Links 5/15/14

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Monica Lewinsky’s return and the ‘sexism 2.0’ of political scandals Aljazeera (Chuck L)

Mayo Clinic trial: Massive blast of measles vaccine wipes out cancer Star Tribune (Howard Beale IV)

Threat of MERS has ‘significantly increased’ but is not yet a global health emergency, says WHO Daily Mail

Nurses Launch New Campaign to Alert Public to Dangers of Medical Technology and Erosion of Care Standards National Nurses United. I was told over 10 years ago that you were putting your life at risk if you went to a NYC hospital and didn’t bring your own nurse.

Coal: The World’s Deadliest Source Of Energy OilPrice

Oldest software rivalry: Emacs and Vi, two text editors used by programmers Slate

The EU ruling is wrong – Google should not erase the web’s memory John Gapper, Financial Times

Who Knew Google Was a Credit Reporting Agency? Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Mexican Activists’ Stop-ACTA Victory: ‘We Did It First, And We Did It Better’ TechDirt (Chuck L)

The Bitcoin Bugle: Even Though You Don’t Care Anymore DealBreaker

Chinese economy in “outright deterioration” MacroBusiness

Holy traffic cones’ become symbol of Thai crisis Associated Press

Euro-Zone Economic Expansion Surprisingly Weak Wall Street Journal

Editor of Le Monde Resigns Amid Discord New York Times. Weird day for defenestrating high profile women editors. Lambert sent along this tweet from Andrea Grimes (@andreagrimes): “If male editors ever got fired for being ‘mercurial and brusque’ I would have had a lot more female editors over the last ten years.”

Carney and the UK housing boom Financial Times


Sorry America, Ukraine isn’t all about you Mark Ames, Pando. Important.

And the Ukraine Sanctions heat up Ian Welsh

A World War is Beckoning CounterPunch

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Wyden and Udall Accuse DOJ of Misleading SCOTUS about Upstream Even as NSA Misleads NDCA about Upstream Marcy Wheeler

Spying Is Meant to Crush Citizens’ Dissent, Not Catch Terrorists George Washington. Just in case you had any doubts.

California Court of Appeals Creates New Argument for Protecting Anonymous Online Speech Consumer Law & Policy Blog

US Senate rule changes lead to empty chairs Financial Times

Massachusetts AG threatens to sue FHFA over buyback law Housing Wire

Chris Christie proves himself to be a genius! Angry Bear

The Militarization of Police in the U.S. Crane-Station, Firedoglake

Rupert Murdoch’s Drop Boxes: Where Central Bankers Post Front-Runners On When To “Buy” | David Stockman (Chuck L)

Jill Abramson is out at The New York Times Columbia Journalism Review

Ken Auletta of The New Yorker reports that, “several weeks ago,” fired New York Times executive editor Gawker. Wow, if true, the NYT is ever more hypocritical than I thought.

AP Tells Reporters That Their Stories Are Too Long; Cut Out ‘Bloated Mid-Level Copy’ TechDirt (Chuck L)

Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Corporate Media is “Neutered, Impotent and Obsolete” Democracy Now. Lambert quotes a tweet: “We’re working on NSA stories that I think will be among the biggest, if not the most significant.”

Geithner Pants on Fire

Over at the WCEG: The Consensus Is That Tim Geithner’s Blocking of Mortgage Foreclosure Relief Was His Biggest Unforced Error as U.S. Treasury Secretary Brad DeLong

This man made millions suffer: Tim Geithner’s sorry legacy on housing Dave Dayen, Salon

Tim Geithner on Why Obama Passed Over Elizabeth Warren to Head the Consumer Protection Bureau Mother Jones. The “powerless Obama” excuse, yet again.

San Francisco Rides the $15 Wave CounterPunch (Jeff W)

Vital Signs: Businesses Are Taking Longer To Fill Job Vacancies WSJ Real Time Economics

Class Warfare

Why is Calorie Intake Falling if Incomes are Rising in India? Triple Crisis

Juncture interview: Thomas Piketty on capital, labour, growth and inequality Institute for Policy Research (Bernard)

Are Foreclosure Cases Rigged? East Bay Express (Deontos)

Mapping Three Decades of Rising Income Inequality, State by State Atlantic (Chuck L)

Does a higher minimum wage make people happier? Washington Post. I have trouble believing this chart, since it shows Australians as less happy than Americans. The conclusion I’d hazard on the American data point is that it is a big part of the American secular religion that you are supposed to be happy, so unless you are a dour Yankee, you will report being happier than you are. But interesting correlation nevertheless.

Inequality Disaster Prevention Robert Shiller, Project Syndicate

Startup CEO Charged in Felony Hit-and-Run Accident ValleyWag (James S)

Only an economic revolution can defuse the global inequality timebomb Guardian

Antidote du jour (Lance N):


And a must-see bonus video, via Tgmail, Howard Beale IV, and EM, who wrote: “That cat rules!” See story here.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. jjmacjohnson

    What millionaire told you:

    “over 10 years ago that you were putting your life at risk if you went to a NYC hospital and didn’t bring your own nurse.”

    What a tale. A real insult to NYC nurses, some of tyne best in the country.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Not an insult to the NYC nurses. A precautionary over the kind of environment BigHosp is forcing them to work under. Long shifts, high nurse-to-patient ratios will wear down the best of them.

      1. hu

        A crystal-clear, textbook example of the fundamental attribution error on jjmacjohnson’s part. This dandy American obsession with moral fiber negating facts on the ground will be the death of us all.

      2. evodevo

        YES. The day the suits started putting fewer RNs in charge of more and more minimum-wage CNAs, and putting them on tiring 12 hour shifts, and rotating them in and out so they wouldn’t accumulate more than 36 hours/week – and therefore could not keep up daily with the same patients, losing continuity – is the day hospital care started its decline in this country. My father ran a small-town nonprofit hospital during my youth and I was privy to its day-to-day functioning. The level of patient care, sans expensive machinery, has been in decline since the early 80s, driven by cost-reduction and profit motive. It’s not the nurses’ fault – it’s just the corporate mentality applied to YOUR healthcare.

  2. craazyman

    Mercurial and Brusque

    That sounds like a wine that didn’t age quite right. Do you drink it? Or do you sort of awkwardly look at it, sitting there in the glass on the white table cloth, while your date wonders what to say. If it’s a male red wine you wonder if maybe it has something to teach you about machismo. you give it a few minutes to breath. You confer upon it the possession of certain secrets, secrets that you will want to know. If it’s a female red wine you think — what a bitch. hahahaha. In either case what you should do, the minute it starts f–kking with you, is spit it out like a mouthful of urine. But people can’t do that, can they? Some don’t know how, some are afraid, some can’t afford the death that would result. it’s hard isn’t it?

  3. tongorad

    Regarding Greenwald’s promised revelation-to-come, I suppose this blockbuster story took a while to uncover or process, or is Greenwald just being a nice little gatekeeper?

    Perhaps, being the earnest rosy-cheeked libertarian that he is, putting a toll booth on information just comes naturally, because markets.

    The Greenwald phenom appears so carefully manicured and managed, branded and packaged. Selling us Hope and Cope.

    1. James Levy

      I just don’t know. I read him for years at Salon and he stood fast when everyone wanted to pretend torture wasn’t happening or that it wasn’t actually evil if we do the torturing. For that we are in his debt. He also was one of the few who stuck with the Downing Street Memos story when the MSM wanted nothing more than to spike the story. Has he changed? Time will tell. But the recent portents are a bit ominous.

    2. Jeff W

      Oops, I hadn’t seen your comment when I posted mine below.

      Well, not to uncover, at least. Greenwald says “There’s a story that from the beginning I thought would be our biggest, and I’m saving that.”

      [Emphasis added.]

    3. Lord Koos

      It’s only logical to not release everything they have at once. The stories will make a bigger impact and receive wider coverage that way. How is Greenwald the bad guy here?

      1. hunkerdown

        Dissenters and activists want information and impact. Consumers want sensation and no impact. Where’s the sexy escapism in learning that one’s Father who Art in Washington not only secretly hates you but has been scheming to sell your organs?

    4. Binky Bear

      What Greenwald, Poitras et al received was 1.7 million (allegedly) documents some years ago. Turning that pile of research material into meaningful narratives takes time and a substantial amount of labor to process, check, vet, and construct. The easy stuff seems to have been let out-the extent of sigint on US and allied citizens, spycraft in electronic surveillance, product lists and cooperative companies. What does it all mean? That’s the bigger story that takes time.

    1. dearieme

      “Bismark attacked France to unite Germany.” No; Bismarck provoked France to declare war to unite Germany.

    2. Worker-Owner

      This Jumped off the page:

      The important thing to remember is this: Russia’s liberal intelligentsia and its big city yuppie class is small in numbers, outsized in influence and importance…. and hated by the rest of Russia. And there’s a lot to hate: intelligentsia liberals and Moscow yuppies are elitist snobs on a scale that would turn anyone into a Bolshevik.

      Not sure why ;-)

      1. Peter Pan

        So is Ames essentially saying that this is Russia’s culture war(s) and that Putin went with Nixon’s racist Red state strategy to gain the office of President? If so, Ames reliance on “the American experience” is such that he made it too much about America rather than Russia.

        I suspect that Ames experience of living in Russia distorted his perception of Russia. So this article has an air of being more about Ames rather than being about either us Americans or Russia.

        1. Binky Bear

          I think these conflicts are constants-urban vs. rural, educated vs. experienced, outward and progressive vs. inward and conservative.
          Putin has clearly mobilized the rural Ivan with his adventure man public persona in the same manner Reagan did with his cowboy photos, and distanced himself publicly and politically from the appearance of being in collusion with educated wealthy elites, much like Reagan used his aw shucks grampa persona to cover up the Ivy League sociopaths he had constructing his domestic and foreign policies.
          Like Reagan, Putin has ignored the plight of the weak-gays, ethnic minorities, journalists and protesters-as a show of manly disregard for the untermenschen, which gains him further credibility with both the comfortable elites who fancy themselves self-made victors and the wage slaves who respect winners and imagine themselves one day being oligarchs.
          People are people all over the world.

          1. hunkerdown

            I suspect that says more about civilization (which one could ingenerously describe as empire writ small) than it does about people.

    1. GuyFawkesLives

      The headline falsely indicates that Geithner’s sorry legacy is over. It isn’t.

      1. Benedict@Large

        Geithner is dog crap. He’s not even an economist, but Obama used him as one, which was especially bad because Geithner, if he were an economist, would clearly be of the Austrian School. This man never had any business as leadership in the Oval Office or in the Fed before that. He was never anything more than a technician, and if you want to F#@K things up, put a technician into a leadership role. They simply can’t do it. Geithner should have had his runway foamed long before he reached any of these positions.

        1. paul

          Of course he’s not, he’s an oligarchist, and he’s done very well.
          I hope there is some justice in the next world, the current arrangements do not incoopor\te it

  4. roadrider

    Re: Oldest software rivalry

    I’m an emacs guy but I have tried out vi and vim and have used them on a small scale in situations where emacs was not available. The bottom line is that you tend to use the one to which you have become accustomed. My initial UNIX experience was in an emacs environment so that’s how I ended up. Could have easily gone the other way.

    1. tyaresun

      Come on, you are taking away all the fun. At least, this rivalry does not hurt anyone.

    2. BondsOfSteel

      I was really surprised at this article. Yes, emacs vs VI was a big thing…. like 15 years ago. Just like VHS vs Betamax was a thing.

      Today, [almost] everyone I know uses integrated development environments with color coding, integrated help, auto-complete, and source control extensions.

      1. roadrider

        Today, [almost] everyone I know uses integrated development environments with color coding, integrated help, auto-complete, and source control extensions.

        Both emacs and vi have (through extensions) all of that stuff and are far more lightweight and usable than bloated bundles of crap like Eclipse.

      2. ChrisPacific

        Except when we are working on a remote server over ssh and don’t have access to GUI based IDEs. Then we are at the mercy of the editors that will run in terminal sessions.

        I despise vi, because its design is so fundamentally incompatible with its position as the default text editor on every Unix system. As a result of this, the vast majority of its user community consists of casual users that have little or no familiarity with the tool and relatively modest requirements. All they need is an editor that is intuitive to use and allows them to easily make simple text changes. Nearly every other text editor in the world provides this. Emacs does it. Even Notepad does it. Vi does not. No, I don’t want to repeat the last command I typed 253 times, or delete every third line in the file! I just want to make a minor change to a properties file! Is that so damn hard?

        I use it a lot anyway, for the reason mentioned above, and I’ve become somewhat proficient with it, but it sets my teeth on edge every time. For me it embodies one of the worst design principles of Unix: the idea that humans should adapt themselves to the way computers do things, rather than the other way around. Yes, if you know what you’re doing then I’m sure it’s extremely fast and powerful, but that’s like saying that a gun is easier and quicker to fire if you disable the safety catch.

        1. hunkerdown

          For what it’s worth, Ubuntu seems to ship (or at least did in 2010) nano as the default editor.

          As a sysadmin/developer/DBA/jack-of-all-trades, and a desktop *nix user for decades, I *do* want my editor to do much more than copy keystrokes to a file. I do sometimes want to repeat the last command 253 times and to undo the lot in a single keystroke if I don’t quite like the results. I do sometimes want to perform complex substitutions with regexes (frequently, in fact). I want to do all this quickly and without unnecessary chrome or fuss on a machine or network that might be overloaded and without more keypresses than necessary. With vi I can get in, get to where I need to be (/ regex), get done (replace rest of line with some text) and get out in under 10 seconds under normal conditions, and can do that at all under adverse conditions.

          Appropriate Technology vs. Jevon’s paradox, I guess. :)

          1. ChrisPacific

            I’m embarrassed to say I did not know about nano. I just tried it and it seems to meet all my criteria for the ‘casual user, basic requirement’ scenario, and has much better default availability than Emacs. Thanks.

            As long as the rest of us aren’t forced to use it all the time, I have absolutely no problem with vi being available for those like you that need the features it offers.

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Coal: deadliest source of energy.

    Slavery/Serfdom: A green source of energy.

    Slaves and serfs are

    1. renewable by themselves
    2. biodegradable.

    Dignity? Dignity has nothing to do with greed…sorry, profit.

    1. ambrit

      Dear MLTPB;
      Also, given the advances made in genetics, Slaves and Serfs are now perfectible in a sense the early True Liberals could never have dreamed of. The “Esses,” to steal a term from La Raza, are now capable of being physically and mentally tailored to their proper “stations” in life. Take heart, a brave new world awaits.

  6. roadrider

    Re: Vital Signs: Businesses Are Taking Longer To Fill Job Vacancies

    The article states that:

    The longest hiring times are for skilled labor, such as software developers and oil-and-gas engineers. That’s a sign of the skills mismatch that has plagued this recovery.

    Typical WSJ bullshit. I’m a software developer that has been out of work for 10 months and it has nothing to do with a “skills gap”. This is the third time that I have been out of work since I turned 50. My skill set is still in demand and could easily be adapted to related skills if employers hadn’t completely abandoned the concept of transferable skills. Of course, with a labor glut and cheap, easily available guest workers they can afford to discriminate against older workers and be incredibly choosy about whom they even consider let alone hire.

    I wasn’t born knowing the skills that I have. I learned all of them on the job and have adapted to a number of different industries in my career. The “skills” being referred to by the WSJ are just tools. Software development is about much more than just tools since any skilled developer can easily apply their experience and knowledge to whatever the latest fad tool (which almost always consists of a bunch of recycled ideas in a new dumbded-down package for recent initiates) the employer wants to work with. But try to explain this to the typical dumber-than-a-box-of-rocks (but still employed) recruiters who only know how to ask “How many years of XYZ do you have?”.

    At least they do admit that employers are not as engaged in filling vacancies as they were before the recession.

    1. GuyFawkesLives

      But….but….but…..the unemployment level is below that whereby those of us still struggling to find work need to get federal assistance. Right? I mean I only know most of my friends who are either out-of-work or underemployed these days, so the “official” word can’t be wrong.

    2. Thor's Hammer

      You neglected to mention that the primary skill set that employers are looking for is incompetence. Potentially having ambition and skills that exceed those of your boss is the death cross for hire-ability.

      1. Benedict@Large

        A prospective boss was interviewing me once and asked me if I got the job, where did I see myself in three years. I told him without a moment’s hesitation, “Sitting in your chair.” Good thing I didn’t want the job, because it was the fastest ending interview I ever got.

      2. James Levy

        I don’t know what employers outside academia are looking for. I’ve come to the conclusion that what they are looking for in academia are hires whose pedigree can be bragged about and whose hiring cannot be second-guessed. This means take someone from one of the top twelve programs in your area and then cover their ass through the tenure process if you like them or if they enhance diversity. The best way to choose, a blind reading of the five or six top candidate’s dissertations, is just way too much work. Better to note the Ph.D. factory that turned them out, what big names they got to write references, and how amiable and attractive they are at the interview.

      3. hunkerdown

        Perhaps not so much incompetence, but lability? Competence is desirable, but somewhat subordinate to price, exploitability and (above all) lack of threat to the existing order.

    3. craazyboy

      You are the victim of what I heard called “The Bench” back in the 90s. It’s a baseball analogy – the “team” has a pitching staff, and picks one for the day’s work and the rest sit on the bench waiting for their day on the mound.

      Granted, this is a rather loose analogy when applied to software employment. If offered a pitching job, by all means, take it.

      But in software the “team” is the tech temp firms. They have a giant db of resumes and can do lightning fast “word” searches on all those techie sounding acronyms. To make matters worse, Congress sees no reason to do away with H1Bs for dumb little problems like high unemployment. Worse again, the temp firms can apply for H1Bs, because, well, corporation. This saves their client-employers all that trouble.

      You have a better chance of having a long term career being a firing squad survivor.

      1. ambrit

        Actually, I hear through the grapevine that “they” are looking to hire firing squad “technicians.” (A sample job fair question: “How much experience have you had with .308?”)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Speaking of Thailand, under Thai Buddhist, every male serves as a monk for a duration in his life…because being a monk is desirable, I think.

      Now, this is something we can learn from other cultures.

      If being rich is desirable, I strongly believe, the government should pay every man in this country, and every woman as well (money is money), to be rich for a during in his or her life.

      And if that required duty (of a money-is-desirable nation like ours), a duty similar to being conscripted into the army in a more violence prone or militant nation, is agreeable, he or she can choose to joint the 0.01% all the time, just like interested Thai men can choose to be lifelong monks.

  7. L Wheatley-Irving

    O/T , but : has the Luigi Zingales book, “A capitalism for the people,” been discussed on this site? Or did I miss it? The new paperback edition has just come out, and he had a book signing in Hyde Park, Chicago, recently.

  8. diptherio

    The Robert Shiller article starts off ok, but the sudden turn to absurd surrealism toward the end is a questionable choice, my my mind.

    That disaster – a return to levels of inequality not seen since the late nineteenth to early twentieth century – is amply described in Piketty’s book. In this scenario, a tiny minority becomes super-rich – not, for the most part, because they are smarter or work harder than everyone else, but because fundamental economic forces capriciously redistribute incomes.[emphasis added]

    See? Not a bad start. He has identified the problem, but he dislikes Piketty’s suggestion of a wealth tax, preferring instead an income tax that automatically increases for high incomes when inequality reaches a certain level (more than our current level):

    Increasing wealth taxes now, as Piketty proposes, would strike many people as unfair, because it would amount to imposing a retroactive levy on the work carried out to accumulate that wealth in the past – a change to the rules of the game, and its outcome, after the game is over.

    See what I mean with the surrealism? He’s already pointed out that the truly wealthy don’t get that way through hard work. The surrealism continues:

    Older people who worked hard to accumulate wealth over the course of their lifetime would be taxed on their frugality to benefit people who didn’t even try to save. If they had been told that the tax was coming, maybe they would not have saved so much; maybe they would have paid the income tax and consumed the rest, like everybody else.

    Implying that tax-policy has the ability to change people’s personalities…surreal. And then the absurdity:

    Moreover, once the reality of a Piketty-type wealth tax was understood, the rich might procreate more, because wealth in the form of children cannot be taxed away – which is why it would probably be better to tax income and maintain a deduction for philanthropic contributions outside of the family.

    I have to admit, that little witticism made me laugh out loud. I can just imagine the scene.

    Dearest, have you seen the news?

    What news, my love?

    Those communists in government have instituted a wealth tax! There’s only one thing we can do…

    Hire more lobbyists?

    No–procreate! We must have children, thousands of children! They’ll never take away our children!

    That Bob Shiller–what a joker, eh?

    1. craazyboy

      Hmm. Maybe those Ivy League schools aren’t the bubbling caldron of commie-pinko thought processes we thought they were?

  9. Vatch

    Yves, I think you’re correct that the article “Sorry America, Ukraine isn’t all about you ” by Mark Ames is important. It clarified some things for me. This is quite illuminating:

    So if Putin is neither the defiant counterweight hero or the neo-Stalinist imperialist, but rather playing a Russian version of vicious Nixon politics, what should the West do?

    That’s easy: Stay the Hell out of Russia’s way for awhile, its version of Nixon politics is just beginning, and it’s going to get uglier. Russia has a history of turning inward in ways that will strike us as feral and alien, something the abandoned Silent Majority will welcome, but no one else will. (Our sanctions only helped speed up that process of inward isolationism.)

    One small point that confused me a bit was this quote:

    Wealth inequality the real problem: Russia has the worst wealth inequality in the world.

    That’s something I believed for a long time. Then a couple of months ago, I found the Gini coefficient for Russia, and the numbers showed Russia to be less unequal than the United States and many other countries:

    So is this just an example of the complexity of the real world showing us that Gini coefficients can be misleading, or is Mark Ames wrong to say that Russia has the worst wealth inequality in the world?

      1. lolcar

        I thin Ames is wrong here. South Africa among other examples DOES have higher inequality. On the other hand, I doubt any other country in the world has seen such a massive increase in inequality in such a short period of time as Russia did in the eatly 90s.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, Moscow has the highest number of billionaires per capita, except for London, and of course, many of those in London are Russians.

    1. gordon

      Another remark from Ames: “Russia has a history of turning inward in ways that will strike us as feral and alien…”

      Feral and alien like McCarthyism? Like the KKK?

      1. hunkerdown

        Mark Ames and Ayn Rand both found themselves on the wrong side of a Russia in flux and each lost a fair amount of wealth in the process. Reactionary bitterness in either case ought to be completely unsurprising.

  10. lambert strether

    Cable weasels nuke the Internet.

    And all so they can sell porn streaming video!

    Adding…. From the article above:

    “I would have done this differently. I would have taken the time to consider the future,” said Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel [@JRosenworcel], who said the proposal can’t allow for clear fast lanes for the most privileged companies. She said she supported a proposal allowing the agency to consider questions on how it could prevent certain Web sites from being blocked, in addition to figuring out the overall oversight of broadband Internet providers.

    Well, if @JRosenworcel wanted to do it differently, why did she vote yes?

    1. Peter Pan

      So just boycott streaming video services (Netflix, Google, Apple, etc.) by downloading bootleg files of the same videos but without the commercials. Fuck ’em.

      1. bob

        Not gonna work. Comcast just announced TODAY that they are going to be setting download limits. 300 gb per month. That’s not a big number.

        I wonder, do they count the bandwidth that ads use? Is there a way to opt out of them?

        Also, Chuck Schumer is still running from the TV camera, last seen somewhere over the Pacific.

        His brother is in line to make millions off the time warner comcast deal. Chuck, naturally, had to recuse hiimself from the anti-trust hearings. As the head of the committee, he couldn’t possibly vote against the merger, and in the interest of constituents. He had to leave his voters high and dry with no representation.

        “the appearance of a conflict of interest”….miles beyond that…

  11. Jeff W

    Glenn Greenwald in Salon:

    I think we will end the big stories in about three months or so [June or July 2014]. I like to think of it as a fireworks show: You want to save your best for last. There’s a story that from the beginning I thought would be our biggest, and I’m saving that. The last one is the one where the sky is all covered in spectacular multicolored hues. This will be the finale, a big missing piece. Snowden knows about it and is excited about it.

  12. paul

    genetix,shmetix……weaponised sociology has brought us to where we ae are,
    A hell’s broth of the worst of what could be gleaned from honest inquiry.

  13. paul

    this was a reply to ambrit, I’ll never get the hang of these new fangled comment systems

    1. ambrit

      I feel your pain paul, thanks to the “empathy” genes my patrons had inserted into my fetal self at the State Institute for Better Living.
      As for “honest inquiry,” well, wasn’t Gregor Mendel a monk? (Not one of those cool kick a– warrior monks like in the anime training videos, I know, but a monk nonetheless.)
      “Weaponised sociology” is the natural consequence of turning old fashioned descriptive sociology into experimental sociology; else, why “full spectrum dominance?”

  14. Propertius

    I’d take Udall’s hand-wringing over NSA surveillance a lot more seriously if he hadn’t voted for telecom immunity as a Congressman back in 2008.

    1. Jess

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Wyden attempt to team up with Paul Ryan on a Medicare or Soc Sec “reform” bill?

      Wyden, Udall, Warren = taking the place of Dennis Caving-inch in the role of keeping the public deceived that the Dem party still cares about civil or economic rights.

      1. Propertius

        Well, in Udall’s case he’s running for re-election and the polls here aren’t looking good. He’s spent the last 6 years rebranding himself as anything other than a “Boulder liberal” (as his 2008 opponent referred to him) and I guess he’s realized that his efforts were insufficient to lure the voters in the “red” portions of this very purple state, so he’s trying pretty much anything to get his pre-2008 constituency to show up at the polls.

        I can’t wait for December. Maybe then he’ll stop emailing me for money 3 times a day.

  15. bruno marr

    Bring Your Own Nurse…
    It’s actually worse than that! You need your own DOCTOR at the hospital to assess the medical services that will be performed on you. (Often they are marginally effective/necesary, but bring major profit to the hospital.) You also need your medical insurance agent available to make sure the people and practices you encounter are “in network”. You might also want to retain an attorney to review and comment on the hospital admittance forms that REQUIRE you to adjudicate any claims in binding arbitration (their venue) and not public courts (your venue).

    What Obamacare will do is make more and more folks aware of the narrow window of protection provided by “health insurance”.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No one can afford to be sick.

      Let me see…if being healthy is too expensive, what substitution can we make, as it is our patriotic duty to keep inflation low????

  16. scraping_by

    RE: Geithner’s ‘error’

    There was nothing careless or unintended about Geithner, and the rest of the Obama administration. ignoring and fuddling distressed homeowners. It was part of a policy of using the wider nation as a resource for his financial cronies.

    Home prices fell below the mortgage number because the speculation had driven it up there. When housing prices fell, there was a loss and someone was going to have to take it. Opposing cram-down and keeping homeowners still by the headfake of HAMP made it more likely the homeowner, not finance, would take the loss.

    While not as blatant as TARP and the Fed’s bazooka, it pushed the loss off the fiance industry and onto the larger society. He took care of his kind of people, and I assume they showed their appreciation.

    Any suggestion he would have done better if he could is one more lame falsehood. While shredding lies is important, care must be taken to avoid accepting the premise.

  17. susan the other

    A message from the distant past. Re Mayo’s announcement that a hefty dose of measles vaccine cures cancer – Does anybody else remember Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw on using a smallpox vaccine to cure cancer? C. 1980. Interesting that strong immunity to virulent virus diseases imparts cancer immunitiy as well. But for god’s sake don’t talk about this because it will destroy the Cancer Industrial Complex. It’s far more patriotic to just die from cancer.

  18. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the Juncture interview of French economist Thomas Piketty. Particularly noted his comment: … “all these different assets come with different power relationships, and with different social compromises to determine their rate of return, and the labour return that is used together with these assets.” 

    Interesting group of participants are meeting at this invitation-only meeting in Vegas even as we speak: .

    … Wonder what the topic du jour might be?

  19. rich

    Apollo Taking Hostess Dividend After Bankruptcy Exit
    Apollo Global Management LLC (APO), the buyout fund led by billionaire Leon Black, is planning to take a dividend from Hostess Brands Inc. after buying the maker of Coffee Cakes and Twinkies out of bankruptcy 14 months ago.

    Apollo and co-owner C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. are seeking $175 million from Hostess, according to a statement from Standard & Poor’s. The payout won’t affect the company’s rating of B- and will leave it with $40 million in cash and $60 million in available credit.

    A predecessor filed for bankruptcy in January 2012, less than three years after emerging from a previous period of court protection. The latest bankruptcy, which included other divisions in addition to the Hostess baked goods unit, came after a strike by bakers and left

    asset buyers free of union contracts and $1.3 billion in debt.

    that was fast.

    1. bob

      It’s the new paradigm for making a million, or 175. Buy a brand, BK it with a dividend. Get press reporting on brand. Use brand ending press as free advertising to goose sales and leave enough around for another dividend. If anyone asks…


      1. F. Beard

        Dividends are DUMB since they deplete assets. Instead, let the shares appreciate with stock splits to keep the price per share reasonable and let the share owners sell some shares if they want cash. But if the share price is falling, dividends are even dumber.

        1. bob

          yes, beard, why would they do this? What do the shareholders have to say?

          They are the only shareholders. It’s not dumb, it’s looting.

          Also, on the same side of the balance sheet, the debt. B-. High yield. How much of that do the share holders also own? Is it in their interest to make sure the yield stays high?

    2. craazyboy

      Shrewd investing is hard – you’ll just never understand it unless you are one of the “Best and Brightest”, which of course we aren’t.

      I remember it took 4 years to get my $287 class action lawsuit proceeds on my $8000 WorldCom investment. I had a Morningstar subscription back then and the analyst was reviewing the latest quarterly report showing $5 billion in cash, and said “You can’t go into bankruptcy with 5 billion in cash!”. Well, a month later they did. I thought “WTF does Morningstar know?” and cancelled my $60 subscription.

      So these guys get $175 million and they still own the place. Must have killed off all the bondholders too? That sure is some impressive wheeling and dealing in bankruptcy court. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the judge must work for Apollo too.

  20. bob

    “We’re working on NSA stories that I think will be among the biggest, if not the most significant.”

    First, about a year ago it was that the story was over. Now, come on back! Free peep show at 9, you’ll see SOMETHING you’ve never seen before.

    “snowden’s first anal, live!!”

  21. bob

    “Sony Corp.’s movie studio plans to make the film adaptation together with Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers behind the James Bond series.”

    Can’t make this up…Bond porn! They’ll have to give him a sexy sidekick with a lot of innuendo.

    Ivana Pimp? Shirley Secret? Secret Dick?

    Snowjob (n) – A strange ritual where people in 21st century USA paid to be abused and sold out by the purveyor of a porn shop.

    1. craazyboy

      I’d hire the whole Victoria’s Secret catalog as female spies. But Sony never returns my calls.

      1. craazyman

        A daddy bull and his young son were standing on a hill looking down at a heard of cows.

        The son said “Daddy Daddy let’s run down the hill real quick and f*ck some of those cows.”

        “No son,” the Daddy bull said, “we’re gonna walk down real slow and f*ck ’em all.”

        bowahahaha. Its an old joke but It was pretty funny when I heard it, considering it was my girlfriend’s dad who told it and she was there at the time! I thought that was pretty cool.

        1. craazyboy

          haha. Never heard that one.

          I wonder if Michael G. Wilson eats his Broccoli, being a master of innuendo, and all.

          A couple days ago I watched the 1967 Casino Royale. It was a spoof on Bond movies and had Peter Sellers, David Niven and Woody Allen in it. It wasn’t done very well, so it missed it’s potential. But it had Ursula Andres in it and 3 more of the hottest hotties of the day. Made it worthwhile waste of time.

      1. craazyman

        I don’t know why that cracks me up so much, but it does. It’s a good thing laying around doing nothing but laughing like a moron is a lot better than being productive doing something utterly ridiculous.

        1. bob

          Pussy was an honest showperson. Her flying circus took talent and training. She also didn’t ever claim to be doing a public service, or sanctimoniously tell everyone how brave she was by protecting the secrets that she stole and locked up to be sold to the highest bidder, piecemeal.

          She was very straightforward, one show, one price.

          Glenfinger- everything he touches is covered in assholes.

  22. gordon

    The release of 600 million euros of the EU aid to Ukraine announced last March

    raises an interesting question. When the EU package was announced, IMF austerity measures were to be a prerequisite for releasing the money.

    But the recent announcement (14/5/14) makes no mention of IMF requirements. Does that mean that the IMF austerity requirements have been waived, or that the Kiev regime has accepted them but “on the quiet”, with no announcement?

    1. gordon

      Maybe I can partially answer my own question. Apparently the so-called Ukraine Parliament (Rada) has approved some austerity measures:
      But in Ukraine the President must approve laws passed by the Rada, and the linked article doesn’t mention any approval by the “acting President” Turchynov. So are the austerity measures in force or not?

      Questions, questions. But I think at this stage of things following the money is the best strategy.

  23. Teejay

    I’ve read Treasury Secretary Paulson offered President elect Obama to include mortgage write downs into TARP II legislation and it was turned down. That’s as vivid an explanation I’ve ever had. What reports zero in on Geithner’s involvement?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      More than that. Paulson also left $75 billion in the TARP for that purpose.

  24. Abe, NYC

    Ames’s analysis is spot on in many ways, I largely agree with him. To add a few things:

    1. Putin is seen by the “silent majority” as a non-corrupt figure even as he let corruption flourish beyond anything seen even during Yeltsin’s times, and has actively participated in it. At the same time, country leadership as a whole is hated and almost universally seen as extremely corrupt. This is the well known, age-old “good tsar, bad boyars” meme. Hilariously, a poll showed that a majority of Russians welcome sanctions against high-ranking officials.

    2. Putin has magnified the glory days of Russian empire and let the genie of jingoism and nationalism out of the bottle – and it will be very difficult to contain now. It seems it’s only a question of time till pogroms restart in earnest, not that they’re infrequent even now. Putin has consistently cracked down on opposition protests, but has been perfectly happy to let hard nationalists and neo-nazis go wild (of the sort that would put Pravy Sektor to shame). If things continue this way in one of the most ethnically diverse countries of the world – and it looks likely they will – with time they will lead to yet another collapse of Russia. A couple of decades, give or take, and it’s 1917 or 1991 again.

    3. Russian economy is in the doldrums despite $100 oil, it is very likely a recession has already started while inflation stays high. A small victorious war has certainly helped to draw attention away from the economy, which is bound to get much worse. Siberian oil helped prolong the life of the Soviet Union by two decades, and as oil prices collapsed in 1980s so did the USSR.

    4. In addition, Putin’s Russia has singularly failed to make use of the enormous potential of Russian science and technology, which have mostly continued to disintegrate. The sanctions will fall hard on what little is left, hitting hi-tech exports and even more importantly, technology transfers. This dynamic will keep pushing the country further into third world status.

    In 1872 few could imagine Alsace-Lorraine ever returning to France, or that in 75 years Germany will have lost a third of its territory. By annexing Crimea, Putin may have put the first nail in Russia’s coffin. But then, Bismark didn’t have an A-bomb.

    posting second time as the first version vanished…

  25. Abe, NYC

    Pilger’s double standard is once again unbelievable. The short version of intra-hemisphere relations is that US has been to Latin America what Russia has been to Eastern Europe. Pilger, however, apparently believes that whoever stands up to America must be a nice and fluffy socialist democrat. He made Hugo Chavez a paragon of democracy, never mind his rule was somewhere between authoritarian and dictatorial. Now he’s making Putin, who brought back the Russian Empire project and consistently stoked Russian chauvinism, a defender of sovereignty and fighter of fascism. Amazing.

  26. Hugh

    As tonograd mentioned way upthread, how long are we going to tolerate Greenwald and Poitras gatekeeping the Snowden material? As I have said before, the original strategy of doling out stories to keep the issue of NSA spying alive was useful and smart. But that was then and this is now. That strategy has run its course, indeed some time ago. Now the story is not about them getting the information out to us. It is how they are keeping that information from us. They are treating us like boobs and rubes. Much like the Obama Administration, Washington, the Establishment in general, they are telling us only what they think we are fit to know. We can not analyse, come up with our insights, and make up our own minds. We must be spoon fed like morons.

    1. ambrit

      What we need is a new news outlet. I nominate “Vanguard of the Proletariat” as the name.
      In a similar vein, I remember when Firesign Theatre did their “Marx and Lennon” album. Only now that I’ve grown old and cynical do I appreciate the true humour of that conceit. (Either pair of Marx/Marx and Lennon/Lenin was completely subversive.)

  27. optimader

    transparency is good, who should be gatekeeping “illegal” NSA disclosures of “illegal ” NSA activities?
    open question.

    Are there legitimate national security issues compromises that would occur w/ a complete file dump?
    open question.

    Based on what was released already, how is it being treated? Do we anticipate a material Policy difference based on the rate of disclosure of supplemental information?
    open question-

  28. optimader

    Hunt for abducted Nigerian girls ‘unlikely to have happy ending’

    Tragic Nigerian domestic event.
    How is the US national interest served by being involved in this?

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