Links 4/10/14

Sweden to become more stereotypical Daily Mash

The silencing of the Deaf Medium

Tamiflu: Millions wasted on flu drug, claims major report BBC

Dropbox apps to target Google and Apple Financial Times

Silicon Valley gets excited about a small news story John Gapper v. Is There a Wonk Bubble? Felix Salmon. The money being thrown at these ventures is insane. Maybe one will grow up to be a Huffington Post, but that means deviating considerably from their narrow focus to reach a broader reachership.

Weak Chinese Trade Data Cloud Growth Hopes Wall Street Journal

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble ‘can’t bear hearing’ austerity versus growth debate Telegraph

Fix the Banks, Fix Europe Bloomberg

Greece: debt laden, but looking to borrow again euronews

Greek `Recovery’ Is Just More Agony Bloomberg

Egypt’s Solvency Crisis Council on Foreign Relations


Russia Plotting for Ukrainian Influence, Not Invasion, Analysts Say New York Times. OMG, some nuanced commentary from a major US media organ! Does this portend a desire on the part of the US to dial down the rhetoric a tad?

Russia presses Ukraine on gas bills Financial Times

EU braces for Russian reaction BBC

Putin AIms His Energy Weapon At Ukraine Foreign Policy

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Profiling Rules Said to Give F.B.I. Tactical Leeway New York Times

Stop Comparing the NSA to 1984—Start Comparing It to Philip K. Dick Atlantic. This site has mentioned pre-crime previously, and Snowden made a reference in his EU videoconference.

Anatomy of OpenSSL’s Heartbleed: How four bytes trigger terrible bug Register

Heartbleed: don’t rush to update passwords, security experts warn Guardian. Not necessarily. If the service in question has patched the flaw, you should.

The Real Threat From The Heartbleed Security Flaw Is The NSA Buzzfeed

Obamacare Launch

Obamacare was a story of survival, not success Bloomberg

Mission Accomplished?––7.1 Million––Will the Obama Administration Come To Regret Today’s Obamacare Enrollment Announcement? Health Care Renewal

RAND Comes Clean: Obamacare’s Exchanges Enrolled Only 1.4 Million Previously Uninsured Individuals Forbes. The underlying Rand study is here.

Political Ties of Top Billers for Medicare New York Times

Medicare’s Wasted Advantage Bloomberg

Report Finds a Los Angeles in Decline New York Times

An Upper East Side Ex-Investment Banker Is Now Campaigning as an Elizabeth Warren Democrat The Wire

New Offers Proposed for Art in Detroit Bankruptcy New York Times

Cliven Bundy Ranch Dispute: Nevada Gov., US Senator Slam Government Agency for Seizing Cattle Epoch Times (Deontos). Tasers play a prominent role.

J.P. Morgan’s Dimon Got $11.8 Million for 2013, According to SEC Methodology; Down 37% Wall Street Journal

Understanding contagious bank runs VoxEU

Minutes show Fed struggled to agree on rate policy Associated Press

Fed minutes indicate easy-money policy may persist Los Angeles Times

IMF: Successful exit from QE balances on a knife-edge Telegraph

Have we begun a second Great Moderation? MacroBusiness

Vicious Disequilibrium, in the Los Angeles Review of Books Yanis Varoufakis

Minimum Wages and Women’s Wage Inequality: They’re Intimately Related Jared Bernstein

University students will be repaying loans into their 50s, say researchers Guardian

Antidote du jour. Carl P writes: “These guys are 1.5 weeks old, born to a feral in our garage. Their eyes just opened, but they’d rather sleep. Who wouldn’t?”


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. paul

    Euro democracy in action:
    Set a nice high bar for attention.
    Watch with alarm as it is met.
    Ignore it.
    Get on with degrading the food supply

    What happens when a citizens’ initiative gets one million signatures?

    The Commission will carefully examine the initiative. Within 3 months after receiving the initiative:

    Commission representatives will meet the organisers so they can explain in detail the issues raised in their initiative
    the organisers will have the opportunity to present their initiative at a public hearing in the European Parliament
    the Commission will adopt a formal response spelling out what action it will propose in response to the citizens’ initiative, if any, and the reasons for doing or not doing so.

    The response, which will take the form of a communication, will be formally adopted by the College of Commissioners and published in all official EU languages.

    The Commission is not obliged to propose legislation as a result of an initiative. If the Commission decides to put forward a legislative proposal, the normal legislative procedure kicks off: the Commission proposal is submitted to the legislator (generally the European Parliament and the Council or in some cases only the Council) and, if adopted, it becomes law

  2. gonzomarx

    further tussles between the City and Members

    Lord Myners quits Co-operative Group
    Independent director’s sudden exit follows barrage of opposition to his proposals to reform troubled mutual

    “Myners is proposing scrapping the current boardroom structure which currently comprises 15 representatives from the regions – including a farmer, a university lecturer and a nurse – and five from the independent societies.”

  3. dcb

    I don’t really understand the sham of all this talk on interest rate policy and the fed.
    it’s clear from the UK, and now the us, plus with the knowledge of japan we are never going to see real interest rates in my lifetime in the united states. Instead of using Qe to de lever the system as it should the fed encouraged more debt. the value of this debt will have to be protected (i include margin debt) and they will never raise interest rates to normal in order to cover up their massive screw up. It’s exactly the same way they have had blinders as to their role in the crisis, and have blinders to the problems in their economic theories.

    It is my assumption that anyone getting that high on the totem pole knows they created instability, etc. What is said is for public consumption. What is done is done because it’s what bankers want. The federal reserve and it’s board are effectively one large banking industry lobby. Like all lobby groups the goal is to figure out a way to rationalize their desires so it appears to be for the common good

    I said years ago we’d never see interest rates normalize in my lifetime. I’m more sure than ever. the nonsense of altering forward guidance criteria shows it.

    What really bothers me is the lack of honest voices in regards to what is going on and why.
    I think it has been decided the truth can’t be handled.

    What I am wondering now (based on the lack of prosecutions after the crisis) is if there is a nice easy to follow paper trail leading back to the federal reserve they don’t want public.
    See forex and libior scandals. It wouls make absolute sense considering the sanders report by the gao of conflicts of interest at the federal reserve. Plus, note that despite a majority wanting good full regular gao type audits of the fed we don’t have it.

      1. Optimader

        Normal I.R. –As quantifiable as predicting the balance left of someones lifetime. Dcb may inadvertently be calling in a Fed hitman.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘We’d never see interest rates normalize in my lifetime.’

      Quite possible if the past repeats. In this long-term chart covering the entire sordid history of the Federal Reserve, one can see that the real Fed Funds rate was negative most of the time for 20 years, from the early Thirties to the early Fifties (when the Fed-Treasury accord ended the pegging of long-term Treasury yields).

      Brief excursions of the real rate above zero in 1937 and 1948 both produced prompt recessions — OOPS! That’s the same sorcerer’s apprentice dilemma that the PhD Morons face today: they can’t stop their out-of-control ZIRP broom from fetching liquidity, unless they hike rates and flatten the economy into roadkill.

      It’s an exquisite dilemma. But don’t cry for the egghead-charlatan check kiters. As ol’ Jim Morrison wrote nigh on fifty years ago, ‘You are locked in a prison of your own devise.’ Strange days, comrades!

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        The nature of our monetary system requires constant expansion of the base both naturally (through legitimate growth of wealth and population), and as a result of the switch to a credit-based consumer economy over the past 40 years, or so (money created and circulated with interest due requires that interest be accounted for as currency).

        There is a reason we have a purely fiat currency.

        The potential for the production of dollars is infinite. Being so, any shortage in any sector of the economy is purely a matter of policy. What ails us isn’t interest rates or the quantity of dollars in the system. What ails us is how those dollars, once created, are distributed.

        The USD is the sole product of The People’s Government’s Factory for Production of Invisible Blue Smoke. It is the Mother of all Monopolies, and business is booming.

  4. skippy

    Commonwealth Bank’s top lawyer, David Cohen, was rebuked before a senate inquiry on Thursday morning for downplaying systematic fraud within the bank’s financial services arm as ”inappropriate”.

    The word ”inappropriate” was suitable to describe an error of judgment in clothing choice, said Mark Bishop, chairman of the Senate inquiry into the performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, but not the fraud and failure within the bank’s wealth management division which culminated in clients losing millions of dollars in savings.

    It was a gruelling day for the bank’s three top lawyers who fronted the senate panel following the testimony of Commonwealth Financial Planning (CFP) victims.

    A group of whistleblowers – known as the ferrets – tipped off the regulator about a scandal inside the bank’s wealth division in October 2008.

    It then took ASIC 3½ years to act on the information provided by CBA in June 2009 about the serious allegations of forgery and fraud by a planner, who was allowed to continue to work in the industry during the regulator’s inaction.

    The scandal was exposed in a series of articles by Fairfax Media journalists Adele Ferguson and Chris Vedelago. The articles highlighted a flawed compliance structure inside CFP that covered up serious infractions, including instances of forgery, overcharging and the use of high-risk investment products without clients’ permission.

    Read more:

  5. diptherio

    Re: Medicare’s Wasted Advantage

    It’s hard to fault the insurance industry for defending its interests. More objectionable is that lawmakers from both parties have endorsed the industry’s claims and pressured the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to avert further cuts.

    Uh…the interests of “lawmakers from both parties” are to advocate for whatever policies their funders desire. In playing the corrupt DC game in the usual way, lawmakers are also defending their own interests. But–and this is the important part–it is NOT hard to fault the individuals involved. They know derned good and well that they’re fleecing the populace, whether it is in their “interests” or not is immaterial.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Yes. And Medicare Advantage is small potatoes compared to the annual Medicare payment-cut sham which has been going on for 17 years now:

      With just hours to spare, Congress stepped Monday to finalize legislation to prevent doctors who treat Medicare patients from being hit with a 24 percent cut in their payments from the government.

      The $21 billion measure would stave off a 24 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors for a year and extend dozens of other expiring health care provisions such as higher payment rates for rural hospitals. The legislation is paid for by cuts to health care providers, but fully half of the cuts won’t kick in for 10 years.

      It’s the seventeenth temporary “patch” to a broken payment formula that dates to 1997 and comes after lawmakers failed to reach a deal on financing a permanent fix.

      Other peoples’ money: nothing better for lighting one’s cigars!

    2. McMike

      Having seen simultaneous pieces critical of Medicare lately (“wasted advantage; millionaire doctors, oh my!), my Media Attack Campaign Indicator Light went off. Are we actually seeing a preemptive attack on single payer being rolled out – played out as an attack on Medicare?

      The timing is convenient, for both sides actually: try and take the focus off of Obamacare, and try and take single payer off the table right before it dawns on everyone that Obamacare didn’t fix anything. The multiple simultaneous appearance of critical pieces is generally a reliable red flag.

      The Bloomberg piece in particular is highly suspect. The point of the piece seems to be hinting that government doesn’t have the will to slash medical spending… not sure what conclusion we draw from that, when in the same breath they affirm that health insurance companies have an obligation to inflate it. Something else bugged me about the piece, but can’t remember what now. This is not the story of medicare failure, it is the story of government capture by industry lobbyists – written in Orwellian fashion to excuse the crooks, and transfer the guilt of the getaway driver onto the victims.

      The millionaire doctors piece is also annoying, in its salacious pushing of an accurate but misleading punchline – because many of the high value billers are aggregating multiple providers.

      In any case, before we all pile on and do some medicare-hating. Let’s be sure we aren’t helping to kill single payer for another round.

      1. Romancing the Loan

        NPR woke me up this morning with a report on how the data on how much doctors are paid by Medicare is now available for the first time in 30 years. I lay there wondering how, exactly, this was going to be used to screw us. I think you’re right.

        1. McMike

          I would think that doctors for whom MC is a big part of their practice are big supporters of the program. Griping about paperwork and fee schedules aside.

          So, how better to punish them than direct the a media feeding frenzy circus of scrutiny and also implications of profiteering and wrongdoing at them.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Probably can Jujitsu the whole unsavory offensive into a counter offensive to promote Single Payer AND a wealth tax.

      2. Paul Tioxon

        The unending war on Medicare is the accurate picture, the truth. The constant attacks on The New Deal and the unfinished business of FDR, The Great Society legislation of LBJ, a devotee of the great Roosevelt, started with the initial attacks from the 1930s and have not ceased to this day. As if genetically transmitted as surely as great wealth is inherited, like a royal title from generation to generation, the new generation of young scum bag republicans pit bulls, all pretty in lip gloss and hollywood glam have fired the same shots that have fired for almost a century and have been fired at labor since capitalism was formed and so on into the past.

        Anything accomplished to expand the distribution of wealth is not to be considered consolidated nor UNable to torn be from our cold, dead hands. As Abby Huntsman’s continued tirades and hit back at her criticism of Social Security prove, the heartless people in power need a vast pool of labor from over 80% of the population to keep them from the drudgery of fear of want. The rich have always been free from hunger, free from the cold and dark, free from the anxiety of fear for their lives or their well being from violence or disease. Abby Huntsman is the new face of oppression, just as her father John Huntsman leads the Atlantic Elites as the current leader of THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL:

        “Washington, DC – The Atlantic Council today named Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.―one of America’s most prominent politicians, business leaders, and diplomats―as new chairman of its Board of Directors. His appointment takes immediate effect.

        The announcement follows a period of extraordinary growth in the size, scope, and influence of the nonpartisan organization, driven by the Atlantic Council’s expanded mission of galvanizing the transatlantic community and its global partners to address the world’s most pressing challenges. This transformation has included deepening the Atlantic Council’s work on international security while launching new centers addressing global business and economics, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, South Asia, and Eurasia.

        Huntsman succeeds Chuck Hagel, who stepped down early last year after President Barack Obama nominated him to serve as US secretary of defense. Since then, Brent Scowcroft, two-time US national security advisor, has served as the Atlantic Council’s interim chairman.”


        There are no pre-emptive strikes against Social Security, Medicare, Disability or Unemployment. They are always under attack. Sometimes the forces against them are few and now, there is a broader coalition of heartlessness due to the exigency of capitalist crisis and burning riots in the streets. The external enemy to capitalism is the labor that is exploited by it, the internal enemy is the competition of capitalist among themselves, which is as ruthless and vindictive as it gets in humanity’s inhumanity to itself. Putin’s Russia will not accept the terms of NATO or G7 diktats. The petty annoyance of people retiring before 70 or 75 with Social Security and Medicare is left to the young adult children, something to cut their teeth on and make their bones while they wait to ascend to the commanding heights of capitalism. It is war all the time in my neighborhood, how about yours?

      3. Lambert Strether

        “Are we actually seeing a preemptive attack on single payer being rolled out – played out as an attack on Medicare?” Well, it sure is weird that the attacks started rolling out just as soon as ObamaCare could plausibly be said to have hit its number.

        Krugman gave a heads-up on this with a column some months ago (too lazy to find the link right now) that said Medicaid was the future, because of cost savings; hilariously, he recycled a previous column on the same topic, just crossing out Medicare and writing in Medicaid; I’m guessing because Medicaid’s neo-liberal infestation of fees and rental extraction is even greater than Medicare’s. Also, of course, Medicaid is for poor people, in essence undeserving. It’s important to degrade the recipients of government largesse in any way possible. Except for really large largesse, of course.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          Somehow, looking behind the smiling faces of neo-liberals who as democrats somehow, come up with thin gruel, and never move on the unfinished business of The White Male New Deal with universal health care as strong as Social Security is a universal pension plan with an attenuated Medicare. Somehow, the republican controlled congress voting a bill to completely destroy Social Security, medicare, medicaid, ignoring unemployment insurance, the right to vote, the closing down of abortion clinics by the dozens across the country, somehow, this is not a clear and present danger to all of the progress that moved America from being an impoverished backwards rural nation.

          How is it that the paranoid style of political analysis is somehow, credible, valid, when the complete destruction in an open and notorious manner is conducted in public without any comment. Are you people just trying to be contrary because you can’t get what you want? Do you really have to repeat over and over this MSM is the devil and then conduct super oblique strategies to de-construct what is really going on. The destruction of the entire safety net, the austerity option is online for you and everyone else on NC to read.
          The Republican-led House has approved a budget that would cut spending by $5.1 trillion over the next ten years and slash funds for social programs.

          The budget put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin passed 219-205. A dozen conservative Republicans opposed the measure, saying it doesn’t go far enough to reduce the deficit.

          Ryan’s proposal would repeal the Affordable Care Act, transform food stamp programs into block grants and turn Medicare into a “premium support” model. The Wisconsin lawmaker says it would balance the budget in a decade.

          The 2015 budget is mainly a political tool as contentious midterm elections loom. It’s a familiar routine; Ryan’s past proposals became fodder for campaign ads in past election cycles as well.

          Democrats, including President Barack Obama, have lambasted the document, which they say guts the social safety net and deprives seniors of federal programs into which they’ve already paid.

          In a statement, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel said the

          Republican supporters of the Ryan budget point to its spending cuts and long-term plans for making entitlement programs more sustainable


          There you have it Lambert, on a silver platter. About a dozen US Senators is all you need to get er done! What’s the hold up with twiddle de dum and twiddle de dee, don’t they both want to destroy it all and extract all the rent and fees now. Why are the democrats so sneaky and trying to bleed just a little at time when they could have it all. Isn’t that the stated political goal.

          Universal National Health, single payer model, has organized institutional opposition on a political, economic and cultural basis. Combined, the chances of anything moving forward in that direction are continually under scrutiny by the well funded think tanks whose intellectual hoardes come from the same Ivy League schools that Yves, you and I come from. They have standing pre-formed policy white papers and schools and summer institutes that then place their research fellows in jobs in media across the nation at every level. There is never a week that passes without a huge amount of column inches devoted to entitlement ticking time bombs editorials. The radio waves, I’m sure you’re aware of, are owned by the right wing. The next step for the liberal big government types is no different than the private sector where consolidation and cartel formation is the structural logic of capitalism. If the government bureaucracy is to survive and the base of power for the people attached to it, the democrats across the nation, they need to bulk up the government involvement.

          The right wing sees the next steps in consolidation as only a natural in the hammering of suppliers and providers to drive down costs. Consolidated purchasing of Medicaid, Medicare, and VA, across all programs, expansion of Medicare as an Advantage plan to all at an affordable rate and even relinquishing the 50 state money pit model of administration of Medicaid, which should be federalized and rebranded as Medicare, will be the next cost savings moves that are as obvious an a target for attack from the right as they are as a solution from the liberals.

          Even lunkheads like Chris Matthews finally get the Obamacare rube golberg monstrosity of the 4 levels of plans and different states and federal exchange complexity. Even he sees the simplicity of just expanding Medicare and be done with it. If any pre-emptive strikes are being launched, Just google Paul Ryan budget to find out what they are. That is future of health care in America if the government exits those programs, not the incremental a bit here and a bit there dismantling by the democrats. They know the safety net is really a safety valve. It keeps the wealth safe much more than it does the rest of the laboring, dangerous classes. It keeps the wealthy safe from the rest of us.

  6. jjmacjohnson

    Tired of the Orwell vs. Dick debate. Neither was saying that this is what the future shall be they wrote of imagined futures. Sometimes the future imitates that art other times another. Many times both.

  7. Eeyores enigma

    It really is this simple. We have reached and in fact overshot the Limited to Growth.

    We refused to believe it, believe something as basic as “a finite planet” would hinder our march onward and upward and so we replaced the finite with infinite. Finite resources and finite environmental uptake with infinite money/debt.

    It worked for a while…well sort of…it freed up some of the more costly resources and pushed the pollution boundaries further out. The problem is it only benefits the leeches while the rest of the economy continues its long walk to destitution.

    Those in charge understand this to some degree but see no alternative that satisfies the monied minority that they have come to represent so they act like this is just a policy glitch that just needs to be debated and worked out (not unlike most blogs on the internet).

    Economy means reconciling what we have (finite planet) with what we need to do to survive.

    What EVERYONE SEEMS to think economy means is how much money should we pump or dump in order to keep chaos from happening. No relation to finite planet what so ever.

    There can be no discussion of the economy, Global or other wise, without constant consideration of the finite aspect of the planet we live on. To leave that out relegates the conversation to religious fanatical ravings.

    1. KGilmour

      I see denial everywhere. My observations are deleted at sites like Huffpost, and NYT, Wapo – because the inevitable is so politically incorrect.

      There are simply too many people, chasing diminishing resources, and a degraded ecosystem. END OF DISCUSSION>

      That said – the extreme left refuses to admit publicly that People are the problem – ever mindful of their reputation for egalitarian, anthropocentric solutions. When, in fact, most of the greenies I know prefer animals and wild spaces – and if given the choice, would give Africa to the wildlife, and to hell with the locals.

      Sorry – but Outside Magazine is published in here in Santa Fe – and it’s no secret that their editorial policy barely masks their disdain for humanity. Lets face it – the extreme left prefers plants, animals and open spaces to the economic needs of emerging nations and peoples. [but only in private]

      Couple that with the xenophobic proclivities of the extreme right [ignoring THEIR insistence that all God’s children are divine] – and you have the makings of a political coalition to erase much of the worlds population, in favor of ‘sustainability’. – in theory of course.

      This formula for sustainability seems pretty unanimous over after dinner cocktails, wine or mary jane. I’m a boomer – this is pretty standard philosophy for my mostly white, college educated – but struggling professional class.

      To hell with Haiti – Bangladesh – Venezuelans, Masai, Kykuyu et al. None of the aforementtioned want to look into the eyes of starving children — they just want em GONE!

      I’ve seen friends and family tear up over Sarah McLaughlin singing for the sad eyes of a dog in a pound awaiting rescue – and in the next breath – yell at the TV when Catholic Charities asks for a few bucks to Feed the Children – “Who cares? – Worthless breeders!”

      Now the whole board will pounce — such blasphemy – I know – me and mine should go first… carbon foot prints and all that…

      Well, I’m only reporting what I know to be the truth of the dilemma – I have friends who volunteered in Africa – upon return – they have a whole knew perspective on what’s worth saving in the world. Doctors without Borders are stunned by what they found. No girl in any village that hadn’t been sexually abused by adult males – their own brothers and fathers. Children torturing dogs in a pit – FOR FUN!! on and on and on it goes…

      I share your disdain – hatred even – for the banksters, fraudsters, liars and thieves who exploit the world and it’s lesser members – but after too many passport stamps – I don’t have much empathy for those who still don’t understand why you cannot defecate in your water supply, dump your trash in the road out front – or have sex with chickens, monkeys and toddlers.

      Do not insult readers by comparing institutional pedophilia of the corrupt churches and synogogues with gazillions of peasantry – who fish bomb reefs, despoil every square inch of their world, and go on to parent another 10 like them.

      I’m just here for a reality check…. and billions must go – if anything is to be left of the planet… of course I would start with leafy Connecticut neighborhoods… but that’s not how it’s gonna play out.

      1. Massinissa

        You act as though Environmentalists are ALL thats on the extreme left.

        You realize the exteme left also counts Anarchists, Communists and Socialists (like myself) among its number? We arnt all Green Party or PETA types you know.

        Anyway, you say things like “The extreme left doesnt care about emerging nations…” And im like are you serious? Just about the ONLY thing a socialist Reddit that I read talks about these days is Venezuela. Theres probably 10 posts on Venezuela for every post about anything related to the environment

        Youre stereotyping alot. Like, alot alot. Not every ‘far leftest’ is some bourgeois green party type.

      2. KGilmour

        The East African newspaper in Nairobi is an interesting read – in English of course. Letters to the Editor complain that the government should be compensating families whose poultry have been sodomized by local boys — resulting in extreme financial hardship.

        You cannot make this stuff up. The Japan [is it Post?] – the English newspaper out of Tokyo always has great stuff on Asian atrocities – regular day to day degradations – goats tethered in bath tubs of homes without refrigeration – eaten one leg at a time… keeping the goat alive of course… until it’s necessary to put the thing out of its misery…. or the zoos… the famous Asian zoos… for the kiddies of course… where bears pace and scream from hunger…

        Yeah… send your dollars today… save a child in Africa or Asia… maybe one day they can go to the zoo – fish the reefs to feed their 10 kids — or be able to buy that goat.

          1. KGilmour

            Costa Rica has outlawed cages for any animals. They are ahead of the Americas and Europe on animal rights.

            As to Africans, and Asians… You can find innocents in any hell hole. My point is no zoo in the Americas would tolerate what is everyday standards in Indonesia. Have you been to any of these sewers?

            It’s soooo easy to be humanitarian when you are sitting in the West, blaming Colonialism for the state of these places.

            Notre Dame Cathedral was built when Africans hadn’t yet discovered that cloth held up to the wind could advance their boats forward!

            South Americans hadn’t noticed that coconuts roll down hill — and alas no wheels until their introduction by evil Europeans.

            I’m so tired of comfortable Western socialists, communists and other anthropocentric academics telling me it’s all my fault that Masai children enjoy poking out the eyes of a dog in a pit — or boinking the local monkeys – and then blaming the West for conspiring to infect them with AIDS.

            When convoys of tourists must travel between wildlife parks with AK47s under the driver’s seat… not for the lions, but the local children who sit lookout in the villages for unsuspecting travelers… who are quickly relieved of their vehicle, shoes, money and jewelry – their bodies dumped in the rivers – and shrugs of denial when the police come looking for those who disappear in the bush.

            Next time you are planning a Safari… get the facts of life in South Africa… [where flame throwers under your car are necessary at stoplights in some cities] – or Kenya. Zimbabwe.

            Or just Read Theroux’s misanthropic tale of Dark Star Safari – independant travel across that sad continent – where he finally realizes that some people are just not worth saving.

            Save a Giraffe… deny any aid to an African. Hey, I didn’t say it… HE DID.

            1. optimader

              “Costa Rica has outlawed cages for any animals. ”

              pet goldfish get to keep there bowls, or not?

            2. hunkerdown

              Because the surest mark of class is how well one evangelizes cultural imperialism. Seriously, get over yourself and St. Augustine too. Luxury technology is not “just war”.

          2. KGilmour

            I knew the mods would go nuts when I began in earnest – telling the realities of such places.

            read Paul Theroux’s Dark Star Safari for a truly frightening wake up call on the realities of populations in the 3rd world.

            But readers beware

            Hell hath no fury like an educated middle class – caught between thieving Oligarchs on the right… and needy breeding billions on the left. and their defenders…. oh their defenders…. on both sides.

            My money is on the xenophobic right combining with the misanthropic left… to rid the place of much of the plague that is mankind… no matter what color.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Won’t be long before there are only 2 o 3 Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens left in that dwindling ‘middle class,’ educated or otherwise.

              1. abynormal

                Thank You. (KGil reminds me of those ole VT eugenic generators…feeble-minded indeed)

                “All the while I thought I was having an argument with a human, then you started barking.”

                1. KGilmour

                  That comment has no place in this conversation. Insulting me changes nothing.

                  I am not alone – as I said, I’m joined by left and right… in a desperate attempt to save the place from MAN – again, I don’t care a whit which colors are culled.
                  Most every comment on this subject has been thoughtful

                  And YOURS was the first drooling bark on the thread. So – down Rover — listen and you might learn something.

                  1. abynormal

                    one can smell you miles away…

                    “To rid the race of those likely to transmit the dysgenic tendencies to which they are subject. To decrease the need for charity of a certain form. To reduce taxes. To help alleviate misery and suffering. To do what Nature would do under natural conditions, but more humanely.
                    -American Eugenics Society, 1926

                    “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” Kierkegaard

                    ‘see spot(s) run’

          3. optimader

            The Nihonjin wouldn’t be so cruel, anyway they merely harvest goats for Scientific Research

      3. Banger

        Anti-human environmentalists are not radical leftists no matter what their claims–they are yet another species of fascists.

          1. susan the other

            Whoa KG, what you just wrote is harsh but we’ve all heard similar stories… and we put those details to the side and concentrate on alleviating poverty, ignorance and weirdness. If animals behaved like uncivilized humans there would soon be a pogrom on all of them. It is because we have the capacity to compartmentalize the things that shock us that we do not address the reality we face. I’m not sure what the solution is to roaming gangs of chicken-sodomizing boys, harvesting living meat and other freaky things – but the historic trend is toward the less disgusting. The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan left me speechless – the camera followed one kid who was dying from being *ucked to death by Afghan generals. I don’t hold your viewpoint against you at all – in fact I share it.

            1. optimader

              “I’m not sure what the solution is to roaming gangs of chicken-sodomizing boys”

              umm, goats?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The goat?

            The same dilemma is in play with killing humans instantaneously and torturing them by robbing their souls with meaningless work and meaningless art…

        1. OIFVet

          Yes, reverse speciesism. Which of course does not mean that we humans are entitled to sole use of this planet and its finite resources. Johnny wanna live too. It is a tough challenge to ensure that human needs are met and not at the expense of all other species, but it has to be done. I don’t want to live in a world where the only places species survive are zoos.

          1. KGilmour

            Sounds so civilized – when in reality – the battle for other species is going to be very ugly. Witness the Nevada round up of private cattle on public lands under extreme stress from drought.

            The embattled family is all over conservative web sites – complaining of Government over reach – and their God given right to over graze that endangered landscape.

            Now begin to quantify that battle in Africa over elephants destroying farms and fruit trees – oil exploration in Ecuadorian wilds – Eskimo claims that bludgeoning baby seals is their “heritage” – the Japanese appetite for whale meat…

            AGAIN – the choices ahead will require that there be fewer of us. And the formula for that culling is just the conversation that make mods on threads like these begin to sweat. {OMG – we don’t want readers to think WE agree with such blasphemy!! What will the neighbors think?!?]

            Hell, I tried to list the absence of sails in Africa and wheels in South America… until introduction by evil Europeans … as evidence of differences in Darwinian awards – and was erased before I was seen.

            Nobody wants this conversation — because SOME will perish as others thrive. THAT’s when the internet burns.

            But the conversation is Economics of sustainability. And that conversation is upon us – even as we feverishly censor all but the most vanilla comments on what is to come.

            Consider the first law of economics. The more you have of anything… the less value is attached to same… or words to that effect.

            Is it blasphemy to apply that to sub categories of Humanity? by color? language? ethnicity? — OMG… nobody wants to talk about the law of economics and the numbers of peoples.

            According to THE LAW — which are the largest populations with the least ‘value’. Which kind have the ‘highest value”??? uh, oh.

            AGAIN – the mods may not even let me pose the question.

            1. OIFVet

              I am sure that your moderated comment about the Darwin awards would have received more consideration had you supported your thesis with links to some phrenological data. And I have my own thesis about the lack of sails in Africa (if one excludes Egypt): unlike the plague ridden and religious ignorance infested Europe of the dark ages, Africans had no compelling need to find a way out of what was, compared to Europe, a pretty livable continent. As for South America, its even simpler: there were no native draft animals so there was no need to invent the wheel. How do you like them apples?

              1. KGilmour

                Nobody said Europe was paradise whilst saintly Africans went about their harmless hunter gathering.

                Why, oh why – do these conversations always end this way?

                NO – the white man of Europe was a tyrant and a very very bad custodian.

                that does not forgive the wholesale savagery – the daily debauchery and mindless self destruction of developing peoples. Sorry – times up.

                I’m just saying what I think is coming. And it ain’t pretty. There will be winners and losers. You can bet every damned one of you wants to be in the remaining populations… if only to be a better citizen of the world when the dust settles with manageable population numbers.

                1. OIFVet

                  “the wholesale savagery – the daily debauchery and mindless self destruction of developing peoples.” All that while we “developed” people are paragons of virtue? Burning excessive amount of fossil fuels while we commute to and from our suburban McMansions in our urban combat Hummers? We, who have morphed from citizens into mindless consumers? Catholic priests who like to molest little boys, and a Catholic Church which covers up the crime? We who have harnessed the power of the atom to achieve a mutually assured destruction, we who have fought incredibly bloody wars amongst us “developed” peoples? We, whose burden is to civilize the “savages” by any and all means necessary, to include killings, torture, introduction of small pox, and on and on and on? Please forgive me if I do not wish to live to see the day when I share survivorship with such “developed” races.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Interesting First Law of Economics.

              There are more 99.99% people than rich lords of the universe.

              If your first thought is to value the former less than the latter more, you can still pull yourself back from the brink and realize that it is not so.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Not at all my dear Sir, I learned a lesson in Iraq I can never unlearn. Seeing life violently wrenched from another human being or an animal is not a pretty sight and sound. Believe me. I linked to the article because of its discussion about the possible motivation behind our foreign policy. And its link to a darn good documentary on gray wolves on PBS. The book that inspired it is even better BTW, and is available to read online for free.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      OIFVet, Thanks for the link.

                      I meant that, perhaps in vain, for the rich, to not view the 99.99% as less worthy.

                    2. OIFVet

                      I think I had got it, but I also realized that posting only a link with no description of its contents whatsoever is a very bad form.

              1. KGilmour

                It’s not my first thought. It’s the law of economics.

                Witness the train wreck in Kenya – the Nairobi to Mombasa derailment… I was there when it happened.

                The local blacks retrieved only white people. The newspapers went nuts. the international press went nuts – as black bodies were strewn across the savannah.

                When asked… they said the whites could pay for the evacuations… blacks valued white lives more than black ones.

                But there is more at work here… the more you have of anything – the less value is attached to same.

                Hell, I didn’t write the law… it is in effect at all times and in all places. I’m just pointing out the inevitable outcome – based on economic law – by race, ethnicity, and population sizes.

                I did NOT advocate for the 99% at the top of the economic food chain… and I don’t believe for a moment that wealth matters in this particular case.

                Large populations of people in ’emerging’ nations have little value even to their own people. There are just too many needy, and not enough to go around.

                PUHLEASE – don’t list all the ways I can cut back my living standards to elevate the lives of the Masai or Bangladeshis…. as Theroux finally admitted — aid only makes it worse.

        2. Ulysses

          True enough! The difficulty today is that it’s not easy to define what a “pro-human” policy is in every instance. Fracking that forever fouls a region’s drinking water, yet does provide a handful of people huge windfall profits, is “anti-human” in my book, but there’s a tiny handful of tycoons who would disagree.
          Unfortunately, many other circumstances are harder to judge. If all of us not completely indigenous people in the western hemisphere destroyed anything not found here in Pre-Columbian times, and then slit our own wrists, the native ecosystems would begin to recover with remarkable speed.

          This total decolonization, however, would require many millions of humans to behave like lemmings– and anyone who called for it would rightly be denounced as monstrously insane.

        3. hunkerdown

          If we’re going to make up our own definitions here, fascism is just what old people who have a lock on power call the politics of kids who don’t respect their authority, regardless of good cause.

      4. McMike

        Well duh, everybody knows that Outside Magazine is the leader of the environmental movement.

        Everyone knows that their “five best small towns to live in” articles or “ten hottest extreme athletes” spread or “twenty secret trails near you” pieces or “2014’s must-have gear” reviews actually contains coded message for the Occupy Spotted Owl campaign’s subversive activities, plus instructions for monkey-wrenching tools you can carry while running triathlons.

        1. Klassy

          The Sierra Club publication is a nice catalog of ultralightweight trekking tools, travel packages (airfare not included!), and polarfleece.

          1. hunkerdown

            “The Sierra Club publication is a nice catalog of ultralightweight trekking tools”

        1. KGilmour

          Nice try. — everybody to their own prejudices.

          Let’s leave it at that.

          This is such a tired ploy to rid the conversation of icky thoughts like mine.

          Better luck on the next parry.

          1. Emma

            OMG! KGilmour, you’re the Eye of Horus blooming insights like roses in fresh dawn air. Kants’ Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime can go to hell with your pollen on hot wind with fangs. Such astounding brutalism never sounded lovelier. Let’s ease our troubles and sell miserable Third World cretins born into poverty (any kid born into poverty for that matter…) as Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. The sooner we wake up to this dream, the better. We can’t appreciate the world without losing our sanity, can we?!

            1. KGilmour

              I said all that?

              NO I observed that a reduction in populations is necessary to the health of every other living thing. As to whom is deserving of an ongoing ticket….

              I suggested the law of economics is already on it.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Your icky or not thoughts posted here will stay here, as far as I know.

            Rather than ridding them, I would like to see they expanded, if you could just throw in more information on leafy Connecticut neighborhoods.

            1. KGilmour

              still baiting me, eh?

              such a predictable – yet sophomoric tease.

              I understand the gut level need to discredit not only me, but every UN PC word on this subject.

              But again… maybe next time.

      5. Vatch

        If you want to do some good, and help poor Third Worlders get enough to eat AND help protect endangered species, donate money to increase awareness of and access to contraception in the Third World. There are organizations working to do that. That will have the dual effect of making more food available per capita, and more habitat for the wildlfe.

        It also wouldn’t hurt to try to prevent new manifestations of peculiar American phenomena like the Duggar family. That involves opposing the Quiverfull movement.

        1. KGilmour

          No no no no no — there is no help available – without the destruction of every bird, butterfly and bee.

          somebody has to go…. soon.

          and with or without my prescription for salvaging what’s left of the place… it’s coming down… and if the Koch brothers are killed in the streets.. hey, that’s okay too.
          [ along with executives of Comcast Cable and Bank of America, their evil twin Wells Fargo and others too numerous to list]

          See — I am an equal opportunity hater..

      6. Nobody (the outcast)

        “There are simply too many people, chasing diminishing resources, and a degraded ecosystem. END OF DISCUSSION>”

        No, that’s not the end of the discussion. Ecosystems can be rehabilitated by humans much faster than nature can do it with the proper knowledge and application of labor. The world has all the resources we need, it just doesn’t have the resources we want. Most resources are mis-used or wasted, so there can never be enough under those circumstances. Too many people: under the current systems of human activity, yes, way too many. Under a better system, not so much, and population could be brought down through better living standards and education.

        Permaculture. Look it up. Maybe you could focus your energies on doing something positive instead of being a pompous fatalistic shock-jock. Yeah, you are a boomer all right.

        You think technology is a sign of evolutionary superiority? You think that animals don’t get sodomized in the good ol’ U.S.A.? You think that animal torture is limited to the third world? You think incest only happens in the third world? You think sexual-abuse of children doesn’t happen here? Maybe those are signs of a deeply sick society. Maybe those things are a part of being a human being. Who knows. Condemning billions of people because of those things is a heck of a lot more disturbing than the actions themselves.

        1. KGilmour

          then you feed em – I vote NO

          And NO 0 to equate the kind of wholesale savagery you see in Africa and Asia with the aberrant few here is just plain silly.

          Whole African villages without a SINGLE female child unmolested. Fingers in your ears — saying NO NO NO NO — doesn’t make it so.

          there is ignorance and cruelty… and there is ignorance and cruelty. Don’t insult our intelligence by equating any of the wholesale debauchery you can witness in Africa and Asia with behaviors in the West. The scale in those places is daunting.

          And it has ZERO to do with cultural imperialism. Guns Germs and Steel be damned… that author pounded his reasoning into the necessary shapes for consumption by guilt ridden liberals.

          He fashioned a philosophy that blamed everybody but the savages of the Irian Jayan highlands for their plight.

      7. alex morfesis

        oh man….late to the party again…goes to show how making a living can just get in the way…

        africans were what about sails when notre damned was built ?? don’t confuse the present with what was in the past…in a little town called timboko or tumbutu…there was this little school…sure you have not heard of it…Sankore…you know…they taught plumbing and hair styling there (i am sure); just your typical night school trashee kinda stuff…

        seriously, did your dog run out the door before you could kick it a few times this morning so you are taking it out on your poor keyboard ?

        you don’t really believe that part about columbus just sorta kinda deciding to go west right…1492…lets see what else was going on in 1492…oh yeah…those dark skinned moorish kinda people…the ones from africa…the ones that were pushed out of spain and left behind some papers…I think those things some people call maps…funny how columbus decides to go west…I am sure there was nothing these “dumb” africans could have known about this here continent that was eventually named after amerigo…nah…that would not fit into your theory about sangreal superiority…

        as bugs bunny might say….what a maroon…

    2. Jess

      Sadly I must conclude that Thomas Malthus was correct. I predict that disease, famine, and pestilence (three of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?) will wipe out 3-4 billion people before a new, post-climate change geography equilibrium will be reached. Doubt I’ll live to see the end, but pretty sure that if I remain healthy I’ll see the beginnings where some islands and coastal cities and certainly some critical arable land disappear.

  8. JohnB

    I do security/exploit testing in my current work (not an expert by any means, but I know a fair bit about it), and that heartbleed bug is a pretty standard/basic error alright – so standard/basic, that it’s exactly the kind of bug you’re likely to find in almost any piece of software.

    The code/standards that OpenSSL seems to use for serialization/verification of remote packets, seem to be pretty poor (no length checks on serialized data, no encapsulation of received data into a class that triggers errors when you read more than is there, no use of zero’ed memory allocation in netcode instead of information-leaking malloc’s – in general, no standardized classes for handling data securely, just raw-reading/protocol implementation).

    I think that very very few coding projects out there, really have a very good standard when it comes to this – it’s just inherently so easy, to miss something obvious and to introduce catastrophic bugs/exploits, and writing code securely is just plain hard really (and the more you try to build-in ‘safety’ into the codebase in a preventative way, the more prohibitive/labour-intensive the project becomes).

    Still, very surprising to see a security-focused project like OpenSSL, not put that little bit of extra effort, into preventative measures in the codebase.

    1. hunkerdown

      As a programmer, I see you’re mixing the finer details up. OpenSSL is written in C, which does not have classes, and every attempt thus far to retrofit objects to C reeks, with the slightly less odious exception of C++. Not zeroing memory was a performance workaround left over from one OS with poor malloc performance (ironically, the hyper-secure one). And pushing the problems of safety to a theoretical next level down toward the metal is missing the point that, at the machine code level, *all* memory accesses are unsafe on modern mainstream processors.

      Dr. Seggelmann was and apparently still is a regular contributor to the OpenSSL project, and one who is quite well published on security and crypto matters (he did propose the very functionality at issue). In light of some of the gossip of “big wins” for NSA in crypto in late 2011, and that Dr. Seggelmann now works for a German government contractor and hasn’t apologized for being incompetent (a “made man” wouldn’t), and given the ironic lack of actual use cases for this feature to have been designed the way it was, it’s probable that these separate but interlocking errors in judgment were no accident.

  9. Banger

    Re: NYT Article on Ukraine

    Yves is right in her little comment on this article in the Times. The NYT is, at this point in history, a semi-official paper that generally reflects the power-elite consensus on Foreign Policy. As I’ve said here many times, the main struggle within ruling circles is between a reconstituted neocon movement of ideologues and mercenaries (MIC) and, on the other side, realists who focus on practical affairs are more influence by corporate interests. The borders between these to groups shifts but has remained fundamentally unchanged since the old Team A and Team B conflict within the intel community in the 70s.

    The NYT piece appears to reflect a shift in the Obama administration on Ukraine or it never would have appeared. While ideologues seem to dominate the WH this article shows a shift in official thinking. The fanatics push Obama (who is clearly a much weaker President than most people think) to some brink and Obama, at the end of the day, resists as he cleary did with Syrian gas fiasco. This was also the case when pressure to attack Iran built up and seems to be the case with Ukraine. Neocon fanatics try to create facts on the ground through their machinations and conspiracies and, at the last moment, Obama realizes that increasing tension will please no one other than the ideologues and the MIC. Maybe Jamie Dimon calls him up and tells him to cool it–who knows? We have to remember that his chief allies are the international financial elites not the narrow interests of ideologues and the MIC.

    Right now the State Department under Kerry seems to be the only major U.S. institution other than the cable channels and NPR favor a militant stance. Kerry, who I believe threw the 2004 election like his friend McCain threw the 2008 election (Sarah Palin?), seems to believe that Obama’s weakness offers him a chance of taking over American foreign policy–or is he just play acting?

    I listened to another blood-curdling program on NPR yesterday for about ten minutes and just could not stomach it–I have heard nothing but crap from NPR on this issue and Syria–just who is running the network? Or am I just not listening enough to that network any more?

    1. VietnamVet

      Americans have the best government money can buy. Sequestration and the Russian “nyet” on bombing Syria was a major blockage in the flow of contract cash, so the neo-cons and mercenaries opened a new front in Ukraine. Being ideologues, they never look any further than who else can they exploit and how to destabilize Russia and Iran.

      A four star general finally got an appointment with the President and the power point presentation pointed out that becoming a member of the 0.01% doesn’t mean much if the world is dead from a nuclear winter.

      Just maybe, Russia and NATO will not replay 1914 this time with hydrogen bombs

    2. Peter Pan

      Banger: “We have to remember that his chief allies are the international financial elites not the narrow interests of ideologues and the MIC.”

      Seems like we have one set of “black hats” disagreeing with another set of “black hats.” So which ever wins, Ukraine loses. Frankly, I think Putin (black hat is white hat [sarc]) is the better option and that’s pathetic in terms of available options.

      Then there’s USSOS John “Lurch” Kerry with his crazy retaliatory rhetoric. Is this the same guy that came out against the Vietnam War, threw his military medals into the Potomac River in protest and then received the Swift Boat Treatment in 2004? How did he become the Senator John McInsane of the Democrats?

      Although the following comment may make me unpopular, since the unelected government of Ukraine is sending so many military resources to quell the Southeastern uprisings and to guard against an invading Russian military, I hope Putin catches them off guard and invades Odessa. This would take away Ukraine’s main commercial shipping port and allow Russian forces to drive northward into Transdniestria Moldova to link up with existing Russian forces. They could also drive toward Southwestern Moldova to link up with the two provinces that want to maintain their commercial ties with Russia. Doing so would drive all of the black hats crazy.

    3. montanamaven

      Was it “To the Point?” I was driving and so had a choice between music and Warren Olney’s “To the Point” which is about the only news show on NPR I can stomach. And since I am fixated with Ukraine, I gave it a shot. (I used to love the comedy quiz news show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”, but they too use establishment talking points in their jokes. )
      Everybody including Olney piled on the pro Russian guy.
      Warren Olney intro: “Russian Troops are Poised on the Eastern Ukrainian Border…Pretext for an invasion?…Putin has been scornful…” Nicholas Burns of Harvard’s Kennedy Center was doing a fair amount of spin, imho. And Kerry. “We will not hesitate to use 21st Century tools to hold Russia accountable for 19th Century behavior.”
      Alexander Nekrassov calls b.s. on Burns. He points out that Burns, like most Western politicians, news organizations, pundits and experts, start the problem in Eastern Ukraine protests with the referendum in Crimea that led to Crimea declaring independence of Ukraine and joining Russia. Rather Nekrassov says, it started with the coup in Kiev which then led to the Crimean action.
      (Olney seems to stutter a lot when he says that the government in Kiev is a result of a legitimate protest of a corrupt regime. (notice use of word “regime”. ) Nekrassov actually laughs at that.

    4. hunkerdown

      Maybe Jamie Dimon calls him up and tells him to cool it–who knows?

      And this is why the ZOMG PALIN! card is, in large part, bankrupt partisan self-promotion. She would simply not be allowed to flip the table/destroy the world until every important person’s interests were assured.

  10. Hail Hydra

    So many threads in the epic saga of America’s collapse come together in the tale of Salomon Melgen: rotten parties, disappearing campaign finance laws, a vampire medical establishment (doctors and pharma companies working together to harvest victims), and a federal government that allows almost unchecked fleecing of the American taxpayer by a select few.

    The one lesson we learn from this latest scandal is the same one we learned from the Wall Street collapse five years ago and the wrist-slapping session that followed in its wake: if you want to steal in the current system all you need to know is, do it on a spectacular scale, share your ill-gotten gains with the right people, make sure you get some good pics of them in flagrante dilecto, and never, ever apologize for any of it. Utter shamelessness really pays off. One caveat: since these massive heists will eventually be caught out even by the most feckless “law enforcement” system in American history, it’s a good idea to retreat down your rabbit hole in a timely fashion. Melgen, like Madoff, spent too long at the trough (in his case, it appears, literally). So he’ll probably end up sharing a cell in Club Fed.

    The rest of us can only stand agape as we read that, a few years after being made to pay back millions in fraudulent Medicare payments, Melgen was back for even more. We can only ask: why did he still have a license to practice? why was he not already in jail? why was he allowed back into the Medicare program at all? Why, why, why????

    If you haven’t seen the latest Captain America, I recommend you do. There is a scene with Gary Shandling as a corrupt, aging senator discussing a romp with an underage girl with an equally corrupt intelligence officer. All I can say is, “Hail Hydra” indeed.

    1. Sufferin'Succotash

      Look on the bright side. Thanks to the Five Supremes, open bribery of elected officials is now legal.

      1. hunkerdown

        “Open for business” doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily do business with you. They still have the ability to say “your money’s no good here” and endure the consequences, which we generally don’t.

    2. McMike

      This pretty much sums it up: “Dr. Melgen hired the former head of the Justice Department’s Medicare fraud task force, Kirk Ogrosky, to defend him. In a lawsuit that sought to recover the $9 million, Mr. Ogrosky argued that Dr. Melgen’s billing practice was not illegal and that even if the doctor had not spread the medication out, the government would not have saved any money.”

      From government regulator to mouthpiece for the regulated on one hop.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Human intellect has out-developed human wisdom for at least a few thousand years now.

        “We are the smartest guys in the room!”

  11. gonzomarx

    further tussles between the city and members

    Lord Myners quits Co-operative Group
    Independent director’s sudden exit follows barrage of opposition to his proposals to reform troubled mutual

    “Myners is proposing scrapping the current boardroom structure which currently comprises 15 representatives from the regions – including a farmer, a university lecturer and a nurse – and five from the independent societies”

  12. rich

    Trailer Parks Lure Wall Street Investors Looking for Double-Wide Returns

    When Dan Weissman worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and, later, at a hedge fund, he didn’t have to worry about methamphetamine addicts chasing his employees with metal pipes. Or SWAT teams barging into his workplace looking for arsonists.

    Both things have happened since he left Wall Street and bought five mobile home parks: four in Texas and one in Indiana. Yet he says he’s never been so relaxed in his life, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its May issue.

    Weissman, a University of Michigan economics graduate, attributes his newfound calm to the supply-demand equation in the trailer park industry. With more of the U.S. middle class sliding into poverty and many towns banning new trailer parks, enterprising owners are getting rich renting the concrete pads and surrounding dirt on which residents park their homes.

    “The greatest part of the business is that we go to sleep at night not ever worrying about demand for our product,” Weissman, 34, says. “It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”

    In 2009, Ed Vasser left his job at a hedge fund and started investing his own capital in a wide range of down-and-dirty investments, including subsidized housing, storage units and tax liens. He’s in the midst of buying part of a truck wash.

    “I like to say I turned in my Rolex for a pinky ring,” Vasser says.

    Weissman and Shlachter take pride in improving the lives of residents in some of the more rundown parks they’ve bought. And they say owning trailer parks has taught them what it’s like to be poor in America. Many tenants can’t get bank accounts because they have wretched credit. Instead, they use prepaid debit cards that charge a fee of as much as $4 to load just $20 onto them.

    “It’s expensive to be poor,” Shlachter says.

    See…some people do have confidence in our economic policies.

    1. Linden

      Take pride in improving the parks, my fanny. Out here in sunny CA, outside investors are buying up trailer parks and then using bottomless pits of money to break the rent control that was a feature of such parks. Most of our parks around here are in a transition from serving low-income/senior populations to becoming gentrified. Space rents are shooting up from $300 a month to $5,000 a month. Elderly people who paid off their trailers are now finding they can’t be sold for any price. When they move out or die, the park rips their trailers down and throws them away.

  13. McMike

    re: medicare payments.

    So, the bulk of the payments go to the top 2%.

    That’s the way our economy is supposed to work, no?

  14. down2long

    Los Angeles is a failed state, so to speak.

    Corruption is rampant – we had an indicted councilperson – Alarcon – sitting on the council for more than 2 years. It’s a serial indict-athon in City Hall.

    Our agencies are corrupt, but not effective. In Chicago (where I have done quite a bit of work) you pay the grift, you get your project done. Here, it’s more difficult to know who is on the take. I lost a building because I didn’t understand the plan check guy who “didn’t like my licensed engineer and architect” wanted a bribe. I wasted a year getting an entire new set of plans from a different engineer and architect. The plan check guy was furious when I showed up with new plans – he didn’t hardly look at them, just slammed his stamp on them. Stupid me. $5K would’ve saved that property. (Several inspectors were arrested/convicted by the FBI in a sting. Over $100K a year for a 4 day job with lots of flexibility wasn’t good enough.)

    My Russian neighbor built an entire house without permits. He brags he bribed the city to pave over part of my land to make a parking lot for his tenants. When I pointed out that this wasn’t cool – it was MY land after all, he dismissed me, saying “Small Problem. ” I have asked him to give seminars on how to bribe city officials – but he wants to keep the gold to himself.

    I missed a $24 dollar payment for fire inspection on my property. The city immediately reported me to the credit agencies, tanking my score. I asked if I paid it if they would remove it. No go. It goes on and on. It is clear that those of us who are productive in this town are the drones who serve the city. I would love to see my money going to help the homeless, educate the youth, improve infrastructure. No go. It goes to retirement funds and developers.

    I do love where I live – a nice property in the hills, far away from the madness. I am very fortunate not to have to interface with the dysfunction every day. (I once had a city official tell me I wasn’t paying enough in property taxes at the time. It was before my bankruptcy, and I was paying in excess of $50K a year in property taxes. I was furious. I am in the only business in Los Angeles with price controls (rent control) and this fucker was telling me I wasn’t paying enough. That figure does not include city business tax and the endless fees housing providers pay, ) The city has a program (REAP) which they use to take a persons’ private property. Find a building flaw, get it cited, take the owners rents, (meanwhile cutting the tenants’ rents 50%) drag your feet on getting the fix approved, then when the owner has run out of money paying the mortgage from his savings, take the property and sell it to your developer buddies for pennies on the dollar. There are tenants who do not want their rent to go back up, so they break windows, flood the apartments, etc. to keep their apartments in a permanent state of repair, and half rent. There is no way to cite tenants for damage in the City Housing Code – the owner always gets the citation.

    Los Angeles is a third world city without the third world city efficiencies. (Bribes, low level people on the take who make their living off of obfuscation until payoff, then getting things done once the mordida is delivered. Here bribes are in the $100K plus range, and they go to politicians. For most of us, that is above our pay grade.

  15. susan the other

    Interesting standoff in Nevada of 19 century property rights (probably homesteading rights) and the BLM. Mr. Bundy just lost about a million $ worth of cattle. And the rationale is protecting the fragile biome of the desert turtles. I’m surprised there isn’t more of this in the news, I expect there will be. Mr. Bundy is on the wrong side of history imo. But not necessarily on the wrong side of the law since it will be one set of rights against another going into the future.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      I visited Idaho a few years ago, where the BLM subsidizes our “self-made,” rugged, individualist, cowboy types, so that they can live out their fantasies. We lose something along the lines of $7 per acre, per year, so that these guys can play cowboy.

    2. notexactlyhuman

      From an LA Times article. Phone won’t copy-n-paste link for some reason:
      “Bundy, 68, has refused to pay BLM grazing fees since 1993, arguing in court filings that his Mormon ancestors worked the land long before the BLM was formed, giving him rights that predate federal involvement. His back fees exceed $300,000, he says. The government puts the tab above $1 million.”

  16. tommy s.

    Did anyone notice that the major liberal sites: Huffpost, Salon, and Alternet have NOT linked or even done commentary on the Hersh Syria gas article?
    Commondreams has excellent posts by Parry of consortium. They’ve always been more ‘left’ and honest. . Those other sites immediately posted EVERYTHING Hersh wrote under Bush. Hmmm, why? Is this just going TOO far for the editors?
    Of course the New Yorker didn’t want that article, Hersh’s usual outlet. Anything in the NY Times yet? Maybe page 40?

      1. tommys

        Yes, well, as chomsky was writing about 20 years ago, what turkey did to the kurds was horrendous….but still, isn’t it interesting that these blogs who have MANY good articles detailing obama’s failures…..suddenly ignore this cliff to war? Was it too much for joshua holland and all? To admit he is REALLY as bad as bush?

  17. abynormal

    This morning Wal-Mart (LIARS) announced that it would begin carrying products from the Wild Oats organic line—and that it would offer the goods at prices that are at least 25% cheaper than their organic competitors. Wal-Mart, the Bentonville behemoth that became the biggest retailer in the world by ruthlessly lowering prices, wants to make organic food cheap. And that could make the organic food market go supernova. “If we can make the price premium disappear, we think it will grow much, much faster,” Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of grocery at Wal-Mart U.S., told reporters.

    Walmart and Monsanto – the power of money in food (video)

    …first look i thunk ‘well maybe wallyworld is feeling the latest snap’ but as the fog lifted reality set in… MONSANTO IS GOING ORGANIC :o)

    1. McMike

      Which is why there is a race to the bottom at the USDA on softening the requirements of what can go into organics and removing country of origin labeling. WalMart organics will be coming from China (literally) the same people who killed out dogs to spoof the protein count, and who killed their own babies with tainted formula.

      1. abynormal

        USDA Unaware of How Many People it Employs (2009)
        How many people actually work at USDA? In an interesting development, Vilsack said he cannot find out how many thousands of employees he has at USDA. “They could tell me how many checks are issued, but not how many people work here,” he said. “It was the first question I asked the transition staff when the president nominated me for this position. I was interested to know how many people actually work at USDA,” Vilsack said. “And I was told that no one knows for sure.”

        the most recent head count i can get near is 11k worldwide…’cutbacks are us’ suggest half that number

        1. skippy

          The big point wrt to the USDA is actually inspecting food, that’s gone down from 50K to 6000K inspections from the 70s, if memory serves. Caveat, aggregation of industry does play a part, a whole other story in that.

    2. OIFVet

      Michael Pollan in The Omnivore’s Dillema pointed out just how destructive organic farming can be. This will make sure almost all of it is. Buy local, if you can afford it, this is the only way you will know for sure what you are putting on the table and how it got there.

      1. different clue

        Maybe one could buy local organic if something is both at once. Then again, if you live in Michigan and you want organic rice, it won’t come from Michigan. Some of the people who currently buy organic food understand why it costs more and might continue buying that more expensive organic food from trusted sources and outlets.
        Then again, if all the people who can currently afford Whole Foods and Hippie Co-ops go to Walmart for cheaper, then Lundberg Rice will go out of bussiness and people chasing “always the lowest organic price, always” will get the Chinaganic food they deserve. That really would be a case of people with a viable choice choosing to hit the bottom they help everyone race to. So lets hope the classes keep buying classy organic food.

  18. abynormal

    Biggest Credit Bubble in History Flashes Warning: ‘Seek Cover’
    Hidden in the IMF’s just released 188-page Global Financial and Stability Report is a doozie of a chart that screams not only “credit bubble” but also flashes a red warning sign: “seek cover, implosion in sight.” It depicts US issuance of covenant-lite loans and second-lien loans since 2001, including their phenomenal bubble that so spectacularly collapsed in 2008, and the even greater bubble currently underway – with an equally spectacular future.

    .A record $238 billion were issued in 2013, according to Thomson Reuters. Over 50% of the market, another hair-raising record.

    “Leadership has been defined as the ability to hide your panic from others”

  19. different clue

    I have been reading the KGilmour comments and replies. He appears to scorn certain well-to-do environmentalists for wanting the third worlders to die off. Then he explains why the third worlders deserve to die off. Because they are sexual depravists. Because they eat goats to death slowly and torture animals to death in their zoos.

    Well how many really do that? Is every zoo in Asia as bad as one zoo in Indonesia? What are the percentages of bad behavior outside of certain East African villages? And how many of which Asians slow-eat goats alive? Since this is being offered as evidence of why they all deserve to die, how many are really involved and where?
    I had read that East Africans had sail long before Europeans. They may have gotten it from the maritime Arabs. So the evil Europeans brought the Indians a wheel? Along with the megadeath diseases and etc.? Are the Indians better off because the Europeans brought them a wheel? And how many Indians are there anyway? Enough to even matter to the population debate? So why even bring them up?

  20. notexactlyhuman

    And Kucinich weighs in, says NATO is arming and training Right Sector and that NATO should be disbanded:

    “What’s this about? When you look at this all of Europe will end up increasing their arms budgets, the US will end up increasing arms budgets, and NATO will get more money. This is a racket. And any trade agreement that Ukraine signs will not end up benefiting the people of Ukraine. It will open markets for goods from Europe.”

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