Links 10/2/14

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Dear patient readers,

If the site is one post short of its usual quota, that means my 4:15 AM appointment at the Apple Genius Bar did not go well. My MacBook Air has been making really weird noises for the last few days.

[Short update: The visit was a mixed bag. Memory seems OK. Cleaning fan, which they did while I was there, didn’t do much to improve fan speed but it is behaving less badly than it was.]

Flights re-routed to avoid walrus stampede on Alaska beach Guardian (Chuck L). OMG, see the photo!

The importance of ignoring your boss LinkedIn (David L). I was never good with the concept of a boss I always though their job was to get me the resources and waivers I needed to my job.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong crisis exposes impossible contradiction of China’s economic growth Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph

How Did We Get Here? A Timeline of Hong Kong’s Civil-Disobedience Movement
WSJ China Real Time

Hong Kong protesters use a mesh network to organise New Scientist. Chuck L says I should reconsider my antipathy towards smart phones.

Occupocalypse Now! © in Hong Kong Counterpunch

Tokyo trader has £381bn share orders cancelled after spectacular ‘fat finger’ error Independent (Chuck L)

Only a weak euro can save the ECB now Financial Times

Draghi’s Asset Purchases May Start Slowly MarketPulse

Latvian elections look very different in Riga and Rezekne Business News Europe

UK Citizen Hands Himself Over To The Police For Doubting The UK Government’s Word Paul Craig Roberts

Debeaking the Vultures Project Syndicate


Daily life in Banderastan Vineyard of the Saker (Chuck L)

Rebel push to take Donetsk airport


Movement by infiltration and the defenses of Baghdad Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

The dumb war in Syria will haunt Democrats’ 2014 prospects The Week

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Judge Rejects DOJ’s Secrecy Argument That Public Doesn’t Know How to Evade Location Tracking Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

ComputerCOP: the dubious “Internet Safety Software” given to US families ars technica

The Times cuts 100 staffers, shutters Opinion app in an attempt to “pivot” Pando

Whither Markets?

Markets’ Rational Complacency Project Syndicate (David L)

Fink blames regulators for heated markets Financial Times

Fannie, Freddie Shares Plunge After Investor Lawsuit Is Dismissed Wall Street Journal

Markets Are Down Business Insider

Record Investor Funds Follow Pimco Boss Out the Door Wall Street Journal

Housing Barometer: Recovery Continues, But Virtuous Cycle Not So Saintly Huffington Post

Class Warfare

What’s Wrong With Ignoring Inequality Noah Smith, Bloomberg

Farageland London Review of Books (Richard Smith)

The Third Way’s Second Chance by Andrés Velasco – Project Syndicate (Chuck L). I’ll believe it when I see it. The corporate crowd has perfected the art of subverting economically-left-leaning movements.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

dog and baby bunnies links

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  1. abynormal

    Dallas Ebola patient vomited outside apartment on way to hospital
    “His whole family was screaming. He got outside and he was throwing up all over the place,” resident Mesud Osmanovic, 21, said on Wednesday, describing the chaotic scene before the man was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday where he is in serious condition.”

    U.S. health officials have said the country’s healthcare system is well prepared to contain any spread of Ebola through careful tracking of people who had contact with the patient and appropriate care for those admitted to hospital.”

    “[They] couldn’t organize an orgy in a brothel.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘… through careful tracking of people …’

      Thank goodness President Obola has the NSA monitoring communications to identify sick people, and Homeland Security to quarantine them.

    2. cwaltz

      All I keep picturing in my head is this guy at his local Walmart waiting for antibiotics that the idiots at the ER gave him first go round. Heaven forbid the hospital waste precious resources actually using testing to really figure out what’s wrong with someone before treating them. *bangs head against wall* Best health care system in the world indeed!/s

    3. Johnny Lunch Box

      ( Well prepared to contain the outbreak) That’s what Regan said about the aids epidemic. It was just a bath house thing from San Francisco that only affects the gay folks and we should not worry. There are a few billion people who look at it differently now!

    4. BobW

      TV news said that this patient’s bedding still on the bed at home, the authorities will get back to family “later” to tell them what to do about it. Not sure if the report is accurate, but… scary!

  2. Steve H.

    Yesterday’s Archdruid Report linked to an important article about the response to ebola. It leads to the broader point: The inability of tightly coupled systems to respond to destabilizing events at an appropriate scale means that the costs of maintaining those systems in the face of insult are cascading rapidly. Recent examples:

    One small room in Chicago gets sabatoged and over 2000 flights are cancelled.

    The Ukraine military had absolute air superiority, which turned into losses when the new generation of surface-to-air weapons took out several SU-25’s at over $10m apiece. “The entire Uke force of airworthy air assets has now been shot down one and a half times.” [Saker]

    Parents are starting to keep kids home from school in Dallas, with a metro population over 5 million, due to one ebola patient and less than two dozen people under observation. “Contrast the 40 bags of waste per patient day in a hospital in Atlanta with the low-resource system for personal protection devised by Fatu Kekula, a nursing student of Liberia who made her own PPE with trash bags and kept her family alive.” [Odum]

    And of course: Instead of dealing with the WTC bombing as a criminal act, it turned the MICC loose into an enemy-generating marketing machine. Instead of using the 2008 meltdown to reset ground-level mortgages, ZIRP has been used to fuel FIRE sector bubbles while income growth has gone negative for the 90%.

    The ebola article is well worth the read:

    1. Bill Smith

      I wonder how long until Ebola gets weaponized. Right now it would not be hard – given the apparent number of people willing to become suicide bombers in Syria / Iraq & environs.

      1. neo-realist

        I’ve had suspicions that the Ebola outbreak in Africa was some sort of chemical warfare dry run. Experiment with populations the western industriallzed world considers most expendable, followed by a (hopefully) limited run in the developed world. When climate change starts to seriously affect food and water resources—-a potential population control device?

  3. Jim Haygood

    Seems like it was only a couple of years ago that our Randy Wray was writing about Mercedes Marcó del Pont, head of the Argentine central bank, under the ironic post title ‘World’s Worst Central Banker.’ She is long since gone, and now so is her successor, replaced by yet another personage. La Nación offers some perspective:

    In the sea of ​​questions that has become the national economy there is only one certainty: Cristina Kirchner is deploying a systematic and comprehensive strategy to aggravate the recession. As in so many other fields, she walks toward that which she seeks to avoid.

    Yesterday marked a long step forward, with two measures that promise to strengthen intervention in the financial system. On the one hand, she expelled Juan Carlos Fabrega as president of the Central Bank, and replaced him with Alejandro Vanoli. He is the head of the National Securities Commission (CNV), where he distinguished himself by harassing companies identified by the President as agents of a plot.

    On the other hand, Kirchner passed last night in the House of Representatives, without the participation of the opposition, a large and controversial reform of the Civil and Commercial Code, which, among other innovations, establishes an asymmetric pesification of banking transactions conducted in dollars.

    While the new code will take effect in 2016, with this pair of decisions Mrs. Kirchner crossed, in her dirigiste march against the market, a boundary against which her ​​husband always stopped: advancing on the banks.

    Stripping Argentine banks of their dollar assets, while real interest rates on peso lending remain negative, will slowly bleed away their equity. The best thing you can do is run …

        1. Clive

          I really — genuinely — cannot make up my mind whether Mme. President is a good guy or a bad guy. I want the believe she has the best interests of Argentina at heart but we get far too little decent information in our media here for me to form a valid judgement. Or am I just being dim?

          1. cwaltz

            Nope. Not dim. One of the problems with our media’s insistence that we are always the guys in the white hat and everyone else is wearing that black hat is that it essentially leads you to believe that everything they are feeding you is false. It makes you question everything they present even when it is accurate.

            1. Eclair

              Thank you for expressing your observation. Reading about Kirschener, I had conflicting thoughts: she is one crazy lady … or… the CIA really is destabilizing the Argentine government and trying to counter this has her making ‘crazy’ but true accusations. It’s driving me crazy.

              How long was the period between the time ordinary Russians stopped believing in the reporting in Pravda and the fall of the USSR?

          2. Jim Haygood

            In the markets, the verdict is unequivocal:

            Argentine bond and stock markets deepened their losses after the resignation of Central Bank President Juan Carlos Fabrega dimmed the prospect of a second peso devaluation this year.

            Dollar bonds due 2024 have plunged 7 cents on the dollar to 83.65 cents and the Merval stock index has sunk 14 percent since President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on Sept. 30 publicly criticized the bank for allegedly leaking inside information, leading Fabrega to resign yesterday.



            The phrase ‘dimmed the prospect of a second peso devaluation this year’ refers to the overvalued official exchange rate, which cripples exports while creating an irremediable shortage of foreign currency.

            Who knew flake-o-nomics was gonna be so expensive?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Jim, have you ever tried to work out this equation:

              Amount of US dollar foreign reserve Argentina can get (USDFR) = exchange rate (ER) x the amount of sovereign currency it can print (MMT$)

              That is

              USDFR = ER x MMT$

              since MMT$ can be infinity, unless ER = 0, you are almost guaranteed to get some USDFR.

              Even with ER approaching a large number like, for example, 1/googolplex, as long as MMT$ is infinity-bound, you should be able to get a non-trivial amount of USDFR back….in theory.

              That is, in theory, you can never run out of your own sovereign money and also in theory, you can always get some US dollars, as long as the exchange rate is not zero (to the infinity decimal point).

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                ER, for a non-empire without the PetroDollar advantage, is determined freely, more or less (or so people think) in the international market.

                If ER = 0, I think MMT$ has run its course – domestic users may not have a say, freely, but the international community is putting its own ‘limit’ on how much you can print. So, in the above comment, we limit ourselves to non-zero ER.

                In that case, any country should always be able to print her way to get more US dollars.

              2. Jim Haygood

                Hold the left side of your equation (USDFR) constant. Now raise MMT$ by any multiple you like. ER (exchange rate) falls proportionately.

                That’s about what’s happening. Argentina’s central bank expands the peso money supply by about 40% annually, while the peso’s ‘dolar blue’ exchange rate falls proportionately, or even faster (60% in 2014).

                And so equilibrium is conserved …

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Keep exchanging MMT$ at whatever ER value, you can get more USDFR, can’t you?

                  Does it have to be constant?

  4. Ned Ludd

    Is the Boycott of the University of Illinois Illiberal? (via Anti-Social Media).

    Corey Robin wonders if “careerism is not only a moral principle but the only acceptable moral principle” for liberal academics.

    On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Robin quoted a section of Letter from Birmingham Jail about the white moderate “who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’…” Half a century later, these remarks read like a prescient description of the modern liberal.

    1. Ulysses

      Careerism is a perfectly understandable response to a harsh world. Everyone naturally wants to be able to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves and their families. At a certain point, however, “going along to get along” is not just cowardly, but also self-defeating and foolish. I left the comfort of academia myself because I knew that my children would eventually benefit more from a good moral example, than from mere material comforts they would derive from having a “sell-out” for a dad.

      When a system is clearly designed to quickly, recklessly loot the human and physical resources of our planet to benefit a handful of kleptocrats, then resistance to it is more than just a moral imperative. We must resist this system ferociously– if only to give our DNA a chance to survive through future generations!!

  5. rich

    class warfare simplified….

    Presidents & PEU’s

    The Carlyle Groups of the world formed in the 1980’s but grew exponentially during the Bush and Obama years. Clinton privatized government functions that have since been flipped multiple times by private equity underwriters (PEU’s).

    PEU’s are ubiquitous and interwoven with both Red and Blue political parties. Government feeds them in multiple ways, preferred taxation, direct contracts with PEU affiliates (security, defense, health care, education, infrastructure, etc.), earmarks,

    Many employees of PEU affiliates found their jobs eliminated and pensions frozen. The picture above shows what happened to their wages. It’s no wonder consumer debt recently hit a new record $3.2 trillion.

    Presidents like to take credit for anything good happening in the economy. I believe all three deserve credit for enriching their peers, the greed and leverage boys.

    It’s a sick system, a disturbing cycle that repeats under a President who promised to take on these very interests. Take them on he did, as full and present partners in his administration. The other two worked for PEU’s, Bush II for The Carlyle Group as a board member of CaterAir and Clinton for Yucaipa and Teneo.

    It’s a PEU world, where politicians Red and Blue love PEU…

    1. Bill Smith

      I don’t think they are:

      Since yesterday’s post, several people have asked me on various social media outlets about the airborne nature of Ebola. Didn’t I know about this paper (“Transmission of Ebola virus from pigs to non-human primates“), which clearly showed that Ebola could go airborne?

      Indeed I do–I wrote about that paper two years ago, and it in no way changes my assertion that Ebola doesn’t spread between people in an airborne manner.

      and then this: (link is at end of above article)

      This should be below the next link…

    2. abynormal

      “When Simplicity is broken up, It is made into instruments. Evolved individuals who employ them, Are made into leaders. In this way, the Great System is United.” Lao Tzu
      The Tao Te Ching (Verse 28)

    3. MikeNY

      Carlyle is an object lesson in oligarchy in action: a PE firm that is based in Washington, DC, and serves as an automatic teller for outgoing politicians with excellent, deep connections. I remember a steel pipe company they owned that ran into some trouble. Fortunately for them the US brought, and won, anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases against a raft of Southeast Asian manufacturers. I’m not saying there was NO legal case, but those Carlyle connections most certainly didn’t hurt.

  6. Jim Haygood

    NJ Weedman, a former gubernatorial candidate, comments on the case of Shaneen Allen. Though Allen had a legal Pa. concealed carry permit for her pistol, she was facing prison after she voluntarily disclosed to an NJ police officer during a routine traffic stop that she had a pistol in the car. Unlike most states in the country, NJ doesn’t reciprocally recognize other states’ carry permits:

    The Shaneen Allen case has made a lot of people look at New Jersey gun laws; many are happy she’s not going to trial.

    Not me. I had hoped she would have. I previously wrote I thought a jury wouldn’t convict her. Instead, thanks to the scrutiny Ray Rice brought to her case, the Atlantic County Prosecutors office begrudgingly accepted her into the (PTI) Pre-Trial Intervention program.

    I don’t think this a victory; a victory would have been a “not guilty” verdict. Although she will not plead “guilty” nor lose her right to vote and own a gun, she will not experience what millions of other citizens (especially black citizens) suffer: second amendment-less citizenship for trying to “protect herself.” The state can rescind or violate her on PTI.

    The Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, to protect oneself. I know very few black people who own legal guns. At every turn we as black people are legally denied our basic right(s) to vote, and to protect ourselves, Shaneen almost publicly lost hers.

    This isn’t new; we’ve always been denied these rights from slavery, black codes, segregation-Jim Crow, and now the drug war. The goal is always the same: disenfranchise and disarm.

    1. abynormal

      do i need to slap You with another Pablo Neruda
      Ode to the Boy with the Hare
      On the high road
      in the autumn light
      a boy held in his hands
      not a flower
      or a lantern
      but a dead hare.

      Automobiles striped
      the cold roadway,
      through their windshields
      stared unseeing faces
      iron eyes,
      alien ears
      quickly glimpsed
      lightning flashing
      toward sea and cities.
      and the autumn boy
      with his hare,

      as a thistle
      hard as a pebble,
      standing there
      raising one hand
      to the travelers’
      No one stopped.

      Dark stood the
      the hills were
      the hue of a puma pursued,
      lavender lay the silence
      like two black diamond coals
      gleamed the eyes
      of the boy with the hare,
      tips of two
      upraised blades,
      two black knife points
      were the eyes
      of the boy
      lost there
      offering his hare
      in the autumn
      immensity of the road.

  7. fresno dan

    “Storr proposes you try this thought experiment. First, answer this question: Are you right about everything you believe? Now, if you are like most people, the answer is no. Of course not. As he says, that would mean you are a godlike and perfect human being. You’ve been wrong enough times to know it can’t be true. You are wrong about some things, maybe many things. That leads to a second question – what are you are wrong about? Storr says when he asked himself this second question, he started listing all the things he believed and checked them off one at a time as being true, he couldn’t think of anything he was wrong about.

    Storr says once you realize how difficult it is to identify your own incorrect beliefs you can better empathize with people on the fringe, because they are stuck in the same predicament. They are just as trapped in their own war rooms, most of the time unaware that the map they use is, as psychologist Daniel Gilbert once said, a representation and not a replica”

    1. cwaltz

      I think sympathize is a better word than empathize. The problem is in HOW you go about identifying what you are wrong about. I can and do change my opinion and beliefs but it is usually based on FACTS as they present themselves(I need evidence to change my mind). The people on the fringes don’t necessarily use that criteria. As a matter of fact I’d argue that broad swaths of people change their opinion based on others manipulating their FEELINGS.

      1. McMike

        From the fringes, conventional wisdom resembles dogmatic sleepwalking and group think.

        No sides has a monopoly on the truth.

        1. cwaltz

          I definitely agree with that sentiment. The funny thing is that the truth and perspective can and do change periodically just like life does. It’s why it’s pretty silly to choose “sides” to begin with IMO.

          1. psychohistorian

            This, IMO, is where the whole faith thing makes for impaired judgment. Once one goes down the faith path it is a quick and slippery slope into delusion.

    2. curlydan

      I see a similar problem with how people view themselves, e.g. self-criticism. I’ve often thought that we all walk around with this incredible, invisible sword with which we can slice and dice anyone else to reveal their faults and weird habits. But strangely, this sword turns dull (or inaccurate) as can be when we turn it on ourselves. What we might see as our faults rarely fits what everyone else sees. If we could only hear people talking openly about us, we might learn a great deal.

  8. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for Ryan Cooper’s article about “The dumb war in Syria”. Humanitarian war is an oxymoron, and I am opposed to war that I feel is neither a threat to the U.S. nor our allies, nor in our vital national interest. Further, I am deeply puzzled by an evident lack of a coherent strategic plan pertaining to the conflict, and the geopolitical landscape regarding ISIS et al. On one hand Chuck Hagel, who I respect, is laying wreaths at Attaturk’s tomb in Turkey. On the other hand, U.S. allies Turkey and Israel are said to be supporting ISIS. What gives?:

    So what’s up in this bizarro world… really? Is it about Saudi oil, Israeli concerns regarding Assad and Iran, a desire by some factions for perpetual war and the “War is a racket” economic benefits and social control they derive from that, or is it some other combination of factors that remain largely hidden from the American people while we are being bombarded with images of the latest atrocities?

  9. Massinissa

    From Saker:

    “In Kharkov, a man was found impaled on a church fence, his body attached with electrician’s tape to the fence. Medical gloves were found on the site. According to witnesses, he was killed by Right Sector activists on suspicion of being a sympathizer of Novorussia. According to official police reports, this man impaled himself and, presumably, having done that, found the time and energy to securely attach himself to the fence with tape.”

    Im assuming most of the residents of Kharkov know better than to believe that bollocks. I wish this kind of thing was more apparent to outsiders in Europe though.

    This sort of reminds me of the right wing paramilitaries America has sponsored in Latin Americas long history, such as in Columbia.

    Now its come to Europe. Its no longer just confined to the third world. How long will we have to wait for this sort of paramilitary barbarism to come to root in western Europe, or even here at home? Decades I hope, but as a young man I will still be alive in decades.

    This kind of thing… Im afraid its only the tip of the iceberg, the future for civilisation.

    1. McMike

      I long for the simpler times, when suspects got shot while trying to escape, or hung themselves after smuggling electrical cord into their cells.

  10. Ben Johannson


    If you’re going to have the fan replaced you might as well upgrade your laptop’s memory, assuming you already haven’t.

    1. McMike

      Without access to the numbers, I am curious to ask how expensive is it to upgrade?

      While I sympathized deeply with people who want to avoid yet another learning curve and the heartbreak of upgrades, is it possible that the hard cost of replacement is offset against the hours spent trying to coax work out of dying technology, and recovering from crashes?

      1. Ben Johannson

        If one buys the memory themselves from a vendor linke Crucial the cost for keeping the machine purring another couple of years can be in the $200 range once installation fee is figured in.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks. I’ve done that religiously with every one of my past computers (I’ve almost always put the new memory cards myself) but you CANNOT upgrade memory on a MacBook Air. Solid state.

      You knowingly trade the great form factor for faster planned obsolescence.

    1. McMike

      lol. How are they going to gut, ignore, or derail this thing?

      My guess: contractors must obey all labor laws, however, there are no federal labor laws.

      Second guess: emergency waivers. (Halliburton loophole v. 2, Bechtel clause, Blackwater rider)

  11. barrisj

    I wonder if Berkshire Hathaway/Warren Buffet have taken positions in leading subprime car loan originators, as it looks as though BH is getting into car dealerships in a big way:

    Buffett to buy Van Tuyl Group, create Berkshire Hathaway Automotive
    Over 30% or so car sales to subprime borrowers are financed by subprime loans, which is one of the only ways for car manufacturers to clear pipelines of huge new-car surpluses, and it doesn’t seem likely that the “Sage of Omaha” would be content with anything less than big sales volumes at his dealerships. Maybe BH also “securitizes” subprime auto loans through one of their financial subsidiaries…it’s win-win for late capitalism in America.

  12. barrisj

    Whoops, cocked up the “Edit” option: text should have read, “…30% of car sales are to subprime borrowers, and are financed…”, etc.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      The Advertising Age beer piece is like the perfect case study in stupid. “But brewing executives expressed faith in their big brands, which they are seeking to fix with marketing, packaging and other changes.” So the only answer to having a sh*tty product to sell is change everything but the sh*tty product itself. You could sell bland corporate lagers when that was all people had ever tried but most people who try better beers will inevitably seek them out and buy them. Even when the big corporate brewers buy up micros, the first thing they generally do is take money out of the product and plow it into marketing with the result being more sh*tty product being hard sold with a lot of lifestyle BS to distract from the product quality issues. Marketing is just a way to help avoid the reality of sh*tty product which nobody wants to acknowledge or address. And of course it isn’t just beer, it’s nearly everything the corporate world sells and produces; inauthentic, watered down, dumbed down, low quality but high margin–and the only answer the guys in a boardroom filled with insecure egos can come up with without an awkward situation arising–“Um excuse me sir, maybe the problem isn’t the marketing angle” isn’t a career building move–is to blame the situation on bad messaging.

      Basically the same way Obama is marketed to his eroding and aging base.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Josh Barro of the NYT praises Calpers’ allocation to private equity funds, using logic that our esteemed host has already shredded, over and over. But the MSM just won’t listen:

    Historically, the consensus view has been that most private equity funds don’t beat the stock market after fees, but the top quartile of asset managers have shown an ability to repeatedly beat the market.

    More recent research has turned that view on its head: Perhaps private equity does beat the market on average and past manager performance doesn’t matter so much. Another finding is that some types of investors do much better at picking private equity funds to invest in: Endowments do well, banks do badly, and pension funds are somewhere in the middle.

    If you’re like Calpers, with an enormous asset base and longstanding relationships with top fund managers, it makes sense to keep your good thing going.


    It inverts causation to conclude that being a member of a particular group (endowment, bank, pension fund, etc.) somehow a priori affects your investment returns. OMG, that’s so brain-damaged.

    1. hunkerdown

      Brain damage is expecting profit-driven mass media, or anyone who takes your money, to tell you something that adversely affects their own personal and professional interests.

  14. barrisj

    Good article here on the openDemocracy website about the Hong Kong protests, and that it’s just not “political freedom” that is demanded but – more importantly – economic democracy and the end of state-sanctioned monopoly capital and crony capitalism. No surprise that HK property tycoons, financiers, and oligarchs are staunchly opposed to the student movement, as the current system in place is there principally to facilitate the sort of “government by the 1%” as exists in the US, UK, parts of the Eurozone, etc.

    Why Hong Kong matters

  15. barrisj

    As one who has read with fascinated interest James Bamford’s books on the NSA (The Puzzle Palace, The Shadow Factory, Body of Secrets), I was just gobsmacked by his piece appearing on The Intercept on what it has taken to be a true investigative reporter. Small wonder the government has been trying to “get” Bamford for years, and it’s truly surprising that he can still walk the streets today, and has not been “disappeared” into some CIA black hole:

    The NSA and Me
    The tone of the answering machine message was routine, like a reminder for a dental appointment. But there was also an undercurrent of urgency. “Please call me back,” the voice said. “It’s important.”

    What worried me was who was calling: a senior attorney with the Justice Department’s secretive Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. By the time I hung up the payphone at a little coffee shop in Cambridge, Mass., and wandered back to my table, strewn with yellow legal pads and dog-eared documents, I had guessed what he was after: my copy of the Justice Department’s top-secret criminal file on the National Security Agency. Only two copies of the original were ever made. Now I had to find a way to get it out of the country—fast.
    For several years I had been working on my first book, The Puzzle Palace, which provided the first in-depth look at the National Security Agency. The deeper I dug, the more troubled I became. Not only did the classified file from the Justice Department accuse the NSA of systematically breaking the law by eavesdropping on American citizens, it concluded that it was impossible to prosecute those running the agency because of the enormous secrecy that enveloped it. Worse, the file made clear that the NSA itself was effectively beyond the law—allowed to bypass statutes passed by Congress and follow its own super-classified charter, what the agency called a “top-secret birth certificate” drawn up by the White House decades earlier.


    This is a must-read article, and gives testimony about how hard digging and a willingness to put it all on the line give James Bamford the credibility and stature that he has richly earned for his reporting on “the Deep State”.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘The Senate intelligence committee [Frank Church] once chaired has done an about face, protecting the agencies from the public rather than the public from the agencies.’ — James Bamford

      It’s a long way down from Frank Church to Dianne ‘She-wolf of the Stasi’ Feinstein.

      1. Jess

        OMG, “She-wolf of the Stasi” is so good. I gotta hand it to you, Jim, whether you’re writing something I agree with (such as this) or not, you do have a way with words.

      1. barrisj

        Published in 1998, but very much au courant, viz., the recent massive fines (but no jail-time!) levied against HBSC for serving as Mexican drug cartel bagmen and money-launderers.

  16. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re Market Pulse Oct 2 article “Draghi’s Asset Purchases May Start Slowly”: That does not appear to be the case.

    Based upon the ECB’s most recent balance sheet (9/26/2014), it appears that Draghi’s ECB is aggressively expanding LTRO operations: The ECB’s LTRO account is up 63.3 billion euros on the most recent week, or about $80 billion:

    What a surprise!… and just as the Fed’s QE taper is supposedly about to conclude too. Um, how do you spell “carry trade”?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      At the smartest level, you find cooperation, not competition.

      ‘You buy first. When you are tired or just don’t feel like it, I will step in to do my buying. Team work!’

  17. barrisj

    Re: Ebola in Dallas…as we know, the US Africa Command (Africom) has got several hundred to a few thousand Special Forces and CIA operatives strung across Africa, north to south, east to west. How likely would it be that just one or more of these people are placed within communicable distance of an Ebola sufferer, contract the disease then bring it back to base or Stateside? How would the Pentagon react? Pull their people out of the infected zone(s) only, or take a bigger chunk out of on-the-ground personnel amongst several contiguous countries? Empire meets Nature – any bets on Empire prevailing?

  18. ewmayer

    I’ve replaced the fan in my 2009-vintage Macbook ‘classic’ twice – once bought a replacement fans for ~$15 on eBay, another time cannibalized one from a friend’s Macbook whose MoBo died. I found the site invaluable for solving the Chinese puzzles Apple turns regular maintenance items like this into. (Their recent “unibody” Macbook Pros have even made replacing the *battery* a nightmare, fer cryin’ out loud).

    But it takes a fair bit of skill (and long spidery fingers, probably a hiring criterion for many of Apple’s overseas assembly joints) to replace the fan on a classic, and I can only assume an Air is trickier, even less room under the hood.

    This sort of deliberate design-to-turn-basic-maintenance-into-rent-extraction is one of my pet peeves with Apple – knowing that laptop fans are probably the #1 failure item in such units, could they have designed them with a small panel to make the fan easy to access for cleaning/replacement? Of course they could have.

    For this reason I will never again buy a new Apple laptop – thankfully there is a thriving aftermarket in refurb and for-parts units. So when my aforementioned 2009 macbook died (MoBo fault of some kind) a few months ago, I simply bought a similar-vintage refurb ($145 incl shipping and 2-year warranty, although I just ignore the warranty, only care if it boots up out of the box and has no obvious issues after a few months of hard use), transplanted the HD from my old unit, and went right back to work, with less than a week downtime during which I dusted off my old Lenovo WinXP machine, clunky but functional.

    Sold the RAM from my defunct unit for beer money, have its fan available for cannibalization if needed, and have a bootable spare HD (the one the refurb came with). Fvck you, Apple rent extraction machinery.

    (Oh, and the Macbook is my only iGizmo – back in 2009 I needed a laptop to do 64-bit code development and algo optimization for Intel-style CPUs, and at the time MSFT had no support in their Visual Studio suite for a key thing I need, 64-bit inline assembly code. Curiously MSFT had really nice 32-bit support for same, but took roughly 5 years after 64-bit CPUs/OSes hit market to upgrade their compiler suite to support inline asm code for same. That’s why 2009 was the year I ditched ’em and switched 100% to Linux/GCC for code dev).

  19. Bagehot-by-the-Bay

    You may be able to control the speed of your Mac Book Air fan, and well as monitor your computer temperature (on an iMac there are no fewer than 3 temp sensors) which may be influencing it. There are several utilities free or cheap:
    also Google smcFanControl
    But I don’t know for sure if either works on the Air.

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