Links 12/27/14

Tough Day at the Track? Blame the Robot New York Times (David L). On camel racing.

Pulaski’s beloved ‘Bella the Deer’ makes it through another hunting season Syracuse (bob)

Manchester Police Help Santa on Christmas Day NBC Southern California

BOFH: A miracle on PFY Street The Register. EM: “One hell of a Christmas party at The Register offices!”

Braced for all-out cyber warfare in the year of the hack Financial Times. Notice how hackers, and thus potentially all IT personnel, are the new Public Enemies Number One? The media uptake on this story does not have an organic feel to it.

Corporate Disruption using Snowden Style Moral Warfare Global Guerrillas (martha r)

Flying high: Airstream can’t keep up with demand Associated Press

Foodini A 3D Food Printer (David L). I would assume this is a joke except the graphics are awfully good.

Nestlé scientists develop enzyme to ‘trick’ body into burning fat Financial Times (David L)

More arrests as Hong Kong protests return Guardian

Japan’s Savings Rate Turns Negative in Challenge for Abe Bloomberg.

Nigel Farage Criticises Pupils For Parody Where “Nicolas Fromage” Kicks Immigrants Away From England BuzzFeed. Chuck L: “A few days old but it’s an awesome exercise in political satire.”

Petrobras hit with U.S. class action suit over $98 billion in securities Reuters (EM)


Ukraine Cuts Power, Transit to Crimea Wall Street Journal

Scaled-Up Banking Rescue to Push Russian Budget Into Deficit New York Times

Putin outlines dangers to Russia’s security Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA Drops Christmas Eve Surprise Intercept

NSA dumps incriminating documents on Christmas Eve BoingBoing

WikiLeaks asks Twitter users for their Christmas wish list Al Arabiya News (martha r)


On Christmas visit with troops, Obama lauds end of Afghanistan mission Reuters. EM: “‘This year has been the deadliest in the war’ — does that connote “mission accomplished” to anyone? Anyone?”

CIA Torture Report

How The CIA’s Torture Program Is Destroying The Key Foreign Power The US Had: The Moral High Ground Techdirt (Chuck L). Honestly, the delusion among America’s policy crowd is remarkable. It should be obvious that we had lost even the appearance of having the moral high ground in the Iraq War. Look at the global protests and how few countries joined our “coalition of the willing.”

After Scrutiny, C.I.A. Mandate Is Untouched New York Times. Quelle surprise.

A Bipartisan Push to Limit Lobbyists’ Sway Over Attorneys General New York Times

Insurer That Got $145 Million Loan Under Obamacare Is Almost Broke Bloomberg

Oil Jobs Squeezed as Prices Plummet Wall Street Journal. As we predicted. The Journal still sees lower oil prices as a net plus for the US, but this view does not factor in credit market dislocation and whackage to pension funds and retirement accounts. We need to see how bad the downside is as what the second-order effects are to be sure this nets out as a plus.

Some States See Budgets at Risk as Oil Price Falls New York Times. An example of a second-order effect: state and local job cuts.

Drilling Cutbacks Mean Service Companies Forced to Scrap Rigs OilPrice

How Asset Manager BlackRock Gave Me the Willies About 2015 Wolf Richter

Class Warfare

A day with modern Detroit pioneers in a squatter community Urbanite News. Martha r: “Third world america in its infancy–with all the resourcefullness that implies.”

The New World Order? – with Russel Brand & Bill de Berg Real News Network

Not his finest hour: The dark side of Winston Churchill Independent

Origins of the police Works in theory (martha r)

Antidote du jour (Kevin H):

Dark-eyed Junco XIV

And a bonus antidote (Michael F):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. rjs

    the Airstream article fits the data…a major contributor to the 5.0% change in 3rd quarter GDP was the 15.7% real growth rate in consumption of recreational goods and vehicles…the only other line item in GDP that grew at a faster rate was defense spending at 16.0%…

    1. Jim Haygood

      Maybe we’re sending Airstream trailers to ISIS Syrian moderates now. They’ve already got used American pickups (workhorse Ford F150 extended cabs) to pull them. Only the best for our lads in the irregulars!

      1. James

        Best times of my life in the early 80s in a 30′ Airstream in South Georgia USA. I’d go back to it in a second!

        1. ambrit

          Yeah buddy! We lived in an old ’63 Airstream Overlander we bought in 81 for five grand and pulled with a Scout II with the 305CI V-8 motor. Bumming around the South with Phyllis , myself, and the two girls when they were very little. Travelling from job to job. Selling blood for gas money in Tampa. Picking oranges for about $25 a day in Winter Park. Cooking out over campfires in primitive campgrounds and secondary road rest stops. Knowing we were poor and not really caring. Making “showers” with a garden hose and plant sprinkler nozzle for each other on warm days, (so we wouldn’t use the LP gas to heat water when we needed it to run the Dometic gas powered refrigerator. That thing would make solid ice cubes in under an hour.) I’m with you. Those were better days.

            1. ambrit

              Thanks Lambert. Phyllis says the same thing from time to time.
              Why? That question can take up half a day of contemplation if I let it.
              If anyone ever comes up with a self discipline pill, they’ll be made a saint before they die.

  2. Steve H.

    ‘Origins of the Police’. Fascinating, well-documented, useful.

    “Much that once was, is lost, and none now live who remember it.”

    1. dearieme

      “In England and the United States, the police were invented within the space of just a few decades—roughly from 1825 to 1855.” Only if you mean “England” with more accuracy than is customary in the US. The City of Glasgow police was founded in 1800, after false starts (money problems) in 1779 and 1789

      1. MartyH

        Interesting that Whitehouse quotes and cites E.P. Thompson and not Polanyi. Polanyi doesn’t (as I remember) make as clear a reference to policing and its role in worker suppression and social control as Thompson though.

        Interesting the juxtaposition between “Origins of the Police” and “A Day with modern Detroit Pioneers in a squatter community.” The useful bit is to notice the sense of “entitlement” … it cuts both ways.

          1. dearieme

            “It is sometimes described as the first modern-style municipal police force… this title has previously been claimed by the London Metropolitan Police. However, following formal enforcement action by the Advertising Standards Authority, the Metropolitan Police gave a written undertaking never to repeat this claim again.”


        1. David Whitehouse

          And yes, I did mean England. My sense is that some places followed significantly different paths toward modern policing — definitely true of France, plus the colonies of the European powers that already had cops.

            1. RWood

              Agreed. Thank you for your proficient summary of what appears as the precursor to Minority Report. I *am* afraid that the reforms you discuss on your blog are not going to see light of day, given whom the police protect and serve, principally their own positions of power and then their superiors’.

    2. Chris in Paris

      Also useful to remember that the original meaning of this French word was to clean up rubbish as in “faire la police”. The head-beating meaning afterwards. The boss is always coming up with new things for us to do.

  3. dearieme

    “Nigel Farage Criticises Pupils For Parody Where “Nicolas Fromage” Kicks Immigrants Away From England”: the indoctrination of the schoolchildren is going awfully well.

    1. Working Class Nero

      An even better parody would have been about poor white working class girls being kept in the immigrant-run rape camps in Rotherham because the local Labour politicians were self-proclaimed true Guardian readers, and liberal lefties, and didn’t want to rock the multi-cultural boat.

      Oh wait a minute, that wouldn’t have been a parody, that’s actually what happened. My bad.

      1. Clever Username

        “Immigrant run rape camps?”

        Do you get all of your news from the EDL and

        1. Working Class Nero

          If you prefer to hear it from the NYT’s then here you go:

          What has gone wrong in Rotherham, and what is wrong with its Pakistani community, are questions much asked in recent weeks: How could this small, run-down town in northern England have been the center of sexual abuse of children on such an epic and horrifying scale?

          According to the official report published in August, there were an estimated 1,400 victims. And they were, in the main,poor and vulnerable white girls, while the great majority of perpetrators were men, mainly young men, from the town’s Pakistani community. Shaun Wright, the police commissioner who was responsible for children’s services in Rotherham, appeared before Parliament after his refusal to resign over the scandal. The scandal has cost both the chief executive and the leader of the council their jobs, and four Labour Party town councilors have been suspended.

          A popular explanation for what Home Secretary Theresa May has described as “a complete dereliction of duty” by Rotherham’s public officials is that the Labour-controlled council was, for reasons of political expediency and ideology, unwilling to confront the fact that the abusers were of Pakistani heritage. Proper investigation, it is said, was obstructed by political correctness — or, in the words of a former local M.P., a culture of “not wanting to rock the multicultural boat.”


          What may seem like a story about race and religion, however, is as much one about power, class and gender. The Pakistanis who raped and pimped got away with it because they targeted a community even more marginal and vulnerable than theirs, a community with little voice and less muscle: white working-class girls.

          In the rush to denounce multiculturalism, it would be wise to consider not only what gave the perpetrators the license to abuse, but also to reflect on what led to the victims being so undervalued that their cries were ignored.

          1. Clever Username

            So, the police failed to take these poor girls seriously or do anything closely resembling police work because they are classist fuckheads.

            But, because the majority of perpetrators were Pakistani, this proves that the UKIP is correct about everything and should never be mocked, and that multiculturalism is dead.

            Also, I didn’t see anything about camps in there. You racist wanker.

            1. OIFVet

              From the annals of UKIP ‘animal others’: Britons urged not to panic after possible sighting of ‘Bulgarian’ and Millions of Romanians, Bulgarians preparing to ‘avoid UK like the plague’. From the latter:

              For Domescu, the final straw came during the funeral of Margaret Thatcher last week. ‘I was still thinking of coming to Britain, but then they broadcast those pictures of your Chancellor Osborne openly weeping on national television and it finally hit home how bad things must be for that to happen,’ she said. ‘So I’ll just stay here after all – the weather’s far nicer and I hear there’s a job going at the local horse abattoir.’

              Objectionable satire indeed. Perhaps next time I go back to Bulgaria I will go and demonize the thousands of Brits who moved there for the better climate because a few of them did turn out to be pedophiles and rapists who were protected by the Bulgarian authorities in the name of multiculturalism. Then again, I probably won’t. ‘Ugly Brits’ tend to go to Sunny Beach and the Bulgarian general public is thus well-protected from their ignorance, excessive drinking, and their fascination with sticking lit-up fireworks up their own butts (see the 19 min. mark of the video).

      2. OIFVet

        Ah yes, because there is no such things as natives-run rape camps where poor working class girls of colors other than white are raped repeatedly… Look at the bright side though, at least they didn’t eat Her Majesty’s swans this time.

        1. Working Class Nero

          Dude if you have a link to a native run rape camp then please send it along. Otherwise….

          1. OIFVet

            Any given concentration camp in Nazi Germany, for one. And lest I forget, white “immigrants” to the New World raped and pillaged the natives for several centuries. Columbus was only the first of those raping “immigrants”. Happy, dude?

            I detect a definite white victimization narrative in your writings, combined with a not-so-subtle reference to some blacks as wild animals (“feral”, Links from December 21st). For all the “rigid class framework” you profess to employ, sentiments like yours would be right at home with anti-communist white supremacist groups down South. Reactionary much?

            1. Working Class Nero

              Nazi camps = Godwin’s Law fail. On a much smaller scale you could have gone with Fred West or Marc Dutroux and might have made a point since the police seemed at least to show similar deference to these rapists/murderers as the authorities in Rotherham did to the Pakistani rapists there.

              Full context of feral comment:

              The black community in particular is under a massive attack by a small but totally feral Lumpenproletariat. Of the 7000 blacks killed each year, 94% are killed by other blacks.

              Notice I didn’t say whites were the victims of these feral killers, but that blacks were? If Black Bodies matter, shouldn’t they also matter when their killers are blacks? If people are outraged by the 100 or so blacks killed by the police a year, shouldn’t they be apoplectic about 7000? One can only conclude that your objection to my calling out the murderers of black men in the strongest possible terms would be right at home with anti-communist white supremacist groups down South who undoubtedly find common cause with those who kill blacks, even when they are black?

              1. OIFVet

                Since when is it a Godwin fail to point out a fact? I also note you had nothing to say about Columbus and his ilk raping native women for centuries. After all, invoking the image of a poor white girl being raped by feral darkie animals is much more inflammatory…

                Also, my reply to your comment from the 21st disappeared down some internet black whole. The fact is, calling the violence in the black community a “civil war” is a complete denial of the effects of government policies that enforce and concentrate poverty. What it is though is something not much different from prison violence, where the strong inmates pray on the weak inmates, with white prison guards, aka police force, overseeing it all on behalf of the warden and “society”. This is what happens when you concentrate poverty, regardless of the color of skin: the ghetto is a prison that is hard to escape from, and violence is both a given and expected. For such class conscious warrior you sure do seem to ignore the effects of enforced poverty, choosing instead to interpret violence as inherent part of the nature of certain blacks. And again, comparing blacks to wild animals is effing tired and played out. Might as well have mentioned primates and bananas in the same sentence, since some of the racist white trash might lack the vocabulary to know what “feral” means. Don’t want them to get any more confused than they already are.

                1. Working Class Nero

                  Does any of your tired 2004-left wing blog rhetoric ever pass through the filter of logic or consistency? You have your panties all in a bunch because I use the word feral and then you correct me by saying:

                  where the strong inmates pray on the weak inmates

                  I believe the word you actually intended to use there was “prey” (was your subconscious trying to tell you not to go there?) which is a clear and undeniable animal metaphor — we could even get into your use of cannibalism tropes to run blacks down. Even though you try to cover your animal rhetoric with the jail analogy, the scene you are describing could easily be taking place on an African savannah.

                  So you say one group of strong blacks is “preying” on a weak group while I say one group of feral blacks is attacking a non-feral group and you are the hero and I am the racist? Really?

                  So perhaps you should check yourself before you try wrecking someone else. In any case, unless you belong to some religion that rejects science, all humans are animals. The term “feral” does not directly mean animal – it means undomesticated, but can certainly refer to an animal. There is a long history of feral children being discovered (or invented) – in no way is feral meant as an insult to those children, it refers to the non-social environment they grew up in.

                  What the use of feral does is to actually place the blame for violence on the lack of a proper upbringing, by parents, by schools, by society in general.

                  So on a Nature/Nurture scale, feral is strongly on the Nuture side. The solution offered in my analogy is for society, schools, and parents to properly socialize their children – for the feral to become domesticated – and to therefore stop attacking the society that fails to educate them properly.

                  On the other hand your Social Darwinism of the strong “preying” on the weak seems to be more on the Nature side, survival of the fittest. If ghettos were transformed into non-ghettos, would the strong stop “preying” on the weak? It doesn’t seem so. Maybe the means they use would be different; instead of street killing they would set up banks or other institutions to oppress the weak? Don’t strong whites still “prey” on weak society in general?

                  So in your set-up, Nature seems to play a stronger role. I’m not saying you’re wrong – only that your set-up is more of a traditional right-wing approach (Nature) while mine is more left-wing (Nurture). Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle.

                  As for the rape of the indigenous people of America, what about it? Yes there is clear evidence for it in the Mestizo populations in Latin America. Genetic testing shows that their paternal ancestry is predominantly Spanish while the maternal side is indigenous. Since nearly 90% of Mexicans are mestizo, almost every time you see a Mexican you are seeing the result of the Conquistadors and their descendants raping the female natives of the Americas. So what? Should they be ashamed of it?

                    1. Lambert Strether


                      Humans do prey on other humans. “Feral” on the other hand connotes animality, a tired trope for the fearsome black male. You fog over the distinction, then claim projection. Sheer casuistry. Rigorous class analysis, my sweet Aunt Fanny.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Well pardon me for English being my second language, misspells happen. I dare say less often in my case than in the case of many native English speakers. Subconscious substitution? Whatever. It is the unfortunate reality that we are surrounded by racist rhetoric and sometimes have to fight it using its own vocabulary.

                    Be that as it may, I am not surprised that you miss the not-so-fine distinction between the violence of a civil war and prison violence, particularly in the American context. Ghettos are prisons that blacks have been condemned to as a matter of government policies, and prisons are dehumanizing institutions. The instinct for survival is in all of us, and when confronted with the racial prison the strong will prey on the weak. Call it Social Darwinism if that makes you feel better, I call it a fact. Of course, when the base human instincts take over, the racists see in that “proof” that blacks are inherently violent, “feral” animals. Never mind that Russian Gulags were a prime example of white-on-white violence. You can try to hedge your use of the word “feral” all that you want, the fact is that in the American context, where racists allege that blacks are generally incapable of being good parents (“nurture”) and are thus to blame for ghetto violence, the word “feral” becomes just as racist as calling blacks “monkeys”. Hailing from Europe, I am not about to dismiss your use of “feral” as an innocent “nurture” reference. It is not, I see the same use of the term in Europe as well (for example against the Roma, who you no doubt would view as “feral” too). The essence of your comment from the 21st was racist, pure and simple.

                    1. Working Class Nero

                      And so use of the term “prey”, which brings to mind the image of a strong animal eating a weak, is fine but feral is inherently racist? A class-based civil war is racist but calling blacks jailbirds and living in one huge prison is perfectly fine?

                      Project much?

                    2. OIFVet

                      It is thus indeed. For better or for worse, “prey” is a generally accepted term and is anything but race-specific. Referring to a particular racial group, particularly in the context you set up, as “feral” is not acceptable. And blacks are indeed involuntary inmates overseen by the white prison guards you so movingly eulogized. You know the ones, pale skins, like to shoot and strangle black people, and are not held accountable for murdering them “feral” blacks.

                    3. Working Class Nero

                      No, referring to an entire race as jailbirds is unacceptable and racist. Who wants to hire a convict? You make no distinction between victim and oppressor. You refuse to call the murders of blacks bad and instead lump the entire race together as convicts.

                      What I did is split blacks into on the one hand the vast majority as a group of good and productive people being slaughtered at a rate of 7000 a year by, on the other hand, a group of “a small but totally feral” murderers.

                      My framework is class-based and therefore does not rely on race. You can set up the same framework for whites or the society at large, as I explicitly did in my original comment. My framework is just as applicable to Wall Street, the Lumpens become Rentiers and instead of murder it is economic violence being wrought on the good productive people.

                      Look, you are welcome to present your frameworks and systems of understanding things. What you have absolutely no right to do is to try to impose your system on me. I will never, ever refer to all blacks as convicts and jailbirds, and I will stick to my class-based analysis. If you don’t like it, skip my comments.

                    4. Lambert Strether

                      Wait. That some blacks are “good and productive” and others are “feral murderers” — this is the rigorous class analysis I’ve been hearing about? Some people are good, and some are bad? This is kindergarten level. In fact, it’s so bad it discredits the term. Is that your intent?

                    5. OIFVet

                      You are the one referring to black people as “jailbirds”. I called them involuntary prisoners and inmates of the government-created ghettos and prisons. There’s a difference. As a native English speaker you are very likely aware of that difference, so your choice to refer to blacks as “jailbirds” is yet another giveaway. As for the rest of your comment, I admit that I didn’t read it. Your comments are long yet don’t say much, other to restate a racist position in the hope that it would appear to be less so. Advice: try refrain from using dog whistles, like “feral” and “jailbirds”. It can only help.

                    6. Working Class Nero

                      So by your rules you can make the huge stretch of taking my description of the murderers of blacks as “feral” and claim that evokes “primates and bananas” and “just as racist as calling blacks “monkeys”. But when you describe ALL blacks as “inmates” I am not allowed to expand that word to its common synonyms, “jailbird” and “convict”?

                      When you evoke clearly racist imagery “primates and bananas” that is a huge stretch from my initial terminology, you are a hero, but when I slightly modify your description of all blacks from “inmate” to “convict” or “jailbird”, I am the racist?

                      Again, what we have here is a huge amount of projection.

                    7. OIFVet

                      Keep grasping at them straws, pardner. Just don’t blame me for having the gumption to call you out on your weasel use of English vocabulary in order to engage in victim-blaming and perpetuate the myth of white victimhood. Granted it is a bit more sophisticated effort than what one gets from the local yokels, what with the nativism masked as rigid class pseudo-analysis. The Communist Manifesto did urge “Proletarians of the world unite!”, you know. Good night, Comrade.

                  2. Lambert Strether

                    Not seeing much of that rigorous class analysis here. More like a word salad of Social Darwinism (pro or con), Nature vs. Nuture (surely not schematically right and left, either; the right pays plenty of attention to nurture); and a heavy dose of casuistry and logic chopping.

      3. gordon

        So-called “Western” countries manipulate, invade, bomb and sanction countries not run by Western-approved strongmen according to Western priorities. Foreign aid budgets are cut and cut again. Trade is manipulated for the benefit of multinationals. Then “the West” wonders why the world is full of refugees. Established political parties in Europe (including the UK) are under siege from new parties whose first and almost only policy priority is ending the immigrant/refugee influx. Immigration and refugees are a hot topic from California to London to Berlin to Canberra.

        First they create the problem, then they bitch about it.

        Stop bombing, reconstitute foreign aid, accept more imports. Basically, pay them to stay put.

        1. Working Class Nero

          I agree and those are exactly the policies a working class political party should push. Specifically a “nationalist” defence force in the sense that a nation does not intervene beyond its borders. Basically an “America First” policy for America.

          The recent interventions in Libya, Syria, and now Ukraine have as an added benefit the creation of millions or refugees with which Capital can further “Lebanon-ize” the working classes in Western countries. It’s called “churn” and the more elites can do it, the more they undermine social cohesion, both in the countries the refugees are fleeing and the countries they flee to. So let’s be clear, the refugees are not just “coming here”. They are being directed here by wealthy elites with the clear goal of lowering the wages and standard of living of the native working classes. The main class enemy of Western elites is the native working classes. Lowering their wages and standard of livings to that of the third world is clearly the class warfare goal. So what should the native working classes have as a response?

          All the mainstream western political parties support American hegemony and the continuance of American-led intervention in the third world. So far it is less clear with the rise of the subversive, anti-globalization parties what their foreign policies will look like. In France the Front National is strongly against American hegemony but they support the French invention against Jihadists in Chad.

          Long story short, the working classes must support the new subversive parties and at the same time steer their foreign policies towards a non-interventionist, Nation First type.

  4. Dino Reno

    Look for Congress to pass and the President to sign a half trillion dollar Energy Freedom Act to bail out the oil industry in 2015.
    It be will sold as a patriotic move to defend the homeland and protect the development of a strategic resource and keep America #1. Bankers and the Koch brothers will cheer. Bad things can’t happen to rich people here. Huzzah!

  5. diptherio

    Re: Insurer That Got $145 Million Loan Under Obamacare Is Almost Broke

    Some background on Health Care “CO-OPs.” They are not cooperatives in the standard sense (i.e. entities that operate according to the Rochdale Principles). Honestly, so far as I can tell, they are not co-ops at all–they are simply non-profit insurers. The ACA, however, has dubbed them Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, CO-OPs…which really muddies the waters for those of us in the actual cooperative field. Thanks a bunch ACA!

    Now, these so-called CO-OPs could have been done better. In the original bill, the CO-OPs would be eligible for federal grants to help them get up and running. The capitalist cried bloody murder about how that was “unfair,” and so the grants were changed to loans. And as if that wasn’t enough, the insurance company lobbyists also managed to get the CO-OPs banned from offering plans to large employers, which is the most lucrative part of the market. And they were also forbidden from using Federal funds to advertise. As WaPo put it in October of 2013:

    Federal grants for the co-ops were converted to loans with tight repayment schedules; they were barred from using federal money for crucial marketing; and they were severely limited from selling insurance to large employers, which represent the most lucrative market.

    So now, after being hobbled, some CO-OPs are facing financial trouble…just like lots of us knew they would be. The spin from industry, of course, will be that co-ops don’t work…although these are not actual co-ops and they were prevented from advertising and pursuing profitable business by statute. Thank you Obamacare…NOT!!!!

    1. Pat

      It isn’t as if anything that was intended to compete with the for profit medical industry (any part of it including insurance) was going to be allowed to succeed in a bill written by those industries.

  6. Jim Haygood

    “‘This year has been the deadliest in the war’ — does that connote “mission accomplished” to anyone? Anyone?”

    Frickin’ cowardly Taliban. If they had any sense of honor and sportsmanship, they wouldn’t shoot at us while we’re retreating.

        1. ambrit

          I think it was ‘mission’ in the original sense, as an effort to convert heathens to the “True Faith.”
          We can argue about exactly what the “True Faith” is after we have established hegemony.
          (I consider the Neo-Con movement to be a ‘Faith based’ program. Lots of magical thinking going on there.)

    1. bob

      Read about the english retreat from afganistan. They hadn’t finished their tea yet, and the locals had asked them to leave. The english agreed, in principle, but would have to make arrangements. When they finally got around to getting out, all of the locals were taking pot shots at them from the hills.

      Learn from history? nah…

  7. Bill the Psychologist

    RE: After Scrutiny, C.I.A. Mandate Is Untouched

    Mark my words, The CIA/NSA/Miliitary complex now run the government, and their “Mandate” is whatever they want it to be. They now have enough dirt on enough Congress creatures, that they can call the shots, and do. There will be no changes, just words, from here on, on their “mandate”.

    For example, the military have already infiltrated Police Depts across the country with their machines and “take no prisoners” policies. Thus the shootings by police of so many innocent people, with no prosecutions, barely any investigations.

    We are now what a nascent Police State looks like.

    1. James Levy

      I am sympathetic but it is really hard to see who is calling the shots. I think different players have positive and negative powers over various aspects of governance. The best way to look at it might be “whose opinion must be sought, and whose approval received, for various things to happen in this country?” I think some players have veto power over their bailiwick, while others have more proactive powers to make things happen. I would wager the Spooks have veto power over interference in their activities up to a point (certainly if they for some reason started to seriously investigate where all the profits are and who is off-shoring all their ill-gotten gains, other players would step in a put a stop to that). We certainly are back to the police state that existed but went largely uncommented upon in the Golden Age of J. Edgar Hoover. How far past it we have gone remains to be seen.

      1. Banger

        Yes that’s how it works and that is why policy looks so confusing and erratic. Too many forces have veto power–that is why nothing can get done and things are stuck.

      2. James

        James Levy, I think you and Banger still feel the need to put a happy face on it. You’ve almost caved into accepting the “dark side” view of things, but you still can’t quite bear to accept the awful truth of it. I respect you for your views and your reservations nonetheless. I think people should be extremely of claims made by people like me, no matter how awful the truth they reveal. It will make the final revealing just all that much more decisive and final whenever it finally does happen.

        Suffice it to say, IMO we are exponentially further along the path toward totalitarianism than we were in the puritanically simple days of Hoover, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Nixon.

        1. Ulysses

          “IMO we are exponentially further along the path toward totalitarianism than we were” I would have to agree with this assessment. Senator Frank Church was already alarmed enough, in 1975, by what the alphabet agencies then openly admitted to doing. Nearly four decades on, and billions of dollars in supercomputers, drones, facial-recognition software, and all kinds of other spying infrastructure later, we no longer have any of our constitutionally guaranteed privacy rights left.

          Very few of us have the courage, persistence, or good luck to even begin to comprehend what these spooks are up to. Those who get too close, like Barret Brown, are quickly relegated to non-person status, cut off from any meaningful contact with the outside world.

          The good news is that TPTB prefer to maintain some sort of charade that the old constitutional proprieties are still largely respected (except for huge categories of demonized “others” like Muslims, “eco-terrorists,” etc.). This forces them to exercise some restraint in their operations against the U.S. citizenry. The ferocity of their recent attacks on Aaron Schwarz, Brown, Snowden, etc, show that they are more wiling now to let the iron fist out of the velvet glove.

          The bad news is the Orwellian shift in the language used to define people for targeting in the GWOT. Precise terms have been traded for dangerously broad ones like “militant,” or “radical.” Essentially the trend is towards defining any sort of principled opposition to any part of the neoliberal wealth extraction agenda– on moral, religious, scientific, even aesthetic grounds– as inherently dangerous. Even more disturbing, the mere expression of sympathy for the victims of regime oppression is now considered a “threat.”

          It is of course shocking and unsettling to realize that you live in an Orwellian police state. Yet, ion a strange way it is also liberating. We literally have nothing left to lose by refusing to play nice with this soft fascist regime. The kids are on the right track with their die-ins and highway blockades– why continue to pretend that “we’re all in this together?” We are now subjected to the capricious rule of unaccountable kleptocrats. We can resist them or obey them, but we must not make the mistake of believing that a few strongly-worded letters to the editor will make them suddenly start treating us with fairness.

          1. James

            We are now subjected to the capricious rule of unaccountable kleptocrats. We can resist them or obey them, but we must not make the mistake of believing that a few strongly-worded letters to the editor will make them suddenly start treating us with fairness.

            Word, Ulysses!

    2. neo-realist

      Haven’t they run the government since 1963, or is the cabal simply making it more obvious to the public that they run the show?

    3. James

      Good post. Just strike the nascent from Police State and we’re good to go. Hell, we crossed that line 70 years ago at least Where’ve ya’ been?

  8. Jim Haygood

    We’re partying like 1999 again. Or March 2000, to be more specific. At a closing value of 4,807 yesterday, the Nasdaq Composite has reached a level that it has only traded above for three weeks, between March 3rd and March 28th of 2000. On two days (the 9th and 10th) it closed above 5,000. Never since.

    Today the P/E ratio on the Nasdaq 100 is 24.65, whereas in 2000 it was somewhere north of 200 (nobody was quite sure, and it didn’t matter). After 14 years of growth, plus some mild inflation, it’s inevitable that old nominal price records will be revisited and eventually surpassed.

    With only four percent to go to reach Naz 5000, it could happen as soon as next week. ZIRP me up, Janet!

  9. Benedict@Large

    Japan’s Savings Rate Turns Negative in Challenge for Abe (Bloomberg)

    This is a problem? Japan’s problem for the last two decades has been that it couldn’t print money faster than the Japanese were saving it. This turnabout is actually a good thing.

    Which is probably why the monetarists at Bloomberg want to call it a problem. It wrecks their theory. They think savings precedes investments, and don’t understand that it’s the (good) investments themselves that draw the new money into action. [Oh, wait, that’s demand side. I forgot.]

    1. cwaltz

      Personally, I’ve always thought good financial policy should be more of a balancing act. It’s not a great thing to encourage mindless spending or saving.

      I think the problem should be that there was a decline in real income though, not necesarily that Japanese folk aren’t saving.

      I’d love to see some real numbers for statements like,” Americans are net savers,” it either isn’t true or the stories that a majority are living from paycheck to paycheck aren’t true. It’s one thing to say we’re net savers and another thing to say the wealthy are net money hoarders(and considering these folks have multiple homes and businesses in multiple locations I don’t particularly think they have allegiance to anyone other than their own selves. I imagine that if push came to shove they’d tell America to suck it.)

      You gotta appreciate the spinning. One second we should all be afraid because Americans aren’t saving enough and retirement is looming then next thing you know you’re reading about how “we’re net savers.” It’s almost like the crap you get from the business community where they’ll tout the profit they made to the investment community all while telling consumers that they need to raise prices because they had a hard year and barely broke even.

  10. Jef


    The whole 3D printing is a joke. The perfect example of technocopian belief in magic.

    3D printers produce nothing. They simply take what ever REAL resource/material that you put into it and rearranges it to look like something that a CAD file tells it to look like.

    To make food, real, nutritious food you must first produce the REAL food, process it down to its basic elements and reconfigure it into a form the the 3D machine can handle.

    Whether it is food or plastic STUFF there is no distinct advantage to adding all of the extra steps and expense.

    But hey… maybe we can all just print our own bitcoins and get rich.

    1. Brian

      This reminds me of the story when Ben Bernanke spoke about first hearing about 3D printers and realized he would be able to print gold from that point on.

      1. Vatch

        From the web site:

        The food is real food, made from fresh ingredients prepared before printing.

        This seems to be a pretty good confirmation of what you said, since the ingredients must be prepared first. Some people already have blenders, food processors, and microwave ovens.

      2. ambrit

        The old Star Trek writers never thought the idea of replicators of any sort through. Even Roddenberry admitted that the Matter Transporters were a McGuffin.

    2. Jack

      By that logic normal printing is also a joke: you put ink and paper into a machine and it mixes and rearranges to produce paper with words or pictures on it. It hasn’t ‘created’ anything.

      Food printing is a joke. But 3D printing in general is a useful tool.

  11. flora

    re: “Braced for all-out cyber warfare in the year of the hack” from the FT.
    ugh. no, does not feel organic, more like a careful placed story.

    words and phrases used in the article: online attacks, anxieties, self-defence, fields of conflict, arena of conflict, spilling of secrets, foreign threats, caving in, building defences, taking reprisals

    words and phrases not used in the article: strong password, dual authentication, weak inhouse system security, encrypted data, weak reusable passwords, discreet systems

    From SANS internet security: “Attackers breached security of a German steel mill’s network and caused
    considerable damage by manipulating the controls of a blast furnace. The
    attackers gained initial foothold in the network through a phishing
    email, and from there were able to make their way into the plant’s
    production network….
    “Another bad example of weak reusable passwords used for very sensitive access.
    “Many other security failures here, but the root cause of so many breaches traces back to the use of reusable passwords and the ease of compromise, ….
    “And – they need to re-evaluate their architecture to ensure physical separation of IT and OT.”

    SANS is reasonable, FT is scaremongering.

    1. inode_buddha

      SANS is also an actual authority in the subject matter at hand, recognized worldwide. FT is sorta *cough* lightweight.

  12. James Levy

    I’m still fumbling for an understanding of what all this liquidity means for the system. It would seem that James Howard Kunstler’s long-established lament, that QE and ZIRP have destroyed the price-discovery function of markets, is correct. But with this much “money” floating around can the rich simply redeploy it to any collapsing sector in order to shore up their asset prices, and thereby their wealth? On the other hand, can they use it to drive down prices like that of gold and oil simply because they can lose money indefinitely? In short, when there is so much more notional money than their are goods and services in the world capitalist system, do markets reflect any reality at all, other than that which the Elite wish to foist on us?

    1. James

      In short, when there is so much more notional money than their are goods and services in the world capitalist system, do markets reflect any reality at all, other than that which the Elite wish to foist on us?

      In short, no.

  13. fresno dan
    The causes of obesity, other than genes and environment, are poorly understood. A recent study showed that exposure of mice to antibiotics in early life induced lasting effects on body composition owing to alteration of the intestinal microbiota.

    Alas, no longer being a Federal employee means I no longer have free access to the FDA library, but this link provides a synopsis

    It is an interesting fact that obesity is a world wide and INTERSPECIES phenomenon – that is lab animals and animals in zoos are getting fatter too.
    I attribute this to people letting their pets watch too much TV…it also makes they vote republican….

  14. Oregoncharles

    “Corporate Disruption using Snowden Style Moral Warfare” –
    Reminds me a great deal of a 60’s SF novel, I think by John Brunner; can’t remember the title, but the premise was a future US (I think about now) in which the government was captured by the Mafia (ring any bells) and run mostly on computers (ding-a-ling.) A subversive built a “worm” – now called a virus – that spread through the system, then, on a certain date, dumped all the info: Snowden writ very, very large.

    In the book, the result was essentially a revolution. What the author underestimated was both the level of complacency and, more important, the sheer unmanageable AMOUNT of data. Even if everything was thrown open, the flood would be almost useless. The model implicit in the above article, a series of targeted exposures, is likely to be more effective, but may not have a systemic effect.

    1. norm de plume

      I read that too – The Shockwave Rider, probably not long after it was released in 1975, during my high school SF phase. I recall thinking Thomas Disch’s Camp Concentration was better, but Wiki has some intriguing detail on Brunner’s book:

      ‘..the novel shows a dystopian early 21st century America dominated by computer networks, and is considered by some critics to be an early ancestor of the “cyberpunk” genre.[4] The hero, Nick Haflinger, is a runaway from Tarnover, a government program intended to find, educate and indoctrinate highly gifted children to further the interests of the state.. the story includes a massive earthquake laying waste to the San Francisco Bay area in California. Millions die and millions more are left to live on government handouts. The subsequent economic depression, coupled with the rootlessness enabled by access to online data and strong social pressure to be flexible (the results of corporations wanting highly mobile workforces without strong local ties), results in a fragmentation of society along religious, ethnic and a variety of class markers… distribution of data access and data privacy is a prominent theme in the book; characters who have access to information which is nominally secret enjoy demonstrable economic advantages over others lacking access to such data. In the novel, data privacy is reserved for corporate entities and individuals who may then conceal wrongdoing; by contrast, normal citizens do not enjoy significant privacy.

      The world described in the book is dystopian, with laissez-faire economics portrayed as leading inevitably to disaster[citation needed] as greed trumps long-term planning. The educational system is dysfunctional, with teachers unable to perform their jobs due to strictures. The only ‘functional’ educational system seen in the book is portrayed as an enclave, the tightly-controlled Tarnover school. Communities are either walled enclaves of privilege or largely lawless areas entirely lacking protection from corrupt civil authorities. Infrastructure has been allowed to crumble, and characters who reside within ‘paid avoidance zones’ receive compensation from the government in lieu of actual services… He creates a new “worm” which is designed to destroy all secrecy. (Brunner invented the term “worm” for this program, as a self-replicating program that propagates across a computer network – the term “worm” was later adopted by computer researchers as the name for this type of program)..’

  15. Ray Phenicie

    From the article on cyber security, or the lack thereof: Braced for all-out cyber warfare in the year of the hacked to an evaluation of Snowden’s leaks: Even his most explosive revelation — “that the United States and the United Kingdom have compromised key communications software and encryption systems designed to protect online privacy and security — merely confirmed what knowledgeable observers have long suspected.”
    O.K. Full Stop

    So the US government, since the internet technology first came up off the horizon, has sabotaged any building of real security. This has involved US government requirements that backdoors be left open in coding.
    From Cyber Warfare: Techniques, Tactics and Tools for Security Practitioners By Jason Andress, Steve Winterfeld, pg 49: ” There is no governing body for computer security se we have no professional standards or definitions.”

    Do folks at the top really believe we in the lower 99.5% really believe the likes of Mr. Obama really care about Cyber Security? Is not the real issue why the folks who walk in and out of the Oval Office and other power centers in the major beltways are ok with our checking account and credit card numbers, passwords and and personal identity information being so much chaff in the mill of a putative national security system that is not making us more secure? In fact National Security is a freaking misnomer. It is really National Insecurity due to the clumsy and inept skills of operatives at the highest rank and file. The issue of cyber security is at the full blown stage of the security found in mining towns of the Wild Wild West in the days when the US could not muster (or would not muster) the forces needed to keep lawful activities in front of illegal activities and place criminals in jail cells instead of allowing them to roam the streets freely.

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