Links 5/7/14

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Googler Storms Out Tech Conference: “I AM Google!” ValleyWag

First Time In 800,000 Years: April CO2 Levels Above 400 ppm Ilargi

American Doomsday: White House Warns of Climate Catastrophes NBC

Alarm Bells Over Antibiotic Resistance Triple Crisis

Cancer Doctors Join Insurers in Revolt Against Drug Costs Bloomberg

Unnecessary Tests And Treatments Waste $210 Billion A Year — Here’s Why Doctors Do Them Anyway

More on China’s property bust MacroBusiness

Slowing Chinese economy likely to pinch US, too Associated Press

Thai Court Orders Yingluck Removed From Office Wall Street Journal

In Greece, Austerity Kills Truthout


Ukraine ‘retakes Mariupol city hall’ BBC

Ukraine crisis worsens amid fighting Guardian

Ukraine: U.S. Campaign Stuck Without Russian Intervention And German Support Moon of Alabama

Sanctioning Goliath: Why Russia’s Gazprom Remains Out of Reach for U.S., EU US News

NATO members mull rearmament DW. Translation: the US military-industrial complex wants to use the Ukraine row as a sales opportunity.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch


Fearing Google Bruce Schneier. See this March story for some key background.

NSA Destroyed Its Illegal Content-as-Metadata Data in 2011 Marcy Wheeler

Is the NSA Trying to Frighten Americans Into Dropping Lawsuits Against Dragnet Surveillance? Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

Police could use photographic fingerprints to track suspects across social networks Verge

Obamacare Launch

Fantasy Healthcare Scenario, Reader Anecdotes, Wildcards; Capital IQ Healthcare Report Link Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

​The Affordable Care Act Could Shift Health Care Benefit Responsibility Away From Employers, Potentially Saving S&P 500 Companies $700 Billion Standard & Poors

Massachusetts ditches RomneyCare health exchange Jim Haygood: “Unbelievable that we did not hear one peep about this during the four years since O-care passed — namely, that the Romneycare pilot program was broken too.”

Judicial Nominee’s Memos on Drones Stirring Bipartisan Concern in the Senate New York Times

Hillary Clinton says US must rein in gun culture Guardian (furzy mouse)

Mozilla: We have a fix for Net neutrality CNET. If I read this correctly, it’s a way for the FCC to get the local broadband duopolists treated like utilities without calling them utilities.

News organizations say FAA ban on drones flies against free press Verge

Journalists Aren’t the Big Fans of Leaks That They Used to Be The Wire

Woman Sexually Assaulted by NYPD Convicted of Felony Assault Daily Kos

Stein sees ‘bumps’ in markets as Fed gets less precise on policy plan Reuters. See speech here.

Twitter shares fall 10% in early trading after stock lockup period expires Guardian

Finally a pause in the leveraged loan market Walter Kurtz

Billionaires try to convince Americans it’s good to import foreign workers, increase immigration Bangor Daily News (Lawrence R)

Forever Young? America Stays Relatively Youthful Even as World Population Ages WSJ Economics

Americans Find A New Source Of Spending Money Ilargi

Oregon Woman Wins 3-Year Fight Against Wells Fargo Foreclosure ABC. $12,000 in legal when she’d made her payments on time and Wells refused to clear up its errors.

The Beginning of the End for the Leaders Of The Free World…Humanity Awakens! Activist Post (martha r)

How the Middle Class Lifestyle Became Unaffordable Charles Hugh Smith

Antidote du jour (timotheus):

cat & dog

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. CB

    Another problem I don’t see mentioned in the unnecessary tests and procedures article is docs’ financial interest in testing and procedure facilities. My doc insisted on a specific outpatient facility for my procedure, couldn’t do it elsewhere. Zooming around the web, I discovered his practice owns the facility. Imagine that. Can’t complain about the experience or the cost, but I gather such ownership stakes are common and sometimes abused.

    1. Skeptic

      Unnecessary Tests And Treatments Waste $210 Billion A Year — Here’s Why Doctors Do Them Anyway

      That $210 Billion, of course, counts into that Holy Grail GDP figure. A perfect example of their “grow the economy” madness. No, shrink it!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        ‘Shrink it’ is a good.

        We have to start talking about the ‘natural’ level of economic activities (for those dissatisfied with the term GDP).

        Without advertising, without brainwashing (you need a new car, a new dress, etc), without greed, how much do we ‘economic activitize?’

    2. afisher

      This is an oldish but excellent view on what physicians “think”:

      1. More testing is better – patient group-think – do they understand that repetition using different techniques all say the same thing.

      2. Consider that physicians own not JUST the testing facilities, but often the hospital. How often is the patient given the pressured option to stay overnight….just to be on the safe side.

  2. taunger

    The “Romneycare” article is incredibly misleading, as Jim Haygood’s quote shows. As difficult as any government beuracracy can be, the state health exchange worked very well up until the ACA prompted (required?) Massachusetts to move to an online exchange, and CGI, the fed contractor we all know and love, screwed up the site for MA just as bad.

    Say what you will about the policy model being a giveaway to corps, but I have had consistently good healthcare, no co-pays for doctors visits or behavioral health and $2 prescriptions for me and my 8 year old for the past 5 years through Massachusetts/medicaid sponsored plans. There is even a chance that Massachusetts will continue to lead toward single payer during the next gubenatorial term.

    1. diptherio

      “…for the past 5 years through Massachusetts/medicaid sponsored plans.”

      So what you’re saying is that Medicaid is good. Ok, but what about people who don’t qualify for medicaid and so end up with ACA plans featuring not only co-pays, but deductibles that are set to equal maximum yearly out-of-pocket and narrow networks that don’t include your specialist or family doctor?

      I hope you’re right, and we’re moving towards single-payer, but I don’t think soft-peddling the failures of the current “reforms” is going to help accomplish that. To paraphrase Amartya Sen, to ask people to pay individually for the provision of a social good is to misunderstand the very nature of a social good. Health care is a social good and should be provisioned by society. Health insurance is a method by which rentiers and actuaries place themselves in between patients and their care, in order to charge a toll and thus line their pockets.

      Health care is a social good; health insurance is a social bad…imnsho.

      1. taunger

        To directly answer your question: the people stuck with crappy ACA plans are screwed if they incur significant health care costs.

        My comment was not to support the public/private partnership model, but rather to note that the exchange aspect (ability to enroll) has worked fine for the past 5 years and it was the ACA that broke it; Haygood’s comment above re: why didn’t we see the ACA exchange fiasco coming based on MA experience has the causality reversed. And that was due to a deliberately misleading article. From Politico. Surprise. But, c’mon, NC, you aren’t supposed to get duped like that.

        1. Jessica

          But that is what we have readers like you for.
          Thank you for explaining it.
          We need such collective wisdom.

        2. Alexa

          Spot on, taunger. I read not long ago that when all is said and done, approximately 20% or less of the “top” employees–and managers and CEOs–will still be offered Group Health Insurance.

          The S&P piece posted today, while it does not venture to give a percentage, IIRC, does mention that Group Health Insurance will be used as a “recruitment tool” for skilled workers. Pretty sure that means for “top” positions. Thanks to NC for the S&P piece–been pretty much saying the same thing for almost a year, now–since it almost pertained to us this year.

          And thanks for the Reuters piece on the speech–still looking for a piece that covered the Q&A, if anyone sees one and posts it.

          Thanks to all.

    2. Brian

      Insurance for the care of living things does not work. It is a means to take their money and health away. Does someone have a cogent argument to counter my premise?

  3. Mark J.Lovas

    NATO re-armament? American arms manufacturers using the crisis in the Ukraine as a marketing tool? Yes, I think you’re right. It’s a funny thing: for two days running (I didn’t see the paper today) the front page of the local “left” (Social Democratic) paper in the Czech Republic has been pushing the need to spend more money on the army…….

  4. Banger

    It’s kind of funny how things long predicted decades ago are coming to pass. Many doctors and researchers back in the 80s were sounding an alarm about antibiotic resistance of various diseases. Mass use of antibiotics by American agri-business was seen as the main culprit and, indeed, it is. Also the tendency of American physicians who are trained to ignore the patient and over-prescribe anything, particularly antibiotics, to cover their asses was seen as another problem.

    We are, as a culture, gradually devolving. Our institutions are crumbling from the inside, public health is defunded in favor of more prisons, police, “defense”, security and so on. Our business leaders are usually rise to the top based on their criminality not their creativity. Government has become a tool of the corporate sector and the media has become almost entirely a propaganda organ not just in “news” but in entertainment for the corporate oligarchs.

    We ignore the evolution of bacteria at our peril. We ignore climate change at our peril. Yet we ignore those things because we have lost the ability to discriminate between the distractions of the media and real problems that are obvious and have been obvious for decades. We are, collectively, insane and hospital administrators will continue to downplay hospital borne illnesses and public health officials will, as they are currently doing, largely ignoing antibiotic resistant bacteria because career and status trumps everything.

    Personally, I’m thinking a lot of the old Elvis Costello hit “Waiting for the End of the World.”

  5. Jim Haygood

    ‘Hillary’s appearance coincided with the release by Vanity Fair magazine of excerpts from an article by Monica Lewinsky.’

    Inflammatory remarks on gun ownership probably aren’t sufficient to divert attention from a fresh airing of a juicy scandal from 16 years ago. Surely we all look forward to new accounts from the political dramatis personae of that recent era.

    No doubt the blockbuster will be Hillary’s own Cannabalism in Wartime: Recipes From the Middle East and North Africa, with its deft melding of political and culinary themes.

    Not to be ignored is Laura Bush’s Abu Ghraib-inspired Talk To the Helmet: Polygraphing the Penile Corona. And then there’s Cherie Blair’s brave Cooking for the Coprophagiac: Sh*t Spreads From Scratch.

    Guess I’m just in a literary mood, with the impending launch of my own modest effort, Polypharmacy for Dummies: Make the Real World Take a Hike.

    1. Cal

      “[A] scandal from 16 years ago”
      Are you referring to these?
      Here’s the short version. The full menu is in the site.

      NUMBER of Hillary Clinton fundraisers or major backers convicted of, or pleading no contest to, crimes: 9 including Jeffrey Thompson, Paul Adler, Norman Hsu, Jorge Cabrera, Abdul Jinnal, Alcee Hastings, Johnny Chung, Marc Rich, Sant Chatwal

      NUMBER OF TIMES that Hillary Clinton, providing testimony to Congress, said that she didn’t remember, didn’t know, or something similar: 250

      NUMBER OF CLOSE BUSINESS partners of Hillary Clinton who ended up in prison: 3. The Clintons’ two partners in Whitewater were convicted of 24 counts of fraud and conspiracy. Hillary Clinton’s partner and mentor at the Rose law firm, Webster Hubbell, pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud and tax evasion charges, including defrauding former clients and former partners out of more than $480,000. Hillary Clinton was mentioned 35 times in the indictment.

      IN THE 1980s, Hillary Clinton made a $44,000 profit on a $2,000 investment in a cellular phone franchise deal took advantage of the FCC’s preference for locals, minorities and women. The franchise was almost immediately flipped to the cellular giant, McCaw.

      HILLARY CLINTON AND HER HUSBAND set up a resort land scam known as Whitewater in which the unwitting bought third rate property 50 miles from the nearest grocery store and, thanks to the sleazy financing, about half the purchasers, many of them seniors, lost their property.”

        1. Cal

          Nice straw man. You cannot destroy facts with outlandish invented and impeachable slander.

    2. JTFaraday

      Well, I for one will definitely be reading Monica’s Lewinsky’s piece. The last we heard from her, she seemed to have a very sad life. Sort of a new kind of “damaged goods.” One wonders if this is how others view her or how she views herself.

      Certainly it’s not how anyone views anyone else any more. There’s a political or military or business or university or schoolhouse or sexting scandal a week. Anthony Weiner is running for office again. Gawker is one of our most respected news sources.

      Monica Lewinsky is positively quaint. She needs to get with the times once and for all.

  6. Jax in Louisville

    Many of us are all too aware of climate change, antibiotic resistance, the emergency of public schools, ETC. I suggest the U.S. hit the good times after WWII when Europe and much of the world lay in ruins and we are now devolving into a more average player as the competition (China) heats up. It doesn’t help that our form of capitalism is frequently a zero-sum game. I expect masses of people to turn to increasingly rigid forms of religion in these kinds of straitened circumstances, and more draconian laws. My only hope is the young – people like the Archdruid Report, for example – while I continue to advocate locally.

  7. Cocomaan

    Having Obama on board with the needed changes to tackle climate change is probably the worst thing that could happen for the advancement of said changes.

    Any percentage of the zero political capital he still has is poison at this point.

    Also, rebels have evacuated their last stronghold in Homs, Syria:

    Quoted for bizarro:
    Each fighter was reportedly allowed to carry his rifle and a bag of belongings with him. One rocket-propelled-grenade launcher and a machine-gun were also allowed on each bus.

    Speaking of Obama and political capital, I wonder where Syria would be right now if he and Kerry’s hysterics over the chemical weapons had turned into actual mobilization of the West in that country. Right now it looks like the conflict is on its way to ending.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      As an advocate, his voice is important. As for his prescriptions, I wouldn’t trust him. The pressure needs to be on Congress and the effects on climate from military spending.

  8. Roquentin

    That Google exec storming out is priceless from a psychological viewpoint. You’d be hard pressed to find a more textbook example of narcissism run amok. First he invites himself to the conference and when he gets there stages an elaborate scene so he can storm out because there aren’t enough people there to listen to someone as important as him. He may as well just say “Everyone please acknowledge how grandiose I am.”

    Ladies and Gentlemen, these are the people who planning your technological future.

  9. Cynthia

    Re: Bloomberg’s “Cancer Doctors Join Insurers in U.S. Drug-Cost Revolt”

    The cost of chemotherapy is also being driven up by more and more oncologists ditching their private practice in order to become paid employees of a hospital system (see link below). They are doing this because chemotherapy administered at a hospital or a hospital-based clinic is reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid at a much higher rate than it is at a freestanding physician’s clinic. Once again, hospitals claim they need to be reimbursed at a much higher rate because they have a lot of overheard costs to pay for. Apparently the folks at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) fell for this bogus argument, otherwise they would have told hospitals to simply reduce their overhead costs and then they wouldn’t need extra reimbursement money from Uncle Sam. But don’t ever expect such practical and sage advise from the folks at Medicare & Medicaid as long as the revolving door between the CMS and the hospital industry is firmly in place.

    So if you really want to cut the cost of chemotherapy, not only will you have to take power away from the Pharmaceutical Lobby, but you will also have to take power away the Hospital Lobby as well. Good luck with that.

      1. Klassy

        “A spokesperson from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) said that hospitals and other health centers may purchase drugs at discounts of up to 50 percent if they meet the criteria for the program, but the agency cannot dictate how they use the savings.”
        Jebus, are they accountable to no one?

        1. CB

          They are accountable to no one. The very “organizational” structure is set up to make accountability impossible. And, of course, they’re very practiced liars.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      If you REALLY want to cut the cost of chemotherapy, make the patient pay for it himself. The “oncologists” didn’t start squawking until insurance companies did just that with a percentage instead of a fixed co-pay.

      Nothing focuses a “business person’s” mind like constantly having the “customer” refuse a “purchase” because he/she can’t “afford” it.

      If all these “healthcare” providers are so eager to accept their roles as “business people,” let them assume the position. If the product is too pricey, you can’t make the sale. Period. Can’t adjust your business model to accommodate what the traffic will bear, you’re out of business and replaced by someone who can. Or done without.

      That used to be called “capitalism,” I think.

      1. James Levy

        How many people die in pain before the market magically “corrects” itself? If it’s my mother, wife, child, or brother, that’s one too many. Or do we sell our homes and bankrupt ourselves in the hopes that the infallible hidden hand bails us out? I get your anger, but your prescription is an invitation to mass murder.

        1. BondsOfSteel

          Yes. I’m always discouraged with the idea of introducing market forces into medicine.

          Markets require rational actors and free will. People are always at their least rational when they are sick, scared, and in pain. We are like cornered animals in that state.

          Plus, how is the choice of pay up or die free will? That’s the same choice as slavery… work or rise up and maybe die.

          1. CB

            Concur, but strike “going to be.” Many people already can’t afford even to discover why they’re chronically ill.

  10. Cal

    Climate catastrophe, White House course of action.

    Well, President Obama could do something really effective like slash military operations by half. Since the DOD is the biggest user of fossil fuels in the world, that would have a real effect. To make up for it, military pay could be doubled, that would pull families out of poverty. It’s just numbers on a piece of paper as W said.
    Jesus, he’s actually starting to look good in retrospect.

    1. James Levy

      Yes, this pattern of Obama saying something about a real problem–climate change, inequality, exploding health care costs, differential incarceration rates–then nothing, I mean nothing, happening, no serious corrective offered, is just weird. It’s as if proposing legislation is just too much trouble and effort for this guy.

      1. Banger

        There were a few people around in 2008 who warned us that Obama was a complete fraud. Webster Tarpley was one of those people and though I find many of his views problematical his evaluation of Obama was more accurate than not. Obama was a marketing triumph his advocacy of health reform, in fact, resulted in the death of real health reform, his opposition to aggressive national security policy led to an aggressive national security policy and his advocating action on Climate Change will result in no action.

        1. different clue

          Riverdaughter at The Confluence was warning people about Fraudulent Obama and Fraudulent DemParty flipping of the nomination to Obama.

          Obama plans to okay the Keystone XL pipeline whenever he feels the best moment to get away with it has arrived.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Yup, when Obama focuses on anything, expect exactly the opposite of stated intent, whether it’s saving Social Security, renegotiating SHAFTA, closing Gitmo, ending wars, defending the constitution, transparency, protecting whistleblowers, protecting the Arctic, holding fraudsters and torturers accountable, ad infinitum. Obama’s focus on climate change after five years is great cause for alarm; from the most Orwellian, Machiavellian president in history, his is decidedly not the change we can believe in.

    2. neo-realist

      The President who appointed Roberts and Alito with their reactionary positions on civil rights and civil liberties and the damage they’ve help to cause will never look good.

      1. splashoil

        Ah yes! But I do still remember my two Senators Cantwell and Murray both voting for debate cloture know that once the money vote was done they could righteously vote against confirmation concealing their betrayal. Nope neither the jackass or the elephant serve us well.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The dog looks like your typical 99.99%er, judging from the interior decoration.

          The cat, on the other hand, dresses like a bankster, born with a sterling sliver knife.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Good camerawork hides the cat’s fat tummy, I believe.

              So, you’re right. It’s a fat cat.

  11. reader

    This was deleted a few hours ago from the comments section of the article “Ukraine crisis worsens amid fighting” on the Guardian website, but I saved the content when I found it the first time:

    “Video of events in Odessa
    I don’t know if this alleged translation of the transcript is accurate, maybe the Russian/Ukrainian speakers here can tell us (you will need to scroll down a way to find it at the link)
    0.43-47 “Let us burn those motherfuckers right in the building, f***ing faggots”
    1.08 – Everything around is already burning. Injured people are lying on the ground.
    1.18-1.20 Maidan activist Mykola is running and shooting at people, who are trying to escape from the window.
    2.34-2.36 Older man is telling “Go from the other side around, through the bathroom!” «Ребята, с той стороны, через туалет!»
    2.44 – He was told to continue his commands and then answered “ Do not film me” , «Меня не снимай»
    3.20 – Fire inside. Operator is telling the building will start to burn now. Second floor is burning.
    3.50 – Operator notices that someone is trying to extinguish the fire from the inside.
    4.08 – Man is advising to throw more Molotovs. “Throw them, throw them!” , “Кидай кидай,блять!”
    4.32 – You may see grenade explosion at the front of the entrance.
    5.40-5.50 – attackers throw more fire to the window and then are shouting “GOAL!!!”
    6.25 – 7.13 – The same man, Mykola, who is wearing yellow-blue bandage on his left arm, is shooting at people who are trying to catch air and are seen from the window.
    8.07 – Operator is wondering what is going on inside. He says that the crowd has started to move inside the house.
    8.10 – Maidan activists are telling each other to go to the backyard, because people are trying to escape from there
    8.26 – Crowd is shouting “They are escaping! Run to the backyard!” «Они выходят сзади!»
    8.42 –This is the front of the building. More cocktails are thrown.
    9.41-9.47 – Nationalists are screaming “Fuck them right there, throw to the windows!” , «Хуярьте туда, кидайте в окна!»
    10.40 Lady is filming the fire. In front of the building, tents, boxes, almost all found items are set on fire. The smoke from the fireplace is quickly absorbed to the building. If the firefighters would have been there, may be less people would have asphyxated inside.
    13.00 – Operator is moving to the backyard.
    14.15- People, who are still alive are shouting “Police, you have been bought as scums and all of you will go to prison afterwards!” антифашисты еще живые кричат в мегафон- “”менты продажные твари- всех вас потом посадят в тюрьму- ”
    14.17 – A bus, where police officers are situated.
    14.41 – Man from the window is shouting “Citizens of Odessa city, rise up!”
    15.40- менты стоят все это время ЗА Домом Профсоюэов и они спокойно общаются пока здание уже горит с центрального входа и на 1 этаже. Cops are all the time behind the House of Trade Unions and they quietly communicate until the building is lit with the main entrance and on the 1st floor.
    15.49 – Operator shows where police officers are situated. They are simply chatting, while the building is burning from the front and on the first floor.
    16.40- People start to jump from the window. 2, 3, 4 dead bodies.
    21.00 still alive girls are shouting from the second and third floor.
    23.00- Burning man has fallen from the window. Crowd is happy. Operator is asking them to help, but the answer is “They have cut off heads of activists in Kiev”.
    23.20- Anti-nationalist man is lying on the roof. Maidan nazzis are shouting to him “Jump! Glory to the Ukraine!”, «Прыгай! Слава Украине!”

    (Please remove this if considered inappropriate.)

    1. Banger

      Great comment–keep up the good work. The Guardian is now part of the Ministry of Truth as are all mainstream media outlets–unless you can name any.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Affordable Care Care saving S&P 500 companies $700 billion…potentially.

    Let me see….

    We are talking bigger money here, I think.

    Like its a $14 trillion gift to the shareholders.

    $14 trillion!!!…potentially.

  13. rich

    Uh oh, newspapers are looking like attractive investments again Mostly smaller ones; good news and (mostly) bad news

    Warren Buffett noticed this a couple of years ago and made a much celebrated foray into the market, though opinions differ on how well that deal is working out. More quietly, Halifax Media Group, backed by, among others, a unit of Stephens Inc., an investment bank based in Little Rock, Arkansas, has made a string of deals in recent years, including 16 papers from The New York Times Co. in 2012.

    Meanwhile, Digital First Media, a combination of the old Journal Register Company and Dean Singleton’s Media News Group and one of the larger newspaper concerns in the country, laid off employees as part of a major cost cutting initiative, which is sometimes a prelude to a sale, and is the subject of an uncontradicted report by Ken Doctor that it’s massive portfolio is indeed going on the market.

    Dallas Morning News owner A.H. Belo sold its Riverside, CA, paper and has the Providence Journal on the block, the sale of which could be announced any time now.

    GateHouse was once a chain of more than 200 mostly community papers known as a Liberty Group Publishing, which in 2005 was scooped up by private equity giant Fortress Investment Group LLC, now a public traded owner of everything from railroads, to old folks homes, to Umami Burger.

    The newspaper deal, as the WSJ recounted later, followed the classic private equity formula for slow-growing but still profitable industries: Add huge debt and pay investors a dividend using the cash flow. It didn’t work out. GateHouse ended in bankruptcy court within three years, the victim of unraveling newspaper finances and its own debt load, among other things.
    New Media already owns about 85 dailies, 240 weeklies, and 96 shoppers, with a combined paid circulation of more than million paid and three million total, making it one of the largest newspaper companies in the United States. Most of the dailies are small—The Siskiyou Daily News, in California, the Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch, in Minnesota—but it also owns what it calls “large dailies,” mostly between 30,000 and 50,000 circulation, like the State Journal Register, in Springfield, IL, the Observer-Dispatch, in Utica, NY, and the Peoria Journal Star, in Illinois. – See more at:

    more layoffs, more consolidation, less objectivity….WINNING

  14. BondsOfSteel

    RE: American Doomsday: White House Warns of Climate Catastrophes

    OMG. When did the NBC news site become so unreadable? I understand they want mobile users, but the 200+ point font, lack of navigation, and ever other paragraph broken separated is all but unusable.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      200+ point font…

      That’s senior friendly format.

      Throw in kid-friendly content, you got a big target audience population.

      I aim to write like that.

      1. Lambert Strether

        No, it’s not a senior-friendly format. A senior-friendly format lets you take in the maximum amount of important content — mostly text, by definition — in one glance (or saccade). If I want bigger type, the browser or a well-designed app will do that for me.

        And come to think of it, that’s the main requirement for anybody who values their time.

        A great many of these “mobile-friendly” / “mobile-first” apps aren’t even usable on their intended platforms but crapified managers approve untested work by out-of-control designers anyhow because innovation.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Maybe not 200+, but 125 point would be nice.

          The concern is, while all the important stuff is there, to be glanced, the senior reader might not ‘see’ it when glancing or looking at it.

  15. Vatch

    Thanks for the link “Alarm Bells Over Antibiotic Resistance”. This is a very serious issue that does not get enough attention, at least not in the mainstream media. One of the causes of antibiotic resistance is the routine overuse of antibiotics in factory farms (also known as ‘CAFOs’, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).

    Here’s an example of a non-mainstream article about this problem:

    There are people in the U.S. government who know about the danger, but they always seem to be overruled by Big Ag and Big Pharm. Here’s a National Institutes of Health article (from 7 years ago):

    Wash your hands before eating, don’t eat undercooked meat, wash your salad greens, and put antiseptic on cut skin as soon as possible. If you get a bacterial infection, you might not be able to rely on the antibiotic that your doctor prescribes.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We have more problems than just Global Warming.

      Getting rid of cars or whatnot is not as comprehensive as changing the way we live and the way we organize.

      The root cause is greed, profit maximization, etc and the counter measures to that are 1. GDP sharing, letting the GDP fall to where it may, and 2. living a simpler life.

  16. docg

    Yves, you’ve gotta give us the name of the photographer who produced that masterpiece. I’ve never been a big fan of “art photography” but this shot is imo truly a work of art. It’s just perfect in every single detail. So, please tell us: who dunnit?

  17. jfleni

    RE: The Beginning of the End for the Leaders Of The Free World

    Direct public sneers and contempt for corrupt and useless “leaders” will get far more done than “reasonable” arguments. That has always been the case, and leads ultimately to abrupt dismissal of these clowns as people worthy of influence.

    Who would have thought it: Cheney, Rice, and all the other buttkissers of the plutocrats become objects of public contempt and shrink to worthless and futile jabbering. We can only hope that there ar many more to come.

    1. Vatch

      Albert Cossery’s novel, The Jokers, is about some people who use ridicule against a corrupt government official. Ridiculing the powerful doesn’t just occur in fiction; in the real world, The Yes Men do it. It’s often quite hilarious.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Tony Blair’s sell-by date was evident when he got slow-clapped by a group of kindly dowagers. Maybe slow-clapping would work here; hard to detect clapping functionality with metal detectors and strip searches.

        1. ambrit

          Your’ underlying assumption is that the elites care anymore what the commons think. This assumption is more and more being shown to be incorrect. Sorry, but that idea went the way of the Polis when political operatives began to “screen” attendees of public appearances by Politicos. The “Protest Zone” a mile or more away from political conventions also comes to mind. Let us face facts. At the National level at least, peaceful dissent has been criminalized. Now we are all criminals. Past time we started acting like said.

          1. allcoppedout

            Ambrit is right. Soon we will all be allowed only one hand and Lambert will be talking of the sound of one hand clapping. Blair was outed long before the WI. Brown, the cretin who sold UK gold reserves in a possible failed bid to become Chair of the World Bank or IMF, is the better model on what the elite think of pleb-speak – as in what he thought was off-record on the sensible pensioner who broached real immigration issues with him.

          2. Vatch

            Some elites/oligarchs care what people think, because some of the elites and oligarchs are narcissists. And the ones who are not narcissists can still be indirectly affected by ridicule, because the multitude are less likely to be obedient if they have disrespect for the masters.

            I’m not claiming that humor and ridicule by themselves can come close to solving injustice, but they can have an effect. The eyes of some of the more compliant members of the 99% can be opened by anything that makes the people at the top look stupid.

  18. Vatch

    The article “Billionaires try to convince Americans it’s good to import foreign workers, increase immigration” really nails it. Despite record levels of unemployment, underemployment, and discouraged workers, the billionaires, centimillionaires, and elite corporate executives who own and control the United States insist that we need to bring in more workers. What’s really tragicomic about this is that many people who consider themselves to be progressive will agree with the manipulative billionaires.

    1. docg

      Yes, of course. In my view, immigration is not, or should not be, a political issue at all, and this article effectively explains why it has become just that.

      From Mole in the Ground (

      “The first thing I want to point out is the strange attitude of liberals regarding the economics of immigration. There is something wrong with the argument that the sort of jobs illegals are willing to do are jobs US citizens refuse to accept. And it’s surprising that liberals would take a position which, to my ears, sounds far too close to a justification for slavery. If these jobs are too arduous, inhumane and low paying for US citizens, then why aren’t liberals fighting to improve the working conditions and the pay rather than making this an excuse for accepting illegal wage-slaves into our society?”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not just for slave owners to justify slavery, but to ask the rest of us, the voters, to become active participants by approving this new slavery/serfdom in which slaves and serfs are often ‘voluntary,’ that is, without visible signs of physical coercion, because the masters of this neo-serfdom/slavery are very PR savvy and understand it’s better to entice, seduce or make offers that can’t be refused. They are ‘civilized’ masters.

        The other feature of this neo-serfdom is what can be called Jevon’s illegal Immigrant Paradox.

        What is Jevon’s Illegal Immigrant Paradox?

        It’s one where the more you allow in, the more jobs American citizens will refuse to accept – think through the process, but it is there – necessitating more blowing up of foreign countries to create more economic refugees and more illegal immigrants.

  19. Luke The Debtor

    “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the White House report released on Tuesday says.

    It’s a shame the White House is not aware that climate change has already been an “issue” for human civilization since its inception.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sadly, you are most likely right – instead of firmly moving into the present, it actually moved into the past.

  20. Jackrabbit

    Ukraine – Interesting development

    Putin has publicaly called for a delay in the separatist referendum(s) (and says he is/will pull troops away from border, though what he means by this is unclear: how far back?). Why?

    a) Capitulation (recognizes need to work with the US/West)?

    b) Responding to overtures from “realists” in the West? (like New Republic article that we debated on NC links yesterday)

    c) Playing to “realists” and public opinion in the West (and elsewhere) to divide West and win friends?

    d) A ploy to show that he doesn’t control the separatists? (the referendums will go ahead anyway)

    e) more than one of the above, or some other reason?

    1. Paul Tioxon

      1. Russia has annexed Crimea, the most critical area for them to place under direct political control, beyond the reach of NATO or Ukrainian internal politics. Everything else is secondary to this accomplishment. Now, they have access to the Mediterranean via the Black Sea, without dependency.

      2. They have shown their ability to block any interference by the US into the internal politics of the Ukraine with ham fisted Neo-con covert manipulations.

      3. Ukraine realizes how more important they are to the Russia, than to the US and NATO.

      4. Russia waits for the US to be almost completely withdrawn from Afghanistan, with US public opinion at all time low of war weariness and absolutely no concern for Eastern European politics on the Russian border that Russia wants to deal with as it pleases.

      5. Putin can turn up the heat politically or turn down the heat politically, just as he can distribute the gas or shut it off. And no one can do anything at all about it. The Ukrainians can fight back to a large degree and make it painful for Russia, but Putin has delivered his message: Russia is not only your strategic partner in the energy business, but politically, we are your primary ally, whether you like it or not. In business terms for the money grubbing mindset, Russia has right of 1st refusal on any major decisions that the Ukrainian government makes about its economy, it political alliances, its military or its policies for cultural diversity vis a vis Russians living inside of what is left of the Ukraine. Its internal leadership needs to consider the question: how does this affect our relationship with Russia, first, second and third.

    2. VietnamVet

      If the Russian troops are withdrawn from the border, the Oligarchs won. Russia keeps the Crimea but without a secure supply land line. The fate of the majority Russian speaking provinces are left to the tender mercies of the negotiations between the Russian/Ukraine Oligarchs and the Kiev Putsch.

      The prospects of a nuclear war made even the Plutocrats blink. Ukraine is proof that a undemocratic deep state is in control of the World. Since no diplomatic settlement was reached between sovereign states, the centuries old Ukraine Civil War between Catholic West and Orthodox East will simmer on. This could still be dangerous. Not mentioned by corporate media are the 15 working nuclear reactors in Ukraine and 4 Chernobyl tombs that could melt down and release radioactive fallout if not maintained. This is likely as Ukraine turns into a failed state as the neo-nazis spread their Odessa horrors across the South and East Provinces trying to get total control.

      This is our New World Order run by neo-liberals and neo-conservatives for the very few.

    3. Banger

      I think this change has something to do with Merkel’s visit to Washington. I believe Merkel is the key player in this crisis and my hunch is that Obama does not trust Kerry or the State Department and is tired of the machinations of the neocons and maybe directly negotiating with Putin via Merkel.

      As for Putin, he’s happy to have the Crimea, he knows the Kiev Putchists are making the East ungovernable so he can afford to pull back. Ukraine, we have to remember is an artificial state and is unlikely to hold together in the long-term and the plots hatched in Washington will now be too obvious to be effective–I hope this shameful episode will settle into a de facto partition.

      1. ohmyheck

        I ask this question in all sincerity, because I really do not understand this statement:
        “Obama does not trust Kerry or the State Department and is tired of the machinations of the neocons”. How do you come to this hunch?

        If he doesn’t like Kerry, then why did he appoint him? If he doesn’t like neo-cons, then why is Victoria Nuland a deputy secretary? Why is Susan Power at the UN? Does he have absolutely no choice in these matters? Did he not know their true colors when he backed their nominations?

        I do not know how things work in the DC Bubble. I thought the POTUS created the team that represents his views. I guess I got suckered by watching too many episodes of “The West Wing”.

        1. Synopticist

          “If he doesn’t like Kerry, then why did he appoint him? If he doesn’t like neo-cons, then why is Victoria Nuland a deputy secretary?”

          I would say he appointed Kerry because he has no real power base of his own, and he wrongly thought Kerry was competent. Likewise Nuland, she stayed on because he lacked the power to purge the neo-cons.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            One of the higher ups in the Israeli government described Kerry as having a messiah complex. He elaborated that Kerry seemed not to have the slightest idea about the state of Israeli/Palestinian negotiations and current conditions, choosing to make statements from decades old agreements. I think this was dismissed as typical Israeli/Likudnik whining, but maybe, he had a point?

            I think Kerry is legacy shopping, and Obama misidentified* Kerry as another Biden who would be pleased as punch to get a cool job with a plane he doesn’t have to ask permission from Teresa to use. Kerry needs his own smart war to prove how great a President he would have been.

            *Assuming, he put any kind of effort into this. Missing Daschle’s tax evasion issue while trying to make him the front man for healthcare during the bailouts would seem to suggest they just sort of pick names they remember from times they inadvertently switched to CSPAN.

      2. Synopticist

        You might be on to something there, Bangar. Using Merkel as a back channel to Putin…

    4. Jackrabbit

      I would say (c) and (d) and challenge to the Kiev govt to back off (while the Separatists continue to prepare to defensive and referendums).

      @Paul Tioxon
      Yes you make some good points but I’m not sure that you are giving due consideration to the importance of the May 25th elections.

      @Vietname Vet
      I’m not sure that they’ve blinked yet. Proxy wars mean never having to say you’re sorry.
      FYI: NATO is reporting that they have not detected any meaningful pull-back.

      The larger strategic play goes beyond Merkel, Obama, and Kerry. I really don’t know how far they will take it. For now it is just a proxy war/civil war. AFAICT Merkel has publicly toe-ed the US line. Germany can’t even get to a satisfactory arrangement wrt NSA spying. To me that indicates how captured/weak they are. I don’t think Putin wants to wait for the May 25th elections (which could legitimize the current regime). And NATO says that Russia really hasn’t pulled back. That’s why I think the answer as I mentioned above.

      1. OIFVet

        Chess on grandmaster level, as opposed to the 11-dimensionally game of checkers by you know who. First, Putin continues to give the junta and its backers enough rope to hang themselves on in the court of world opinion. Second, lots of military equipment has been positioned in Crimea since it rejoined Russia. Take a look at the map: the Ukrainian military in Eastern Ukraine is now in a Russian pincer. And the junta and its western backers know it. Putin can squeeze this pincer any time he wants to or has to, but he will not unless he absolutely has to. Instead he is yet again offering the clowns in DC a face-saving way out. Third, I think that Germany is not so much a conduit between Obama and Putin as it is taking charge of the western clusterfuck. Merkel gives off the vibe of being seriously underwhelmed and unimpressed by Obama.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I doubt Putin would act, but Libya and Iraq do demonstrate that their is an element of the MIC will be up for anything if they think it will get them ahead in their career. Syria and Iran proved officers know what happens to officers connected to disasters in public perception, and seeing US fighters littering the rubble of Syria wouldn’t go over well. Putin strikes me as smart enough to try to appeal to this group, but he also knows volunteer militaries are self selective and might jump if they see too much aggression.

          I wouldn’t expect any solid move until Europe makes noise or Cameron gets the Chicot report out.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In Greece, austerity kills.

    Let’s remember that austerity is non-violent*.

    *Not directly. Most of what we think of as non-violence is ultimately backed by the threat of violence.

  22. Jeff W

    Mozilla: We have a fix for Net neutrality CNET. If I read this correctly, it’s a way for the FCC to get the local broadband duopolists treated like utilities without calling them utilities.

    It’s a little difficult to figure out but VentureBeat has a bit more nuanced explanation than CNET:

    FCC regulations recognize just two main kinds of business relationships that ISPs have: one with the customers to whom they’re providing Internet access, and the other with their peering partners (relationships that connect the ISP to the “cloud,” aka the rest of the Internet).

    But, Mozilla says, in the modern Internet, there’s a third kind of relationship that ISPs are involved in — even if they don’t control the entire connection — and that’s the connection from an end-user to a major website or Internet service. If you’re watching Netflix via your Comcast cable connection, Comcast is providing a service to you and to Netflix — even if Comcast doesn’t itself have a direct connection to Netflix’s servers.

    Mozilla’s proposal simply asks that the FCC classify this kind of connection, which it calls a “Remote Delivery” service, as a telecommunications service, bringing it under the regulatory authority of the FCC.

    By recognizing this third relationship—which is probably how people think about their Internet service, anyway—the FCC would. in effect, avoid “reclassifying” the existing relationships from “information services,” as they are now classified, which fall outside Title II of the Communications Act to “telecommunications services” which are subject to common carrier regulations under Title II. (That “reclassification” is what net neutrality advocates, such as Free Press, have been arguing for, and what former FCC chairman—and now National Cable and Telecommunications Association CEO—Michael Powell has said would result in “World War III.”)

    I think Mozilla’s proposal, while elegant and clever, takes argument against “reclassification” a bit too much at face value. While the debate is framed in “reclassification” terms—and reclassification would be one way of ensuring net neutrality—the telecommunications industry is really resisting being treated as a common carrier—whether through reclassification or through an entirely new classification—because a common carrier cannot discriminate against or give any unreasonable preference to particular users of its telecommunications services. (That said, I still favor Mozilla’s proposal because it gets the relationships right—basically, ISPs are connecting end users to various internet services and that is the common carrier relationship that matters—which helps get the policy considerations aligned properly.)

    1. Gerard Pierce

      The FCC has any number of choices about how to deal with Net Neutrality. Those choices hardly matter if the fix is in – as seems likely.

  23. Hugh

    For our elites, the sole purpose of immigration is wage suppression.

    Re Ukraine, it is in Russia’s interests to tone things down there before the situation spins out of control producing an unstable, chaotic failed state on its doorstep and inviting Western intervention. As it is, Russia has gained the strategic prize of the Crimea and achieved de facto autonomy in the Russian dominated Eastern Ukraine (Luhansk and Donetsk). Any further moves would be at a much higher cost and could blow up in their faces.

  24. allcoppedout

    Immigration isn’t “always” about wage suppression Hugh, though I snag your drift. It’s also another form of looting, perhaps not unlike the recent outbreak of sex slavery in Nigeria of from Eastern Europe after Soviet collapse. Like all those foreign doctors, technicians and nurses are “needed” more in our societies than the third world. Travelling about teaching in our current model, one soon discovers your teaching skills matter a lot less than how bright your classes are. So why not, in this world, skim off the bright from poor countries rather than go for the hard option of training up our own ‘recalcitrant thick’? It’s almost more disgusting than we can imagine, as though third world people are just bred for this and to become organ donors. In my local towns (formerly rich manufacturing) the plight of young local men who couldn’t hack education is obvious. Decent lads become casual workers in the seasonal drugs business over Xmas. They’be be corner boys except the cops have driven that form of trade to mobile phone delivery networks. Immigration has a lot to do with this, along with the export of jawbs. And it’s a fascist breeding ground – almost a virtuous circle for the powerful.

    We need a sophisticated model that somehow retains usability to make what is going on plain. My contention is that the establishment opposition already knows and proceeds by ‘dark argument’ that keeps the reality we need to discuss off the table. The massive propaganda of edutainment creates forces that prevent argument by exhausting us trying to create a clearing in which it can occur – almost like the effort needed to allow hot fusion without grounding. And argument itself, as we have generally soaked it up, tends us to winning rather than sharing. We have lost if we become the Commissars replacing the fat capitalist with a fat cigar. Leadership, as we have it, tends to corrupt to leaders rather than a responsible society

    Charles Hugh Smith, with whom we can’t eventually agree, puts forward four areas in which the current disaster might be developed into a problematic:
    1. Baumol’s Cost Disease
    2. Systemic headwinds to the current version of capitalism
    3. Dominance of global corporate capital
    4. Financialization

    Weak Marxism in a way. Not much point telling people ‘down the pub’ (these days a fiction as no one can afford to be out in one) they are suffering from these four points (and much more). We need new ways to converse. Talking real economy is like spoiling Star Trek for everyone by explaining the science is crap and humans will never, biologically, jet through the stars hacking out old soap opera themes without their bones wasting away. In short, we need people’s control of the means of production in ways we have hardly dreamed of. We only have inequality because, long-term, they have perverted action to money, even in education.

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