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dkf

dkf's Journal
dkf's Journal
September 27, 2013

Google Must Face Most Claims in Gmail Wiretap Lawsuit

Google Inc. (GOOG) must face most claims in a lawsuit alleging it illegally reads and mines the content of private messages sent through its Gmail e-mail service in violation of federal wiretap laws.

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, today granted Google’s request to throw out state claims, while allowing the plaintiffs to refile. She refused to dismiss federal claims, rejecting the company’s argument that the plaintiffs agreed to let Google intercept and read their e-mails by accepting its service terms and privacy policies.

“The court finds that it cannot conclude that any party -- Gmail users or non-Gmail users -- has consented to Google’s reading of e-mail for the purposes of creating user profiles or providing targeted advertising,” Koh said in the ruling.

Users of Gmail and other e-mail services from states including Texas, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida contend that Google “does not disclose the extent of its processing,” according to a May 16 court filing. The case consolidates seven individual and group lawsuits.

http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-26/google-must-face-most-claims-in-gmail-wiretap-lawsuit.html

September 26, 2013

Democrat Manchin Breaks Ranks to Back Mandate Delay

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke ranks with fellow Democrats and said he’d support a stopgap spending plan that delays the individual mandate in President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

“There’s no way I could not vote for it,” Manchin said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast today. “It’s very reasonable and sensible.”

The individual mandate is the linchpin of the law that requires most Americans to purchase health care through government-run insurance exchanges. Republicans, led by a group of newcomers in the House, are pushing to dismantle the health-care law and are using a ticking clock on a possible Oct. 1 government shutdown as leverage.

The Democratic-led Senate will vote in coming days on the stopgap spending plan and before sending it back to the House will remove language that defunds Obamacare. Obama and House Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, have said they won’t support using the budget to change the health law.

Manchin, 66, said he’d be willing to delay the individual mandate as part of the budget negotiations because the Obama administration in July gave businesses an extra year to provide their workers with health insurance.

“Don’t put the mandate on the American public right now,” Manchin said. “Give them at least a year. If you know you couldn’t bring the corporate sector, you gave them a year, don’t you think it’d be fair?”

http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-26/democrat-manchin-breaks-ranks-to-back-mandate-delay.html

September 25, 2013

The Fed's 'hidden agenda' behind money-printing

Do the math: If we were to pay an average interest rate on our debt of 5.7 percent, rather than the 2.4 percent we pay today, in 2020 our debt service cost will be about $930 billion.

Now compare that to the amount the Internal Revenue Service collects from us in personal income taxes.

In 2012, that amount was $1.1 trillion, meaning that if interest rates went back to a more normal level of, say, 5.7 percent, 85 percent of all personal income taxes collected would go to servicing the debt. No wonder the Fed is worried.

Some economists will also suggest that interest rates may go much higher than 5.7 percent largely as a result of the massive QE exercise of printing money at an unprecedented rate. We just don't know what the effect of all this will be but many economists warn that it can only result in inflation down the road.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101062461

September 25, 2013

Millionaire wealth in Asia may top North America by 2014

Wealth among the richest in the Asia-Pacific region could surpass that of North America as soon as next year, a joint report by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management showed on Wednesday.

The total wealth of high net-worth individuals in the region – defined as those with investable assets of $1 million and above – is expected to rise to $15.9 trillion by 2015, compared with $12 trillion in 2012. Wealth of the equivalent group of individuals in North America stood at $12.7 trillion last year.

"The Asia-Pacific market is clearly one to watch. Its leadership in global high net-worth wealth growth positions it to become the largest wealth market by population as early as 2014," M. George Lewis, Group Head of RBC Wealth Management & RBC Insurance said in the report.

The number of high net-worth individuals in Asia-Pacific rose 9.4 percent to 3.68 million last year. Hong Kong and India experienced the biggest percentage gains, with the population of this group rising 35 percent to 114,000 and 22 percent to 153,000, respectively.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101061049

September 24, 2013

All this bombing and killing and enforcement of norms is only creating more people who hate us.

How many innocent Muslims do we kill before we start to look at what we are inviting upon ourselves?

The US as iron fist isn't winning us the love of the world. To the contrary. It's pure arrogance as we refuse to be a participant in the ICC.

Yes we can blow up any country on this planet. But we can't hide every citizen from the hatred we engender.

Shame on any politician who brings this wrath down upon us.

September 22, 2013

Is the ACA going to stratify the population into highly educated/skilled full-timers...

And everyone else part-time 29 hour workers?

The more I think about it the more obvious it seems.

Highly trained people may have to work even more than 40 hours as a standard and that is who the employer needs all the time. Workers with more interchangeable skills get 29 hours and they offload the benefit costs.

Yikes.

September 21, 2013

Krugman: I Have Seen The Future, And It Is Medicaid

One of the papers at Brookings was an attempt at prognosticating the future of health care costs — for what it’s worth, their best guess was slightly below CBO’s, so it was consistent with CBO’s relatively not-scary long-term fiscal forecasts. But what struck me most was this chart, showing cost growth in different forms of health insurance:


That flat red line at the bottom is Medicaid.

Everyone who’s serious about the budget realizes that to the extent we do have a long-run fiscal problem — which we do, although it’s far from apocalyptic — it’s mainly about health care costs. And then there’s much wringing of hands about how nobody knows how to control health costs, so maybe we should just give people vouchers, and if they still can’t afford insurance, too bad.

Meanwhile, we have ample evidence that we do know how to control health costs. Every other advanced country does it better than we do — and Medicaid does it far better than private insurance, and better than Medicare too. It does it by being willing to say no, which lets it extract lower prices and refuse some low-payoff medical procedures.

Ah, but you say, Medicaid patients have trouble finding doctors who’ll take them. Yes, sometimes, although it’s a greatly exaggerated issue. Also, middle-class patients would surely be unhappy if transferred from the open-handedness of Medicare to the penny-pinching of Medicaid.

But the problems of access, such as they are, would largely go away if most of the health insurance system were run like Medicaid, since doctors wouldn’t have so many patients able and willing to pay more. And as for complaints about reduced choice, let’s think about this for a moment. First you say that our health cost problems are so severe that we must abandon any notion that Americans are entitled to necessary care, and go over to a voucher system that would leave many Americans out in the cold. Then, informed that we can actually control costs pretty well, while maintaining a universal guarantee, by slightly reducing choice and convenience, you declare this an unconscionable horror.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/21/i-have-seen-the-future-and-it-is-medicaid/?smid=tw-NytimesKrugman&seid=auto&_r=0

September 21, 2013

Letís Be Honest About Israelís Nukes (and Chemical and Biological weapons)

THE recent agreement between the United States and Russia on Syria’s chemical weapons made clear what should have been obvious long ago: President Obama’s effort to uphold international norms against weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East will entangle the United States in a diplomatic and strategic maze that is about much more than Syria’s chemical arsenal.

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria insists that the purpose of his chemical arsenal was always to deter Israel’s nuclear weapons. If Syria actually disarms, what about Egypt and Israel? Egypt (about whose chemical weapons the United States has been strangely silent) points to Israel. And Israel of course has its own chemical weapons to deter Syria’s and Egypt’s, and it is not about to give them up. A headline in the Israeli daily Haaretz a few days ago stated: “Israel adamant it won’t ratify chemical arms treaty before hostile neighbors.”

These three countries have not adhered to the Biological Weapons Convention either. And Israel is not a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, despite having developed a formidable nuclear arsenal of its own, which will soon become the central fact in this drama, whether the United States likes it or not.

An obstacle of America’s own making has long prevented comprehensive negotiations over weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. While the world endlessly discusses Iran’s nuclear capabilities and the likelihood that it will succeed in developing an atomic arsenal, hardly anyone in the United States ever mentions Israel’s nuclear weapons.

Mr. Obama, like his predecessors, pretends that he doesn’t know anything about them. This taboo impedes discussions within Washington and internationally. It has kept America from pressing Egypt and Syria to ratify the chemical and biological weapons conventions. Doing so would have brought immediate objections about American acceptance of Israel’s nuclear weapons.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/19/opinion/global/lets-be-honest-about-israels-nukes.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

September 21, 2013

Rebel-on-Rebel Violence Seizes Syria (Three Front War in Syria)

An al Qaeda spinoff operating near Aleppo, Syria's largest city, last week began a new battle campaign it dubbed "Expunging Filth."

The target wasn't their avowed enemy, the Syrian government. Instead, it was their nominal ally, the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army.


A band of fanatical al Qaeda rebels are turning their guns on more secular rebels in an attempt to turn the struggle in Syria into a holy war. WSJ's Nour Malas joins the News Hub to explain. Photo: Getty Images

Across northern and eastern Syria, units of the jihadist group known as ISIS are seizing territory—on the battlefield and behind the front lines—from Western-backed rebels.

Some FSA fighters now consider the extremists to be as big a threat to their survival as the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

"It's a three-front war," a U.S. official said of the FSA rebels' fight: They face the Assad regime, forces from its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, and now the multinational jihadist ranks of ISIS.

Brigade leaders of the FSA say that ISIS, an Iraqi al Qaeda outfit whose formal name is the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, has dragged them into a battle they are ill-equipped to fight.

Some U.S. officials said they see it as a battle for the FSA's survival.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324807704579082924138453120?mg=reno64-wsj.html?dsk=y

September 20, 2013

Appleís iOS7 includes a surprise: a ticket to the next generation of the internet

For five years, researchers have toiled over an obscure bit of fundamental internet infrastructure that promises to make the connections to our mobile devices faster and more reliable than ever, and if you’ve already downloaded Apple’s iOS 7 to your iPhone or iPad, you could be using it already.
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It’s called multi-path TCP, and here’s why it matters and how it works: At present, if your phone or tablet is connected to Wi-Fi and a cellular network at the same time, it can only use one or the other connection to transmit data. But what if your Wi-Fi connection or your 3G connection drops? Whatever data was being transmitted—data for an app, a webpage, an iMessage—will fail to arrive, and you have to try again, usually after getting a frustrating error message or a blank page. Just as importantly, if one of your connections to the internet slows down, or speeds up, your phone has no ability to use its other connections to its advantage, leading to a poorer and slower experience overall.
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Activate Siri to feel the power of the future

Multi-path TCP allows your phone to send data by whatever way it’s connected to the internet, whether that’s Wi-Fi, 3G or ethernet (say, if it were running on a laptop connected to the internet via a cable). And if you want to activate it, says one of the researchers who built multi-path TCP, you have only to use Apple’s voice command software, Siri.
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This is the first time that this new means of connecting to the internet has appeared in a commercial product. That it showed up in Apple’s software and not Google’s shows that Apple’s technical chops are substantial, even when the company isn’t highlighting what it’s up to.

http://qz.com/126642/apples-ios7-includes-a-surprise-a-ticket-to-the-next-generation-of-the-internet/

I wonder if this mucks up the NSA. I hope so.

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