Links 10/1/14

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Whoa! Milky Way, Auroras & Thunderstorms Stun In New Time-Lapse Video Space (furzy mouse)

Good2Go Smartphone App Gauges Partner’s Informed Consent Before Having Sex CBS San Francisco (EM). Um, if the program gets it wrong, is the app maker liable?

How Twitter became the LinkedIn of the adult industry Pando. Replacing Craigslist?

How Human-Robot Teamwork Will Upend Manufacturing MIT Technology Review (David L)

eBay Inc. to Separate eBay and PayPal Into Independent Publicly Traded Companies in 2015 Business Wire

Google’s Confidential Android Contracts Show Rising Requirements Information. Oligopoly power in action.


Nigeria’s Actions Seem to Contain Ebola Outbreak New York Times. Note the sorta reassuring lead story at the Grey Lady, now that the dread disease is in the US, and not by virtue of having doctors flown in for treatment. Oh, and the next story there is about the Dallas case.

First U.S. Case Of Ebola Confirmed In Dallas NPR

Health officials tracing Dallas Ebola patient’s path Fort Worth Star-Telegram (furzy mouse). Seems to have the best info so far.

Why Japan’s beaches are deserted – despite the sunshine BBC (Chuck L)

Hong Kong. In the interest of brevity, I am only giving a few updates; Lambert has been doing a very able job in the Water Cooler with protest coverage (he’s made this one of his specialities during Arab Spring and remember, was actually on location during the Thai uprisings), so check in later!

The Political Geography of Hong Kong’s Protests Atlantic

Some financial firms moving to back-up sites amid Hong Kong protest fears CNBC

Hong Kong Businesses Worried Wall Street Journal

Beijing power play in Hong Kong Nikkei. A backgrounder.

Land sale revenue plunges in Chinese cities South China Morning Post

Chinese house prices tumble for fifth month in a row Agence France-Presse

Guerrilla Indonesian Opposition Stymies Widodo: Southeast Asia Bloomberg

ECB pushed to take ‘junk’ loan bundles Financial Times

Italy and France throw out fiscal compact Eurointelligence


ISIS at the Gates of Baghdad Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch

Chertoff warns ISIS could hit US targets The Hill (furzy mouse). So what changed the consensus from the opposite view as of about ten days ago? The need for more funding?

The 9 Biggest Myths About ISIS Debunked Huffington Post

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Julian Assange Fires Back At Eric Schmidt And Google’s ‘Digital Colonialism’ Huffington Post

Piracy Police Chief Calls For State Interference to Stop Internet Anarchy TorrentFreak (furzy mouse). Notice this is led by the City of London, which is a teeny but very powerful undemocratic little state. Even the Queen has to get permission to visit.

Your medical record is worth more to hackers than your credit card Reuters. I’ve refused to see doctors and labs that want to use a SSN as an identifier for this reason, plus doctors’ systems are vastly less well protected than those of financial services firms.

Ello Can’t Keep Up With the 45,000 Hourly Requests to Join: Anti-tracking manifesto has led to massive growth Adweek (furzy mouse)


U.S. Cannot Subsidize Health Plans in States With No Marketplace, a Judge Rules New York Times. Ooops.

Wonkbook: The latest Obamacare surprises Washington Post

Obamacare doctor networks to stay limited in 2015 Los Angeles Times

No Price for the Mad Charles Pierce, Esquire. The big piece piece that Pearce refuses to notice is that Republican extremism is terribly useful to the Democrats. It allows them to sell out on economic matters, which is what matters to wealthy backers, and sorta hold the line on their main point of branding difference, social identity group issues.

California governor vetoes drone warrant bill Reuters. EM: “Brown’s explanation turns the 4th amendment on its head – the cases where a warrant is *not* required should be the “exceptions”, not the other way around.”

New York mayor de Blasio plans expansion of living wage: NYT Reuters

Now as Provocateur, Summers Says Treasury Undermined Fed New York Times

Class Warfare

Why inequality is such a drag on economies Martin Wolf, Financial Times

The Middle-Class Litmus Test for the Economy Wall Street Journal

NY Fed analysts discuss expiring benefits and jobs dynamics Warren Mosler

Prison bankers cash in on captive customers Center for Public Integrity

Higher Education’s Aristocrats Jacobin. Jacob Lew’s obscene pay arrangements at New York University called some, but not enough, attention to the way gold-plated university administrators have taken the Wall Street looting playbook to higher education.

Antidote du jour (hat tip David L). OK, confession time. How many of you have cats who’ve managed to train you to turn on the tap for them?

Big cat

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. proximity1

    JPMorgan to face U.S. class action in $10 billion MBS case
    By Jonathan Stempel
    NEW YORK Wed Oct 1, 2014 5:56am EDT

    A Manhattan federal judge (Tuesday) “certified” a class-action suit against J.P. Morgan Chase & Co for liability toward “investors who claimed the largest U.S. bank misled them about the safety of $10 billion of mortgage-backed securities it sold before the financial crisis.”

    (note: the suit, according to the report, does not cover claims for damages–and those weren’t specified as “actual” or “punitive,” either).

    1. chris

      I hope the suit proceeds to a favorable disposition for those whom Chase ripped off. However, too often the legal victories are pyrrhic against these gangsters, especially Chase. I received my “Portion” of a class action suit brought against them for fraudulent behavior regarding mortgage mandated home owner’s flood insurance, a fraud that cost me several hundred dollars. The check I got was for $48.53…

      1. pretzelattack

        yeah those “victories” are jokes. which won’t stop the banksters from crying about official oppression or somesuch.

      2. Jim Haygood

        ‘The check I got was for $48.53…’

        Many class-action settlements are structured mainly to reward the plaintiffs’ attorneys who initiated the action, while the remaining crumbs on the table go to the injured parties.

  2. gonzomarx

    Just donated, glad that it’s the first year I’ve been able to but wish it could of been more.
    Thank you to the NC team for all your work and insight.

  3. proximity1

    “WTF”? “What the Flag?”
    My little U.S. Flag-watch– “50 white stars on a field of blue”

    Over the past several months, whenever I’ve found myself watching (on television) some U.S. official or a government spokesman spewing official-ese I find my attention wandering to the U.S. flag which nearly always figures in the screen’s frame, usually to the left of the speaker’s face. What’s been striking me most often is the variability in the stars’ size and spacing. Since John Kerry has been so active lately, he’s been pictured often in lots of different places around the world and there’s nearly always that blue field with white stars on it right next to his silly mug. So I’ve noticed how sometimes the stars are rather crowded together, sometimes they’re noticably more widely spaced, sometimes they’re smaller in relation to the visible red and white stripe’s width, sometimes larger. Obviously these flags are coming from a variety of sources and they’re lacking in uniformity. Some appear frankly cheap while others look like they were made by a luxury goods outfitter. Some of the stars–the high-quality flags–are embroidered on the cloth while others are printed–some well, some shoddily. The colors blue and red also vary–sometimes the blue is significantly closer to “royal” blue than to “navy” blue. Sometimes the red is has almost an orange-like tinge to it while other flags have a very typical red. Official “Old Glory” red and “Old Glory” blue colors are shown at Wikipedia’s page (see below).

    In this link–
    — you see a photo of what I mean by an overly-crowded field. In other “television appearances,” I’ve seen other flags with significantly wider spacing than is shown there.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Dimensional specs for the flag are stipulated in the U.S. code. Diameter of the stars is supposed to be four-fifths of the stripe width. In your link, the stars appear to be about the same diameter as the stripes, producing an overly dense, caricaturish look.

      One hopes the graphic felon responsible will be apprehended before committing further acts of vexillographic vandalism.

        1. Stnapsid


          “Vexillogic” is already adjectival in form. It’s British usage to tack “-al” onto “-ic”; don’t let them pull you into following their silly pattern. They’ve always had trouble with the language.

  4. scott

    I’ll fill you in on what the Ft. Worth Telegram doesn’t say. After being discharged, the patient most likely went back to his friends/family in the “5 points” area of North Dallas, about a mile and a half from Presby hospital. This is the first stopping/dropping off point for West African immigrants, Dallas’ “Little Lagos”, mind you. There he had three days to interact with his family and their friends, a good number of them taxi drivers. You probably couldn’t have found a better vector.

    1. financial matters

      Definitely not a good time for a two or three tier medical system without a good pubic health infrastructure.

    2. Benedict@Large

      I said right from the start that, lacking a single comprehensive medical system for all citizens and residents, the US had NO FRONTLINE DEFENSE should an outbreak like ebola cross its borders. The short-sightedness of out elites and leaders is astonishing on this, especially those situated in Texas, so it is good that ebola has entered there. Perhaps when a few of their over-glorified asses go down, they’ll come around to understanding that disease does not select by either net worth or its lack.

    3. reslez

      Yes, when I read the part where the ER jockeys sent him home with antibiotics I enjoyed a rather morbid chuckle. The Great Mortality took the rich and poor alike.

      1. EmilianoZ

        They’re now blaming complexity and a failure in communication:

        Thomas Eric Duncan told a nurse at a Dallas emergency room that he had recently visited Liberia, which has been ravaged by the Ebola outbreak. But an executive at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital told a news conference that the information was not widely enough shared with the medical team treating Duncan, and he was diagnosed as suffering from a “low-grade common viral disease”.

        Mark Lester, a senior executive at Texas Health Resources, which operates the hospital where Duncan is being treated, said medical staff used an Ebola checklist, which included a question about travel history. “That checklist was utilised by the nurse who did ask that question,” Lester said.

        The nurse was part of a “complex care team” in the emergency department, Lester said, adding: “Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full team.

  5. owenfinn

    That beach in Japan the author refers to IS very beautiful and the water looks tempting but man oh man the jellyfish are truly nasty in September. No thanks!

    To get a better idea of how the “correct behavior” group-think indoctrination comes about, one has to understand the schools – imagine “Lord of the Flies” as a guidebook for raising kids/creating citizens. See below –

  6. Ned Ludd

    At one point, “an organization with 2,500 members had been infiltrated by 1,600 informers”.

    The FBI infiltrated Liberation News Service (LNS), a New Left version of the Associated Press, using disinformation to make LNS seem an FBI front, and set up a phony newspaper to hire young radicals in order to spy on them. Following a lawsuit by the SWP, it was revealed that an organization with 2,500 members had been infiltrated by 1,600 informers—thus actually strengthening the group for a time, one could reasonably suppose. […]

    The mysterious “SI” stood for Security Index. SI in 1971 was a secret listing of more than 26,000 people who were to be arrested and imprisoned without any form of hearing in the event of a national emergency (including this writer, whose SI number was 492-609C). […]

    Seymour Hersh of the Times revealed, on December 22, 1974, that the CIA, in violation of its charter that forbade domestic intelligence, had files on thousands of U.S. anti-war activists. CIA Director Richard Helms lied when he denied it, but when Congress investigated a year later it turned out that the CIA had data on more than 300,000 people and a thousand organizations, with thousands on watch lists to have their mail opened (including this writer, whose mail was opened in 1962). […]

    In 1981 the FBI began to investigate a series of individuals and organizations that opposed Reagan’s foreign policy, in particular the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). “The ghost of Hoover seemed to be in charge,” Medsger relates, as the FBI recruited informers, staged break-ins at churches, homes, and offices, and monitored “hundreds of peace demonstrations.”

    Martin Oppenheimer’s review of Betty Medsger’s book, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI, concludes that the “FBI’s ‘war on subversives’ actually functioned to undermine and in some cases effectively destroy movements for social change… Hoover, regardless of his own motivations, was doing the social control work of the established order.”

    1. Banger

      I remember those days–I think many of us had heard, through the grapevine, about informers in our midst and it definitely had a chilling effect on the anti-war movement as did the murder of RFK and MLK. But this was not unusual–a similar thing happened in WWI with the jailing of Eugene Debs, shut down of dissident newpapers and publications, the rise of modern propaganda with the Creel Committee and, finally the Palmer raids and the creation of red squads in many PDs around the country. Despite that the left in the U.S. simmered and got room to breathe through the Labor Movement and socialists in the Roosevelt administration.

      And here is the problem–if the left were to start gaining traction were to become well-organized they would be infiltrated by the authorities which is why, were we to organize, it would have to be through cells and not mass organizations. On the face of it though this is a daunting task–that’s why I often say there is no hope–not the that left shows any signs of organizing. You can be sure that even what is left of the left is riddled with agents today some of them writing regularly. This is why I think the best direction to move in is to encourage the dissolution of the state at this time.

      1. Ned Ludd

        If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front,” is about ELF – which operated covert cells – and Daniel McGowan. The documentary tells how someone can be coerced into becoming an informant years after leaving a group, and then go about accumulating evidence on their former friends.

        The grugq, a middle-man between people who find computer exploits and the governments who buy them, mentioned in this speech that, when working covertly, view everyone as future co-defendant at a trial.

  7. petal

    Mike Morell spoke at Dartmouth yesterday. I didn’t go because I couldn’t stomach someone like that, but here’s the write up in the school newspaper. There’s also one this morning in the Valley News that’s probably a little better. I just can’t get to it because it’s behind a pay wall after reading 5 articles and I blew through mine already this month. Sorry about that.

      1. petal

        Oh, I know. I usually go to these things anyway, to see what’s being pedaled/what line of bs is being put out there. They love Dartmouth so there’s a steady stream of them showing up every year.

  8. abynormal

    “It’s not a potential of Ebola spreading widely in the U.S.,” Frieden said on a July 31 conference call with reporters. “That is not in the cards.”
    …and yet they sent the patient home with antibiotics only to have him return after being misdiagnosed and infecting only family members and a handful of community members.
    ive said for months the U$ would make a game of this…a costly one at that.

    “You play games with people’s lives.(…) You forget that they are fragile.”

    Patricia Briggs

    1. Ernesto Lyon

      There won’t be an Ebola problem in the US until the vax is out. The vax will spread the disease, just like it does with Pertussis.

      1. Vatch

        I know that the oral live attenuated virus polio vaccine (as opposed to the killed virus vaccine) can cause the disease, but I was not aware that this happens with pertussis vaccines. Of course I’m aware of various side effects caused by pertussis vaccines, especially in the older varieties. What’s your source for the claim that the pertussis vaccine spreads the disease?

          1. Vatch

            Interesting, thanks. Here’s the FDA article:


            A portion of the article:

            The FDA conducted the study in baboons, an animal model that closely reproduces the way whooping cough affects people. The scientists vaccinated two groups of baboons – one group with a whole-cell pertussis vaccine and the other group with an acellular pertussis vaccine currently used in the U. S. The animals were vaccinated at ages two, four, and six months, simulating the infant immunization schedule. The results of the FDA study found that both types of vaccines generated robust antibody responses in the animals, and none of the vaccinated animals developed outward signs of pertussis disease after being exposed to B. pertussis. However, there were differences in other aspects of the immune response. Animals that received an acellular pertussis vaccine had the bacteria in their airways for up to six weeks and were able to spread the infection to unvaccinated animals. In contrast, animals that received whole-cell vaccine cleared the bacteria within three weeks.

            This research suggests that although individuals immunized with an acellular pertussis vaccine may be protected from disease, they may still become infected with the bacteria without always getting sick and are able to spread infection to others, including young infants who are susceptible to pertussis disease.

            What this means is that the acellular version of the vaccine effectively protects people who are vaccinated from the disease. However, if they are exposed to the disease, they might become carriers for up to 6 weeks. In other words, they might be like Typhoid Mary.

            So it’s a good idea to get vaccinated, since if you’re not vaccinated, you might become infected from either a person who has the disease, or from a person who was vaccinated and does not have the disease.

  9. Ulysses

    The City of London internet article, linked above, provoked a number of interesting responses. Here’s one of my favorites from YFA:

    “These are the times that try men’s souls.” — Thomas Paine

    The man above, along with Benjamin Franklin and others, published anonymously prior to and during the American revolution.

    The importance of that is obvious.

    Publishing anonymously has always been considered a human right by anyone who values and understands what it is to have true freedom.

    Requiring a license to have a Web site is anathema to freedom.

    I’ve read before of people who want a requirement (law) passed that everyone have a license to even have access to the Internet.

    The term “slippery slope” is stamped all over things of this nature.

    EDIT: I should add something I overlooked here — the right to publish, whether anonymously or not, is a right.

    If the government wants to establish a requirement of a license, then what is to prevent that government from revoking a license should the owner of that site publish something contrary to any government stance or policy?

    Even if they did not revoke a license, the mere fact that you have acquired a license will give them an easier way to know exactly who you are and consequently, spy upon your activities — both online and in the real world!”

    The continued freedom to speak and write one’s uncensored thoughts– and share them with a wider public– is under attack. I hope very much that we don’t see any further erosion of our bill of rights here in the U.S., but I’m not very optimistic. We need to learn effective samizdat techniques. These may be the only way to keep free thought alive in the not too distant future

    1. Vatch

      Other important authors who sometimes published anonymously are Descartes, Spinoza, Voltaire, and Diderot. Without the protection of anonymity, they would have been arrested and possibly executed. Actually Diderot and Voltaire were arrested, but managed to survive. Had the authorities been aware of everything that they wrote, their fates would certainly have been more dire.

      Anonymity is especially important for writers living in theocracies such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, where thinking for oneself can be fatal.

  10. 10leggedshadow

    Yes my kitty has me trained to turn on the tap. In addition, I, nor anyone else, can drink bottled water in front of him as he likes to drink it from the cap. I’ve created a furry little monster.

    1. diptherio

      My step-kitty (long story…) loves to drink from the tap–he’s trained two of us to turn it on for him–and will also stick his paw into any glass of liquid he can get to. He’ll saunter over to your mug, sit down, and peer into the vessel. Then he gingerly dips in a paw and licks it off. When he lived with me, I ended up just leaving a glass of water out for him all the time. I don’t think I once saw him drink from his water dish…

      1. wbgonne

        My cat has trained me to turn the bathtub faucet on low so he can jump in and sip water like it’s a little waterfall. Plus he will only drink still water from the dog’s bowl. Curious animals.

        1. nycTerrierist

          My senior kitty-lady, 19 yrs old, will *only* drink from the toilet.
          If she’s in there, I have to wait to use the facility. She definitely has me trained.

        2. Screwball

          Ours does as well. A couple, three times a day she runs in the bathroom and jumps on the sink. I swear on a stack of bibles if you ask her what she wants, a two syllable sound comes out that sounds like the word water.

    2. Benedict@Large

      I didn’t need to train my kitty. He taught himself. Now if I could just teach the little bastard to turn it off when he’s done. Catnip doesn’t grow on trees, I tell him.

    3. Jess

      My one surviving female cousin has three cats, one of which insists on drinking from the tap. Now that he’s 15 years old, she also has to lift him up on the counter. But Gawd, is he a great kitty.

      BTW, my cousin has a saying: “Every girl should have a horse, a cat, and a convertible.”

    4. Brooklin Bridge

      Am assuming it’s optional to color coordinate the granite counter top with the cat – as above – for the tap water to be tasty? Is a high water bill sufficient?

  11. MikeNY

    Kudos to Wolf, who is finally saying in the FT what we have been saying here for a LONG time: the Fed’s economic model is broken, and it will not work again without income redistribution. I wonder if anyone at the Fed reads the FT?

    I could argue with the lurking underlying assumption that GROAF is the answer, but that would be like embarking on a discussion of calculus when the Fed and our political class have still not understood algebra.

    1. Benedict@Large

      If you had listened carefully to Bernanke’s speeches, especially those before Congress, you would have heard him CONSTANTLY telling Congress that the Fed had no more power, and that Congress had to start spending itself in a major way. Of course he didn’t say it that bluntly; to do so would have been to overtly call Congress members stupid, but it was always in there nonetheless. If there was any fault, it was probably that Bernanke didn’t overtly call them stupid. Sometimes pigs need to be poked hard when you want them to dance.

      1. MikeNY

        I did hear Bernanke say what you write. My problem with Bernanke is that he then proceeded to act as if he never meant it: he acted as if he had a Messiah complex, as if monetary policy could, indeed, solve all problems… and that is the Fed’s m.o. even to today. Despite all the risks and distortions of their policies (new bubbles, gaping disparity in wealth, etc.)

        Thus, the Fed is complicit in Congress’s deriliction of duty. IMHO.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe Congress heard and decided to fund CIA’s request for more color revolutions.

        Government spending – it’s also a problem of distribution..

  12. Jim Haygood

    Oh dear:

    On Tuesday, Microsoft provided a sneak peek at its next operating system. One of the big reveals from the news conference in San Francisco is that Microsoft will go straight from today’s Windows 8 to Windows 10.

    Microsoft has also tried to placate people that were accustomed to the tile-based interface of Windows 8 by, in essence, gluing a few tiles onto the right side of the start menu.

    This could be considered a metaphor for Microsoft’s indecision, except it seems rather literal. Microsoft has grafted a 2014 interface onto a 2004 interface.


    Having shunned Win 8, and with our Win 7 machines getting long in the tooth, I had high hopes for Win 9. That Win 9 is not to be is bad, bad astro.

    Nine is a rich, mystic number. The number 9 is revered in Hinduism and considered a complete, perfected and divine number because it represents the end of a cycle in the decimal system. In Buddhism, Gautama Buddha was believed to have nine virtues. OS 9 was also a well-loved Mac operating system at the turn of the century.

    The screenshot of Win 10, with its Win 8 aesthetics, made me retch in disgust. Looks like we’ll be soldiering on with Win 7 for awhile.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I remember reading about 9 being a auspicious number in China.

      There are 81 chapters in Dao De Jing (9 times 9)…twice, exponentially, as auspicious?

      And you have the famous Nine Dragons painting by Song dynasty painter, Chen Rong from 1244,

    2. Propertius

      As Peter Thiel says, Microsoft is not a technology company. Expecting actual technology from them is therefore a recipe for disappointment.

  13. rich

    German universities scrap all tuition fees

    All German universities will be free of charge when term starts next week after fees were abandoned in Lower Saxony, the last of seven states to charge.

    “Tuition fees are socially unjust,” said Dorothee Stapelfeldt, senator for science in Hamburg, which scrapped charges in 2012. “They particularly discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up studies. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”

    1. alex morfesis

      only germany is allowed to do such things…s&P and moody’s would have a giant fit if any american government did that…

      but s&P and moody’s like to ignore many things about AAA germany

      the country that has never paid anyone back any money in 100 years…
      not a dime that did not come from new money from the same creditors they
      refused to pay…the german economic miracle…simple…
      don’t pay and anyone who complains…show them either the bullett or the margin call…

      1. Irrational

        But check out where German unis rank in global league tables.
        Overcrowded lectures are the name of the game.

        1. Glenn Condell

          Who comes up with the league tables, what metrics do they use and who do they benefit?

          German Unis seem to churn out legions of excellent engineers and scientists who have helped build a robust production economy. Maybe not having a ‘clerisy class’ of neoliberal gatekeeper administrators means they can afford to provide tuition gratis.

          Seeing education as a right rather than privilege, and as a crucial investment in the nation’s future appears to have worked out OK for them. By contrast…

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Free intellectual capital, when earned, to start one’s life.

        And free monetary capital , give us a chance to earn it, as well…that would be nice.

    2. Propertius

      There was a time, not so very long ago, when this was true in California. The UC and CSU systems were tuition-free before Ronald Reagan became governor.

  14. Banger

    Two articles tell all about Syraqistan. One is the Cockburn article referred to above that describes the other is the WaPost opinion piece by the spokesman for the liberal and realist cliques inside the National Security State, David Ignatius. Both are, their own ways, devastating stories.

    Cockburn has been painting an utterly discouraging story about the nature of the Iraqi government created by the U.S. Occupation. In short, it is corruption personified and reflected an even worse picture that I pieced together over time concerning that Occupation. I knew, from the first months that the Iraq War was a fraud fought just because it could be fought and it would mean a bonanza of funding for all kinds of gov’t agencies and not just the Pentagon. This meant, that in today’s world of the USG that money would fly to contractors so they could build yet another ring of McMansions in and around Washington DC and enrich yet more escorts that one sees shopping in certain malls in the DC area. The corruption among contractors was rampant–people went from gov’t service to become contractors very quickly–it was stunning. All this was not lost on the Iraqis who played the game (there was no other game) with increasing skill. Eventually “stability” was achieved by through ethnic cleansing, dividing Iraq, and bribery. The Shia were bribed by giving them the levers of power, the Iranians were bribed because they had a safe buffer state, the Sunnis were bribed with cash and the U.S. mainstream gave us a load of shit about what was going on there. If anything comes out here it is that the American mainstream is run by the invisible Ministry of Propaganda in almost every detail–of this there can not be the slightest doubt if you look at how most of this Occupation was covered. My information was gleaned outside the mainstream or outside the U.S. press.

    Ignatius similarly provides, in a much more guarded way, a devastating indictment against U.S. policies and the weakness of the “good” rebels. He damns them with faint praise and then lists all the “leaders” who tried to unify the opposition and failed. Will this new hero succeed? Reading between the lines you would have to say no they will not succeed. First ISIS has to be defeated then Assad with a fractious CIA army or series of armies? The current “hero” says he is reduced to fighting a guerrilla war against Assad. I see no hope of a “moderate” opposition succeeding and, since I know Ignatius is tightly linked to the CIA, I know the CIA does not think any of that will work either and the fact such stories are increasingly common in the Ministry of Propaganda run media is significant.

    As I’ve said, there’s political chaos in Washington. It seemed to come together on a full-out assault on Putin then petered out dramatically as ISIS emerged as a “threat” a threat the CIA and other parts of the National Security State had to know about as I described in my comments yesterday. This shows that something pretty amazing has been going on in Washington and nobody has been reporting any of this even the alternative press. Both political parties are useless and corrupt playing good cop/bad cop to their various constituencies.

    Whether we advocate it or not the actual government is falling apart at the seams starting with Foreign Policy. It has already given up much of its regulatory power in the financial industry and is likely to lose more when the RP takes over the Senate. Please give me a reason to support this monstrosity that squanders much or our money on bandits and thieves.

    1. barrisj

      The upshot of all of the recent (military) actions of the US is to: (1) reoccupy Iraq in a stealth manner, flowing in unobtrusively – and with the connivance of the not-Maliki stooge government now in place – hundreds and hundreds of “trainers/advisors”, JSOC goon squads, and CIA paramilitary, all controlled from the Green Zone; (2) ensure a near-permanent occupation of Afghanistan by the signing of the recent SOFA, good until at least 2024(!); (3) topple the Assad government in Syria, turning that country into a Libya, and presenting a renewed threat to Iran; (4) strengthen ties with former Soviet Central Asian “republics” by arms deals and new basing; (5) expand Africom’s writ from the Maghreb to southern Africa and points between, with “lilypads” and covertly established drone bases. And that’s just for starters, not even speaking about continued provocations of Russia through an emerging US/Nato client “state” in the Ukraine. Yes, there still is rather a bit of life left in imperial America, and it would seem that only an internal implosion can roll back its global reach, much as catalysed the end of the Roman Empire…well, one can hope.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The Brits were far more efficient. And effective. All this is effective as a self-licking ice cream cone that generates a stream of loot for the order Siphonoptera; it’s far from clear this model has staying power. Bush pissed away such soft power as we still had, and Obama made it clear not only that’s what Bush did, but that nothing would change what Bush had done.

        1. Banger

          The Brits weren’t all that efficient–except very early on–but they were certainly more efficient in running an Empire. The problem with the U.S. Empire is that no one can admit it is an empire so they have to continually pretend they want to spread “democracy” when clearly they don’t. This creates confusion everywhere. One of the things people in the U.S. discount is that a certain prudent and effective use of force is respected when a country goes all-in. For example, if the U.S. had wanted to stabilize the ME region after toppling Saddam they could have done it. First they would have built on the structures that were in place like the Army. Then they would have instituted a powerful police and justice system with emergency powers to keep some order. If you recall, one of the consequences of the U.S. invasion was the looting of antiquities. Had the U.S. take effective and even draconian action on the looting right away the U.S. authorities would have achieved international acclaim and the Iraqi people would have had faith in U.S. rule. Instead the U.S. brought in thieves to make a mess of the country as they did when Russia fell. Compare U.S. occupations after WWII with the horror of Iraq and Afghanistan and see the difference–what is it? The USG is completely corrupt from top to bottom–rotten to the core–they can’t run anything other than confidence games.

          1. Propertius

            The problem with the U.S. Empire is that no one can admit it is an empire so they have to continually pretend they want to spread “democracy”

            Of course the British had to continually pretend they were spreading “Christian civilization”, so it’s very difficulty to tell who was really more self-deluded.

          2. barrisj

            “… and the Iraqi people would have had faith in U.S. rule.”. Ah, there’s the rub, me old mate…”US rule” would be tolerated only until the Americans handed back the keys to the Iraqis – quick smart – and quickly and expeditiously fucked off…no Pauly Walnuts and his hapless CPA…no American proconsuls putting extraordinary pressure on successive “interim” Iraqi governments to “promote the democracy agenda”, whatever the fuck that was…oh, wait, you mean oil concessions…remember, the “pay-as-you-go” occupation that the occupied were expected to pick up the tab by virtue of “free-market” oil marketing – sort of like Japan, 60 years after the end of WWII – minus, the oil, of course. It almost sounds as though you are invoking the risible “scattering flowers as the tanks rolled down the avenues” nonsense that Cheney-Boosh were promoting. Fuggedabouddit..nobody wants “US rule”, full stop.

            1. Gaianne


              You seem to be missing the point: The US still rules Western Europe (witness the recent sanctions against Russia) despite Germany, France, and the rest being “free and independent nations”–and it works. (So far.)

              The US has been and is failing to rule Iraq, despite the Iraqi government being a puppet.

              What is the difference? The US put real thought, time, and effort (and that includes money) into the occupation in Europe, making sure at each stage that viable necessary institutions were maintained. In Iraq the US did none of these things–possibly out of stupidity but more likely (remember the proven knowledge of how to run an occupation was old and well established) out of corruption and indifference.

              In Europe the US replaced top management but kept upper management–saying, in effect, “You have a new boss, but you still have your old job. You will report to work tomorrow (or else).” In Iraq, the line was different: “You are fired, and this organization is dissolved. Take you pens, computers, (and AK-47s with their ammo clips) and clear out!”

              How hard is it to figure out which system will work?

              By the way, Europe paid for itself, many times over. But yes, it was handled like an investment, not a one-off bank robbery.

              I do not mean to overlook cultural differences and problems. The State Department would have had to hire back some of the middle-east wonks they had fired, including some who had actually read the Koran, to tell people how to avoid needless, unintended insult. (Intended insult probably needs these people as well.)

              But to misquote: “You go for world domination and rule with the government you have, not the government you wish you had!”

              And so it goes.


    2. Paul Niemi

      We can hit the unsubscribe button for incumbents of both parties. When my ballot comes in the mail in two weeks, I will go line by line and vote the bums out. I’m not choosing the lesser of two evils, I’m voting against every incumbent. That’s my lick at stirring the pot.

    3. ewmayer

      Re. HuffPo on ISIS:

      Not horrible as far as outlets like HuffPo — not completely “access-captured” but still “establishment friendly” — go, but no mention of the support of the Saudis and Qataris, no mention of Obama’s admission earlier this year that the “moderate rebels” in Syria were largely a myth (he’s since apparently again flip-flopped on the issue due to the needs of hewing to the “existential threat” playbook), no mention of last year’s Syrian false-flag gas attack and the possibility of the warmongers using ISIS to revive the regime-change targeting there, no mention that US policy in post-Saddam Iraq could not have been more effective at stoking Sunni extremism if that had been its explicit purpose, etc.

      Plus a lot of the “myths” appear to be strawmen which no semi-literate person could possibly have believed to begin with, and rounded out with a nice dollop of tendentious language such as:

      “Despite ISIS’ craven tactics and irrational aims…”

      “ISIS has stated it aspires to extend its caliphate beyond Syria and Iraq.” The mere statement of this makes it a credible ambition in HuffPo’s view. “And then we’re gonna extend the caliphate to Mars, bitches!”

      And the Iraq-related arguments (especially in Myth #8) are based on the beyond-dubious assumptions that Maliki gave the US no choice but to let him completely sideline Sunnis in Iraqi politics, and that the “weakness” of the US-funded-and-supposedly-rebuilt Iraqi military was an unhappy accident completely beyond US influence. Well yeah, maybe, if you ignore the obvious corruption and diversion of funds and pro-Shia bias of the post-Saddam government for years while happily shoveling hundreds of $billions to the crooks you helped install, I guess that could result in such “unhappy accidents”.

      1. Propertius

        Mars might present some difficulty for ISIS/L – figuring out the Qiblah at any particular time is going to require some serious astronomical chops. I think epicycles might be necessary ;-)

    4. VietnamVet

      Twenty four years after the start of the Iraq War, puppet jihadists establish the brutal Sunni Caliphate. The endless war continues unabated.

      Vladimir Putin bears responsibility for the shoot down of flight MH-17. Cold War 2.0 is launched.

      Ebola won’t be a problem in the USA due to its advanced medical system. The first patient is released back into the community.

      When the world is falling apart due to deliberate sabotage and endemic corruption, the lies become obvious. When you can’t believe anyone anymore, the collapse is in free fall.

  15. Synoia

    It the link: U.S. Cannot Subsidize Health Plans in States With No Marketplace, a Judge Rules

    Judge White noted that the law authorized subsidies specifically for insurance bought “through an exchange established by the state.”

    The judge rejected this reading of the law, saying it “does not appear to comport with normal English usage.” The word “state,” he said, does not and cannot mean the federal government.

    Really? The United States cannot be considered a “state” with normal English usage. Pity about the use of the words Sovereign State, or Member States of The United Nations.

    Which appear to be “normal” English usage (although IMHO, no one on the American Continents speaks “English,” they do however speak dialects of English “Canadian”, “American”, and possibly regional dialects.)

    Or is that a special US legal use of the word “State” which I fail to comprehend.

    1. Benedict@Large

      What about the word “established”? Could not a state establish an exchange using the federal government as its choice of contractors? The federal government would certainly be qualified as experienced in doing such. And if it cannot do so, why should it be allowed to establish its exchange using any other contactor.

      This has always seemed to me a very suspect ruling; a sort of me-too-ish ruling by a judge currying favor for the next time a Republican sat in the White House.

    2. Jim Haygood

      The latter. Throughout the US constitution, a distinction is made between the States (then 13, now 50 in number) and the federal government, referred to as the ‘United States.’

      Thus the Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      In the context of federal law, ‘state’ explicitly means one of the fifty states. Otherwise federal law would be incoherent and circular, with the word ‘state’ applied indiscriminately to two different levels of government.

    3. Salamander

      Yes, you meat-head, it’s a special use of the word “state” which you fail to comprehend. In a federal nation comprised of 50 states which are NOT sovereign, we need make careful distinction, and we consistently use the term U.S. Government or “the federal government” when drafting them.

      The judge is right, and if you are an American, your argument is intellectual dishonesty masquerading as puerile sophistry, at best.

      I’d like to think that you are a well meaning Brit who simply has not thought deeply about the implications of federalism.

      1. Gaianne

        To augment what the previous two posters are saying: The judge’s reading is plainly correct. The wording is unambiguous. Either the US Senators and US Representatives who drafted and passed this law screwed up utterly, or else they sabotaged it thoroughly.

        The law could easily have been written to say what we thought it meant–but it wasn’t.

        This is an astonishing glitch. It seems literally the only people who so much as looked at this legislation before passage were the insurance lobbyists.


        The states probably could choose the Federal Government as their contractor, but they do not want to and have not. Check and mate.


  16. TedWa

    “ECB pushed to take ‘junk’ loan bundles Financial Times”. This is why we’re all going broke. It’s nothing more than money laundering

  17. bob

    “OK, confession time. How many of you have cats who’ve managed to train you to turn on the tap for them?”

    A friend of mine has a house with a few apartments. One day he got a water bill that was 10 times what it usually is. He went to his newest tenant for an explanation.

    She was leaving the shower on all day for her cat.

  18. Tatanya

    re Ebola…..Aby is right about this; Perhaps the PTB want that virus here to harvest blood profits for the biopharm mills or provide another excuse to solidify control. As glaringly obvious precautionary measures were not taken, e.g., stopping flights from the affected nations, or at minimum quarantining passengers before departure for three weeks, it’s easy to see why many Americans are worried and hedging despite their government’s assurances. A commenter on ZH posted that Amazon sales of protective gear have dramatically skyrocketed in the last 24 hours.

    1. EmilianoZ

      I agree there’s something fishy here. Ebola has been around for decades. What’s different this year? Why what’s happening presently didn’t happen before?

  19. JTFaraday

    Sort of a business incubator turned science experiment. Create a culture in which a narrow definition of success is the only option (that would be the US), add the imperative to be happy all the time–or at least “fine,” as in “I’m ‘fine,’ thank you– and wait and see what happens.

    I suppose there are worse utopias. Apple China, Inc. literally drapes nets around the dorms.

  20. Gaianne

    A nice article on Ello, but it should come with a warning:

    Ello has taken venture capital.

    My source for this is Cryptogon, Saturday 27 September 2014:

    Jokingly called vulture capital. the problem with venture capital for any start-up company is that quick returns are required–usually within three years, and this is impossible in practice for a start-up which is an actual, legitimate business. Usually what happens is that the company is made to look good, and then flipped to suckers. (What happens after that is problematic, but rarely goes well.) Venture capitalists always exit quickly: That is part of the plan.

    In the case of Ello: This is a social networking platform that would have real benefits for its users if it worked as advertised, but being backed by venture capital implies that users will be sold when Ello is flipped. That should make you think twice about becoming a user. That the promoters of ello aren’t talking about this–well, make of it what you will.


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