. The program is more powerful than the short blurb would have you believe. In spite of the program’s author saying that these are purposeless hidden files, I did have to reset my homepage after running the utility. Bookmarks/Favorites and other essential files remained the same. However, most of the cached files listed on my computer were Doubleclick and other dubious files, so resetting the home page and preferred search engine was a small price to pay. The utility only works for XP and Vista, not Windows 7 or later.

    1. Foy

      Yes GLady, after using Index.dat Analyzer to clear everything you do have to reset the homepage etc. When I first used it I was amazed at how many ‘dubious’ (good word!) files there were, literally thousands… Index.dat Analyzer worked ok for me on my machine, I’m running WIndows 7 and Internet Explorer v10.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      If you want to change link colors on FF, use the addon NoSquint—also font size, colors, page size etc.

  4. tomk

    Regarding Pierre Omidyar. In the early days of eBay it was remarkable how much anyone could find out about buyers and sellers, and it made it much easier to spot the frauds and the folks better not to deal with. Distinctions should be made between sales transactions and political speech in privacy discussions. I don’t see the problem in principle with eBay working with authorities to control fraud.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The appropriate distinction is whether there’s a complainant (victim) or not.

      Once I was fleeced by a merchant who accepted a Paypal remittance, but never shipped the product. Paypal flatly refused to intervene or return the funds.

      On the other hand, when a private seller of a computer mentioned leaving some commercial software installed, Ebay promptly delisted the item for alleged infringement, though the transaction was perfectly acceptable to both the seller and me.

      Ebay is punctilious about serving the needs of Big Gov and Big Biz, even when there’s no complainant. Customers who’ve actually been victimized get second shrift.

    2. diptherio

      From my reading of the quotes from E-bay, it would appear that they’ll turn information over to the authorities for any reason at all. It sounds like any law enforcement officer can probably just send an email requesting information and receive it, for whatever reason. I wouldn’t mind surveillance so much if I though it were actually being used to combat “terrorism.” However, the record has shown that the PTB are just as likely to use their investigative powers to harass non-violent activists as they are to investigate (potential) criminals.

      If you think all this information sharing is only about combating fraud, I have a beautiful piece of ocean-front property to sell you, right here in Montana…

      1. Ned Ludd

        As Paul Carr wrote: “Omidyar supporters say ebay only shares data to catch criminals. And who exactly did the NSA tell Google it was trying to catch? Nuns?” Haaretz emphasizes that there are no controls in place. The government can acquire whatever information they want from eBay and PayPal, “all without having to produce a court order”. A lot of the people excusing this cozy relationship would find it outrageous if it was another Internet company.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Should have mentioned but didn’t: you can bet most of the “law enforcement” actions aren’t using eBay to mask money laundering (as in good never moved but funds did) but counterfeiting stuff like Prada and Louis Vitton bags, Hermes ties, and Burberry items.

    3. Ned Ludd

      eBay enthusiastically shares information about their users with the government. Even Greenwald admits: “I don’t doubt PayPal cooperates with NSA.” The Haaretz article explains how easy it is for the government to get information from eBay.

      “[I]f you are a law-enforcement officer, all you have to do is send us a fax with a request for information, and ask about the person behind the seller’s identity number, and we will provide you with his name, address, sales history and other details – all without having to produce a court order.”…

      The meaning is clear. One fax to eBay from a lawman – police investigator, NSA, FBI or CIA employee, National Park ranger – and eBay sends back the user’s full name, email address, home address, mailing address, home telephone number, name of company where seller is employed and user nickname. What’s more, eBay will send the history of items he has browsed, feedbacks received, bids he has made, prices he has paid, and even messages sent in the site’s various discussion groups. […]

      “Every book or CD comes with a bar code. So we know who bought what. The acquisition of PayPal helps us to locate people more precisely. In the old days, we had to trace IP addresses (unique address given to computers linked to the Internet), to locate the buyer, but now Paypal supplies us with the money trail.

      “PayPal has about 20 million customers, which means that we have 20 millions files on its users,” Sullivan [director of law enforcement and compliance at eBay] proudly relates. “If you contact me, I will hook you up with the Paypal people.”

      It is foolish to trust anyone to write articles that disrupt and threaten the business interests of eBay and PayPal, when that person is in a close business relationship with Omidyar.

      A recent Rolling Stone profile noted that “Omidyar came to Greenwald specifically because of the Snowden leaks.” Given that those leaks deal primarily with how government agencies have accessed data from technology companies in the name of law enforcement, eBay’s eagerness to cooperate with those same agencies without so much as a subpoena is troubling. It is notable, too, that aside from his continuing stockholding in eBay, Omidyar has jointly invested in at least one startup (Innocentive) with the CIA’s venture capital fund, In-Q-Tel.

      Omidyar’s dual role as billionaire titan of the Big Data industry and outraged champion of anti-government whistleblowers means that secrets that rightfully belong to The People are now are controlled by a man whose wealth and power are directly dependent on profitable relationships with global law enforcement.

      Conflict of interest applies to everyone, including Greenwald and Poitras. Their new venture with Omidyar makes them untrustworthy on topics that affect Omidyar’s business interests.

      1. diptherio

        I think your last sentence is the minimalist version of that sentitment. Given how intertwined interests are up at the top of the food chain, one cannot be blamed for wondering if Greenwald et al. will be allowed to go after Omidyar’s friends (you know, on the wild assumption that maybe a few of them have engaged in unsavory behavior). A conflict of interest is a conflict of interest, as you say; even if it involves people who happen to be on “our team.”

        I’m all for strange bedfellows, but can we really expect Omidyar to work both for and against the CIA? For some reason, I have my doubts…

        1. Ned Ludd

          Greenwald and Poitras and Scahill are allowed to write whatever they want; but they were hired because they are smart enough to know what topics to avoid.

          1. Ned Ludd

            There is an interview where Chomsky makes a similar comment to – and about – a reporter who is interviewing him. Does anyone remember this interview or know if it is available online?

            1. Ned Ludd

              Those topics are Kryptonite: touch them, and you lose all your influence.

              My comment, though, was about media ownership and how that shapes journalism. Omidyar is smart enough to vet people before hiring them. He is not going to hire someone who would tip over eBay’s apple cart.

    1. diptherio

      This seems pretty overblown. Rush Limbaugh is the only critic of the Pope’s quoted in the story. Rush calling someone a Marxist? Oooohhh….why is this news?

      1. from Mexico

        I think there’s more to this story than you might know.

        Maciek Wisniewski, a Catholic Marxist, wrote a scathing article (in Spanish) calling the Pope’s claims to the tradition of St. Francis into question:

        “Capitalism as religion and neofranciscanism as its discipline”

        Wisniewski based his criticism on his observation that “Bergoglio was always opposed to popular governments” in Argentina, never criticized the Latin American plutocrats, while voicing support neither for the decision on the debt nor the importance the new government gave to social investment.

        In other words, unless Bergoglio managed to have an epiphany and change his spots, calling Pope Francis a Marxist is tantamount to calling Obama a Marxist.

        1. diptherio

          I actually listened to an extended radio piece (I think on Democracy Now) about the new Pope’s less-than-stellar record under the fascist governments in S. America immediately after his election. I was pretty skeptical, after hearing from activist priests that he had failed to intervene on their behalf with the military government that had imprisoned and tortured them.

          But I’m trying not to judge, and I don’t have too much trouble understanding how a person might be successfully intimidated by brutal dictators into silence, but would also speak out for what is right once his position has become unassailable. So far, failure to stand-up to psychopathic military leaders is the worst that I’ve heard about Francis. If he does right from here on out, I’m not going to hold a grudge against him for being a human.

          1. YankeeFrank

            My understanding of that incident was that the two priests had been tortured and Francis intervened in the only way he could, which was to visit them and try to gain their freedom. He had to be very careful not to push the government too far given it was a military government. I’m not trying to defend him, just understand the forces he was dealing with. I can’t say he’s a second Romero, but then again, Romero wasn’t the first Romero when he was made Archbishop of El Salvador, it was an “evolution” of awareness that led him to begin preaching radicalism. We also have to remember that for the years Francis was in Argentina the church in Rome was run by very, very conservative popes who wouldn’t have protected him if he did declare strongly for social justice and especially Marxism. Francis is no Marxist, but he is aware of the damage that neoliberalism is doing to the people of the world, and he has taken effective steps to redesign the church so that it is not a part of that system anymore. He is also strengthening the social justice mission of the church immensely, while diminishing the perverse focus on abortion and homosexuality. He’s only been in office for what, 9 months? In that time he has done much good. Let’s see what the coming years bring.

            1. LucyLulu

              Very good analysis!
              The change in the Church IS wonderful. Not every gift horse must have its mouth examined. Besides, the examinations often reveal more about the dentist than the horse.

      2. scraping_by


        It’s called retail politics. Somebody’s got to clean up oral offal or the right wing stooges will be reinforced in their delusions.

        The current media paradigm is to divide all public speech into right wing corporate and crazy. Somebody has to speak for and to the crazy majority.

    1. Yonatan

      Don’t worry, the rescue services of the most moral military in the whole world will be along any moment for a photo opportunity of them rescuing the victims, just as they did in Haiti and the Philipines (their motto ‘First in, first out – after the photo shoot). Oh wait, we are talking about Palestinians. Crickets.

      1. agog

        Yup, only mention of Israel when this story was reported on the BBC or CBC was that they had generously decided to let in a bit diesel fuel for the pumps. Nothing about the dams.

        US media coverage not mentioning it a given…

  5. Ulysses

    Nicely phrased comment on the PK post linked above from commenter “Greg:”

    “In the long run, which is really not so long, the oligarchs will strangle the goose that gives them their golden eggs. They can’t help themselves, and neither will they allow anyone else to help them.

    Our government, and the governments of other nations, pursue activities like the TPP. The surrendering of power to outside tribunals and other such actions are destructive of and compromise those governments *own power and influence.* No self respecting institution would do this sort of thing if it were not already the captive of outside powers. With the governments their captive, there are no other checks on the collective greed of the oligarchs.

    The TPP is a side show. The real circus is the increasing inequality of wealth and power that is starting to tear at our societies, orchestrated by those with inadequate self-restraint, who already have too much power for their own good, or the good of the rest of us. “

    1. susan the other

      Krugman’s brief comment in response to Dean Baker was very nimble. “I’ll do some research and get back to you.” He took a typhoon of shit from his own NYT readers as well as other blogs. And now he says, well maybe you have a point or two on some of this “stuff.” Cool.

    2. Klassy!

      I read this mainly to see if the readers were buying this act. Really? Have to do some “homework”?
      I read this comment: Really great economists are also philosophers.
      Actually, it’s the really sh*tty economists who are also philosophers.

      1. Lambert Strether

        In a perfect world, Krugman would have done his homework before the exam: If and when Congress gives Obama “fast track” authority. Trade is also, IIRC, the field where Krugman made his bones as a quasi-Nobelist, so it sure seems odd that he doesn’t have the issues mastered already. Perhaps he need to go collect talking points from somewhere?

        To be fair, TPP only includes provisions for corporations to sue sovereign governments in unaccountable, global courts for lost profits, and a Times columnist and Princeton perfessor can’t be expected to keep up with every little thing.

        1. Klassy!

          Back when he was kicking activists in Seattle and Quebec, I guess he was busy collecting talking points too. Surely he could find some serious arguments against the global trade policy for which he fluffed. Or he could just pretend there is no other alternative.
          Of course, opponents of globalization have heard this argument, and they have answers. At a conference last week I heard paeans to the superiority of traditional rural lifestyles over modern, urban life — a claim that not only flies in the face of the clear fact that many peasants flee to urban jobs as soon as they can, but that (it seems to me) has a disagreeable element of cultural condescension, especially given the overwhelming preponderance of white faces in the crowds of demonstrators. (Would you want to live in a pre-industrial village?) I also heard claims that rural poverty in the third world is mainly the fault of multinational corporations — which is just plain wrong, but is a convenient belief if you want to think of globalization as an unmitigated evil.

          The most sophisticated answer was that the movement doesn’t want to stop exports — it just wants better working conditions and higher wages.

          But it’s not a serious position. Third-world countries desperately need their export industries — they cannot retreat to an imaginary rural Arcadia. They can’t have those export industries unless they are allowed to sell goods produced under conditions that Westerners find appalling, by workers who receive very low wages. And that’s a fact the anti-globalization activists refuse to accept.
          he wrote that in 2000, but he should have pulled it out after the Bangladeshi factory collapse. It was a real hit when it ran in Slate in April.

          1. YankeeFrank

            Krugman can go jump of a cliff. He’s a thoroughgoing liar: notice how he only discusses the patent issues as the things he will “look into”, not the corporate-run tribunals nation-states will be forced to submit their laws to. Please. If he even mentions the investor-state dispute resolution garbage I will be amazed. More likely he’ll just pretend it doesn’t exist.

    3. Emma

      Nice one Ulysses.
      The wonders of globalization, eh?
      Interestingly, the US is probably losing both weight & value because of such liberal exploitation. When you continually act like an enfant terrible getting into other’s faces, they may end up hitting you, or you end up like the hara-kiri kid.

  6. ScottW

    Ames raises valid points about ebay/paypal and Omidyar, but his wild assertion at the end about “The People’s” information being controlled by a multi-billionaire reeks of Fox News smear reporting. Don’t pay attention to the message because the messenger is [fill in the blank].

    We should all take a breath and wait to see how the new company unfolds, because focusing on Omidyar is exactly what the Greenwald haters want everyone to do. I find absolutely no fault with Greenwald’s reporting and think he has more courage than 99.9% of reporters out there. Would Ames like to be holed up in a foreign country for the foreseeable future? Would Ames post all of his source material on the Internet? No reporter posts his/her source material on the Internet before the story runs. No one. And when investigating the government, the source material is always “The People’s”, and I can guarantee you Ames has lots of “our” source material he controls–rightly so as a reporter. An Internet dump will just subject Greenwald to the wild accusations leveled against Manning, and misses the brilliant strategy of keeping the public’s attention on a very serious news story.

    Don’t forget, Snowden, not Greenwald, is the source of this information, and Snowden could have released it all on the Net. Thank god he did not, as that would have accomplished little, and given the pro-security forces much propaganda to work with.

    Maybe Ames can write a big, “I told you so,” column in a few years, but for now, keep writing about the message, and not about the messenger. And my hunch is if Odmiyar exercises the control many conclude he will, the first to leave his employ will be Greenwald, Scahill & Poitras.

    1. diptherio

      Greenwald is sleeping with the enemy. Maybe it’ll work out for him and us, but given his touchyness about Pay-Pal and E-bay’s relations with the NSA, I’m not holding my breath. Greenwald will no doubt receive a nice big paycheck and will never have anything bad to say about Omidyar’s companies. One might even suspect that Omidyar is buying himself and his companies protection from Greenwald’s journalism. E-bay’s policy of handing over all customer information to the Feds without a warrant is something I haven’t heard Glenn talk about yet (maybe I missed it), which is not a hopeful sign.

      I’ve liked Glenn so far, and he’s done much that is admirable, but I won’t be at all surprised if he allows himself (and his conscious) to be purchased by Omidyar, or some other plutocrat. It’s happened plenty of times before.

    2. davidgmills

      I agree with the assessment that Greenwald, if he feels censored, will take his football and go elsewhere. Omidyar needs Greenwald; not the other way around. At least for now. And maybe Greenwald makes enough money that he can start his own damn show. To bad for Snowden though. Unless Greenwald finds a way to compensate Snowden financially, Snowden is likely to live in the poorhouse for the rest of his life. Which might be a short one if the US intelligence services have any kind of say in the matter.

    3. Elliot

      Thank you, ScottW. Ames’ obsession with Greenwald is only slightly less skeevy than rancidtarzie’s. Like Silber, they use the FoxNews rhetorical style of placing facts in a sentence, and then wild assertions in a sentence nearby, and calling that proof of the latter.

      I have to wonder, too, who is pouring the anti-glenn/omidyar koolaid? Couldn’t be security-state-intelligence-gathering propaganda, could it now?

      The freakout over “zomg he isn’t releasing everything this minute and omidyar is rich so therefore glenn is hiding things for pierre!!1!” reads like the emails I get from elderly relatives complaining about immigrants and welfare cheaters..which always turn out to be useful idiocy propagated to protect wall street or the GOP…or in this case, the NSA.. . .?

      And on ebay… I know several folks who sell there, and it sounds to me like ebay’s just like any other middleman, with splashes of banking; vendors who don’t like ebay/paypal shift to a real merchant account and comply with those hoops instead; where, ta-da!…information is collected on them too.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I know Congressional staffers whose bosses are on defense-related committees who used to be supporters of Greenwald and are now leery of him being tied up with Omidyar. And Ames is fiercely independent. He just hates libertarians.

        As for eBay, your posture is awfully naive. There is a big difference between the NSA hoovering up data (which is so much they aren’t looking at anyone in particular until they become a person of interest….) and having eBay roll over when law enforcement officials make mere requests. It’s supposed to require a subpoena from a DA, or don’t you care about rule of law and you are perfectly fine with NSA snooping and law enforcement officials running rampant over well-established protections? That’s what your view has to be to buy into your “move along, nothing to see here.” And your “Ames, you know, he’s a bit of an extremist” is pure ad hominem.

  7. Eureka Springs

    Seems more than a little deceptive to define handling three meltdowns as “decommissioning.” Seems more than a little deceptive to suggest robots can be of assistance anytime soon since years ago we learned robots are incapable of operating in such high radiation levels. Only robotics which has yet to be invented could possibly help someday. Every day if you look at sites like enews or nuke news or fukushima diary you will learn radiation levels are spiking ever upward and will for a very long time. Seems mighty deceptive to suggest melted cores are just laying around on concrete reactor floors while we figure it all out.

    Sure the human race should put some of the best minds together, but we should constantly admit even the best minds still have no real expertise, no capability to handle meltdowns. They can do less to save us in a post meltdown than a cop who arrives at the DOA scene of a murder. And what good does it do to put the best minds together when they or thier information will be kept secret?

    The only thing we can do is shut down all reactors which have not yet melted and stop creating more. Stop mining, stop enriching, stop spreading waste. Certainly get waste as far away as humanly possible from waterways which cool reactors. Stop pretending we are experts at anything but deadly hubris and deception. Wipe out the entire regulatory structure as it exists now. Begin anew.

    This week I read Berkeley city council is simply trying to establish their own radiation monitoring of possible Fukushima fallout since neither the feds or state of California will do so. And WE are supposed to have experts or a regulatory structure better than TEPCO! I also read that the only diagrams of the pipes at Fukushima are in an office near the melted reactors so radioactive that nobody can get to them… so nobody has any idea where hundreds of pipelines are. Nobody.

    This is the beginning of a global emergency with hundreds more reactors at the certain brink. So let’s not pretend we know more than we do… let’s not label experts where no expertise exists and can’t be utilized in the regulatory structure/organizations as they exist now. Among other things. Experts kill. Experts lie. Experts loot. Experts deny. This is something all mentioned in the article (Japan, France, US) experts have in common.

    Open source this problem now. Start by monitoring radiation levels (air, water, biology and so on) live on the internet. Not even time lapse delay. Make Japan place live cameras where people can really see what’s going on.

    Establish a global deManhattan project of the new millennium. It’s time.

    The most revealing info to me in the article is so few people in this world exist who have a modicum of training/experience at a time when scores or more reactors all over the globe are old enough to be decommissioned. I live less than a hundred miles as the crow flies from a 40 year old pair of reactors… Reactors family members helped build. Reactors which suffered major transformer explosions this very week and suffered a dropped million pound generator a few months ago with hardly a media peep.

    We need thousands or more highly trained and working now! In all decency every reactor in the world should be shut down post haste.

    1. susan the other

      Wow. Thank you Eureka +7 billion times. Everyone on the planet should be this informed and concerned but instead we have a planet of all hardhats and no engineers. Did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams that we would poison the entire Pacific Ocean? We’ve all been dangerously dumb far, far too long.

      1. psychohistorian

        I blame designs like Fukushima on the faith based myths of religion that posit the the earth is ours to use up and the Rapture will save the Believers from having a thousand generations of humans required to manage their imprudent radiological waste.

    2. optimader

      ..when scores or more reactors all over the globe are old enough to be decommissioned…
      waay beyond old enough. I have a friend that was in a top regional position at the NRC to see the white underbelly. I am disheartened that the people entrusted w/ policy are so appallingly uninformed to the point of disinterest. Cant see it cant taste it cant smell it. Other than cases of acuter radiation poisoning it is a patient killer that will reap its harvest in many disease pathways. iI will be our undoing IMO

  8. observer

    Thanks for the TPP material. Thanks also for the ACA health insurance coverage. I’m wondering how much the ACA health insurance changes and limits on drug coverage will cut into pharma profits. I’m a high income contractor doing work that would 20 years ago have been salaried with benefits. I buy individual health insurance. You’ve reported on the limits of the drug formularies of the new policies. If the trend for cost shifting health care from employers to individuals continues, and if the insurance companies continue to reduce benefits, I’m wondering what pharma will do to protect its high priced drugs market here in the US. Individuals by and large don’t have the purchasing power to afford these drugs. You’ve reported on cost sharing up to 50% with the new insurance plans. I guess that medical bankruptcies will go up, not down.

    I enjoy watching the political struggle, as it plays out in lobbying and policy. But I’m also afraid of the likely consequences for individuals and families. Between insurance, doctors, pharma, they are simply dividing up ever greater percentages of ever shrinking income. Especially in high rent urban areas, the pressure of the new legal requirement to pay high premiums and deductables and the cost shifting re drugs mean huge pressure on lifestyle. How will this translate? Fewer car purchases? Less electronics and clothing purchases? Less for schools and university tuitions? I hope some with decision making power are watching the big picture.

    1. Lambert Strether

      “I hope some with decision making power are watching the big picture.” They are, and they have basically decided that your life is going to get a lot worse so that theirs can be the same or better.

      1. Emma

        So much for “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” – or indeed ones fellow man.
        In our world, goodwill is an imposter and ill will is man.

  9. Andrew Watts

    RE: Officials Say U.S. May Never Know Extent of Snowden’s Leaks

    The Snowden revelations will be giving our spooks nightmares for many years to come. What will keep them up all night is the thought that there will be many more individuals like Snowden in the future.

    1. Emma

      More like wet dreams…
      The Snowden affair was a sack of gold ie. With more (pro-NSA?) Congress bucks now, just as X-rays identify crucifixes & nipple rings, the NSA’ll spot Jimmy Riddles before the piddles…

  10. davidgmills

    I finally got my 29 year old daughter signed up for healthcare yesterday. Since she is in dental hygiene school and only working about one day a week now, we had to estimate next year’s income at $13,000. She qualifies for Medicaid, but since I was not sure whether she would get it since my state did not expand it, and since she never has qualified for it in the past, I signed her up for her own insurance.

    At that income level she qualified for a 94% government subsidy. So we were able to get her a silver plan for $50 a month with a 0 deductible, 20% co-pay, and an out of pocket maximum of $750. And this maximum outlay includes her co-payments for labs, prescriptions, mental health, hospitalization, ER, and doctor’s visits. So for a max of $1,350 annually she has some really good coverage.

    She hasn’t had health insurance to speak of since she was 21 (due to a combination of employers who didn’t provide it and pre-existing mental health conditions) so I am pretty excited about this. Last time she had lab work, the bill was $1300, which I negotiated down to $900. Her meds cost us about $100 a month getting them from Canada.

    Carrier is Blue Cross Blue Shield and is a PPO.

    It took a while to apply but it was worth it. There will be lots of people in my position who will eventually be very happy with Obamacare. Still I would have preferred a public option — still may get that with Medicaid — but Medicaid is not available for everyone.

    1. diptherio

      Uhhh…you sure about that, doc? A) You signed her up for health INSURANCE, not care; 2) My stats are fairly close to your daughters and I got a $50 premium plus a deductible of about $1200 for a silver and $20+ $2000 for a bronze, plus copays and who knows about network coverage and; 3) she’s getting her meds from Canada…is that even legal?

      Assuming you didn’t just make that whole thing up as ACA propaganda, your comment actually shows one of the major problems with the ACA, which has been detailed many times on this site: where you live makes a HUGE difference in how much you are expected to pay for your insurance. And while I’m happy that your daughter is now covered, what do you have to say to the millions who will still be uncovered even after full implementation of the ACA (according to the Administration)? “Too bad, we got ours so screw you and stop complaining!”?

      1. davidgmills

        Lots of people order meds from Canada. I’ve been doing it online for years. I give a Canadian pharmacy my prescription and they fill it after confirming with my doctor. If it is illegal, it is news to me.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          It already is illegal (against FDA regs) and becomes even more so under the ACA. What is barred is “reimportation” (US made drugs bought from foreign countries) so it is explicitly targeting Canadian pharmacies.

          I don’t think the reimportation bans kick in till Jan 1. Expect to see efforts to crack down on Canadian pharmacies, perhaps through the payment services (bank and credit card networks).

          1. LucyLulu

            What about foreign drugs made in foreign countries? Are only “re-imported” drugs banned? Canadian pharmacies (at least used to) sell drugs made in many countries, especially larger members of the former UK empire.
            To mix things up further, some “US drugs” are manufactured offshore, in China and India, perhaps elsewhere. When the FDA needs to do inspections of the manufacturing facilities, the employees get to take cool trips.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              OK, now that I checked, my understanding of the ACA bit on reimportation was incorrect.

              1. There were efforts to get language legalizing drug reimportation under the ACA. That failed.



              2. This is the official US position:

              Drug importing requirements:

              • You can only import prescription drugs that the FDA approved for sale.
              • Only the original manufacturer of a drug can re-import the drug into the U.S. after sending it abroad.


    2. Lambert Strether

      If you prefer the public option, then you accept the “marketplace” model of ObamaCare. That also means that you accept, in principle, that Social Security would be the “public option” in a marketplace of private retirement plans. Do you accept that?

      * * *

      I’m happy that your daughter seems to have been helped. If only ObamaCare could help everyone, equally! (Of course, by virtue of its structure, unequal treatment of people in similar circumstances is built in. Single payer would that.)

      1. davidgmills

        As a retired personal injury lawyer representing injured persons for over thirty years, I doubt you can begin to imagine the way I can how a single payer system would revolutionize tort law and simplify it. Of course I would be in favor of it. But I think you are smoking something if you think that with all the tea partiers and dinos in Congress that it had a chance of passage. I do think we had a chance of getting the Dinos on board for a public option.

    3. kareninca

      I do not find credible accounts like this, when they do not include the state that the person lives in. That means there is not enough info to be able to google around and find out if it is BS. I call this a fake propaganda post.

      Also, it was my strong impression that if you use the websites (state or federal), and you qualify for Medicaid, you could not buy a gold/silver/bronze policy: you were automatically dumped into Medicaid (didn’t we all see this: “my mom was forced into Medicaid” article) (and automatically put on food stamps too: is your daughter mow on food stamps?). If she got the subsidy you describe, she had to have bought the policy from a website, and so she would have faced these issues. Please explain.

      1. kareninca

        hey, davidgmills, I see that you had time to give a “policy” opinion to Lambert well over an hour ago, but still no answer to my simple questions. Could you tell me what state your daughter signed up in? It should only take you a second. Also, whether it was on the federal site, or a state site, and how she avoided Medicaid, if she is eligible for it. It would make your description of her wonderful success much more credible.

        I find it interesting that your “daughter” (if any of this is real) so readily fits into the demographic that Obamacare hopes to sign on.

          1. davidgmills

            A second post didn’t make it either. I give up. Both were long. Short story I live in Shelby County Tennessee and you can check the rates out yourself for a 29 year old woman. And yes, if Medicaid accepts my daughter then we must use Medicaid. But you have to be accepted by the state and not just be eligible according to the federal government is my understanding.

            1. Alexa


              She DID get an excellent deal–even the cost without subsidy, was not bad for the policy type (PPO).

              And I checked–she has access to Vanderbilt Medical Center and Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville (not to say Memphis doesn’t have decent hospitals, of course).

              Don’t believe that these rates are “the norm.” Must be because you are in a metropolitan area.

              Good for her!

              And by extension, her parents. ;-)

              1. kareninca

                No, these rates are not the norm. From the Memphis Business Journal: Obamacare rate estimates: Tennessee, Memphis among lowest in U.S.:

                “The average U.S. premium for the benchmark plan – the second-lowest cost “silver” policy for the 36 states where the federal government will be running the exchanges — will be $214 per month for individual coverage and $774/month for a family of four, before subsidies.
                In Tennessee, such a person would pay an average monthly premium of $161 for individual coverage and $584 for family coverage – the lowest costs of any of the 36 states where HHS will be running the exchanges.”

                So, what your daughter is getting seems to the the LOWEST cost of any of the 36 states where HHS is running the exchanges. Congrats.

                1. Alexa

                  Spot on, kareninca–thanks for the additional info!

                  It is interesting, because we have many relatives in some the more eastern part of the state–and none of them got quotes that low (and the ages span from 2 to 95, although with Medicare, no one over age 64 looked up any quotes).

                  This reminds me of a couple of articles that I’ve seen over the past several months.

                  One of which spoke of the huge disparities in the Exchange premiums–including literally “county to county.”

                  I have a feeling that the good ol’ ACA is not going to be especially helpful when it comes to fostering “social cohesion.”

                  Which is truly a shame, and totally unnecessary.

                  And I can’t honestly imagine the insurance industry agreeing to give up this windfall–ever!

                  1. kareninca

                    Wow, I had not even thought of that, Alexa: your point re the hit to social cohesion is exactly right.

                    I think that the first thing that many people will think re davidgmills’ case is that it is unfair that they should be subsidizing the insurance costs of the daughter of a rich man (retired PI lawyer). And that every time people see someone with a better deal than they have, they will feel that they are subsidizing that person, and will be pissed off, unless the person is piteous in a way they approve of. We can leave aside any discussion of whether it makes sense for people to think this way; it is simply the case that they WILL. The time-honored practice of being mad at the poor for getting something for nothing, will be directed at a huge range of people. It will be felt with bitterness, since so many people will be stretching so much in order to afford insurance.

                    This will be MASSIVELY corrosive.

                    1. davidgmills

                      If only I were a rich man… But I think that what is even worse is the Medicaid expansion. I have read that in Minnesota a family can qualify for Medicaid if they make less than $40,000 but in Alabama (the other extreme) a family can not qualify if it makes more than $4,000.

                      Sometimes it makes me wonder whether we are even a country when you see these kinds of extreme situations. And of course Vermont is going to go single payer so that everyone will essentially have Medicaid/Medicare.

                2. davidgmills

                  I knew Tennessee rates were low, but I didn’t realize they were that low. But I would think this is just reflective of the medical costs in different states just as labor costs and wages are different. Tennessee has some very low wages, and almost no unions, and so that people can’t afford as much either. Housing is certainly below national average as well.

                3. Alexa

                  Great points, kareninca & davidgmills!

                  May I add, however, that the example quoted is “low” within the entire state.

                  The family “rate” is higher than numerous quotes for both Bronze and Silver (much less Gold!) plans, for individuals over the age of 55.

                  I believe that the ACA allows for 3:1 ratio “age rating.”

                  And from what we found, every policy reflects this fully (for this cohort).

                  Several ACA articles that I’ve read allude to policies being higher (in all states) in less populated cities and towns, much less rural areas,

                  So David’s 29-year-old daughter’s premium is somewhat of an anomaly–even for TN.

                  Actually, according to insurance brokers in TN, the premiums are considerably “higher” than HHS first published.

                  This is because there were several insurers who were going to offer policies.

                  But in many areas, there is only one provider–Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

                  Thus–the higher premiums that were once projected!

                  Obviously her age and location (TN’s largest Metro area, I believe) are HUGE factors.

                  But again, good for her!

                  It is good to see that someone actually benefits from this (IMO) mostly disastrous law!

    4. Alison J

      At Thanksgiving, ObamaCare eventually, inevitably, came up. The glassy-eyed defender declared that being against ObamaCare was insanity. Period. This person proceeded to challenge all in the room as to whether they had obtained an ACA policy. One person is on Medicare (age), another has employer coverage, so it was down to a few of us who were in the individual or small group buckets. We demurred as finding it unseemly to discuss personal health insurance and at the TG table no less (Obama’s advert campaign to do just that notwithstanding).

      Undeterred, the ObamaBot — late 50s — pedantically told the group that a policy was found through a broker (website too confusing) to cover pre existing cancer and ongoing treatment of same on these terms: $150/mo premium (after $450 subsidy), maximum $1,500 out of pocket (including deductibles) and then “everything covered 100%.” Person did not know who/what was in the network except *thought* the hospital that has been treating the cancer was included. Person was unsure about the structure of drug coverage though s/he thought drugs “are covered.”

      This is in New York State. There is no such policy. If there were, the be ads all over the subway cars for this plan and it would outsell all other options on NY State of Health by 100 to Zero. For one thing, all of the brone and silver policies on the New York exchange require co-insurance (60 and 70 respectively). And none of the silver/bronze policies have a $1,500 deductible. It can’t be a gold policy because I understand that subsidies are only available if you purchase a silver plan. So I’m not sure whether this person was parotting fraudulent representations made by the broker or whether s/he misunderstood what he said and has not bothered to read the actual plan. But there’s no question s/he thinks Obama gave him/her a fabulous gift without having examined or understood the contents of the box.

      1. kareninca

        Wow. So he used a broker. This broker must have navigated The Website for him, since you can only get the subsidy if you use the state or fed website. In case you’re curious, the broker probably got screwed:

        “When insurance agent Kelly Fristoe recently spent 30 minutes helping a client pick a mid-level health plan and the federal marketplace website froze, he called the government’s hotline and tried to finish the application. But the operator refused to credit Fristoe as an agent on the application, meaning he wouldn’t get the commission or be listed as the follow-up contact if his client needed help again later.”

        “Among the complaints, agents say the website isn’t always crediting brokers when they help enroll consumers — meaning they’re losing out on commissions. Once an application is started, consumers can’t go back in and add a broker’s name if they help midway through the process. Federal health officials said there are 975,000 customers who have started an application but not selected a plan.”

        God only knows what the broker did, saw or bought for your relative, and what your relative actually has, if anything. Even if the broker did as good a job as s/he could.

        I hope you told your relative that he MUST contact the insurance company HIMSELF, to make sure he has actually been signed on to something. He cannot rely on the broker to do this, since as we see (above), the broker may not actually have been put in his file as his broker, and so may not be empowered to do this for him!!!

  11. Jill

    Glenn Greenwald and Sibel Edmonds have been going back in forth about Omidyar/Paypal and its connection with the NSA. They have both behaved in an appalling manner towards each other, with name calling and other BS. However, Edmonds has questions I believe Glenn should answer. First, in his twitter Glenn did write: “I don’t doubt Paypal cooperates with NSA”. Edmonds asks these questions: 1. Please tell us how you have come to have this information: That, PayPal does work and cooperate with the National Security Agency (NSA)?… 2. Have you been given or shown any legitimate and or official documents that proved unequivocally that PayPal has been cooperating with the NSA? If so, where are these documents, and how did you come to possess such documents…” 3. Do you believe having an owner, a boss and a partner who is in a cooperative partnership with the National Security Agency (NSA) has no implication or bearing on 50,000-page documents you possess which implicate your boss and partner’s partner, the NSA? If so, how have you arrived at this way of thinking and this stand?…”

    In the link below she asks other relevant questions. Unfortunately, the questions are interspersed with shoddy analysis and personal attacks. Still, I believe the questions remain valid. See more at:

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Siebel Edmonds has been sloppy with enough facts that I’m eluctant to link to her. But that does not mean she might not be directionally correct.

  12. JohnB

    On Omidyar, I’m not sure what to think yet – one of the main quotes Ames picks out is (I believe) from 2009, which is a good 4 years ago.

    That’s plenty of time for an idealistic Libertarian, to grow out of that nonsense, and begin to change their views.

    That said – wouldn’t hurt to actually hear from Omidyar himself, what his current views are.

  13. Foy

    More Orwellian survelliance… If you’re typing a post into Facebook and then for whatever reason decide to change what you typed or erase it and not post it, Facebook is analysing those ‘self-censorship’ posts and thoughts as well.–even-if-you-dont-publish-it-20131214-2zdk0.html

    “So Facebook considers your thoughtful discretion about what to post as bad, because it withholds value from Facebook and from other users. Facebook monitors those unposted thoughts to better understand them, in order to build a system that minimises this deliberate behaviour. This feels dangerously close to “ALL THAT HAPPENS MUST BE KNOWN,” a motto of the eponymous dystopian internet company in Dave Eggers’ recent novel The Circle. “

    The backspace button isn’t a backspace button any more…

  14. Jill

    Yes, it would be very good to hear from Omidyar and Greenwald directly. The link below contains other questions which I believe need to be answered. Here is an excerpt: “…As I’ve argued before, billionaire oligarchs don’t get into the news business to, a) lose money or, b) undermine their own vast financial interests. So it’s fair to ask Omidyar and Greenwald whether their “adversarial” news company will be adversarial to people like, say, Omidyar himself, or whether it will release the reported NSA leaks pertaining to the government’s collaboration with PayPal (another Omidyar backed venture)…. Are there any contractual agreements with Omidyar about the release of the remaining NSA files and NewCo? Will Omidyar and Greenwald publish them for the public to see?”

  15. TomDority

    “Haircut Deficit: Kids Living in Basements a Drag on U.S. Services Spending”

    Did not read article.

    Just a comment

    Dangnabbit,,,,,them kids ain’t got no darn money….and if they did, why I bet, they wouldn’t be spendin’ it on the crap we are trying to sell em’. Shoot, is obvious like, it must be their rootin tooting fault.

    I say we penalize em for havin’ no money….guess we’ll just charge em higher loan rates..

    Sarcasm aside….. Well duh.
    It’s not like there are any good paying jobs around here.

  16. Hugh

    Re the TPP and Krugman, it is important to get the con. Back in the 1800s, economists like John Stuart Mill, wrote in terms of political economy. They understood that the economy could not be understood except in terms of the political framework in which it operates. Put another way, I have said for years that free markets do not exist, have never existed. The only question worth asking is who controls them and for whose benefit.

    Just as modern economists have split off the economy from its social purposes for existing, they have also separated markets from from their political environment. The TPP is, to my understanding, about rewriting the framework which governs markets. So Krugman can say with a straight face that the TPP is largely legislative and will have few economic effects.
    Still it will have a huge impact on our and the world’s political economy by restructuring how and who controls the markets associated with them. Who will benefit from these changes, the rich and elites, will remain the same, but their power over markets will be vastly increased. Even as the power of the 99%s over them, already greatly reduced, will be essentially eliminated.

    The con here is that economists like Krugman define economics so narrowly (and so to the benefit of the rich and elites) that they can argue that massive changes to the foundations of markets are uneconomic and can be ignored. We should take this for what it is, that these distinctions do not attest to the rigor of modern economics but rather to its being a quack science.

  17. dSquib

    What’s with this bizarre rortybomb piece at TNR? How is corporatism a “smear” re: Obama? I can only see that he hates the fact that populist criticism of Obama has been dominated by people he hates politically.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’ve been calling Obama’s policies towards banks Mussolini-style corporatism for years, no joke, since early 2009. This isn’t news and it isn’t a smear.

  18. Rockcombo

    The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder , notice not a word on the FSA study or the feingold approach for the percentage of those with ADHD that are influenced by artificial flavors or colors , funny with out the profit of selling pharmaceuticals to those with ADHD , this is not mentioned much in the press or medical establishment in the USA, Europe seems to be much more informed and willing to to research that benefits the public .

  19. Jim S

    Re: ADHD
    I haven’t yet read the Tourette’s piece–I will try to tackle it later–but I see it has drawn some extensive comments. I would like to have seen a few on this link. I don’t have anything to add specifically except to say that the over-medication of Americans across the board is troubling, but over-medication that affects the mind is especially so. A link from a couple of days ago described veterans treated for mental illness by lobotomy; nowadays they pump those sort of folks so full of pills they can’t talk straight. It is my earnest hope that in 60 more years we will view the casual dispensation of Ritalin, Adderall, SSRIs, &etc with the same horror that we feel when we view how patients used to be “treated” with lobotomies.

  20. zapster

    Regarding Attention Deficit Disorder: Those of us that are correctly diagnosed have a lot more trouble staying *on* Adderall than getting off of it. We simply forget to take it. There are no side effects and there is no withdrawal if prescribed correctly.

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