Links 2/25/14

See some frozen over Great Lakes (Chuck L)

Oxford don criticised for claiming women’s dresses should look like a ‘stormable fortress’ Independent (Chuck L)

Rare ‘polio-like’ disease reports BBC

Panel Says Most Carotid Screening Is Unnecessary Patient Safety Blog

What type of tweeter are you? Researchers reveal there are just SIX types of tweet Daily Mail

Netflix to Pay Comcast to End Traffic Jam MarketWatch. Chuck L: “Ominous precedent.”

There’ll be froth in the Valley Lambert

Just Do Something Daring Fireball

Bitcoin Has a Sad

Mt. Gox Website Appears to Have Been Deleted Wall Street Journal

Apparent Theft at Mt. Gox Shakes Bitcoin World New York Times. I said repeatedly that Bitcoin was prosecution futures….

Mt. Gox Allegedly Loses $350 Million in Bitcoin (744,400 BTC), Rumoured to be Insolvent CoinDesk. Lambert: ‘Warning: “The Voice of Digital Currency’ and I’m not sure we’re dealing with real journalism.”

Woes of Megacity Driving Signal Dawn of ‘Peak Car’ Era Bloomberg

WIPP Plutonium Leak May Have Been From Ceiling Collapse Simply Info (Deontos)

N Korea ‘violates’ S Korea’s border BBC

The PDRC and monk mafia extortion racket Asian Correspondent

Most-Powerful Woman in Indian Finance Declares War on Bad Loans Bloomberg


Ukraine to appoint unity government BBC

EU to offer financial aid to Ukraine DW

Ukraine launches manhunt for ousted leader Washington Post

Everything you know about Ukraine is wrong Mark Ames, Pando

Government and Premier of Egypt Quit in Abrupt Move New York Times

Sisi’s Turn London Review of Books

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations Glenn Greenwald, Intercept

Guest Post: The NSA’s Culture of “Legal Compliance” Still Breaks the Law Just Security. A rebuttal of an earlier post.

How to Avoid Rubber-Stamping another Drone Execution: Leave Marcy Wheeler (Chuck L)

U.S. Army’s $7 Billion Interest in Renewable Energy Oil Price

Oil spill shuts down 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi River Associated Press

Colorado Enacts First Methane Regs in Country OilPrice. But what about farting cows?

Owner of Opulent Long Island Castle Is Shot in Head by a Masked Gunman New York Times. Not a banker or CEO but will probably lead to pearl clutching nevertheless.

Western Union faces probe for fraud-induced money transfers Reuters. “Fraud induced”?

Inequality is about capital vs labour MacroBusiness

Savings contest among homeless people yields universal insights Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Carla R: “Since the Cleveland Plain Dealer is always right up to the minute, they published this Feb. 6 story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today! I nominate it for most disgusting ‘finance’ story of 2014 so far.”

KKR co-chiefs reap $160m apiece in 2013 Financial Times

Inside the Showdown Atop Pimco, the World’s Biggest Bond Firm Wall Street Journal

JPMorgan to cut thousands more jobs Financial Times

Poor top line growth in the economy CNBC

Summers worried about shadow banking Politico. So now the arsonist is selling fire extinguishers. Lovely.

@GSElevator Tattletale Exposed (He Was Not in the Goldman Elevator) Dealbook. Huh? There were people who thought the tweets were real quotes????

Antidote du jour. Jim M. said this is a red tailed hawk two blocks from Fenway park in Boston:


And a bonus:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. dearieme

    The Indy can’t even decide whether Lane Fox is a Reader or a Professor. Did nobody there attend a British university?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Isn’t a reader what we call a news anchor here?

        Do readers also moonlight as professors over there?

        1. dearieme

          He’s an interesting eccentric. When he was hired as historical advisor on the film about Alexander the Great a few years ago, one of his terms was that he be allowed to take part in one of the great cavalry charges that was to feature in the film. And he did.

          Apparently his motives were (i) For the thrill of it, and (ii) To understand better what it was like to be a Macedonian cavalryman.

  2. dearieme

    Pimco: it’s easier to be a genius in a rising market, eh? I learnt a lot from the Pimco website when their living was easy and their essays were informative. More recently, they’ve been more concerned to “talk their book”, it seems to me. I must say, though, that the fake folksiness grated throughout.

  3. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Oil spill shuts down 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi

    Gives new meaning to the triumphant statement: America is “AWASH” in oil.

    Too bad America hasn’t figured out how to wash it off yet.

    1. abynormal

      Public drinking water intakes were shut down in St. Charles Parish as a precaution, officials said, and the Port of New Orleans was also closed.

      Officials assured the public that drinking water “remains safe” in St. Charles Parish, and officials in St. James Parish said intake valves there were protected within hours of the incident.
      Wired: How close is water to becoming traded as a commodity?

      Kaufman: It’s not yet tradable, but the model is out there. On the Australian Securities Exchange there’s a whole system of water trading completely modeled and ready to go. It’s also been conceptualized at Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission and in the Delhi Stock Exchange. In Texas they’re thinking about doing it for the Rio Grande.

      There are a number of these systems, but none are up and running yet. That’s why I wrote the article. Once there’s global arbitrage for the price of water, it could be terribly destructive, just like we saw with food, but more so. You have a $648 trillion global business in derivatives. It’s a monster. Do we want water to join that? We saw what derivatives did for mortgage-backed securities. We don’t want them doing that for water.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        As soon as we start to describe the universe with numbers (or money numbers), we enter a bizarre world.

      2. huxley

        The trick is to reduce supply to the point where it becomes profitable to control what’s left.

        That’s where fracking comes in, which uses up huge quantities of water and vastly surpasses the contamination generated by the oil spills and coal ash avalanches. People who are thirsty aren’t going to complain too much about the earthquakes and the stench. Of course, people who have lost their homes and their jobs won’t be in a position to complain about much of anything.

  4. pebird

    Re: BitCoin Mt. Gox problems:

    Was reading through the links, one guy had kept 550 BTC on account at Mt. Gox. On account, not in a transaction! What were people thinking? Why wouldn’t you keep that on a private wallet. Isn’t that the point? I guess if you kept it on account, you could enjoy faster transaction processing, but what a risk.

    Anyway, looks like Mt. Gox was sold to some private investors.

    1. Thor's Hammer

      Lets just say you are the CEO of a TBTF combined bank and hedge fund like JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs. You are gifted with an unlimited line of credit at zero interest from the FED. With that privilege comes responsibility— the responsibility to defend the Dollar as the world reserve currency and standard of value. Gold may be a historical relic, but because so many people believe in it, one of your jobs has long been to manipulate the paper market price and smack down any tendency for its value to rise to the point where it threatens the dollar.

      As digital currencies started to emerge from the shadows of geekdom and pose a potential threat to the entire concept of fiat currencies, what might your assignment be? Attack the largest quasi-bank business model that provides bitcoin/dollar liquidity? This could be done in any number of ways, one of which would be to use the computer resources of NSA to crack the exchange’s operating software and steal/disappear a few hundred million of the customers money. Or provide a blueprint for a chosen Yakuza faction to present the owners of MT Gox an offer they cannot refuse. Or simply buy the exchange with zero interest money, make a few million on arbitrage and disappear it.

      Is this how the vaporization of Mt Gox really came down?
      Only the Shadow knows.

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Everything you know about Ukraine…

    ” Many of those oligarchs have close business ties with Russia, but assets and bank accounts—and mansions—in Europe. Both forces are happy to work with the neoliberal global institutions.”

    That’s one way to prop up European luxury real estate and Euro government bonds.

    Oh, and by investing and creating a few jobs in Europe, perhaps these oligarchs can become residents there so they can continue their ‘good work’ back home.

    That’s how empires reward their far-flung legions…making sure they have safe places to retreat to at the imperial cores.

    1. Jess

      Another quote from the Ames article:

      “…the people who are protesting or supporting the protesters are first and foremost sick of their shitty lives in a shitty country they want to make better—a country where their fates are controlled by a tiny handful of nihilistic oligarchs and Kremlin overlords, and their political frontmen. It’s first and foremost a desire to gain some control over their fate.”

      Gee, once again we see an esteemed pundit/socio-political-economist type pronounce something that someone else already posted on NC days ago. Who was that person?

      (Blushing with true humility.) Why that would be me.

      And as Ames goes on to point out later (and which I noted) Ukrainians are a tough people not easily manipulated by either pro-Kremlin or pro-West/Eu?USA agents.

      1. John Jones

        He also said this though

        “In Ukraine, there is no populist left politics, even though the country’s deepest problem is inequality and oligarchy. Memories of the Soviet Union play a big role in turning people off to populist-left politics there, for understandable reasons.”

        So it seems it might be asking to much for a lot of Ukrainians not to be pro E.U

  6. jfleni

    RE: Woes of Megacity Driving Signal Dawn of ‘Peak Car’ Era

    It’s about time this crazy and useless idea that we can all get around by sealing ourselves in tin coffins (costing $10000 per year and up, including payments for everything), met its timely and predictable end!

    A land public transportation system on the scale of the Interstate Highway Campaign of several decades ago, would transform the USA and the economy — providing a vast number of jobs to make what we desperately need anyway. The only thing standing in the way are a bunch of “good-ol-boy” car dealers (look at them on TV, gloating as they take it all), and almost-all-foreign car manufacturers — supplying a tiny number of jobs!

    Just think: New York to Chicago in three hours, quite easy if we put our minds to it. Grand Central at seven; the Loop at nine! And at the Loop, a really fine system to get around Chicago-Land! Nothing impossible, just can-do American ingenuity!

    1. Jess

      I’m glad to see that you’ve volunteered your house to be torn down (after being acquired through eminent domain for a fraction of its actual value) so that the massive grid (including diagonals) can be built for this utopian car-less fantasy land. Glad you like to live by the train running every 10 minutes or so 24/7. And really glad you like the idea of jettisoning forever the concept of the single family home with some quiet, privacy, and room for kids to play. Because that’s what you’re advocating.

      Awesome view of the world you have.

      1. Eclair

        I am happy for you, Jess. Happy that you live in a single-family house, on a quiet cul-de-sac, and your children can play happily on the street. Not so happy that you have to herd them all into the carbon-monoxide-spewing, non-renewable fossil-fuel-burning, rare-metals consuming single family auto every time you want to buy some milk, or take them to dance class, or drive to school or work.

        And, you probably don’t live in Orange or San Bernardino Counties, where whole housing developments are built within sight and sound and asthma-inducing air-space of 24 hour a day freeways.

        Or, in Jersey City, where streets are clogged with poisonous double-parking SUV’s.

        And, where were you when whole neighborhoods were, at worst demolished and at best cut in half, by massive highway building projects?

        Or, when rackety, poison-gas-belching, lights-on-24-hours-a-day refineries were being built in high-density cities?

        And, a bit hyperbolic, your assumption that a public transportation grid will mean the complete demise of the suburban American dream house? And, is that so bad? After all, city children have happily gone to public parks to play together after school, rather than digging in solitary splendor in their own isolated back yards. And their parents have gathered at cafes, or strolled on car-free streets and conversed with their neighbors rather than drinking their white wine alone on their patios.

        1. Mildred Montana

          Thanks for that, Eclair. You said it far better than I can but I just want to add my two cents to the debate.

          I live in a rural area. No sidewalks, no streetlights, just idiots driving willy-nilly everywhere. All side-roads direct you to the highway, so you end up walking around in circles or doubling back on your route. You can literally walk for an hour without seeing another human being who isn’t attached to an automobile.

          Jess is obviously a conservative, in the sense of conserving the status quo. Okay, change is difficult, change is (or can be) expensive. But what are the social costs of the status quo? This is a question that conservatives ignore or refuse to answer.

          Well, I’ll answer it for them: What are the social costs of the status quo?

          1. Pollution, from CO2 to landfill to trash thrown from cars.
          2. Devotion of public assets to the automobile: Highways, parking, law enforcement, etc., etc.
          3. Loss of community. When everybody has a car, who needs anybody else? Who wants to ride on a bus with all those strangers who might be weird?

          The social costs of the status quo are many. I’ve given just a few of them. But always remember, all you conservatives out there: that “weird” stranger on the bus or walking down your street just might turn out to be a nice person and maybe a friend. A friend you would have never met in your car.

  7. BondsOfSteel

    Uga… Bitcoin.

    So, I’ve finally had enough time to think about Bitcoin. I think there are two separate “problems” it tries to solve, and only one is interesting.

    1) Wealth. The first is the storage of wealth. Yes… only so many Bitcoins can be minted, so it’s independent of the central banks… for now. Is it a better storage vehicle for wealth than gold? US IBonds? I don’t think so.

    2) Free digital transfer of cash. Bitcoins can be transfer anonymously, quickly, “safely”, and free of transaction fees. It’s allows “cash” transactions to occur digitally. This is novel…. this is interesting.

    If you could replicate the free digital cash transactions, with say cash (or IBonds or gold) being the wealth store, IMHO, it would be more successful than Bitcoin.

    Since this is something that would enable more interstate and international commerce… it’s something the Fed Reserve should be doing. They could of course limit it to $10,000 / transactions like they do with cash…. or even $1000.

  8. Jess

    From the Bloomberg article on peak car use:

    “In 25 years, there will be 9 billion people living in urban areas — more than the entire population of the Earth today.”

    Now I know that Yves is violently opposed to cars (except of course ones she uses, such as taxis, town cars, limos, and rental cars when she travels) but the idea of “peak cars” and traffic jams shouldn’t be the takeaway from that sentence. Instead, marvel for a moment at the absurdity of, “9 billion people living in urban areas — more than the entire population of the Earth today.” Hasn’t anybody — anybody — in a position of power and influence realized that the planet has already surpassed the number of people it can support, that global climate change is going to result in mass re-locations AND the death of several billion people due to starvation. Megacities? Hell, before the century is half over, significant parts of what we now know as London and NYC (as well as many other coastal cities) are going to be underwater.

    1. Robert Dudek

      There is no one in a position of power vis-a-vis global urban population growth. For that there would have to be someone charged with managing the affairs of the entire world, and there is no such person – yet.

  9. Jess

    Regarding the WIPP plutonium leakage storage from Simply Info:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the folks over at Simply Info were nice enough to tell us what and where WIPP is? I read the story and could not find one mention of the actual facility name or location. Don’t remember previously seeing it in relation to Fukushima stories, so I guess it could be anywhere. Does the W stand, perhaps, for Washington, as in Washington State?

    1. Jim S

      I posted a comment about this two or three evenings ago. I still don’t know what WIPP stands for, but it is a waste storage facility near Carlsbad, NM. More recently, I read a comment on Reddit–I believe, but I can’t find it right away–that WIPP stores used (and hence contaminated) clothing and equipment rather than spent fuel, so the danger that this might create a uninhabitable wasteland seems minimal. If I find a halfway readable link I’ll post it here.

  10. Cynthia

    “Bipartisan Caving on Military Pension Cuts:”

    I see a huge fairness problem here if Congress were to make cuts to Social Security pensions without making any cuts to military pensions. Military employees contribute at the very most only 3% of their earned income to their pensions, while American workers contribute a much higher percentage of their earned income to their Social Security pensions. American workers on average contribute about 6% of their earned income to their Social Security pensions. That’s double what military employees contribute to their pensions. No fairness here, folks!

    This is especially unfair given that Social Security recipients don’t receive full pension benefits until they reach age 65, regardless of how many years they pay into Social Security. Military employees, OTOH, only have to work 20 years for the military before that receive a full pension, and they get it right away, regardless of their age. It’s very frequently the case that those who retire from the military at age 45 are receiving full pension benefits.

    Come to think of it, state employees on average don’t have it so good, either. Oh sure, they didn’t have to reach age 65 before they receive a full pension. As soon as they put in 25 years working for a state government, they receive full pension benefits. But they oftentimes contribute a great deal more of their income to their pension plans. For example, it is compulsory that Alabama state employees contribute 7.5% of their earned income to their pension plans.

    Contributing 3% or less of your income to a pension plan, as those in the military do, is more of an entitlement than it is an earned benefit. The opposite can be said about most other government-backed pension plans. American workers in the private sector, as well as state employees, contribute at least 6% of their income to their government-backed pension plans, which makes these plans more of an earned benefit than an entitlement. So if our elected officials in Washington are really looking to cut entitlements, which is rallying cry for many of them, they should cut military pensions rather than Social Security pensions.

      1. Cynthia

        25 years is just an average, Prime Beef. Firemen and law enforcement may only have to work 15 to 20 years to get a full pension, but most other government employees, at least at the state level, have to work 25 years to get a full pension. Most Americans have to work 40 years before they can receive full pension payments from Social Security.

        1. cwaltz

          Many Americans work almost 50 years before they’re eligible for full Social Security these days. A person entering the workforce at 18 can’t collect full retirement until they’re 67. It’s a year shy of 50(and technically you may start working before 18 if you aren’t rich.)

    1. Mildred Montana


      Well, freedom never comes cheap, does it?

      If our brave troops contributed 0% of their income to their pensions and were able to collect bigger pensions earlier, maybe we would be more free. ;)

    2. OIFVet

      Where did you get that 3% figure from? I distinctly remember that my LES during my six years of service reflected the same 6.2% SS withholding tax and 1.5% medicare tax that you pay. That 3% number that you cite is a complete lie.

      The larger problem in your post is that you see some sort of perverse “fairness” in cutting earned benefits across all groups. This whole “share the pain” attitude is what allows the “elites” and their political lackeys to get away with cutting our hard earned benefits while they never, ever have to feel the pain themselves. Add in a few well placed shots at the “spoiled” public sector workers and there is zero chance that the relevant questions will be raised by the citizenry: Why cut earned benefits rather than raise them? and Why raise the retirement age rather than lower it? In short, your post uncritically accepts Mssrs. Simpson and Bowles’ prescription that earned benefits must be cut. That’s a rather sad illustration of the effectiveness of the austerity propaganda in turning the working class against their own.

      1. cwaltz

        Dear Mr Veteran-

        We’re very sorry we can’t afford your earned benefits any longer because we only are able to print money to fund imperialism and subsidize corporate America. I’m sure you’ll understand the sacrifice thing since we’ve been asking for it from you for over 2 decades. The CEOs of Lockheed, GE, and Boeing are willing to offer you a complimentary 10% off their products and Golden Corral will give you nice meal once a year however, that is all they’re willing to spring for with the money that we’ve given them over the years.

        Sincerely yours,

        The Pentagon

  11. Yonatan

    “Owner of Opulent Long Island Castle Is Shot in Head by a Masked Gunman”

    What sort of opulence are we talking here? Jamie Dimon or Viktor Yanukovich?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That is one risk with squatting unoccupied mansions or opulent vacation homes of fabulously rich foreign oligarchs/dictators.

  12. savedbyirony

    a little TPP news:

    Also, as a N.E. Ohio resident i can attest that both The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal are terrible in their financial and labor coverage. (for example, last fall while the fast food wage strikes were going on, they both ran front page stories extolling workers singing on their min. wage shifts to relieve stress!) I’ve also been watching them just to see how they cover the TPP/TTIP. Basically, not at all except for the extremely rare editorial promoting obscure, unnamed and unexplained “free trade” deals which promote job growth and the occasional letter to the editor from citizens opposing the TPP.

    1. Mildred Montana

      I have a simple solution to your problem, savedbyirony: Stop reading The Cleveland Plain Dealer and The Akron Beacon Journal and any other newspaper for that matter. Can hundreds of millions of ex-newspaper readers possibly be wrong? I don’t think so.

      I haven’t read a newspaper in ten years (excepting local news, which I think can be important). From the tone of your comment, I haven’t missed much.

  13. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    “Owner of Opulent Long Island Castle Is Shot in Head by a Masked Gunman”
    I’ll bet Dick Cheney can’t account for his whereabouts at the time of the shooting.

  14. Andrew Watts

    RE: How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

    It appears that I was wrong. Greenwald is fully capable of pursuing his private grudge with the GCHQ and serving the public interest. The ban on propaganda aimed at the US population was lifted a few years ago. This law may have specifically mentioned the internet. In any case these are typical HUMINT tactics used to propagandize, disrupt, or subvert activist organizations.

    Here’s some common examples that are frequently used in the news media:

    Repetition reduces vigilance;

    “What the NSA is doing is lawful.”

    “The Snowden disclosures have not proven any flagrant wrong doing.”

    The big move covers the little move;

    “All countries spy on each other… and their domestic population by accident.”

    “It’s only the bulk collection of metadata.”

    How much does trolling for the US government pay? Asking for a friend.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Wonder what they’re afraid of, or trying to cover up with this massive squandering of public resources and human lives?

      1. Andrew Watts

        I don’t really know. One of the things that stood out after 9/11 was the constant stream of proclamations from official channels about how “everything has changed”. Whether it was wholly justified for the intelligence community to take the fall for those events is still debatable but in the aftermath it’s almost as if the Warren Commission never even existed.

        Before 9/11 they would skirt the legal limits in place though they never openly defied the laws that were instituted to constrain their ability to do harm. Ever since then they have been brazenly re-interpreting laws as they see fit. While they casually violate the right to privacy for millions of people. Just look at what they do to their own people whose only crime is to disagree with their collective actions.

        I wish I had an explanation for this erratic behavior as it is extremely self-destructive. If it was solely a matter of self-interest and/or geopolitics I would understand. Overall it isn’t that simple. Their methods have proven to be self-defeating. A fact which they’re being reminded of on a daily basis.

        The most disturbing aspect of all this is that they seem to have forgotten that the basis of national security resides with the public’s trust. Some of them ie; Clapper, Hayden, etc. are apparently getting the memo… and maybe they aren’t,

  15. PNW_WarriorWoman

    I ran the article on Carotid Screening using Carotid Duplex Doppler screening for “carotid stenosis” by my cardiologist. He tells me it is true that this test should not be performed on asymptomatic individuals for all the reasons cited in the article.

    He cautions that this test should NOT be confused with the test that he performs on all enrolling patients (Carotid Intima Media Thickness) testing. The CIMT test that he does has been shown in multiple clinical and research trials to provide for a much more accurate prediction and assessment of one’s future cardiovascular event risk (far superior to the current standard of tallying a person’s traditional risk factors and checking their cholesterol levels). This test (CIMT) is very different from the Carotid Duplex Doppler test alluded to in the article. Indeed he completely agrees with the points made in the article that it (Carotid Duplex Doppler) is an unnecessary test that is over-used within traditional medical practice in patients who are asymptomatic.

    He concludes that If physicians would only use the RIGHT test to screen for “subclinical vascular disease” — the CIMT — and then treat and advise their patients accordingly, heart attacks and strokes would go the way of the dinosaurs and Carotid Duplex Doppler tests would become obsolete along with the life-threatening events that provoke physicians to order the very test.

    1. Carla

      Golly, your physician assumes that the great majority of people actually see doctors and therefore the docs have the option of even ordering the wrong test. Please inform your naive cardiologist, very many Americans are not screened for anything because they don’t see doctors at all, ever, or at least until they are actually dying. This will not change much under Obamacare, because health insurance in no way equals health CARE.

      1. PNW_WarriorWoman

        In no way is my cardiologist naive, and in fact he is one of only 3 truly functional cardiologists in the country. He does not take insurance. He is private pay. He is very well aware, as am I, that not all people actually see doctors. (duh!) That was not the point of sharing his thoughts. The POINT was to share his professional perspective on the CDD test and suggest that those who WERE getting some kind of screening get the right kind of screening. Far too many cardiologists — with superb training, common sense and intelligence — order tests that line their private practice pockets and that insurance will pay for, for those that have insurance, Medicare and at times Medicaid, but those tests do nothing for patients.

  16. Andrew Watts

    For the lulz:

    Hacker defaces “ethical” hacking organization’s website with passport photo of Edward Snowden. This company is frequently used to certify natsec officials on cyber security-related issues.

    “Defaced again? Yep, good job reusing your passwords morons jack67834#

    owned by certified unethical software security professional

    Obligatory link:

    -Eugene Belford

    P.S It seems like lots of you are missing the point here, I’m sitting on thousands of passports belonging to LE (and .mil) officials”

    Uh-oh! Another reason why dropping all charges against Snowden is probably a good idea. Otherwise it might be open season on the NSA. I’m starting to feel sorry for them.

  17. jfleni

    RE: How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet…. (etc).

    Dressing it up with slick charts, and pschobable drivel aside, all of these techniques would have been instantly recognized in the time of the Pharoh Ramses!

    It’s hard to believe that worldly and experienced reporters like Greenwald would get sidetracked by such nonsense! But of course, hubris and the desire to be at the center of a “miracle” is its own reward for jumped-up prophets like him.

  18. Kurt Sperry

    How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations Glenn Greenwald, Intercept-

    The most striking thing to me reading this is the prosaic intellectual mediocrity evident in the screencap images. This is straight from the dysfunctional, pop-psy school of corporate organizational psychobabble. Imagine the cognitive disarray necessary to produce the charts “deception_p11″, “deception_p12″ and “deception_p24″ for instance and to imagine them as cogent or effective communication tools. Imagine the stultifying, brain killing idiocy of any meeting where these images were projected onto a screen on the wall with some mouth breathing, crew cut tool reading a script and going through the talking points with a laser pointer. Imagine the hell of being one of them, trapped in this infernal environment every day.

    Are these revelations alarming? Yes, of course. They describe the types of social engineering no putatively democratic government should ever be engaged in. But they also describe the cognitive disarray, intellectual mediocrity and moral vacuity of their authors. It’s hard to decide whom to feel more sorry for, the targets of these clumsy psy-ops or the masses of operatives living meaningless, empty, dead lives inside windowless crypts in Bethesda or Cheltenham who this soul sapping dreck is presumably produced for.

    1. Andrew Watts

      You’re missing the point. This is a online reiteration of COINTELPRO under a different agency with similar circumstances.

      “While the declared purposes of these programs were to protect the “national security” or prevent violence, Bureau witnesses admit that many of the targets were nonviolent and most had no connections with a foreign power. Indeed, nonviolent organizations and individuals were targeted because the Bureau believed they represented a “potential” for violence — and nonviolent citizens who were against the war in Vietnam were targeted because they gave “aid and comfort” to violent demonstrators by lending respectability to their cause.” -Church Committee on COINTELPRO

      Since the NSA is not technically designated as a foreign intelligence agency they could be meddling in domestic affairs that are nominally the legal domain of the FBI. The alternative theory is that the FBI could be collaborating with the NSA on programs like this.

      It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. The FBI was actively collaborating with the NSA with it’s PRISM mass surveillance program. This is a good reason why the NSA should be classified as a foreign intelligence agency.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Missing the point? That the alphabet soup of security state agencies play jurisdictional games to skirt putative restraints on their activities or that there are striking similarities present to the COINTELPRO program? That’s a point, but hardly “the” point exclusive of all others. I feel genuine pity for the tools authoring and subjected to this psychobabble bilge. While hardly being a spiritual or superstitious person, this is soul killing stuff. I am imagining the toll integrating this pathological mindset into one’s professional life must take on one’s psyche and the knock on effects it must inflict on their families and personal relationships. The set of victims here is far wider than the “targets” of these psy-ops. Like the soldiers sent off to fight meaningless wars, they in some dim corners of their souls must realize that they too are in a real sense victims of this oppressive and inhuman system. One cannot do great evil and oneself remain unscathed by the experience.

        1. Jess

          I think you’re missing the point. What is important is not whether these folks are deluded or killing their own souls, but rather the extent to which they are enabling a horrific real-life combination of 1984 and neo-liberal global corporate governance. Stop focusing on the way these charts are assembled and hone in on the acts and policies the charts describe — acts and policies that are being used every day against anyone who dares speak out for democracy or economic fairness or environmental protection. IOW, it doesn’t matter what they’re doing to themselves, it matters what they’re doing to US.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            From “You’re missing the point.”, to “I think you’re missing the point.”. At least some evolution is evident.

            Now obviously this rather crude form of social engineering is dangerous, but the danger cuts both ways. Societies–even authoritarian ones–cannot function lacking a degree of trust in their institutions. Trust potentiates efficiencies all across society and a general lack of trust will be poisonous to the institutions of governance at some point. If the people lack trust in the essential honesty and goodwill of their governing institutions the entire thing will eventually collapse. Even kings and dictators aren’t immune history clearly shows. Whatever utility is served by playing these sociopathic games on the internet will eventually be undone by the inevitable lack of institutional trust that will result. I have faith that people will eventually see through the crude and rather childish games being described here–it’s really not terribly clever or sophisticated stuff we’re talking about–and the result will not be what those directing this from within their narcissistic cocoons are wanting or expecting.

  19. annie

    curious if others–esp lambert and yves–have found the tenor of nc’s comments changed in the past year or so?
    i have, and not to my liking.

    1. Murky

      Annie – Okay, I’ll bite. But first here’s thanks for yesterday’s link to Timothy Snyder’s piece in the NY Review of Books. That was gem quality content from a Yale historian about nationalism in Ukraine. Ya think, just maybe a step up from the defamatory content about ‘nazi’ Ukrainians at Moon of Alabama? Ha! Illustrates perfectly that the links here are of highly variable quality. Likewise, the people that post here are equally diverse. Love the people who really do have expertise in a subject area, as I can get a quick education on many issues. On the downside, the political rant here is sometimes highly opinionated and lacking good factual basis. That kind of gutter level politics is never interesting for me. But most debate is at least open to challenge, and a lot of trolls here get shot down in flames. Yay! That’s sometimes the best content at NC. The civility here also strikes me a much better than in most political forums. Yves and Lambert work very hard for that. A few people do spoil debate through reckless, overbearing, or hostile comment, but that seems to occur only in a minority of threads. While I’m at it, I might as well state plainly that there is a political bias here too, but it’s not insufferable. Anything remotely ‘neoliberal’ is a clear target. Try having a discussion about Ken Rogoff or Milton Friedman, and a swarm of people will verbally beat these guys to a pulp, as if they were modern Hitlers of the economics profession. I’d prefer a cleaner style of academic debate and more balanced assessments, but a little political baggage is somehow not that bad. Anyways, Anne, I’ve stuck my neck out here with a flood of opinion. Could you please be a little more articulate about the issues you have with the commentariat here at NC?

      1. PWC, Raleigh

        generally supportive of @Murky’s points above. nobody promised constant critical thought would be comfortable. comments today fall all over the same continuum as comments of yesteryear, imho.

    1. Wayne Reynolds

      Two blocks away from Fenway Park is the Muddy River and the Fredrick Law Olmstead Emerald Necklace Park, parts of which are quite wild. I lived in the area for nearly 25 years, at that time an overlooked but naturally beautiful part of the inner city. A 15 minute walk to Copley Square. Alas today, gentrification.

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    Both forces are happy to work with the neoliberal global institutions

    Sounds like some other political “forces” I know in a country called the USA. Lots of that neoliberal global institution love goin’ around these days. Among political “forces.”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Meant as a comment to Prime Beef way up above. Whew! I gotta learn how to work this comment section.

    1. bob

      Sorry for a rant here, but that link is driving me insane. Click it, the story pops up for a split second, the redirects me to a page (not oaklandpress) that tells me to turn on java. Can’t click “back”, apparently without java they can still screw with my browsing history.

      I already saw the story, quickly. It works without java. Also, I can’t “whitelist” a site that I’m not on anymore-

      Re the story that I can’t read without agreeing to an Ellison enema/probe-
      I think it’s great when people put their lives on the line for their beliefs.

  21. kareninca

    Another poster mentioned here a few days ago that Fukushima is getting essentially no coverage anywhere at the moment. This is really true, even though they are supposedly in the middle of moving the fuel rods, a very dangerous undertaking.

    There is a new “article” up on the San Jose Mercury News website by someone named Aaron Kinney, which is a total garbage propaganda piece ( It directly claims that the Half Moon Bay geiger counter results were “debunked” (they were not debunked! they were confirmed by county officials and independent scientists! Admittedly the source or the radiation was not Fukushima, but the radioactive sand is very real and not something you would want your kid or dog to play in). It also directly claims that NO radiation from Fukushima has reached the CA coast: that is absurd; we got plenty of fallout in the rain directly after the accident, there is no debate or doubt re that. Two gross errors, evident to even a casual reader.

    So the small amount of reporting we are getting, is crap that is meant to reassure. It is funny how sometimes the (highly critical) comments attached to the SJMN story appear, and sometimes they don’t.

    1. bob

      99% of the “news” about fuk is bs, starting with claims that “radiation” from fuk is riding the currents across the ocean. THE BIGGEST OCEAN IN THE WORLD. Silver surfer!

      honest question- How heavy is “radiation”? Does it float? I’m not sure I could put a truck load of logs into the ocean at fuk and have them end up in North America. But radiation! Why are they even bothering with ships to bring “stuff” across the pacific anymore. Just toss it in the ocean.

      Nothing new. The monster they never show in the movie is much more scary than the one they try to put a face on.

      1. kareninca

        Yes, indeed, most of the “news” that we are getting re Fukushima, is garbage. You seem to have noticed that the scare sites are garbage. Well, duh. It bothers me more that the MSM is also producing garbage, outright lies in an apparent attempt to “reassure.” Aren’t both forms of inaccuracy a problem?

        The San Jose Mercury News article was grossly flawed. I am not sitting here in CA cowering in fear of Fukushima radiation, but I do not appreciate being fed a line of BS about “debunked geiger counter readings” (which weren’t debunked; they were confirmed), and “no Fukushima radiation at ALL hitting the CA coast” (absolutely some did). When the MSM produces what gives every appearance of being propaganda (even if it is just due to lazy stupidity), why wouldn’t people become suspicious?

        Debris from Asia lands on the CA coast all of the time. We will end up with some hot material from Fukushima, no doubt. If the MSM provided credible news re this sort of thing, people would be able to rationally consider the degree of risk they want to take. If the MSM simply produces lies that are easily refuted, they will not be believed, and people will turn to scare sites, on the assumption that something is being covered up.

        1. kareninca

          In the interest of fairness, I want to note that Aaron Kinney has revised the online version of the SJMN article, and it now no longer contains the errors I complained about. I am actually very impressed.

  22. Marianne J

    Those Mt. Gox fellas need to rethink their current physical location. Japanese regulators thoroughly enjoy jailing people in the finance and associated industries. Japan is no place if you want to defraud or fail to maintain adequate consumer standards.

  23. Oregoncharles

    I don’t think that’s a redtail hawk – the tail is narrow and barred, not red. Not sure what it is, though.

Comments are closed.