Links 6/17/17

Giant condor returns to thank man who saved him after he fell from his mother’s nest Inhabitat (furzy). You must watch the video.

Animation shows huge crack growing in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf – snap off in days to weeks Business Insider (Kevin C) :-(

Solar And Wind Revolution Happening Much Faster Than Expected OilPrice

Google Said to Be Facing Record E.U. Fine by End of August New York Times

Fetuses May Respond to Faces While in the Womb Scientific American (Robert M)

Girlfriend whose texts urged suicide guilty of manslaughter Boston Herald (Chuck L)

China?

How Anbang Could Clog China’s Financial Plumbing Wall Street Journal (Richard Smith)

Journalist shield law could soon become reality in Canada Toronto Star (furzy). Long overdue. Would allow me to move there if there were any way for ancient moi to get permanent residence.

The office of the European Public Prosecutor promises a new era has dawned in the EU for fighting financial crime New Europe. Micael: “Sounds great but all depends on what is criminalized. Doesn’t look like they are focusing on anything systemic. Does VAT have effect of paralyze the economy like the banks in 2008?”

Grenfell Tower Inferno Aftermath

London Fire: A Tale of Two Tower Blocks BBC (Alfred)

London tower block fire occurred due to countless ignored fire safety warnings Architects Newspaper (John N)

Homes, schools and hospitals all fitted with deadly cladding The Times. Aiee.

UK Election Aftermath

The sooner Theresa May goes the better The Times (Richard Smith)

Brexit

Do click through to read the entire tweetstorm (hat tip Richard Smith). An informative overview of negotiations:

May Is Living the Weak, Unstable Brexit Nightmare She Warned Of Bloomberg

Jeremy Corbyn confirmed for Glastonbury 2017 NME. Dan K:

The article is just details on the festival, but has embedded a fairly serious (if not especially challenging) interview with Corbyn, recorded some days prior to the election.

12:00 – … and so, the message I’m trying to put forward is of inter-generational support and solidarity for each other. And so I don’t think we should compartmentalize politics, and say older people over here, let’s talk about social care, younger people here, let’s talk about education; let’s talk about the totality of our society.

Mélenchon: “The opposition force is us” Europe1 (UserFriendly)

Varoufakis explains why economics is not science failed evolution

PRESIDENT PUTIN’S HOMILY ON ATHEISM, POLITICS, AND PROPERTY John Helmer

Imperial Collapse Watch

Seven missing after US navy destroyer Fitzgerald collides with merchant ship off Japan Guardian JTM: “Your tax or MMT dollars at work. How does an agile destroyer get T-boned by a cargo ship? Must have been Putin!?! Amiright?”

US Navy ship collides with merchant ship Associated Press. UserFriendly: “USA! USA!”

What’s more frightening than an evil world leader? A stupid one Guardian UserFriendly.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Step Inside Julian Assange’s Office YouTube (furzy)

CIA has been hacking into Wi-Fi routers for years, leaked documents show ZDNet. Bill B: “A reminders that NGOs like SRI are a common front for American spies. And, to an extent, this explains why Russia and China clamp down on them.” Moi: Yet another reason to have old tech! I insist on having Ethernet-only connectivity devices. So imagine the cable farm at my desk.

Gardaí offer help to Dublin Facebook staff hit by security breach Irish Times (Phil D). Subhead: “Iraqi-born Irish citizen being paid €13 an hour by Facebook fled Ireland after lapse.”

Revealed: Facebook exposed identities of moderators to suspected terrorists Guardian (Phil D)

Australian push to make decryption easier ‘could threaten global internet security’ Guardian (furzy). Headline misleading, it’s about backdoors. But the result is the same.

Trump Transition

Trump earns $598M as Mar-a-Lago profits spike The Hill

The Republicans Have No Workable Plan for the Debt Ceiling Washington Monthly (UserFriendly)

Report: Rosenstein Considers Recusing Self From Russia Probe Daily Beast (furzy). Looks more like a tactical recusal, particularly since I don’t recall seeing anyone suggesting he needed to recuse himself. Not hard to think Rosenstein wants out of the line of fire.

EXCLUSIVE: Trump officials considered ‘ultimatum’ to Cuba The Hill

Trump’s Cuba Policy Will Fail Atlantic. Furzy’s explanation makes sense: “I believe Trumpkins wants to undo everything Obama initiated.”

First New Coal Mine of Trump Era Opens in Pennsylvania Fox. Resilc: “70 jobzzzzzz.”

Donald Trump Owes At Least $315 Million To Financial Firms, Some Of Which Are Lobbying The Federal Government International Business Times (UserFriendly). The sloppy reporting drives me crazy. Trump does not owe this money. Businesses in which he has a stake, often but not always 100%, do. Unless he gave a personal guarantee, these lenders have no recourse to Trump. I looked at the liabilities page and the items are all against business entities save some relatively small mortgages which look to be against homes he owns. Moreover, Trump in general is underlevered. He’s borrowed way less against his real estate than he could.

Mattis: ‘No Enemy’ Has Done More Harm Than Congress Daily Beast (reslic)

Five American Pastimes, Six Dark Ironies: Reflections on Alexandria Counterpunch (resilc). Key section:

Shooter, please. Forget the unproven assertions of collusion with Russia and ask yourself just what democracy it was exactly that Donald Trump wrecked? The Big Money-managed United States is a damn near openly plutocratic oligarchy where the wealthy Few get what they want again and again regardless of majority working class sentiment.

SCOTUS Reconsidering Gun Case in Wake of Alexandria Shooting Law News. Help me. The fact that important people in the ‘hood get shot makes a difference? Where have they been since guns kill more people than car accidents?

How Hillary Clinton May Find Her Way to Jail Sputnik (UserFriendy). She will never go to jail, but this is too much fun not to run.

To Win in 2018, Democrats Need to Go on the Offensive in the Voting Wars Washington Monthly. Resilc: “Can’t beat nuthin’ with no game.”

Powder-Filled Letters With Threatening Notes Shut Down Georgia Republican’s Neighborhood Free Beacon. UserFriendy: “The note is a bit cheeky. It’s not like Ossoff is any better.”

Kill Me Now

A surprising number of American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows Business Insider (David L)

Amazon bets on Whole Foods to deliver basketful of economies Financial Times. Whole Foods is a high end niche vendor. Grocery stores are fragmented with fabulously low margins, 1-2%. Customers are price sensitive and to the extend they will pay for delivery, they want the stuff in a couple of hours, which is not a turn-around time that lends itself to anything other than local vans and on foot. I don’t see any opportunity to optimize that. Nor is Whole Foods a platform to compete with general grocers. Bezos might make Whole Foods better and maybe will eat into the share of Sprouts (a chain that has been undercutting Whole Foods on price), Trader Joes, and Costco (which also appeals to affluent customers) but I don’t see general grocers as an attractive business for Amazon, nor do I see Whole Foods as a great entry point. The enthusiasm for this deal reminds me of the enthusiasm for private equity getting into rental housing. There were some (the ones who got in early and bought cheap) who did really well, but the industry convinced itself that there were magical economies of scale and tech efficiencies which for the most part were not there to be had.

CenturyLink Is Accused of Running a Wells Fargo-Like Scheme Bloomberg

Yemen War Threatens Crucial Oil Chokepoint OilPrice

Big Oil Firms Are Exploring a New Frontier in Shale: Profits Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

America’s Amazon Problem Matt Stoller, Huffington Post (KF). Important. And I don’t like the idea that you will be required to carry a smartphone to shop. That won’t fly in NYC. Grocery stores have to have posted prices and scales that allow you to weigh any products that you pick out that are priced on a weight basis. But I have no idea re other cities.

When Does Amazon Become a Monopoly? Atlantic (resilc). Telling how Whole Foods triggers more hand-wringing than Amazon warehouses.

Amazon has a patent to keep you from comparison shopping while you’re in its stores Washington Post (Chuck L). The determined will call or text significant others or friends at a remove to do the price comparisons.

The CIA Reads French Theory: On The Intellectual Labor Of Dismantling The Cultural Left Philosophical Salon (James C)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Great Horned Owl in a Eucalyptus tree.”

For months, readers have overwhelmingly been sending bird pictures. I wonder what that says about the zeitgeist.

h2 style=”font-size: 14.3px !important; color: #333; font-weight: normal !important;”>See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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325 comments

    1. Bugs Bunny

      He tweeted yesterday that France shall be run like a start up.

      En Marche – Always be hustlin’

      Kalanic’s got time on his hands. I’m sure his lot would be fine with Macron & Co.

      Reply
      1. visitor

        Something that was noticed during the French presidential campaign: the initials of Emmanuel Macron and En Marche match.

        It is more appropriate to state that “France shall be run like his start up. “

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The French are just 5 years behind, Macron is just more of the same banker-owned corporo-fascism, a few more years of pretty speeches and business as usual will turn the tide.

          Reply
  1. Dan

    I think the Amazon/Whole Foods deal is a good one (for Amazon). They’ve wanted retail locations. Now the company will have them.

    My experience with Whole Foods is limited to the DC area, but what I’ve seen are hoards of consumers completely unconcerned about price and quality. There are many options for better quality and price, but Whole Foods customers are comfortable buying from that particular store. They are like Apple customers in that regard, and now Amazon has purchased a steady flow of them. It will be interesting to see what Amazon now sells them. My guess is it won’t be food, but rather products with far better margins.

    Reply
    1. human

      Never mind retail locations, they now have an in place distribution network for tens of thousands more products, incuding perishables. I don’t see delivery by drone in the near future, but, hey “innovation,” and there are always local delivery services.
      Whole Paycheck didn’t get its’ monicker because of typical grocer profit margins and I fully agree with you about the laissez-fair attitude of their typical customer.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        1. These stores do not have warehouses. Even though some in upscale malls are large, they do not have the footprints to be “distribution centers”.

        2. Most of Whole Foods’ vendors are niche producers that appeal only to an upscale buyer.

        Reply
        1. human

          Grocers have huuuuge distribution centers separate from their retail locations which are a link in the chain. There’s a WF distribution center about 30 miles from me on a 20+ acre property with expansion possibilities. it’s just down the street from 2 Macy’s/Bloomingdales properties, a Fulfillment center and a Logistics center. The Fulfullment center is more than 600,000 SF, partly on 2 floors! It’s 10 acres under one roof. If it weren’t for the friendly staff, I would hate servicing eqipment there. In the middle of no where (lovely farm country), so no cell coverage and I’m literally a quarter mile from where I’ve parked if I forget to bring something in with me.

          WF sells a number of national brands in addition tho their niche vendors and on site production. The proletariat believes that they are getting more than just value as they shop beyond their means.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith Post author

            How many Whole Foods are there in your area? There are only 400 Whole Foods in the entire US. There are many that are relatively isolated, like the four that are dispersed in the Alabama. There is only one in Maine. In the state of Texas, with Dallas (a very spread-out city), Austin (with the second-worst traffic in the US), Houston, El Paso, and San Antonio, it does not have high concentration in any city, making distribution inefficient.

            In other words, I would anticipate efficient distribution only in/near cities with large affluent populations, like Seattle, the Bay area, perhaps New York City (we don’t have many Whole Foods relative to the population and they are not well liked locally), the Boston suburbs, the west side of Los Angeles, and perhaps one or two of the Texas cities. Recall Whole Foods was closing stores in 2017 due to sales declines. Why should Bezos be able to reverse that? And why should he have any competitive advantage as a grocer?

            Reply
          2. Robert Frances

            I think you’re right about what this deal is partly about: a nationwide distribution system, and end-point sales/pick-up nodes (retail stores) close to a large segment of affluent customers. Once AMZN decided to start paying sales tax in all (most?) states last year, it may as well go all in with retailing at the local level. If customers can be convinced that meat, produce and other perishables are comparable to what they would choose themselves, some of us will gladly drive to a WF 5 miles away and pick up our orders, or pay a $10-15 delivery charge so we don’t have to leave the house. Assuming customers will one day be able to pick up their non-perishable AMZN purchases from WF too, that should help boost their sales and should help reduce their very expensive delivery charges currently paid to UPS/USPS.

            Costco has been very successful partly because it primarily focuses on the highest 1/3 of income households (the $60 annual fee partly ensures that). Buying WF puts AMZN in many US neighborhoods that have similar demographics, where a few extra dollars for convenience and perceived quality isn’t a major shopping consideration. Costco apparently gets ~50% of its sales from food, so it wasn’t too surprising its stock took a big hit (~7%) after the deal was announced. WF’s prepared food items alone should be a boon for ready-to-eat meals delivered/picked-up by time-pressed, relatively affluent customers. Companies like Blue Apron may not last long in this new competitive environment. Even local restaurants that have seen explosive growth in “to-go” orders over the last few years may see a hit to their sales, maybe not in places like NYC where transportation logistics and access to apartment buildings could be significant issues, but in the affluent suburbs surrounding major US cities.

            Reply
        2. neo-realist

          Speaking of proletariat, from what I’ve seen of the Costco’s in the Seattle area, I suspect that Amazon’s takeover of WF will have minimal effect on Costco’s business if at all: A lot of working class, and lower middle class types like to shop at Costco for the ability to buy in bulk at lower prices compared to the chain supermarkets and the bourgeois prices of WF and similar high end grocers. These people don’t have the pocketbooks to deal with Amazon/WF and will continue with Costco and similar discount grocer options. It isn’t all that much a direct competitor against WF based on its predominant demographic of shoppers.

          Reply
          1. Anon

            A lot of working class, and lower middle class types like to shop at Costco for the ability to buy in bulk at lower prices compared to the chain supermarkets

            Got a link to that data? Most of the folks who buy food at Costco have the money to buy in bulk (which induces a large grocery budget). Unless a family has 5-6 kids (a rarity, today) buying 24 x-large, cinnamon muffins isn’t a savings when 6 go stale before they’re eaten.

            Reply
        3. Richard Wyndbourne Kline

          Amazon’s Whole Foods buy has zero to do with selling groceries to anyone.

          Everything that Amazon does is about controlling the distribution channel between a product and an end user. Every channel; every product it takes. Don’t think, just click Prime. It may be to Amazon’s ‘we own you’ advantage to distribute groceries as well as everything else to its consumabots. But what is more important is to block anyone else from developing a channel exclusive of Amazon to deliver ANYTHING. This is a defensive move to prevent Walmart from getting sufficiently big on grocery distribution to own that channel.

          It didn’t hurt that Bezos sits at the apex of his new Tower of Power in Seattle’s Amazone looking down at a Whole Foods practically across the street where many Amazoids buy lunch. “”How come by Zoids are spending money at somebody else’s counter?” he might have said. “Why don’t I own that yet to gross back the rest of their salaries?”

          Amazon is the Standard Oil of today, and their untrustworthy trust needs to be broken up.

          Reply
        4. bob

          “Most of Whole Foods’ vendors are niche producers that appeal only to an upscale buyer.”

          That’s the only angle I see in this merger – straight up monopoly exercise to kill the competition in this market specifically.

          They’ll probably try to synergise with amazon to improve logistics, fail miserably, as planned, and kill a few small food specialty item producers in the mean time. Toss the carcass off to PE after.

          Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Haha, you know Blue Apron has been losing money and has no prospect of making any? They can’t even articulate how they might get to being profitable. Friends of mine who uses them say they are very pricey and their product looks to be labor intensive.

        Reply
        1. Harry

          That’s interesting. Not that this contradicts your anecdote but I was told that a competitor service was doing well and the Chair was working on a float for approaching 1bn. I find the whole thing utterly perplexing. I won’t even shop at WP, because I can damn well cut up my own vegetables and generally object to absurd margins on groceries. But i was told that Americans in urban centers love these types of food prep and delivery services.

          Your point on blue apron strikes me as much more intuitive.

          Reply
          1. Ivy

            Amazon will bring their stellar customer service reputation to the food business. Oh, joy. Americans will get with Amazon their food perp along with their food prep.

            Reply
          2. HotFlash

            Dunno. I know a few people here in Canada who shop only at Whole Foods. I would characterize them as people who like to think of themselves as friends-o-the-earth but *very* busy (read, important), so they are happy to outsource their conscience to WF. Me, never. I will sin my own sins, TYVM.

            Most of the WF retail stores here in Canada are leased, assume its the same in the US (since that’s how shopping malls work) so don’t thnk it’s a land grab. Only thing that makes sense to me is a market grab (?? how would that work?) or a continuation of market-supported ‘disruption’, that is, the weakening and eventual destruction of the local markets, institutions and ordinances that prop up orderly markets. I expect store staff to be precariatized, vendors to be marginalized, and small-biz healthy-food stores to be eaten alive.

            Coz, that’s what they do, and that’s why they keep getting ‘investors’ to pay for their privateering ‘disruption’, despite never having any kind of profitability nor prospects of such..

            Reply
          3. Yves Smith Post author

            It’s not intuitive. The tech market is so crazy that is it apparently possible to launch an IPO of a money-losing company that does not even pretend to have a path to profit (it was a VC guy who told me the story above). We had the same sort of thing on a much more wide-scale basis in 1998 and 1999, remember?

            Reply
    2. Jim Haygood

      Thanks to Amazon’s Whole Fools Foods caper [lever up in the 9th year of an expansion … f*ck yeah!], Seattle has pulled decisively ahead of my ol’ NoCal homeland in the regional competition between the Five Horsemen of the Techpocalypse. Chart:

      http://ibb.co/e20iF5

      In particular NoCal’s doughty champion, the big Apple, is looking a little brown around the edges. Maybe they can buy Verizon, Tiffany and Wells Fargo … lucha libre!

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Not at all the same. Fedex has healthy margins. Kinkos was in a business destined to shrink (if you’ve been in a Fede/Kinkos, you’ll see they have fewer copiers than they used to and Fedex is now using the space for “pack and ship” services, in that they’ll package difficult items for a fee).. The two have synergies (as in small businesses and individuals would use both services; recall Kinkos also has computers you can rent and stuff like fax machines and even cutters for people doing layout).

        Whole Foods stores are grocers. These days, most grocers in suburban locations have large footprints. Putting other types of products in a Whole Foods would reduce its competitiveness as an upscale grocer. Chains like Publix, which have good organic section (they actually outdo Whole Foods in some respects, like they always have organic tomatoes when the Whole Foods where my mother lives never seems to have them) and other organic items throughout the store, but they are really big and have more SKUs than Whole Foods, and more regular customer products) The lots aren’t big enough to accommodate loading for distribution and normal customer parking (in fact, quite a few of the Whole Foods I’ve been to are skimpy on parking space already). The urban Whole Foods are even less well suited for distribution (no parking, and in some cities like San Francisco, smaller footprint stores that IMHO are much less appealing than the bigger stores. When I;m out of town, I’ll sometimes grab a salad at their salad bar and the ones at the small footprint Whole Foods aren’t so hot re choices. I’d be willing to go to another store, like a Trader Joes, which has pre-made salads which are better than trying to make one up at the smaller stores).

        Reply
        1. DJG

          Yves: Thanks for your comments and for the Stoller article up top today. I suspect that Amazon will try to turn Whole Foods into the company store, and the upper-middle class, which never recognizes any consequences to its actions (are there any?) will go right along. The paragraph in the Stoller article describing shopping with an app because no prices are displayed takes us back to, ohhhhh, 1890 and the company store, where customers are not-so-gently ripped off over and over without recourse.

          Why not issue Amazon scrip?

          What we are seeing is the undermining of modern culture because of the laziness of the citizenry. We are now returning to markets with no prices posted (and thumbs on the scales). Our health-care system is another market with no prices and thumbs on scales. And let’s not forget Mackey’s famous statements about unionization and decent health insurance (he’s against both). In Chicago, lots of stores don’t want to give a receipt–to save trees, y’know. All of this brings to mind the article on collapse of social trust and the social contract that you published a couple of days back.

          Reply
          1. lb

            My lunch crowd in my corner of the tech company I work for contains a number of folks from other countries with varying degrees of awareness of American history and politics/power. Yesterday the topic of the WFM acquisition came up and we discussed the capture of the parts of the American regulatory systems (and intellectual capture of the courts — “If there’s any choice in any way, that’s competition so there’s nothing wrong here!”) over the past couple+ decades. Eventually we even talked about the possibility of Amazon “paying” people in some non-money resource, be it Amazon credit, gift cards or the like. I would _not_ be surprised to see them find a way to do as much, forcing some subset of people doing commerce with them (the unbanked? Buyers/sellers on their auctions) to spend exclusively with Amazon. “Innovation” from a “tech company” and all that.

            The last tidbit I added to our discussion of this was to tell the tale of use of scrip from Chicago history: the Pullman Rail Company in the latter half of the 19th century. In short, the owner was a man named Pullman who did all sorts of awful things, including paying his labor not in cash but in Pullman scrip, a currency accepted as payment of rent for Pullman-rented homes the workers lived in and at the Pullman-owned general store. He manipulated prices and gouged, on top of this. In the end, the rich and abusive Pullman died and had to be buried under many layers of reinforced substances because it was expected that his corpse would be unearthed and desecrated otherwise. (I always love retelling that last bit).

            Reply
            1. OIFVet

              I was the beneficiary of a George M. Pullman Foundation scholarship that enabled me to attend a pricey university. The candidates had to be disadvantaged and to demonstrate academic excellence in high school. So while all of these things you listed are true, the man did at least leave some positive legacy that still lives. I don’t see today’s robber barons doing the same, at least not yet. Time will tell.

              Reply
          2. different clue

            How many regular readers does this blog have? At least a few-couple hundred thousand?

            Well, this is their big chance to show how non-lazy they are by restricting all their grocery shopping to stores with posted prices, customer self-weighment if possible, real cashout checkers and all the other Good Things.

            Time will tell how many mid-scale and upscale Americans are as lazy as you say when Amazon bezocrapifies the WFM shopping experience.

            Reply
            1. HotFlash

              Been doin’ that for decades. The only vote I have that I feel is really counted, is the dollar I spend at a store. And I take it seriously.

              Reply
              1. Oregoncharles

                Just what I was thinking – in fact, the “challenge” may not be much of one among the commentariat.

                Reply
            2. JTFaraday

              “when Amazon bezocrapifies the WFM shopping experience.”

              That’s what I think. Far from thinking WF shoppers have lots of disposable income and therefore won’t care, I’m not sure the natives are going to like this at all. Scan this, scan that, have your own individual pricing(!), not be able to readily speak with an employee– it’s all a little too cute. Who does Amazon they think they are?

              Plus, Amazon itself has come to resemble nothing so much as a catastrophically huge online bargain bin, (despite actually being more expensive than it used to be, it seems to me). I think trying to find anything on there is a huge time waster–and I’m more than willing to look for a bargain before I buy something. It’s an unsightly, tedious mess. I can’t believe I’m the only one who thinks this way.

              I think the natives will be off looking for the next best thing. The local grocery superstores are already competing with WF. There are several large, family owned markets in the area, set nicely on acres of land. They already cater. For large orders at least, they could probably deliver. They will gladly take your whole paycheck with much more style, and you can fraternize with them at local charity events. Around these parts, Amazon is toast.

              Reply
        2. Jeffrey Radice

          In Whole Foods hometown of Austin, it’s arguably third best grocer. HEB has the distinct footprint advantage and mindshare. The HEB Central Market does Whole Foods better and cheaper. So there’s HEB way out in front probably by every measure . . . and then according to Robert Plant, the Whole Foods is even deficient to Fiesta:

          [via vulture.com]

          I have a friend in Austin who said he saw you shopping at Whole Foods. Did that actually happen?

          No, no, no, I was working at Whole Foods [laughs]. You know, Whole Foods is more of a dating agency than a shop. If you’re gonna go shopping for food in Austin, go to Fiesta, the supermarket with a difference. You can get a pork enchilada there whilst picking up some British tomato ketchup and some teabags, and you can do the whole transaction in Spanish.

          Reply
          1. Spring Texan

            Yeah, there’s a reason practically everyone in Austin shops at HEB, their stores are not all the same either, differ with the neighborhood. I too shop at both HEB — (Oak Hill, Escarpment, and sometimes South First) and HEB Central Market. Too far away from Fiesta to go there.

            HEB is privately held. Wikipedia article is pretty interesting.

            Reply
            1. Carl

              HEB is a vicious regional competitor, tends to drive out other grocery chains. In the past, they have jacked up the prices out in the smaller towns in South Texas in order to cut prices where they are competing in big cities. Only with Central Markets are they directly competing with WF.

              Reply
              1. curlydan

                My first job was bagging groceries for HEB in the summer of ’88 for $3.35/hr in the blazing San Antonio sun. That was minimum wage. If you made it to cashier, you got bumped up to about $3.65/hr. Don’t even talk about a union there. P.S. the ‘B’ in HEB is for Butt. There were some rich asses! :)

                Reply
    3. jawbone

      In my experience with Whole Foods, the prices have sharply escalated in the past few years, while my income has remained essentially the same. My visits have de-escalated, except for some items which can only be found there in my area.

      When I was listening to the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) talking about how grocery chains will be adversely impacted by Amazon buying Whole Foods, I kept trying to figure out how often consumers who regularly shop the ads, find a store or stores with decent products and much lower prices than Whole Foods, and are just trying to afford a balanced diet would suddenly move to Whole Foods, whether owned by Amazon or not. I don’t see Walmart too bothered by this new coupling. Target doesn’t seem to have decided whether to be in the grocery business or not, so they may find they go all in or just handle some fresh staples shoppers can pick up when in the store for something else. Otherwise, maybe the higher end complete grocery stores, such as Kings and Wegmans, will find some daunting competition. Or not. ShopRite and other grocery stores will probably be OK. Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s are specialty food stores, situated far apart so it’s a planned trip or stop when in the neighborhood type of store. CostCo has an reputation for treating its employees well and offering good value for their somewhat higher price points, but are in the membership category.

      I was trying to figure out which stores were more direct competitors to Whole Foods and couldn’t think of any. I do know that almost all the stores in my area are carrying much more organic foods, both fresh and staples.

      Thanks for the list of other stores featuring organics.

      Reply
    4. Octopii

      The DC area has MOMs (My Organic Market) chain, which is locally owned and has veggies at least as good as WF. It’s also much less expensive, though not cheap, and somehow they seem to hire the nicest people for staff. We love and support our MOM, and never go to WF.

      Reply
  2. Clive

    Re: Amazon’s creeping under-the-mainstream-reporting-radar crapification of itself

    I was desperate to get hold of a niche product (hedgehog food, if you must ask, I provide a bowl or two to keep my garden and neighbourhood hedgehog population’s numbers from falling due to habitat loss, plastic ingestion etc.) which was out of stock in every store in my town. I’d run out and was fearful of the wrath of an army of hungry hedgehogs.

    So, like I say, desperation got the better of me and I slumed it and went on Amazon. They did have stock so I added a couple of half kilo bags to my “basket”. I rummaged around for the “checkout” button but it wasn’t shown. I never shop on Amazon so spent a good quarter of an hour thinking I was doin’ it wrong.

    No, I wasn’t. Amazon had imposed a £20 minimum spend on this item. Obviously once you factored in the margin (trivial), packing and courier costs, the £5 to £10 I was intending to spend wasn’t worth Amazon’s bother.

    Their glory days, I concluded, are over.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve a friend who is a stay at home single mum, completely addicted to Amazon, she’s filled her apartment with junk for her 1-year old (I know all about it as its apparently my job to put all these toys together). She raved and raved about it (she thinks Amazon.de is best). But recently she was searching for a particular item (a basket she can use as a photo prop for her baby *sigh*) and kept bugging me about where she could get one online as Amazon mysteriously didn’t have one. I kept telling her to go to TK(J) Maxx, as the best place for useless junk. She was dismissive, telling me I’m a dinosaur for going to shops to buy things. Last week she texted me saying ‘OMG you were right, I got the perfect one there and its soooo cheap!’

      Now she has abandoned Amazon and spends her last week pushing her unfortunate child through TK Maxx outlets. I half expect to see Amazons shares drop in Jim Haywoods 5 horsemen due to this one woman alone.

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Watch that child turn an adult who hates shopping and buying useless stuff. Which could be very good for our planet.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          When a hedgehog is “annoyed,” all sides are wrong sides. How about gifting an Amazon share to a real hedgehog and play the old Japanese crazy granny game at the shareholders meeting? Talk about “thorny” issues!

          Reply
          1. Clive

            Ha! Yes, their crazy grandma routine would be worth seeing — and security trying to remove them from the scene…

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Poor security! Hedgehogs have made “passive resistance” an art form. Forget “kid glove” treatment, time for the Kevlar gauntlets.
              Now, if Amazon were to hire some coyotes as security, which, given the feral nature of “business” enterprise today wouldn’t surprise, the hedgehog “insurrectionists” would have some serious competition to overcome. Should that be undercome? Perhaps if I viewed this issue “globally.”

              Reply
              1. Synapsid

                ambrit,

                “Hedgehogs have made ‘passive resistance’ an art form.”

                I believe you win the internet today.

                Reply
    2. Consume

      That seems to be a good strategy. Encouraging the person to buy in bulk gets the item out of the routine shopping trip. When Amazon can break off enough individual items, the shopper will develop a routine online shopping habit. Amazon just needs to interfere with the regularity of shipment to in person stores more to annoy in store shoppers, force more online bulk purchases and entrench the new routine. A few paid trolls calling people old and luddite should add a little peer pressure.

      Reply
      1. Clive

        And I have to say, while you jest somewhat, I did almost succumb to this tactic. My time had been taxed so much already, doing a bulk-buy momentarily seemed a way to cut my losses. If even I was tempted but only the thought of betraying the Naked Capitalism ethos prevented me (!) most would probably think ok, heck, stuff it and add a couple more items into the order.

        Reply
        1. JTFaraday

          Time tax. Exactly. Amazon has completely lost track of the time tax. This is why I don’t see it as any kind of upscale retailer at all.

          And people have the nerve to complain about the government. My DMV works fine, thanks.

          Reply
      2. Marieann

        ” A few paid trolls calling people old and luddite should add a little peer pressure”

        You say that as if it was a bad thing I’m quite proud of my Luddite Label. I also don’t mind too much being old

        Reply
    3. lyman alpha blob

      If you are worried about your hedgehogs running out of food, you could always do what I did and plant a vegetable garden. Not sure if I’ll be getting any vegetables to eat this year but the local woodchuck (which some in the US refer to erroneously as hedgehogs) is doing quite well.

      Reply
      1. Clive

        I’ve not got much space left in my formal scheme to be able to reallocate to fruit ‘n veg, but as a compromise I do grow what I call sacrificial ornamental plants like nasturtiums and hostas. The slugs and snails love the plants and the hedgehogs love the slugs and snails.

        Unfortunately the lack of wildlife corridors means that you can get disconnected populations which can’t roam far enough to get to where the natural food is sufficiently plentiful that I feel I have to do something to supplement their calorific intake.

        Like your woodchucks, I am seeing variations in numbers year to year, this year has been a “good” year for hedgehogs and I have on one occasion seen three taking the food I’ve left out at once. I’ll try to take a picture and submit as the Antidote — but the little buggers are very hard to get a good shot of!

        Reply
        1. cocomaan

          I remember hearing once that if hedgehogs were ever released into the wild in the USA, they’d quickly create a serious toehold as an invasive species. Apparently they did a number on New Zealand’s ecosystem (just like everything else, I guess).

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Hedgehogs eat slugs and snails? Where can I get some? I’d be willing to brave the wrath of the nativists for that.

          Wait a minute – what do they put in hedgehog food?

          Reply
  3. allan

    They say that success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan,
    but in the case of Grenfell Tower there seem to be plenty of DNA samples:

    From a Tory cost cutting campaign website, https://cutting-red-tape.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

    Cutting Red Tape aims to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy. It intends to shine a light on out of date legislation and confusing implementation of it, such as unhelpful government guidance or needlessly complex inspection regimes, to ensure they make sense. It builds on the successes of Red Tape Challenge and Business/Focus on Enforcement. Together, these programmes identified ways in which legislation or its implementation could be simplified or scrapped. And they have had some big successes:

    •Over 2,400 regulations scrapped through the Red Tape Challenge

    •Saving home builders and councils around £100m by reducing 100s of locally applied housing standards to 5 national standards …

    Oops.

    Reply
    1. Clive

      Ironically, it was “red tape” which mandated rented accommodation must be upgraded to a much higher Energy Performance Certification (bit like a HERS) otherwise you can’t let apartments to tenants until you comply which forced the building owner to do the refurbishment. As Jim Haygood correctly noted a little while back — in yesterday’s comments I think — the original building envelope has the thermal performance of a wet paper bag.

      A friend who is an HVAC contract manger told me of a mansion block in St. John’s Wood which had c. 25 apartments needed a £5m refit to comply and this entailed virtually rebuilding the entire structure from scratch while keeping the building occupied. It needed new heat pump plant for heating and DHW supply, the old chiller needed ripping out and replacing with VRF fan coils in the conditioned space and a HRV heat recovery system installed. Everything in the structure itself had to be taken apart and either spray foam added or foil blocks installed. Gas heat added to each apartment was a cheaper option but was discounted due to safety concerns (it would have been possible but flue-in-voids, outside air supply and routing the pipelines in a way which was maintainable made it a bad idea in the long term). See the “Improvements Which Can be Required” section of the article I linked to above.

      So the £10m budget to bring 100+ apartments up to code shows, erm, an element of value engineering at work. That’s before you get to possible bribes and contractor pilfering siphoning budget away from where it should have gone.

      Of course, there were millionaires in the St. John’s Wood block and poor people in the tower that went up in flames.

      Reply
      1. vlade

        I believe that in most of the continental europe, PIC has been banned as an insulation material, and most “poly” product are not allowed to be used as an insulation material for building of three stoeys or higher (mineral wool has to be used instead, which is inflamable and in fact, IIRC, fire-retardant) anymore.

        The problem is, mineral wool can be up to 50% more expensive than the same thickness of EPS, has slightly worse insulation characteristics (IIRC, about 0.30 vs 0.28 heat coefficient for 10cm). MW is also vapour preemable, which can be both plus or a minus (in general it’s a plus, but it also means more work installing, again = more costs).

        Moreover,IIRC, PIC loses effectivness rapidly below 10C, and is moisture sensitive (which is why it has to be inside panels). So it’s not a great outer-cladding material to start with, and for high-rises it’s just horrible.

        But then, the UK building practices (and regs)are about 100 years beyond modern world I’d say (another example is the prohibition on electrical plugs/most switches in bathrooms, which entirely ignores last 30-40 years of electrical safety developments, if not more).

        Reply
  4. Foppe

    Also well-written (WSWS,”Corporate Mass Murder in London”):

    “The fire spread so rapidly due to the cladding on the building bursting into flames. It was added last year in a “refurbishment.” On Friday, what many already suspected was confirmed when it was revealed that the insulating material used was combustible. It was chosen because it was £2 per square metre cheaper than a “fire resistant” alternative. The saving made amounted to just £5,000.

    This and other equally life-threatening decisions were taken or authorised by the Conservative-run Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, who ran Grenfell Tower on its behalf. The tower block had no central fire alarm system, no sprinklers in place and just one exit stairwell. The authorities ignored repeated warnings from a tenants group and residents over many years who insisted that Grenfell was unsafe and a “death trap.”

    London is a world centre of speculation and financial parasitism. And the property market is a vital element of this global web of corruption. Land and housing in the capital have become one of the most lucrative commodities in the world. It is not only that London is home to 80 billionaires, but the fact that fully 60 percent of its skyscrapers and vast numbers of luxury houses and flats are owned by overseas companies or wealthy residents who rarely or never set foot in them.

    On Thursday in the face of mounting public anger, May ordered a public inquiry into the Grenfell fire. This is aimed at ensuring a cover-up and the protection of those responsibleabove all within her own government.

    Those responsible for these deaths must be arrested and face criminal proceedings with the truth to come out in trials. Among these should be the former London mayor Boris Johnson, who is responsible for the slashing of London’s fire service and mass deregulation, and Kensington and Chelsea council leader Nick Paget-Brown.

    But while leading Tory figures such as Johnson were responsible for the last wave of ultra-gentrification in the service of the super-rich, all the bourgeois parties, including Labour, which runs many of London’s councils, are equally culpable. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan must answer for his role in allowing this situation to continue unchallenged since he took office promising to remedy London’s housing crisis.

    It should be stressed that the death toll from Grenfell is expected to exceed the combined total resulting from every terrorist attack in the UK since the beginning of the so-called war on terror in 2001.”

    Reply
    1. Anonymous2

      I have read reports that the EU and UK have reached agreement on ‘the shape of the table’ for the Brexit talks: i.e. the questions as to what order to take items for the agenda.

      The UK have reportedly managed to reach this agreement by accepting everything the EU demanded and abandoning all their own demands.

      Boy, that was easy.

      Perhaps the Brexit talks are going to be easier than we thought. If the UK caves immediately on every point then I can’t see much difficulty reaching agreement pretty quickly.

      Reply
    2. Anon

      I read that the cladding was selected to change the appearance of the building to satisfy those in luxury residences that were forced to look at it. This makes more sense than other claims I’ve seen.

      The elite’s excuse for not regulating is the elites created a two rule out for every one rule in and when the peasants require a rule to not kill peasants through one particular policy, the peasants are literally forcing the elite’s to kill more peasants in the long run by eliminating other policies …..

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        And just apply Corbyn’s residency requirement for absentee billionaire property owners, they should not be allowed to use proto-money (apartments with cash flows) just because they have debased the real stuff out of existence

        Reply
    3. norm de plume

      I do think ‘corporate mass murder’ is coming it a bit high. Murder is aforethought; these deaths may have been foreseeable but were not wished for, let alone planned. They were just collateral, a cost of doing business, with Gresham’s dynamic in play – given the regulatory environment, or lack of one, developers who ploughed some gross profit back into things like fire protection lowered net profit and therefore their own viability. Capitalism is about maximising yield and without clear and enforceable governance, people, communities and environments will die. So therefore will the cash flow, but pigs don’t look up when their snout is in the trough.

      ‘Among these should be the former London mayor Boris Johnson, who is responsible for the slashing of London’s fire service and mass deregulation’

      That Boris is such a wag. I just love the way, in his post above, he tries but doesn’t quite manage to deflect the substance of the charge that his cuts played a role in the tragedy toward an ‘I’m shocked I tell you’ pretense that the fire service itself was being criticised. The movement from the ‘sadly’ in the first sentence to the ‘outrageous’ in the last is almost symphonic, the whole thing a small masterpiece of the genre. Pity it is wasted on an issue so clear cut as this; that turd can’t be polished, even by him.

      Reply
      1. Foppe

        Not sure I agree there, once you take into account that this building should never have been declared safe for human habitation, and should certainly have drawn attention from whatever agency does building inspections, the fact that a law that would’ve required that has been put in a drawer in 2010 (though that imo doesn’t excuse the city of London’s choice not to act on this), and the fact that according to reports, there wasn’t even materiel with which to put out fires going above the 12th floor. Putting all that together, I don’t see how this is any difference from other types of mass murder through bureaucratic “negligence”, whether “collateral damage”, starved people (Stalin, Yemen, Somalia), or a desire to “save a buck”. For obvious reasons the State/legal system won’t recognize those, but I don’t see that as any more relevant than the fact that in the US, bribery doesn’t exist.

        Reply
  5. RenoDino

    Whole Foods appeals to the “food is medicine” crowd. Food can be poison, but it’s not medicine.

    Reply
    1. MtnLife

      Oyster mushrooms contain statins which are a medication. Many other mushrooms are immune boosters (precluding the need for medicine) and others have shown benefits in fighting cancer. Can you get all your medicinal needs from foods? No. Are some foods medicines? Yes.

      Reply
      1. Darius

        But not a substitute for reliable medical care, as the WF CEO tried to put over on us.

        BTW, Bezos sure looks like Lex Luthor. I wonder if that’s on purpose.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          That “reliable” is the sticking point. We have, through Phyls’ melanoma battle, had direct experience with the dysfunction that is being passed off as “medical care” today. Remember when doctors were referred to as “Leeches” and often vilified as such? When even medical “research” has been financialized, why wonder at the institutionalized Quackery that pretends to be medicine?
          @ MtnLife: We are “experimenting” with “medicinal” mushrooms to fight Phyls’ cancer. A caveat though; there is a H— of a lot of propaganda, both Pro and Con, floating about the “Infosphere.” Teasing out the usable information from the presentations, videos, PDFs and such like is an exercise in terror.
          Phyl said a few weeks ago, after a particularly smooth online operator had been debunked
          to her, that: “Sometimes I feel that that Cthulhu monster you are always joking about might do the Universe a big favour by rising from where ever it’s been lurking and finishing us all off.”
          “Ia! Ia! Asklepios fhtagn!”

          Reply
          1. MtnLife

            I hear you on the parsing of claims. The Japanese (and, IIRC, Brazilian) medical establishment has been using mushroom extracts for a while so they will have some legit info. Google translate may become your friend. It’s difficult to get research done on something natural that isn’t going to make PHARMA piles of cash.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Not only Pharma, but “Medical Provider Entities,” ie. chain clinics and chain hospitals, as well.
              When we got a look at what the clinic, which was, as is usual here, attached to a local hospital, was trying to charge Medicare. Words fail me. Criminality is too “soft” a descriptor to do that scale of looting justice.

              Reply
              1. cgeye

                BUT — selling under-regulated herbs and vitamins is what makes WF have what profit it does. It’s part of the Bezzle.

                Because of the Hatch Act, the FDA is prohibited from treating such as medicine. Back in the panic of the AIDS crisis, anything and everything was looked at as a cure, but now, decades after? We’re still treating nutrients as things that can stand alone to be monetized, instead getting food with such nutrients available to more people.

                After seeing how things are promised and sold, cain’t trust it….

                Reply
          2. Adrienne

            @ambrit,

            We’re also using medicinal mushrooms for my husband’s prostate cancer. Paul Stamets runs Fungi Perfecti, and his supplements are highly regarded in the alternative medical scene. Paul has been a pioneer in researching medicinal mushroom use in Asia. He is the real deal, and we trust the quality of his products.

            Search for “Host Defense” to find his extracts. We’re currently using Turkey Tail, but Reishi is also highly regarded. ***Note: NOT a medical recommendation***

            If you are looking for some scientific info on medicinal mushrooms check out this study: Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor in Women with Breast Cancer

            Best of luck to you both. Stay strong!

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              @HopeLB and @Adrienne;
              Thanks a bunch! We are forging ahead, somewhat off the “beaten track.”
              Phyllis puts it as a quality of life issue. Why “enjoy” an extra year or two of chemically induced misery when what’s naturally available can be lived in a civilized manner? (The bankruptcy issue is germane as well. she remarked to someone who was urging “compliance” upon her that: “I don’t want to be a revenue stream item for some giant company.”)
              The Stamets info is good, thanks. Phyl is using Turkey Tail and we are keeping tabs on its’ efficacy.
              Much love from M&M ambrit

              Reply
              1. John Zelnicker

                @ambrit – I have long thought that the quality of my life is far more important than the quantity of it. I watched my mother waste away from breast cancer because the docs just had to keep trying even when there was no hope; the treatments toward the end were harder to tolerate than the disease itself. I refuse to go down that path and my children know it and have agreed to honor my wishes.

                Please know that you and Phyl are in my thoughts and prayers.

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  @John Zelnicker;
                  Thanks for the support. We see almost nothing but conformism about us when it comes to “medicine.” Arguing with “True Believers” can be very wearying. I’ve often wondered if the “True Believer” phenomenon is more an artifact of the need for an individual to feel “part of something greater” than they are then any real understanding of the underlying issues.
                  Hope that you are “weathering” this Monsoon season we are experiencing along the Gulf Coast. We had an almost gale force strength cluster of thunderstorms move through last night, going from North to South! The weather radars have been showing rotation, similar to tropical lows, associated with some of these thunderstorm clusters. Welcome to the New World (Climate) Order!

                  Reply
                  1. John Zelnicker

                    @ambrit – “New World (Climate) Order” indeed.

                    I do think you have a good point about “True Believers”. Most people need to feel a part of something greater than themselves, but when that gets in the way of serious consideration of non-traditional approaches, and not just with medicine, it becomes dysfunctional.

                    Yes, we are tolerating it pretty well. It’s mostly been just moderate to heavy rain, without a lot of wind or lightning, luckily. Unluckily, I need some roof repairs so I have towels and bowls set out catch the leaks.

                    Reply
          1. ambrit

            Don’t forget the “follow your passion” b— s— he spews. If one is not born with the silver spoon, following ones’ passion entails much suffering. Someone should sentence these s—s to live for a year as homeless people do in, say, Los Angeles or New York.

            Reply
    2. Aumua

      The real foodie ethos I think is that food is some kind of a spiritual path.

      Edit: Yves in fact mentions this down below with the phrase “food religion”.

      Reply
        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Amazon is predatory.
          WalMart is predatory.

          I get that.

          Defeating them will require defeating capitalism itself, as I consider their existence (or something very much like them) as a logical result of the beast, the rules of the game.

          What I was referring to, why they purchased WF, is experimental economics, or dynamic pricing all the way down to which customer at what time of day on which aisle of the store. THAT is why they won’t put a price on the item and why one would have to use a smart phone to get the price. Bezos lab rats. Otherwise known as Fuckery. Suggesting he purchased WF for the real estate or for their locations in/near to relatively wealthy neighborhoods ignores the level of fuckery he practices.

          Reply
      1. tegnost

        well in that case it should be highly amusing watching as the perfect worlders find out the worlds not perfect…bring on the chaos. They should have stuck with what works for normal people (well, normal smart phone users), not just the hillary crowd, an obviously shrinking, although plenty gullible market.

        Reply
    1. Carolinian

      A few years down the road, if you’re an established but aging grocery brand — say Safeway or Albertson’s or Publix (try the subs) — you’ll either watch Amazon and Whole Foods eat your lunch with improved efficiency and incredible reach

      What does that even mean? They are selling corn flakes–it isn’t rocket science. And since when do people need to be convinced to buy food? It’s the ultimate non-discretionary purchase. In fact that may be a big reason foreign grocery chains are making a move on the US market. In our uncertain times there’s one thing people will always have to buy.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/lidls-expansion-plans-in-the-us-2016-9

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I wonder if the author of this piece has been to a Safeway or if he grasps what words such as “wealth inequality” and “shrinking middle class” mean something. I’ll suggest Bezos is a shark atop an investor Pyramid scheme. He needs promises to sell investors, and the result is Bezos bought Whole Foods to sell stories about warehouses, AI, the food stamp game, and bringing computers/unicorns to those “super inefficient” grocery stores.

        Coincidentally, I believe Consumer Reports usually ranks Kroger and Safeway 1 and 2 of the lower price chains.

        Reply
        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          He would have to go to a Walmart, not a Safeway, to get a feel for how the hourly wage + SNAP people shop. And even then, he’d see the better half of their month. He’d need to go to the discount supermarkets like Smart & Final, Cash & Carry, Big Lots, the dollar stores, and food pantries to know the rest.

          There is going to be some retail carnage in food + household goods stores pretty soon. But, it won’t be because Amazon has Whole Foods as its proving ground for manipulation of those with discretionary income.

          Reply
          1. Ivy

            Dollar stores sometimes have food sections that include produce, in addition to dry and canned foods and condiments. The fruit and produce may be good, or may be toward the end of its shelf life, but bargains can be had. The dry and canned goods may be name brand or off-brand. People can buy a lot of groceries for less than $20, which can make a big difference when juggling utilities and healthcare and every other expense of modern living.

            Reply
          2. Anon

            They’ve already decimated the poor… the purchase of WF goes after the upper middle class which were always next in line. The upper class has been tsk, tsking the elimination of lower class jobs and were convinced as sycophants their jobs, neighborhoods, lifestyle were safe.

            Reply
        2. footnote4

          Bezos bought Whole Foods to sell stories about warehouses

          +1000
          His roots are in financial engineering, not retail or technology.
          All arbitrage all the time.

          Reply
        3. Vatch

          I’ll suggest Bezos is a shark atop an investor Pyramid scheme.

          Good insight! Yesterday in the Links section there was some discussion about the astonishingly high price to earnings ratio of Amazon.

          Reply
      2. Yves Smith Post author

        “Aging grocery brand”? The Publix are rated the best grocery stores in Birmingham, Al, which has a VERY big income distribution. The one near where my mother lives is just past the edge of a one of the richest communities in the US,, but also near some downscale neighborhoods. You see people in that store with carts full of stuff that says they aren’t affluent (like white bread, peanut butter, mixes and prepared foods no Good Upscale Suburbanite would use) along with plenty of shoppers for the pricier stuff. And that store has a big footprint. Some of the Whole Foods are that big, but they’d have to cut way back on the upscale/foodie products to accommodate the mass market shopper.

        The stereotypical Whole Foods shopper would be allergic to having to look at what is in the carts of the customers who have not gotten or cannot afford food religion.

        Reply
        1. nowhere

          Curious what “food religion” you are referring to? Considering the many times this site has pointed out the dangers of GMO crops, mono-crop agriculture, and the general crapification of the food production in this country, now turning and bashing people that want to buy organic (to escape all of the reasons mentioned above) and generally higher quality foods seems shifty.

          More than most other stores, WF has a very large variety of organic produce, local grass-fed meats, and sales of bulk items. People that fill their carts with processed crap often do so not because of price, but because they don’t know ways to make those more nutritious foods into tasty meals, or because of time constraints. It’s much easier to buy a box of Hostess Cakes because the empty calories seem to provide a quick burst of energy and satiety, than getting all of the items it takes to prep and make an actual tasty salad that provides a much longer duration of feeling full.

          Reply
          1. cocomaan

            People that fill their carts with processed crap often do so not because of price, but because they don’t know ways to make those more nutritious foods into tasty meals, or because of time constraints.

            Lack of knowledge is one thing, but people cannot afford good food – calorie for calorie it’s more expensive and therefore out of reach for some. That’s just a fact.

            Not to mention that poor communities often don’t even have access to a single piece of organic produce.

            Reply
            1. nowhere

              I agree and it’s a problem. But what does bashing on Whole Foods and “food religion” have to do with these facts? Whole Foods provides an alternative to the chemical laden agribusiness model (which has forced producers into marginally better practices and food products). The fact that crappy unhealthy foods are cheaper (in the short term – definitely not if looking at health care costs due to chronic affects of these foods) doesn’t seem to be reason to bash companies, and the people that feel these companies provide value, not only in direct consumable products, but in the indirect pressure they put on agri-industry.

              I agree that food deserts are terrible. I think that access to healthy food should be as much, if not more important, than fixing healthcare. The whole ounce of prevention bit.

              But to me, bashing people that have the option to shop and spend more for higher quality food, is akin to people that bash unions for having guaranteed jobs. The point is to raise the standard for everyone, not to crap on the “fortunate” that currently can opt out of one of the worst polluting/poisoning/damaging industries on the plant.

              Reply
              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                It’s like the doctor story that ran a few weeks ago, doctors who charge a co-pay of $40,000 to give customers proper service, WF is about food for people who can afford the real thing. As everything gets crapified market solutions that are non-crap appear for those who can afford them, which means fewer and fewer people every year. It’s just another form of gated community.

                Reply
              2. different clue

                In many towns and cities scattered around America, sixties-era legacy-hippies founded Co-Ops and such which featured various kinds of organic food.

                Whole Foods earned the deep hatred of the Legacy Hippie community by studying where the Legacy Hippie stores were doing well and had built up an audience over the years . . . and then invading those areas with a Whole Foods market to take advantage of an audience which they had done NOTHing to build up over the prior years.

                I do some of my shopping at the Legacy Hippie co-op here in Ann Arbor. And some elsewhere. But none at Whole Foods.

                Reply
                1. Oregoncharles

                  No WF in Corvallis, which has a very strong co-op, but there is a regional equivalent called Market of Choice. (Marketing info: it’s the anchor in an upscale strip mall). It had an impact on the co-op’s volume, but certainly didn’t shut it down.

                  It has certain things the co-op doesn’t, like fresh fish. Very busy place.

                  Reply
              3. Carl

                I find that WF has a higher grade of processed food, with containers which carry a lot of the current buzzwords (“organic,” “natural,” “healthy,” etc.) but they are mostly the same as other grocers in quality of food. Their marketing has convinced a bunch of people that whatever they sell is worth buying just because it’s WF. For ourselves, we rarely buy more than a couple of items there, even though our local WF is about 5 minutes away. Most of our produce and meat comes from the farmers markets or directly from the farmer. Some items are purchased at Costco or Trader Joe’s.

                Reply
                1. nowhere

                  I agree that words like “natural” and “healthy” are largely meaningless; however, the term “organic” is very specific. The additional terms of Non-GMO (for many grocery items) and terms like “grass-fed” are also very specific (though you have to do some research to see what exactly it means in producing the meat).

                  I, too, like to shop from farmer’s markets (which have local grass-fed and free-range meats), and I purchase many things from Costco. However, in some parts of the country these aren’t options and a Whole Foods is.

                  My main point is that I don’t see the point of bashing WF for existing and providing choice (and being largely responsible for all of the chain stores carrying a much larger selection of organic items).

                  Reply
                  1. Carl

                    WF and Starbucks are in a similar position; they can be credited with raising awareness of better food or coffee, but we hate what they became, essentially selling out and serving up inferior product.

                    Reply
            2. tony

              Organic is partly a scam, and is definitely not important to take care of your health. A combination of milk products, potatoes, coffee, and eggs will give you a very nutritious and safe diet even in the US for very little money.

              Reply
              1. nowhere

                Seems you are missing any form of vegetable. And milk is a challenge for those that are lactose intolerant.

                Reply
                1. tony

                  That is a nonsensical statement. There is no such dietary requirements as ‘vegetable’. Could use carrots though.

                  The diet works perfectly fine without the milk. Though then you might want to grind some of the eggshells to optimize calcium-phosphate balance.

                  Reply
              2. different clue

                Certified Organic can help you dodge traces of certain mutagenic teratogenic carcinogenic pesticides which some people would rather not spend 60 years eating and building up in their bodies. Then again, growing your own food knowing you have not used any of these chemicals can help you achieve the same thing. But for the things you can’t grow yourself, Certified Organic is a guarantee that none of those chemicals were deliberately used in growing that Certified Organic food.

                Unless that food comes from China. If any food from China says Certified Organic, it may well contain organic melamine, organic asbestos, organic lead paint, organic chlorinated hydrocarbons, organic organophosphates, and all the other good things we have learned to expect when it says “Made in China”.

                I NEVER buy “Certified Organic” food if it says “Made in China”. I am dismayed to see “Organic” food from China showing up in my Legacy Hippie co-op. “Organic pumpkin seeds” from China, “Forbidden black rice” which is too ashamed to say where it is from and is therefor probably from China, etc. The hippie legacy is growing thin over time.

                Reply
                1. different clue

                  Oh, and . . . Certified Organic ( unless it is from China) can help you avoid GMO-food with its possibility of mystery allergens and eosinophiliagens.
                  And can also help you avoid the buildup of Roundup on wheat, oats, etc which is nowadays used as a mass-dessicant spraydown prior to harvest even on wheat, oats, etc. grown without any GMO seed at all.

                  Reply
          2. jrs

            People who seek out organic, grass fed etc. can be mocked a bit (it is a sign of a certain amount of privilege – probably a bit more expensive than cable t.v. as far as privilege goes) but we will continue to do so. As it is better for the planet if not for health (but really it probably is better for health as well).

            Whole Foods is actually hard to equal in it’s sheer selection of good products in one place (as opposed to several different stores, specialty grocers like TJs, plus farmers markets etc. to get the same stuff otherwise – and some of it not even available otherwise.). Still this Amazon craziness may be a bridge too far for me to cross with that retailer.

            Reply
            1. different clue

              If Amazon takes away all the marked-pricing and the ability to weigh what you scoop, will that be enough to turn you against Whole Bezos?

              Reply
            2. bob

              “As it is better for the planet if not for health (but really it probably is better for health as well). ”

              Any proof of that?

              Reply
              1. nowhere

                CAFO

                Growing the grain used to feed the world’s tens of billions of industrial food animals consumes a large percentage of the fresh water, arable soils, and nitrogen fertilizers used in modern agriculture. An estimated 16 pounds of grain, for example, are needed to produce just one pound of beef. It’s a staggeringly resource-intensive way to produce food, that taxes fresh water supplies, devastates biodiversity with grain monocultures, and prevents the development of more sustainable alternatives. For nations like China, which is increasing its production and consumption of animal products, imports of feed grain serve double duty as an importation of water—a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce in the world’s most populous country.

                As but one example.

                Reply
          3. Anon

            Our generic chain grocery store has organic items much cheaper than whole foods. There are also storeslike Costco. Whole Foods (and other specialty natural/organic stores) are very expensive. It’s premium pricing for atmosphere and to keep out the riffraff.

            Reply
            1. nowhere

              In my experience, shopping at one of the founding stores of the Non-GMO Project, Sprout’s, Costco, Whole Foods, and Safeway, each varies in terms of sale prices on which organic items cost less. I’ve never been able to tell much difference, in aggregate spending, from one store to the next. This is especially true when you compare meat selections.

              Reply
              1. different clue

                I have always accepted higher prices as the price of defiance. Organic takes more work and will therefor cost more. It is the price of withholding my money from the Merchants of Petro Chemfood.

                Reply
          4. tegnost

            Does WF label the GMO products they sell? Their produce is the same as everywhere else, the meat dept is ok, but I ain’t buying a ribeye sight unseen, Try a wholefoods breakfast burrito sometime…tastes and looks like a manufactured home. Hilarious that you think whole foods provides some organic coop level of food, Crap you can buy many other places in what is assumed to be pretty packages.
            It’s much easier to buy a box of Hostess Cakes because the empty calories seem to provide a quick burst of energy and satiety

            I don’t think anyone buys Hostess cakes for an energy burst or for satiety, only to make themselves feel better in the effed up world that you promote, Have another brownie bite and pat yourself on the back for being so wonderful…

            Reply
              1. tegnost

                ok so the person who is defending WF and and implying people eating hostess cupcakes are lesser individuals is accusing me of virtue signalling…got it…and this comment of yours qualifies as a straw man. How is there any connection between these two things? The point is that WF charges more for what you can get many other places for less. People spend more to shop at WF, not to get higher quality food.

                But to me, bashing people that have the option to shop and spend more for higher quality food, is akin to people that bash unions for having guaranteed jobs.

                Reply
                1. nowhere

                  My primary point has been against US agriculture policy that provides terrible incentives that drive a toxic food supply. Bashing any store that provides a far superior and healthy option (and has pushed many stores to carry organic products) seems misplaced.

                  The fight should be to expand healthier options and the elimination of food deserts. Not once again a tired trope of bashing middle class customers that, shockingly, have more choice in purchasing.

                  Seeing as I have family that fall into the Hostess comment, I certainly don’t think of them as lesser. More misinformed about just how toxic the processed food supply has become, and how healthier choices aren’t really that much more expensive.

                  Reply
                  1. different clue

                    Some places that are called food deserts might better be called food junkyards. I offer that word to anyone who thinks they might see a useful place for it.

                    Food junkyards.

                    Reply
                    1. different clue

                      You’re welcome. And thank you for the kind words.

                      Anyone else want to grab it? Come one come all!

                      I hereby CopyLeft the word “food junkyard”.

        2. Liberal Mole

          I’ve avoided Whole Foods not only for their astronomical prices, but for the angry rich in their SUVs in their parking lots.

          Reply
          1. DJG

            Liberal Mole: Or the angry plump rich guy who threw his empty cup in my shopping cart at a WF in Chicago. Yes, Whole Foods as an emporium to witness the consequences-free life of the U.S. upper-middle class is always, errrrrr, bracing.

            Reply
      3. Anon

        Company store but on a national level. Jobs eliminated and a very few people will own the basic necessities of life. Water, soil, food, energy (rooftop disallowed for oligarch owned large arrays) etc. People are extorted for sick care system that focuses on treatment not cures and the desperate put themselves into debt slavery for mistreatment. Just think what horrors can be wrought with just a couple dozen owning the basics.

        Reply
        1. different clue

          People in suburbs and exurbs will be a little less vulnerable to such total survival-input controls than people living in cities or “apartment farms”. In a suburban house with a suburban yard, you can at least install a multi-thousand-gallon roofwater harvesting-storing system, waterless composting toilets, super-insulation for more solar and wind driven indoor climate control, and hyper-intensive gardening in part of the yard for some food security.

          Picture 50 millions suburbanites doing that on 50 million suburban houses-and-yards.

          Reply
    2. polecat

      “Halmazon …. I’d like it if you order me up a unit of czeez puffs to add to the grocery list … would you do that for me please ? …”

      “I’m sorry Dave, but I cannot process your request …”

      “Why not Halmazon ??”

      “It seems that you have exceeded your monthly allotment of lethal carbohydrates, and as such, I am required to see that you harm yourself no further …”

      “Hall ?……… Hall ……. HalL …… HaLL …. HALL ……. HALLMAZON !!!!!”

      Reply
    3. skippy

      Amazons core is the cloud and as such can see the need/want for any expansion into data collection.

      disheveled…. I would posit that like equities becoming a form of money data is the next gen and like Gates’ friction-less capitalism in would then have endless expansion opportunity.

      Reply
    1. Brian

      GE and Toshiba are making noises of bankruptcy. GE and Toshiba make nuclear reactors, which are now aging and some of which have failed already.
      If I may extrapolate, the responsibility for these aging or failing reactors will evaporate now that the owners have looted the companies and their products create the largest insurance nightmare in the world. They walk away and leave the problems they could never fix, but were able to ignore due to government cover.
      A world of problems awaits.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        the responsibility for these aging or failing reactors will evaporate now that the owners have looted the companies and their products create the largest insurance nightmare in the world. They walk away…

        Excellent analysis, thank you, Brian.

        Reply
    1. John Wright

      This might not be completely representative as the study took the data from loan applications.

      This implies they don’t have data from side-gig workers who didn’t ask for a loan, so they didn’t cover the complete universe of side-gig workers, some of whom may be doing well enough that they are not trying to borrow money..

      It could be stated that 85% of side-gig workers who seek to borrow money make less than $500 per month.

      Reply
      1. bob

        The side gig providers- aka slave masters – could provide that data. They seek to market themselves as data companies most of the time. Provide the data. I’ll toss in $5 if it’s a matter of payment.

        It’s the only data available. The slave master could change that, but so far, the slave masters are in no hurry to provide that data.

        ” some of whom may be doing well enough that they are not trying to borrow money..”

        Good one.

        Reply
  6. RenoDino

    Mattis: ‘No Enemy’ Has Done More Harm Than Congress Daily Beast

    My vote for link of the day and telling it like it is. Mattie tells Congress to do their job and give him all the money he wants. Congress responds by looking down at their shoes and saying please believe us, we’re trying. Mattie is not amused. Congress is outgunned.

    Talk about a dream job. Telling people to give you all the money you want, then they apologize they don’t have more to give you after they give you all the money in the till. You threaten them and call them names, and they promise to do better and give your more next time. You tell them they have a nice little country here and it would be a shame if anything happened to it. When you come back next time, you tell them you won’t be so nice. They respond with heavy sobbing.

    Nice protection racket.

    Reply
    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Yeah. Even given the spurt of schadenfreude that ran through me, I thought he was damned uppity and in need of a major smack down. That is the taxpayers’ money he’s talking about. People in this country go broke paying their taxes so he can demand more hundreds of millions from their representatives, in as snotty a manner as that?

      Reply
    2. different clue

      He is talking about the Sequester, as he said himself. And the Sequester does the same thing to the other departments that it does to the DoD. And he is describing the results of money-deprivation on training, readiness, etc. He is exactly right to do so, and to put it in the terms he puts it in.

      Congress should indeed abolish the Obama Sequester and go back to pre-Obama practices of genuinely crafting genuine budgets. If enough citizens support a shrunken American role in the world and support a shrunken military to go with that shrunken role, they could hopefully elect enough like-minded officeholders to shrink America’s role in the world, shrink the military down to the requirements of that shrunken role, and pay for real training and real readiness for the real people who will still really serve in that smaller but really real military.

      And restore the missing taxes against the Upper Class and the Over Class to pay for it all.

      Reply
  7. allan

    Trump’s drug price ‘remedy’ expected to be industry friendly [Politico]

    Candidate Donald Trump made rising drug costs a signature issue during his campaign and beefed up his criticisms after the election, saying in January that the drug industry was “getting away with murder.”

    The comments unnerved drug executives, but six months later, the industry is no longer in a state of panic.

    The administration is not proposing, as Trump did on the campaign trail, that the government negotiate drug prices or allow the importation of cheaper drugs from abroad. …

    “Our industry sources indicate that pharma expects it has successfully shifted the dialogue from the high price of innovation to transparency and other parts of the supply chain,” Wells Fargo analyst David Maris wrote in a note to investors Thursday evening. “As such, several drug company executives have expressed the belief that Trump’s drug price approach will not include drug re-importation and Medicare negotiation of drug prices.” …

    No problem. He’ll fix it in the second term.

    Reply
  8. Eustass

    That zdnet site today seems alright but, there’s a lot of junk on there that’s not really releveant per se.

    I feel like surely there must be a blog/site somewhere in the vein of Snowden’s twitter feed or something mostly focused on tech privacy/security news, like the Wi-Fi article today, but like most sites, when you search for ‘xx’ news the first 50 results are mainstream like NYT and politico.

    thehackernews.com is the closest thing I’ve found but at the same time it has an article on the front page giving a positive review for uploading your entire PC’s contents to Google cloud.

    Even NC was unknown/findable to me until ironically they got blacklisted by PropOrNot, unfortunately. Or maybe I just don’t know how to search? But, if anyone knows any good sites like NC, but for tech news, please bring me in the loop, I’d be much obliged.

    Reply
    1. cfraenkel

      To see what the folks in the trenches think is worth discussing: Hacker News; its normally worth the investment to scan through the top page or two of comments to see what the community thinks of the article before clicking through.

      For security focus, Schneier on Security

      Reply
  9. Carla

    “Journalist shield law could soon become reality in Canada Toronto Star (furzy). Long overdue. Would allow me to move there if there were any way for ancient moi to get permanent residence.”

    Last I checked, the price of residency in Canada was about $1 million (US) for those in our general age range.

    Reply
    1. Whoa Molly

      Yves might qualify as a world class financial writer with a giant following. Canadians love their writers. Small chance that it Might be worth talking to an immigration lawyer.

      Reply
  10. Terry Flynn

    re. Totally anecdotal evidence about May’s performance recently.

    I had a random but very interesting conversation on the train to London the other day with a senior clinician whose sister works in a ‘sensitive area of government’ (revealed to be something in the security services). This clinician thinks Theresa May’s Type 1 diabetes has been causing problems. She thinks it isn’t very well controlled and that her advisers tried to minimise stressful encounters with voters in the election and after the fire in order that her blood sugar level is kept more stable and she is less likely to experience hypo episodes….ironically what Labour front-bencher Diane Abbott was experiencing, causing her usual ‘excellent memory for figures’ to falter (and which her brother reportedly spotted straightaway, warning her to step back from the campaign) but which earned her tabloid approbrium.

    Now of course, we shouldn’t be letting leaders’ medical conditions influence views, but if true, might explain behaviour and expose the continuing hypocrisy surrounding why the PM is OK to carry on with diabetes whilst a senior, but not leader, of the opposition, is fair game for ongoing criticism.

    Reply
    1. Terry Flynn

      I realise the comments from the clinician are just an opinion and clinicians generally refrain from making statements that may be taken as diagnoses of non-patients (though this is not a diagnosis but simply an observation of how Diabetes of both types can adversely influence a person in day-to-day life, particularly if they have a stressful non-predictable routine).

      Just to clarify – the key issue here is that the tabloids continue to emphasise Abbott’s mistaken figures and I’ve read pieces (didn’t save the links) where Tory MPs are quoted as being unaware of her condition (it was quite well-known already apparently among MPs etc) and/or putting the blame on her for not explaining herself sooner when such ‘analysis’ is not applied to the PM.

      Of course, maybe May is just a rubbish people person full stop and her diabetes is irrelevant – but there certainly seem to be double standards here in reporting.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        May is a Tory, elevated due to gross incompetence of her predecessor and gross incompetence from her opposition (Milliband). Diabetes aside, should May be expected to act differently? Conservatives who win by default always tend to be revealed as grossly inept and vile sooner rather than later.

        As far as the double standard in the msm, Corbyn is a threat to the bread bowls. The infotainment centers of the world are less reliable than party run newspapers of previous centuries.

        Reply
        1. Terry Flynn

          The infotainment centers of the world are less reliable than party run newspapers of previous centuries

          .

          Yes (if I understand you correctly) …. But when Murdoch and Dacre decide she has to go, I wonder if ‘regretful lack of support due to her health problems’ suddenly go front page as a way to speed a transfer of power. At the moment nobody wants the poisoned chalice but they will at some point decide there is someone else in the tory party who can rescue them.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I believe May was selected because there is no one ready to go. A seemingly innocuous Cabinet secretary who focused on fp and marked the “female is the future” check box was the choice in the absence of a force within the party. Boris Johnson? What’s the other guys name?

            I don’t suspect a turn because there is no where to turn. Obviously, it’s the U.S., but the breathless predictions about what “wise” Republican the adults in the GOP would turn to to stop Trump never happened because it’s a party of dips and overt crooks. Kasich had a show on FoxNews and filled in for Falafel Bill. Rufio? Hah. Cruz? The man looks like an orc/human hybrid and has all the charisma of rabies. Mittens?

            The widespread rot among the Western elites has left the powers that be without any kind of alternative leadership within the ranks. May was selected because there was no viable option. With modern media outlets (the Internet and constant video), insane and vile behavior once covered up behind closed doors in yesteryear. A story about Cameron and pig springs to mind. A former site for raising Tory politicians is now known as a refuge for people with unusual tastes who become Tories. I don’t think they will be able to simply shift gears as the moral bankruptcy of their policies and philosophy unfolds.

            Reply
            1. Terry Flynn

              I really honestly hope you’re correct regarding the inability to shift gears and ‘win again’ via a different route.

              I’m just pessimistic as I’m someone who – on paper – should be ‘moving up the ladder’ (parents left school at 16 but I attended a school which in my day was in top 10 in the UK, Cambridge Economics degree, PhD, successful career in academia, literally wrote the textbook on a method companies use to dominate markets). Yet thanks to events beyond my control (largely due to neoliberalism’s malign encroachment upon academia) I was forced to exit and am trying to go it alone, back in my home town.

              I see, both professionally and personally, the way deprivation is creeping up the ladder into the middle classes, and I hope enough middle classes realise it’s time for fundamental reform. The choice modeller in me, however, sees and quantifies the continuing influence of the media etc (particularly ‘impartial’ sources like the BBC) and it’s depressing. The ‘Sanders’ effect is alive here, but I’m not sure how long it’ll take to truly take root among enough ‘people in the middle’. Recognition is needed that such reform actually is good for business as well as people.

              Reply
              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                My view is that it just needs to get a little bit worse for a little bit longer and the whole thing will invert. I know many people in the “almost” class who were doing fine 8 years ago but have been eating their seed corn and making do with less and less every year. Once people realize that the cultural heroes like Bezos are not “cool guys” but rapacious oligarch monopolists stealing their futures, and no, you’re not going to be a billionaire too someday, we’ll see a shift.

                Reply
  11. Carolinian

    NC podcast fans may find this one interesting. A panel of experts discuss late 19th cent American populism on BBC radio’s In Our Time. They talk about the agrarian roots of the surprisingly successful third party effort, how this success led the south’s Democratic Party–controlled by elite landowners–to begin Jim Crow as a way to “divide and conquer” the poor blacks and whites, how William Jennings Bryan became that era’s sheepdog to draw the populists away from their party and to the Democrats, and even about The Wizard of Oz which, as has been discussed here in the past, was an allegory about the gold versus silver political debate of the era. Descriptive page with download links:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08tbf4g

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “The Wizard of Oz” allegory claim has been criticized based on Baum’s own politics not matching the supposed allegory.

      I believe it was Gogol who said sometimes “a nose is just a nose.” My general thought is people want to see more from a beloved book which is a happy little children’s story full of fantastic imagery based on images people saw around them and adventure* to justify an obsession. Cough Harry Potter cough.

      *Not that there is anything wrong with this.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        The ruby slippers were originally silver slippers…changed for better technicolor. The people on the podcast are professors and seem to know their stuff.

        It’s possible Baum was satirizing something he didn’t agree with.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I know about the slippers. I’ve read the book (never made it through the movie), a few of the others too. The poor, enslaved monkeys must be ndians which doesn’t jive with Baum’s calls for extermination of the remaining tribes.

          Baum was inspired by Grimm’s and other fairy tales from Europe. Cinderella didn’t originally wear glass slippers, but they were equally fantastic. The Grimm version involves toes being cut off to wear shoes. Given the American nature of Oz, gold streets are simply callbacks to El Dorado, imagery kids would be familiar with. Its really no different than Harry Potter. The good witch is good. The wicked witch is well…wicked. The seemingly wise, old guy has a few secrets.

          Could you imagine gold shoes on gold roads? It wasn’t Trump’s America!

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            Hmmm…Oz (abbreviation for ounce), yellow brick road, silver slippers (that take you home to Kansas, one center of the populist movement), scarecrow representing farmers, tin man representing industrial workers, cowardly lion representing William Jennings Bryan (who roars a Cross of Gold speech but is cowardly when he must lead a movement), an Emerald City where the man in charge is a fraud and a humbug.

            Allegory-wise if it walks like a duck……

            Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Taking the water fowl scenario:

              -Baum was a New Ager influenced by Buddhist teachings reaching America and other travelers.
              -the yellow brick road is reminiscent of the Buddhist golden route path to enlightenment
              -Dorothy finds she has the power inside her the whole time. Mind over matter and personal responsibility.
              -the Wizard is the Pope or any other religious leader, promising the keys to enlightenment when in the end all he has is “licensing” control
              -the good witch who seems to possess various powers but doesn’t interfere. Hmmm…a Bodhisattva?
              -a SILVER cord connects out physical and astral bodies

              http://www.academia.edu/2511173/Oz_L._Frank_Baum_s_Theosophical_Utopia

              http://www.historynet.com/matilda-josyln-gage-the-unlikely-inspiration-for-the-wizard-of-oz.htm

              There is more of the occult in Oz than there is Harry Potter! The Wizard of Oz was released on August 25th, 1939. Did it cause World War II?

              Reply
              1. Carolinian

                You forgot the /sarc tag.

                Hey you win. On the other hand is it really worth arguing about?

                And personally I think Harry Potter is awful stuff. Please don’t compare to Baum.

                Reply
            2. Carolinian

              And just to add that’s not all it is of course and Baum wrote many more Oz books. But to me it’s not a stretch to say he was having some sly fun with his children’s story.

              Reply
    2. UserFriendly

      More for podcast fans:

      Abby Martin and Mike Prysner, who produce the weekly independent show, “The Empire Files,” join the show to talk about their recent reporting trip to Venezuela.

      http://unauthorizeddisclosure.libsyn.com/s4-episode-20-abby-martin-mike-prysner

      and

      Our Student Loan Secrets
      A ongoing project from the podcast Death, Sex & Money

      More than 44 million Americans have student loan debt, but we don’t often feel comfortable talking about it. Death, Sex & Money wants to show you you’re not alone. Hear how other people are dealing with their debt, tell your story, and find out where you fit in the student loan landscape

      https://project.wnyc.org/death-sex-money-podcast-student-loans/

      And normally I can’t stand NPR’s On the Media because they too often fall in line with media tropes like ‘the Russians did it’ and ‘Assad must go’ but this piece they took a wider look as one of the hosts wrote a book from the historical perspective and I found it interesting… and then was really annoyed at the next piece they put out. But this episode is worth listening to.
      http://www.wnyc.org/story/trouble-reality/

      Reply
      1. UserFriendly

        One more.

        Bernie would have won. And in the UK, he sort of did last week.

        The Labour Party, under left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn (full name: Jeremy Bernard Corbyn) came far from behind and stripped Prime Minister Theresa May of her majority in parliament — after the punditocracy had confidently predicted that radicals had doomed Labour to electoral oblivion.

        Dan speaks to Richard Seymour, the author most recently of Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical politics, and a founding editor of Salvage.

        https://www.blubrry.com/jacobin/24458979/the-dig-richard-seymour-under-corbyn-labours-got-momentum/

        Reply
        1. UserFriendly

          last one. Jezza Done It.

          On this episode, Kumars is joined once again by Emily Robinson to discuss Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning victory in the recent UK parliamentary elections. Emily is a co-convener of Momentum Edinburgh and she does communications for Scottish Young Labour Socialists and the Democratic Socialists of America. Emily also brings along her friend, Rory Scothorne, the co-author of Roch Winds: A Treacherous Guide to the State of Scotland. He is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh studying the Scottish radical left since the 1960s, is on the committee of Momentum Edinburgh, and is a member of Scottish Labour Young Socialists.

          Kumars, Emily and Rory talk about the UK election results, giving an overview of the British parliamentary system and the various parties involved. Emily and Rory talk about how Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election in an attempt to consolidate power for her Tory party backfired massively. They discuss how Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn was able to capitalize on May’s hubris with a radical and positive platform which contrasted dramatically with Tory plans for continued austerity. Emily and Rory explain how Theresa May’s plan to form a weak coalition government with the right-wing Protestant fundamentalist Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party could jeopardize the Good Friday Agreement which ended the Northern Ireland Conflict. The gang also discusses how leftists at home and abroad can support Corbyn’s project and how we can hold him accountable in the face of a full-frontal assault by the capitalist class.

          http://deleteyouraccount.libsyn.com/jezza-done-it

          p.s. I listen to every podcast at 2X, usually while doing something else otherwise I can’t pay attention.

          Reply
  12. Tom Stone

    I took a look at “Gun Deaths” and Car Deaths” for 2016 and Yves is both incorrect ( 40K car deaths, $33K “Gun Deaths”), she is comparing apples to oranges.
    “Car Deaths” are accidental deaths.
    “Gun Deaths” are a jumble of accident, suicide,murder in its various degrees and justifiable homicide, the lawful use of deadly force.
    Does anyone have a number for the accidental “Gun Deaths” in 2016?
    An apples to apples comparison seems more useful.

    Reply
    1. Brian

      A car is a deadly weapon, capable of mass destruction, A person driving has to have complete control to accomplish the task. Why don’t you believe a car is used in anger, or as a weapon, as a suicide vehicle?
      When a person uses a car the wrong way, it is a weapon. The driver has made a conscious decision to use themselves and the car as a weapon.

      Reply
      1. Ian

        You are likely talking a small percential and it is not the primary function. While with guns, the primary purpose is the potential to kill and that very much permeates conscious use. Guns have little utility beyond that.

        Reply
        1. Alex Morfesis

          Guns and cars are used to intimidate people…doesn’t work on me…but many guns are used for intimidation and a disturbingly large percentage of large vehicle owners drive with the intent to annoy…love nothing more than watching some tonkatruck driving yahoo get a saddie when I simply slide over to the next lane…then they spot someone further along and ride that tail…at least by me a drink first…

          Funeral directors care not much about guns nor cars…their bread and butter is botched medical care and garbage foods…

          Reply
          1. nippersdad

            That is really nice of you to change lanes, but due to the (quite literally) unbelievable numbers of box turtles in the road around here at any time of day or season of the year it is always much easier to just suddenly stomp on the brakes. So, more soilings than saddies in my experience.

            Reply
            1. Mike

              Not very safe to do a sudden stop, for you or the “licker” in the rear view.

              Driver training suggests slowing down to a crawl if necessary, but gradually, sort of like boiling frogs… sometimes they do not notice until they’ve lost a good bit of “time”, if time was what they wanted. It also allows them to literally slow down their pace to allow some reflection, but I grant less than 1% of tailgaters will reflect at all.

              Do beware when they reach below the windshield level. Guns ‘n’ cars, ya know.

              Reply
              1. nippersdad

                I pulled that maneuver on what turned out to be a plainclothes cop on an Atlanta Interstate one time, and got to see his gun pretty quickly. The fun part was when the police chief had him write me an apology letter. Working for the Atlanta Journal had few real benefits, but I will always remember that one fondly.

                Reply
                  1. Mike

                    Oh-ho, for 50% of cases, spot on.

                    BTW, my wife thinks I’m suicidal, especially when the “person” out back looks like a good ol’ boy. I plug on, sometimes using the flashers to let them think I’m disabled – or nuts. My advantage.

                    Reply
          2. JTMcPhee

            There’s a fella in our area who drives a black F-350 with the Monster Truck frame lifts and Undertaker tires. Very much the High-Fivin’ White Boy, he must be a real hoot at drunken parties. He has installed what has to be a ship’s fog horn under the hood, which takes a big compressor to power it, likely belted off the thumpin’ diesel engine.

            Can one suppose that there are firearms ready to hand in that fela’s rolling-thunder castle?

            Several times now, I have seen him pull up close behind what some folks ’round here refer to as “Q-tips” or “Cotton Tops,” that is, old people with white hair. He will then let off a 4 or 5 second blast of that enormous two-trumpet horn, and laugh uproariously when the old folks jump and swerve. I imagine if he keeps it up, one of these days he will induce a stroke or heart attack in one of them.

            And yes, you do not want to drive in any way that looks like you are “gettin’ in his road.” The back window in the cab has the NRA sticker and that “Protected by Smith&Wesson” flag, and those cute little white outline figures that are supposed to give a cartoon representation of your family members are all weapons — Big Daddy is a .50, cal Barrett sniper rifle, Mamma is an AK-47, the oldest child or maybe second wife is an M-4 assault rifle with the grenade launcher, and you work your way down through the rest of the tribe — the Colt 1911 .45, Glock 17, and an itty-bitty .380 pocket pistol. And two more flags — the Gadsden one, and the Imperial Banner with the legend “These Colors Don’t Run!”

            Reply
    2. leftover

      When it comes to “accidental gun deaths” there’s no real standardiztion on how that’s defined, according to FiveThirtyEight.

      It doesn’t appear CDC 2016 data is available yet, but looking at FiveThiryEight’s analysis and CDC data from 2014 (pdf table 18) it appears unintentional/undetermined deaths due to firearms is about 2% of total firearm related deaths. The vast majority are suicides (64%) and homicides (33%).

      That same table breaks down transport deaths and motor vehicle traffic deaths.

      Reply
    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Your stats are wrong. Since 2015, it’s been predicted that gun deaths would exceed auto deaths each year (as in 2015 and 2016).

      The CDC has them at effectively equal in 2016, and the CDC is the definitive source, less than 150 apart across the US:

      Motor vehicle traffic deaths
      Number of deaths: 33,736

      All firearm deaths
      Number of deaths: 33,599

      https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm

      And I don’t buy your insinuation that an accidental death v. suicide makes it any different. Public health officials argue that suicides are impulse acts, and the ease and irrevocability of killing yourself with a gun increases the number of suicides. And many people do kill themselves with cars, since life insurance will not pay out to survivors, while it will on death by car wreck.

      Reply
      1. witters

        In regional Australia the unexplained swerve and head on into tree/truck is unfortunately a well known way of ending things, most attractive to men 30-60.

        Reply
  13. roadrider

    I occasionally shop at Whole Foods but since I go to great pains to avoid doing business with Amazon that ends today.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Where we live, the nearest Whole Foods store is an hour and a half drive, each way. So, we only go there when we visit relatives in a town with one. Why? Well, that overpriced “elite” emporium is the only shop with a decent selection of some types of product that we prefer. The easily available second tier replacement products are, in many cases, not suitable.
      The “run of the mill” grocery stores we have available close by have restricted offerings of often very sub standard product. The fruits are often obviously harvested too soon, resulting in hard fruits that generally do not ripen “on the windowsill” as we too often hope that they will. A “real world” example of the dysfunctional supply chain issues would be strawberries. Here, we are reasonably close to an excellent strawberry producing area; the Northshore, Louisiana. Berries from Pontchatoula, Walker and adjacent regions are superior. The prices, at least at the retail level are not exorbitant. We only see these berries in one of the small local grocery chains during the harvesting season. One strong sign that this mini-chains’ buyer is right is that these berries sell out very quickly. The bigger chains source their berries through the major vendors, such as Dhole, and others of the agricultural Ancient Old Ones. These berries come from California or Points South. We repeatedly find a large proportion of the berries in such a box to be immature and barely ripe.
      This observation can stand in for much of the “fresh” produce we encounter.
      So, at the end of the day, we shop in smaller local markets whenever possible. At the same time, we make it a point to tell the manager of said market, and it is a point of the superior “quality” of such places that one can actually talk to the manager, why we patronize his or her establishment. Let them know that they are doing a better job than the Behemoths so that they can get back to their higher ups and stiffen some resolves.
      Rant over.

      Reply
      1. Annotherone

        Same here – I’ve been in the USA for 13 years and never even seen a Whole Foods store. Nearest WF’s to us are in Oklahoma City and Dallas, both a minimum of 90 mins drive. We avoid both cities like the plague. Our town has a Walmart, a Homeland (“employee owned”) and a small supermarket owned by a longtime local entrepreneur. So, Jeff Bezos’ latest trick will not affect us – fortunate that, because if a smartphone will be needed in order to patronise his stores …well, we don’t have one of those wee tracking devices.

        The USA is really two different nations, even discounting the 1% and the 10% . The rest of us are divided into urban and rural/semi-rural dwellers, who barely understand each others’ ways of life.
        Thankfully Bezos and his ilk, for the moment, tend to concentrate their gaze on the urban half of us.

        Reply
        1. Robert Frances

          My guesstimate is that it’s more like 33% of the population that is doing fairly well economically, or at least well enough that they have zero interest in disrupting the status quo. Here in California there are reports of construction workers (eg, freeways, large infrastructure, commercial buildings, etc.) making over $200,000 per year, and most state and local government jobs pay fairly well, with even better long term benefits (pension and healthcare). The 1% or 10% label may be a good soundbite for rallying the dispossessed, but a significant segment of the US population (and developed countries in general) is doing well enough that they have little reason to change the current state of affairs aside from at the margins. If real estate along the coasts or across the country takes a 25% haircut, or if unemployment gets back towards 10%, this could change the situation, but it appears the Fed and sizable government budgets ensure significant economic activity chugs along well enough for now.

          Reply
    2. jrs

      going to only get what only they carry from them at this point (which is only a few foods but alas if I can’t find them anywhere else …).

      And if they think Whole Foods shoppers don’t look at price and in fact add up the bill while shopping, and so are fine not having prices posted or only available on smartphone, they are wrong. True it’s never been the most affordable place but it doesn’t mean prices don’t matter at all.

      Reply
    3. oh

      I’m conflicted. I haven’t been buying anything but fresh bread at WF (WP) since they have a good bakery but I have to really think about setting foot there after they got bought out by Evil Bezos (he even looks like Dr Evil). I’m trying find a local bakery that sells good bread that I like.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          We’ve done that. Making bread is labour intensive and, surprise!, almost requires one of the family members to dedicate their time to “domestic” pursuits. This presupposes there being sufficient funds available to support this division of labour.
          Trade offs everywhere you look.

          Reply
          1. Bread baking

            Needs a routine but is not labor intensive…. it takes maybe 10 minutes to get items out, dump in a bowl and put away. Mix flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water or milk and some oil or butter then set mixer for 10 minutes. Cover and leave to rise (30 to 45) minutes, roll it up (or decorative if preferred) and put it in a bread pan (or on parchment if decorative) set oven and leave to rise (30 to 45 minutes) and then bake.

            or mix in evening and put in fridge. In the morning, punch down, shape, put in pan and back in fridge, take it out when home and bake.

            Note: a professional baker wrote about the low level of gluten in store bought bread flour and if you want chewy bread, you need to add gluten. It’s available next to the flour and cheap in the bulk bins. I replace about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the flour I use in a loaf of bread which is typically 4 cups.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Good recipe. I used to have to “punch it down” and re-knead the mass. (So the “labour intensive aspect is/was my “muscle memory” of the kneading and folding of the dough.)
              Phyl used to put in brown rice flour for about half of the grain in the mix. (She has always had trouble with wheat.)
              The smell of the fresh baked bread has always been one of my favourite memories.

              Reply
  14. mk

    SCOTUS Reconsidering Gun Case in Wake of Alexandria Shooting Law News. Help me. The fact that important people in the ‘hood get shot makes a difference? Where have they been since guns kill more people than car accidents?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A giant clue for moving forward, next, let’s take away current health care benefits for all congress people, make them sign up for the same plans as regular American citizens.

    Reply
  15. Jim Haygood

    With the Federal Reserve’s planned $50B/mo balance sheet runoff, the spectre of 1937 looms.

    No one knows how big a central bank’s balance sheet should be, as a percentage of GDP. They’s only one heuristic rule:

    You can go forward, but you can’t go back.

    America didn’t need no quarter century of deflation after repegging the dollar to specie at the prewar parity in 1871. Repeg where you are.

    Britain didn’t need no lost decade after repegging sterling to specie at the prewar parity in 1925. Repeg where you are.

    We don’t need no prickin’ of Bubble III after J-Yel hollers, Honey, I shrunk the Fed. Repeg where you are.

    Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      We don’t need no norm’lization
      We don’t need no MBS unrolled
      No dark sarcasm in the Board of Governors
      Eclownomists leave them kids alone

      — Pink Floyd, Another Brick in the Wall

      Reply
      1. craazyboy

        Janet!
        Don’t tighten up my store

        Janet!
        The Stock Market you’ll gore!

        Don’t need yo messin’
        With my window dressin’
        Stay away from my stocks
        You Whore!

        “Money”, Pink Floyd !!!

        Reply
      2. ambrit

        AAARGH!!!
        That should be: “Another Gold Brick In The Wall (Of Credit.)”
        Besides, those “episodes” were after war years where the “outstanding debt” was run up to pay speculators and profiteers. Deflationary trends when “elite” financiers were reaping their ill gotten gains? How droll. So, this time it is different because the war(s) that have driven the looting economy lately are not over. Indeed, perpetual war implies perpetual “debt inflation.”
        The lesson here is that one needs to: “Repeg where the money is.”
        Everything else is just Populism, mounted on a “Cross of Gold.”

        Reply
    2. Alex Morfesis

      Jimmy feelgood…1937…hmmm…much like the wheelbarrows of german money stories…what other than eccles actions was going on…spain…china…ethiopia…anti-comintern pact(tovarish)…and Churchill trying to force back a gold standard…that worked out well 2…

      The global economy began to prepare for multi-continent war…not exactly the best environment for long term planning and investment…

      Reply
  16. From Cold Mountain

    I have been reading NC for three or four years, but during the last year I realized that it is just a redundancy of written outrage. And at the same time I have found myself asking, where is the call to action? What is the plan? What is the best way that I can make it so Naked Capitalism does not NEED to exist so there will be nothing to outrage about?

    But this week, the Glennfall Towers fire, that was my breaking point. It is the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire for the 21st century and for the U.K. and I refuse to be complicit in the finacialization that made it possible. I am done with the addiction of outrage, it is time for action, it is time to organize the most effective boycott I can, a boycott that will end the need for regulation and make people see that it is no one but them selves that puts profit before their own self interest. It is time for a boycott of capitalism, a boycott of the corpocracy.

    I will share the idea of this boycott, outside of the tool of the corpocracy, off of the internet and social media. I will share it in the bars and in the coffee houses. I will interrupt people while they mindlessly scroll their facebook feeds when they are in the bus. I will hang flyers on telephone polls, speak up at town halls. I will not shop on Amazon or Whole Foods. I will cancel my subscription to the monopolistic cable companies and go hungry before eating at a chain food store. I will use cash everywhere. I will do things for people for free.

    Isn’t it so plainly obvious that the very people who are against the 1% are giving them the money that they use to control them? “Hey Apple, you pay too little in taxes, but here is $800 for a new iPhone!” What more needs to be talked about? If we want to control our on lives we need to stop giving it to the people ho control us.

    I will engage in a never ending improvisational assault against the monster of corporate and class warfare, in a hope that maybe, in the last 50 years of my life, I can live some of it in peace with my friends.

    So this is a good bye to all of you as well, since while this website provides knowledge, at best it promotes action within the same structure that controls, and at worst it feeds our addiction to outrage without providing the tools to end the things that outrage us.

    If you want to join me BOYCOTT THE CORPOCRACY GOD DAMMIT!

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Whenever and wherever possible, shop locally. Bank locally. Participate in your local community.

      And think globally.

      Reply
    2. Charger01

      Interesting. I would direct your passion towards the excellent Nader book “It will take a billionaire to save us” for analysis and strategic ways to communicate your outage.

      Reply
    3. ambrit

      Take it from an ageing Geezer. (I’ve reached my plateau.)
      Anger will supply energy, but cold, calculating reasoning about methodologies is what will guide all that chaotic energy. Don’t be dismissive about NC and similar sites. You mentioned the key point why not to do so yourself; “I have been reading NC for three or four years…” That length of time indicates that you have been encountering new and interesting information on this site that you have not found anywhere else.
      Of secondary but no less important interest is that most of the posters and commenters here are playing a subtle game of self censoring and, for want of a better analogy, arcane Alchemical symbolist communication. A “hidden secondary meaning” inhabits many of the words and phrases used in the “in clear” communications. Why? Because most of the people involved with this site and others like it know that EVERYTHING IS RECORDED AND ANALYZED. Most of this “detective” work is done by algorithms that key off of words and phrases set by programmers, who, by the way, are perpetually overworked and running to catch up with the societies argot and sensibilities. Machines are not structured to measure nuance and allusion. Hence, the Arcana.
      So, dear From Cold Mountain, do not despair, or run off on wild crusades. You are on to a good idea, generally described as “removing ones self” from voluntary subservience. Just step back a bit and begin to plan your moves, and, equally important, what you will do if certain predictable counter moves from the “elites” come to pass. This is a very long term proposition. At my age, I’ve finally understood that I will not be around to experience the “Revolution” when it happens. You just might. Plan now to survive it because History, though an abstraction, does move at its’ own pace and in its’ own directions.

      Reply
    4. Ulysses

      “I will engage in a never ending improvisational assault against the monster of corporate and class warfare, in a hope that maybe, in the last 50 years of my life, I can live some of it in peace with my friends.”

      This is fantastic! Best of luck!! One of the tools that we possess to end the things that outrage us is indeed the boycott, but we also have the opportunity to persuade others to join in boycotts– not just in bars and coffee-houses, but also online, in forums like NC.

      So, any NCers who might be tempted to enjoy beer products, distributed by Clare Rose on Long Island this summer– please don’t!!

      ” “Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza’s Long Island locations are boycotting Clare Rose and Anheuser-Busch products because of how the company has treated its workers,” said Anthony Bruno, owner of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. “It’s not acceptable to cut wages and pensions, then fire your workers when they stand up for themselves. I know that my restaurants are only successful because of the support we get from our community. When our community needs our support, we are there for them too.”

      http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/teamsters-the-best-pizza-chain-in-america-joins-clare-rose-boycott-300475343.html

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        When I am at a locally owned and operated tavern, I ask for a list of the local beers. And then it is time to choose …

        Some decisions are just plain fun.

        Reply
    5. Yves Smith Post author

      This site is explicitly about promoting critical thinking. We are not political organizers. Your compliant is like going to an Indian restaurant and saying you don’t like spicy food.

      And your ire about iPhones is really misplaced. Since when have we advocated tech gadgetry? I regularly discuss how I have the dumbest of dumbphones and am a proud owner of nothing IoT and am implicitly encouraging readers to do the same. The post today even talks about my not having WiFi in my apt, which makes me an official Luddite.

      The real reason for your leaving is I chewed you out for agnotology regarding caffeine and fluoride on another thread and warned that you were accumulating troll points by making unsubstantiated comments that could be debunked with a web search. So this is the commentor version of quitting before you get fired.

      You should frequent sites more suitable to your liking. We don’t aspire to the impossible goal of suiting all people.

      Reply
      1. Marco

        Anyone have a link to that comment thread? I have an all natural nutter friend pestering me about my coffee consumption (I do drink WAY too much). Also I’ve used google to search older comment threads and it’s always hit or miss success. Any tips for trawling comment threads efficiently?

        Reply
        1. frankjr

          My father died of Huntigton’s. They seem pretty certain that coffee can increase the age of onset of the disease. That is why I stopped imbibing.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            In the interest of clarity: Increase or decrease? I think you meant the latter, as “increasing” it would be desirable.

            (I don’t normally fuss about writing errors, but this one appears to matter, and the subject is too important to let pass.)

            Huntington’s is genetic, is it not?

            Reply
            1. frankjr

              Yes, sorry, decreases the age of onset. I was thinking “speed up the age of onset”. But yes, coffee seems too make Huntington’s appear earlier in life. This is why they seem to be so interested in the adenosine receptors.

              And both of us siblings were tested for the genes and we do not carry them.

              Reply
    6. jrs

      Good for you, although we really do need collective more than just individual action at this point, but that can start by talking to people and going to town halls.

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Talking to people is one of the most powerful things​ that any of us can do. It doesn’t cost anything. And it’s a great way to make friends.

        Reply
    7. Alex Morfesis

      Ah yes the triangle shirtwaist factory routine…brought out by conforming non conformists who glanced at the cover but never read the book…begone ye then…the fire is a perfect example of nothing to see hear…keep moving…it sold a few newspapers…the owners had to hand over about 18% of the excess insurance proceeds in a judgment against them for the deaths…no jail time…in fact they reopened the factory and no one “boycotted” the companies buying their products…no unions protesting…and the owners were caught locking the doors again…no union events commemorating that day…except the big show @ 100 years…

      So hopefully the glennfall wont be as easily forgotten….

      Have you ever grown your own tomatoes…start there and let us know how that is going…next try green peppers and maybe some tovarish sunflowers…the big fluffy ones that follow the sun each day…

      Then go ask your neighbors to let you use a portion of their garden to grow local fresh produce…then find a little corner of the world and present some healthy foods…not boycott…buycott…

      Create the alternative….after the “devolution” somebody has to drive the bus in the morning and make sure the children have some milk…noise is easy…work…not so much…

      Reply
      1. Huey Long

        Although it’s sad to hear about how Triangle Shirtwaist played out, to this day it is used as a case study in the training of fire safety directors in NYC. It has become our battle cry when dealing with building owners on matters regarding to NYC building and fire codes.

        That being said, following the code to the letter of the law or blowing a whistle will get you blackballed. I’m just grateful that NYC has a fairly stringent building code, at least so far as high rise commercial and hotel buildings are concerned.

        Reply
        1. Alex Morfesis

          Sprinklers are the best answer across the board…not always purrtee but best bet for most fires…the rest is noise…sadly, there are way too many instances where people are told to sit still…in a fire…just run…even thru the fire…the faster one gets away from the problem the more likely one survives…some burned skinned is better than smoked lungs…

          Considering the cost of “mainstream” construction…sprinklers should ne mandatory for all new buildings everywhere…

          Reply
    8. oh

      I buy used stuff from thrift stores. I drive very little. I don’t shop at Amazon. I shop for necessities locally. I turned down my thermostat a long time ago. I don’t use AC. My cell phone use is minimal.

      Cut off the corporations from their revenue stream!

      Reply
      1. different clue

        Drain the Trump!

        Choke the Koch!

        Picture 50 million pairs of Strong Blue Hands wrapped around the neck of Big Corpo.

        Reply
    9. Norb

      FCM- I feel your pain- but that is what the Links and Water Cooler section are for- more diversity of related and interesting events. Don’t go away. NC is a great source for changing the consciousness of our fellow citizens, if only for our collective support and the continued existence of the site. Knowledgable people sharing their experience and collective wisdom in order to make society function in a better way- if only more intelligently. Active citizenship requires that you support the modes of information exchange that hold to your values of what a free population should expect regarding to media. Positive propaganda?

      Don’t succumb to despair! Despair is more real and healthy in the long term that the false hope and delusional escapism peddled by the desperate corporate evangelists.

      You are exactly right, but if I have come to understand anything, it is that change takes time. Change is accomplished through collective action. The difficult part is that you must change the culture and consciousness while living in it.

      By all means find any way to reject the greed and exploitation that runs our current society. But you need your mates, your comrades, your fellow travelers to make that journey possible. That is the power of collective action.

      Capitalism main strength is derived from the notion of divide and conquer. It leverages ignorance with the will to dominate others. This is a successful life strategy when there are abundant resources to exploit. Nothing matters but winning and accumulation. This worldview is seeing fatal signs of distress.

      By calling it quits, you leave just as it is getting interesting and the momentum is finally changing.

      Reply
  17. leftover

    Re: SCOTUS Reconsidering Gun Case

    I don’t think the SCOTUS conference on Peruta v. California scheduled for last Thursday had as much to do with the attack in Alexandria as it does with getting caught up now that Gorsuch has been seated.

    Peruta has been relisted for conference four times since March. Twice since Gorsuch was sworn in. The last time paperwork on the case was Distributed for Conference was June 12, two days before the Alexandria attack. Six other such Distributions were made prior, (April 24 to June 5), which means “one or more Justices wants to take a closer look at the case; that one or more Justices is trying to pick up enough votes to grant review (four are needed); that the Justices are writing a summary reversal (that is, a decision that the lower court opinion was so wrong that the Court can decide the case on the merits without briefing or oral argument); or that one or more Justices are writing a dissent from the decision to deny review.” (Amy Howe at SCOTUSBlog) So it’s clear issues presented in Peruta were being discussed by the Justices, apparently in some detail, prior to June 14th.

    It’s a coincidence. That’s all.

    Reply
  18. Ed

    I would ask someone to check the health data/statistics on mortality in recent year when they talk about gun deaths since it is my understanding, having seen several news items related to this in the recent past, that heroin and fentanyl and related opioid deaths far outpace anything achieved by another person with a handgun or a long rifle.

    Reply
    1. oho

      or AIDS. Compare the media attention to AIDS in the 1980’s/90’s versus heroin today.

      Not saying we should tsk-tsk attention for AIDS. just gotta point out the elephant in the room.

      an epidemic of death among the non-urban, bottom 85% isn’t mobilizing the bicoastal elites.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, you are correct. 50K opioid deaths in 2015. 2016 level almost certain to be similar or higher. 2016 gun and auto deaths almost identical at 33.6-33.7K each.

      Reply
  19. jfleni

    RE: First New Coal Mine of Trump Era Opens in Pennsylvania.

    VERY important note: This is for metalurgical coal for steel making, not for “coal-fired pizza” (as a local pizzaria advertises), or any other “stinky coal-smoke” reason!

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Yep. The other types of coal could be described as “meteorological” coal, since they have a large impact on the weather and eventually climate.

      Reply
  20. jfleni

    RE: CenturyLink Is Accused of Running a Wells Fargo-Like Scheme.

    Not a surprise considering my experiences with them; if it worked pretty well for Wells-****off, with almost NO blowback, why not be a copycat!
    GIMME!

    Reply
  21. Susan the other

    The CIA Reads French Theory. Yes. And made a mess of coordinated left thinking for decades. So ubiquitous that nothing made sense. And don’t forget the CIA founded and funded “modern art”. I wonder what the CIA actually learned – did they notice that you can confuse the political dialog but you can’t change human reality?

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      Also enjoyed Sputnik on the Clinton Foundation fraud. I don’t know why it won’t be actionable. It should be.

      Reply
  22. Maurice Hebert

    Officer Jeronimo Yanez acquitted of manslaughter in the killing of Philando Castile.

    http://www.startribune.com/prosecution-timeline-of-traffic-stop-in-castile-shooting/429036923/

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/us/police-shooting-trial-philando-castile.html?_r=0

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/philando-castile-case-verdict-jeronimo-yanez/

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/06/16/minn-officer-acquitted-of-manslaughter-for-shooting-philando-castile-during-traffic-stop/

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-minnesota-police-idUSKBN1972PS

    http://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2017/06/philando-castile-jeronimo-yanez-verdict/

    https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-06-16/officer-yanez-acquitted-shooting-death-philando-castile

    http://www.theroot.com/minn-police-officer-jeronimo-yanez-found-not-guilty-on-1796178910

    http://www.snopes.com/2017/06/16/philando-castile-officer-acquitted/

    Let us never, ever forget – particularly in the wake of Alexandria – who matters, and who does not.

    Reply
    1. Alright

      Thank you very much for posting, Maurice — this was a glaring omission in the batch of links today

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I do appreciate and encourage readers to provide more links but you chewing us our for not covering all topics is not nice and not warranted.

        We are not omniscient, nor is Links meant to be a substitute for a news feed or MSM coverage. This is also a finance and economics site. We do not cover politics exhaustively, particularly local political stories. We don’t being to have the resources or aspire to cover every abusive-looking cop shooting. Those are virtually daily events.

        Reply
    2. Lynne

      I’d have us never forget:

      If you have a concealed carry permit, especially in MN, follow your training that you have to have for the permit, meaning alert the officer, place your hand on the dash or wheel if in a car, and STOP MOVING when he tells you to stop moving

      Understand that a person videotaping an encounter has an agenda and their narration may not be accurate. This is particularly true when the person is in shock, and when the narration is later contradicted by another recording.

      Understand that when people march, close down interstates, throw deadly objects off overpasses at cars, and chant that cops should be killed, cops tend to be a little jumpy.

      When you have a prosecutor go to the mat for someone in a weeks-long trial that keeps the jury out a week, understand that things might be a little more complex than the headlines tell us.

      Understand that when a person is high on drugs, others will question her/his perceptions. And, in fact, they may not be accurate.

      Understand that drugs and guns don’t mix, just like guns and alcohol don’t mix.

      The irony here, such as it is, may be that the Castile family will probably get a load of cash under a federal civil rights case. Quite a change from the attitude that the Crow Dog case showed that restorative justice was “proof” that Native Americans “needed a civilizing influence.” Come a long way since 1883, huh?

      Reply
      1. marym

        It’s not clear what caused the cop to have such “inaccurate” perceptions, since the transcript of the recording seems to show his victim, the victim’s girlfriend, and the other cop were pretty clear on what was and wasn’t happening.

        I’d have us never forget:

        When a cops kill people not breaking any law, who are not presenting any danger, who are running away, lying on the ground, or following instructions (in this case conflicting instructions not to reach for a gun, and to produce his license), blaming victims and protestors while holding cops blameless, doesn’t make cops less likely to kill people.

        Prosecutors “going to the mat” for cops who kill people doesn’t tell us anything about complexity or indicate that theirs is the more sophisticated take on what happened. It’s what they do.

        Civil settlements aren’t paid out of the cop’s own pocket, so not a parallel to the Crow Dog case, and not a deterrent to cops killing people.

        Reply
        1. Lynne

          We are talking past each other. There is a big difference between saying that perhaps a jury was justified in finding someone is not guilty of murder and saying they are blameless.

          The transcript of which recording? The one the victim’s girlfriend made? Where she tells the cop that the victim was going for his wallet after the cop told him not to reach for it? If they cannot keep up with a change in instructions based on the fact that he had a gun, then they shouldn’t have a gun. Does that make it ok that he’s dead? Of course not, but it does mean that the case is more complex than the media headlines. Haven’t you ever read a press article about something which you know well and noticed all the important details that were left out?

          What shows us that perhaps this is more complex than the media headlines is that the jury took 5 full days of reviewing the evidence to make a decision in a hard-fought case, in which the prosecutors FOUGHT the cops rather than “for cops.”

          And you clearly didn’t get the sarcasm in my mention of In re Crow Dog.

          Reply
          1. witters

            “I’m a cop. Bang! Bang!”

            So complex! A hard-fought case!

            (“If they cannot keep up with a change in instructions based on the fact that he had a gun, then they shouldn’t have a gun.”)

            Reply
          2. marym

            I went back and read an account of some of the trial, and stand corrected about the prosecutors. Also, what I recalled as a transcript was a timeline of the events, quoted in this post:

            The Philando Castile Verdict Was a Miscarriage of Justice

            I tried to get the original timeline from the cnn link, but the page seems to be filled with videos that tie up my internet connection. It’s from the National Review and the author doesn’t see race as a factor, but still an interesting opinion

            Here’s a bigger-picture summary of judicial decisions which have gotten us to the point where it’s unlikely that cops are held accountable for killing people who don’t actually pose a threat. Who knows whether a legal process can ever be built to unwind all of that.

            Reply
            1. Lynne

              Yes, it’s an interesting article. I don’t myself agree with French’s conclusion. He asserts that Castile was put in a position of following two contradictory commands: produce your ID and don’t reach for your gun and concludes that Castile was killed for following the cop’s commands. The problem with that conclusion is that his timeline was:
              Yanez asks for drivers license and insurance
              Castile produces insurance card
              Castile announces he has a gun
              Yanez says ok and then instructs, “Don’t reach for it then.”
              Castile responds, “I’m, I’m, reaching …”
              Yanez instructs “Don’t pull it out.”
              Castile responded, “I’m not pulling it out,”
              Reynolds said, “He’s not pulling it out.” Yanez says: “Don’t pull it out.” We don’t know what Castile does at that point, but Yanez pulls his gun and shoots. It is at that point that Reynolds starts recording and saying Castile was following instructions.

              So, what French does not recognize is that once you announce you have a gun, you stop everything and wait for further instructions. Castile did not do that and in fact appears to have acted against instructions in reaching for something (and SAYING he’s reaching) after Yanez told him not to. Reynolds says he was reaching for his wallet, but how is Yanez supposed to know that? That does not mean Castile deserved to get shot. Yanez was way too jumpy, perhaps in part because Castile met the description of a robbery suspect they were looking for, perhaps because people were screaming in the street for cops to be killed, and perhaps because he shouldn’t be a cop. What it does mean, however, is that the jury may have made the best decision they could given the law in Minnesota and what they saw and heard during the trial.

              For another view and discussion of the evidence and other possible charges, from a Minnesota constitutional lawyer:
              http://www.startribune.com/yanez-outcome-predictable-due-to-wrong-charges/428985953/

              And for comments from a second juror, who said Yanez might have been convicted if charged differently:
              http://kstp.com/news/juror-yanez-trial-attributes-not-guilty-verdict-state-not-proving-case/4516571/?cat=1

              Reply
              1. marym

                Giving them both the maximum benefit of the doubt, in the few seconds this all happened, possibly the cop was saying “don’t reach for (gun? previously requested license?), while Castile was already reaching and saying he was reaching for the license.

                This case seems like a better example than some that in a tense, volatile situation, the scared victim is accountable for sorting out and following all the protocols and instructions, but the scared cop is not. (That’s presuming cop protocol actually is not shooting people who aren’t a threat).

                I see the logic of the article in your link about whether a different charge may have led to a conviction. It’s similar to the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore: that maybe the cops should have been charged with some type of criminal negligence rather than murder. I’m not qualified to opine on that as a legal matter.

                As far as the author speculating that the choice of charges was the fault of potential adverse community reaction to a lesser charge, that’s just another form of victim blaming.

                Yes, the “community” may under- or over-emphasize a particular component of a particular case, but the law enforcement and criminal justice system fail again and again and again to hold cops accountable for killing people who present no actual threat. It can’t always be the fault of the victims or the community. Also, the community can’t always be blamed for taking to the streets in the face of these failures.

                Reply
      1. Lynne

        Thanks for the link. Yes, much better coverage. I just hope that, as their tag line says, the story is not over. The issue is legislation to change the manslaughter statute on culpable negligence, not screaming about a jury who applied the law they were given, and not complaining about a prosecutor who pursued the case.

        Reply
  23. Peter Van Erp

    The USS Fitzgerald was hit on the starboard side, by the port half of the bow of the container ship. Basic seamanship is that vessels approaching from starboard have right of way. Hmmmmm….

    Reply
    1. Huey Long

      +1000

      Even I know that and I was a bloody snipe when I sailed the high seas!

      Sounds like the OOD, lookouts, and CiC were all asleep at the wheel.

      Reply
    2. subgenius

      Saw somewhere in an article the claim that the container ship had made a ‘rapid change of course’ prior to collision. Setting up a ‘somebody else’s fault’ meme?

      Journalists may want to investigate the physical limitations to course changes experienced by vessels of such dimensions…

      Reply
      1. subgenius

        Larger = faster with a displacement hull (hull speed is a function of waterline length)

        But larger also = less maneuverable…

        Which is why although sail has right of way over power, you usually want to get a sailboat out of the way of a ship….

        Reply
        1. tony

          Destroyers tend to be pretty fast. Arleigh-Burke class has max speed of over 30 knots, which beats any civilian cargo ship I know of.

          Reply
          1. subgenius

            See above…waterline length determines hull speed of a displacement hull – it’s physics… Cargo ships don’t tend to run at hull speed as it burns more fuel, but they run pretty quick on open ocean.

            You can beat the hull speed by either designing a hull to plane (speedboat) or hydrofoil. You can’t beat hull speed as a displacement – you build a bow wave wall of water with the added power expenditure until you push on top of it at which point you achieve plane

            Reply
  24. Altandmain

    Does corporate America see a future in the US?
    http://www.epi.org/blog/does-corporate-america-see-a-future-in-the-united-states/

    When the term “Rustbelt” was coined in the 1980s and activists learned the early warning signs of a plant closing, one of those indicators was tax dodging. If a company knew it was planning to close a factory, it would often challenge its property tax assessment or seek other tax breaks. And why not? If it didn’t expect to be hiring locally in the future, why should an employer care about the quality of the schools?

    The national trend today looks like the Rustbelt 1980s on steroids. President Trump’s budget proposal follows the playbook that corporate lobbyists have long pushed in state legislatures: tax cuts for companies and the rich, coupled with dramatic cuts to services that benefit everyone. The resulting permanent damage to those public services begs the question: is Corporate America intentionally disinvesting, abandoning our nation?

    One answer appears to lie in the disturbing fact that the fortunes of “American” corporations have become increasingly divorced from those of American citizens. It may never have been entirely true that “what’s good for General Motors is what’s good for the country,” as the company’s president apocryphally suggested in 1953. But it was closer to true when companies relied on Americans both to make and to buy their products. Today, most GM employees and nearly two-thirds of the cars it sells are overseas; it already sells more cars in China than in the U.S. General Motors has been highly engaged in American politics, including as a member of ALEC.

    More class warfare:
    https://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/news/rigged-forced-into-debt-worked-past-exhaustion-left-with-nothing/

    Apparently the UK ruling class is unhappy:
    https://www.thenation.com/article/the-british-ruling-class-is-in-full-panic-mode/

    Also, the GOP is targeting the Blue states:
    http://www.alternet.org/economy/republican-obamacare-repeal-and-medicaid-gutting-will-hit-blue-states-hardest

    Reply
  25. DJG

    Bird photos: Why are readers submitting them? What is in the zeitgeist? First, birds are messengers of the gods. You don’t have to be Etruscan, Roman, Ojibwe, or Japanese to figure that out. So the photos are a kind of very-low-level communication with the very-low-level divine that ensouls our Mother the Earth.

    Scientifically, we are discovering remarkable things about birds (that reinforce their divinity): Their complicated families. That they live to great ages (not just parrots hit their sixties and seventies). Their emotional lives. The importance of song. Their intelligence, that seems to hang on mastery of space as creatures of the waters, air, and ground.

    So the owl, the familiar of Athena, is returning, as a familiar of Athena, who never really went away, evangelical Christianity notwithstanding. Now we have to get the message being delivered that we have to do something about our deteriorating climate and habitat.

    Reply
  26. rich

    Chairman Rubenstein: Carlyle Chief Tops Board for CFR

    Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein has been named Board Chair for the Council on Foreign Relations, a collection of Western oriented global tamperers. Rubenstein’s role places Carlyle in a prime position to profit from global changes directed by CFR’s high powered political stable.

    Mr. Rubenstein replaces two CFR co-chairs, former Treasury Chief and Centerview Counselor Robert Rubin and Carla Hills, member of J.P. Morgan’s International Advisory Board and CEO of Hills and Company.

    CFR’s board elected two Vice Chairs, Jami Miscik and Blair Effron. Jami Miscik produced faulty WMD intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and was rewarded with a global risk management position with Lehman Brothers. That role ended in September 2008 when Lehman Brothers imploded.

    After her second monumental failure with Lehman Miscik landed a job with Kissinger Associates, a consulting firm for Western companies interested in global tampering. She sits on the board of Morgan Stanley and made a fortune when Dell bought EMC in a mega LBO deal worth $60 billion. Miscik served on EMC’s board from August 2012 until deal close.

    Centerview Partners kept a top board slot at CFR by shifting from Bob Rubin to Blair Effron. The move will allow Centerview to keep their key player role advising global corporations

    CFR retains its Western PEU orientation with its new Board officers. Rest assured private equity underwriters (PEU) are the wrong prescription for our globe. That’s all consummate salesman Rubenstein knows how to push. Watch out globe the PEU push isn’t close to over.
    Posted by PEU Report/State of the Division at 11:24 PM

    http://peureport.blogspot.com/2017/06/chairman-rubenstein-carlyle-chief-tops.html

    Reply
  27. Craig H.

    Can’t quite identify that corpse the owl bagged. Is that a rabbit?

    (That is the first antidote I was compelled to save to my drive in around a month, but the way.)

    Craig H.

    Reply
  28. nowhere

    CIA Routers – Just because the headline includes Wi-Fi, doesn’t mean that using wired ethernet from consumer router (even if Wi-Fi is disabled) is safe. The position in the network that a router lives in is what is important, not the link layer technology that enables communication. Any consumer router with non-upgradeable OSes are suspect.

    Hell, given all of the headlines and past hacks, I’m sure pfSense could have gotten some “tainted” code put into their codebase.

    Reply
  29. QuarkfromDS9

    Here’s the one glaring problem with the Amazon-Whole Foods deal

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/16/heres-the-one-glaring-problem-with-the-amazon-whole-foods-deal-commentary.html

    There’s another glaring problem the article misses, is that Whole Food’s customer base(affluent upper middle class people) is disappearing and is pretty likely the cause of it’s financial issues over the past 5 years. I don’t think there’s much Amazon can do to turn things around, even with “disruptive innovation!!” unless they want to become a bargain (organic) grocer. Or they may plan to be pulling an EA* so this could all be moot.

    * For the non gamers who may be reading, EA (Electronic Arts) is notorious for buying smaller video game development firms and cannibalizing them, the most notorious example being Origin Systems and the most recent Bioware. Basically a video game development studio makes a string of successful, loved video games, EA notices, offers a substantial amount to the founders/owners, they sell to EA (and in the case of Bioware, they promptly leave before the shit hits the fan) and then EA gets to work ruining their new subsidiary chasing away the original talent until said subsidiary ends up only churning out crap, and then EA declares them unprofitable and folds the company, incorporating any trademarks and technology they want to keep with the parent company, and shelving or selling off the ones they don’t. Maybe Amazon plans something similar with Whole Foods?

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks! My instinct was to be skeptical (the Aldi point is relevant) due to the fact that the press hype that Whole Foods could be a platform for delivery of lots of other goodies in the physical realm seemed nuts. The most I think he could do is expand share in the high end/health food grocery segment. But you and CNBC are correct to flag cultural differences as deal killers. It happens all the time that acquirers who have different cultures from the acquired can’t figure out how to preserve what was key to its success and tinker only where it’s weak; they wind up imposing their own management approach, drive out all the good people, and hurt the company.

      Reply
  30. AnonyLink

    Re: CenturyLink

    Let me just say, this is absolutely true. I was privy to all the internal communications of this company. Can’t say much more. But the level of billing fraud and incompetence was horrendous. So many customers were being bilked and they wrote the CEO directly to intervene. That was the only way to get some sort of resolution if any.

    Reply
  31. dcblogger

    Wow, Tom Wakely has a fascinating take on the People’s Summit:

    I also spent a considerable amount of my time just mingling with people, introducing myself and listening to why they were at the Summit. I must have met and talked to a least 200 people over the course of the 2½-day event and this is what I came away with. Keeping in mind that I spoke to less than 5% of the attendees, maybe even less, without exception none of them was up to the task of transforming the Democratic Party. Every one of them wanted to form a 3rd party. Whether it was joining the Green Party or the People’s Party or forming a new party, it didn’t really seem to matter to any of them. What mattered to them was electing progressives to public office and they just didn’t see the Democratic Party willing to do that.

    http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2017/06/texas-berniecrat-tom-wakely-goes-to.html

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      As if that wasn’t perfectly, painfully obvious. But apparently there is actually a consensus. The next couple of elections could be really interesting.

      Note: our electoral system breaks down under these conditions. It was designed initially without reference to parties, and since then to prop up the 2-Party. These people are setting out to break it altogether. Let’s hope they get an omelet.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        To be clear: I’ve been trying to break it for 20 years. It’s nice to have all these new allies.

        Reply
  32. craazyboy

    Popular Alien Anthropology Magazine

    ***Special Report***

    Interview 1 with Zorg, CPH of the Glowing Orb

    The Central Planning Hegemon (CPH) cultivates and educates our labor population. The needs of society are carefully assessed and labor evaluated for their potential. Training is provided, matching innate ability to labour. Therefore we match skills to jobs deemed necessary to provide for the needs of society.

    Sometimes, we have potentially very creative labor, but they seem lacking in life skills – they are like idiot savants. In these cases, the CPH deems it necessary to restrict these laborers to the Central Happy Farm and rubber room housing is provided at state expense. The CPH has also determined, from painful experience, these persons should not be allowed the use of sharp eating utensils.

    Given that only dull plastic spoons are provided with meals, a popular mealtime dish is Chicken Rice Bowl. The chickens are free range, and are given their choice of methods to be slaughtered for market. Some chickens choose “firing squad”, for reasons understood only by chickens. They have very large breasts, but their legs have been greatly strengthened to support their weight and avoid the uncomfortable mishap unmodified DNA chickens sometime experience when they topple over face first ramming their beaks into the ground.

    These efficient Mega chickens are then cut up in smaller midi size packages suitable for drone transport to warehouse. The warehouse laborers cut up the packs and repack them in bucket_size(TM) single servings where the chef or home vacuuming robot (with pick and place arm attachment) can warm up for a convenient, fortified and non-biodegradable meal. The chefs are adept at cooking rice.

    Rice is an important staple in society. It is popular both with laborers and our higher order enabled and self-actuated managers. It was discovered by Orb economists, (mostly by Glowing Wyrme Krugzorg) that the rich, or managers, are very fond of curried rice as a side compliment to whale, elephant, the colorful dish Bengal tiger, and even live monkey brains. Researchers found this odd, because spices are the official fiat currency on Glowing Orb, and also it’s colony trading partners. When questioned, the rich stated they have so much spices, so they eat them because it tastes good. They also are aware it is bad to horde money, tho most aren’t really sure why not?

    Then it struck the researchers not unlike a orb falling from the orb tree. Money needs to be destroyed! The rich, perhaps unwittingly, or not, (doesn’t matter) are supporting the essential task of destroying money! It’s like someone threw a light switch and everything became clear.

    Editor:

    Zorg had to cut the interview short to attend a planned panic March of The Pink and Purple Glowing Orbs. He expects he will be all tied up in fake twitterstorms tomorrow, and trying to do his best to appear twitterpatted when interviewed on late night TV by Zorg comedians. But you have to bond with your subjects and labourers, Zorg reminds us.

    He signaled he may be amenable to a second interview, depending on how trade talks go with earth. He says Glowing Orb already has overpriced fighter planes, so the F-35 is of no interest to Zorg. He intimates Glowing Orb does have a surplus of Carrier Battle Groups due to the projected 1000 year drought on Glowing Orb, and may part with a few on the cheap?

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      From a Remainer, but makes sense. The conclusion:

      “So, in my view, the chances of this govt getting any deal, let alone a good one, in only 21 months, are minimal. But I think they know this. The level of complexity is too much, the preparations too poor, the messaging self-defeating.

      So I think the plan remains to walk out of negotiations, which will, of course, be a catastrophe for the UK. And all for want of a little humility, trust, honesty, organisation and understanding. But they just couldn’t help themselves, could they?”

      An excellent case for getting rid of May, if only to give the UK a fresh start in negotiations.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s a bad negotiation position to be in, when the other side doesn’t suffer, or not as much as you, for not reaching a deal.

        To even the odds, you have to somehow making the other side suffer more, as much as you will, for not reaching deal.

        Reply
    2. VietnamVet

      The 1914 collapse of globalism is being replayed in slow motion a century later; likely due to the participants being armed with hydrogen bombs. Instead of the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet verses Imperial German High Seas Fleet; today, it is Boris Johnson verses Jean-Claude Juncker. The sacking of Greece and the Brexit negotiations show that the Troika is more powerful than the great fleets that fought to a draw a 101 years ago. The tragedy of the West is that to restore just and equitable democracies the unity of people at war is required. Instead, the exploitation and the divide and rule of the little people accelerates. There is no way out.

      Reply
      1. Susan the other

        I was thinking this same thing but couldn’t resolve what I thought the outcome might be. “The tragedy of the West is that to restore just and equitable democracies the unity of the people at war is required – instead the exploitation and the divide and rule of the little people accelerates.” It does feel like an epic turning point in our evolution.

        Reply
  33. Oregoncharles

    ““Your tax or MMT dollars at work. How does an agile destroyer get T-boned by a cargo ship? Must have been Putin!?! Amiright?””

    S..t happens.

    This literally happened to my father’s ship, a destroyer, in a British harbor during WWII. It’s the reason he missed D-Day.

    The story goes on: the ramming ship hit the coolers, which had just been filled with meat. My father was supply officer, so it was his job to supervise the UN-loading, days later in hot summer weather. One of his more memorable experiences – his ship saw little serious action. Of course, he wasn’t one of the sailors actually handling the stuff.

    Reply
  34. Oregoncharles

    ” Moreover, Trump in general is underlevered. He’s borrowed way less against his real estate than he could.”
    A sign that he’s smarter than he looks? Or at least more cautious.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      May be a reaction to the early 1990s real estate crash. He got out way better than most big NYC developers, but every one had to go through more than a year of very contested negotiations. He might occasionally be capable of learning from experience, at least where his own money is concerned.

      Reply
  35. Vatch

    A surprising number of American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows Business Insider

    Of course some chocolate milk comes from brown cows — just not all of it. :-)

    Reply
  36. different clue

    About that new coal mine to open in Pennsylvania . . . is it to be a strip mine or a deep mine? Is it for bituminous thermal coal for power plants? Or is it for anthracite metallurgical coal for smelting/ steelmaking?

    Reply
  37. Crosley Bendix

    Stoller has romantic view of Whole Foods and founder John Mackey (“surrender his life’s work”) and seems to want to believe that there are good capitalists in this world. A quick look at Mackey’s Wikipedia page will show that he also promotes toxic right wing ideas. Whole Foods is a predator who was swallowed by a bigger predator. Mackey will only get 8 million dollars to ease his pain.

    Reply
    1. Mark P.

      ‘Mackey will only get 8 million dollars to ease his pain.’

      Interesting.

      Even a decade ago the general agreement was that the minimum sum that constituted ‘f*** you, walkaway’ money was $10 million. Today, it’s probably $35 million.

      So $8 million is almost nothing.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        I could get by very nicely with $8 million.

        However, it is surprising that his stake is so small. Did he already sell most of it?

        Reply
  38. ewmayer

    o “Animation shows huge crack growing in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf – snap off in days to weeks Business Insider (Kevin C) :-(” — Listen to the late Nancy Reagan and just say no to crack, Larsen C!

    o “Fetuses May Respond to Faces While in the Womb Scientific American (Robert M)” — Wouldn’t that require “a womb with a view”? [Thank you, thank you – I’ll be here all week, and please make sure to generously tip your hard-working waitstaff.]

    o “The office of the European Public Prosecutor promises a new era has dawned in the EU for fighting financial crime New Europe. [Micael]” — So NATO will be simultaneously nuking the Davos Bezzle-conclave, City of London and ECB headquarters from orbit? After all, it’s the only way to be sure.

    O “What’s more frightening than an evil world leader? A stupid one | Guardian [UserFriendly]” — Riiiiight, because all those smart™ leaders like WJC, BHO, (wannabe)HRC, Tony Blair and David Cameron have done such good things for planet Earth!

    Reply
  39. FluffytheObeseCat

    An oleaginous Kamala Harris hagiography in Slate: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/06/kamala_harris_got_shushed_and_became_a_hero_do_liberals_want_to_hear_what.html

    The irritating thing is, I agree with the author’s analysis of Harris’s treatment by the aged doyens of the Senate. She was doing too well with the optics and they clumsily tried to shut her down in the officious, “only we elderly white men have the right to be public assholes!!” manner that the article describes. But, the breathless sycophancy was disgusting. It was an unrelenting tongue bath, so characteristic of Slate and the crew of snotty, over-credentialed darlings who run it.

    Lord Saletan and his collection of raised-eyebrow twits damage the interests of genuine progressives every time they put pen to paper mouse to mousepad. Sometimes I wonder if their damaging behavior is not wholly intentional. Where would they be, what would become of their livelihoods, if we lived in a nation where political opponents of right wing philosophies & practices refrained from tribalist virtue signalling?

    We might have too many successes for their comfort………. and their long-term chances at the top of the socioeconomic heap. They know all too well that there are legions of articulate, but less well-‘groomed’, less privileged writers snapping at their heels. A functioning egalitarian society would not be as much of a slam dunk for “Left” coast social insiders as ours is now.

    Reply
  40. charles 2

    Yves, the way you state it, I fear leaving Wifi out gives you a false sense of security. Most router security flaws are not related to WiFi (once you have steered away from WEP or no encryption at all) but to the various backdoor accesses that ISP’s build within their “free” router, arguably to facilitate remote diagnosis and troubleshooting. Ethernet wiring will not protect you against this.
    The only solution is at least to leave the “free” ISP router in its box and go purchase your own. If you are really keen on security, replace the firmware with an open source router firmware such as DD-WRT.

    The additional bonus is that such bespoke routers often provide support for running a VPN server to help you secure your connexion while you are on the road. What is the point of having digital Fort Knox at home if one uses an unsecured network at Starbucks ?

    My 2 cents

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I have no idea how it happened, but I actually have a DSL router that horrible Verizon is mad that I have and they say it didn’t come from them. But it’s so old I’m not sure I can get any software for it.

      Reply
  41. cripes

    What Opioid Hysteria Leaves Out: Most Overdoses Involve A Mix Of Drugs –
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2016/jun/08/opioid-epidemic-drug-mix-overdose-death

    “Drug mixing and tolerance changes are the primary predictors of overdose. Graduates of 28-day abstinence-based rehabs are over 30 times more likely to die of a heroin overdose than untreated addicts using on the streets.”

    Perhaps the blame lies with abstinence programs that lack followup and narcan?
    Not kidding here.

    There’s plenty more info available on the topic.

    —————————-

    I think it’s prudent to cast a skeptical eye both on the raw data and the long history of drug scourge hysteria that has focused on one drug or another since at least the 1840’s in the USA. Think polydrug overdose, Lack of effective pain treatment and health access. Counting deaths involving exposure to weather, untreated chronic diseases, pneumonia, etc., as “drug” deaths because it looks better on your hospital or county stats…

    This is not to say there aren’t actual deaths that involve people who consume some opiate or another, as well as other substances, and have numerous co-morbid conditions, shoddy physician and coroner reporting, and a herd momentum that pulls both drug-warriors and decrimalizers alike into the same chorus.

    Turns out the state stats–which feed the venerable CDC–reveal that polydrug deaths range from about 40% (North Carolina) to 99% (New Mexico) with most states falling around 80% polydrug fatalities. It has long been established that opiods alone are much less likely to cause overdose death.

    The heroin did it story looks much weaker in context.

    Reply
  42. cripes

    “In 2011, 5,188 opioid-analgesic poisoning deaths also involved benzodiazepines (sedatives used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures), up from 527 such deaths in 1999 (Figure 3). From 2006 through 2011, the number of opioid-analgesic poisoning deaths involving benzodiazepines increased 14% on average each year, while the number of opioid-analgesic poisoning deaths not involving benzodiazepines did not change significantly.”

    National Center for Health Statistics, 2014, p. 3.

    Hmmm.

    Reply

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